Tropical Birding does birding tours all around the world. But the location that regularly generates the highest species count of any tour is not in the Amazonian, or any other, Rainforest. The highest count is to be found in the northern Pantanal. This is Pousada Piuval!
It’s almost impossible to walk anywhere in the mornings and evenings at Pousada Piuval and not trip over the world’s largest rodent, the capybara.
Pousada Piuval is 68 miles south from Cuiabá and is the first ecolodge you come to on the Transpantaneira Highway. It is situated on a 7,000 hectare cattle ranch and it’s wide open vistas were a refreshing change to the dense forests of Cristalino. We would not be having frustrating searches for wraith-like antbirds. At Pousada Piuval, just from my deck, I would see two browsing greater rhea, capybaras, and hundreds of wood stork circling in the sky!
On our first morning of birding we registered close to 100 species of birds. Just for comparison, an average checklist from the temperate region, say the San Francisco Bay Area, would be about 30 species. You would be doing really well if you ticked 50 species.
The reason that Pousada Piuval is such a great world birding hotspot are many. The shrinking ponds attracts large numbers of waders in concentrated numbers including egrets, herons, wood-rails, sunbitterns, Wood and Maguari storks and the epic Jabiru stork. Different habitats come together which means a hight species diversity.
It also helps to understand the diversity if we look at a few facts about the Pantanal. The Pantanal is a seasonally flooded wetland covering 80,000 square miles making it the largest wetlands in the world. The Pantanal contains the world’s largest inland concentrations of waterbirds on Earth. Because of it’s importance to a large number of species, the Pantanal has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Large numbers of wood storks aka “dryheads” flying to their nighttime roosts.
We had many quality experiences with the birds of the Pantanal at Pousada Piuval. Including a group of white woodpeckers, a species sometimes placed in the same genus as the local acorn woodpeckers.
The stunning Campo flicker is simply a “lawn” bird at Pousada Pivual.
Pousada Piuval is such a magical place! The palm snag right next to the swimming pool hosted two stunning wild blue and yellow macaws.