CAPARAÓ NATIONAL PARK
MINAS GERAIS(E) ESPIRITO SANTO (SW)
20o25´S/41o46´W, 26,000ha mountainous 997-2,890m (4 peaks over 2600m)
EBA076 premontane, montane Atlantic forest, campo
October-April (March 2005)
Birding Site Guide
There are two entrances to the park one on the E Minas Gerais side the other in SE Espirito Santo states and they are about c90km apart. For the former go from Belo Horizonte on the bus to Manhumarim, then from here to Alto Caparaó, which is at 1000m altitude.
The entrance gate is 4km from town and the campsite is 9.5km from the entrance gate and at 2375m. There are many places to stay in Alto Caparaó including the recommended youth hostel, Pousada Querência (medium priced) half way along the main street (on the right as you arrive), you can also camp here. Internet access is at a friend of Pousada Querência owner’s house and is quite expensive.
The owners of Pousada Querência are Georgerio and his wife. Georgerio speaks good English, and has a 4 wheel-drive, and you can pay to be taken into the park in it by him. Also they own a second property, (an RNNP protected area) much higher up right on the edge of the park, set in forest with a large waterfall and spectacular views of the mountains and valley. You can stay there for the same cost as the Pousada, but have to pay taxi prices for him to take you there and bring you back. You cannot get there without 4 wheel-drive (and wheel chains if it has been raining) and a decent driver, but it is worth it. The cottage accommodation, Albergue do Cedro (photo below) is excellent and sleeps 6, it has electricity and full kitchen with gas cooker and a log stove.
At Albergue do Cedro you can walk down to the large waterfall and bird, but the main trail is back the way you came in to the other cottage where the owners stay, before you get there, there is a path on your right up towards the coffee plantation, one branch is a dead end, the other branch continues up the steep hill behind your residence and onto a track. The track goes a short way then there is a stream to cross, and some way further on the main mountain stream to cross, this can be dangerous after heavy rains, do not attempt if unsure as it leads over the waterfall! This is the edge of the property, however Georgerio told me there is no problem birding the forested track at the other side.
On this MG side there is good birding along the road in the NP up to the campsite, there are also a couple of trails to waterfalls which can be good. At the campsite bird the edge of the grass area, as birds move along through the montane forest edge.
From Espirito Santo side, I have no information, except there is more extensive forest at there.
Threats come from fires, there has been a recent large fire on the MG side in the 1990s, though you cannot tell now and there is good forest here.
Please be aware that these mountains attract the rain and it can be very wet, in my 4 day stay it never stopped raining at all, and the mountains were shrouded in constant mist and low cloud, the brief birding forays were good but I saw few species overall because of the weather.
Sought After Species
South & East Brazil BENES LIST
Maned Wolf Chrysocyon brachyurus CITES App. II (under review) Near Threatened
REQUEST Espirito Santo side information.