Biggest Rivers In Brazil

A calm stretch of the Amazon flowing through the lush greenery of a Brazilian rainforest.
A calm stretch of the Amazon flowing through the lush greenery of a Brazilian rainforest.

The Federative Republic of Brazil is the world’s fifth largest country by both population and area, and the only country in the Americas region with Portuguese as its official language. Brazil borders all of the other South American countries except for Chile and Ecuador. The Brazil’s Amazon River Basin covers a vast area of tropical forest which is a home to several wildlife and ecological system. Both the equator and the Tropic of Capricorn run through the country. Much of the country’s terrain lies 200 meters and 800 meters above the sea level. Brazil has a complex and extensive river system and eight major drainage basins draining into the Atlantic. The biggest rivers in Brazil are looked at below.

Amazonica (Amazon)

The Amazon River is the world’s second longest river, and the largest by the volume of water it discharges. The Amazon’s distant source was for a long time thought to be the headwaters of Apurimac River but further studies have indicated that the Cordillera Rumi Cruz. Amazon River discharges an average of 209,000 cubic meters of water per second, greater than a combined discharge for the next seven rivers in the country. The river accounts for 20% of the total riverine discharge into the ocean. The Amazon Basin forms the world’s largest drainage basin covering an area of 7,050,000 square kilometers. Most of the Amazon’s tributaries begin flooding in November and continues until June. The main river can be navigated by the large steamers while other small ocean vessels can reach Iquitos in Peru. The Amazon Rainforest is home to more than 30% of all known animal species. Anaconda, river dolphin, and over 5,600 species of fish are some of the animals found in the Amazon basin.


The Araguaia River, though a tributary of the Tocantins River, is in and of itself a major river in Brazil, measuring 2,627 kilometers in length. The Araguaia has several tributaries of its own, with the major tributary originating from the Araras and Divisoes mountain ranges. The river then flows northeast where it meets Tocantins River in the town of Sao Joao. The Tocantins River, which runs from south to north, is around 2,450 kilometers long and drains its waters into the Atlantic Ocean alongside the Amazon River. The Tocantins-Araguaia system is home to some of the largest aquatic mammals including Amazonian manatee, river dolphin, and tucuxi. The river also has over 350 species of fish and reptiles. The Tocantins-Araguaia system has a total of five dams including Serra Da Masa, Luiz Eduardo, Peixe Angical, Cana Brava, and Tucurui dam which is the world’s largest dam.


The Parana River runs through Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay for a total of around 4,880 kilometers. The river is the second longest in South America after the Amazon River, and merges with the Paraguay River and Uruguay River to form the Rio de la Plata before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean. Rio Parana is a massive watershed encompassing much of the southern Brazil and other parts of Argentina and Paraguay. Parana is a major source of income for fishermen living along its banks. Its delta acts as one of the world’s best bird’s watching destination. The navigable river also serves as waterway linking several inland cities to the ocean and also provides water ports in many cities.

Other Notable Rivers in Brazil

Brazil’s other largest river systems include the Paraguai (Paraguay and Uruguai (Uruguay, major rivers in Paraguay and Uruguay which run through Brazil, along with the Atlantico Sul, Atlantico Ocidental, Atlantico Oriental, Parnaiba, and Sao Francisco drainage basins. These rivers provide habitat for several mammals, reptiles and different species of fish. The rivers are major source of income for the communities living near their banks.

The Biggest Rivers In Brazil

River Basin and/or Hydrologic System Location in Brazil
Amazonica (Amazon) Northwestern Brazil
Tocantins-Aruguaia North-Central Brazil
Parana South-Central Brazil
Paraguai (Paraguay) Southwestern Brazil
Uruguai (Uruguay) Southern Brazil
Atlantico Sul Southern Brazil
Atlantico Ocidental Northeastern Brazil
Atlantico Oriental Northeastern Brazil
Parnaiba Northeastern Brazil
Sao Francisco Eastern Brazil
Atlantico Leste Eastern Brazil
Atlantico Sudeste Eastern Brazil

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