Chapada is one of my favourite sites on the Brazil birding circuit. Not as famous as the wetlands of the Pantanal or the endemic-rich Atlantic Forests, the Cerrado of Chapada holds many interesting birds typical of this rather arid stunted forest. Although the semi-humid forests near Chapada are well worthy of investigation the primary birding site here is the Cerrado along the Agua Fria Road. Unfortunately the habitat along this road is becoming a little degraded due to clearance and tipping, but most of the birds can still be found. These included Horned Sungem, Collared Crescentchest and Blue Finch.
Other sites within the park include the picturesque Veu de Noiva (Bride's Veil) waterfall. Waiting here in the late afternoon can be productive as Blue-winged Macaws, White-eyed Parakeets and Blue-headed Parrots come to roost. The rock face behind the waterfall is also used as a roosting spot for Great Dusky and Biscutate Swifts as well.
Chapada is the home to a variety of tanagers. The White-banded Tanager (above) is easy to see, even near the houses at the start of the road, as is the handsome White-rumped Tanager. Pairs of the latter can often be heard duetting in the mornings.
I confessed to my soft spot for antbirds in a previous posting. They are vocal, quite easy to locate and a pleasure to see once in view. Chapada has a couple of very attractive of "ant-things" including Rusty-backed Antwren and this handsome male Rufous-winged Antshrike. This species is always quite co-operative and requires very little encouragement to come in and have a look at its admirers.
Eduardo Patrial watching the endemic Crested Black Tyrant at the Mirante (viewpoint), Chapada dos Guimaraes, October 2009.
A sunny morning on the Cerrado will see White-eared Puffbirds belting out their strident song from an exposed perch. Less obvious, the Black-faced and Burnish-buff Tanagers (below) may be foraging nearby.
Another endemic, the Cinnamon Tanager can be a tricky customer so it was nice to see one on our last morning in the Cerrado this year. The rather dull conditions didn't do the chances of photography any favours but no complaints as far as the views that were obtained of this scarce species.