Jardim Botânico, Brasília: December 18, 2011

Sunny afternoons aren’t typically productive periods for birding, but often they are the only times you have available, and so you make the best of them. On Sunday afternoon, I decided to head back out to the same patch of gallery forest that I had explored on the previous morning, as Aimee was busy preparing for work on Monday. It had rained earlier, but the afternoon was sunny and spectacular. Several birds of prey were soaring about in the big sky over Brasilia, including Plumbeous Kite and Southern Crested Caracara as well as the ubiquitous Black Vulture. The campo sujo was completely quiet except for a single Glittering-Throated Emerald.

At the edge of the gallery forest, I encountered a small thrush perched quietly a few meters off the ground. It turned out to be a Veery, which is a rare find in this region of Brazil, and I snapped a few record shots before letting it alone. Returning to the same fruiting trees as yesterday, I encountered a similar level of bird activity, but this time there were a half dozen tyrant flycatcher species feeding in an impossible blur of activity. One bird looked a lot like the Highland Elaenia (the telling Latin name is Elaenia Obscura), but what do I know? Frustrated, I walked along the edge of the forest and eventually found another flock with a few easier species, including Tropical Parula, Rufous-Browed Peppershrike, and Yellow-Olive Flatbill.

Next weekend Aimee has a few days off, and so we’re heading west to Chapada das Guimaraes, a national park in the state of Mato Grosso that is typically visited by birders in conjunction with a trip to the Pantanal. The park is famous for its waterfalls and spectacular rock formations, and it also protects a variety of cerrado habits, including large areas of cerradao, or mature dry forest with continuous canopy. I wasn’t able to secure the services of a birding guide, but we should do fine on our own with a car and the trip reports I’ve found on the Internet. Target species include Red-Legged Seriema, Rufous-Sided Pygmy-Tyrant, Blue Finch, and Horned Sungem in the shrubby grasslands, and Fiery-Capped and Band-Tailed Manakins, Saffron-Billed Sparrow, and Sharp-Tailed Streamcreeper in the gallery forest. It’ll be good to finally do some birding outside of Brasilia.

Notable birds seen: Roadside Hawk, Plumbeous Kite, Southern Crested Caracara, Squirrel Cuckoo, Glittering-Throated Emerald, Yellow-Olive Flatbill, Helmeted Manakin, Masked Gnatcatcher, Veery, Rufous-Browed Peppershrike, Tropical Parula, White-Bellied Warbler, Guira Tanager, Blue Dacnis, Burnished-Buff Tanager.


  1. Fantastic record of Veery! I would love to see one in Brazil.

  2. Thanks, Lee. It looks like there's still some confusion about the "winter" distribution of the Veery. I have actually seen it a few times in the Jardim Botanico in Brasilia during the last two months, but this is the first time I was able to get a photo.

    Looking forward to my next trip to REGUA!


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