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Birding Rio - or not!

Birding Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
12-16 February 2012

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 Frigate Bird
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 hotel

Black Vultures
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.

Rufous-bellied Thrush
Rufous-bellied Thrush, Botanical Gardens, Rio de Janeiro, February 2012

Double-collared Seedeater
Double-collared Seedeater, Botanical Gardens, Rio de Janeiro, February 2012

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 vultures and many species of passerine were seen here. I had hoped to go back and revisit this particular area as it was so promising. This location looked like it might be safe to bird at least during daylight proper.

Ruddy Ground Dove
Ruddy 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 of hummingbird.

Green-backed Heron
Striated Heron , Botanical Gardens, Rio de Janeiro, February 2012

Tyrant sp
Masked Water-Tyrant, 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....

Spectacular yet unidentified as yet...
Bananaquit, Botanical Garden, Rio de Janeiro, February 2012

One of the commonest species in Rio
This 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

Violaceous Euphonia

Paradoxically the dense vegetation in the park meant that despite glorious sunshine I had to use high ISO values to obtain some of the images.

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 glimpse of the copacobana
A glimse of the Copacoban from the hotel roof.....

Hotel room view, Rio de Janeiro
View from my hotel room - plenty of birds in the woods - just no time to go after them...

Neotropic Cormorant flock
Flocks of Neotropic Cormorant were a common sight overhead

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Birding Rio

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