Pantanal 1996

Travel to the southern Pantanal began with air flights to Sau Paulo on Friday, March 22. All five of us arrived in Campo Grande by 3:30 PM on Saturday, March 23. We were met by our pilot who was justifiably dismayed by our baggage. After filling the baggage compartments, he had us board the aircraft and proceeded to load the rest of our belongings on top of us. I suggested that we make two runs, but he said that with the deteriorating weather, it would be best to proceed at once.

Surrounded by multiple thunderstorms, we taxied to the end of the runway. The hard surface and generous length of the runway proved adequate to get us airborne. It took some fancy maneuvering to get us on our way to the fazenda, but the flight was uneventful from there on. Thoughts of our return flight from a grass field of much shorter distance were much in evidence for the next six days.

As always, there were thrills and disappointments with our tour. The vistas of thousands of water birds around ponds were not seen, probably due to extremely low water conditions. The great specialty birds of the southern Pantanal (Hyacinth Macaw, Toco Toucan, Red-legged Seriama, Jabaru, etc.) were all cooperative. A couple of expected species failed to make an appearance (the Yellow-faced Parrot and Blue-crowned Parakeet were prominent by there absence) but a few extras filled in nicely (the Red-shouldered Macaw made his first appearance in my four trips and the Zigzag Heron was probably heard--a first for the southern Pantanal).

All-in-all the five of us felt that we had been blessed by a very special experience.

Species encountered on the ranch:

Greater Rhea Common, seen well

Undulated Tinamou Heard by some, seen by some
Small-billed Tinamou Heard once

Neotropic Cormorant Seen on 4 days, not common

Anhinga Common in region of Rio Negro

Whistling Heron This handsome heron was seen in small numbers daily
Cocoi Heron Common
Great Egret Common
Cattle Egret Abundant
Snowy Egret Common
Striated Hereon Common
Black-crowned Night-heron One or more seen on 3 days
Rufescent Tiger-heron Common
Zigzag Heron Vocalizations, which were almost certainly from this species, were heard by Harvey. Later "trolling" with a tape failed to produce a response.

Wood Stork Common
Maguari Stork Seen twice
Jabiru Common

Bare-faced Ibis Abundant
Plumbious Ibis Common
Buff-necked Ibis Abundant
White-faced Ibis Were those immature Bare-faced or White-faced in non-breeding plumage?
Roseate Spoonbill Common

Fulvous Whistling Duck Seen once
White-faced Whistling Duck Small numbers seen on 5 of 6 days
Black-bellied Whistling Duck Common

Muscovy Duck Common
Brazilian Duck Common

Southern Screamer Common

Turkey Vulture Abundant
Black Vulture Abundant
Lessor Yellow-headed Vulture Common

Snail Kite Common
Crane Hawk Two seen
Great Black Hawk Seen on 3 days
Savanna Hawk Common
Black-collared Hawk Common
Roadside Hawk Common

Crested Caracara Abundant
Yellow-headed Caracara Seen on 2 days only
Laughing Falcon Seen on 3 days, heard on a fourth
American Kestrel Common
Bat Falcon Common

Bare-faced Curassow Group of 3 seen near Rio Negro
Chaco Chachalaca Seen on 4 days, heard on a fifth
Blue-throated Piping-guan Seen on 4 days

Limkin Seen only once
Grey-necked Wood-rail Seen twice on river drift, heard away from river once
Ash-throated Crake One flushed from savanna by tractor and trailer

Common Moorhen One seen
Azure Gallinule Two seen; one on river

Red-legged Seriema Seen on three occasions; everyone got at least two good looks

Wattled Jacana Abundant

Southern Lapwing Abundant
Pied Lapwing 3 seen at one location
Solitary Sandpiper A few seen on 4 days
Lesser Yellowlegs Seen once

Common Stilt A few seen every day

Large-billed Tern A few daily
Yellow-billed Tern Seen once

Picazuro Pigeon A few
Pale-vented Pigeon A few
Scaled Dove Common
Long-tailed Ground-dove A few
Picui Ground-dove A few
White-tipped Dove See below
Grey-fronted Dove Many doves that could be either the White-tipped or Grey-fronted were seen. Both species were confirmed by call. The relative numbers of the two species was not confirmed, since they were rarely seen calling.

Hyacinth MacawCommon. This ranch may well have one of the best populations of these magnificent birds. They were seen regularly over all of the 25,000 acre ranch.
Blue & Yellow Macaw Seen daily in good numbers
Red & Green Macaws A few pairs on all but one day
Golden-collared Macaws A few to several pairs seen daily
Red-shouldered Macaws 4 or 5 pairs made an eleventh-hour appearance in the front yard of the ranch house

White-eyed Parakeet Several sightings
Peach-fronted Parakeet Common
Monk Parakeet Abundant
Canary-winged Parakeet Common
Scaly-headed Parrot Common
Turquoise-fronted Parrot Common
Orange-winged Parrot One pair (a first for me on this ranch)

Dark-billed Cuckoo Seen once
Squirrel Cuckoo 3 seen
Greater Ani Common on and near Rio Negro
Smooth-billed Ani Abundant
Guira Cuckoo Everywhere

Ferruginous Pygmy-owl Seen a few times; heard several times
Burrowing Owl Common

Pauraque Seen once; heard once

Ashy-tailed Swift Seen once

Swallow-tailed Hummingbird Common
Black-throated Mango Seen most days
Glittering-bellied Emerald Seen twice by some
Gilded Hummingbird Seen regularly
Blue-tufted Starthroat Common
White-tailed Goldenthroat Seen once by some

Blue-crowned Trogon Several seen

Ringed Kingfisher A few; on the river only
Amazon Kingfisher One or more most days
Green Kingfisher One or two at the river

Spot-backed Puffbird Several seen

Toco Toucan Common
Chestnut-eared Aracari One probable sighting

White-wedged Piculet Seen on 4 days
Green-barred Woodpecker One
Pale-crested Woodpecker Seen 2 days
Lineated Woodpecker Several
White Woodpecker Common
Little Woodpecker Common
Crimson-crested Woodpecker Several
White-fronted Woodpecker One pair; not expected
Campo Flicker Common

Great Rufous Woodcreeper Several
Narrow-billed Woodcreeper Several
Planalto Woodcreeper Seen twice
Red-billed Scythebill Several (one in yard)

Rufous Hornero Abundant

Chotoy Spinetail Several
Plain-crowned Spinetail Several
Yellow-chinned Spinetail Several

Rufous Cacholote Seen daily (a yard bird)

Great Antshrike Common
Barred Antshrike Seen once

Rusty-backed Antwren Several
Black-bellied Antwren One

Lesser Elaenia One
Pearly-vented Tody-tyrant Several
Yellow-olive Flycather One

Grey Monjita Several
White-rumped Monjita Common
White-headed Marsh-tyarnt Several
Cattle Tyrant Common
Rufous Casiornis Several
Swainson?s Flycather Seveal
Short-crested Flycather At least one
Brown-crested Flycatcher Several
Lesser Kiskadee Common in proper habitat
Great Kiskadee Abundant
Boat-billed Flycather Several
Streaked Flycatche rA few
Piratic Flycather One
Tropical Kingbird Several

Black-tailed Tityra One
Black-crowned Tityra One

Brown-crested Martin Seen at least once

Purplish Jay Common
Plush-crested Jay Seen 4 days

Thrush-like Wren Abundant
House Wren One

Chalk-browed Mockingbird Common
Black-capped Donacobius One sighting

Rufous-bellied Thrush Seen 4 days

Yellowish Pipit Common

Rufous-browed Peppershrike Seen 2 days

Crested Oropendola Seen 4 days
Solitary (Black) Cacique Two sightings
Epaulet Oriole Common
Troupial Seen 3 days
Unicolored Blackbird Common
Scarlet-headed Blackbird One sighting
Chopi Blackbird Abundant
Bay-winged Blackbird Seen daily
Giant Cowbird Seen 4 days

Chestnut-vented Conebill One or more seen 3 days

Silver-beaked Tanager Seen daily
Sayaca Tanager Seen daily
Palm Tanager Seen daily

Grassland Sparrow Common
Saffron Finch Several seen on 3 days
Rusty-collared Seedeater A few seen on 3 days
Red-crested (Red-pilleated) Finch One pair
Yellow-billed Cardinal Common near river
Greyish Saltator Seen 3 days
Buff-throated Saltator Seen once

Species seen in Sau Paulo and/or Campo Grande, but not seen on ranch:

White-tailed Kite(SP)

Rock Dove(CG)

Rufous-collared Sparrow(SP)
House Sparrow(SP/CG)

Amphibian, Reptilian & Mammalian Species:

Small, almost transparent, tree frogs (including one species in the leader's shower)

Yellow CaimanCommon


Marsh DeerSeveral sightings

? White-tailed Deer (medium-sized with white tail)Several

? Pampas Deer vs. Brochet Species (will research further on the two Non-marsh species)

Giant AnteaterOne well seen

Coata MundiSeveral

KinkajouOne poorly seen by some near the ranch house; another possible on the river
Howler Monkey (? Black)Heard faintly in the distance early one morning (have been common on past trips)
Bats of various species (vampires are common there)

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