IGUASSU FALLS: Rain Forests, Wildlife & Spectacular Waterfalls
Perhaps the largest remaining area of Atlantic forest is not on the coast but inland at Iguaçu Falls. The national parks on the Brazilian and Argentine side of the mighty Iguassu River and Falls total over 550,000 acres of sub-tropical rainforest. With the added year-round humidity created by the crashing water at the falls, the forests are especially rich in vegetation and the accompanying fauna.
The impressive series of falls rank as one of the most spectacular settings on the continent. Thousands of people come here each year to see the spectacular falls, yet the national parks on both sides remain almost undiscovered as a wildlife-viewing destination. Their luxurious sub-tropical rainforests constitute one of South America's finest areas for seeing mammals such as Little and Red Brocket Deer, South American Coati, White-eared Opossum, and a sub-species of the Brown Capuchin. Also occurring but harder to see are Jaguar, Ocelot, Jaguarundi, Puma, Margay, White-lipped Peccary, Bush Dog and Southern River Otter. The endangered Tegu Lizard is common, and the number of butterflies one can see is astounding.
The two parks are a top bird watching destination as well. Five members of the toucan family are regularly seen: Toco and Red-breasted Toucans, Chestnut-eared Araçari, Saffron and Spot-billed Toucanets. Other exciting bird possibilities include Spotted Bamboowren, Grey-bellied Spinetail, several antshrikes, Short-tailed Antthrush, and others in the bamboo stands. Forest possibilities include Rufous-thighed Kite, Black-and-White Hawk-Eagle, Black-fronted Piping-Guan, Blue Ground Dove, Dark-billed Cuckoo, Black-capped Screech-Owl, the nattereri race of Short-tailed Nighthawk, Great Dusky Swift by the thousands as they dart in and out of the falls or perch on the rock walls, Surucua Trogon, Chestnut-eared Araçari, Rufous-winged Antwren, Black-crowned Tityra, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, White-winged Swallow, Plush-crested Jay, Cream-bellied Gnatcatcher, Black-goggled and Magpie Tanagers, Green-chinned Euphonia, Black-throated and Ultramarine Grosbeaks, Yellow-billed Cardinal, Red-crested Finch and many more. In the evenings we'll spotlight for deer, Agouti and other mammals that come out of the forest to feed at night, and have a spot for the magnificent Rusty-barred Owl.
Whether Iguaçu Falls is your main destination or just part of a larger tour, it will certainly be a favorite, and shouldn't be missed! Two full days are recommended for most tours, however serious birders will want up to a week.