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Birdwatching Gets New Destinations in Brazil

03/30/2017 - 13h40

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ROBERTO DE OLIVEIRA
SPECIAL ENVOY TO TIRADENTES (MINAS GERAIS)

In the 18th century in the State of Minas Gerais, the rivers at the base of the São José mountain range sprouted gold, and thanks to that, Tiradentes was born.

Today it is one of the best preserved colonial cities in Brazil. Nowadays, the mountain range attracts another kind of prospecting, an activity that demands watchful eyes and a little bit of patience: birdwatching.

Practiced internationally, it started getting incorporated into tourism in the 1960's, when many people started discovering the pleasure of visiting remote locales to observe the behavior of birds.

Flavio Moraes/Folhapress
Sai- azul (Dacnis cayana)
Sai- azul (Dacnis cayana)

Ten years ago, the number of birdwatchers in Brazil didn't amount to 2.000. Today, there are 35 thousand and this number has the potential of reaching 100 thousand in the next three years, according to Avistar Brasil, an NGO that organizes the largest birdwatching event in Latin America.

Brazil is ranked as the second country in the world in terms of greatest diversity of birds. According to BirdLife International, represented here by Save Brazil, an entity that works for the conservation of Brazilian birds, the country has 1.809 species, second only to Colombia (1.877 species).

According to historian Luiz Cruz, 57, the region of the São José mountain range is a refuge for wildlife and shelters, for example, 118 species of dragonflies. In general, where there are dragonflies there are birds as well.

In the São José mountain range, an area covered by Atlantic forest that extends across five municipalities, Biologist-Ornithologist Kassius Santos, 44, calculates that about 400 species of birds exist. Among them, the Tangará-Dançarino (Blue Manakin), o Rabo-Mole-da-Serra (Pale-throated Pampa-finch) and the Papa-Moscas-de-Costas-Cizentas (Gray-backed Tachuri), which can be seen along the trails that reach an altitude of as high as 1.300 meters.

Translated by LLOYD HARDER

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