Rufous Potoo at Shiripuno Lodge and the Tale of the Harpy Eagle with the Huaorani People - Ecuador - December 30th - January 11th 2009

Published by Jarol Fernando Vaca (shiripuno2004 AT

Participants: Jarol Fernando Vaca, Thomas Walla, Harold Greeney


Photos with this report (click to enlarge)

Many-banded Araçari
Many-banded Araçari

Our journey started at the easy going on town of Coca. We drove 2 hours on the Auca road; which had been paved recently almost to the Shiripuno river. We had a canoe ride downstream from the bridge to the Shiripuno Lodge. With no more than 50 meters wide, the Shiripuno River offers spectaculars views of forest sceneries all the time; with a moderate canoe speed a lot of birds can be seen easily.

This reserve belong to the Huaorani People, at one point they were about 400 individuals wondering in the immensity of the forest; in the old days they were hunters and gatherers chasing monkeys, curassaws, and peccaries, searching for new hunting areas, moving theirs huts from time to time, scrutinizing giant Kapok trees for Harpy Eagle nest, climbing to the top of tree where the nest are; capture the chick and bring it down. Raising a Harpy Eagle chick is a major commitment because it add more duties to the regular hunting obligations: to bring extra hunted animals for the eagle and it continuos as long as the hunter want to release the eagle. The Harpy Eagle gives pride and respect inside their clan but the most important is security; the bird make a high pitch whistle when an intruder get too close to the clan hut boundary.

We had a relax birding time at Shiripuno Lodge, the back-door trail network , with the helpful signs every 100 meters, so we knew how far from the lodge we were; These trails were the most productive of all. We got to know them very well, got to the point to know some of the mixed flock so. The interesting part was to go out there at different time at the same trail and find new species every time.

During our stay at Shiripuno we had the opportunity to see what a Tropical Ecology Field Course was about; students from Grand Junction, Colorado. The Mesa State College students accompanied by their teachers were exploring the the different concepts and applying methods to understand the diversity of the Amazon Lowlands.

When the calm returns after the quick and heavy rain, the Salvin's Curassaws go out to the riverside, easy to recognize their vocalization. The more time we spend in the forest, observing birds behavior like the feeding habits of Rufous-tailed Flatbill, the synchronized behavior of the Cinereous Antshrike while they were nesting, we found a Wing-banded Antbird territory next to the Forest Moriche Swamp, the Pearly Antshrike always found at the mixed flocks, the Pavonine Quetzal has it's territory in the junction of the E. O. Wilson and Carue Trail. The Black-faced Hawk not far from the same junction. During our stay we found five Spotted Puffbirds in three different territories, the last two were matting at seven meters from the ground in a tangle of lianas. The hot corner was the junction of the E. O. Wilson Trail and the Wallace Trail were we found hear and saw the Black-necked Red Cotinga. The Yellow-throated Flycatcher is supposed to be very rare in the ecuadorian amazon, we found a whole bunch of those and some of them were carrying nesting material. Undulated Antshrike is another specialty of Shiripuno found in areas near swamps with old light gaps, and another Swamp specialty is the Black Bushbird

Army Ants Swarms at Shiripuno is the best, when you are able to find it; however there are several type of army ants, Eciton sp. Neivamyrmex sp, Solenopsis sp. and others; we have encounter some differences in the bird community attending different type of army ants at Shiripuno: The underground Solenopsis sp. swarms have birds like Lunulated Antbird White-breasted Wood-Wren, Blue-backed Manakin, Blue-black Grosbeak, Scale-backed Antbird, Bicolored Antbird. The major Eciton sp. swarm host few pairs of White-plumed Antbirds, Bicolored Antbird, Sooty Antbird, Reddish-winged Bare-eye, Sooty Antbird, Scale-backed Antbird, Plain-brown Woodcreeper, White-chinned Woodcreeper, Amazonian Barred Woodcreeper.

The great newsis that Rufous Potoo was found before the junction of Colibri Trail and Wallace Trail 300 meters away from the lodge.The Nocturnal Curassowwere found on the Colibri Trail at the 700 meters sign singing at the canopy..

Exploring the Amazon in these days are quite easy compare to the days of the early naturalist, who traveled into the jungle sweating their lives to find most of the species that we know today.Today is easy, now we can choose the destinations we would like to bird in the Internet and few hours in the airplane and we are in places with hot water, air conditioning, extensive list and compulsive birdguides. There are not many species to describe out there, except for few generics explorations.
But there is a major challenge for everybody: the conservation of fragile ecosystem; The Andes, the Choco, the Amazon and others ecosystems around the whole world.
Find your alternative birdtour....

Species Lists

Great Tinamou
White-throated Tinamou
Cinereous Tinamou
Little Tinamou
Undulated Tinamou
Bartlett's Tinamou
Variegated Tinamou
Striated Heron
Green Ibis
Cattle Egret
Great Egret
Gray-winged Trumpeter
Rufescent Tiger-Heron
King Vulture
Greater Yellow-headed Vulture
Black Vulture
Plumbeous Kite
Double-toothed Kite
Greater Black Hawk
Black-faced Hawk
Roadside Hawk
Black Hawk-Eagle
Collared Forest-Falcon
Slaty-backed Forest-Falcon
Black Caracara
Red-throated Caracara
Laughing Falcon
Bat Falcon
Spix's Guan
Common Piping-Guan
Speckled Chachalaca
Salvin's Curassow
Nocturnal Curassow
Marbled Wood-Quail
Black-banded Crake
Gray-necked Wood-Rail
Spotted Sandpiper
Plumbeous Pigeon
Sapphire Quail-Dove
Ruddy Quail-Dove
Gray-fronted Dove
Blue-and-Yellow Macaw
Scarlet Macaw
Chestnut-fronted Macaw
Red-bellied Macaw
Cobalt-winged Parakeet
Maroon-tailed Parakeet
Blue-headed Parrot
Orange-cheeked Parrot
Black-headed Parrot
Yellow-crowned Parrot
Squirrel Cuckoo
Black-bellied Cuckoo
Greater Ani
Smooth-billed Ani
Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl
Crested Owl
Long-tailed Potoo
Common Potoo
Great Potoo
Rufous Potoo
Ladder-tailed Nightjar
White-collared Swift
Gray-rumped Swift
Short-tailed Swift
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift
Neotropical Palm-Swift
Rufous-breasted Hermit
Pale-tailed Barbthroat
Great-billed Hermit
White-bearded Hermit
Straight-billed Hermit
Reddish Hermit
Black-throated Hermit
Gray-chinned Hermit
Gray-breasted Sabrewing
Black-eared Fairy
Fiery Topaz
Black-bellied Thorntail
Fork-tailed Woodnymph
Amazonian Violaceous Trogon
Amazonian White-tailed Trogon
Black-tailed Trogon
Blue-crowned Trogon
Black-throated Trogon
Lineated Woodpecker
Crimson-crested Woodpecker
Red-necked Woodpecker
Spot-breasted Woodpecker
Yellow-throated Woodpecker
Chestnut Woodpecker
Scale-breasted Woodpecker
Ringed Woodpecker
Little Woodpecker
Red-stained Woodpecker
Yellow-tufted Woodpecker
Lafesnaye's Piculet
Pavonine Quetzal
Amazon Kingfisher
Green Kingfisher
Broad-billed Motmot
Rufous Motmot
Blue-crowned Motmot
Violaceous jay
White-eared Jacamar
Brown Jacamar
Yellow-billed Jacamar
Great Jacamar
Purplish Jacamar
Gilded Barbet
Lemon-throated Barbet
Scarlet-crowned Barbet
Golden-collared Toucanet
Many-banded Araçari
Chestnut-eared Araçari
Ivory-eared Araçari
Lettered Araçari
Channel-billed Toucan
White-throated Toucan
White-necked Puffbird
Pie Puffbird
Collared Puffbird
Spotted Puffbird
White-chested Puffbird
Swallow-winged Puffbird
Brown Nunlet
Black-fronted Nunbird
White-fronted Nunbird
Yellow-fronted Nunbird
Plain-brown Woodcreeper
White-chinned Woodcreeper
Olivaceous Woodcreeper
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper
Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper
Black-banded Woodcreeper
Amazonian Barred Woodcreeper
Straight-billed Woodcreeper
Buff-throated Woodcreeper
Ocellated Woodcreeper
Spix's Woodcreeper
Long-billed Woodcreeper
Orange-fronted Plushcrown
Plain Xenops
Eastern Woodhaunter
Chestnut-winged Hookbill
Cinnamon-rumped Foliage-gleaner
Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner
Olive-backed Foliage-gleaner
Point-tailed Palmcreeper
Short-billed Leaftosser
Black-tailed Leaftosser
Fasciated Antshrike
Undulated Antshrike
Great Antshrike
White-shouldered Antshrike
Spot-winged Antshrike
Plain-winged Antshrike
Mouse-colored Antshrike
Pearly Antshrike
Cinereous Antshrike
Dusky-throated Antshrike
Gray Antwren
Rio Suno Antwren
Dugand's Antwren
Long-winged Antwren
White-flanked Antwren
Rufous-tailed Antwren
Ornate Antwren
Yasuni Antwren
Amazonian Streaked Antwren
Pygmy Antwren
Warbling Antbird
Yellow-browed Antbird
Gray Antbird
Blackish Antbird
Black Antbird
Black Bushbird
Black-faced Antbird
Silvered Antbird
Plumbeous Antbird
White-shouldered Antbird
Sooty Antbird
White-plumed Antbird
Lunulated Antbird
Bicolored Antbird
Hairy-crested Antbird
Scale-backed Antbird
Spot-backed Antbird
Banded Antbird
Reddish-winged Antbird
Wing-banded Antbird
Thrush-like Antpitta
White-lored Antpitta
Ochre-striped Antpitta
Black-faced Antthrush
Rufous-capped Antthrush
Striated Antthrush
Ash-throated Gnatwren
Rusty-belted Tapaculo
Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet
White-lored Tyrannulet
Forest Elaenia
Gray Elaenia
Gray-crowned Flatbill
Olive-faced Flatbill
Zimmer's Flatbill
Ringed Antpipit
Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatcher
White-eyed Tody-Tyrant
Double-banded Pygmy-Tyrant
Short-tailed Pygmy-Tyrant
Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher
Ochre-breasted Flycatcher
Golden-crowned Spadebill
Rufous-tailed Flatbill
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Drab-water Tyrant
Bright-rumped Attila
Citron-bellied Attila
Cinnamon Attila
Grayish Mourner
Screaming Piha
Tropical Kingbird
Sulphury Flycatcher
Dusky-chested Flycatcher
Piratic Flycatcher
Yellow-throated Flycatcher
Boat-billed Flycatcher
Great Kiskadee
Lesser Kiskadee
Social Flycatcher
Gray-capped Flycatcher
Chestnut-crowned Becard
Pink-throated Becard
Black-tailed Tityra
Plum-throated Cotinga
Spangled Cotinga
Black-necked Red Cotinga
Purple-throated Fruitcrow
Bare-necked Fruitcrow
Golden-headed Manakin
Blue-crowned Manakin
White-crowned Manakin
Blue-backed Manakin
White-bearded Manakin
Wire-tailed Manakin
Western Striped Manakin
Dwarf Tyrant-Manakin
Wing-barred Piprites
Thrush-like Schiffornis
Brown-chested Martin
Gray-breasted Martin
White-banded Swallow
Thrush-like Wren
Coraya Wren
White-breasted Wood-Wren
Musician Wren
Southern Nightingale Wren
Black-capped Donacobius
Long-billed Gnatcatcher
Red-eyed Vireo
Dusky-capped Greenlet
Tawny-crowned Greenlet
Lemon-chested Greenlet
Black-billed Thrush
White-necked Thrush
Lawrence's Thrush
Buff-rumped Warbler
Purple Honeycreeper
Green Honeycreeper
Yellow-bellied Dacnis
Orange-bellied Euphonia
White-lored Euphonia
Rufous-bellied Euphonia
Swallow Tanager
Opal-rumped Tanager
Green-and-gold Tanager
Paradise Tanager
Turquoise Tanager
Blue-gray Tanager
Palm Tanager
Masked Crimson Tanager
Silvered-beaked Tanager
Fulvous Shrike-Tanager
Summer Tanager
Magpie Tanager
Fulvous-crested Tanager
White-lined Tanager
Buff-throated Saltator
Grayish Saltator
Slate-colored Grosbeak
Chestnut-bellied Seedeater
Yellow-browed Sparrow
Yellow-rumped Cacique
Solitary Cacique
Casqued Oropendola
Russet-backed Oropendola
Crested Oropendola
Olive Oropendola
Red-breasted Blackbird
Orange-backed Troupial
Moriche Oriole
Giant Cowbird
Shiny Cowbird