Brazil: South-West Amazonia

Specialities of the little-visited but bird-rich Rondonia, Inambari and Acre regions. Includes four days at PiraAçu Lodge, an astounding new birding destination in the deep Amazon! White-breasted Antbird, Pale-faced Bare-eye, Rondonia Bushbird, and Predicted Antwren are all likely.

Next dates

1-16 July 2024

Tour length: 16 days

Group size limit: 6


Eduardo Patrial and Chris Venetz

Tour full

1-16 July 2025

Tour length: 16 days

Group size limit: 6


Eduardo Patrial

Spaces available

Day 1: After meeting at Sao Paulo International Airport (GRU), we will board an afternoon flight to Porto Velho, and hopefully have time to spend the late afternoon birding on the left bank of the Madeira. Here we will have our first chances for “Campina” Azure-naped Jay, along with Predicted Antwren, and the poorly known Fulvous-chinned Nunlet. Overnight in Porto Velho.

Day 2: Continuing our exploration on the left bank, this morning in tall terra firme we may add Undulated Antshrike, Sooty and White-throated Antbirds, Western Striolated and Brown-banded Puffbirds, Blue-necked Jacamar, Curl-crested and Brown-mandibled Aracaris, Golden-collared Toucanet, Bonaparte’s Parakeet, Inambari and Bar-bellied Woodcreepers, Black Antbird, Needle-billed Hermit, Southern Mealy Amazon, Inambari Gnatcatcher, Glossy-backed Becard, a small chance of Black Bushbird, and others. We will also visit some other areas to maximize our chances with Fulvous-chinned Nunlet, Predicted Antwren and the handsome “Campina” Azure-naped Jay, additionally searching for Bronzy Jacamar, Green-tailed Goldenthroat, Humaita Antbird, Gilded Barbet, Peruvian Warbling Antbird, the fascinating Hairy-crested Antbird, Blue-capped Manakin, Pale-bellied Mourner and more. Overnight in Porto Velho.

Day 3: Driving early towards Humaitá, we will bird some Cerrado habitat in the early morning for Ocellated Crake, White-eared Puffbird, Rusty-backed Antwren, Black-masked Finch, Sharp-tailed Grass Tyrant, Plumbeous and Dark-throated Seedeaters, White-rumped Tanager and possibly other open country species. Stretches of forest nearby will offer more chances for the uncommon Bonaparte’s Parakeet, with others like White-browed Purpletuft, Spangled Cotinga, Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo and Red-billed Pied Tanager.  After checking in at Humaitá, we can check more sites for Black Bushbird before finishing the day next to our hotel where dozens of Short-tailed Parrot come to roost. Overnight in Humaitá.

Day 4: Dawn in some excellent terra firme may produce several tough species, including chances for Needle-billed Hermit, White-browed Hawk, Lined Forest Falcon, Scaly-breasted Woodpecker, Olive-backed Foliage-gleaner, Ruddy Spinetail, Long-tailed and Bar-bellied Woodcreepers, Silvered, Humaita, Sooty, White-throated, Common Scale-backed and Hairy-crested Antbirds, the shy Reddish-winged Bare-eye, Undulated Antshrike, Rio Madeira Stipplethroat, Blue-capped Manakin and many other possible birds. Later in the day, we will have further chances to find Bonaparte’s Parakeet, Inambari Gnatcatcher and the tricky Chestnut-capped Puffbird. Overnight in Humaitá.

Day 5: An early ferry to the Madeira’s right bank will see us birding in varzea habitat, looking for Slender-billed Kite, Tui Parakeet, Festive Amazon, Glossy Antshrike, Plain Softtail, Masked Crimson Tanager, Leaden Antwren, Black-chinned Antbird, Zimmer’s and Long-billed Woodcreepers, Varzea Schiffornis, Amazonian Black Tyrant and others. Then a long drive along the unsealed Transamazonica to reach the bank of Rio Aripuanã, from which we will travel by boat up the Aripuanã and deep into the wilderness. We should see some birds from the boat of course, beauties such as Black-collared and White-banded Swallows, several species of large macaw, plus hopefully both Kawall’s Amazon and Red-throated Piping Guan. Arriving at the lovely PiraAçu Lodge this evening for an introduction to the area and a lovely dinner, we will all be very excited for the coming days…

Day 6-7-8-9: Four full days to explore the magnificent area of this recently opened lodge, where we will be exploring untouched tracts of Amazonian forest in the Rondonia endemism centre. Here we hope to find the rare endemic Rondonia Bushbird, plus a high number of regional specialties and some other tough widespread Amazonian birds, to include the uncommon Zigzag Heron, Razor-billed Curassow, Nocturnal Curassow, Sunbittern, Sand-colored Nighthawk, Ladder-tailed Nightjar, Rufous Potoo, Crimson Topaz, Fiery-tailed Awlbill, “Green-backed” Dark-winged Trumpeter, Harpy Eagle, White-browed Hawk, Crested Owl, Pavonine Quetzal, Rufous and Broad-billed Momots, Pavonine Quetzal, Eastern Striolated, Rufous-necked, Spotted and Collared Puffbirds, Cryptic Forest Falcon, Crimson-bellied Parakeet, Uniform and endemic Hoffmann’s Woodcreepers; Curve-billed Scythebill, Pearly Antshrike, the endemic White-breasted Antbird and the rare Pale-faced Bare-Eye, Ferruginous-backed and Yellow-browed Antbirds, endemic Black-breasted Gnateater, Black-necked Red Cotinga, Spangled and Pompadour Cotingas, Flame-crested Manakin, Rusty-belted Tapaculo, Buff-cheeked Tody-Flycatcher, Chico’s Tyrannulet, Cinnamon-crested Spadebill, Tooth-billed Wren, Red-and-black Grosbeak, with so many other possible birds. PiraAçu has a list of over four hundred birds so far, which seemingly grows with every visit! Pristine habitats, a good trail system and simply amazing boat trips where we can explore four different rivers should provide an unforgettable Amazonian experience for everyone.

Day 10: Retracing our steps out of the wilderness and back down the Transamazonica, we will aim to explore some sites for endemics Aripuana Antwren and Manicore Warbling Antbird in the afternoon before arriving for overnight again in Humaitá.

Day 11: Early morning of birding in Humaitá again before transferring to Jaci-Paraná. On arrival, we will bird a nice forest fragment that offers more chances for Rufous-necked Puffbird, Hoffmann’s Woodcreeper, Tooth-billed Wren and others. Overnight in Jaci-Paraná.

Day 12: Early morning boat trip on the Madeira to visit the Ilha dos Búfalos. Here we will search for several river island specialists, including Parker’s and White-bellied Spinetails, Black-and-white Antbird, Riverside Tyrant, Lesser Wagtail-Tyrant, Lesser Hornero, Brownish Elaenia, Cinereous Becard, Olive-spotted Hummingbird, Orinoco Goose and more. Afternoon drive to Rio Branco, in the state of Acre. If time permits, we will spend the late afternoon looking for Purus Jacamar, Fine-barred Piculet and possibly Blue-headed Macaw. Overnight in Rio Branco.

Day 13-14-15: Three full days to enjoy the impressive Ramal do Noca near Rio Branco. This fantastic birding site holds large clumps of Guadua bamboo and together a fine selection of specialists, including many of the very best Amazonian birds! The rich western Amazonian terra firme and bits of varzea will contribute many new species to this outstanding trip. Highlights from this mega site include Harpy Eagle, Slate-colored Hawk, Western Striolated, Chestnut-capped and Semicollared Puffbirds, Rufous-capped and Fulvous-chinned Nunlets, Yellow-billed Nunbird, White-throated Jacamar, Lemon-throated Barbet, Black-throated Toucanet, Rufous-breasted and Fine-barred Piculets, Rufous-headed Woodpecker, Manu and Dusky-billed Parrotlets, White-bellied Parrot, Black-capped Parakeet, Blue-headed Macaw, Inambari Woodcreeper, Peruvian Recurvebill, Brown-rumped and Chestnut-crowned Foliage-gleaners, Orange-fronted Plushcrown, Speckled Spinetail, Bamboo and Bluish-slate Antshrikes, Ornate Stipplethroat, “Bamboo” Ihering’s Antwren, Striated, Southern Chestnut-tailed, Yellow-breasted Warbling, White-lined, Goeldi’s, Riparian, Manu and Plumbeous Antbirds, Amazonian Antpitta, the rare Black-faced and Purple-throated Cotingas, Sulphur-bellied Tyrant-Manakin, the rare Rufous Twistwing, Acre Tody-Tyrant, Long-crested Pygmy Tyrant, Johannes’s Tody-Tyrant, Flammulated Bamboo Tyrant, hopefully the difficult White-cheeked Tody-Flycatcher, Dusky-tailed Flatbill, White-eyed Attila, Chattering Gnatwren, the unpredictable Slate-colored Seedeater, Opal-crowned Tanager, Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak and many others. Nights in Rio Branco.

Day 16: The tour concludes this morning with an early flight to Sao Paulo International Airport (GRU), where the tour ends around midday. NOTE: Any participants who might wish to take different flights to Porto Velho at the start or from Rio Branco at the end should let us know at the time of booking, so that we can deduct these from your tour cost.

Tour details

Cost: $ 6,400
Deposit: $ 750
Single room supplement: $ 500

Accommodation: Comfortable hotels and lodges throughout. Please note that the entire tour will be conducted in two comfortable SUV vehicles, rather than a minibus or van.

Walking difficulty: Mostly easy roadside and trail birding, with several excellent river cruises.

Tour cost includes: All accommodation, main meals, drinking water, internal flights (as stated in itinerary), overland transport, tips to local drivers and guides, travel permits, entrance fees, and guide fees.

Tour cost excludes: Flights before and after the tour start/end, visa, travel insurance, tips to tour leaders, laundry, drinks and other items of a personal nature.