|Habitats:||Restored wetland and replanted secondary forest|
|Post colour:||Yellow (every 50 m)|
|Start:||Outside the conservation centre|
|Grade:||Easy – flat, wide trail, some mud after rain.|
|Length:||2.8 km (circular)|
|What to take:||Plenty of water (it can get very hot), hat, sunscreen and binoculars. A telescope is useful for birds.|
|Access:||Open February to December, 24 hours to lodge guests and dawn to dusk to day visitors.|
|Price:||Free for lodge guests if self-guided (leaflets are available at the lodge and the start of the trail). A guide is available for an additional fee. There is an entry fee for day visitors.|
The REGUA wetland is one of REGUA’s resounding conservation success stories. This area was once a native swampy forest comprising water-loving Tabebuia cassinoides trees and large tree ferns, smothered with epiphytic plants including philodendrons, bromeliads and orchids, but during the 1980s the swamp was drained and the trees cleared to make way for cattle pasture and agricultural fields.
In 2005 REGUA began create a new wetland on the site, converting the fields to a mosaic of lakes, channels, reedbeds, wet grass, Tabebuia cassinoides stands and lowland forest. Since then the area has seen an enormous increase in biodiversity.
Over 220 bird species have been recorded at the wetland, including the scarce Masked Duck, the Near-threatened Black-legged Dacnis, Boat-billed Heron, Pinnated Bittern, Capped Heron, and several species of rails. The wetland is also an excellent place to watch for soaring raptors during the late morning, with Rufous-thighed Kite, Crane Hawk, Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle, Laughing Falcon and Aplomado Falcon all frequently picked out amongst the kettling Lesser Yellow-headed, Turkey and Black Vultures.
Many local rarities have been recorded at the wetland, such as Sungrebe, South American Tern, Black Skimmer, Stygian Owl, Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Black-backed Water-Tyrant, along with two ‘firsts’ for Rio de Janeiro state – Greenish Elaenia and Azure Gallinule.
Reptiles such as the endemic Broad-snouted Caiman Caiman latirostris, have naturally moved back into the area, along with mammals such as Capybara Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris, Paca Agouti paca, Southern River Otter Lontra longicaudis, Crab-eating Fox Cerdocyon thous and top predators including Puma Puma concolor.
We recommend half day visits, with a suggested morning departure of 06:00 and suggested afternoon departure of 14:30. At dusk Chestnut-capped Blackbirds flock to the reedbeds to roost, Cattle Egrets gather in the bare trees, and rails become more active and vocal.
The wetland is situated at a very low altitude and has a hot and humid climate. Dehydration and sun exposure are the biggest risks so please ensure you take plenty of drinking water with you along with a hat and sunscreen.
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift
White-headed Marsh Tyrant