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Roraima: Viruá NP, Serra do Tepequem & Boa Vista

double-striped  thicknees
hoary-throated spinetail

Nestled between Guyana, Venezuela, and the state of Amazonas, Roraima covers an area about the size of the United Kingdom. It straddles a transition zone from lowland Amazonian rainforest in the south to palm savannas and cerrado (shrubby savanna) to the north near the capital city of Boa Vista. The Rio Branco, the most important biogeographic boundary in Roraima, divides the state down the middle, separating numerous sister taxa like Gilded and Black-spotted barbets.  Adding to the state’s biogeographic complexity is the fact that Roraima holds a “sky island archipelago” of cloudforest-covered tepuis and cerras (mesas and mountains) in a sea of lowland forest and savanna. Each of these highland “islands” has a unique subset of tepui avifauna, and each year ornithologists record new birds for Brazil here—some of which turn out to be new to science!

Roraima has numerous parks and protected areas, many of which are managed by ICMBio (Instituto Chico Mendes), the equivalent of the National Park Service in the United States. Let’s start with Virua National Park, a 241,948-hectare reserve just south of the town of Caracarai. The park was established in 1998 to protect the unique white-sands communities of northern Amazonia. Running alongside the park is the Estrada Perdida, the “Lost Road.” Back in the 1950s, when the BR174 was being constructed to connect Manaus to Boa Vista, tractors and other equipment were lost to the swampy campinas, and the project was subsequently abandoned. However, like the Transpantaneira of Mato Grosso, this abandoned highway makes for some great birding!  Numerous white-sand forest birds can be seen here, including White-naped Seedeater, Black Manakin, Large-billed Seed-Finch, and Yapacana Antbird—a unique member of the Thamnophilidae that sounds more like an insect than a bird! Crestless Curassows often stroll the road in the early morning. Virua also supports a grid system of trails into the terra firme, where it’s possible to see Gray-winged Trumpeter, Black Curassow, Black-headed Parrot, Ferruginous-backed Antbird, and numerous other “ant things.”

The park is great for mammals, too. In Previous tours we’ve seen Guianan Bearded Sakis, Golden-handed Tamarin, Bare-tailed Woolly Opossum, Linnaeus’s Mouse-Opossum, Margay, Brazilian Tapir, Jaguar, Giant Anteater, and Crab-eating Fox while walking the trails in the reserve. Rarities like Giant Armadillo and Bush Dog have been recorded here, too.

The Estrada Agua Boa is a road right outside of Caracarai that’s proven to be quite birdy. The road winds through some nice white-sand forest communities, igapo (blackwater flooded forest), and tall terra firme. It’s a good place to see Rose-breasted Chat, Imeri Warbling-Antbird, and numerous other species on the right bank of the Rio Branco. The Black Titi Monkey (Callicebus lugens), a spectacular primate—black with a white throat patch and yellow hands—can be seen in the islands of campinarana along the road.

Serra do Tepequem is the most accessible point in Roraima to see some of the tepui avifauna. At about 1000 m in elevation, the top of Tepequem supports a low, shrubby campina-like vegetation. There are several lookout points from the top of the plateau where it’s possible to see Tepui Swift and several species of macaws glide by in the late afternoon. Other specialty birds at Tepequem include Sooty-capped Hermit, Tufted Coquette, Green-bellied Hummingbird, White-chested Emerald, and the range-restricted Finsch’s Euphonia. Along the road to Tepequem, it’s possible to find several savanna species like Bearded Tachuri and Sharp-tailed Ibis.



Guide and ranger team

During our tours at the Amazon Rainforest, some State Parks and Reserves require the escort of a local ranger. This local fellow can point out some nesting activity and help the group participants to spot the birds. With our tour leader, each one working at their best and doing what they are supposed to do better.


Quality of our guides

Our tour leaders are experienced and fully trained professionals who host our guest in a variety of diverse areas. These dedicated people transform an already great safari into one that is out of this world! A guide that hosts you for the duration of your safari provides a consistent, detailed interpretation that is tailored to your specific interests. Our safaris are led by our local naturalist tour leaders, they are equipped with 20-60X spotting telescope for seeing distant animals, recording equipment, shotgun microphone and voice library for luring in rare and hard to see animals that respond to their own call bringing them into view, a spotlight for nocturnal viewing, and the appropriate bird, mammal identification books and updated checklist for your enjoyment.


Good accommodations

Our tour uses hotels which serve early breakfast and then we can go birding.  All lodges offer rooms with private facilities and air-conditioning. We try to use lodges operated by locals because we firmly believe your money must to go to local hands because are those hands who hold the future of the region.


Private transportation

During the whole tour we will have a private transportation with air-conditioning.


25 years of Experience

Nearly three decades dedicated to show Brazil to different travelers from all over the world! We know Brazil as we know our backyard.

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