Biome: Cerrado. General Information.
A lot of light comparing to the Atlantic Forest. Landscapes wide open, long distances, less diversity and colors compared to birds of dense forest, but several gems. Easier to get good shots because there is more light, but is not always easy to locate the birds. A beginner without a guide will see little bird. You have to know where to look.
The biome: the Cerrado occupied more than 20% of Brazil. It may not seem, but it is know as the Cradle of the Waters. Three major river basins of South America come from the Cerrado. It is also in the Cerrado, this place increasingly decimated by the cattle and soy, which is one of the world’s largest sources of fresh groundwater, the Guarani aquifer. The Cerrado has about 10,000 plant species, over 800 species of birds, 160 species of mammals.
What you can see: some emblematic species of the region: Yellow-billed Blue Finch, Cock-tailed Tyrant, Sharp-tailed Tyrant, White-rumped Tanager, Red-legged Seriema, Stripe-breasted Starthroat, Horned Sungem, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, King Vulture. Sightings are not easy, but very rewarding.
For whom: In Cerrado the distances are bigger and there are no lodges with feeders. The sightings are more sparse and the trip can be tiring. Within the park of Serra da Canastra the roads are bad, it is quite tiring, and it is forbidden to use playback. In Alto Paraíso de Goiás trip was more comfortable, but required a flight to Brasilia and then another 2:30 a.m. Transfer to the city.
You need a guide? For a trip to a place far away, if you are a beginner for sure. Experienced fowlers, with trained eyes and ears, picking up various tips and leading playback, and do not bother with long distances can go without a guide. I’m not going for a ride longer without a bird guide.
Cities with good opportunities: Alto Paraíso de Goiás – GO, São Roque de Minas – MG, Dourado – SP, Abreulândia – TO. These cities have good Cerrado regions, but there birds everywhere. I’ve had a great time in São Jose do Rio Preto – SP, Jacutinga – MG, Limeria – SP, Artur – SP, Brotas – SP.
– Geiser Trivelato guides in the region of Canasta. He has an agreement with the Hotel Chapadão da Canastra, if you stay there you don’t need to pay for his room. Geiser is a great guide, and always publishs phots in the magazine Terra da Gente. He lives in Jacutinga, another place worth a walk, I’ve been three times. www.geisertrivelato.webs.com.
– Alessandro Abdala lives in Sacramento (where is one of the entrances to the park of Canasta). He is a professional photographer and also guides in the region. I have not done a tour with him, but I know he has wonderful pictures. www.alessandroabdala.com
– Cal Martins guided us in Tocantins, the farm in Abreulândia is an acquaintance of his family, but I think it is no longer open for tours. Cal lives in Dourado – SP, another city famous for the diversity of birds. In Canasta another guide recommended, but who I don’t know personally is José Maria. All can be contacted by WikiAves.
– In Alto Paraíso de Goiás we were guided by Ana Rosa Cavalcante, owner of Eco Tourism Routes. She knows the region well and we saw many birds with it, but have less experience as a bird guide. www.altoparaiso.com