Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The big five of the Pantanal

The Big Five term was used by African big-game hunters and later adopted by the local tourist industry. Recently it has been adapted to the Pantanal in Brazil. Here's our Big Five collection.

All pictures were taken during regular tourist outings and show from top left, clockwise:
  1. A South American tapir (Tapirus terrestris, anta) and a flock of whistling ducks.
  2. A yellow anaconda (Eunectes notaeus, sucuri) killing a blue-and-yellow macaw.
  3. A giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis, ariranha) eating fish.
  4. A giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla, tamanduá-bandeira) with a baby on it's back.
  5. A jaguar (Panthera onca, onça-pintada) stalking capybaras.

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Monday, October 3, 2016

New bird species !

After identifying over 400 bird species on the grounds of Fazenda Barranco Alto, every new ID is a great happening.
This time, Claudia Pozzoli had the first documented sighting of an Orinoco goose in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, it's a member of the duck, goose and swan family.

Our list contains now 402(!) species:
Photo by Paulo

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Saturday, July 9, 2016

Otter festival

This neotropical otter (Lontra longicaudis, lontra) mother showed up three weeks ago with two pups. Here on Fazenda Barranco Alto, in the rio Negro, these otters are common, diurnal and very comfortable in our presence.


Wednesday, March 9, 2016


The lesser anteater (Tamandua tetradactyla, tamanduá-mirim) is not easy to find because it has rather arboreal and nocturnal habits, although we see them also at day and on the ground. They feed primarily on arboreal termite nests and defend themselves with their very strong and big fore claws.
In this picture you see a mother with a baby on her back.

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Monday, February 29, 2016


Caracaras (Caracara plancus, caracará) are spectacular raptors from the falconidae family. They are a common sighting around the ranch, where they opportunistically feed on a huge variety of things.

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Friday, November 6, 2015


The night active common potoo (Nyctibius griseus, mãe-da-lua) has a special disruptive feather coloration so it camouflages into a branch, as shown on the picture below. In this photo it has a chick.
The potoo's call at night is also quite unique and mysterious, listen to it here: song

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Cream-colored woodpecker

For years there was a rumour that the cream-colored woodpecker (Celeus flavus, pica-pau-amarelo) would occur in this part of the Pantanal. Today Claudia has finally managed to take a photo of the bird and has definitely proven it's existence along the Rio Negro.

With this our bird list (link) has reached the impressive number of 401 species registered on the grounds of Fazenda Barranco Alto !

Cream-colored woodpecker

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Green-barred woodpecker

The green-barred woodpecker (Colaptes melanochloros, pica-pau-carijó), is specialized in feeding on ants.
Green-barred woodpecker 

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Jaguarundis (Puma yagouaroundi, jaguarundi) are diurnal small cats and very unusual to see. These days, our resident anteater researcher Lydia Moecklinhoff has seen a pair from very close and shot this lovely picture. Read more about them here.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Sustainable tourism

This picture says much about the way we do tourism on Fazenda Barranco Alto. The key point is quality not quantity, including the footprint you leave behind ...

Photo by Claudia Pozzoli, resident team member of Fazenda Barranco Alto

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Colors ...

Hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus, arara-azul) in a pink ipê tree (Tabebuia impetiginosa, piúva-do-campo).

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Fazenda Barranco Alto's wildlife exuberance

Enjoy some of the footage our camera-traps have shot over the last 12 months on Fazenda Barranco Alto.

Watch it in HD and maximize size and sound!


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Child in the Wild - Pantanal

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Macaws are one of our many iconic birds (list). Their loud and colorful presence is a common sighting around here. In this picture you see hyacinth  (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus, arara-azul) and red-and-green macaws (Ara chloropterus, arara-vermelha) feeding together on nuts on the ground.

Male Jaguar Pantanal Fazenda Barranco Alto

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

A little experiment

This is just a little experiment. Watch it in HD:

Friday, September 12, 2014


This is the way rheas (Rhea americana, ema) drink water !

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Friday, August 1, 2014

Attractive fruits

If you want to attract birds into your garden, just plant suitable fruit trees, offer them water, wait a little bit and enjoy theses wonderful creatures. In these two pictures we see a crested-oropendola (Japu, Psarocolius decumanus) and a white-woodpecker (Birro, Melanerpes candidus), both feeding on the same jackfruit (jaca, Artocarpus heterophyllus).


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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Top of the food chain

This is a dominant male jaguar, the top predator of the local food chain. Recently we spotted him very relaxed lying along the shores of the Rio Negro.
Within our research & conservation project "Onças do Rio Negro", we have identified 8 individuals. The goal of this study involves the understanding and monitoring of jaguar ecology, demography, population dynamics and it's relation with human activities such as cattle ranching and tourism in a long-term perspective.

Male Jaguar Pantanal Fazenda Barranco Alto

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Monday, March 17, 2014

fast hunters

Although caymans (Caiman yacare, jacaré) live their lives in a easy-going pace they can be pretty fast when hunting fish in shallow waters:

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Thursday, March 13, 2014


Fazenda Barranco Alto has very large protected areas and a highly varied habitat composition, from dense forests to wide open grasslands. This is one of the reasons why giant anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla, tamanduá-bandeira) are common around here. Nevertheless, they might be hiding from our sightings in the vegetation during the days of the southern summer.
Recent population counts by Moecklinghoff have estimated the population on Fazenda Barranco Alto being bigger than 60 animals.
On this picture you see a beautiful female with her young on the back that she will carry for 6 months.

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Monday, January 27, 2014


Enjoy this picture from space of an area of Fazenda Barranco Alto called Tapera. This part of the Pantanal is an astonishing composition of ponds, forest, river and open grasslands. Right now all is very lush green.
If you wish to explore more, follow the link to Google maps:

Tapera, Fazenda Barranco Alto

Thursday, October 10, 2013


These days we had an unexpected surprise. Suddenly, a Boa constrictor (Boa constrictor amarali, jibóia) fell off a tree just next to one of us. The snake was holding on a Chaco Chachalaca (Ortalis canicollisAracuã), which it had killed by constriction up in the tree. The bird was already 20 cm down the snake's throat.
The same way we heard the blunt noise of the snake hitting the ground, a fox also did and came to inspect and challenged the snake. At this point snakes are completely vulnerable because they've got their mouth full! Seeing no alternative, the snake had to regurgitate the bird and then hiss to the fox ...

The forked tongue is used to smell.

Just regurgitated the bird.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wading on stilts

The stilts (Himantopus sp., pernilongo) are locally abundant shorebirds in the southern Pantanal. They congregate specially around salt lakes, so called salinas. Note their extremely long pink legs, perfectly adapted to wading in muddy waters.
And talking about birds, here's our list with 402 species: . The last inclusions were the cliff flycatcher (Hirundinea ferruginea, gibão-de-couro) and the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus, falcão-peregrino).

Stilts and a yellowlegs

Stilts at

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Pink trees

This year we had another strong and wide-range blossoming of the pink trumpet trees (Piúvas, Tabebuia impetiginosa). The flowers are an important part of the local wildlife's diet. Mammals like howler-monkeys and brocket deers , birds like guans and parakeets just love the bitter taste.

Aerial view of "Invernada 3"
blue-crowned parakeet (Aratinga acuticaudata)

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Spitting image

Take a look at this interesting short video of a Puma and it's image in a mirror on Fazenda Barranco Alto.

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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Cliffs ?!

We're very excited to add the cliff flycatcher (Hirundinea ferruginea, gibão-de-couro) to our list ( It's bird species number 401 ! The flycatcher was first sighted by William de Jong, a dutch biologist.
The only question is; where are the cliffs ?!

And by the way, Birdlife International has considered this area one of the Important Bird Areas (IBA BR156) of the World. 

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Nothing to say


Friday, June 7, 2013

The dark forces

The Great Black Hawk (Buteogallus urubitinga, gavião-preto) is a large bird of prey common in the Pantanal. It's a dietary generalist, feeding on a wide range of prey, including birds. Here we captured the moment when a jacana (Jacana jacana) just escaped the hawk´s attack by a few milliseconds.

Hunting other birds

Facial details

Majestic !

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Winning the armadillo lottery !

In 24 hours we've seen the biggest and smallest armadillo. Here´s a wonderful sighting of a giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus, tatu-canastra) of probably around 30-40 Kg and from tail to nose over a meter long !!! They walk on their massive claws and are very rare to see.

And here´s a new sighting for our mammal list: the southern naked-tailed armadillo (Cabassous unicinctus, tatu-de-rabo-mole), another very rare sighting !

Picture by Aude Schneeberger

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013


The green-iguana (Iguana iguana, Iguana) is a big, diurnal and arboreal lizard. Well adapted to the Pantanal they can swim submerged using powerful strokes of their long tail. They are primarily herbivorous and have excellent eye-sight.
These animals are a rare but rewarding sighting in the southern Pantanal.

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Monday, March 4, 2013

Hyacinth macaws

These wonderful, amazingly colored birds are the hyacinth macaws (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus, arara-azul), an endangered parrot species commonly found around this part of the Pantanal. Their distribution is strongly correlated with two palm trees on which they feed: the acuri-nut palm tree (Scheelea Phalerata) and the bocaiuva-nut palm tree (Acrocomia aculeata). And not less important for their survival is the manduvi tree (Sterculia apetala), a big soft-wooded tree in which they mostly build their nests.

Watching hyacinth macaws feeding on the ground at late afternoon always evokes a general: Wow ! Awesome ! Amazing ! Phenomenal ! Fantastic ! Terrific ! In short: simply unforgettable !

feeding on acuri nuts

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Friday, February 15, 2013

And sometimes there are snakes

During the wet and hot months of October through April, snakes are more commonly seen. One of the most fear causing animals is the tropical rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus terrificus, Cascavel). This pit viper advertises itself by a loud shaking of it´s rattle at the end of the tail (see and listen to a red rattlesnake here!).

Their diet consists of small rodents and birds. Although encounters like these are rare, one should be cautious when walking around in the wild. However, rattlesnakes rarely bite unless provoked or threatened; and if treated promptly, the bites are rarely fatal.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Drumming on trees

This is one of the most amazing bird families in the Pantanal: the woodpeckers. The lineated woodpeckers (Dryocopus lineatus, Pica-pau-de-banda-branca) have strong bills for drilling and drumming on trees and long sticky tongues with bristles for extracting insects deep out of the wood. Listen to the drumming: MP3 by J.Minns


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Thursday, January 10, 2013

The last Sunset

This was the last sunset of 2012. We wish all our friends, health, peace and success. Happy new year.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Salinas and green

After many month of drought the rains are finally back to the Pantanal, the trees are fully covered in dark green leaves and the grass grows in lush colors ...
In this aerial photo you see 4 brackish water lakes, so-called salinas. They are a unique feature of this region of the Pantanal and contribute to the incredible bio-diversity of Fazenda Barranco Alto. Here we find extensive and representative patches of pristine gallery forest, savannas, grasslands, thick forests, a river, salinas, fresh-water lakes, marshes and reeds.

This leaves the Rio Negro Pantanal unrivaled among all other Pantanal sub-regions. This is one of the few regions in the Pantanal where you can see all of the mammals that occur in these wetlands. Following theses two links find our mammal list and bird list.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pheasant cuckoo

This is a picture taken by our guest Mike Bailey of a pheasant cuckoo (Dromococcyx phasianellus, peixe-frito-verdadeiro, song). This is one of the most elusive birds around here. They are daily heard but never seen, a good view like this is something very rare.

Pheasant cuckoos are brood parasites, that means the parental care of eggs and young is provided by the host species like flycatchers and antshrikes.

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pampas deer

The Pampas deer (Ozotoceros bezoarticus, veado-campeiro) is our easiest to see deer, because they inhabit the open grasslands. Although gray brocket deers are in greater numbers, they inhabit the bushes where they're harder to spot.
Now is the time when we see most of the young ones. The fawns loose their white spots two months after birth.

Pampas deer with fawn.
Father of the fawn.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hudsonian Godwit

Today we had another first sighting: a Hudsonian Godwit (Limosa haemastica, maçarico-de-bico-virado). The bird was seen in the Salina Mara (location) amongst thousands of stilts and sandpipers. Their breeding habitat is the far north near the tree line in northwestern Canada and Alaska, also on the shores of Hudson Bay, hence the name. Both parents look after the young birds, who find their own food and are able to fly down to Brazil (more than 9'000 Km) within a month of hatching.
These birds forage by probing in shallow water like the many salinas on Fazenda Barranco Alto. They mainly eat insects and crustaceans.

Text adapted from Wikipedia.

Mixed flock, photo by Paulo.

Hudsonian Godwit and lesser-yellowlegs, photo by Paulo.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Entranced by jaguar tails

Let yourself get delighted by these swinging tails ...

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Two Jaguars

All together we've seen many dozens of these magnificent cats that reign the South-American jungles, but every time it's like the first time. Today it was two young jaguars (Panthera onca, onça-pintada). Totally relaxed they posed for 40 minutes on the banks of the Rio Negro, the Brazilian Pantanal's most pristine river, a river where you don't meet other boats and where speed is limited by the endless details of nature's beauty.

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Sunday, September 2, 2012

About a tapir's toilet ...

Take a look at this video we shot with camera traps. It's about tapirs ...

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

the right glimpse ...

The roadside hawk (Buteo magnirostris, gavião-carijó) is the second most common raptor in this region after the crested-caracara. This is a shot in the exact split-second before it lands ...

Roadside hawk landing

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sentinels of the Pantanal

The southern screamers (Chauna torquata, tachã) are heavy (up to 5 Kg) birds that inhabit the ponds and marshes of the Pantanal. When they sense any danger they start a loud call that can be heard several kilometers away alarming every other animal of the present danger ... Click here to listen to their call.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A penguin?

This is a juvenile Spectacled Owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata, murucututu), one of our biggest night-active raptors. Note the size of it´s talons and listen to it´s mysterious call here on Xeno-Canto.