Passáros de Macaé de Cima ( em ingles)

We left the lodge early to head up higher in elevation (around 1, 400m) to the forests of Macae de Cima, near the town of Nova Friburgo. The Atlantic forest at this altitude holds some very special birds that are only found higher up. Before reaching the main forest area we were going to spend the say we paused for an hour at some roadside forest along the way which can be remarkably productive if a mixed flock is encountered. Although not as lively as hoped we still managed to see some interesting birds there such as Dusky-tailed Antbird, Red-eyed Thornbird, Chicli (or Spix’s) Spinetail, Greenish Schiffornis and White-rimmed Warbler. At the top of the road we stopped at the hummingbird feeders by a private house where we added Scale-throated Hermit and White-throated Hummingbird to the list before heading down the road to bird the forest alongside this quiet, private road. A fast-moving flock along there produced a Black-billed Scythebill that unfortunately only one of us saw at the time, although by the end of the morning (after many brief frustrating flight views of the bird), it finally gave itself up and allowed everyone good views of this quirky-looking bird. Other roadside flocks produced more endemics such as dozens of multi-colored Brassy-breasted Tanagers, Rufous-backed Antshrikes and a few Pallid Spinetails, in addition to boldly patterned Yellow-browed Woodpeckers and a Buff-browed Foliage-gleaner. We especially checked the roadside bamboo stands as there are some specialists to this habitat, and we soon heard a few of these while searching for the Scythebill, and with some gentle luring with a recording we added another Antbird – the endemic Ochre-rumped Antbird – although the Bertoni’s Antbird (a recent split from Ferruginous Antbird) calling virtually from the same clump of bamboo gave us the run-around for a while before deciding to show itself to all of us in the end. The long time spent hanging around this area of roadside bamboo paid off for some when a Brazilian Antthrush quietly walked by allowing at least some of us some good, if brief, views of this skulking endemic. Another bamboo specialist – Drab-breasted Bamboo-tyrant – was untypically showy in the same area. On walking back up the road towards the feeders again after some time we soon heard the call of a Hooded Berryeater closeby (sounding strangely like one of the Asian pittas), and soon found the bird sitting motionless in a fruiting tree by the road. As we proceeded further along the road we could hear the mournful calls of many Black-and-Gold Cotingas (see photo below) around us although they were difficult to see in the windy treetops from where they call although eventually we had good scope views of this striking endemic.

Black-and-Gold Cotinga, Macae de Cima (Sam Woods)

A short time later a close-calling Mouse-colored Tapaculo was fortunately close to a convenient gap in the vegetation and was tempted into there allowing most people to see this typically skulking bird. We then headed back up towards the house for lunch on the lawn there while watching the feeders for any new species such as the Amethyst Woodstar that appeared a few times during lunch and an Azure-shouldered Tanager was almost missed by many of the group were it not for the large camera lens pointing towards the bird alerting us to its presence! After adding some great new birds to the list including two new Cotingas, we headed back to Guapi Assu lodge for more great food and Caipirinhas.


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