PO Box 9021, Wilmington, DE 19809, USA
Phone: Toll-free in USA 1-888-721-3555
 or 302/529-1876




and aMAZONAs

For Birds, Butterflies, 
Mammals, and Other Nature

Including some prime birding places 
in the Amazonian Rainforest 
near the Rivers Roosevelt
and Madeira.  

The Forest, Rich in Life, 
has some distinctly different ecosystems,
each with its own set of Birds, Animals & Other Wildlife


October 23 - November 1, 2015

(tour: FON/BR–5 '15)

Tour to be led by Armas Hill, who has traveled & birded in Brazil 
many times, with over 50 visits to the country, since 1982.


This itinerary, given below, is followed 
by a listing of some "Amazonian birds",
with those endemic to Brazil, 
and those that are specialties of the region of Manaus ,
and others of interest that occur there.
One of the specialties is the hummingbird,
known as the Crimson Topaz,
pictured above. 




Birds of the Amazonian Basin

A List & Photo Gallery of Brazil Birds, in 4 parts:
Part #1: Tinamous to Doves    
Part #2: Macaws to Flycatchers    
Part #3: Antshrikes to Woodcreepers
Part #4: Vireos to Grosbeaks

Mammals & Some Other Wildlife of Brazil  (with some photos)

A List & Photo Gallery of South America Butterflies, in 5 parts  (with some photos)

Highlights of some Previous FONT Tours in Brazil

Tour Registration Form

The Basic Itinerary  (price follows):

Fri Oct 23:  Arrival mid-day in Manaus, Brazil (on the am TAM flight having departed from Miami).     
Continuation on a flight to Porto Velho, on the east bank of the Madeira River, in the western Brazilian state of Rondonia. Overnight in Porto Velho.  

Sat Oct 24:  This day, birding in forest in the area of Porto Velho, where the overnight will be again.

Sun Oct 25 - Fri Oct 29:  A morning charter flight, on Oct 26, to the Pousada Rio Roosevelt, a truly remote place, but with good accommodations, in Amazonas. Our birding will begin in the afternoon that day after lunch. There are many trails and places to bird in the area and this day will just be the beginning. We'll have 4 full days of birding, and will spend 5 nights at the pousada.
Adding to the birding experience at the pousada now is a new canopy tower, where not just some "good birds" but some "interesting mammals" should be seen. 
On Oct 30, we'll take a charter flight back to Porto Velho, where we'll spend that night.

Among the birds that are possible during this tour in the area of the Rio Roosevelt, or elsewhere, are these: Razor-billed Curassow, Dark-winged Trumpeter, Crimson Fruitcrow, Crimson Topaz (illustrated above), Cryptic Forest Falcon, several species of macaws, the White-cheeked, or Kawall's Amazon, Pavonine Quetzal, Curl-crested Aracari, Gould's Toucanet, Spangled Cotinga, Pompadour Cotinga, Black-necked Red Cotinga, Black-bellied Gnateater, Chestnut-bellied Gnateater, Buff-cheeked Tody-Tyrant, Rusty-belted Tapaculo, and even Harpy Eagle.
With the good fortune of encountering an ant swarm, we could have the good fortune of seeing a nice number of ant-following birds such as the Pale-faced Antbird (in the genus Skutchia, named after Alexander Skutch), the good-looking White-breasted Antbird, other antbirds and other birds including the Hoffmann's Woodcreeper.

To review all of the birds possible, click the "Birds of the Amazonian Basin" link above this itinerary. Those in the list with the notation "mr"  are possible in the areas of the Madeira and Roosevelt Rivers. Others in the list may be too.      

Among the mammals that could be found in the area of the Rio Roosevelt, or elsewhere during this tour:
Silvery Marmoset, Brown-mantled Tamarin, Red-bellied Titi, Prince Bernard's Titi, Bolivian Red Howler Monkey, White-nosed Saki, White-fronted Capuchin, Tufted Capuchin, Brown Woolly Monkey, and Peruvian Spider Monkey. 
Also: Southern River Otter, Giant Otter, Brazilian Tapir, Collared Peccary, White-lipped Peccary, and Red Brocket Deer.
Both the Amazon River (or Pink) Dolphin and the Tucuxi (or Gray) Dolphin occur in the Madeira River.
For more information about these mammals, click the "Mammals" link above this itinerary.      

Sat Oct 30:  During this and the next day, we'll be birding on the west bank of the Madeira River, with an overnight in the town of Humaita. Some of the "Amazonian birds" that we would see would be different than those already found at the Pousada Rio Roosevelt and in the forest near Porto Velho. 

Sun Oct 31:  Birding continues on the west side of the Madeira River, especially in the habitat known as the "cerrrado". Overnight in Porto Velho.

Birds possible in the grassy "cerrado" habitat include: Sharp-tailed Grass Tyrant, White-rumped Tanager, and Wedge-tailed Grass Finch. 

Mon Nov 1:  Departure on the flight from Porto Velho, connecting in Manaus to the flight to Miami, back in the US.

US $2,895 per person, based upon double occupancy. 
Single supplement: US $295.

Price includes: All overnight accommodations.
All meals (from Oct 23 to Oct 31). 
Ground transportation within Brazil (land & boat).
Fees & permits for forested areas & reserves to be visited.  
Services of the FONT birding leader.

Prices do not include: Drinks and other items of a personal nature. Gratuities. Air transportation to/from & within Brazil. 

"Focus On Nature Tours" can arrange air travel, 
 seeking the best possible fares.

A deposit of US $500 is required to register for the tour.  

From the book, "River of Doubt":

There is a fine book relating the story of how the Rio Roosevelt in Amazonian Brazil came to be called that, and describing the journey there by the former US president  Theodore Roosevelt in the early 20th Century. That book is entitled "The River of Doubt", by Candice Millard, and it is well worth the read, even if one never goes there, but especially if one does.

The "River of Doubt", as Millard calls it, or the Rio Roosevelt, as it came to be known,  was, according to the jacket of the book, "black and uncharted, snaking through one of the most treacherous jungles in the world. Indians armed with poison-tipped arrows haunted in the shadows, piranhas glided through its waters (and still do), and boulder-strewn rapids turn the river into a roiling cauldron.
After his humiliating election defeat in 1912, Theodore (or Teddy) Roosevelt set his sights on the most punishing physical challenge he could find, the first descent of an unmapped, rapids-choked tributary of the Amazon River.
Together with his son Kermit, and Brazil's most famous explorer, Candido Mariano da Silva Rondon, Roosevelt accomplished a feat so great that many, upon his return home, refused to believe it.
Along the way, Roosevelt and the men with him faced an unbelievable sequence of hardships, losing their canoes and supplies to punishing whitewater rapids, and enduring starvation, Indian attack, disease, drowning, and a murder within their own ranks. Three men died, and Roosevelt himself was at the brink." 


Although they had risen well before dawn, it was almost noon by the time Roosevelt, the outdoorsman George Cherrie, and Dr. Jose Cajazeira, and their three paddlers finally climbed into their dugout on the morning of February 28, 1914, and headed off down the river in pursuit of the rest of the expedition, which had left camp nearly 4 hours earlier.
Sympathetic to how difficult it had been, and likely would continue to be, for the naturalists (Cherrie & Cajazeira) to collect specimens for the museum while they were on the River of Doubt, Roosevelt had directed the other two dugouts and two balsas to go ahead without them when Cherrie heard some birdcalls near camp that morning. 
Cherrie had made it worth Roosevelt's while, capturing six birds, including a large "red-headed" woodpecker and a brilliant turquoise-blue cotinga.

Once back on the twisting river, Roosevelt and Cherrie resumed their search for signs of life. Their efforts were rewarded by an otter splashing in the river, and two tropical birds called guans.
With his face east in shadow beneath his deep sun helmet, Roosevelt watched as the jungle glided past him, with its towering trees and blue-sky reflected, like a trembling inverted world, in the water's dark surface. He drank in the rich array of beauty, admiring the many brightly-colored butterflies that "fluttered over the river", and marveled at how a spark of sunlight could cloak the electric green jungle. "when the sun broke through rifts in the clouds," he wrote, "his shafts turned the forest to gold."

Butterflies photographed during a FONT tour in Brazil 

As Roosevelt, and the others, paddled quietly down the river, a long, deep roar suddenly erupted through the jungle. It was the voice of a Howler Monkey, one of the loudest sounds of any animal on earth. It can be heard from three miles away, and is formed when the monkey forces air through its large , hollow hyoid bone. The result is a deep and resonating howl that vibrates through the forest with a strange intensity, echoing so pervasively that its location can be nearly impossible to pinpoint.
Worse than the noises that the explorers could recognize were those that none of them could explain. Those strange sounds, which disappeared as quickly as they came, were a mystery even to those who knew the forest best.

From the moment that they launched their boats, Roosevelt and the others knew that the river would be their only guide. Even when they were on land - hunting, porraging, or making campo for the night - they would never stray far from its shores. they needed it for drinking water, cooking, and bathing. They needed it to escape the heat of the rainforest, and most of all, they needed it to carry them home.

As important as the river was to the expedition, it was, however, a capricious and unreliable ally. Like many rivers, in South America and elsewhere, it could change character quickly and dramatically over a very short distance, and with profound consequences for an expedition. Swollen and swift during the rainy season, it was cluttered with dangerous debris and pocked with shifting whirlpools that could flip a canoe and trap a man under the water in a matter of seconds.

Even more complex and dangerous than the river itself were the fishes, mammals, and reptiles that inhabited it. Like the rainforest that surrounds and depends upon it, the Amazon river system is a prodigy of speciation and diversity, serving as home to more than three thousand species of freshwater fishes - more than any other river system on earth. 
Its waters are crowded with creatures of nearly every size, shape, and evolutionary adaptation, from tiny neon tetras to thousand-pound manatees, to pink freshwater boto dolphins, to stringrays, to armor-plated catfishes, to bullsharks
By comparison, the entire Missouri and Mississippi river system that drains much of North America has only about 375 fish species.

Able to swim freely through large swarths of the jungle during the rainy season, for example, certain Amazonian fish, such as the tambaqui, have evolved teeth that look like sheep molars and are tough enough to crack open even the hard, cannonball-sized shell of the Brazil Nut
The ancient, eellike South American lungfish has lungs as well as gills. Unless it surfaces every four to ten minutes for a gulp of air, it will drown. But during the dry season, while other fishes around it die as the ponds and streams dry up, the lungfish survives by burrowing into the mid and taking oxygen from the air.
Still another species, the so-called four-eyed fish, has eyes that are divided in two at the waterline by a band of tissue. With two separate sets of corneas and retinas, the fish can search for predators in the sky above and at the same time look for danger in the water below.

Many of these strange adaptations are geared toward self-defense. others are designed to help the fish become better, faster, smarter predators. 
There are electric fishes that eat northing but the tails of other electric fish, which can regenerate their appendages, thus ensuring the predator a limitless food supply.
Other fish have evolved to eat prey that live outside of their own immediate ecosystem. The three-foot long arawana, for example, has a huge mouth and a bony tongue and can leap twice its body length. Nicknamed the "water monkey", it snatches large insects, reptiles, and even small birds from the low branches of overhanging trees.

The riverine creatures that the members of the expedition were most interested in, however, were those that were dangerous to man.
The most visible threats were the fifteen-foot-long Black Caiman, which generally lay low near their nests of rotting debris and vanished into the water as the expedition's canoes passed by. Cherrie in particular had great respect for the "South American alligator". He had nearly lost his life to one while on an expedition on the Orinoco.
The river's other inhabitants were largely invisible from the expedition's dugouts, but the fact that they could not be seen only heightened the oppressive sense of danger they instilled in the men.
Aboard their crude, heavily loaded boats, they sat at most just six inches above the water, and would court danger whenever one of them dangled his foot overboard or trailed his fingers in the current.
If one of their boats tipped over in a whirlpool or rapid, the men would find themselves dumped in teh middle of the river with no option but a frightening swim to shore.

Launching and landing the boats, often chest-deep in water amid the heavy underbrush that lined the riverbank, the men were vulnerable to the predatory fish, waterborne snakes,  and other creatures they were disturbing.
Even the mundane necessity of bathing was a source on ongoing concern. but, in the mud and jungle heat, the men grew willing to take their chances. 
Roosevelt himself cooled off in the river at every opportunity. Floating in the shallow water near the bank, the 220-pound former president looked to Rondon "like some sort of a great, fat fish which has come to the surface", defying the dangers that surrounded him.

The fish that inspired the greatest fear among the men, during the expedition in 1913-14, were the candiru and the piranha

The candiru is a tiny, almost transparent catfish, sharp-spined, and the only animal other than the vampire bat that is known solely to survive on blood. Most species of candiru are only about an inch long, and they usually make their living by swimming into the gill chambers of larger fish. To humans, this little fish is a potentially lethal menace. although it is a rare occurrence, it can enter an orifice and parasitize, thus necessitating a cure that can be as bad as the affliction.

The piranha is also attracted by blood, and it can be drawn to the kind of commotion that a bathing man might make. 
Piranhas have been known to swim in groups of more than a hundred, spreading out to scout for prey and then  alerting the others, probably by sound, when they find it.
Of the approximately 20 piranha species, most prefer to attack something their own size or smaller, and they are scavengers, especially during the rainy season, when there is more prey for them. 
However, their muscular jaws and sawlike teeth can make quick work of a living creature of any size and strength, from a waterbird to a monkey, to even an ox.

Thus, a quick overview, from the Millard book, of some an Amazonian river and some of its wildlife, but, no need for concern, during our tour, we will be with good accommodations, and always being careful and safe, everywhere on land and when on a boat.. And, no, swimming in the river is not compulsory!

A List of some of the Amazonian Birds in Brazil:


White-winged Potoo
Chestnut-headed Nunlet
Zimmer's Woodcreeper
Tail-banded Hornero
Glossy Antshrike
Klage's Antwren


Zigzag Heron
Little Chachalaca
Marail Guan
Crestless Curassow
Black Curassow
Wattled Curassow
Gray-winged Trumpeter
Pale-winged Trumpeter
Maroon-tailed Parakeet
Golden-winged Parakeet
Sapphire-rumped Parrotlet
Caica Parrot
Short-tailed Parrot
Dusky Parrot
Red-fan Parrot
Black-bellied Cuckoo
Pavionine Cuckoo
Rufous Potoo
Chapman's Swift
Needle-billed Hermit
Racket-tailed Coquette
Olive-spotted Hummingbird
Crimson Topaz
Pavionine Quetzal
Green Aracari
Guianan Toucanet
Yellow-ridged Toucan
Golden-collared Woodpecker
Chestnut-rumped Woodcreeper
Lesser Hornero
White-bellied Spinetail
Plain Softtail
Point-tailed Palmcreeper
Black-throated Antshrike
Band-tailed Antshrike
Cherrie's Antwren
Brown-bellied Antwren
Leaden Antwren
Spot-backed Antwren
Ash-winged Antwren
Black-and-white Antbird
Black-headed Antbird
Ferruginous-backed Antbird
Rufous-throated Antbird
Dot-backed Antbird
Reddish-winged Bare-eye
Spotted Antpitta
Chestnut-belted Gnateater
Black-necked Red-Cotinga
Guianan Red-Cotinga
Dusky Purpletuft
Purple-breasted Cotinga
Pompadour Cotinga
Crimson Fruitcrow
Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock
Red-headed Manakin
White-throated Manakin
Yellow-crested Manakin
Flame-crested Manakin
Saffron-crested Tyrant-Manakin
Tiny Tyrant-Manakin
McConnell's Flycatcher
Snethlage's Tody-Tyrant
Painted Tody-Flycatcher
Ringed Antpipit
Brownish Elaenia
River Tyrannulet
Lesser Wagtail-Tyrant
Olive-green Tyrannulet
Double-banded Pygmy-Tyrant
Yellow-throated Flycatcher
Greater Schiffornis
Glossy-backed Becard
Gray-chested Greenlet
Wing-banded Wren
Guianan Gnatcatcher
Fulvous Shrike-Tanager
Masked Crimson Tanager
Golden-sided Euphonia
Dotted Tanager
Velvet-fronted Grackle


Great Tinamou
Horned Screamer
Capped Heron
King Vulture
Double-toothed Kite
Plumbeous Kite
Tiny Hawk
Crested Eagle
Harpy Eagle
Ornate Hawk-Eagle
Red-throated Caracara
Lined Forest-Falcon
Spix's Guan
Azure Gallinule
Wattled Jacana
Large-billed Tern
Blue-and-yellow Macaw
Scarlet Macaw
Red-and-green Macaw
Red-bellied Macaw
White-eyed Parakeet
Red-lored Parrot
Festive Parrot
Dark-billed Cuckoo
Least Pygmy-Owl
Spectacled Owl
Gray (formerly Common) Potoo
Band-rumped Swift
Long-tailed Hermit
Straight-billed Hermit
Dusky-throated Hermit
White-necked Jacobin
Versicolored Emerald
Black-eared Fairy
Black-tailed Trogon
White-tailed Trogon
Black-throated Trogon
Blue-crowned Motmot
Yellow-billed Jacamar
Paradise Jacamar
Great Jacamar
White-necked Puffbird
Channel-billed Toucan
Yellow-throated Woodpecker
Golden-green Woodpecker
Chestnut Woodpecker
Red-necked Woodpecker
White-chinned Woodcreeper
Long-tailed Woodcreeper
Spot-throated Woodcreeper
Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper
Red-billed Woodcreeper
Southern Barred Woodcreeper
Lineated Woodcreeper
Speckled Spinetail
Red-and-white Spinetail
Rufous-rumped Foliage-gleaner
Olive-backed Foliage-gleaner
Short-billed Leaftosser
Fasciated Antshrike
Blackish-gray Antshrike
Mouse-colored Antshrike
Amazonian Antshrike
Dusky-throated Antshrike
Cinereous Antshrike
Pygmy Antwren
Streaked Antwren
Stipple-throated Antwren
White-flanked Antwren
Long-winged Antwren
Gray Antwren
Gray Antbird
White-plumed Antbird
Warbling Antbird
Bicolored Antbird
Scale-backed Antbird
Rufous-capped Antthrush
Black-faced Antthrush
Thrushlike Antpitta
Screaming Piha
Spangled Cotinga
Amazonian Umbrellabird
White-crowned Manakin
Blue-backed Manakin
Dwarf Tyrant-Manakin
Slender-footed Tyrannulet
White-lored Tyannulet
Forest Elaenia
Gray Elaenia
Large Elaenia
Amazonian Black-Tyrant
Grayish Mourner
Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo
Buff-cheeked Greenlet
Tawny-crowned Greenlet
Black-billed Thrush
Coraya Wren
Musician Wren
Collared Gnatwren
White-thighed Swallow
Red-billed Pied Tanager
Orange-headed Tanager
Yellow-backed Tanager
Fulvous-crested Tanager
Paradise Tanager
Opal-rumped Tanager
Black-faced Dacnis
Yellow-green Grosbeak
Green Oropendola
Oriole Blackbird

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