Xingu River from space, downstream section.
Map of the Amazon Basin with the Xingu River highlighted
|Length||1,640 km (1,020 mi)|
|Basin size||520,300 km2 (200,900 sq mi)|
|⁃ average||9,680 m3/s (342,000 cu ft/s)|
|⁃ left||Iriri River, Pardo River|
The Xingu River (Portuguese: Rio Xingu, Portuguese pronunciation: ['?u], sheeng-GOO) is a 1,640 km (1,019 mi) river in north Brazil. It is a southeast tributary of the Amazon River and one of the largest clearwater rivers in the Amazon basin, accounting for about 5% of its water.
The first Indigenous Park in Brazil was created in the river basin by the Brazilian government in the early 1960s. This park marks the first indigenous territory recognized by the Brazilian government and it was the world's largest indigenous preserve on the date of its creation. Currently, fourteen tribes live within Xingu Indigenous Park, surviving on natural resources and extracting from the river most of what they need for food and water.
The Brazilian government is building the Belo Monte Dam, which will be the world's third-largest hydroelectric dam, on the Lower Xingu. Construction of this dam is under legal challenge by environment and indigenous groups, who assert the dam would have negative environmental and social impacts along with reducing the flow by up to 80% along a 100 km (60 mi) stretch known as the Volta Grande ("Big Bend"). The river flow in this stretch is highly complex and includes major sections of rapids. More than 450 fish species have been documented in the Xingu River Basin and it is estimated that the total is around 600 fish species, including many endemics. At least 193 fish species living in rapids are known from the lower Xingu, and at least 26 of these are endemic. From 2008 to 2018 alone, 24 new fish species have been described from the river. Many species are seriously threatened by the dam, which will significantly alter the flow in the Volta Grande rapids.
In the Upper Xingu region was a highly self-organized pre-Columbian anthropogenic landscape, including deposits of fertile agricultural terra preta, black soil in Portuguese, with a network of roads and polities each of which covered about 250 square kilometers.
Near the source of Xingu River is Culuene River, a 600 km tributary.