Southern Brazil offers some of the most enjoyable birding in the country. The southernmost states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul are home to a diverse mix of subtropical and temperate montane Atlantic rainforest, lowland restinga forest, upland grasslands interspersed with groves of odd Araucaria angustifolia or monkey puzzle trees, dramatic canyons, windswept pampas, thorny espinilho woodland, and brackish coastal lagoons flanked by rich wetlands. While some tour companies give passing attention to the South to pick up the Serra Geral endemics, the region is largely overlooked. Indeed, relatively few birders visit the Belle of the Brazilian South, the fabulous Lagoa do Peixe National Park, an important RAMSAR wetland that is home to hundreds of thousands of waders and waterbirds and the only accessible place in Brazil where you can find flamingoes!
The Lagoa do Peixe National Park is just one of the wildlife spectacles found in the South. In the highlands of Santa Catarina at Urupema, flocks of thousands of the endangered Red-spectacled Amazon congregate during the months of April to June to feed on the ripening cone crops of the Araucaria trees. Each year the town of Urupema celebrates the arrival of these winter visitors, holding an annual Red-spectacled Parrot Festival. A bit further south, the spectacular formations of the dramatic Serra Geral are well worth a visit, both for the amazing canyons and for the upland endemics.
Culturally distinct from other regions of the country, the states of Paraná and Santa Catarina were largely settled by European colonists in the 19th and 20th century, while Rio Grande do Sul is dominated by the gaúcho culture shared with neighbouring Uruguay and Argentina. The region is well known for its excellent food, warm hospitality and proud cultural traditions. Add enjoyable, easy birding across a wide range of habitats with some incredible scenery, and you have the makings of a top-class trip to a truly under-appreciated region.