Human adenoviruses (HAdVs) are important respiratory pathogens, found in 2–27% of acute respiratory infection (ARI) cases. Few studies have analysed the diversity of species and types of HAdVs associated with ARI in Brazil. The purpose of this study was to determine the circulation patterns of the different HAdV species and respective types associated with ARI in children in the city of Fortaleza, northeastern Brazil. HAdVs were screened by an indirect immunofluorescence assay, and subsequently identified as species and types by PCR and sequencing of the hexon gene (HVR1–HVR6). Between 2001 and 2013, a total of 290 HAdV strains were detected, 190 of which were identified as belonging to the HAdV-B, -C and -E species. Seven types of HAdVs circulated in the studied population during the analysed period, with HAdV-3 being predominant.