Colombia, Two Try the Santa Marta Region, May 20-30, 2018

Published by Jim McConnell (jomdsh AT aol.com)

Participants: Jim McConnell,David McConnell

Comments

An enjoyable blast of birds, from start to finish, this trip somewhat exceeded my expectations, and I would recommend this circuit to just about anyone who is reasonably fit and interested in birds. The trip was made even better by the company of my elder brother, who is also a birder. Since this part of Colombia is not distant, in somewhat relative terms, from Miami, and also since the area is tourist-friendly, it was an easy destination for the two of us. Besides the bird-worthiness of the area, there was an enjoyable tropical culture in the lowlands, festooned with burro-driven carts in the streets, open air markets, lizards in the sands, and even monkeys in the trees. In the higher elevations, there were some truly impressive vistas, spanning snow-capped peaks which fed down mountain chains to the coast in single sweeping views.

We flew in to Barranquilla rather than in to Santa Marta, which is preferable, because Santa Marta has license plate laws that forbid travel on certain days. Further, Barranquilla had good hotels, restaurants, and airport car rentals. Getting around in that city was relatively easy as long as it was night time or very early in the morning. Traffic was congested at other times. We rented an SUV from Enterprise at the Barranquilla Airport. It was in fine condition and served us well.

The trip plan was simple. We would bird a stretch of lowlands from Barranquilla to Camarones in the first couple of days. Then, we would make our way up to Minca, which was at a slightly higher elevation. After a short time there, we would ascend higher still to the cloud forests of El Dorado Reserve and the San Lorenzo Ridge for the largest chunk of our time.

Things to know/trip info: By and large, English is not spoken, so a little Spanish is helpful. Gas stations are reasonably plentiful. Cell phone service, and associated wi-fi, was available in most areas (my brother was able to get it all for an extra ten dollars a day from his provider -ask about international service from your provider). Having such service allowed us to use GPS to navigate, which was especially helpful in the streets of Barranquilla and at the potentially confusing roundabouts outside of Santa Marta on the Trucal del Caribe highway. Also, we were able to connect with loved ones back in the states with relative ease thanks to this cell phone connection. Birding areas closer to Barranquilla (like Km 4 Palermo) had a few mosquitos, but this was not intolerable. Birding areas closer to Camarones, with its thorn scrub habitat, were a bit hot and sunny, but this was not intolerable either.

Sunscreen was a good idea in the lowlands generally. Hotel Minca was a very pleasant break at mid-trip and is recommended. Birding above Minca can be best achieved by hiring one of the many motorcycles (which come complete with drivers) that are available at the town bridge in Minca (they just stand around there all day waiting for customers). They are inexpensive and really beat an exhausting trudge uphill. They will motor you upwards for as many kilometers as you want. Then you can bird your way back down to Minca.

Birding at El Dorado reserve was a pleasure, but to access the various parts of the reserve, once you are there, requires walking on trails and roads that can be a bit tiring, as well as lengthy. Uphill and downhill plodding is the name of the game in the reserve. The only food in the reserve would be the delicious 3 square meals available at the El Dorado office restaurant, which are already included in the accommodation charge. Eating here, however, means continually commuting by foot to resupply at each meal time, unless you have brought extra food yourself or have arranged bag meals with the staff. The best birding circuit to take at El Dorado Lodge, provided you are fairly fit, is to start from the El Dorado cabins (called Kogihabs) and proceed along the La Cumbre trail for about 5 km until you reach a small mountainside pasture where a local bird guide lives, who is associated with the reserve. At the first corner of this person’s house (the only house at the end of the La Cumbre Trail, head left (upwards) through the mountainside meadow on the only winding footpath. After a kilometer or so of quite steep hiking, you reach the beat up road that is San Lorenzo Ridge. Turn right on this for a kilometer or so to walk towards the summit of Cerro Kennedy. Then, retrace your steps back down the road and stay on the road heading downhill all the way back to the cabins at El Dorado Lodge office. The total distance back down along this road will be about 8 km or so. The total distance of the entire loop from cabin back again to the cabin might be around 14 or 15 km. We found the La Cumbre trail to be about the best trail in the reserve for viewing birds, but all parts this loop were good. Around 80 percent of El Dorado’s customers are from the United States and much of the rest are from Europe, so they are expecting you if you are from these areas, and a couple staff members speak English. Of course they are set to accommodate anyone from anywhere and if you are a native Spanish-speaker, it would be especially easy for you. We were the only guests present at low season in May. The Kogihabs are a bit of a walk from the main office/restaurant but the views from these Kogihabs are truly spectacular. My brother recorded songs of wanted birds on his cell phone and this allowed us about get 10 or 15 species on the trip that we might not have gotten otherwise. His work in this regard was appreciated.

Species Lists

Little Tinamou – heard at all three elevations: at Las Gaviotas, a few kilometers above Minca, and outside our cabin at El Dorado

Gray Tinamou – seen by my brother only, on Trail number 9 only about 15 minutes walk from the office, inside primary forest near a stream

Northern Screamer – a very fun bird to see, it was very close and allowing great views in the weeds at the edge of the cattails, at the very end of the road/path at Km 4 Palermo. It was right where the path terminated and you could not walk further if you wanted to.

Fulvous Whistling Duck – quite a few of these in the marshes at Km 4 Palermo

Blue-winged Teal – a male at Km 4 Palermo

White-cheeked Pintail – a male at Km 4 Palermo, and one or two elsewhere in the lowlands

Chestnut-winged Chachalaca – a small band of these moving stealthily through the thicket shrubbery a little above ground at a road just east (past) Cordobita (which is also immediately past Rio Cordoba) on the Troncal del Caribe highway

Band-tailed Guan – easily seen at the feeders at El Dorado Reserve office, and also fairly easy to see along the trails in the reserve

Sickle-winged Guan – we had good close views of this bird along the La Cumbre trail of El Dorado Reserve several times, and also good close views of two along San Lorenzo Ridge

Crested Bobwhite – My brother keyed us in on a small flock of at least 4 birds, including two stunning males, at point blank range walking along just inside the thorn scrub at Cari Cari Road. Also, several seen next to the indigenous village behind Camarones, and one heard behind the towers outside of Camarones as well

Black-fronted Wood-Quail – Very up close and personal views of one as it strutted by directly beneath us at the bird feeders at El Dorado Reserve. Thanks to our driver for pointing it out to us.

Least Grebe – One or more of these at Km 4 Palermo

Wood Stork – One of these flew by at El Ebanal Toll Booth area

Magnificent Frigatebird – reasonably frequent sightings along all coast areas

Neotropic Cormorant – particularly common at inlets and bridges near the coast, like Salamanca National Park

Brown Pelican – fairly frequent along the coast, usually just offshore over the waves but a few in inlets and bridges

Least Bittern – At least two of these seen in the cattails of Km 4 Palermo

Cocoi Heron – Common and conspicuous at Km 4 Palermo, and a few elsewhere, like Salamanca National Park

Great Egret – Quite common in lowlands throughout

Snowy Egret – A few at Km 4 Palermo and Salamanca National Park as well as Camarones

Little Blue Heron – An adult at Salamanca National Park

Tricolored Heron – a few at Km 4 Palermo and at Salamanca National Park

Reddish Egret – about 5 or so along the road at Salamanca National Park

Cattle Egret – a few close fly-bys in the lowlands somewhere

Striated Heron – fairly common at Km 4 Palermo and at Salamanca National Park

Black-crowned Night Heron – a few seen at Km 4 Palermo

White Ibis – one adult individual noted at Camarones

Scarlet Ibis – one juvenile bird was a fun find and offered great close views at Km 4 Palermo

Bare-faced Ibis – rather common bird at Km 4 Palermo and a few at Salamanca National Park

Roseate Spoonbill – a single pretty one at Km 4 Palermo

Black Vulture – numerous, particularly in lowlands

Turkey Vulture – soaring over the valleys above Minca and elsewhere

Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture – Very nice look at a perched bird or two at Km 4 Palermo, distinctive head color

Pearl Kite – a close perched bird at Km 4 Palermo

Snail Kite – quite a few of these at Km 4 Palermo and a few at Salamanca National Park

Common Black Hawk – an adult bird soaring close to us immediately above Minca

Savannah Hawk – Individuals were seen perched at Salamanca National Park in semi-open habitat and another was seen closer to Camarones

Great Black Hawk – Nice look at one soaring at low height at Salamanca National Park

Roadside Hawk – a single individual was present at Playa Mandala

Harris’s Hawk – First noticed at the Cari Cari Road as a fly-by, another couple were seen around Camarones

Short-tailed Hawk – A light phase bird west of the Cari Cari Road along the Truncal del Caribe highway, soaring close to road

Purple Gallinule – A couple of these in the marsh at Km 4 Palermo

Common Gallinule – fairly common in the marsh at Km 4 Palermo

Limpkin – A fair number of these at Km 4 Palermo and at Salamanca National Park

Double-striped Thick-knee – A nemesis bird finally garnered with much satisfaction. A group of 3 was together at a roadside dry field just before Camarones and also several were present on the salt flats between Camarones town and the beach there

Black-necked Stilt - Very common at Salamanca National Park and at other marshy areas in the lowlands

Southern Lapwing - fairly conspicuous at Km 4 Palermo and at Salamanca National Park

Collared Plover - A single bird at Km 4 Palermo and several birds at good close range at the little inlet mudflats behind the indigenous village at Camarones

Wattled Jacana - Very common at Km 4 Palermo marshes

Whimbrel - A single bird showing nicely along the roadside at Salamanca National Park

Marbled Godwit - a poor view of one along the road at Salamanca National Park

White-rumped Sandpiper - one of the surprises of the trip, we encountered several flocks of 20 to 30 birds just east of Palermo and a few more small groups at the little inlet mudflats behind the indigenous village at Camarones. The total number of individuals on the trip was over 80.

Semipalmated Sandpiper - One was noted at the little inlet mudflats behind the indigenous village at Camarones

Spotted Sandpiper - a single bird was seen up close at the beach at Las Gaviotas

Greater Yellowlegs - several at Salamanca National Park

Lesser Yellowlegs - one at Salamanca National Park

Laughing Gull - a single bird at Camarones beach area

Yellow-billed Tern - quite a few of these at Km 4 Palermo

Large-billed Tern - fairly common at Km 4 Palermo

Caspian Tern - at least one with a flock of other terns at Salamanca National Park

Forster's Tern - a few of these with a flock of other terns at Salamanca National Park

Royal Tern - A few over the waves in beach areas and a large flock or two resting on sand at Salamanca National Park

Black Skimmer - a few at Km 4 Palermo

Rock Pigeon - in most towns

Pale-vented Pigeon - not uncommon as a fly-by in lowlands

Bare-eyed Pigeon - several seen as fly-bys behind the towers near Camarones and perched at Cari Cari Road

Band-tailed Pigeon - fairly common along San Lorenzo Ridge

Common Ground-Dove - quite a few of these behind the towers and around the indigenous village of Camarones

Ruddy Ground-Dove - In Barranquilla and at Km 4 Palermo and elsewhere in lowlands

Scaled Dove - Well seen several places, including Cari Cari Road, Camarones, and behind the towers, also heard (call similar to Inca Dove)

Blue Ground-Dove - a male above Minca

White-tipped Dove - Common bird of many locations, including El Dorado Reserve, Minca, and Km 4 Palermo

Lined Quail-Dove - fairly common at El Dorado Reserve. It was seen quite often, but its rather elongated boopish call was heard alot too

Eared Dove - large numbers of these flying to roost behind the towers near Camarones

Greater Ani - first one seen at Los Cocos headquarters trail, and another seen at La Tayrona National Park

Smooth-billed Ani - several seen at Km 4 Palermo and elsewhere, more associated with cattails than the other similar ani

Groove-billed Ani - several at Km 4 Palermo and elsewhere

Striped Cuckoo - heard behind the indigenous village of Camarones, and near the Perico turnoff for Los Flamencos along the Truncal del Caribe highway

Squirrel Cuckoo - one hanging out at the yard at Hotel Minca and several seen at lowland locales

Santa Marta Screech-Owl - one of the enjoyable moments of the trip was when a pair began calling right beside us towards the end of the La Cumbre trail, my brother spotlighted it with his headlamp at very close range

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl - heard giving its oft-repeated call near the indigenous village of Camarones

Common Paraque - several showed well in the car headlights of the driveway at Playa Mandala

Chestnut-collared Swift – Some in a small flock of mixed swifts at Las Gaviotas and the same situation above Minca

White-collared Swift – a few above Minca

Gray-rumped Swift – a flock over fields near Palomino, Truncal del Caribe

Band-rumped Swift – above Minca, and apparently at a few locations in the lowlands as well

Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift – one or more above the central park in Minca, with whitish throat well-defined and spread forked tail at one moment

White-necked Jacobin – fairly common at the feeders at Hotel Minca

Rufous-breasted Hermit – one sat in a bush and made high chips at Finca La Victoria above Minca

Pale-bellied Hermit – at least one was a frequent visitor to the feeders at Hotel Minca

Brown Violetear – fairly common at the feeders at El Dorado Reserve

Lesser Violetear – common at the feeders at El Dorado Reserve

Sparkling Violetear – common at the feeders at the La Cumbre house, where a local bird guide lived at the end of the La Cumbre trail

Black-throated Mango – a female seen at Playa Mandala

White-tailed Starfrontlet – a very pretty hummer, showing off regularly at the El Dorado Reserve feeders

Red-billed Emerald – one seen very well at the Los Cocos headquarters trail and some at the feeders at Hotel Minca and elsewhere

White-vented Plumeleteer – one of the common hummingbirds at Hotel Minca feeders

Crowned Woodnymph – pretty but quite common at the El Dorado Reserve feeders

Buffy Hummingbird – one of the highlights of the trip, a very obliging individual perched right beside us for great views behind the towers near Camarones, and shortly thereafter the same or a different individual afforded more views in the same general area

Steely-vented Hummingbird – a fairly common visitor to the feeders at Hotel Minca

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird – a common visitor to the feeders at Hotel Minca

Sapphire-throated Hummingbird – a female was well seen at the blooming Bouganvilla Tree at the parking lot at Los Cocos headquarters at high noon

Shining-green Hummingbird – a very pretty individual glittered in the sun behind the towers near Camarones

White-tipped Quetzal – great views of a male and a female towards the end of the La Cumbre trail. Another female seen along the La Cumbre trail on a different day

Gartered Trogon – one of these was well seen at Las Gaviotas

Masked Trogon – a small family group was encountered and seen well between the El Dorado office restaurant and the cabins and others were encountered along the La Cumbre Trail. Their calls were fairly common in these areas

Whooping Motmot – Plenty of good looks at this species was had. First encountered just past Cordobita and the Rio Cordoba, and later seen at other lowland locales and just above Minca

Ringed Kingfisher – an individual was at Km 4 Palermo

Amazon Kingfisher – one was at Km 4 Palermo

White-necked Puffbird – Nice look at one of these at Las Gaviotas

Pied Puffbird – one of my favorite birds of the trip, my brother noticed one sitting quietly a short ways up in a tall mangrove tree at the trails at Los Cocos headquarters, and then we saw two hanging out together at close range nearby

Russet-throated Puffbird – A reasonably common bird at many lowland locales, from Km 4 Palermo to just past Cordobita to Cari Cari Road to Camarones and even above Minca

Rufous-tailed Jacamar – quite a few of these seen from just past Cordobita and the Rio Cordoba to other lowland locales and above Minca

Southern Emerald Toucanet (Santa Marta Toucanet) – a fairly common bird, usually in small groups, around the office restaurant of El Dorado Lodge and along the La Cumbre trail

Collared Aracari – one seen at Km 4 Palermo, or was it at Playa Mandala

Keel-billed Toucan – seen between Minca and El Dorado Reserve

Scaled Piculet – a fun encounter was seeing a pair of these birds in a tree from our restaurant balcony in Minca

Chestnut Piculet – First seen just past Cordobita and Rio Cordoba, and then later seen around El Ebanal tollbooth area

Red-crowned Woodpecker – a common bird seen from Km 4 Palermo through to other lowland sites and around Minca

Smoky-brown Woodpecker – a pair of these was present at San Lorenzo Ridge

Red-rumped Woodpecker – one of these was seen about 2/3 of the way along the La Cumbre trail

Golden-olive Woodpecker – One along the La Cumbre Trail

Spot-breasted Woodpecker – A couple of these showed well at Km 4 Palermo and maybe one or two elsewhere in lowlands

Lineated Woodpecker – one seen at Playa Mandala

Crested Caracara – Seen periodically along the length of the lowlands but particularly common at Salamanca National Park

Yellow-headed Caracara – Seen along the length of the lowlands

Laughing Falcon – one was perched in a tree at Las Gaviotas

American Kestrel – One was hanging out at the reserve guide’s house at La Cumbre of El Dorado Reserve. Also, a couple were seen along the Truncal del Caribe highway in the lowlands

Bat Falcon – one or more seen closer to Barranquilla along the Truncal del Caribe highway and at Salamanca National Park

Orange-chinned Parakeet – A fairly common and very conspicuous and noisy bird in flocks at Playa Mandala, Hotel Minca, and at a few other lowland locations

Red-billed Parrot – Fly-bys were not uncommon from San Lorenzo Ridge all the way down to the El Dorado Lodge office restaurant

Yellow-crowned Amazon – separating this species from the following one was not always easy as fly-bys in the lowlands

Orange-winged Amazon – apparently a pair of these at Playa Mandala and at Km 4 Palermo, though the ones at Km 4 Palermo may have been the preceeding species

Scaly-naped Parrot – A few of these perched close to me at San Lorenzo Ridge, allowing for great views

Green-rumped Parrotlet – one of my favorite birds of the trip, we saw a pair at the indigenous village near Camarones, and one along the Troncal del Caribe towards Rio Hacha

Santa Marta Parakeet – seen as small flocks of 5 to 8 birds on the grassy hillside immediately below San Lorenzo Ridge

Brown-throated Parakeet – encountered rather frequently, usually as close fly-bys but nice looks were had at several birds at Los Cocos headquarters, encountered from Salamanca National Park all the way through to Camarones

Military Macaw – a pair of rather distant birds was flying towards the lush thorn-clad slopes over flat lowlands near Santa Marta

Scarlet-fronted Parakeet – several perched in trees along the San Lorenzo Ridge for nice views. They were reasonably noisy as fly-bys in that area as well.

Black-crested Antshrike – Their characteristic song is distinctive and easily recognized and they were fairly common visuals from just past Cordobita and Rio Cordoba to all thorn scrub woodland locations, including Cari Cari Road and near Camarones

Barred Antshrike – Great close visual of one just above Minca

Black-crowned Antshrike – A male was seen well at Playa Mandala

White-fringed Antwren – Encountered with some frequency in the dry thorn scrub sorts of woodland, including just past Cordobita and the Rio Cordoba, Cari Cari Road and most all locations near Camarones

Santa Marta Antpitta - We found this bird to be fairly common vocally in the second half of the La Cumbre trail wherever there was bamboo understory. It was also present in the walk up the meadow hillside above the La Cumbre house in small copses of trees with bamboo. One was actually seen well along the La Cumbre trail for one of the highlights of the trip.

Santa Marta Tapaculo - a few were present vocally around the mid part of the La Cumbre trail, around bamboo understory.

Brown-rumped Tapaculo - Responded to playback and well seen along San Lorenzo ridge, and then another one did the same for good views on the meadow hillside path above the La Cumbre house. They were fairly common vocally in both places for perhaps ten or fewer individuals in total.

Strong-billed Woodcreeper - a pair of these large hulking woodcreepers was on the dead trees along San Lorenzo Ridge and a single bird was in the forest along the roadside immediately above the El Dorado Lodge office.

Straight-billed Woodcreeper - a couple of these were seen at Km 4 Palermo, another couple above Minca, and a few more at other lowland sites.

Streak-headed Woodcreeper - one seen near the El Dorado Lodge office and a few more along El Dorado's trails

Montane Woodcreeper - Seen along San Lorenzo Ridge and also along the La Cumbre trail

Streaked Xenops - one seen in a mixed flock near the El Dorado Lodge office and along the La Cumbre trail

Pale-legged Hornero - one of a pair of these was well seen on the ground near the El Ebanal Toll Booth, and several were heard near the indigenous village near Camarones

Montane Foliage-gleaner – one was seen near the El Dorado Lodge office

Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner - a couple of these were seen along the La Cumbre trail and one was well seen up close along the road just below the El Dorado Lodge office

Streak-capped Spinetail - a few of these were seen well along the San Lorenzo Ridge

Yellow-chinned Spinetail - fairly common at the marsh edge at Km 4 Palermo. Yellow chin well seen

Pale-breasted Spinetail - first detected by its song, we had nice views of one behind the towers near Camarones

White-whiskered Spinetail - very handsome species was seen quite a few times along the Cari Cari Road and around Camarones

Rusty-headed Spinetail - responded to playback along the San Lorenzo Ridge for great close views of a pair. It was fairly common by voice along the San Lorenzo Ridge and on the meadow hillside above the La Cumbre house

White-throated Tyrannulet - Fairly common along San Lorenzo Ridge

Yellow Tyrannulet - one seen at Km 4 Palermo

Forest Elaenia - a pair of these seen above Minca

Yellow-bellied Elaenia - one at Playa Mandala and several around the town of Minca and a few elsewhere

Lesser Elaenia - one was seen above Minca

Mountain Elaenia - fairly common by voice and several seen along San Lorenzo Ridge and on the hillside meadow above La Cumbre. Also, one seen from a restaurant balcony in Minca

Olive-striped Flycatcher - one seen along the road just above the El Dorado Lodge office

Ochre-bellied Flycatcher - one was well seen above Minca

Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet - one was in a mixed species flock towards the end of the La Cumbre trail

Black-capped Tyrannulet - a well-marked individual was well seen along San Lorenzo Ridge

Northern Scrub Flycatcher - well seen along the Cari Cari Road and behind the towers near Camarones

Slender-billed Tyrannulet - I liked this fairly common bird of the thorn scrub because it was so tiny and had a nice comb-like trill call. Several came in close along Cari Cari Road and behind the towers near Camarones

Pale-tipped Tyrannulet - one or more seen behind the towers near Camarones

Tawny-crowned Pygmy-Tyrant - stunning nice looks at one or two of these behind the towers near Camarones in response to playback of its song

Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant - a pair of these was well seen with their lighter irises and smudgy faint streaking on breasts behind the towers near Camarones

Black-throated Tody-Tryant - This fun little bird was present at Kogihab cabins numbers 3 and 5 and also near there at the beginning of the La Cumbre trail. One responded particularly well to my brother's recorded call and showed off close to us.

Common Tody-Flycatcher - at least one was present at Playa Mandala and was both seen and heard

Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher - one responded to my brother's recording of its song at the beginning of the Las Gaviotas Road. Heard only.

Yellow-breasted Flycatcher - one was seen and heard at the El Ebanal tollbooth area

Cinnamon Flycatcher - a fairly common bird of mixed species flocks at El Dorado Lodge

Tropical Pewee - a couple of these were present as individuals above Minca

Black Phoebe - a few of these were down by the river in Minca

Vermilion Flycatcher - seen with some frequency in the Camarones area and at a few other lowland locales

Pied Water-Tyrant - a fair number of these was present around the marshes of Km 4 Palermo and at least one was at Los Cocos headquarters

White-headed Marsh-Tyrant - one or more seen well at Km 4 Palermo

Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant - one responded to a recording of its call along San Lorenzo Ridge and a couple more were apparently calling on the walk up the steep meadow slope to the ridge

Cattle Tyrant - several of these at Km 4 Palermo and more were at a few other lowland open areas

Unknown Mourner or Flycatcher - a bird resembling a Grayish Mourner was perched in a tree and allowing decent views at Tayrona National Park. It would be out of range for the mourner, and so was probably something else

Panama Flycatcher - Good looks at this bird along the boardwalk path at Los Cocos headquarters

Brown-crested Flycatcher - a fairly common bird at a number of lowland locations, including Km 4 Palermo, Cari Cari Road, and Minca

Lesser Kiskadee - one flew down to a puddle in the road right next to a Great Kiskadee for striking comparison near the beginning of Cari Cari Road

Great Kiskadee - common throughout lowlands and around Minca

Social Flycatcher - seen at a few spots, like Minca and elsewhere

Gray-capped Flycatcher - at least one at Minca

Streaked Flycatcher - A couple of these at Playa Mandala and other lowland locales

Tropical Kingbird - a common bird of the wires in the lowlands and at Minca

Fork-tailed Flycatcher - several flying over just beyond the bridge at Barranquilla near Palermo, and seen again in the lowlands somewhere

Golden-breasted Fruiteater - reasonably common but mostly by voice in small groups along the second half of the La Cumbre Trail, half way up the meadow hillside above the La Cumbre house, and even heard back near the El Dorado Lodge office. I had a good look at a female one day and at a male another day, both along the La Cumbre trail

Lance-tailed Manakin - a male seen near eye level at Tayrona National Park

Masked Tityra - a single bird sitting close to its pendulant nest below El Dorado Reserve

Cinereous Becard - A couple of these were present at Playa Mandala, and one or two elsewhere as well

Rufous-browed Peppershrike - one was well seen after calling it in with a recording near El Ebanal toll booth. Its mate was calling nearby as well.

Scrub Greenlet - and individual was seen in the thorn scrub behind the towers near Camarones

Golden-fronted Greenlet - nice looks were had of this bird at Tayrona National Park

Brown-capped Vireo - several of these were seen at El Dorado Reserve, particularly along the La Cumbre trail

Red-eyed Vireo - surprisingly present as a breeder, and seen at Playa Mandala and at Minca

Black-chested Jay - first seen above Minca, but then found to be reasonably common at El Dorado Reserve

Blue-and-white Swallow - small numbers of these birds were present at San Lorenzo Ridge

Southern Rough-winged Swallow - one or two of these were present at Las Gaviotas

Gray-breasted Martin - One was seen at Las Gaviotas beach

Brown-chested Martin - Reasonable numbers of these were at Km 4 Palermo

White-winged Swallow - Fair numbers of these at Km 4 Palermo

House Wren from Km 4 Palermo all the way to Camarones, fairly common

Stripe-backed Wren - a few of these at Km 4 Palermo

Bicolored Wren - From Km 4 Palermo through to other lowland locales and Minca, fairly common

Rufous-breasted Wren - we only saw one but we saw it pretty well on a little side road above Minca

Rufous-and-white Wren - seen at La Tayrona National Park

Buff-breasted Wren - seen singing in the bushes near El Ebanal tollbooth

Hermit Wood-Wren - fairly common vocally at El Dorado Reserve and the San Lorenzo Ridge. Seen well a few times

Tropical Gnatcatcher - a fairly common bird of the thorn scrub at Cari Cari Road and in all areas near Camarones

Slaty-backed Nightengale-Thrush - fairly common song heard throughout the El Dorado Reserve and along the San Lorenzo Ridge. Sometimes seen

Pale-eyed Thrush - a female was well seen eating the banana-like fruits of a Cecropia Tree along the La Cumbre trail of El Dorado Reserve

Yellow-legged Thrush - seen on Trail # 9 about 10 minutes from the El Dorado office restaurant

Pale-breasted Thrush - a fairly common bird of the lowlands, but especially around Minca

Clay-colored Thrush - one seen at Tayrona National Park

Black-billed Thrush - a breeding bird seen singing at the bird guide's house called La Cumbre in El Dorado Reserve. Rare for the area but it was this species

Black-hooded Thrush - several were eating Cecropia Tree Fruit near the feeders at El Dorado Reserve

Great Thrush - fairly common along San Lorenzo Ridge

Tropical Mockingbird – present at Camarones

Rufous-capped Warbler – fairly common around Minca, like at Hotel Minca and on the roadsides above Minca

Santa Marta Warbler – my brother spotted one close to us along the San Lorenzo Ridge, and it soon reappeared for great looks

White-lored Warbler – fairly common as singles and pairs singing a varied little thin song and making chips near the swinging bridge at El Dorado Reserve and on the La Cumbre trail there

Slate-throated Whitestart – fairly common just below El Dorado Reserve and in the reserve itself, one nest was seen along the La Cumbre trail

Yellow-crowned Whitestart – a nice representative of the warbler clan, was fairly common along the La Cumbre trail in in the El Dorado Reserve generally

Fulvous-headed Tanager – this unmistakable tanager gave good looks in a mixed species flock at about the end of the first third of the La Cumbre trail. We considered it one of our favorite finds of the trip

Gray-headed Tanager – one seen above Minca and another seen in the lowlands

White-lined Tanager – a pair seen above Minca

Crimson-backed Tanager – first seen at Tayrona National Park, then at Las Gaviotas, and then at several lowland locations as well as just above Minca, reasonably common

Black-cheeked Mountain-Tanager (Santa Marta Mountain-Tanager) – enjoyable birds, usually in small groups most often encountered in the higher elevations of El Dorado Reserve and also along San Lorenzo Ridge. Fairly common in these areas

Blue-gray Tanager – fairly common at lowland locations that were wet enough

Glaucous Tanager – several of these were well seen at Cari Cari Road and around Camarones

Palm Tanager – seen at Km 4 Palermo and at Playa Mandala and a couple elsewhere as well

Blue-capped Tanager – present in mixed-species flock near the office restaurant of El Dorado Lodge

Black-capped Tanager – seen quite a few times in the El Dorado Reserve particularly around the feeders and along the nearby trails

Bay-headed Tanager (Santa Marta form) – Seen around the feeders at El Dorado Reserve and on the road just below the El Dorado office restaurant as well

Swallow Tanager – seen well above Minca and also at Las Gaviotas

Red-legged Honeycreeper – A couple of these or perhaps female Dacnises, were glimpsed at Playa Mandala and Tayrona National Park, but the glimpses were too brief for clear ID

Bicolored Conebill – quite common and usually the first responder to pishing, in the tall mangrove habitat of Los Cocos headquarters and in the rest of Salamanca National Park

White-sided Flowerpiercer – encountered every so often in El Dorado Reserve, especially around the bird feeders

Blue-black Grassquit – Occasionally encountered in the Camarones area and I believe we had a few elsewhere also, like above Minca and Cari Cari Road

Lesson’s Seedeater – A single bird was well seen on a fence at Playa Mandala

Gray Seedeater – A couple of these birds, one a nice male with a very big beak, were present at Cari Cari Road

Yellow-bellied Seedeater – One or more of these was along a grassy roadside above Minca

Band-tailed Seedeater – Encountered along San Lorenzo Ridge in somewhat open situations

Pileated Finch – Reasonably common in dry scrub habitat at Cari Cari Road and around Camarones, like behind the towers. At Cari Cari Road, a male displayed its red crest in agitation and was very pretty, but normally they just have black caps at first glance

Bananaquit – Present at most lowland locales in small numbers, like Las Gaviotas and Playa Mandala

Sooty Grassquit – a male seen above Minca

Black-faced Grassquit – a few of these behind the towers near Camarones were showing well

Buff-throated Saltator – one was present for good looks at the entrance walk to Hotel Minca

Orinocan Saltator – Nicely seen and heard near the indigenous village behind Camarones

Grayish Saltator – Regularly encountered, mostly in lowland areas, like Km 4 Palermo and elsewhere

Streaked Saltator – First encountered at Playa Mandala, it was seen at a couple other spots as well

Tocuyo Sparrow – We felt blessed to simply bump into one of these birds for great views behind the towers near Camarones

Sierra Nevada Brushfinch – closely seen on the trail very close to the end of the La Cumbre Trail and a few as we began to climb the hillside meadow just after that

Golden-winged Sparrow – a nice look was had at one just above Minca, and then we heard them with some regularity along the road above Minca after seeing that first one

Rufous-collared Sparrow – one was present at our Kogihab in El Dorado Reserve

Santa Marta Brushfinch – a common bird in the El Dorado Reserve, around the feeders and elsewhere

Vermillion Cardinal – A very striking male and female were seen behind the towers near Camarones and also a few near the indigenous village behind Camarones

Golden Grosbeak – encountered once or twice in the El Dorado Reserve

Blue-black Grosbeak – one was seen above Minca

Yellow-billed Cacique – I saw one along the San Lorenzo Ridge with a guide there

Crested Oropendola – Hotel Minca hosts lots of these, which tend to fly by. A colony or two with pendulous nests was noticed near the turnoff for Finca La Victoria

Yellow-rumped Cacique – first noticed at Playa Mandala, where a colony was present along the driveway. A few elsewhere too as I recall.

Yellow-backed Oriole – We saw a pair what may have been this species at Km 4 Palermo. Another competent group of birders visited the site just before us and only saw this species, and not Yellow Oriole. We are a little unsure which of the two we saw as we were so busy with all the new birds we were seeing to notice for sure.

Orange-crowned Oriole – This pretty oriole was noticed at Playa Mandala, Las Gaviotas, and Cari Cari Road
Yellow Oriole – Fairly common oriole first encountered just past Cordobita and Rio Cordoba and then at Cari Cari Road and elsewhere

Shiny Cowbird – present at Camarones and in Minca

Bronzed Cowbird – a pair were at Km 4 Palermo

Giant Cowbird – about 4 flew by as singles close to the hummingbird porch at Hotel Minca

Great-tailed Grackle – quite a few at Km 4 Palermo and elsewhere in the lowlands

Carib Grackle – most common around town in Minca but also a few elsewhere in the lowlands

Yellow-hooded Blackbird – a few were seen at Km 4 Palermo

Blue-naped Chlorophonia – at least two, maybe more, were around the feeders at El Dorado Reserve

Trinidad Euphonia – a male was seen, with its large crown patch, along the Las Gaviotas road

Thick-billed Euphonia – several seen above Minca where it was fairly common

House Sparrow – a few heard in the indigenous village near Camarones