Brazil’s Pantanal is the largest freshwater wetland in the world comprising about 140,000 square miles, most of it in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil, but some of it extending into Bolivia and Paraguay as well. The Pantanal is formed by a number of rivers that flow into it. During the rainy season, much of it is submerged. During the long dry season, however, the rivers recede and large grasslands appear. Birdlife is truly impressive. Thousands of waterbirds congregate during the dry season in the remaining marshes and ponds. Jabirus and other waders are extremely common and easily seen and photographed. Caiman are abundant as are capybara, the huge rodent common to South America. As many as 650 bird species occur in the Pantanal. In addition, 300 mammals, 480 reptiles, and thousands of plant species, many only found in the Pantanal, occur. Of special interest are the rare or difficult-to-see species that are fairly common in the Pantanal: Giant Otter, Tapir, Giant Anteater, Marsh Deer and Hyacinth Macaw (the largest macaw and an endemic) can be easily seen and photographed here. One of the most difficult cats in the world to see—the Jaguar—is especially common in the Pantanal during the dry season where they often rest and hunt along the river banks. And, we’ll spend another a couple of days in the Chapada dos Guimaraes National Park and its spectacular canyons, falls, and native savanna where different bird species can be found.
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