Lat:22o25´S/43o08´W 11,800ha mountainous 785-2,263m (Pedra do Sino) 
EBA076 Atlantic forest mountains (marginally EBA075 Atlantic forest lowlands)


Birding Site Guide

The first account is by Charles Hesse 3rd-5th December, 2006

Finger of God from Teresopolis


This fantastic national park holds more endemic species of birds than any other in Brazil. It is best accessed from Teresopolis which is easily reached from Rio by hourly buses taking just an hour and a half. The cheapest place to stay is in the centre of the city but there are many other more expensive places closer to the entrance to the park. The posada in the park seems to be closed for reconstruction but it is still possible to camp for a small fee. From the centre you can take a local bus towards ‘Alto’ (when it turns off the main road, get off and keep walking straight to the entrance) or ‘Soberba’ which will drop you by the entrance. The ticket office to the park opens at 8am and after that you can buy your ticket (3R) and enter. 

After the entrance, I saw Maroon-bellied Parakeets, Brown & Azure-shouldered Tanagers, Red-crowned Spinetail and Yellow-legged Thrush. The first short trail on the left is the Primavera trail where I saw Grey-hooded Flycatcher and Unicolored Finch. Further up the Mozart trail had Hooded Berryeater and at the top, the Bridge trail (a an excellent, raised metal platform through the forest) had, Grey-headed Attila, Blue Manakin and Surucua Trogon. The road ends at a car park and a dam forms a small lake at about 1,100m altitude. To the left, the Pedro da Sino trail starts but you need to specify that you will go here when you buy you ticket. You have to sign a disclaimer and pay a bit extra (8R), but it’s worth it. There is a big tree fall near the start which you have to walk around, then you go through a nice area of bamboo and over a couple of small bridges. On this lower section, I saw Spot-winged Wood-Quail, White-rimmed Warbler, Planalto Slaty-Antshrike, Bare-throated Bellbird (heard only), Blue-billed Black-Tyrant, Sharpbill and Black-and-gold Cotinga. Where the trail comes out into a more open area with a nice view over the trees I saw a pair of Swallow-tailed Cotinga fly into the top branches of a tree and sit there motionlessly. Make sure you scan all the top branches. The trail continues up to a campsite at about 1600m (Mouse-colored Tapaculo). This section of the trail had Bay-chested Warbling Finch, Rufous-backed Antvireo, Serro do Mar Tyrannulet, Diademed Tanager, Rufous-tailed Antbird and Plumbeus Pigeon. Camping here for a night might be a good idea to be able to bird higher elevations nice and early.

Apart from the Teresopolis entrance, there is another entrance lower down back towards Rio called ‘Sub-sede’. Another place is called Garrafao which is famous for being the place where the critically endangered Kinglet Calyptura was rediscovered and never seen again. Coming from Teresopolis back towards Rio, there is a signed left turning at km 94 just before a gas station. Buses from the terminal at Teresopolis to ‘Guapi’ pass the turning and can drop you off. Walk along the small road past a few small patches of forest where I saw Spot-breasted Antvireo, Salvadori’s Antwren and Green-headed Tanager. A fork in the road is where the calyptura was seen. Of course I didn’t see it. I saw Plain and Maroon-bellied Parakeets here and taking the right fork further down at a nice house Blond-crested Woodpecker and Violet-crowned Woodnymph. The road winds steeply down and crosses a small stream with Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper. Further down still there is a trampled fence after some buildings on the left and then the track enters nice forest. It comes out lower down at an IBAMA sign saying no entry so I’m not sure whether you it is allowed to bird there or not. There is no sign entering from above. If you carry on walking down, the road meets another which goes all the way down to Guapi. 

forest in mist


I saw 102 species including 22 lifers 

Species seen by Charles Hesse 

  • Tataupa Tinamou Crypturellus tataupa Possibly heard
  • Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
  • Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris Heard only
  • Spot-winged Wood-Quail Odontophorus capueira
  • Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis
  • Rock Pigeon Columba livia Introduced species
  • Plumbeous Pigeon Patagioenas plumbea Recorded
  • White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
  • Gray-fronted Dove Leptotila rufaxilla Possibly heard
  • Blue-winged Macaw Primolius maracana Vulnerable
  • White-eyed Parakeet Aratinga leucophthalmus
  • Maroon-bellied Parakeet Pyrrhura frontalis photo'd Recorded
  • Plain Parakeet Brotogeris tirica Endemic photo'd Recorded
  • Yellow-chevroned Parakeet Brotogeris chiriri
  • Scaly-headed Parrot Pionus maximiliani Recorded
  • Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
  • Sooty Swift Cypseloides fumigatus Possibly seen
  • Great Dusky Swift Cypseloides senex
  • White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris
  • Gray-rumped Swift Chaetura cinereiventris Possibly seen
  • Scale-throated Hermit Phaethornis eurynome Recorded
  • Sombre Hummingbird Campylopterus cirrochloris Endemic Possibly seen
  • Swallow-tailed Hummingbird Eupetomena macrourus
  • Glittering-bellied Emerald Chlorostilbon aureoventris
  • Violet-capped Woodnymph Thalurania glaucopis photo'd
  • White-throated Hummingbird Leucochloris albicollis
  • Sapphire-spangled Emerald Polyerata lactea
  • Brazilian Ruby Clytolaema rubricauda Endemic
  • Surucua Trogon Trogon surrucura photo'd Recorded
  • White-barred Piculet Picumnus cirratus
  • Little Woodpecker Veniliornis passerinus Recorded
  • Blond-crested Woodpecker Celeus flavescens photo'd Recorded
  • Rufous-capped Spinetail Synallaxis ruficapilla Recorded
  • Streaked Xenops Xenops rutilans
  • Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper Lochmias nematura photo'd Recorded
  • Olivaceous Woodcreeper Sittasomus griseicapillus
  • Wedge-billed Woodcreeper Glyphorynchus spirurus
  • White-throated Woodcreeper Xiphocolaptes albicollis
  • Scaled Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes squamatus
  • Planalto Slaty-Antshrike Thamnophilus pelzelni Endemic
  • Spot-breasted Antvireo Dysithamnus stictothorax Endemic NT photo'd
  • Plain Antvireo Dysithamnus mentalis
  • Rufous-backed Antvireo Dysithamnus xanthopterus Endemic Recorded
  • Salvadori's Antwren Myrmotherula minor Endemic Vulnerable photo'd Recorded?
  • Rufous-tailed Antbird Drymophila genei Endemic NT photo'd Recorded
  • Brazilian Antthrush Chamaeza ruficauda Endemic Recorded
  • Variegated Antpitta Grallaria varia Heard only
  • Mouse-colored Tapaculo Scytalopus speluncae Recorded
  • Sharpbill Oxyruncus cristatus
  • Swallow-tailed Cotinga Phibalura flavirostris NT photo'd
  • Black-and-gold Cotinga Tijuca atra Endemic NT photo'd Recorded
  • Hooded Berryeater Carpornis cucullatus Endemic NT photo'd Recorded
  • Bare-throated Bellbird Procnias nudicollis NT Heard only Recorded
  • White-bearded Manakin Manacus manacus Recorded
  • Blue Manakin Chiroxiphia caudata photo'd Recorded
  • Gray-hooded Flycatcher Mionectes rufiventris Recorded
  • Sepia-capped Flycatcher Leptopogon amaurocephalus
  • Serra do Mar Tyrannulet Phylloscartes difficilis Endemic NT photo'd Recorded
  • Mottle-cheeked Tyrannulet Phylloscartes ventralis Recorded
  • Yellow-olive Flycatcher Tolmomyias sulphurescens
  • Euler's Flycatcher Lathrotriccus euleri Possibly seen Recorded?
  • Blue-billed Black-Tyrant Knipolegus cyanirostris
  • Gray-hooded Attila Attila rufus Endemic photo'd Recorded
  • Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
  • Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua Heard only
  • Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis Recorded
  • Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus photo'd
  • Variegated Flycatcher Empidonomus varius
  • Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
  • Chestnut-crowned Becard Pachyramphus castaneus Possibly seen
  • Blue-and-white Swallow Notiochelidon cyanoleuca
  • Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis
  • House Wren Troglodytes aedon
  • Yellow-legged Thrush Platycichla flavipes
  • Rufous-bellied Thrush Turdus rufiventris Recorded
  • Pale-breasted Thrush Turdus leucomelas
  • Rufous-crowned Greenlet Hylophilus poicilotis photo'd Recorded
  • Rufous-browed Peppershrike Cyclarhis gujanensis Heard only Recorded
  • Golden-crowned Warbler Basileuterus culicivorus photo'd Recorded
  • White-rimmed Warbler Basileuterus leucoblepharus photo'd Recorded
  • Bananaquit Coereba flaveola
  • Brown Tanager Orchesticus abeillei Endemic NT
  • Yellow-backed Tanager Hemithraupis flavicollis
  • Flame-crested Tanager Tachyphonus cristatus
  • White-lined Tanager Tachyphonus rufus Recorded
  • Black-goggled Tanager Trichothraupis melanops Recorded
  • Sayaca Tanager Thraupis sayaca
  • Azure-shouldered Tanager Thraupis cyanoptera Endemic NT photo'd
  • Golden-chevroned Tanager Thraupis ornata Endemic photo'd
  • Diademed Tanager Stephanophorus diadematus Recorded
  • Fawn-breasted Tanager Pipraeidea melanonota
  • Violaceous Euphonia Euphonia violacea
  • Green-headed Tanager Tangara seledon
  • Brassy-breasted Tanager Tangara desmaresti Endemic photo'd Recorded
  • Bay-chested Warbling-Finch Poospiza thoracica Endemic photo'd Recorded
  • Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina Possibly heard
  • Uniform Finch Haplospiza unicolor photo'd Recorded
  • Saffron Finch Sicalis flaveola
  • Green-winged Saltator Saltator similis
  • Yellow-green Grosbeak Caryothraustes canadensis Heard only
  • Red-rumped Cacique Cacicus haemorrhous photo'd Recorded
  • House Sparrow Passer domesticus Introduced

The next account is by BSG October-April (April 2005).

In other literature the size of the park is sometimes given erroneously as 30,000ha, but this cannot be so. According to IBAMA (and other sources) the area of the park is 118km2 which by the simple calculation of adding 2 noughts gives 11,800ha. 

The main park entrance is at the Teresópolis. From Rio de Janeiro bus terminal get the bus direct to Teresópolis. There are plenty of hotels here with a cheap one being 5 minutes walk from the bus terminal across the main road. There is a camping area (no facilities) in the park about c8km into the park, and you can drive the first 3km. Internet access can be found at the top floor of a shopping arcade near the bus station. 

For the entrance from the Teresópolis side, head out of town S towards the rock called the Dedo de Deus (Finger of God, 1,692m) as you leave town the park entrance is set back a little on the right. There are another 2 entrances to the park however; one is located about 14km back towards Rio de Janeiro on the BR116 at Guapimirim, and is called Subsede do Serra dos Órgaõs. The other is located at Bonfin reached from Petropolis (cheap hotels at the side of Petropolis bus station). There is a small entry charge at each.

From the Teresópolis entrance there are a number of trails. For the main trail walk the 3km along the tarmac road up to the dam, from here continue climbing for a further 7km, until you reach the start of the Pedra do Sino Trail (Stone Bell Trail) you will see the bell shaped rock. This will take around 5hr. To walk all or part of the Pedra do Sino Trail (includes a stretch called Pedra do Açu), or camp you have to pay a little extra at the entrance gate. Along the first stretch of Pedra do Sino Trail is the area for Grey-winged Cotinga. You can hire guides in the park (not IBAMA staff but ask them if they know anyone) who can provide camping gear if you have none, and will carry your heavy gear, you will require a guide if you decide to do the whole of the Pedra do Sino Trail which takes 3 days walk (total length entrance to entrance is 30km) across the top to the Petropolis entrance. 

Other trails from this end, all off the side of the road and marked include to the left, the Trilha Beija-Flor, Trilha Primavera, Trilha Mozart Catão which leads to Mirante (view) Alexandre Oliveira, and a couple of waterfalls; Cachoeira Véu da Noiva and das Andorinhas. There is a raised walkway as well on the right before the dam. 

At Guapimirim, the entrance to this lower section of the park is on the left (or east, approaching from Teresópolis). This corner of the park is cut off from the rest of the park by the BR116 bisecting it. Different species of birds can be found here to the higher parts of the park. It has 2 trails Poço da Preguiça and Poço Verde. 

From Petropolis to the park involves getting the bus to Corrêas, a few km away on the main road, then another bus (Cabamas Açu) from there down a side road to the villages of Bonfin. Where the bus stops to turn around, get off and head up a dirt road to the left past a hotel, and keep going until you reach the IBAMA gatehouse. Here pay and enquire about a guide, you will probably need one since the trail is not straight forward. A recommended guide is Anderson. The trail here leads east predictably to a waterfall, and is equally predictably called Véu da Noiva; you can carry on a similar further distance to the Pedra do Sino Trail, on the plateau, which would take around 4hrs to reach and it would be a 14km return walk. Black and Gold Cotinga is easy here, look especially around the waterfall. 

Species Notes 

Relevant BENES list 
SOUTH & EAST BRAZIL FORESTS BENES (Biome Endemics and Near-Endemics list) 

Other Fauna 


IBAMA, Horizonte Geográfico and Philips (2002) Parque Nacional da Serra dos Órgaõs. IBAMA park information leaflet. 

REQUEST name of hotels, and more information on Guapimirim entrance. 

Author: BSG. Charles Hesse