Just outside of the rural town of Tapiraí and in the heart of São Paulo’s Atlantic rainforest can be found an avian Avalon for numerous species of endangered Brazilian birdlife. The Trilha dos Tucanos reserve is situated in a critically important fragment of São Paulo’s Atlantic rainforest that comprises approximately 70 hectares of forest spread across the Paranapiciaba mountain ranges in Brazil.
Trilha dos Tucanos began in 2014 when the owner Marco Antonio Neumann, who had inherited the property in the 1990s, was encouraged by a visiting naturalist and ornithologist Tomas de Aquino Singrist to develop an ecotourist lodge and bird reserve.
Numerous trails wind around the surrounding dense Atlantic rainforest, a small lake, streams, several waterfalls, and a hilly area and in each of these habitat types, different bird species may be seen very easily either on foot or observed from within bird hides.
Here may be seen remarkable bird species that range to name but a few, the green-headed tanager with its gorgeous plumage making it looks like it has been painted by Matisse, to the bizarre royal flycatcher, which on the surface may look like an ordinary brown bird but actually hides a striking red feather crest (raised when alarmed or in a mating display) that looks uncannily like the headdress of an Aztec emperor.
As the name suggests, a highlight of the reserve is the several toucan species that call it home. A number of these colorful birds be seen easily here, including the impressive red-breasted toucan, the smaller and strange-looking spot-billed toucanet, and the highly endangered saffron toucanet. Many of the birds have become so habituated to the presence of visitors that they will even cheerfully hop along and visit the tables of the charming cafe and restaurant area of the reserve (to steal bread and cake crumbs) where homemade meals and coffee are served.
However, it isn’t just birds that can be seen at this reserve and a number of rainforest mammal species also make their daily appearances such as the tapir (from which the Indigenous Guarani name of the local area and town of “Tapirai” is derived), brown howler monkey, squirrels, ocelot, jaguarundi, sloths, agouti, tamandua anteaters and tayra (a large tree-dwelling weasel).
Know Before You Go
Entrance to the reserve costs R$50 and includes a very good lunch and coffee whilst renting a room at the lodge costs R$ 120 per night.
To get to the reserve you will need to take a taxi from the nearby town of Tapiraí.
In order to catch a glimpse of a tapir, it is best to book an overnight stay at the lodge and to wake up early as these animals typically visit the reserve pond to bathe at dawn.