Latest News

Here is the latest news from REGUA and Guapi Assu Bird Lodge. For older news see the news archive page.

26 March 2015

New REGUA publication: Dragonflies & Damselflies of the Serra dos Orgaos

We are thrilled to be able to announce the imminent publication of our new REGUA publications field guide on the Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Serra dos Orgaos.

The book has been written by Tom Kompier and describes all of the 204 known species from REGUA and its surroundings. Illustrated with 560 photos and an additional 125 plates, we think this is a milestone in the study and observation of this stunning group of insects.

Publication is due in April. For pre-orders or additional information, please contact Tom Kompier directly at

Dragonflies & Damselflies of the Serra dos Orgaos
Dragonflies & Damselflies of the Serra dos Orgaos

Posted by Lee Dingain

19 February 2015

Latin America Darwin Scholarship Programme to be held at REGUA

"It was impossible to wish for anything more delightful than thus to spend some weeks in so magnificent a country. In England any person fond of natural history enjoys in his walks a great advantage, by always having something to attract his attention; but in these fertile climates, teeming with life, the attractions are so numerous, that he is scarcely able to walk at all." Charles Darwin, April 1832

The Latin America Darwin Scholar Programme, organized by the Field Studies Council in the UK, will be held at REGUA this September. The course is aimed at under 35 year olds enrolled on a university biology degree around the world. If you are interested in biology and ecology you are invited to participate in a week long course that will touch all the branches of natural sciences.

If you would like to share in a programme aimed at developing better naturalists in the spirit of Darwin's love of nature and observing the natural world, this is the opportunity. The Scholarship will focus on three areas: skills of observation and identification, skills of recording biodiversity, and skills of communicating biodiversity to different target groups. It will be an opportunity to work alongside leading scientists and educators in Brazil in a privileged conservation project, to network, and take back a unique experience.

The Field Studies Council is offering a limited number of bursaries of 550 GBP to successful applicants.

Book a place

Posted by Nicholas Locke

01 August 2014

World Land Trust appeal for strategic land purchase

Recent years have seen a rapid rise in urbanisation within the upper GuapiaƧu valley. The new tarmac road to GuapiaƧu village has brought with it an influx of people, many of whom have chosen to build weekend homes in the area, clearing areas of forest in the process. The most effective way to ensure the long-term protection of the Atlantic Forest of the upper GuapiaƧu valley is to purchase as many land plots as possible to incorporate into the reserve.

The World Land Trust in the UK have been funding land purchases for REGUA since 2005. They have launched a new appeal to raise Ā£25,000 required to buy a small plot in the currently unprotected 'Matumbo Gap' -Ā a series of properties situated between two separate parts of REGUA. This property is crucial to our aim of creating a forest corridor between the two parts of the reserve.

Land prices in theĀ upper GuapiaƧu valley have risen sharply in recent years due to very high demand, and this plot may not be for sale for long. To help us secure this vital property please visit the World Land Trust website to make a donation.

Posted by Lee Dingain

18 June 2014

Funds urgently required to protect the Atlantic Forest of the GA Valley

The Reserva Ecologica de Guapiacu (REGUA) was established in 2001 to protect the remaining forests of the Guapiacu valley, about 70 kilometres north of Rio de Janeiro. The most effective way to ensure this long-term protection is through land purchase, to create a continuous protected nature reserve around the valley sides. REGUA already protects over 18,000 acres and has planted over 250,000 trees in its efforts to restore cattle pasture to forest.

After 12 years of steady growth, REGUA has established itself as one of the most influential and active conservation organisations in south-east Brazil, and is now ready to build on its successes by embarking on a major new land purchase initiative. Land prices are starting to increase significantly, partly fuelled by the investment in roads and infrastructure flowing from the World Cup and Olympics to be held in Rio, but also from an increasing desire for city dwellers to build holiday homes. These un-controlled developments are threatening to further fragment the forest unless we can purchase the key areas quickly.

In February this year the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest Trust (a UK registered charity that was created to support REGUA) held its first major fundraising evening at the Jockey Club in Carlton Terrace, London. The event was attended by about 40 people, some representing other charities but mostly individuals with an interest in our work. Nicholas Locke gave an informative presentation on the successes to date and our ambitious plans for the future.

REGUA has identified eleven properties covering 1,500 acres for purchase at a total cost of about Ā£400,000 and the fundraising event in London has already secured pledges of Ā£150,000 towards that target. In addition, the Rainforest Trust (the re-named World Land Trust US) has pledged a further Ā£40,000 and is actively working to double this contribution. Meanwhile Nicholas at REGUA is working hard to map the land that we wish to acquire and to negotiate favourable prices with the landowners.

Although we have made a great start, there is still a massive fundraising task ahead of us if we are to reach our target. If you can help in any way please contact Alan Martin in the UK (for contact details click here), or Paul Salaman of the Rainforest Trust in the US.

Posted by Alan Martin

17 June 2014

REGUA back in The Times

World Land Trust council member and The Times columnist, Simon Barnes, descibes his recent visit to REGUA in a piece in The Times this week - Itā€™s not Rio but it is a carnival of the animals. To download the article click here.

Posted by Lee Dingain

REGUA at Avistar 2014 - the Brazilian birdfair in São Paulo

REGUA was present at Avistar, the Brazilian Bird Fair, in mid-May this year, marking it's presence and promoting it's actions. Carlos Sanhudo, a researcher specializing in Atttini leaf cutting ants who wishes to continue studying this family of ants at REGUA, and his wife Camila who is finished her doctorate degree at Imperial College on bird population statistics, kindly invited us to stay with them and Raquel and I went daily to the Bird Fair at Villa Lobos.

This is the most important birdwatching event in Brazil and attracts many stands occupied by bird guides offering tours, municipal representatives attracting birders to their home counties and even foreign tour companies attracting the Brazilians abroad. Aside meeting old friends and associates, it is the best opportunity to meet up with familiar guides and see what is new in the country in this ever expanding business. The organizer Guto Carvalho kindly permitted us to share a stand with Lila Ferrez of Vale das Taquaras lodge, as we are so closely located to each other and aside distributing promotional material, it is a great opportunity to reach to those starting this hobby.

This year we made a number of friends and rubbed shoulder with the Brazilian Birdlife Partner SAVE Brasil, with whom we are developing a project on the reintroduction of Endangered Black-fronted Piping-guans Pipile jacutinga, and other Petrobras Ambiental project winners Margi Moss. Discussions with friends range from experiences of other NGOs working in reforestation in other parts of Brazil; projects that are developing holistic approaches to conservation and the positive changes in legislation that ultimately are helping conservation projects across Brazil. REGUA is present and though we are a grass roots project it is heartwarming to see that we are all trailing the same path aiming for great results.

Well done Guto for a great fair and a really important occasion to catch up and share news. For details on Avistar and please visit the Avistar website.

Avistar 2014, May 2014 (Photo by Nicholas Locke)
Avistar 2014, May 2014 (Photo by Nicholas Locke)
Avistar 2014, May 2014 (Photo by Nicholas Locke)
Avistar 2014, May 2014 (Photo by Nicholas Locke)

Posted by Nicholas Locke

05 May 2014

Was this the best day ever for Cotingas?

On the 9th April 2014, a group of us led by Leonardo travelled to Mount Caledonia with the hope of seeing some of the higher altitude species, and we weren't dissappointed. The day started very misty but even before we reached the first bend in the road walking down from the parking area at the top, we had seen most of the specialities including Diademed Tanager, Thick-billed Saltator, Mouse-coloured Tapaculo, Rufous and Dusky-tailed Antbirds, Plovercrest, Brazilian Ruby, White-throated Hummingbird and many more. But then at the first bend things just got a lot better when we saw our first male Black and Gold Cotinga, then the second, then the third.....

In total we estimated that there were between 10-12 Black-and-gold Cotingas in an area of about 100 yards, but even more astonishing were the 4 Grey-winged Cotingas that were accompanying them. We soon realised that they were coming in to feed on some large dark brown berries, and although it was still a bit misty this gave us the most wonderful views of these difficult birds, and enabled us to get some decent photos as well. Then just to finish the day off perfectly we found a flock of 10 Swallow-tailed Cotingas around the other side of the mountain. At least 24 Cotingas of 3 species in one day - is this a record?

1st yr male Grey-winged Cotinga <i>Tijuca condita</i>, Pico da Caledônia, 9 April 2014 (Photo by Alan Martin)
Grey-winged Cotinga Tijuca condita, Pico da Caledônia, 9 April 2014 (Photo by Alan Martin)
1st yr male Black-and-gold Cotinga <i>Tijuca atra</i>, Pico da Caledônia, 9 April 2014 (Photo by Alan Martin)
1st yr male Black-and-gold Cotinga Tijuca atra, Pico da Caledônia, 9 April 2014 (Photo by Alan Martin)
Imm male Black-and-gold Cotinga <i>Tijuca atra</i>, Pico da Caledônia, 9 April 2014 (Photo by Alan Martin)
Imm male Black-and-gold Cotinga Tijuca atra, Pico da Caledônia, 9 April 2014 (Photo by Alan Martin)

Posted by Alan Martin

01 May 2014

REGUA appears on Brazil's largest TV network

GuapiaƧu Grande VidaA video about the Ecological Reserve of Guapiaçu (REGUA) was broadcasted by the Program Terra da Gente from EPTV (Emissoras Pioneiras de TelevisĆ£o)- a Rede Globo affiliated network in SĆ£o Paulo and southern Minas Gerais. Globo is the largest TV network in Brazil.

The video shows the work of REGUA over the year, initiated by Nicholas and Rachel. Nicholas is British and Raquel Argentinean, they arrived in Brazil more than 10 years ago and through much effort managed to restore areas previously occupied by pastureland, turning them into forest and thereby strengthening the Guapiaçu river sub-basin. The production of seedlings, the planting and maintenance of the planted areas is also presented, showing the wonderful work that local residents - many of them former hunters and currently employees of REGUA - perform nowadays helping to preserve the environment.

Many people in addition to voluntary work conduct their research in the Reserve, especially concerning dragonflies and their peculiarities. Another activity developed is bird watching due to the large variety of species on the spot. And also the presence of wild animals, which are monitored by cameras installed at specific places. The return of birds, animals and insects proves that the old pastures became a healthy forest, strengthening the Guapiaçu river sub-basin.

To watch the video click here (in Portugues).

Posted by Nathalie Horta

30 April 2014

New bird for Adilei - part 4: A visit to Desengano State Park

In our last article of the series "New Bird for Adilei", from our exciting lightening visit to the Desengano State Park in the company of birder Sue Healey, Raquel and Desengano State Park Biologist, João Rafael Marins, we saw a great new bird not found at REGUA, the Grey-crowned Flycatcher Tolmomyias poliocephalus. This bird closely resembles a flatbill and in Portuguese it is known as the "Bico chato da cabeƧa cinza" or Grey-headed Flatbill. It is a relatively common species found in the Amazon basin as well as the Atlantic Forest.

We found this bird calling from the canopy of a tree near to Desengano State Park, on the lowlands near Campos. A male happily responded to João's playback and darted around us calling back from open limbs of the canopy. We were all delighted and Adilei looked at us and said with a satisfying smile, "New bird for Adilei!". Thank you João Rafael for spending time with us and may you continue looking after your forest of the great Desengano State Park.

Grey-crowned Flycatcher <i>Tolmomyias poliocephalus</i>, March 2014 (Photo by Nicholas Locke)
Grey-crowned Flycatcher Tolmomyias poliocephalus, Desengano State Park, March 2014 (Photo by Nicholas Locke)

Posted by Nicholas Locke

29 April 2014

New bird for Adilei - part 3: A visit to Desengano State Park

For all those who visit REGUA, everyone is very happy to meet Adilei, one of REGUA's resident bird guides. He is very much a people person, and just like all of us, wishes to see something new. In the company of Sue Healey, in March we decided to visit the Desengano State park. Desengano State Park Biologist, João Rafael Marins, soon told us of a spot nearby where we could see the Rio de Janeiro Antbird Cercomacra brasiliana, a species that takes the name of the state but is easier to see in Southern Bahia. Its range is from Rio de Janeiro to south Bahia, however habitat loss has caused the IUCN to place it under Near-threatened status.

Leaving our small lodge early, we drove on some back roads from Santa Maria Madalena towards Trajano de Morais, a high elevation area but seriously deforested with only small patches of forest remaining. In one of these fragments, and not far away from a large hotel that is being constructed, João told us to get out of the car and within minutes the bird was responding to playback. Two males happily called and a faun coloured female was also seen in the undergrowth. These antbirds are shy birds, never stationary for long, and prefer to hide in dense tangles of vines and leaves making it challenging to take photos. We were all ecstatic and Adilei whispered with a big grin, "New bird for Adilei!". Thank you João Rafael!

Rio de Janeiro Antbird  <i>Cercomacra brasiliana</i>, Desengano State Park, March 2014 (Photo by Nicholas Locke)
Rio de Janeiro Antbird Cercomacra brasiliana, Desengano State Park, March 2014 (Photo by Nicholas Locke)

Posted by Nicholas Locke

28 April 2014

466 and still counting

On the 15th April 2014 I was walking around the REGUA wetlands with Barry Yates and Thor Ostbye when I happened to notice a Fulvous Whistling-Duck sitting with a few White-faced and Black-bellied Whistling Ducks. The identification was easy as I had only recently seen this species in northern Colombia. Fulvous Whistling-Duck is widespread in South America and occurs on the eastern coast as far south as northern Argentina, however it appears to be an uncommon species in Rio State and this is the first REGUA record. We now have 466 species on the REGUA list and there are still a number of waterbirds that should occur - my prediction is for White-cheeked Pintail next.

Fulvous Whistling-Duck <i>Dendrocygna bicolor</i>, REGUA, 15 April 2014 - new for REGUA (Photo by Alan Martin)
Fulvous Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna bicolor, REGUA, 15 April 2014 - new for REGUA (Photo by Alan Martin)

Posted by Alan Martin

19 April 2014

New bird for Adilei - part 2: A RJ threatened bird species seen at the Desengano State Park

A short visit to the Desengano State Park led us to stay at Santa Maria Madalena, a three hour drive from REGUA, to show our guide Adilei a few new birds not found or difficult to see at REGUA. This occurred at last February in the delightful company of birder Sue Healey. Desengano State Park Biologist, João Rafael Marins, met us at our small lodge and he soon identified a species that Adilei hadn't seen before, the Minute Hermit.

Hummingbirds are always a pleasure to see. Characteristic to the New World, these smallest of warm blooded vertebrates are found in abundance in south-east Brazil and their humming of the wings when in flight is compensated by loud chirps defending their territory when perched. Feeding mostly on nectar they also feed on insects, with a penchant for small spiders. At REGUA they come to sugary liquid filled feeders and their extremely aggressive nature provide for displays as they ward off others prying on their food sources. The natural iridescence of their plumage led to much collecting since earliest of times in Brazil, mainly to supply adornments for women's clothing and it was only in 1967 that this stopped with a blanket ban on wild animal collecting.

Hummers have been known from the Pleistocene era and the earliest fossil was found in Germany indicating they covered Laurasia in this geological time. Some event happened around 25 million years ago causing them to settle only in the Americas. In traditional taxonomy, hummers are in the order of Apodiformes (together with swifts) a word derived from the Greek "footless", and split into two subfamilies, the Trochilinae (normal hummers) with 280-300 species and Phaethornithinae (hermits) with 34 species. The review by taxonomists has since created more subfamilies.

The bird species we wanted to see was Minute Hermit Phaethornis idaliae has a very limited distribution from Cabo Frio to Southern Bahia. Thought to be probably "threatened" in the Rio state but known to occur on the Desengano lowlands we had no difficulty in hearing its loud chirping and we were very happy to see this gorgeous hermit. As Adilei said smiling to us "A new bird for Adilei"!

Minute Hermit <i>Phaethornis idaliae</i>, Desengano State Park, March 2014 (Photo by Nicholas Locke)
Minute Hermit Phaethornis idaliae, Desengano State Park, March 2014 (Photo by Nicholas Locke)

Posted by Nicholas Locke

16 April 2014

New bird for Adilei - part 1: The Red-headed Manakin at the Desengano State Park

"New bird for Adilei", he tells me as we see this bird for the first time. Our REGUA bird guide, Adilei, is always so incredibly helpful in finding birds for our guests that we felt that we had to find him some new species in return. This is a series of articles of our trip to the lowlands of the Desengano State Park in March, chaperoned by the experienced birder João Rafael de Marins, Desengano State Park Biologist, to look for new birds. João did well to find us a total of 5 birds.

We visited the lowlands close to the Desengano State Park, more precisely, the Sao Julião Farm where there is some superb remaining Atlantic Rainforest, to look for the extraordinary Red-headed Manakin Pipra rubrocapilla.

Like most Manakins, this species is popularly called "CabeƧa encarnada" or "Redhead", is relatively small. Manakins are sub-canopy species and like to dart around their territory issuing a small burp like call, and their colours defy belief.

Manakins have some of the most complex courtship displays seen in the Americas. In this case the male is known to perch close to the female, tap dance a little showing its red spot of its thigh feathers, simultaneously stretching a leg and bouncing its tail. If two males are courting the same female, one will intimidate the other by showing a white spot in his spread wings. Then one of the males will fly up and zoom back to the female to try and mate (if she doesn't take off). Helmut Sick writes this following his close studies and we are left only to contemplate almost in disbelief these rituals.

You can see for yourself why birders find the Manakins the most extraordinary bird species!

Red-headed Manakin <i>Pipra rubrocapilla</i>, Desengano State Park, 12 March 2014 (Photo by Nicholas Locke)
Red-headed Manakin Pipra rubrocapilla, Desengano State Park, 12 March 2014 (Photo by Nicholas Locke)
Red-headed Manakin <i>Pipra rubrocapilla</i>, Desengano State Park, 12 March 2014 (Photo by Nicholas Locke)
Red-headed Manakin Pipra rubrocapilla, Desengano State Park, 12 March 2014 (Photo by Nicholas Locke)

Posted by Nicholas Locke

14 April 2014

White-crested Elaenia - a new bird for REGUA!

On the 19 March 2014, our bird guide Leonardo saw two groups of unfamiliar elaenias near the old house on the area of REGUA known as Waldenoor, named after the man who once lived here. Leonardo takes up the story - "Initially the birds did not respond to playback, but after 30 minutes I saw two more birds and this time they did respond, revealing their identity - White-crested Elaenia Elaenia albiceps and came closer allowing me to take this photo (below). I think there was around six birds in total".

There are six subspecies White-crested Elaenia. Four of these, including the nominate E. albiceps are resident, distributed throughout the Andes from south-west Columbia south to north-west Bolivia. The remaining two are migratory, and one of these, E. chilensis, is a long distance migrant - arriving in September on their breeding along the Andes from southern Bolivia through Argentina and Chile to Tierra del Fuego at the continent's southern tip, and departing north and eastwards in March and April to winter as far as north-west Brazil. This is the first record of White-crested Elaenia for REGUA, and brings the total number of bird species recorded here to 465!

White-crested Elaenia <i>Elaenia albiceps</i>, Waldenoor, 19 March 2014 (Photo by Leonardo Pimentel)
White-crested Elaenia Elaenia albiceps, Waldenoor, 19 March 2014 (Photo by Leonardo Pimentel)

Posted by Leonardo Pimentel

07 April 2014

For the love of REGUA

Writing for our supporters Puro Coffee, our good friend and volunteer Sue Healey describes how a trip to REGUA in May 2006 changed her life and sparked a passion to help reserve Brazil's Atlantic Forest. To read Sue's excellent blog post click here.

Posted by Lee Dingain

01 April 2014

The Great Potoo spotted in the Desengano State Park

Everyone wants to see the potoos in South America for in Portuguese they are affectionately known as "Mae da Lua", or "Mother of the Moon".

The Great Potoo Nyctibeus grandis is the largest potoo found in the Americas. It is the size of a large owl, and this extraordinary bird makes a call that you would think reaching to the other side of life itself. Spanning most of South America, it is common to lowland edges of clearings where it perches on tree boughs quite high off the ground, very well camouflaged, waiting to catch its prey. It is considered a rare bird species.

This species has not been seen at REGUA, and we came across our first example in the 22,500 hectare Desengano State park, located by the Sao JuliĆ£o near Campos in the RJ state, through the kind efforts of the substitute head of the park, Joao Rafael Marins. Driving at night we found the spot and played the call. The bird immediately responded by flying in and fluttering its pale grey wings above us in a warning display to land on a branch of a tree some 30 feet above us. The female also came in following him but she just landed in a tree close by whilst we looked through our binoculars and took these photos. We were all mesmerized by its calm attitude and left it to get on with its modest lifestyle.

Great Potoo <i>Nyctibeus grandis</i>, Desengano State Park (Photo by Nicholas Locke)
Great Potoo Nyctibeus grandis, Desengano State Park (Photo by Nicholas Locke)
Great Potoo <i>Nyctibeus grandis</i>, Desengano State Park (Photo by Nicholas Locke)
Great Potoo Nyctibeus grandis, Desengano State Park (Photo by Nicholas Locke)

The fine grey plumage matches the grey branch showing how it is so very well camouflaged. Thank you Joao for showing us this extraordinary bird!

Posted by Nicholas Locke

17 February 2014

Milkweed butterflies at REGUA

Milkweed butterflies from the genus Danaus are an emblematic group due to their incredible migration routes, colouration, multi-trophic interactions and so many other interesting aspects of their life histories. The Monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus has been extensively studied in North America, and just recently the Southern Monarch Danaus erippus has been considered as a separate species from Danaus plexippus. Last week, Pedro Ferreira (an undergraduate student at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro( UFRJ) and Daniela Rdrigues (Monarch project main researcher) have found eggs of both the southern monarch D. erippus and the Queen Butterfly D. gilippus at REGUA.

Both species use milkweed Asclepias curassavica as a host plant. Thanks to Jorge Bizarro and Sidenei, who have indicated nice spots with milkweeds and butterflies, as well as the planting of some milkweed in tha last winter, they were able to find both the Southern Monarch and the queen in the wetland area. We are interested in conducting some experiments on larval behaviour and adult cognition of both Danaus species. For the moment, the Southern Monarch seems to be commonly seen all over the year, and the Queen Butterfly is fairly easy to see at higher altitudes, like in Salinas where this photo was taken.

Queen Butterfly <i>Danaus gilippus</i>, REGUA (Photo by Tom Kompier)
Queen Butterfly Danaus gilippus, REGUA (Photo by Jorge Bizarro)

Posted by Jorge Bizarro

13 February 2014

GuapiaƧu Grande Vida - a new project with the Petrobras Environmental Program

GuapiaƧu Grande VidaHere at REGUA, our new project - GuapiaƧu Grande Vida - sponsored by the Petrobras Environmental Program, is now well underway. The project aims to strengthen the ecosystem of the upper GuapiaƧu river basin through reforestation and community outreach. Our aim is to plant 100 hectares of previously deforested lowland with native tree species, from saplings grown from seeds collected mostly from the forest on the reserve and germinated in our nursery. This work is generating employment and income for the local community. Moreover, we are working on environmental education with local schools, children and students, providing talks, displays and training courses, as well as workshops for teachers.

Follow our activities and keep up with news on this exciting project Portugues on our dedicated website, and through our dedicated Facebook page: Projeto GuapiaƧu Grande Vida.

Posted by Nathalie Horta and Lee Dingain

12 February 2014

South America's rarest primate sighted at REGUA

On 27 December 2013 Dutch dragonfly enthusiast Tom Kompier decided to hike up the arduous Salinas trail to look for forest damselflies. It had been raining for weeks, but now the weather had cleared and the sun was out. For those that know the trail, about halfway, just before it starts getting really slippery and steep, there is an area with huge boulders and a smallish pond. An area where wood-quails often hang out and a good place for dragonflies too. Getting close to it Tom was getting all psyched up for the dragons and therefore when he heard some crashing noises from the top of the trees, he did not immediately realise what that meant. There, a large light-coloured mammal jumping from one tree to the next, sloth! But a little bit frisky for a sloth, really. Then it dawned on him. Muruquis! The rare Woolly Spider Monkey Brachyteles arachnoides, only occasionally encountered. There were at least four of them, but they did not linger long and also were not keen on having their pictures taken, so only a few record shots were obtained.

Woolly Spider Monkey <i>Brachyteles arachnoides</i>, REGUA, 27 December 2013 (Photo by Tom Kompier)
Woolly Spider Monkey Brachyteles arachnoides, REGUA, 27 December 2013 (Photo by Tom Kompier)

Posted by Tom Kompier

04 January 2014

A rare Orange Kite-swallowtail butterfly shows its wings at REGUA

Some of our spring days can be very hot and it's not surprising that many animals can be seen drinking water. On 9 December, as I looked for the evidence of the Red-billed Curassow chicks that were seen a couple of months ago by a local farmer, I crossed the path with a couple of remarkable swallowtail butterflies. They appeared to be drinking water from a little trickle that crossed the rocky road base from which they drank inbetween hastily fluttering up and down the short section of the road. Often the two butterflies met and with the appearance of being entwined spiralled up into the sky for some 20 feet to then fall apart and resume their road surface drinking.

These are Orange Kite-swallowtails Protographium thyastes and only seen at this time of the year. The caterpillars can be are found on Annonaceae, or the extraordinary custard apple trees as well as Lauraceaetrees. These butterflies are fairly rare and they are characteristic of the low altitude vegetation of the Atlantic Rainforest. Mimicry is common in this species to confuse their predators. It's great that the butterflies indicate the good state of the habitat at REGUA.

Considering their beauty, we certainly hope these butterflies can be seen more regularly at REGUA.

Orange Kite-swallowtail <i>Protographium thyastes</i>, 9 December 2013 (Photo by Nicholas Locke)
Orange Kite-swallowtail Protographium thyastes, 9 December 2013 (Photo by Nicholas Locke)
Orange Kite-swallowtail <i>Protographium thyastes</i>, 9 December 2013 (Photo by Nicholas Locke)
Orange Kite-swallowtail Protographium thyastes, 9 December 2013 (Photo by Nicholas Locke)

Posted by Nicholas Locke and Jorge Bizarro

02 January 2014

Brazil Hawkmoths website updated

REGUA supporter Alan Martin has updated the information on the Brazil Hawkmoths website, and also completely redesigned the site. Check it out at The website provides a wide range of information about the region's Sphingidae, and includes a very useful identification key and flight times for REGUA. The website compliments Alan's excellent book A Guide to the Hawkmoths of the Serra dos Orgaos, South-eastern Brazil, which can be bought from Alan by emailing him at

Posted by Lee Dingain

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