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Drinking Rum Punch in the Rupununi


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Taking the long scenic route back to the lodgen revealed more of the vast scale and beauty of the Rupununi savannas and their extraordinary emptiness.







Jabiru Stork





Local farmstead


We arrived back for our late breakfast, just in time to see Diane and her assistant returning from the river with her latest orphan, had we not been out birding, we could have gone down to the river to watch the young otter, being given it’s swimming lessons. It would have been nice to have been able to do this, but the birding came first, if you are in camp at the right time, then you can go down to the river with Diane to watch. Having not asked to be introduced to the new orphan, it was great to see the young otter being walked past rather like a dog. Surprisingly given how many otters Diane has already returned to the river, her latest cub, was the only one we saw during our time at Karanambu.




Diane McTurk with her latest orphaned Giant Otter 







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Shed Karanambu



Getting the old Landy going


In the middle of the day at Karanambu, it’s so hot that there really isn’t much option, but to have a siesta until teatime, at about 16:00 we walked down to the jetty, boarded a boat and set of upstream for a short distance. After landing we walked quite a short way through the forest, until we reached one of Karanambu’s lily ponds known as the ‘Honey Ponds’, the Rupununi River has formed many oxbow lakes of different sizes, some of these provide a perfect habitat for the glorious giant water lily Victoria amazonica. Seeing one of these ponds in the rainforest its surface almost entirely covered by the huge leaves of this extraordinary plant, the world’s largest water lily is one of the great sights of the Amazon region. The ponds are home to plenty of Black Caiman and arapaima and a whole variety of water birds like Bronze-winged Jacanas and Black-crowned Night Herons and while birding in the evening, you can also sit and watch the large flower buds of the lilies slowly open. Sitting on a bench eating the homemade cookies provided by our guide jasper’s wife and drinking rum punch at this beautiful spot, made for an almost perfect end to the day.



Evening on the Rupununi River






Flooded Forest, at the height of the wet season this trail would be deep underwater



Victoria amazonica lily





Victoria amazonica 



Black Caiman



Victoria amazonica



Black Caiman



Black-crowned Night Heron



One of 'The Honey Ponds'




Black Caiman displaying






After the sun went down we walked back to the river, to our dismay when we reached the boat, it started to rain and on this occasion I’d forgotten to bring my waterproof trousers, fortunately although it rained quite hard, my poncho managed to keep me dry enough. On our way back in the boat we spotted another turtle laying eggs on a beach, my attempts at taking a photo came to nothing and weren’t appreciated by the rest of the boat, so we moved on I did however manage to get some photos of a Capybara. Thankfully we made it back to the lodge without getting too seriously wet.




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After dinner Salvador produced his laptop and showed us some of the camera trap photos taken around Karanambu, as part of a project sponsored by Panthera. From the photos they’ve identified (if I remember correctly) 6 different jaguars, some resident and some passing through, as well as pumas, ocelots, margays and various other animals like tapirs, peccaries, red brocket and white-tailed deer. While we never saw any of these at Karanambu as they are generally nocturnal, we did see jaguar pugmarks and also scrape marks on the ground made by pumas.


Salvador then told us something extraordinary, apparently further south in the Southern Rupununi Savannahs where there are more cattle, jaguars have been observed hunting and feeding cooperatively and then when this information was passed on to Panthera, they said that similar behaviour had been reported from the Llanos in Venezuela. The suggestion I think was that one jaguar was seen to chase a cow in the direction of another jaguar, that was waiting in ambush, I’m not sure what to make of this, as I haven’t been able to find any mention of this behaviour on the web, while not impossible, it’s seems a little unlikely to me. There are no extant indigenous prey animals, within the jaguars range in South America, that they cannot bring down easily enough on their own. When they kill cattle which they do quite often in some areas, especially where their natural prey has been depleted by overhunting, they tend to go for calves and young stock which a single jaguar can easily handle. The idea that (presumably related) jaguars are forming coalitions like cheetahs, in order to hunt cattle seems pretty unlikely to me, but why he would have told us this or why he was told this if it’s not true, I don’t know.


Certainly the introduction of cattle, has meant that jaguars if they’re not persecuted, can now survive in areas where previously they could not or at least could not live permanently, due to lack of prey, whether the behaviour of these jaguars is changing and they are becoming more social, I don’t know, though I do suspect that jaguars may already be a little bit more social than was previously thought.



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Day 14


This was sadly our last morning at Karanambu, after having breakfast at 05:30, we headed off for one last walk although the main target of our walk was a bird, I was hoping that I might catch a glimpse of some Eastern Bearded Saki Monkeys, as Karanambu is a good place to see them and this would be my last chance on this trip. Not long in to our walk we heard a sound not unlike a lowing calf, albeit a rather odd sounding one, in fact on hearing it again, it sounded almost more electronic than natural. What was making this very strange sound, as we well knew, was not some poor lost calf, but a bird, the Capuchinbird without doubt one of the oddest birds in the world, we had in fact heard these birds back at Iwokrama, but had not seen the birds there. We carried on walking closer to the origin of the calls, having identified roughly where the birds were, Luke got out his phone and proceeded to play a recording of their bizarre calls. Before long we had three of these quite large birds perched in the tree above our heads, the males come together at a lek site, in the hope that their displays will attract a female. Largely cinnamon brown in colour, they have a bare blue head surrounded by a ruff of feathers somewhat like a monk which is why they were named Capuchinbirds, when calling the males curled undertail coverts, project out like two orange balls either side of the tail. Giving them a decidedly odd appearance to match their odd call which Ber van Perlo in his book A Field Guide to the Birds of Brazil describes as follows

song at lek series of 3 very low notes, starting with a long, inhaled, toneless, growling, “frrrrroh” then an exhaled, drawn-out, bleating “waoooooow” and a short, lower “woh” (the total as the weirdest sound you’ll ever hear coming from a bird).


It is this call that gives the bird its alternative name of Calfbird, some say the call is like the sound of a distant chainsaw starting up combined with sound of a lowing calf, either way it is undoubtedly the strangest bird I’ve ever seen or heard.


Here’s a link to some recordings on Xeno-Canto.







Rear view




As usual taking photos that wouldn’t just be silhouettes proved to be a real challenge, these were the best I could do.

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After a short while the Capuchinbirds disappeared from view, so we carried on our way, spotting a good few birds like this Blue-backed Manikin as we headed back over to the Honey Ponds.



Blue-backed Manikin



Yellow-breasted Flycatcher



Pied Water Tyrant



Black Caiman



Snowy Egret




The Honey Ponds






Another lizard I don't know the name of

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Orchids in the garden at Karanambu





Sadly the only cat of any kind I saw during my stay in Guyana



Buff-throated Woodcreeper in the garden at Karanambu


While I was extremely happy to have seen the Capuchinbirds and some of the other species we picked up, the Eastern Bearded Saki Monkeys were sadly uncooperative, so I would leave Guyana without seeing them. When we arrived back at the lodge, we were told that our scheduled flight back to Georgetown via Lethem, would not be at around 10:00 as per our itinerary, but would be arriving much later in the afternoon. This meant we would be able to stay for lunch which was very nice, however, it meant that we would lose our planned afternoon tour of Georgetown and birding in the Botanic Gardens.

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As with our first flight from Georgetown to Kaieteur, it was necessary to weigh the passengers as well as the luggage, however, this is done at the lodge, Salvador came around with some scales and suggested that I pickup and carry as much as possible before getting on. He is obviously well practiced at weighing guests, in such a way that their luggage does exceed the limit. After one last short drive out across the savanna, we arrived at the airstrip at about 14:45 and waited for our Trans Guyana Airways Caravan to arrive.

















Unlike the previous flight which was a charter, this is a scheduled flight that goes from Georgetown down to Lethem on the Brazilian border, stopping to drop off and pick up passengers at Karanambu on the way. As we left I suggested to Salvador, that they’d better get the anteater back in the corral, so as not to disappoint the new guests, who were arriving on our flight. :D

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Karanambu & the Rupununi Savannahs from the Air


















Takutu River Guyana/Brazil Border at Lethem



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Refueling at Lethem in Guyana by inyathi, on Flickr



I'm not sure what this piñata style animal on top of this minibus was all about


We disembarked briefly at Lethem, while the plane was refuelled, after a short wait it was back on board for the roughly 1hr 45min flight back up to Georgetown.













Essequibo River



Gold Mining is one of the greatest threats to the rainforest in Guyana




Essequibo River












Cheddi Jagan International Airport in Guyana



Georgetown from the Air


Landing at around 17:20, we concluded that there wasn’t really time to do anything, other than drive back to our hotel Cara Lodge.




Cara Lodge




It soon became apparent after checking in, that there was no power a bit of a nuisance, but I had a torch, so it wasn’t such a big deal, however, I was a little concerned about the lack of power in the kitchen, all the more so, when I discovered that power was off across Georgetown. Fortunately before too long the power was back on and we would be able to have dinner after all, this was something of a relief, as aside from being quite hungry, we’d invited Luke to join us.

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So in future when travelling at a time of year when colds are prevalent I would recommend always taking some cold remedies just in case.



Good advice. Just like "it must be 5 o'clock somewhere, so let's have a cocktail," it is always cold season somewhere and there are always travelers from that somewhere that could be sitting near you. The few times I have followed your advice and have gotten a cold, I was so happy I had some remedies for coughing, sniffles, etc. When I've left all the cold medicine behind and I picked up some kind of bug or cold, I've suffered.


Looking forward to Guyana and some rum punch!



9kgs on the flight? With that limit, I might have to reconsider the cold remedies. Certainly wouldn't leave my binocs behind for Sudafed.

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I saw the golden rocket frog. What a coincidence you have a Cock of the Rock photo as I was just investigating where to see that species yesterday.


Rainbows in the waterfall, always a winning combination and having them to yourselves is winning a jackpot!


I feel your pain with photographing birds—or anything, really—in the rainforest. But your results are admirable. Even a scarlet macaw. They seem so much shyer than their cousin macaws. Also feeling that pain with the dial seeming to turn on its own when traveling in the pouch. I guess when I press the shutter I need to make sure I pay a bit more attention to the numbers that come up in my viewfinder.” Often when we take a shot, there is not a lot of time to check dials, modes, settings etc. Trying to set everything back to “normal” after a shot is a good goal, but can also be forgotten.



I love that little purple flower/plant at the start of post #32.


Channel Billed Toucan—is that a bit rare?


Giant River Otter! Alright!

Very interesting fact about the Iwokrama Forest’s canopy construction that might allow those afraid of heights to actually do a canopy walk by ascending a hill. Less swaying too. A “gentle canopy walk.”

For the proboscis bats, now be honest, how long did it take you to see them after being told where to look? I can remember having the hardest time seeing them the first time they were pointed out, though I was looking directly at them.


I appreciate snakes but wouldn’t want a relative of the fer de lance in my loo. Are you including any photos of this guy in the report? The snake didn’t get you but the cassava juice might have. Interesting use of the bicycle.


The new hatched baby caimans are where I’m ending for now. Very cute.


Thanks for going that extra mile in you Guyana report. Or rather than thanking you…Darn you for making another destination so very appealing and intriguing.

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Thanks @@Atravelynn


Channel Billed Toucan—is that a bit rare?



Not really, channel-billed toucans are I think pretty common around South America, but they are basically forest birds and apart from the mango trees, there really weren’t any other major trees next to the farmstead, where this tame bird was. I’m sure there are wild channel-bills in some of the larger forest patches at Karanambu, but you wouldn’t expect to see toucans of any kind, out in the open savanna where this one was.



For the proboscis bats, now be honest, how long did it take you to see them after being told where to look? I can remember having the hardest time seeing them the first time they were pointed out, though I was looking directly at them.



The proboscis bats weren’t hard to spot because they were on the underside of a fallen tree. that we boated directly underneath the ones I saw in the Pantanal on the side of a tree, were perhaps harder to spot at least until I got right up close.



I appreciate snakes but wouldn’t want a relative of the fer de lance in my loo. Are you including any photos of this guy in the report?



You must have missed it, I posted a shot of the snake a house labaria at the end of post 55, as I think I said I haven’t been able to find much information about this snake on the web. Before the fer de lance was mentioned I assumed that it was probably harmless, but even so I wasn’t tempted to touch it or get too close in case I was wrong. Besides, while I’m not the least bit scared of snakes, I wouldn’t pick up a wild snake, even if I knew it was completely harmless without good reason, anymore than I would try to pick up any other wild animal. I have once at home picked up a harmless grass snake, but I won’t do that again after it sprayed foul smelling liquid from its anal gland all over my arm.


Darn you for making another destination so very appealing and intriguing.



Thanks this is exactly why I write these reports. :)

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Day 15


For our final morning in Guyana, we had to get out of bed at 04:30, early morning starts are an occupational hazard of being a birder, but this was half an hour earlier than usual, it was worth the effort, as we still had a few good birds to find. Leaving around 05:00, we headed off through the dark, eastwards along the coast to the Abary River, a protected area of mangrove forest, arriving about 06:00 we turned off the main road into the reserve and stopped to have some coffee and a simple picnic breakfast, a pot of yogurt, boiled egg, some sandwiches and then it was off down the track to find some birds.



Black-crested Antshrike



Yellow Oriole



Yellow-bellied Elenia


Once we gone quite some way into the mangroves, we found one of our main targets the Rufous Crab Hawk and then further on close to the ocean, we found another one the Blood-coloured Woodpecker.



Rufous Crab Hawk



Blood-coloured Woodpecker



Almost 360 view on from the seawall at Abary River



Track at Abary River


For a brief moment it started to rain, but thankfully it didn’t last, as the time was approaching 09:00, we decided it was time to leave Abary, as we had one more site to visit and one particularly special bird to find.

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I appreciate snakes but wouldn’t want a relative of the fer de lance in my loo. Are you including any photos of this guy in the report?



You must have missed it I posted a shot of the snake a house labaria at the end of post 55 as I think I said I haven’t been able to find much information about this snake on the web. Before the fer de lance was mentioned I assumed that it was probably harmless but even so I wasn’t tempted to touch it or get too close in case I was wrong. Besides while I’m not the least bit scared of snakes I wouldn’t pick up a wild snake even if I knew it was completely harmless without good reason anymore than I would try to pick up any other wild animal. I have once at home picked up a harmless grass snake but I won’t do that again after it sprayed foul smelling liquid from its anal gland all over my arm.


Oh, there it is at the end of #55, looking rather fer de lance-like.

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Guyanese House


Around 09:20 we arrived at the Hope Beach mudflats, which lie the other side of a high seawall, we climbed up the grassy bank on to the top of the seawall and scanned the mudflats after only a few minutes, we spotted what we’d come for, off in the distance, was a single large bright red bird feeding out on the mud. The Scarlet Ibis, is a bird that is definitely worth getting up early in the morning to see, even when as in this case there’s only one, there are doubtless much better places, in Venezuela or Trinidad, places where you can see whole flocks roosting in the mangroves, but even just seeing this one bird, was pretty special. Our time was quite short, as we needed to get back to the hotel, to get cleaned up before leaving for the airport, so we didn’t really have time to properly identify some of the waders, that were also feeding on the mud. However, we did spot some nice herons like the Tricoloured Heron and very close to me, just below the seawall a beautiful Yellow-crowned Night Heron.



Tricoloured Heron




Scarlet Ibis





Yellow-crowned Night Heron



360 View from the seawall at Hope Beach



Yellow-crowned Night Heron


Just as we decided we should probably leave, it started to rain not too hard, but enough to encourage us not to linger and risk being late for our return flight to Trinidad.

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Closer to Georgetown than the Abary River is the Mahaica River and if you take a boat trip along this river, you can see Guyana’s national bird, the curious Hoatzin, having already seen these birds in Ecuador, we decided that due to lack of time, it would be best not to try and do this, though doubtless we might have seen other birds, as well as the hoatzins.


We headed straight back to Georgetown, having missed out on our city tour the previous day, Luke pointed out various interesting buildings, on our way back to Cara Lodge and again on our way to the airport, but we didn’t have time to stop, so I was only able to take a few snaps out of the window as we drove by.



Seawall Georgetown





This is a memorial to the Berbice Revolt of 1763, the statue is of Cuffy the slave who led a major revolt against the Dutch in the area around the Berbice River, however, his success was short lived and ultimately the Dutch defeated the rebels.



A Guyanese House Georgetown



Cara Lodge



Great Kiskadee at Cara Lodge



St George's Cathedral Georgetown



St Andrew's Kirk Georgetown


This time heading home, we had to wait about three hours or so at the airport in Trinidad, before we were able to board our flight to London, this was just a little tiresome, but on balance it was a small price to pay, for visiting a beautiful, still very unspoilt and largely unknown part of South America.

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@@inyathi thank you very much for a most informative report on guyana - a place that I'm highly unlikely to visit as it is so far for me!


how awesome to see that anteater - it was stunning! and the racoons were a delight.


interesting to see that monkey ladder - is it a root of some kind? or a trunk? it looked like a giant bean of some sort.


i really enjoyed seeing the huge varieties of birds.

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Thanks for this very enjoyable and detailed TR - the scarlet ibis was a true grand finale.

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Had to look twice at that statue.


Remarkable trip report. Was English really that prevalent in the country? Were your guides fluent? I read your intro in its entirety and still find it hard to believe in South America!

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Sorry no Eastern Bearded Saki Monkeys but you did see the Giant Anteater with nice photographic proof! I can only imagine how thrilled you were when the image of GA first appeared in your binocs. The Scarlet Ibis is a striking bird. I'd love to see one of them. Not many venture to Guyana. You're one of the lucky. Thanks for sharing this with us.

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I have to say this was a pretty successful trip and if I was going again I don’t think I would change anything as far as the places we visited are concerned the only thing I would do if possible (which it wasn’t in this case) would be to add a few extra days.


Had it been possible to extend the trip from 15 days to 2½-3wks, then I would have gone on from Karanambu south to Dadanawa Ranch 50 miles southeast of Lethem and the largest working cattle ranch in the Rupununi. This is another great place for wildlife and would have provided the opportunity to see a few more good new birds, notably the very rare and beautiful red siskin, some 400 species have been recorded in the area so it is a great place for birding. It’s also another good place to look for giant anteaters and if you’re lucky other mammals. If you’ve had enough wildlife and have always fancied having a go at being a cowboy, then you can ride out with the vaqueros and help round up the cattle and have a proper authentic ranch experience.


With more time, we could also have given ourselves enough time in Georgetown to do a proper tour of the city, including the Botanic Gardens which we missed and have a whole morning to bird the various sites close to the capital. The final morning’s birding was great, but it would have been even better if we hadn’t had a flight to catch.


Another good option given that we flew in and out via Trinidad, would have been good to try and include a visit to the Asa Wright Nature Centre

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To see wildlife in Guyana is a challenge because so much of the time you’re in the rainforest and seeing wildlife in rainforests anywhere in the world is always a challenge, ultimately how much you see comes down to a combination of perseverance, timing and luck. You need to spend as much time as possible out and about in the forest at the right time of day and night when possible and at the right time of year. When I visited both the Harpy eagles nest at Surama and the one at Alta Floresta during my Brazil trip, I was probably just that bit too late so the young bird wasn’t spending much time at the nest, which meant that seeing the harpy was more a question of luck, which I didn’t have either time. In each case had I visited the nest a few weeks earlier I probably would have seen at least a young harpy in the nest and if I was very lucky one or both of the adults. @@IamFisheye even if you were unlucky with your sightings you were obviously there at a better time to see the harpy, than I was.


Why I didn’t see wild giant otters at Karanambu, I’m not sure I guess it could be something to do with the water level in the Rupununi River or maybe the time of year, I don’t know, certainly visitors do quite often see them hunting in the Honey Ponds, so maybe I was just unlucky.


In general, I’m not at all disappointed with what I saw in Guyana, in fact overall, I’m very impressed with what I saw. as I hadn’t expected to do quite so well, at least with some of the mammals.

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Unquestionably South America is the bird continent of the roughly 10,000 or so bird species so far recorded in the world, around a third of them occur in South America. Colombia has the most birds of any country in the world, with around 1864 species; Peru and Brazil are not far behind followed by Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela. Guyana in comparison to these countries only has quite a modest list, figures generally quoted on the web are around the 790 mark, but Luke told me that he thought the actual figure was around 830, the truth is no one really knows for sure, how many birds there are in any of these countries, the suggested figures are just a best guess. It’s perhaps because Guyana doesn’t have a huge bird list compared to these other countries, that it tends to get overlooked as a birding destination, but as I found on my trip it is a great country for birding. Mainly because all the sites are really very accessible and it’s possible to see plenty of great species including most of the Guiana Shield endemics, without too much difficulty, birds which you would otherwise really have to go to Venezuela to see.


My actual total for the trip was 315 (I won’t list them) which I think is about an average score for Guyana, if we’d made slightly more effort then we probably would have seen a good few more certainly if we had gone to Dadanawa, I’m sure we would have seen a lot more. Even possibly getting up to 400 or more, either way around 50 of the birds were new species for me, so I’m pretty happy with what that.


Though I had a good view of the Agami Heron at Karanambu, from reports I’ve read October/November is much the best time to see this stunning bird.


One of the biggest problems with birding in South America is that sheer number of birds, means that all of the available bird books are by necessity huge. Guyana as yet doesn’t have a book of its own though I believe one is in preparation, so most people recommend either Birds of Venezuela or Birds of Northern South America. BOV is a huge book containing illustrations maps and text, so big that many birders take a knife to their copy turning it into two books, so they can just take the colour plates into the field. BNSA is already two books, Volume 2 has the illustrations around 6,400 of them along with measurements and maps but zero text and volume 1 has all the text, I suspect only the most serious birders ever buy volume 1. There is simply no way you could possibly take both volumes into the field, volume 2 on its own weighs in at nearly 1.5kgs and Volume 1 is a bigger book, so I suspect is even heavier, even bringing it to keep in your hotel room is hardly an option, on a trip that involves flights with weight limits. A good alternative to either of these books, is A Field Guide to the Birds of Brazil by Ber Van Perlo which weighs in at just over 1kg, virtually all of the Guiana Shield endemics occur in the far north of Brazil, so while in Guyana, I didn’t manage to find a single species that isn’t in this book. Although having just mentioned Dadanawa Ranch, I looked up the Red Siskin in the Birds of Brazil and it’s not there, so that's at least one species isn’t in the Brazil book.

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Seeing mammals in rainforest is always difficult so my total of 16 species for the trip really isn’t bad


Giant Anteater Mermecophaga tridactyla

Wedge-capped Capuchin Cebus olivaceus

Common Squirrel Monkey Saimiri sciureus

White-faced Saki Pithecia pithecia

Guianan Red Howler Alouatta macconnelli

Red-faced Spider Monkey Ateles paniscus

Proboscis Bat Rhynchonycteris naso

Greater Bulldog Bat noctillo leporinus

Giant Otter Pteronura brasiliensis

Red Brocket Mazama americana

Capybara Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris

Red-rumped Agouti Dasyprocta leporine

Guianan Squirrel Sciurus aestuans

South American Coati Nasua nasua

Crab-eating Fox Cerdocyon thous

Crab-eating Racoon Procyon cancrivorus


If I knew much more about bats, then the list would be slightly longer, as I certainly saw more than the two species I’ve listed. Of the mammal species I saw the Wedge-capped Capuchin, White-faced Saki, Red-faced Spider Monkey, Guianan Red Howler and the red-rumped Agouti are all Guiana Shield endemics and the Giant Anteater, Red Brocket deer and Guianan Squirrel are species that I missed in Brazil, so my new mammal total was seven. There are only eight species of monkey in Guyana, so seeing five of them was pretty good, of the three I missed the Eastern Bearded Saki and the Golden-handed Tamarin are also endemics, the Tufted Capuchin I saw in Brazil.


Another Guiana Shield endemic species, that I missed is the Pale-throated Three-toed Sloth, a second species the southern Two-toed Sloth also occurs in Guyana, but has a somewhat wider distribution so it’s not an endemic, but it’s confined to the northern part of South America east of the Andes. I haven't as yet been lucky with sloths and have never seen one.


Obviously if you really want to see jaguars and you want to get much better views of Giant Otters, then you be better of going to Brazil and the Pantanal, where you would also if you go the right place, have a good shot at seeing a giant anteater and a better chance of seeing Lowland Tapirs than in Guyana. Also in Brazil if you go to the right place, then you can possibly see the Maned Wolf a species that does not occur north of the Amazon River. However, to see any of the regional endemics that I saw in Guyana in Brazil, would be extremely difficult.


I think I was really pretty lucky with the number of mammals I saw, though a few more especially one of the small cats, would have been nice, a bird guide with a group that we met at Atta Lodge saw a small spotted cat in the edge of the forest on the Iwokrama road, he wasn’t sure what it was, but it was most likely an ocelot. Had I not done so well with the mammals, it might be tempting to say if you really want to see South American mammals then go to Brazil and don’t bother with Guyana, however, I won’t say that because it really depends on what you want to see or try to see? If your priority is seeing the so called South American Big 5 then you have to go to Brazil and if you’ve never been to South America before, then Brazil is probably the better place to go, however, if you have been before and you want to see Guiana Shield endemics, then really you have to go to Guyana. If you do go to Guyana, you need to have realistic expectations and know that seeing mammals is hard and that sightings may be few and far between, this is where being a birder is a big advantage, because the gaps between mammals sightings are usually filled with birds.


There isn’t to my knowledge a really good up to date field guide for South American mammals, the book that I have Neotropical Rainforest Mammals A Field Guide, was last published in 1997 so is very out of date. Mammals of the Neotropics, The Northern Neotropics Volume 1 is not really a field guide and dates back to 1989. There is a photographic guide book called Mammals of South America from 2007, I’ve not come across this book before now, so I’ve no idea if it’s any good or not, generally I don’t like photographic guides because obtaining photos of the rarer more elusive species is difficult, so if such species are included the photos aren’t always that good. You can get a pocket guide to the Monkeys of the Guianas, this is a folding laminated card booklet, rather than an actual book, that covers the eight monkey species found in Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. It has good colour illustrations, along with more simple line drawings of each species with maps and good information, however, nice though it is, I think the original price of £7 is a little bit expensive for what it is. If you’re interested in monkeys though, it is really the only guide available and was published in 2008, so it should be up to date enough.

Edited by inyathi
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A good deal of my time in Guyana, was spent walking in the rainforest and when doing so it’s a good idea to tuck your trousers into your socks and wear plenty of insect repellent, there are quite a lot of little biting sand flies and kaboura flies. which in some places they call ‘no see ums’. Also there are ticks. so it’s a good idea to check yourself for ticks at the end of each day. if you’ve been walking and carry some of these O’Tom tick removers. I have had to use these several times in different parts of the world and they work extremely well.


@@Super LEEDS


Coming from the UK one of the great advantages of travelling in Guyana. compared with other countries in South America. is the fact that it is English speaking. However. most people speak to each other in what’s known as Creolese sometimes also called Guyanese. this is a form of English, but one that when spoken fast, many English speakers would not understand, bar the occasional word. However, everyone in Guyana is taught proper English at school, so every educated Guyanese, should understand and speak English. Luke spoke very good English, albeit with a thick Caribbean accent, however, when speaking to fellow Guyanese, he would slip into Creolese and apart from the occasional word, most of what he was saying was then almost incomprehensible. No doubt, if you stayed in Guyana long enough, it would not be too difficult to gain an understanding of Creolese. All of the other guides we encountered at the various lodges seemed to speak good English, so language wasn't an issue anywhere, as it might have been elsewhere in South America.


Our Guide Luke Johnson who works for Wilderness Explorers, but will be setting up on his own is probably the best guide in Guyana, unusually for an Afroguyanese he is much more at home in the bush than in town. Aside from knowing all the birds and the other wildlife, he is a great guy who gets on with everyone, at every lodge he was greeted like a member of the family and in between guiding us, he was offering help and advice to other tourists that we met along the way.


@@Kitsafari Monkey Ladder is a type of liana or vine, I think the actual species is probably Bauhinia guianensis


Edited by inyathi
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