This page should perhaps be called "Not birding Rio" but here goes....
A totally unplanned trip to Rio de Janeiro could have provided some
good birding with a bit of planning, a field guide and not to mention
some time. However, this was a trip to work and the only time I
potentially had to get out and about was eaten up by a lengthy
wait at the immigration police...leaving just one hour to visit the
only place within reach - the Botanical Garden.
This is the book I
have used to identify the birds I saw in Brazil.
With the little experience I have this field guide seems to do the job.
Magnificent Frigatebird - flocks of these impressive birds constantly
soared over the Copacabana
The bird pictured is probably an adult female.
Picture taken with DSLR and a 400mm telephoto lens from the roof of my
Black Vultures overhead - along with the frigate birds these were the
most widespread species seen.
Other than this all the birds I saw were from my hotel room, from cars
driving various places or on short walks along the seafront.
Never having been in South America before and without a field guide I
was completely unprepared and had no idea about what I was looking at.
I ordered a field guide to the birds of Brazil after my return
and using this I was
be able to retrospectively identify most of what I saw.
There was plenty of birdlife to be seen (and heard!) pretty much
everywhere. The drive in from the airport produced big flocks of
Magnificent Frigatebirds, Black Vultures and plenty more besides.
Thrush, Botanical Gardens, Rio de Janeiro, February 2012
Double-collared Seedeater, Botanical Gardens, Rio de Janeiro, February
A walk around part of the lagoon close to the centre also illustrated
the potential of the place with plenty of birds of many species seen.
Egrets, herons, Olivaceous Cormorants, the omni-present frigate birds
and many species of passerine were seen here. I had hoped to go back
this particular area as it was so promising. This location looked like
it might be safe to bird at least during daylight proper.
Ground Dove, Copacobana, Rio de Janeiro, February 2012
On my arrival early on a Sunday morning I strolled a short section of
the Copacabana seafront. Using cameras or binoculars here was not
really on - not only due to the occupants of the beach but because of
the relatively high risk of being robbed. This was most frustrating as
here, as everywhere else, there were birds to be seen - even a species
Striated Heron , Botanical Gardens, Rio de Janeiro, February 2012
Botanical Garden, Rio de Janeiro, Febraury 2012
The Botanical Gardens proved quite productive despite visiting in the
middle of the day when (presumeably) the place was at its busiest
visitor-wise. The heat of the day is unlikely to have helped either.
Although there were many birds of a vriety of species many kept
themselves well hidden and with only an hour to experience the place I
had neither the time or patience to wait for skulkers to come into
view. Hence I went all out for the things that were easy to see....
Botanical Garden, Rio de Janeiro, February 2012
lower bird, a Great Kiskadee, was perhaps the commonest species in Rio
- it was seen everywhere
The upper bird (originally wrongly assumed by me to be a young bird)
is a Tropical Kingbird
dense vegetation in the park meant that despite
glorious sunshine I had to use high ISO values to obtain some of the
Other species seen
included Southern Lapwing (seen roadside grass near
the centre of town!), Wattled Jacana, Southern House Wren, Toucan sp,
Common Moorehen, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Cocoi Heron, Violet-capped
Woodnymph, Wing-banded Hornero, Common Waxbill, Palm Tanager,
Buff-throated Saltator and a
variety of raptors of various shapes and sizes including hawks, falcons
and buzzard-like birds.
At least with a
field guide and some vague ideas about where to go (and
where not to!) my next visit to Rio will be less frustrating and more
of a success....
A glimse of the Copacoban from the hotel roof.....
View from my hotel room - plenty of birds in the woods - just no time
to go after them...
Flocks of Neotropic Cormorant were a common sight overhead