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Welcome to Calyptura Expeditions - Brazil

The biggest goal of Calyptura Expeditions is...

... to put birding close together with conservation. The rarest species are the ones in most need of attention for their protection. Birdwatching is the best turism activity to draw attention to habitat preservation – as an ever altered habitat loses bird diversity – so the main focus is to take birders to areas where there is a good deal of endemic and threatened bird species.

Therefore helping by bringing attention and creating value to those places, especially to conservation units (in the search for the rarest short tours). Focusing on taking  birders into different habitats through specific regions of Brazil to find a desired selection of birds, endemic or target species. Offering planned itineraries to clients as well as custom affordable and flexible packages to suit the birders needs, always at places with good accessibility and safety.

Few countries in the world can offer the opportunity to contemplate that much biodiversity in natural environments as Brazil. At each destination and biome there are good options in hotels and tourist facilities. Tours are professionally conducted by an experienced native trilingual guide who is also biologist and ornithologist by the Mackenzie University of São Paulo.

birds in the sky

“Of all the realms on earth that could be called paradise, perhaps the Neotropics most deserve the title. Explorers and scientists have marveled for centuries at the bewildering diversity of life forms found together within tropical biomes of the New Word”
(Neotropical Birds – Ecology and Conservation, Stotz, et al., 1996).


The majority of tours are conducted at the Atlantic Forest’s best preserved remnants of southeastern Brazil as the biome has been largely deforested. At least 80% of the forest present when the Europeans arrived in the 1500s had been destroyed by the late 1970s. It has left the Atlantic Forest by far the most endangered zoogeographic region in the Neotropics. With around 200 endemic bird species it has the third largest concentration of endemic birds in this same region. These biggest remnants at SE Brazil is where we have the best chances of sighting the endemic and most threatened bird species of the whole Neotropical realm.

Calyptura Expeditions Main Targets = SE Atlantic Forest endemic bird species included on IUCN red list and its category (LC – least concern; NT – near threatened; VU – vulnerable; EN – threatened; CR – critically threatened):

Solitary Tinamou (Tinamus solitarius) - NT
Yellow-legged Tinamou (Crypturellus noctivagus) - NT
Black-fronted Piping-guan (Aburria jacutinga) - EN
White-necked Hawk (Leucopternis lacernulatus) - VU
Mantled Hawk (Pseudastur polionotus) - NT
Saw-billed Hermit (Ramphodon naevius) - NT
Purple-winged Ground-Dove (Claravis geoffroyi) - CR
Brown-backed Parrolet (Touit melanonotus) - EN
Blue-bellied Parrot (Triclaria malachitacea) - NT
Red-tailed Amazon (Amazona brasiliensis) - VU
Helmeted Woodpecker (Dryocopus galeatus) - VU
Channel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos vitellinus) - VU
White-bearded Antshrike (Biatas nigropectus) - VU
Spot-breasted Antvireo (Dysithamnus stictothorax) - NT
Salvadori's Antwren (Myrmotherula minor) - VU
Rio de Janeiro Antwren (Myrmotherula fluminensis) - CR
Unicolored Antwren (Myrmotherula unicolor) - NT
São Paulo Antwren (Formicivora paludicola) - EN
Restinga Antwren (Formicivora littoralis) - EN
Parana Antwren (Stymphalornis acutirostris) - EM
Rufous-tailed Antbird (Drymophila genei) - NT
Black-hooded Antwren (Formicivora erythronotus) - EN
Buff-throated Purpletuft (Iodopleura pipra) - NT
W-browed Fol.-gleaner (Anabacerthia amaurotis) - NT
Kinglet Calyptura (Calyptura cristata) - CR
Brazilian Mourner (Laniisoma elegan) - LC
Bare-throated Bellbird (Procnias nudicollis) - VU

Bare-throated Bellbird (Procnias nudicollis) - VU
Black-capped Piprites (Piprites pileata) - VU
Fork-tailed Pygmy-tyrant (Hemitriccus furcatus) - VU
Restinga Tyrannulet (Phylloscartes kronei) - VU
São Paulo Tyrannulet (Phylloscartes paulista) - NT
Serra do Mar Tyrannulet (Phylloscartes difficilis) - NT
Southern Bristle-Tyrant (Phylloscartes eximius) - NT
Bay-ringed Tyrannulet (Phylloscartes sylviolus) - NT
Gray-capped Tyrannulet (Phyllomyias griseocapilla) - NT
Russet-wing. Spadebill (Platyrinchus leucoryphus) - VU
Atl. Royal Flycatcher (Onychorhynchus swainsoni) - VU
Slaty Bristlefront (Merulaxis ater) - NT
Spotted Bamboowren (Psilorhamphus guttatus) - NT
Swallow-tailed Cotinga (Phibalura flavirostris) - NT
Black-and-gold Cotinga (Tijuca atra) - NT
Gray-winged Cotinga (Tijuca condita) - VU
Black-head. Berryeater (Carpornis melanocephala) - VU
Cinnamon-vented Piha (Lipaugus lanioides) - NT
Rufous-tailed Antthrush (Chamaeza ruficauda) - LC
Brown Tanager (Orchesticus abeillei) - NT
Azure-shouldered Tanager (Thraupis cyanoptera) - NT
Black-backed Tanager (Tangara peruviana) - VU
Black-legged Dacnis (Dacnis nigripes) - NT
Pin-tailed Manakin (Ilicura militaris) - LC
Buffy-fronted Seedeater (Sporophila frontalis) - VU
Temminck's Seedeater (Sporophila falcirostris) - VU
Green-throated Euphonia (Euphonia chalybea) - NT

kinglet calyptura

Kinglet Calyptura

However is at the mountainous region of Rio de Janeiro, more precisely in the surroundings of Serra dos Orgãos National Park and Nova Friburgo city, where there are chances of rediscovering the rarest and most enigmatic species of the neotropics, the Kinglet Calyptura (Calyptura cristata) - please check our Calyptura special Tour. Described in 1818, was considered extinct at the end of the same century. Specimens (from 19th century) collected and deposited in museums indicate its origins to the Paraíba river valley. It was sighted (and rediscovered!) for the last time in 1996 at the lower parts of Serra dos Orgãos National Park by a group of Brazilian ornithologists. It is today a critically endangered species which is very small with a conspicuous red crest that inhabits the tops of the tallest trees in primary forest and its borders. There were later non confirmed reports of sightings in Ubatuba-SP, and there is the possibility of this cryptic species to be present at REGUA (Guapiassu) surroundings. It is therefore a mystery and a great challenge for birders, ornithologists and researchers from around the world.

“Confirming the continued existence of the Kinglet Calyptura (…) would cause much excitement in the ornithological world, and is the greatest prize yet awaiting the growing cadre of field ornithologists in SE Brazil” (Ridgely & Tudor 1994, The birds of South America, p 737)

[Left] Ilustration of Calyptura cristata, from the book A Selection of the Birds of Brazil and Mexico, by Willian John Swainson, 1840.

Get in touch with us by telephone +55 11 99609.3016 or writing to this email address:

  • “René did such a good job at Intervales State Park! I ended up with 28 life birds including 16 endemics, which is quite good considering we spent just two days birding and its my 2nd time in SE Atlantic rainforest...”
    Bill Stjern
    Minnesota, USA
  • “We were in Sao Paulo for business and wanted to spend some time birding and luckily found the world’s best bird guide, René Santos, who speaks excellent English and Spanish in addition to Portuguese. René was endlessly patient with us. Using his own considerable bird-calling skills as well as recorded sounds, he would summon birds that he heard in the distance so that we could get a better look or a photo!”
    Pat Connelly
    Philadelphia, USA
  • “René was adept at finding the birds of the park and ensuring that I had good looks at them. We saw some 62 species ranging from the unmistakable Brazilian Tanager through to Yellow-chinned and Spix's Spinetails, and White-barred and Ochre-collared Piculets and waterbirds including South American Snipe, a wonderful introduction to the birds of Brazil. Highly recommended.”
    Ian McMahon
    Canberra, Australia
  • “René, a biologist who has been a bird lover from childhood, is extremely knowledgeable about all things birds and nature. He took us on two trail walks at the fantastic Atlantic Forest over our two days in SE Brazil and he readily identified multiple species of birds by sight and sound. We also learned quite a lot about the other flora and fauna in the forest.”
    Sandi McIntyre
    Feasterville, USA
  • “Early morning, René and I visited a superb hummingbird feeder setup near Ubatuba. It’s maintained by a nice man named Jonas and there we saw nine species at the feeders, including emeralds, rubies, sapphires, coquettes, mangos, hermits, woodnymphs, jacobins plus lots of tanagers. Then we just had time to spend a few quality minutes in the nearby forest. Hanging out with locals guides like René is certainly enlightening.”
    Noah Striker
    Oregon, USA