Trip Report

Regua Lodge and Excursions

Rio do Janeiro, Brazil

November 22-30, 2019

Guide: Simon Thompson

To many people, Brazil evokes beaches, bronzed bodies and lively entertainment, while to others it’s a land of vast rainforests, unique birds and critically endangered ecosystems. It’s a huge country and on this trip we were only going to see a small part of the state of Rio de Janeiro along Brazil’s east coast.

We were all picked up at the very convenient Hotel Linx at the Rio Airport by Regua’s driver, Alceni, for our 1.5 hour drive to Regua Lodge, set in the shadow of Serra de Orgaos National Park’s craggy peaks. Originally a ranch, Regua is now a birding destination for birders and naturalists from all over the world, so our first walk was on the property around the large wetland complex that had been recreated in the valley. A haven for waterbirds, Cattle Egrets now nest, along with Black-crowned Night-Heron and Boat-billed Heron; Wattled Jacanas and Common and Purple Gallinules are abundant and Chestnut-capped Blackbirds nest in the reedbeds, along with Greater Ani, Great Kiskadee and Social Flycatcher. Highlights had to be a soaring Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle and the Common Pauraque which was sitting on 2 eggs along the side of the trail. The birding was excellent. Despite the gray conditions, we spent the afternoon in the open fields outside Regua. With the deforestation and the wet fields, birds like the uncommon Giant Snipe have now become far easier to see and this species has probably considerably expanded its range. Other birds of the open country included Burrowing Owl, Streamer-tailed Tyrant and the strange and entertaining Guira Cuckoo. A stop at the edge of the woods on the way home produced great views of a Tawny-browed Owl.

Our first excursion was north to search for the localized Three-toed Jacamar, which is restricted to a few locations in interior coastal Brazil. Stops along the way produced the beautiful and enigmatic Toco Toucan, as well as Crested Black-Tyrant and Ash-throated Crake. Despite their global rarity, it was not a difficult bird to find at all and I believe we saw at least 4 pairs. And because we were so close to the state of Minas Gerais we decided to cross the line to add an e-bird list; our Green-barred Woodpecker was the only sighting of the trip! It was off to the beach the next day, but not to Copacabana or any other famous Brazilian beach spot. Our final destination was the Restinga habitat along the coast; home to the endemic Restinga Antwren, but along the way we stopped at various wetlands and coastal habitats seeing Gray-hooded and Kelp Gulls, Common, Royal and Sandwich Terns and a good selection of migrant shorebirds. The Restinga Habitat has been destroyed along a good part of the coast, but thankfully we managed to see the Antwren without too much difficulty.

We stayed on the grounds of Regua Lodge the next day and decided to hike the Green Trail to the waterfall. The trail is fairly steep, but we took it slowly finding a good selection of forest birds along the way. Flycatchers are always well-represented and we found Yellow-olive, Sepia-capped, Whiskered and Ochre-bellied. Swallow-tailed (Blue) Manakins were calling all along the trail and we all got great views of the gorgeous Black-cheeked Gnateater. The next day was to the higher peaks and it was quite hot high on Pico Caledonia above the lingerie capital of Brazil (Nova Friburgo) where we needed the 4 x 4 Toyota to climb the very steep cobbled road. Our target was of course the Gray-winged Cotinga, a critically rare species that lives within a 400m range and is probably below 1,000 individuals.

Unfortunately, we didn’t see any, but our supporting cast included Diademed Tanager, Black-and-gold Cotinga and Mouse-colored Tapaculo. On the way back to Regua we stopped at the old road now called the Theodoro Trail. This is a somewhat reliable spot for the uncommon Brazilian Laniisoma (Shrike-like Cotinga) - which alas we only heard in the high canopy. Bare-throated Bellbirds were clanging away in the canopy and a Rufous-breasted Leaftosser showed itself nicely along the edge of the trail.

The Waldenoor Trail was another trail on the Regua property. Only about a 30 minute drive away from the lodge over somewhat bumpy roads, this trail snaked up through the forest through a few private houses and gardens, but it was still a great birding spot. It was a great place for forest birds, and some of the highlights including nesting Long-tailed Potoo (with a delightful fluffy chick), nesting Chestnut-crowned and Crested Becards, and an impressive large White-throated Woodcreeper. A walk around the Regua wetlands in the afternoon produced a pair of delightful Rufous-sided Crakes, a couple of probably transient Snail Kites and a couple of Muscovy Ducks. We continued our search for Masked Duck, but once again they evaded us. The following day was another excursion, but to middle elevations at Macae de Cima – just this side of Nova Friburgo. The weather again was a little foggy but hopefully this would not affect the birding. We made our usual stop in the farm fields outside of Regua where an Ash-throated Crake gave us great views. Birding along the Macae de Cima road was very good and very easy with wonderful Green-crowned Plovercrests singing along the road where we also watched a Scale-throated Hermit building her nest. A Dusky-tailed Antbird showed very well, as did both White-browed Foliage-gleaner and Sharp-billed Treehunter; more somewhat-confusing furnarids! A drive to the very peak found us deep in the fog again but on the downhill hike we did find a couple of great birds: Hooded Berryeater and Sharpbill.

Our last morning of the week was again a walk down in the wetlands. Being only a 5 minute walk from the lodge, it was easy to walk through the woods to the lakes and enjoy the coming and goings of the heronry. This morning we witnessed a very strange nesting exchange at the colony. An adult Cocoi Heron was brooding the eggs; it got up, had a brief interaction with a Great Egret and the Egret then sat on the eggs. I am not sure which of the 2 species had built the nest or laid the eggs, but it was fascinating to watch the 2 species together. There was no aggression and we were never sure which species was the true owner of the nest. Many of the Cattle Egrets had well-grown young and there were at least 2 Boat-billed Herons actively brooding. Both Blackish Rail and Rufous-sided Crake were heard from the dense marsh vegetation and multiple pairs of Chestnut-capped Blackbirds were feeding young around the marsh. It was gratifying to see how birds (and other wildlife) moves in to utilize an essentially man-made wetland.

This was our first visit to Regua Lodge to enjoy the birdlife and forests of this part of Brazil. Nicholas and his family have done an amazing job reforesting this once patch of farmland. This large acreage joins both Tres Picos State Park and Serra de Orgaos National Park, so the future looks good for this section of Atlantic Coastal Rainforest.

We finished our tour with well over 300 species of birds, as well as Capybara, Caiman and Brazilian Tapir.


Rio do Janeiro, Brazil November 22-30, 2019

Species encountered: 314 species

Brown Tinamou (Heard)
White-faced Whistling-Duck
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
Muscovy Duck
Brazilian Teal
White-cheeked Pintail
Rusty-margined Guan
Dusky-legged Guan
Spot-winged Wood-quail (Heard)
Least Grebe
Rock Pigeon
Picazuro Pigeon
Plumbeous Pigeon (Heard)
Plain-breasted Ground Dove
Ruddy Ground Dove
Blue Ground Dove
White-tipped Dove
Gray-fronted Dove (Heard)
Guira Cuckoo
Greater Ani
Smooth-billed Ani
Striped Cuckoo
Squirrel Cuckoo
Common Pauraque
Long-tailed Potoo
White-collared Swift
Sick’s Swift
Black Jacobin
Saw-billed Hermit
Reddish Hermit
Scale-throated Hermit
White-tailed Goldenthroat
Frilled Coquette
Tawny-browed Owl
Burrowing Owl
Surucua Trogon
Rufous-capped Motmot
Ringed Kingfisher
Amazon Kingfisher
Green Kingfisher
White-eared Puffbird
Crescent-chested Puffbird
Three-toed Jacamar
Rufous-tailed Jacamar
Toco Toucan
Channel-billed Toucan
White-barred Piculet
White Woodpecker
Yellow-fronted Woodpecker
Yellow-eared Woodpecker
Blond-crested Woodpecker
Yellow-throated Woodpecker
Green-barred Woodpecker
Campo Flicker
Collared Forest-Falcon (Heard)
Southern Caracara
Yellow-headed Caracara
Laughing Falcon
Peregrine Falcon
Plain Parakeet
Scaly-headed Parrot
Blue-winged Parrotlet
Maroon-bellied Parakeet
Blue-winged Macaw
White-eyed Parakeet
Spot-backed Antshrike (Heard)
Large-tailed Antshrike
Rufous-capped Antshrike
Chestnut-backed Antshrike
Sooretama Slaty-Antshrike
Variable Antshrike
Rough-legged Tyrannulet
Planalto Tyrannulet
Gray-capped Tyrannulet
Bran-colored Flycatcher
Crested Black-Tyrant
Blue-billed Black-Tyrant
Yellow-browed Tyrant
White-rumped Monjita
Streamer-tailed Tyrant
Shear-tailed Gray Tyrant
Masked Water-Tyrant
White-headed Marsh Tyrant
Gray-hooded Attila
Grayish Mourner
Dusky-capped Flycatcher
Swainson’s Flycatcher
Short-crested Flycatcher
Cattle Tyrant
Great Kiskadee
Boat-billed Flycatcher
Social Flycatcher
Streaked Flycatcher
Piratic Flycatcher
Variegated Flycatcher
Tropical Kingbird
Fork-tailed Flycatcher
Rufous-browed Peppershrike
Gray-eyed Greenlet
Lemon-chested Greenlet
Chivi Vireo
Curl-crested Jay
Blue-and-white Swallow
Southern Rough-winged Swallow
Gray-breasted Martin
Brown-chested Martin
White-rumped Swallow
House Wren

    Brazilian Ruby
    Amethyst Woodstar
    Glittering-bellied Hummingbird
    Green-crowned Plovercrest
    Swallow-tailed Hummingbird
    Violet-capped Woodnymph
    Sombre Hummingbird
    Versicolored Emerald
    Glittering-throated Emerald
    White-chinned Sapphire
    Ash-throated Crake
    Blackish Rail
    Uniform Crake (Heard)
    Gray-cowled Wood-Rail (Heard)
    Slaty-breasted Wood-Rail
    Common Gallinule
    Purple Gallinule
    Russet-crowned Crake (Heard)
    Rufous-sided Crake
    Black-necked Stilt
    American Oystercatcher
    American Golden-Plover
    Southern Lapwing
    Semipalmated Plover
    Wattled Jacana
    Ruddy Turnstone
    White-rumped Sandpiper
    Semipalmated Sandpiper
    South American Snipe
    Giant Snipe
    Spotted Sandpiper
    Greater Yellowlegs
    Star-throated Antwren
    Plain Antvireo
    Rufous-backed Antvireo
    White-flanked Antwren
    Unicolored Antwren
    Restinga Antwren
    Dusky-tailed Antbird
    Scaled Antbird
    Streak-capped Antwren
    White-shouldered Fire-eye
    Black-cheeked Gnateater
    Mouse-colored Tapaculo
    Rufous-tailed Antthrush (Heard)
    Rufous-breasted Leaftosser
    Olivaceous Woodcreeper
    Plain-winged Woodcreeper
    White-throated Woodcreeper
    Lesser Woodcreeper
    Scaled Woodcreeper
    Plain Xenops
    Streaked Xenops
    Wing-banded Hornero
    Rufous Hornero
    Sharp-billed Treehunter
    Black-capped Foliage-gleaner
    Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner
    White-browed Foliage-gleaner
    Ochre-breasted Foliage-gleaner
    Buff-browed Foliage-gleaner
    White-eyed Foliage-gleaner
    Rufous-fronted Thornbird
    Orange-eyed Thornbird
    Pallid Spinetail
    Yellow-chinned Spinetail
    Rufous-capped Spinetail
    Spix’s Spinetail
    Moustached Wren
    Long-billed Wren
    Chalk-browed Mockingbird
    Tropical Mockingbird
    Pale-breasted Thrush
    Yellow-legged Thrush
    White-necked Thrush
    Rufous-bellied Thrush
    Creamy-bellied Thrush
    Common Waxbill
    House Sparrow
    Purple-throated Euphonia
    Violaceous Euphonia
    Orange-bellied Euphonia
    Chestnut-bellied Euphonia
    Hooded Siskin
    Grassland Sparrow
    Rufous-collared Sparrow
    White-browed Meadowlark
    Crested Oropendola
    Red-rumped Cacique
    Campo Troupial
    Shiny Cowbird
    Giant Cowbird
    Chopi Blackbird
    Chestnut-capped Blackbird
    Masked Yellowthroat
    Tropical Parula
    Golden-crowned Warbler
    White-browed Warbler
    Red-crowned Ant-Tanager
    Ultramarine Grosbeak (Heard)
    Red-cowled Cardinal



    Lesser Yellowlegs
    Gray-hooded Gull
    Kelp Gull
    Common Tern
    Royal Tern
    Sandwich Cayenne Tern
    Magnificent Frigatebird
    Brown Booby
    Neotropic Cormorant
    Rufescent Tiger-Heron
    Cocoi Heron
    Great Egret
    Snowy Egret
    Little Blue Heron
    Cattle Egret
    Striated Heron
    Whistling Heron
    Capped Heron
    Black-crowned Night-Heron
    Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
    Boat-billed Heron
    Roseate Spoonbill
    Black Vulture
    Turkey Vulture
    Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture
    Gray-headed Kite
    Swallow-tailed Kite
    Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle
    Snail Kite
    Plumbeous Kite
    Long-winged Harrier
    Sharp-shinned Hawk
    Savanna Hawk
    Roadside Hawk
    White-tailed Hawk Serro do Mar Tyrant-Manakin
    Swallow-tailed (Blue) Manakin
    Pin-tailed Manakin
    White-bearded Manakin
    Hooded Berryeater
    Swallow-tailed Cotinga
    Black-and-gold Cotinga
    Bare-throated Bellbird
    Shrike-like Cotinga (Heard)
    Green-backed Becard
    Chestnut-crowned Becard
    White-winged Becard
    Black-capped Becard
    Crested Becard
    Whiskered Flycatcher
    White-throated Spadebill
    Ochre-bellied Flycatcher
    Gray-hooded Flycatcher
    Sepia-capped Flycatcher
    Serra do Mar Tyrannulet
    Southern Antpipit
    Eared Pygmy-Tyrant
    Eye-ringed Tody-Tyrant
    Hangnest Tody-Tyrant
    Ochre-faced Tody-Flycatcher
    Gray-headed Tody-Flycatcher
    Common Tody-Flycatcher
    Yellow-olive Flycatcher
    Yellow-breasted Flycatcher
    Cliff Flycatcher
    Southern Beardless Tyrannulet
    Mouse-colored Tyrannulet
    Small-headed Elaenia
    Yellow-bellied Elaenia
    Olivaceous Elaenia
    White-crested Tyrannulet
    Cinnamon Tanager
    Hooded Tanager
    Chestnut-headed Tanager
    Black-goggled Tanager
    Flame-crested Tanager
    Ruby-crowned Tanager
    Brazilian Tanager
    Diademed Tanager
    Sayaca Tanager
    Azure-shouldered Tanager
    Golden-chevroned Tanager
    Palm Tanager
    Burnished-buff Tanager
    Green-headed Tanager
    Red-necked Tanager
    Brassy-breasted Tanager
    Swallow Tanager
    Blue Dacnis
    Red-legged Honeycreeper
    Rufous-headed Tanager
    Yellow-backed Tanager
    Bicolored Conebill
    Chestnut-vented Conebill
    Bay-chested Warbling-Finch
    Saffron Finch
    Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch
    Blue-black Grassquit
    White-bellied Seedeater
    Double-collared Seedeater
    Green-winged Saltator
    Thick-billed Saltator