PDF guides to the Birds of Southeastern Brazil

In a couple of weeks, I am heading down to Brazil to attend the Evolution conference in Guarujá, near São Paulo. After the conference, I will be spending two weeks birding the Atlantic rainforest and Cerrado (Savannah) of this amazing part of the world, where almost 900 species of birds have been recorded, including 180 endemic species that are found nowhere else in the world. With me on this trip will be my bird watching dad, who couldn't resist when I sent him pages after pages of photos and descriptions of the best birdwatching sites in Southeastern Brazil. 

Itatiaia NP by Ferreiraandreza (CC-BY wikimedia)

Itatiaia National Park, CC-BY by Ferreiraandreza on wikimedia commons

During the last few weeks, I have been doing a lot of research about the birds and sites of this region. Since this is my first trip to the neotropics, the learning curve has been pretty steep. Which is why I have outdone myself in terms of preparation! I've been trawling eBird, travel reports and books for information about the "where's" and "when's" of the region's bird. At what site is the probablily highest of seing the Gold-winged cotinga, which occurs on a few mountaintops in this area and no-where else? What are the odds that I will see my first-ever Giant Potoo? That sort of thing.

Tijuca atra Black-and-gold Cotinga


The beautiful black-and-gold cotinga, and its far from impressive world distribution on a couple of mountaintops near São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Photo CC-BY 2.0 by Joao Quental.



For my own sake, I decided to structure all this information in a format that would come in handy in the field. And since I have done all this work, I figured I might as well make it available to more people. So I hereby distribute, under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license, the fruit of my labour.

1. [0.8Mb PDF] Frequency, phenology and distribution of the birds of Paraná, São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro; with detailed information on selected sites near Sao Paulo.


2. [13Mb PDF] Sonogram guide to the vocalisations of 292 birds of the Atlantic rainforest and Cerrado around São Paulo


The first is based on data from eBird and summarizes the phenology and frequency of different birds throughout the states of Parana, Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro, as well as the frequency with which these species are reported from select birding sites.

The second is based on data from xeno-canto and presents sonograms for 292 species that I think might be valuable to know the vocalisations of.

I hope that these might come in handy for others visiting this region. I've always felt that I've lacked something like these whenever I've been on a birding trip somewhere. Can't believe field guides still don't have sonograms!

These are to 99% based on data from and These sites keep impressing me with the amount and quality of informatioon they contain. I have tried to corroborate the information against other sources as much as I can. For example, I have relied heavily on Van Perlo's Birds of Brazil for selecting the most typical and useful vocalisations of each species. Whenever possible, I've selected recordings from the right region and subspecies. I have tried to focus on groups/species/vocalisation types that I think will be most useful in the field, given how difficult they seem to be to find and identify without knowing their sounds. However, since I've never actually been in South America, I am sure that there are some, or a lot, of errors and bad judgement calls in there. For example, there might be some songs/calls of a given species that are really useful in the field that I haven't included. Also, I've chosen to retain the (outdated) eBird common names, to make it easier for me to report my observations later.

All types of suggestions and corrections are welcome!  (viktor.j.nilsson[at-sign]