Calyptura Tours

SE Atlantic Forest, Southern Amazon & Pantanal Tours

The Atlantic Forest is a very old forest formation which is distributed along the Brazilian coast and is present in 17 states. It has great latitudinal and altitudinal variations providing several different and unique ecosystems and habitats. With amazing sceneries, it is formed by nothing less than 20.000 plant species along with around 270 species of mammals, 370 of amphibians, 200 of reptiles, 350 of fish and 891 of birds (of which 213 are endemic).

As Pantanal is considered one the best places for birding and nature tours in the whole world. Surrounded on one side by the amazon and by the other the cerrado makes pantanal a differentiated biome with rich diversity and much abundance. This biome is the world’s largest tropical wetland area. It is located on the western part of Brazil and also part of Bolivia, it has an total area of almost 200.000 square kilometers! On the rainy season 80% of it stays submerged favoring an immense diversity of plants which support an amazing and super abundant collection of animals. The bird fauna is astonishing with around 650 species!

Calyptura Expeditions, to maximize the number of species seen, offer as its main tour a two weeks package. One week at Atlantic Forest as most of the foreing birders come from São Paulo (GRU) Int. Airport and another week at Pantanal taking flights to and from Cuiabá Airport. When chosen the SE Atlantic Forest Tour 1 the meeting point will be Curitiba’s Int. Airport and for SE Atlantic Forest Tour 2 it is going to be São Paulo (GRU) Int. Airport (where departure flights are recommended to be planed). All destinations have good options in hotels and restaurants. The transport is rented cars or vans with air conditioning. Breakfasts will be arranged for early departures in all accommodations, places for having lunch and dinner will vary according to availability. (When with two or three birders and using a rented car the guide can be the driver with additional fees).

Our tour to central Brazil covers diverse habitats that include the chapada (dry scrub) canyonlands, wetlands, grasslands, dry forest, and rivers of the Pantanal, and rainforest of the southern Amazon Basin. The tour begins in Cuiaba, gateway to the Pantanal. From there the tour visits Chapada dos Guimaraes National for 1½ days before flying to Alta Floresta at the edge of the southern Amazon Basin. A boat transfer takes us to Cristalino Jungle Lodge, our base for 4 full days of birding in the Amazon Basin. After a flight back to Cuiaba, the tour continues into the Pantanal with two nights stay at Pousada Piuval, two nights stay deeper into the Pantanal, two nights stay in Porto Jofre located on the Cuiaba River, where we'll spend most of two days searching for Jaguars along the river, and then a transfer back up the Transpantaneira (highway through the Pantanal) back to Cuiaba with an overnight stay by the Rio Claro en route. Certainly two of the many major highlights of the tour are the certain sightings of Hyacinth Macaws and the almost certain viewing of Jaguars along the Cuiaba River. These highlights may perhaps be outdone by the extraordinary birding and mammal viewing during our visit to the Amazon, but that all depends on what experience one prizes most at the end of this spectacular tour.

Ubatuba. Photo: René Cardoso dos Santos
  • Chapada dos Guimarães National Park

    Chapada dos Guimarães National Park

  • Collared Crescentchest

    Collared Crescentchest

  • Pantanal


  • Black-collared Hawk

    Black-collared Hawk

  • Amazon Forest (Cristalino River)

    Amazon Forest (Cristalino River)

  • Hoatzin


Main Tours

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One Week SE Atlantic Forest Tour 1 – Salto Morato Natural Reserve and Intervales State Park

Salto Morato Natural Reserve

On this tour we do head to Atlantic Forest’s heart at the coast on the ancient Guaraqueçaba city. From Curitiba to Guaraqueçaba we do take the Graciosa road which is surrounded by high quality habitats, providing some very good sightings on the way (this trip takes around 3 hours or more as do stop for birding). Salto Morato Natural Reserve (SMNR) is a huge area of pristine lowland and sub-montane ecosystems protected by a national NGO which offers nature tours using trails on amazing forest scenery with breathtaking waterfalls. We do stay at the reserve’s accommodation or at Pousada do Biguá located at 30 min from RNSM. Main birding spots are the easy going trails on SMNR and boat trips to Superagui National Park.

Target species: Parana Antwren, Restinga Tyrannulet, Black-headed Berryeater, Red-tailed Parrot, Scarlet Ibis, White-necked Hawk, Bicolored Conebill, Atlantic Royal Flycatcher.

Duration: 3 days and 3 nights.

Climate: humid, warm from oct to feb, cold from may to july.

Difficulty: mostly very easy and flat.

Accomodation: very comfortable.

Intervales State Park

Intervales State Park is the real birder’s paradise and to access it we will be traveling the whole day after leaving RNSM, and stopping at another bird sanctuary: Carlos Botelho State Park. Intervales comprises an area of 41.700 hectares it was a big old farm now protected since 1987. Its altitudinal gradient favors an incredible rich diversity of bird species as it has almost sea level parts and escarpments of 3300 ft (only the upper part is open to the public). Located in between 5 other big reserves that therefore forms a huge area of continued Atlantic Forest with the only patches left of pristine ecosystems from this highly exploited biome. Accessible and safe trails are within close quarters (

Target species: Black-throated Piping Guan, Cinnamon-vented Piha, Bare-throated Bellbird, Blue-bellied Parrot, White-bearded Antshrike, Helmeted Woodpecker.

Duration: 3 days and 3 nights.

Climate: humid, quite cold from may to july.

Difficulty: mostly very open roads, flat and with some up and downs.

Accomodation: inside the park on good infrastructure.

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One Week SE Atlantic Forest Tour 2 – Ubatuba and Itatiaia National Park


Ubatuba is located 290 km north from São Paulo and inserted in the Serra do Mar State Park. It has more than 80% of the city area inside the park. It is known for its beautiful beaches and preserved Atlantic Forest lowland and submontane habitats. Being a must-see for birders worldwide. Main birding areas are the internationally known Capricórnio and Angelim farms, Folha Seca trail and Cambucá birding centre. Accommodations are numerous with great options such as Recanto das Palmeiras, Ubatuba Palace Hotel, Itamambuca Ecoresort.

Target species: Saw-billed Hermit, Spotted Bamboowren, São Paulo Tyrannulet, Azure-shouldered Tanager, Fork-tailed Pygmy-tyrant, Buff-throated Purpletuft, White-browed Foliage-gleaner, Purple-winged Ground-Dove, Brown-backed Parrotlet.

Duration: 3 days and 3 nights.

Climate: humid, quite warm from oct to feb.

Difficulty: mostly open trails, flat and irregular terrain.

Accomodation: very comfortable.

Itatiaia National Park

Situated south of Rio de Janeiro state and 2 hours from Ubatuba, it is a famous place for having the oldest national park of Brazil. Not only for that, once Itatiaia has an incredible range of forest habitats thanks to differences in elevation which can range from 2000 to 8000 ft, favoring various endemics species of birds. Main birding areas are 3 Picos trail and the birders playground Agulhas Negras road. Accommodation is recommended to be at Hotel do Ypê for the proximity to trails and for its fantastic bird feeders and Hotel São Gotardo which is close by the Agulhas Negras road. All meals can be done at those comfortable hotels with terrific views of Atlantic Forest scenery.

Target species: Bare-throated Bellbird, Brown Tanager, Ararucaria Tit-Spinetail, Itatiaia Spinetail, Swallow-tailed Cotinga, Black-and-gold Cotinga, Black-capped Piprites, Plovercrest, Buffy-fronted Seedeater.

Duration: 3 days and 3 nights.

Climate: humid, cold from may to july.

Difficulty: moderate, with some up and downs.

Accomodation: very comfortable.

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One Week at Pantanal

Arriving at Cuiabá we just drive a 100 km to get in Poconé city to reach the easiest place to observe wildlife in its full splendor. North of Pantanal has a 135 km long road called “transpantaneira” which has several lodges specialized on ecotourism offering all kinds of super fun activities such as horse riding, boat trips, night spotting and of course birdwatching. Main lodges to stay as a birder is: Pousada Piuval on the beginning of the road, going south to Pousada Pouso Alegre, following to Pousada Rio Claro then going to Hotel Pantanal Mato Grosso by the river Pixaim and ending at the almighty Cuiabá river to stay at the jaguar famous Pousada Porto Jofre.

Target species: Hyacinth Macaw, Jabiru Stork, Plumbeous Ibis, Sunbittern, Sungrebe, Toco Toucan, Nanday Parakeet, Scarlet-headed Blackbird, Red-billed Scythebill, Chotoy Spinetail, Mato Grosso Spinetail.

Duration: 7 days and 6 nights.

Climate: humid, very warm from october to may.

Difficulty: easy flat trails.

Accomodation: very comfortable.

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Short Tours

Help the conservation of some of the most threatened birds from the Neotropics by visiting their home range!

  • Kinglet Calyptura Tour

    Focused on finding the most enigmatic neotropical bird species, Calyptura cristata, on the region where it was first collected and last sighted on Rio de Janeiro state. Staying and looking for it at Serra dos Tucanos Lodge for one day. Second day we do go to the higher parts of Serra dos Orgãos National Park and at third day we search at the lower part called Garrafão where is was last seen. We also go to Nova Friburgo (Macaé de cima) on the last day. Taking 4 days and 5 nights as total. Several other fantastic atlantic forest birds can be seen on this tour.

  • São Paulo Antwren Tour

    At 1 hour and half from the biggest city of South America this recently discovered and endangered species (Formicivora paludicola), inhabits a few marshes where it is fairly easy to find due to its distinct voice. Several other water birds can be seen.

  • Black-hooded Antwren Tour

    South of Rio de Janeiro state, at a small village with excellent birding, is the only site for this endemic and endangered antwren (Formicivora erythronotus). Located at one hour and a half from Ubatuba where a superb selection of birds can be also seen.

  • Restinga Antwren Tour

    Restinga is a coastal habitat with white sandy soil, and low, thick bushes with cactuses. At north of Rio de Janeiro state lives this critically endangered antwren (Formicivora littoralis) which is quite common and easily encountered as it is a quite vocal bird. It is located 2 and a half hours from the airport. Some other nice species can be found in this habitat. 

  • Red-tailed Amazon and Restinga Tyrannulet Tour

    At 3 hours from São Paulo on a coastal city where there is some spectacular birding we find this Atlantic Forest endemic (Amazona brasiliensis) which is no doubt one the most beautiful parrots in the world. There in the restinga habitat is where we can also find another endemic species of tyrannulet (Phylloscartes kronei).

short tours

Shorter Tours

To those birders who have to wait for flights at or around the Guarulhos (GRU) International Airport in São Paulo.

Ubatuba – Paraty – Cunha

Three nights at best of Atlantic Forest! Starting at the beautiful Ubatuba for one full day with lots of colourful tanagers and euphonias and also looking for some specialities as Buff-throated Purpleturft, Spot-billed Toucanet, Brown-backed Parrotlet, Rufous-capped Motmot and of course Kinglet Calyptura. Next day we do head to the ancient Paraty and surroundings. Targets are the endangered Black-hooded Antwren, Fork-tailed Pygmy-Tyrant, Spotted Bamboowren, Spot-breasted Antvireo and Slaty Bristlefront. On the last day we leave the lowland and go up to 1.200 metres of altitude to Cunha centre of Serra do Mar State Park where we can find some different species such the fantastic: Bare-throated Bellbird, Swallow-tailed Cotinga, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, White-collared Foliage-gleaner, Rufous-tailed Anthrush, Rufous-tailed Antbird, Diademed Tanager, among many others.

Trilha dos Tucanos (Tapiraí)

A nice weekend at this lovely small lodge that has rapidly grown as it is located only two hours from Sao Paulo. Busy feeders and trails result in happy birders and photographers. Many Atlantic Forest endemics from up to 800 meters are easily found: Spot-billed and Saffron Toucanets, Festive Coquette, Yellow-fronted Woodpecker, Rufous-capped Spinetail, Speckled-breasted Antpitta, Variagated Antpitta, Cinnamon-vented Piha, White-bearded Antshirke, Pale-browed Treehunter, Slaty Bristlefront, Bay-ringed Tyrannulet, Azure-shouldered Tanager, among others.

Serra do Mar State Park (Itutinga Pilões Center)

Fantastic birding at just one hour from the city of São Paulo. Gorgeous scenery on the way that leads to this protected area of pristine sub-montane Atlantic Forest. Some possible sightings of: White-necked Hawk, Spot-billed Toucanet, Maroon-bellied Parakeet, Scaly-headed Parrot, Yellow-fronted Woodpecker, Ochre-collared Piculet, Blue Manakin, Lesser Woodcreeper, Plain Xenops, Rufous-capped Spinetail, Gray Elaenia, Gray-hooded Attila, Unicolored Antwren, Squamate Antbird, Brazilian Tanager, Green-headed Tanager, Red-necked Tanager, among others.

Cantareira State Park

Located north of the city of São Paulo, it is an important Atlantic Forest fragment with 7,916 ha and with altitudes ranging from 800 to 1010 meters. Presents montane forest formations and protects a large number of animal and plant species. It is considered an IBA (Important Bird Area) by Bird Life International. Offers sightings of: Dusky-legged Guan, Short-tailed Hawk, Surucua Trogon, Crescent-chested Puffbird, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Rufous Gnateater, Plain Antvireo, Star-throated Antwren, White-eyed Foliage-gleaner, Greenish Schiffornis, Southern Bristle-Tyrant, Variable Antshrike, Crested Becard, among others.

Praia Grande (Jardim Melvi)

Excellent birding site located at just one hour and a half from the city of São Paulo. It is part of Itutinga-Pilões center of Serra do Mar State Park and has preserved formations of Atlantic Forest, especially lowland and also sub-montane forests. Great possibilities of sighting: Brown Tinamou, Yellow-legged Tinamou, Black Hawk-Eagle, Laughing Falcon, Slaty-necked Wood-Rail, Blue-bellied Parrot, Blue-winged Parrolets, Channel-billed Toucan, Red-breasted Toucan, Blond-crested Woodpecker, Yellow-throated Woodpecker, Streaked Xenops, Plain-winged Woodcreeper, São Paulo Tyrannulet, Black-cheeked Gnateater, White-shouldered Fire-Eye, Rufous-headed Tanager, among others.

Tietê Ecologic Park

It is located along the floodplains of the river Tietê and amid the urban area of São Paulo (very close to the international airport of Guarulhos). It consists of Atlantic Forest in the early stages of regeneration, lagoons, swamps and wetlands. For these characteristics it offers sightings of: Yellow-headed Caracara, Southern Lapwing, Great and Snowy Egrets, Striated Heron, Neotropical Cormorant, Blackish Rail, South American Snipe, Roseate Spoonbill, Common Gallinule, Pied-billed Grebe, Plain Parakeet, Blue-fronted Parrot, Blue-and-white Swallow, Swallow-tailed Hummingbird, Sapphire-spangled Emerald, Ringed, Amazon and Green Kingfishers, White-barred Piculet, Lineated Woodpecker, Spix’s Spinetail, Common Tody-Flycatcher, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Golden-crowned Warbler, Brazilian Tanager, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, among others.