At the Canudos Biological Station in Brazil, you are likely to see hundreds of Lear’s Macaws make a colorful, noisy splash of blue against the red of the dramatic sandstone canyons where they roost and nest. Departing from their burrows at dawn, always in pairs and in joyful commotion, the Lear’s Macaws set out to get food—the fruits of the Licuri palm. To watch this show, visitors are led by reserve guides, employed from the local community.
The Canudos Biological Station, located in the Bahia Department of Brazil is a pioneering initiative of the Biodiversitas Foundation to protect one of the planet’s most endangered and admired birds, the Lear’s Macaw. Due to focused conservation efforts, the species’ numbers have increased from a few dozen in the late 1980s to about 1,700 today. The reserve is strikingly beautiful, the sandstone canyons having weathered into striking, odd forms, clothed in caatinga habitat with giant cacti and unique flora.
In addition to the Lear’s Macaw, you are also likely to see birds endemic to Brazil’s North East, such as Broad-tipped Hermit, Red-shouldered Spinetail, and Cactus Parakeet. You can also spot Black-bellied Antwren, Barred Antshrikes, Red-legged Seriema, and Blue-winged Macaw, among others. In the evenings, you can look for Rufous Nightjar and several species of owl.