Wildlife of the Brazilian Pantanal and Cerrado

Wildlife of the Brazilian Pantanal and Cerrado

Occupying a large area inside South America, Brazil is undoubtedly an enormous country having a large variety of environments and ecosystems. This expedition was created to completely explore two wealthiest Neotropical habitats: The Brazilian Pantanal and the dry Cerrado Woodlands.

Protecting more than 142,500 sq. kilometers, the Pantanal is around the dimensions of the state of Georgia in the united states. Situated in the center of the continent around the national boundaries of Bolivia, the lowland flatlands are described as pronounced wet and dry periods. Habitats vary from semi-deciduous and evergreen forests to palm woods and true Pantanal (seasonally inundated grasslands with dispersed clumps of Cerrado scrub on raised spots of land). A large number of lakes and rivers dot and cross the area, continuously cleaning and restoring the swamplands.

The Pantanal is considered the least difficult spot to see and take pictures of an incredible number of exotic creatures in South America. Wide-open areas accomplish the spotting of wildlife like the rare Marsh Deer, Giant Anteater, Capybara, Black & Gold Howler Monkey, Yellow Anaconda, Ocelot, Margay and Jaguar. Although this extraordinary cat occurs over a wide range, the Pantanal is probably the only location on planet in which you have reasonable probabilities to discover Jaguars in the wild.

While mammals are extraordinary, it is definitely the astounding plethora of birds that provides Pantanal its reputation. This is a location for three main South American migratory routes. The shrinking of huge inundated areas at the start of the dry period, concentrates fish for waders which include Jabiru, Maguari and Wood Storks, Great and Snowy Egret, several herons, 5 varieties of ibis and Roseate Spoonbills. 4 species of kingfishers, Snail Kite, Black-collared and Roadside Hawks and many other raptor species, lots of parrots, parakeets and macaws and an variety of other interesting birds makes this a popular spot for bird watchers throughout the world. The convenience in which birds can be viewed is additionally an added bonus for the skilled birder and first-time nature expedition participator.

The Cerrado, or Campo Cerrado, corresponds to the arboreal savannah of other tropical continents. It covers more than more than Two million sq . kilometers, protecting 23.5% of Brazil’s land space. This environment dominates west-central Brazil, extending all the way up south into Paraguay.

Sparsely dispersed low trees and bushes with twisted branches, thick grooved bark, and leatherlike foliage shape this habitat. Reddish-colored termite nests are prominent around the trunks and they give refuge to nesting Campo Flickers and Peach-fronted Parakeet, who tunnel inside their depths. The bird specialties right here consist of Stripe-tailed Yellow-Finch, White-rumped and Shrike-like Tanagers, Coal-crested Finch, Red-legged Seriema, Red-winged Tinamou, Yellow-faced Parrot, the secretive Collared Crescentchest and also the endemic Rufous-winged Antshrike.

The forested riverine Cerradão hosts Helmeted Manakins, that are usually observed during our tours. Narrow, true riverine forests cover the banks of streams and rivers in this region, which are home to such stunning birds like Dot-eared Coquette, Cinnamon-throated Hermit, Blue-winged, Red-shouldered and Red-and-Green Macaws to mention just some.

Das Emas National Park, that has a total area of 130.00 hectares, contains the most significant patch of Cerrado habitat remaining in Brazil. Despite being entirely flanked by crop farms, this park is distinctive for particular avifauna, which includes birds like Red-legged Seriema, Cock-tailed Tyrant, and a lot of species of Macaws and Parrots. Mammals are spectacular, with Maned Wolf, Giant Anteater, Giant Armadillo, Pampas Deer and Tapir standing up for of many others.

The cliffs and peculiar rock formations of Chapadas provide another habitat, very distinctive and different to any or all others included in this expedition. Chapada National Park is located around the division of the Amazon and Parana River basins, within the western side of the Cerrado grasslands of the Central Planalto Plateau.


  • Highlights: Fazenda San Francisco – Northern Pantanal – Das Emas National Park
  • Activities: Bird watching – Wildlife
  • Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
  • Holiday Type: Tailor-made
  • You will visit: Brazil
  • Trip Style: Independent birders – Couples – Small Groups
  • Comfort level: Standard – Luxury
  • Transportation: Minibus – Boat – SUV
  • Length: 16 Days / 15 Nights
  • Physical demand: Trip may include activities like walks, hikes and boat rides
  • Group size: Minimum 1
  • Pick up / Drop off locations: Campo Grande Airport


Day 1 - Campo Grande to Fazenda San Francisco

Our tour commences this morning at the airport in Campo Grande, where you’ll meet your Trogon Tours’ leader. From Campo Grande, we will drive nearly 240 kilometers (150 mi.) eastwards on a paved road, to finally get to our lodge: Fazenda San Francisco.

Situated on the Miranda River, at the foothills of the Serra da Bodoquena, not far from the Bolivian border, this working “Fazenda” (farm), has a reputation for being one of the best places in central Brazil for watching wild mammals. Among the species commonly seen, it is worth mentioning Giant Anteater, Marsh Deer, Yellow Armadillo, and Ocelot.

Birding is also quite rewarding here. There are several feeders in the gardens of the lodge, attracting such fantastic birds like Nenday Parakeet, Blue and Yellow Macaw, Chestnut-eared Araçari, and a wealth of passerines, Blue-fronted Amazon, including some very attractive ones, like for instance Crested Oropendola. We will spend the following three nights in San Francisco.

Days 2 & 3 - Fazenda San Francisco

We will spend two full days exploring Fazenda San
Francisco, searching for mammals, birding and enjoying
nature photography. We plan to go on several game
drives, including some night ones, to improve our
chances for watching and taking pictures of as many of
the above-mentioned mammals as possible. Birding will keep us busy at all times, and beside the species already mentioned, we will have excellent chances for the biggest bird in the Americas: Greater Rhea.

Day 4 - Fazenda San Francisco to Cuiabá and Northern Pantanal

We will leave Fazenda San Francisco early this morning and drive all the way back to Campo Grande airport for taking our flight to Cuiabá. On arrival, we will drive 100 kilometers (62 mi.) on paved road to Pocone and continue 30 km (18 mi.) on dirt along the Transpantaneira to finally reach our lodge. We’ll spend the following two nights at Pousada Poço Alegre or Río Claro.

Day 5 - Pantanal – Northern Transpantaneira

We will spend the day exploring the
northernmost section of the
Transpantaneira, which is somehow
drier and quite different in terms of
wildlife than its southern section, next
 to the Cuiabá River. We expect to find a wide variety of localized birds here,
 including for instance Chestnut-bellied Guan, Sunbittern, Red-legged
Sungrebe, Long-tailed Ground-Dove and Red-winged Tinamou, all difficult or unlikely seen in the Cuiabá River area. Mammals are quite widespread at the Pantanal, but given the open savanna-like vegetation of this particular area, species like Brazilian Tapir, White-lipped Peccary, and Marsh Deer are easier to spot here than further to the south.

Day 6 - Pantanal – Drive to Porto Jofre

We will wake up early this morning, to the sounds of birds and Black-and-gold Howler Monkeys roaring at the distance, and go for a pre-breakfast birding walk in the surroundings of our lodge. After breakfast, we will set off and drive south along the Transpantaneira, all the way to Porto Jofre, where we’ll spend the following three nights. We’ll make several birding and photo stop as we drive through, and also to enjoy Pantanal’s vibrant wildlife.

Birds like Orange-backed Troupial, Turquoise-fronted Parrot, White Woodpecker, Greater Thornbird, Grey-crested Cacholote, Pygmy Kingfisher, Ashy-headed Greenlet and Buff-bellied Hermit are all present here, so we will look for them and for many others during our frequent stops. One of Pantanal’s most wanted to see bird species is, by far, the Hyacinth Macaw, a common sighting along the way and a regular visitor to the gardens of our lodge at Porto Jofre.

As we enter into the richest lower area of the Transpantaneira, plant and animal diversity increases. Herds of Capybara, the world’s largest rodent, are likely to be seen very often, and Pantanal Cayman dwells in every stream and pond at the roadsides. Chances for mammals like South American Coati, Brown Capuchin, Crab-eating Fox, Bare-eared Marmoset and Crab-eating Raccoon are also quite high, and we might even come across some remarkable reptiles, like the huge and colorful Yellow Anaconda. We expect to arrive at our lodge at late afternoon. We will spend the following three nights in Porto Jofre.

Days 7 & 8 - Pantanal – Porto Jofre and Cuiabá River

We will spend two full days exploring the Porto Jofre and the Southern Transpantaneira area, searching for mammals, birding and enjoying the local wildlife. Our main goal here is to look for Jaguars, and this is the main reason why we are spending quite a long time in this particular spot.

The Brazilian government has decided to protect the local Jaguar population, so sightings of this striking cat have suddenly become fairly regular in the last few years. From our comfortable lodge at Porto Jofre, we will have the chance to make at least four half day boat trips along the Cuiabá River, and get to some isolated areas where Jaguars are frequent.

Most sightings are made from the boat, and the animals normally offer good photo opportunities, like the one in the image on the front page of this tour itinerary. Boat excursions also offer excellent chances for other mammals and of course for watching a wide diversity of colorful birds. We will also have high chances for Giant Otter, and Capybara will be a constant sighting on the riverbanks.

Day 9 - Porto Jofre to Cuiabá

We will leave Porto Jofre after breakfast, and drive all the way back along the Transpantaneira, to Km 17. On the way out, we’ll still have many chances to stop and look for birds and mammals that we might have missed in previous days. We’ll spend the night at Pousada Piuval.

Day 10 - Cuiaba to Rondonopolis

We will leave Pousada Piuval right after breakfast and start a long drive eastwards, to the city of Rondonopolis, where we’ll spend the night at a comfortable hotel in town.

Days 11 to 13 - Das Emas National Park

After breakfast, we will drive to the small village of Chapadão do Céu, where we will spend the following three nights. This will be our base to explore the spectacular Das Emas National Park.

We will drive along the park with an open vehicle, searching its narrow trails and tall, extensive grasslands for the elusive Maned Wolf, Giant Anteater, Tapir, Pampas Deer and the secretive Giant Armadillo, to name but a few of the local mammals. Birds will be present at all times, and this is where we will be delighted by dozens of Cerrado Dwellers.

Depending on the weather, we will either eat picnic lunches at the field or return to the hotel for lunch, with the possibility of taking a siesta to recover from the morning expedition before returning to the park. At sunset, we will search for birds like White-winged Nightjar and Common Potoo, while spotlighting for mammals that we might have lost during the day.

Day 14 - Das Emas to Chapada dos Guimarães

We will pay one last visit to Das Emas in the early morning, before starting our long overland journey to Chapada dos Guimarães, where we’ll spend the following two nights.

Day 15 - Chapada dos Guimarães

We will spend the day exploring this superb birding hotspot and enjoying some of southern Brazil’s most spectacular landscapes.

Day 16 - Chapada dos Guimarães to Cuiabá – Tour conclusion.

After spending the last morning exploring Chapadas, we will head back to Cuiaba, where the tour ends at the local airport.

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