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BIRDWATCHING IN BRAZIL - SERRA DA CANASTRA NATIONAL PARK

THE BRAZILIAN MERGANSER SANCTUARY

 

Brazilian Merganser

 

Serra da Canastra is one of the most traditional birdwatching destinations in Brazil. Located 360 km from Belo Horizonte, the Serra da Canastra National Park is a large area of ​​200,000 ha, composed mainly by "cerrado" and "grasslands" on the plateaus and riparian forest along the head waters of Sao Francisco River, one of the largest in Brazil. The region has more than 400 officially registered bird species, including some rarities such as Brazilian Merganser, Cock-tailed Tyrant, Campo Miner, Ochre-breasted Pipit, Black-masked Finch and Crowned Eagle. 

I am a birdwatcher guide accredited by ICMBio (entity that manages National Parks in Brazil) to work in the Serra da Canastra National Park where I have been working as a guide for birdwatching for more than 10 years. I have experience in conducting birdwatchers from other countries and I have already accompanied people from USA, England, Scotland, Spain, Denmark and others.

In 2017 I published my first book on the Serra da Canastra National Park, a work in which I picture the culture, nature and especially the birds of this ecological sanctuary.

I have no fluency in English, but I understand the language reasonably well and I do not have great communication difficulties. Just speak slowly, and we can understand each other well.

Best season:

The best time to visit the region is from September to December. When most species are in full activity, which greatly increases the chances of sighting. But even in the winter months you can see quite a bit, like the Brazilian Merganser, which is best sighted between June and August.

Where to stay:

The park has a good structure in the cities surrounding it. Sacramento, São Roque de Minas and Delfinópolis have inns aimed at the care of birdwatchers. Most hostels in the area offer discount or do not charge the lodging of the guide.

Transportation / Roads:

Sacramento, in the state of Minas Gerais (where I live) has an entrance gate to the park that is 60km from the urban area. You can arrive by plane to Uberaba (80km from Sacramento) or Uberlândia (160km) and Ribeirão Preto (190km), I can pick you up from my car at the airport. Another option is to rent a vehicle (preferably 4x4) in Uberaba / Uberlândia / Ribeirão Preto and come driving to Sacramento (I can take the direction from Sacramento, to be for your preference). The trip from Sacramento to the park entrance (60km) passes through Sacramento's rural area and offers good sighting opportunities, such as Yellow-faced Parrot, Crowned eagle, Collared Crescentchest, Blue-winged Macaw and Sharp-tailed Tyrant. Within the park the roads are precarious, but in the dry season (April to October) it is possible to travel with normal vehicle in 90% of the park. In the rainy season (November to March) we recommend the use of a 4x4 vehicle. I offer transportation in my 4x4 vehicles (Toyota Land Cruiser / Suzuki Jimny) charging for the km rolled.

Routes:

The scripts are customized, assembled according to the list of species you intend to see. Everything is thought of in order to offer the best possibilities of sighting. If you are not focused on lifers, the region offers great opportunities for contemplation and photography of landscapes, animals and plants of the cerrado.


Some species of birds found in Serra da Canastra:

-Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle
-Crowned Eagle
-Campo Miner
-White-rumped Tanager
-Ocher-breasted Pipit
-Hellmayr's Pipit
-Blue Finch
-White-banded Tanager
-Spotted Nothura
-Sedge Wren
-Cock-tailed Tyrant
-Dwarf Tinamou
-Russet-mantled Foliage-gleaner
-Upland Sandpiper
-Bearded Tachuri
-Gray-backed Tachuri
-Sharp-tailed Tyrant
-Brazilian Merganser
-Red-winged Tinamou
-Brasilia Tapaculo
-Collared Crescentchest
-Black-masked Finch
-King Vulture
And more than 400 species can be observed in the region.

Animals that with a little luck we can see:

-Maned Wolf
-Giant Anteater
-Pampas Deer
-Giant Armadillo 
-Atlantic Titi