Central western Colombia: one week late August 2009

Published by Martin Reid (upupa AT airmail.net)

Participants: Martin Reid, Sheridan Coffey, Dan Peak, Pablo Flores Valencia (guide)


Dan Peak, Sheridan Coffey, and Martin Reid (author) arranged a private birding tour to Colombia with Pablo Florez Valencia, a Medellin-based Bird Guide. It was to be a one-week trip, fairly fast-paced, hitting many of the best locations in the central region of the country. Pablo corresponded with the author beforehand, helping us select the best itinerary based on our birding needs (I’d been to Ecuador 14 times, plus Cerro Pirre in Panama), finances (preferred rooms with private bathroom but not expensive), and abilities (two of us had physical limitations that meant no long/steep trails).

Here’s the itinerary we ended-up following (note that the last day out of Bogota was changed on-the-fly during the tour from a trip to Lago PedroPalo to the destination stated below):

Aug 22: Sheridan and Martin arrived in Medellin in the late evening, due to weather delays in Miami, and were met by Pablo at our hotel (Pablo had arranged a trusted taxi driver to meet us at the airport). Dan was screwed by his air carrier, who bumped him back to an afternoon flight to Miami. This meant that he could not get to Medellin until the following afternoon.

Aug 23: We had to adjust our plans. Sheridan and Martin went birding for the morning with Pablo and our driver for the next six days, Edwin, in his six-seater 4X4 SUV. We spent the time at La Romera, a watershed protection reserve on the southeast side of Medellin. After lunch we went to the airport, picked up Dan, and then drove to Jardin. With Dan’s delay we could not get to Jardin in time to bird there, so we stopped a couple of times along the route to look for birds. Night in a very nice resort Hotel on the outskirts of Jardin (on the route to the birding sites). Nice food in the Hotel restaurant.

Aug 24: Birding along the road above Jardin all morning; after lunch drove to Rio Blanco, getting there by 4.30pm with time to enjoy the late afternoon Antpitta feeding. Night and dinner at the cabin at Rio Blanco Reserve, located close to the city of Manizales.

Aug 25: Birded at Rio Blanco until c. 11am, then drove to Nevado del Ruiz (90 minutes drive). Birded the Paramo and ecotone until c. 5pm then drove to Pereira and on to La Florida, located 20 minutes from La Suiza. We were supposed to spend the night at the La Suiza lodge, but the government had just terminated the franchise of the local operator of the lodge, so currently it is closed. We stayed at some hastily-arranged rooms that were frankly disappointing – although the food served by the owner was great. Pablo did a good job of locating better (but more expensive) rooms with no notice, but we were so tired that we decided to stay put.

Aug 26: Pre-dawn we drove through La Suiza and up to El Cedral (where the drivable road ends), and then birded our way back to La Suiza until 2pm. Then drove down to Pereira, stopping a couple of times for birds, and then on to Cartago then west to El Cairo. Night in a pleasant Hotel with private bathrooms and hot water; nice dinner in downtown restaurant.

Aug 27: All day birding “Galapagos Road” - also known more properly as the San Jose del Palmar road. The start of the birding is about one hour (in our car – see below) from the hotel in El Cairo. To get to the birding spots you have to negotiate some rather rough (deep rutted mud) sections of the road; normally this requires that you transfer to a local 4WD Jeep, which is rather slow and cramped, I’m told. When in this area you are required to hire the locally-employed guide from the Cooperativa that manages the watershed – so you must have room in your vehicle for him/her. At this time the guide is a very nice young fellow called Jonier, who speaks some English, knows most of the birds and where to find them, and is very enthusiastic about finding them for you. Luckily for us he checked out Edwin’s vehicle and said it could make the drive to the birding spots, so we did not have to switch to a local jeep – this saved us some space but more importantly it halved the time it took to get to the birding area (down to 1 hour rather than close to 2 hours). Night back at the Hotel in El Cairo, with dinner at the same restaurant.

Aug 28: Morning back on Galapagos Road, then in early afternoon drove to Cartago (with a couple of birding stops) and on to Pereira airport for our evening flight to Bogota, saying goodbye to our very competent and always-cheerful driver, Edwin. Flight was delayed by congestion problems at the airport security screening and we arrived in late evening, using a cab to get to our Hotel (a nice location, friendly and safe). We took a cab the 5 blocks to the Crepes and Waffles restaurant – wow! The food, presentation and service were fabulous, and for a very reasonable price; an establishment like this in the U.S. would take it by storm.

Aug 29: All day on Paramo Guasca and nearby habitats close to Chingaza National Park in the eastern Andes close to Bogota, using an eight-passenger microbus that got to all the spots we needed to go. It took about 90 minutes to get to the birding areas from our hotel. Night back at the same Bogota hotel, and dinner back at the terrific Crepes and Waffles!

Aug 30: Very early start; took the pre-arranged cab (which arrived ahead of the appointed time!) to the airport, did the usual stuff there, got delayed again by a security check bottleneck, but took-off almost on-time for the flight back to Miami and thence on to our home cities.

Guide: Pablo Florez Valencia; email paflorez13@hotmail.com. Pablo’s home town is Medellin, but he has birded repeatedly at all the major birding locations in the country – and many of the minor ones also. He is co-founder of Proaves, the principal Colombian NGO involved in acquiring and protecting critical bird habitat. He speaks fairly good English, but is not fluent, so it helps (but is not essential) to have some basic Spanish. He has a great temperament for guiding, being polite and patient (with us), and also persistent (with the birds). He has almost all the key birds on his Ipod, and is very knowledgeable about the vast majority of the birds, and especially about where to find them. However he is not quite at the level of a Bret Witney, Mitch Lysinger, or Paul Coopmans; I say this not as a criticism, because there are very few bird guides who are red-hot on ALL the birds. I feel it’s my duty to mention it so that prospective clients know what they are getting: an excellent birding guide, not an infallible Guru! Currently his prices are an incredible value, and our trip cost far less than any of my other guided trips in the Neotropics. I would place Pablo at the top of the ladder when it comes to organization and consideration for our well-being and safety – and that counts for a lot in this new birding frontier; I highly recommend him. I am already planning to go back to Colombia soon, and to hire him again – that demonstrates my faith in his ability to find great birds (and to provide a trouble-free experience in the process).

Summary of locations:

We intended to create an itinerary that avoided strenuous hikes or steep/slippery trails, and to this extent it was a great success. The vast majority of our birding was walking along drivable tracks/roads at gentle inclinations, and it would have suited many birders who struggle with physically demanding terrain. Of course there were times when a willingness/ability to charge into the bush might have gotten better results (and Pablo was willing and able!), but overall I feel that we did extremely well considering our self-imposed limits.

La Romera is probably best done on a weekday – we had to go on a Sunday and there were a number of recreational users of the road up into the Reserve. Most were walkers, a few were biking, and all were friendly – however they did create a slight level of distraction. This location is possibly the most reliable in Colombia for Red-bellied Grackle, and is one of two spots Pablo knows for Yellow-headed Manakin.

The road above Jardin is very quiet, and easy to bird. Note that the Yellow-eared Parrots can use any of three primary roosting locations, and thus if you want to be sure of seeing them perched you should arrange to be there for parts of at least two days. We lost our first afternoon and thus did not find out that the parrots were not using our selected roosting site for dawn the next day, and thus had to settle for a series of fly-bys because our time there was so brief.

The accommodations at Rio Blanco are basic but manageable for a short visit (two rooms each with two three-tier bunk beds; one separate shower and one toilet shared by all; there was electricity and hot water; food was very good). They feed the Antpittas twice a day, in the morning and the evening (an easy 150-meter trail to feeding station). I’m told that the chances of seeing Bicolored or Slate-crowned are greater at the morning feeding. Two Chestnut-crowned Antpittas regularly visit the feeding station and when at the feeding point tend to hassle the other antpittas, which sometimes then melt away. There are two Brown-banded Antpittas that visit the feeding station virtually every time, morning an evening. The other two species are rare to occasional at the feeding station, but can be found along the tracks nearby (we saw both from the roadside the next morning). The hummingbird feeders are a great distraction, but all the species I saw there were fairly widespread taxa. We went owling after dinner, and heard one Rufous-banded Owl and five(!) White-throated Screech-Owls close to the cabins (seeing one of the latter). There is a ridge a short way up the main track with a small cleared area where workers maintain the water distribution system. This ridge area is a good spot to find White-capped Tanagers, Andean Siskins, and others. Masked Saltator is sometimes seen in the Chusquea bamboo stands.

Nevado del Ruiz is a wonderful place – if you like cold, damp Paramo (which I do). We found the Helmetcrests right next to the weather station/café at the upper level, and it has a covered deck so you can look for birds without getting rained-on. Any of the flowering patches of Espelitia can have the hummers (and Parakeets). Note that the Rufous-fronted Parakeets can occur anywhere in the treeline zone or even the lower Paramo itself, but apparently they like to feed on the ground on seeds in fairly long grass, so look for some ungrazed pastures and scan them carefully. We saw a flock of eight birds fly over while we were on the side-road down to the Thermal baths – the lower parts of which have some suitable-looking long-grass fields down by the stream. Note that there is a large building at the Thermals; it is a restaurant and a hotel, but while I can vouch for the food, I don’t have any information about staying there. We saw one Black-thighed Puffleg along the road just downhill from the Hotel.

It is hoped that a new concessionaire for La Suiza will be appointed soon, and it looked like a great place to stay. We did have lunch at the La Suiza community school, and it was as usual a very nice variant on beans and rice plus a meat. While the drivable road ends at El Cedral (which consists of a couple of Reserve buildings), the trail continues way up into the Paramo where some mega-species can be found, such as Crescent-faced Antpitta and Indigo-winged Parakeet – but it is a long hike, best done by using horses, I’m told. The birding along the road between El Cedral and La Suiza is easy (physically) but much of the forest – although mature and very tall – is not primary and consists of many exotic trees. That said, it is very birdy, and many of the specialties occur in these mixed native/non-native forests. Multicolored Tanagers occur at low density and are usually found among large mixed flocks in the canopy/subcanopy. There are at least three overgrown rocky streams that cross the road, and Pablo feels that Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper should occur there, as he has seen it in the same catchment area – in fact we may have had one come in to tape, but the bird refused to give us even the slightest bit of detail before melting away.

What can I say about the El Cairo area? Simply-put it is destined to become one of the very top-rated birding destinations in the World. It is about 2 hours from Cartago (which lies in lowlands of the Cauca Valley on the main north-south highway) to the quaint town of El Cairo where the nearest accommodations are found. Actually you pass the start of the birding road well before you get to El Cairo, and there is another small town between this road and El Cairo, with a very twisty (but paved) road continuing on to El Cairo. The hotel is quite nice and located on the edge of town and thus not too noisy. I heard Tropical Screech-Owl from the balcony the first pre-dawn morning. The birding road goes uphill at a “Y” junction, and the first five kilometers are where the dodgy parts of the road are (driving-wise). The first birding stop is at a forested valley with a rushing stream deep down below the road, and a concrete bridge allowing access upstream; this spot is 20 minutes from the “Y” (in our SUV; slower in a local Jeep) and is a good spot for Cock-of-the-Rock and Beautiful Jay, among others. It will take another 45+ minutes to drive without stopping to the “Black-and-gold Tanager spot” at 1,350 meters, after going over a pass at c. 2,100 meters. All the birding is by walking along the road, and in many spots there are breath-taking views of vast stretches of unbroken forest. There is very little traffic along this road (I think we saw four other small vehicles in our day-and-a-half) – except for Chivas; the local buses that seem to be able to get to any and every small pueblo whatever the road conditions. Check regularly for raptors, as this is an under-represented part of the recorded avifauna of the road – we saw Barred Hawk and a pair of soaring Ornate Hawk-Eagles that were both new species for the road. Tanager Finch and Olive Finch have both been seen along the first half of the road.

To enter the Chingaza National Park east of Bogota you must pay five dollars each, and vehicles are not allowed, so you must walk in. However it is not necessary to go into the park to see all of the good birds, as they occur along the wooded entrance road and in the large areas of Paramo (= Paramo Guasca) that you traverse in order to get to the start of the entrance road to the park. In middle of the quaint small town of Guasca (before the Paramo) you can stop at the bakery/café for breakfast.

Species Lists

ROM = La Romera on the southeast side of Medellin.
BOL = roadside stops near Bolombolo part-way between Medellin and Jardin.
JAL = above Jardin.
RBL = Rio Blanco.
RUI = Nevado del Ruiz.
OTU = Otun (i.e. La Suiza – El Cedral).
FLO = stops below La Florida (close to Otun), above Pereira.
GAL = Galapagos Road (i.e. San Jose del Palmar road) near El Cairo
CAR = stops in the lowlands just west of Cartago.
GUA = Paramo Guasca (i.e. paramo prior to Chingaza NP, plus nearby treeline forests).

Torrent Duck Merganetta armata 2 adults + 3 ducklings, FLO
Speckled Teal Anas flavirostris 2 RUI, 3 GUA
Masked Duck Nomonyx dominicus 1 CAR
Colombian/Ruddy Duck Oxyura andina/jamaicensis 3 RUI, 1 GUA
Sickle-winged Guan Chamaepetes goudotii 1 ROM (Sheridan and Dan)
Andean Guan Penelope montagnii 4 GUA
Cauca Guan Penelope perspicax 2 OTU
[Chestnut Wood-Quail Odontophorus hyperythrus] heard only at RBL, OTU, and GAL
Pied-billed Grebe Podylimbus podiceps 1 GUA
Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax 1 CAR, 1 GUA
Striated Heron Butorides striata 1 BOL, 3+ CAR
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis fairly common throughout
Great Egret Ardea alba 1 CAR
Snowy Egret Egretta thula a few BOL
Green Ibis Mesembrinibis cayennensis a pair flew over the Cauca River bridge, CAR
Bare-faced Ibis Phimosus infuscatus 12+ FLO, 4 CAR
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura daily
Black Vulture Coragyps stratus daily
Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus singles, plus flock of 65 GAL
Pearl Kite Gampsonyx swainsonii 1 on drive from Jardin to Rio Blanco
Snail Kite Rostrhamus sociabilis 3 CAR
Plumbeous Kite Ictinia plumbea 12 in loose group migrating through RBL
Barred Hawk Leucopternis princeps 1 GAL
Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris singles at five locations
Ornate Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus ornatus a pair display-fighting GAL
Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima a few on drive from Jardin to Rio Blanco
American Kestrel Falco sparverius 1 GUA
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus a few GUA
Spot-flanked Gallinule Gallinula melanops bogotensis 4 GUA
Purple Gallinule Porphyrio martinica a few CAR
American Coot Fulica americana a few GUA
Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis common in human-altered habitats
Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus 2 CAR
Wattled Jacana Jacana jacana 10+ CAR
Ruddy Ground-Dove Columbina talpacoti common throughout
Rock Pigeon Columba livia common in towns
Band-tailed Pigeon Patagioenas fasciata common in temperate area
Ruddy Pigeon Patagioenas subvinacea 1 BOL
Eared Dove Zenaida auriculata common
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verrauxi 2 GAL
Yellow-eared Parrot Ognorhynchus icterotis 16 in four groups, all in flight JAR
[Scarlet-fronted Parakeet Aratinga wagleri] heard only BOL (oddly scarce, apparently)
Golden-plumed Parakeet Leptosittaca branickii 4 flew in and landed OTU
Flame-winged Parakeet Pyrrhura calliptera 16 in two groups, some perched GUA
Barred Parakeet Bolborhynchus lineola 12 in flock high over JAR
Rufous-fronted Parakeet Bolborhynchus ferrungineifrons 8 in flock RUI
Spectacled Parrotlet Forpus conspicillatus 1 in flight CAR (Martin & Pablo)
Orange-chinned Parakeet Brotogeris jugularis small group in Manizales; heard in Medellin
Blue-headed Parrot Pionus menstruus a few BOL and CAR
Speckle-faced/White-crowned Parrot Pionus tumultuosus 2 RBL
Bronze-winged Parrot Pionus chalcopterus a few BOL and OTU
Scaly-naped Parrot Amazona mercenaria a few RBL
Squirrel Cuckoo Paiya cayana 1 BOL (Sheridan), 1 CAR (Sheridan, Dan)
Smooth -billed Ani Crotophaga ani fairly common in farmland
[Tropical Screech-Owl Megascops choliba] heard only, at hotel in El Cairo (Martin)
White-throated Screech-Owl Megascops albogularis 1 seen, five heard RBL
[Rufous-banded Owl Ciccaba albitarsus] 1 heard only RBL
[Cloud-forest Pygmy-Owl Gaucidium nubicola] heard only by Sheridan and Dan, GAL
Band-winged Nightjar Caprimulgus longirostris singles at dawn/dusk on road JAR, OTU, GAL
Lyre-tailed Nightjar Uropsalis lyra a male JAR; a female GAL
Chestnut-collared Swift Streptoprocne rutila small flock ROM
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris small numbers ROM and GAL
Band-rumped Swift Chaetura spinicaudus two of the western form GAL
?Sick’s Swift Chaetura meridionalis? While hiding from a shower at lunch at La Suiza we saw four Chaetura swifts fairly close that looked very like meridionalis to me (shortish-tailed, long pale rear-end from above; very dark below with very pale throat and slightly paler ventral area) – I saw meridionalis in Brazil the previous November.
Tawny-bellied Hermit Phaethornis syrmatophorus a couple at OTU and GAL
Wedge-billed Hummingbird Schistes geoffroyi 1 GAL (Sheridan and Dan)
Green Violetear Colibri thalassinus a few RBL
Sparkling Violetear Colibri coruscans 1 RBL, 1 GUA
Longuemare’s Sunangel Heliangelus clarisse 3 GUA
Tourmaline Sunangel Heliangelus exortis a few JAR and RBL
Speckled Hummingbird Adelomyia melanogenys a couple RBL
Long-tailed Sylph Aglaiocercus kingi a couple RBL
Violet-tailed Sylph Aglaiocercus coelestis a few GAL
Bronze-tailed Thornbill Chalcostigma heteropogon 1 GUA
Bearded Helmetcrest Oxypogon guerinii two males and a female RUI
Tyrian Metaltail Metallura tyrianthina uncommon RBL, RUI and GUA
Viridian Metaltail Metallura williami 1 RUI
Greenish Puffleg Halpophaedia aureliae 1 ROM, 3 GAL
Glowing Puffleg Eriocnemis vestita 3 GUA
Black-thighed Puffleg Eriocnemis derbyi 1 RUI
Coppery-bellied Puffleg Eriocnemis cupreoventris 2 GUA
Shining Sunbeam Aglaeactis cupripennis 1 RUI
Bronzy Inca Coeligena coeligena 1 ROM,1 OTU
Brown Inca Coeligena wilsoni 3 GAL
Collared Inca Coeligena torquata fairly common RBL
Blue-throated Starfrontlet Coeligena helianthea 3 GUA
Mountain Velvetbreast Lafresnaya lafresnayi 1 JAR
Sword-billed Hummingbird Ensifera ensifera 1 JAR
Buff-tailed Coronet Boissonneaua flavescens common RBL
Velvet-purple Coronet Boissonneaua jardini common GAL
Booted Racket-tail Ocreatus underwoodi 3 GAL
White-tailed Hillstar Urochroa bougeri fairly common GAL (western form with tawny malar)
Fawn-breasted Brilliant Heliodoxa rubinoides a few at feeders, RBL
Empress Brilliant Heliodoxa imperatrix a few GAL
White-bellied Woodstar Chaetocercus mulsant a couple at feeders RBL
Purple-throated Woodstar Calliphlox mitchellii a few GAL
Western Emerald Chlorostilbon melanorhynchus 1 OTU
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl 1 BOL, 1 road from Jardin to Rio Blanco
Andean Emerald Amazilia franciae 1 GAL
Steely-vented Hummingbird Amazilia saucerrottei 1 GAL
[Golden-headed Quetzal Pharomachrus auriceps] Heard only at GAL
Ringed Kingfisher Megaceryle torquata 1 FLO, 1 CAR
Highland Motmot Momotus aequatorialis 1 RBL, 3 OTU, 2 GAL
Red-headed Barbet Eubucco bourcierii 1 BOL, 2 OTU
[Toucan Barbet Semnornis ramphastinus] heard only GAL
Emerald Toucanet Aulacorhynchus prasinus griseigularis 3 ROM
Black-billed Mountain-Toucan Andigena nigrirostris nigrirostris 1 GUA
Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus 1 Medellin, 1 Pereira
Golden-green Woodpecker Piculus chrysochloros 1 OTU (Sheridan and Dan)
Golden-olive Woodpecker Colaptes rubiginosus 1 GAL (Sheridan and Dan)
Crimson-mantled Woodpecker Colaptes rivoli 1 RBL, 2 GUA
Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus 1 ROM (Martin)
[Powerful Woodpecker Campephilus pollens] heard only RBL
Stout-billed Cinclodes Cinclodes excelsior 1 RUI
Bar-winged Cinclodes Cinclodes fuscus fairly common RUI
Andean Tit-Spintetail Leptasthenura andicola 1 RUI (Dan)
White-chinned Thistletail Schizoeaca fuliginosa 1 RUI (Dan)
Azara’s Spinetail Synallaxis azarae heard and/or seen at most mid-elevation locations
[Pale-breasted Spinetail Synallaxis albescens] heard only BOL
Red-faced Spinetail Cranioleuca erythrops 2 GAL
Spotted Barbtail Premnoplex brunnescens 2 ROM
Fulvous-dotted/Star-chested Treerunner Margarornis stellatus 5 GAL
Pearled Treerunner Margarornis squamiger a few ROM, RBL
[Striped Woodhaunter Hyloctistes subulatus] heard only RBL
Streak-capped Treehunter Thripadectes virgaticeps 1 RBL
Streaked Xenops Xenops rutilans 1 OTU (Sheridan)
Strong-billed Woodcreeper Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus 1 RBL, 1 OTU
Montane Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger 1 OTU
Bar-crested Antshrike Thamnophilus multistriatus 1 BOL
Uniform Antshrike Thamnophilus unicolor 1 GAL (Sheridan and Dan)
Bicolored Antvireo Dysithamnus occidentalis 1 female GAL
[Long-tailed Antbird Drymophila caudata] heard only RBL
[Moustached Antpitta Grallaria alleni] heard only OTU
Chestnut-crowned Antpitta Grallaria ruficapilla 2 RBL, heard OTU, GUA
Bicolored Antpitta Grallaria rufocinerea 1 RBL
[Chestnut-naped Antpitta Grallaria nuchalis] heard only at RBL
Yellow-breasted Antpitta Grallaria flavotincta 1 GAL (common by voice)
Rufous Antpitta Grallaria rufula 1 GUA (Martin and Pablo), heard RUI
Tawny Antpitta Grallaria quitensis 1 RUI
Brown-banded Antpitta Grallaria milleri 2 RBL
Slate-crowned Antpitta Grallicula nana 1 RBL
Ash-colored Tapaculo Myornis senilis 1 RBL, heard ROM
[Blackish Tapaculo Scytalopus latrans] heard only ROM, RBL
[Choco Tapaculo Scytalopus chocoensis] heard only GAL
Stiles’s Tapaculo Scytalopus stilesi 1 ROM
Narino Tapaculo Scytalopus vicinor 1 GAL
[Spillmann’s Tapaculo Scytalopus spillmanni] heard only RBL
Matorral Tapaculo Scytalopus griseicollis 1 GUA
[Paramo Tapaculo Scytalopus canus] heard only RBL, RUI
[Ocellated Tapaculo Acropternis orthonyx] heard only RBL
Black-capped Tyrannulet Phyllomyias nigrocapillus 2 RUI, 1 GUA
Plumbeous-crowned Tyrannulet Phyllomias plumbeiceps 1 FLO
Mountain Elaenia Elaenia frantzii 2 above ROM
White-tailed Tyrannulet Mecocerculus poecilocercus 1 GUA
White-throated Tyrannulet Mecocerculus leucophrys common GUA
Torrent Tyrannulet Serpophaga cinerea 2 FLO, 1 GUA
Bronze-olive Pygmy-Tyrant Pseudotriccus pelzelni 3 GAL
Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrant Pseudotriccus ruficeps 2 RBL
Golden-faced Tyrannulet Zimmerius chrysops fairly common mid elevations
[Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant Phylloscartes opthalmicus] heard only ROM, OTU
Streak-necked Flycatcher Mionectes striaticollis 1 RBL, 1 GAL
[Slaty-capped Flycatcher leptopogon amaurocephalus] heard only BOL
Sepia-capped Flycatcher leptopogon superciliaris 1 BOL
Rufous-breasted Flycatcher Leptopogon rufipectus 2 OTU, heard ROM
Ornate Flycatcher Myiotriccus ornatus 2 GAL
Common Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum cinereum 3 CAR
Yellow-olive Flycatcher Tolmomyias sulphurescens 1 OTU
Handsome Flycatcher Myiophobus pulcher common GAL
Cinnamon Flycatcher Pyrrhomyias cinnamomeus common JAR, RBL, GAL
Smoke-colored Pewee Contopus fumigatus 1 GAL (Martin)
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans seen on most rivers and streams
Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus 1 BOL, 1 between Jardin and Rio Blanco
Streak-throated Bush-tyrant Myiotheretes striaticollis 1 RBL
Rufous-breasted Chat-tyrant Ochthoeca rufipectoralis 1 GUA
Brown-backed Chat-tyrant Ochthoeca fumicolor fairly common RUI and GUA
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis a few BOL, CAR
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus 1 BOL, 3 CAR
Golden-crowned Flycatcher Myiodynastes chrysocephalus 2 ROM, a few OTU
Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus 1 juvenile BOL
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus ubiquitous
Pale-edged Flycatcher Myiarchus cephalotes 1 OTU
Red-crested Cotinga Ampelion rubrocristatus 1 RUI, 1 GUA
Chestnut-crested Cotinga Ampelion rufaxilla 1 adult and 1 juvenile JAR
Green-and-black Fruiteater Pipreola riefferii 1 ROM, 3 GAL, 1 GUA
[Barred Fruiteater Pipreola arcuata] heard only JAR
Orange-breasted Fruiteater Pipreola jucunda 3 GAL
Andean Cock-of-the-Rock Rupicola rupicola 1 GAL
Olivaceous Piha Snowornis cryptolophus 2 GAL
Red-ruffed Fruitcrow Pyroderus scutatus 8 OTU
Golden-winged Manakin Masius chrysopterus 1 female GAL
Barred Becard Pachyramphus versicolor 1 GAL
Cinereous Becord Pachyramphus rufus 1 BOL
White-winged Becard Pachyramphus polychopterus 2 FLO
[Black-billed Peppershrike Cyclarhis nigrirostris] heard only at ROM, RBL
Brown-capped Vireo Vireo leucophrys 1 FLO
Red-eyed Vireo Vireo philadelphicus a few BOL, CAR
Rufous-naped Greenlet Hylophilus semibrunneus 2 ROM, 1 OTU
Black-collared Jay Cyanolyca armillata 4 RBL, heard JAR, GUA
Beautiful Jay Cyanolyca pulchra 1 GAL (Martin and Pablo)
Green/Inca Jay Cyanocorax yncas small numbers ROM, OTU
Blue-and-white Swallow Pygochelidon cyanoleuca fairly common in a variety of habitats
Brown-bellied Swallow Orochelidon murina fairly common in temperate areas
White-thighed Swallow Atticora tibialis a few OTU
Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopterytx ruficollis BOL, between Jardin and Rio Blanco, CAR
House Wren Troglodytes aedon 1 above ROM, heard GUA
Sedge Wren Cistothorus platensis 2 RUI, heard GUA
Whiskered Wren Pheugopedius mystacalis 1 above ROM, 1 OTU
[Rufous-and-white Wren Pheugopedius rufalbus] heard only BOL
Rufous Wren Cinnycerthia unirufa 3 GUA
Sharpe’s Wren Cinnycerthia olivascens 1 JAR
Gray-breasted Wood-Wren Henichorina leucophrys seen a few times, heard often in mid-elevation forests
Munchique Wood-Wren Henichorina negreti 2 seen at GAL, heard JAR
Chestnut-breasted Wren Cyphorinus thoracicus 2 OTU
Tropical Gnatcatcher Polioptila plumbea BOL
Andean Solitaire Myadestes ralloides 1 ROM, 1 OTU
[Black Solitaire Entomodestes coracinus] heard only, GAL (apparently Aug is not the best time to see them there)
Black-billed Thrush Turdus ignobilis common in middle/lower elevations
Great Thrush Turdus fuscater common in temperate areas
Tropical Mockingbird Mimus gilvus common CAR
White-capped Tanager Sericossypha albocristata 4 RBL
Black-capped Hemispingus Hemispingus atropileus 2 RBL
Superciliated Hemispingus Hemispingus superciliaris 1 JAR
Oleaginous Hemispingus Hemispingus frontalis a few JAR, OTU
Gray-hooded Bush-Tanger Cnemoscopus rubirostris small group JAR
Crimson-backed Tanager Ramphocelus dimidiatus 2 BOL
Flame-rumped Tanager Ramphocelus flammigerus 1 BOL, 1 near Pereira
Lemon-Rumped Tanager Ramphocelus icteronotus 1 CAR
Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus a few in lower elevations
Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum a couple at lower elevations
Blue-capped Tanager Thraupis cyanocephala 1 GAL
Black-and-gold Tanager Bangsia melanochlamys 1 lower GAL
Gold-ringed Tanager Bangsia aureocincta 20+ GAL
Hooded Mountain-Tanager Buthraupis Montana 4 GUA
Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager Anisognathus lacrymosus 3 JAR
Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager Anisognathus igniventris 1 RBL, 3 GUA
Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager Anisognathus somptuosus 6 GAL
Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager Anisognathus notabilis 3 GAL
Grass-green Tanager Chlorornis riefferii 1 JAR
Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager Dubusia taeniata 1 JAR
Purplish-mantled Tanager Iridosornis porphyrocephalus 25+ GAL
Glistening-green Tanager Chlorochrysa phoenicotis 8 GAL
Multicolored Tanager Chlorochrysa nitidissima 2 OTU
Scrub Tanager Tangara vitriolina 1 ROM, 1 OTU
Blue-necked Tanager Tangara cyanocollis 1 FLO
Rufous-throated Tanager Tangara rufigula 1 lower GAL
Blue-and-black Tanager Tangara vassorii a couple RBL
Beryl-spangled Tanager Tangara nigroviridis a few RBL, GAL
Metallic-green Tanager Tangara labradorides 1 ROM (Sheridan)
Bay-headed Tanager Tangara gyrola 1 FLO (Martin)
Saffron-crowned Tanager Tangara xanthocephala 1 OTU
Flame-faced Tanager Tangara parzudakii 2 GAL
Golden Tanager Tangara arthus fairly common at mid-elevations
Silver-throated Tanager Tangara icterocephala 3 lower GAL
Blue Dacnis Dacnis cayana 2 BOL
Blue-backed Conebill Conirostrum sitticolor 1 RBL
Rufous-browed Conebill Conirostrum rufum 6 GUA
Black Flowerpiercer Diglossa humeralis 2 RUI, fairly common GUA
White-sided Flowerpiercer Diglossa albilatera fairly common in temperate areas
Indigo Flowerpiercer Diglossa indigotica 10+ GAL
Bluish Flowerpiercer Diglossa caerulescens 1 GAL, a few GUA
Masked Flowerpiercer Diglossa cyanea fairly common in most montane areas
Black-backed Bush-Tanager Urothraupis stolzmanni 1 RUI
Black-winged Saltator Saltator atripennis 1 FLO
Bananaquit Coereba flaveola a few at lower elevations
Yellow-faced Grassquit Tiaris olivaceus fairly common GAL
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis ubiquitous
Plumbeous Sierra-Finch Phrygilus unicolor common RUI
Saffron Finch Sicalis flaveola 2 Pereira
Gray Seedeater Sporophila intermedia 3 of the darker western form CAR
Yellow-bellied Seedeater Sporophila nigricollis common FLO, GAL
Plain-colored Seedeater Catamenia inornata fairly common RUI
Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch Arremon brunninucha 1 OTU
Yellow-throated/White-naped Brush-Finch Atlapetes gutteralis 2 ROM, 2 OTU
Pale-naped Brush-Finch Atlapetes pallidinucha 2 GUA
Tricolored Brush-Finch Atlapetes tricolor fairly common GAL
Rufous-naped Brush-finch Atlapetes latinuchus 1 ROM
Slaty Brush-Finch Atlapetes schistaceus a few JAR, OTU, GUA
Crested Ant-Tanager Habia cristata 2 OTU, heard GAL
Common Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus opthalmicus singles ROM, JAR, OTU
Dusky Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus semifuscus a few GAL
Ashy-throated Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus canigularis 2 OTU (Martin, Pablo)
Slate-throated Whitestart Myioborus miniatus most mid/upper elevations
Golden-fronted Whitestart Myioborus ornatus a few chrysops JAR, RBL; a few ornatus GUA
Black-crested Warbler Basileuterus nigrocristatus 1 GUA
[Russet-crowned Warbler Basileuterus coronatus] heard only JAR
Golden-crowned Warbler Basileuterus culcivorus 1 ROM
Three-striped Warbler Basileuterus tristriatus 2 ROM, 1 GAL
Mountain Cacique Cacicus chrysonotus a few JAR, 1 GUA
[Yellow-billed Cacique Amblycercus holosericeus] heard only at RBL
Red-bellied Grackle Hypopyrrhus pyrohypogaster 15 ROM
Giant Cowbird Molothrus oryzivorus 1 between Bogota and GUA
Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonariensis 2 between Jardin and Rio Blanco
Red-breasted Blackbird sturnella militaris 2 CAR
Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna 2 GUA
Andean Siskin Carduelis spinescens 3 RBL
[Lesser Goldfinch Carduelis psaltria] heard only GAL
Orange-bellied Euphonia Euphonia xanthogaster common FLO, GAL
Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia Chlorophonia pyrrhophrys GAL
Yellow-collared Chlorophonia Chlorophonia flavirostris 1 lower GAL (Martin)

I saw 259 species, of which 36 were lifers (in addition, 24 species identified by voice)


Jaguarundi (dark morph) 1 ran across the road above Jardin (Sheridan and Martin)
Red Howler Monkey 4 OTU (Sheridan)
Possum GAL
Andean Squirrel ROM, OTU (pics)
2 small weasel-types (one dark, one pale) ran across the road above Jardin
a large bat feeding pre-dawn by our hotel in Medellin

To see photos go to: http://www.martinreid.com/Misc%20website/CO09index.html