Serra dos Órgãos National Park

Habitats: Atlantic Forest lowlands, Atlantic Forest mountains
Duration: Full day, return for dinner
Departure: 06:00
Journey time: 2 hours each way (to arrive when the park opens)
What to take: Binoculars, camera, sunscreen, hat, plenty of water, sturdy walking boots, a waterproof jacket. A light fleece can be useful in the early morning between May to August.
Useful info: Transport is via air-conditioned minibus. Please bring your passport with you on this excursion. A packed lunch is included in the excursion price.
Price: US$110 per person (includes the admission fee of R$12 per person)

Established in 1939, Serra dos Órgãos is Brazil’s third oldest national park and is located on the outskirts of Teresõpolis – a small city about an hour and a half drive from REGUA. Extending over almost 12,000 hectares of mountainous country, the park has an Atlantic pluvial tropical forest and some of the most spectacular scenery in all the Serra dos Órgãos mountain range. The park includes lowland and highland forest.

The park trails pass through both lowland and highland Atlantic Forest. This excursion concentrates on the lowland forest. We spend the morning birding an elevated boardwalk offering excellent views of birds mid-canopy as well as forest-floor species below us. After lunch we bird part of the cobbled driveway near the entrance of the park.

For those feeling particularly energetic, we can organise birding part of the Pedra do Sino Trail – a high altitude long distance trail that reaches 2,263 m above sea level. This trail includes several steep hill climbs so a reasonable level of fitness is required. Grey-winged Cotinga is present here above 1,800 m. However to reach the site involves a at least a three hour continuous hike and this is a much less reliable place than Pico da Caledônia, therefore we focus on other high altitude specialities here.

The park is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday between 08:00 and 17:00 and weekends can be very busy with hikers so we strongly recommend a weekday visit.

Key species:

Dusky-legged Guan
Spot-winged Wood-Quail
Mantled Hawk
Plumbeous Pigeon
Maroon-bellied Parakeet
White-throated Hummingbird
Brazilian Ruby
Surucua Trogon
Black-throated Trogon
Yellow-eared Woodpecker
Yellow-browed Woodpecker
Giant Antshrike
Rufous-backed Antvireo
Bertoni’s Antbird
Rufous-tailed Antbird
Ochre-rumped Antbird
Rufous Gnateater
Mouse-coloured Tapaculo
Pallid Spinetail
White-browed Foliage-gleaner
Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner
Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper
Sharp-billed Treehunter
Blue-billed Black-Tyrant
Shear-tailed Grey Tyrant
Swallow-tailed Cotinga
Hooded Berryeater
Black-and-gold Cotinga
Rufous-crowned Greenlet
Diademed Tanager
Brassy-breasted Tanagers
Bay-chested Warbling-Finch
Green-winged Saltator
Thick-billed Saltator
White-browed Warbler

The name Serra dos Órgãos refers the resemblance to the shape of the peaks to church pipe organs (© Rachel Walls)
The boardwalk through the lowland forest at Serra dos Órgãos National Park (© Sue Healey)
Orange-bellied Euphonia (© Lee Dingain)
Yellow-lored Tody-Flycatcher (© Leonardo Pimentel)
Yellow-lored Tody-Flycatcher (© Leonardo Pimentel)