In terms of species diversity the Neotropic region is the richest of all regions and the country of Ecuador presents ideal opportunities for exploring this climax of avian evolution. Against a back drop of the South American ancient and distinctive evolutionary history, geographical conditions are such that evolutionary processes have resulted in enormous numbers of higher taxa. The imposing Andes running north to south through Ecuador have effectively isolated flanking lowland forests and the effect of altitude, and climate fluctuations on habitats has created enormous speciation and endemism events.
Despite it’s relative small size, almost 1600 species have been recorded from Ecuador. Characteristics families (and allies) include ovenbirds, woodcreepers, antbirds, tyrant flycatchers, cotingas, manakins, puffbirds, jacamars, motmots, barbets, toucans, tapoculos and tinamous.
From my perspective as a Western Palearctic based birder, a visit to Ecaudor was somewhat of a pilgrimage to the ‘cradle of bird diversity’. No where on Earth is there such an opportunity to
fully appreciate the processes of biological adaption.
Cotopaxi viewed from the Papallacta pass. The High Andes, the realm of paramo species such as Andean Condor and Rufous Bellied Seedsnipe.
Logistics and Itinerary
With forever present time restraints, I was certain that Ecuador was not something to attempt single handed. I therefore deployed the services of Tropical Birding (www.tropicalbirding.com) to arrange a custom made tour of the Northern Andes. My guide was Sam Woods (email@example.com), a highly skilled forest bird tracker, who runs a full and focused itinerary.
27th December 2005 ARRIVAL. Night Quito.
28th December Yanacocha & the old Nono-Mindo road. Night Tandayapa Bird Lodge.
29th December Private farm near Mindo & the Upper Tandayapa Valley. Night Tandayapa Bird Lodge.
30th December Pedro Vicente Maldonado & Mindo Cloudforest Foundation's Rio Silanche Bird Sanctuary. Night Tandayapa Bird Lodge.
31st December Mindo Cloudforest Foundation's Milpe Bird Sanctuary, Mirador Rio Blanco & the Upper Tandayapa Valley. Night Tandayapa Bird Lodge.
1st January 2006 Tandayapa Bird Lodge trails & travel back to Quito. Night Quito.
2nd January Papallacta Pass & Guango Lodge. Night Cabañas San Isidro.
3rd January Guacamayos Ridge & San Isidro. Night Cabañas San Isidro.
4th January Loreto road. Night Cabañas San Isidro.
5th January San Isidro & travel back to Quito. Night Quito.
6th January Antisana and Teleferico, Quito. Night Quito. END OF TOUR.
7th January 2006 DEPARTURE.
The Northern Andes
The high mountains of the Andes add to the diversity of habitats of the Neotropics by providing altitudinal zones of vegetation, each of which has a distinct aviafauna and by providing separate high-altitude islands of vegetation (particularly east and west slope isolations), also with partly distinct aviafaunas
This altitudinal vegetation zoning is characterised by a series of vegetation types which are expressed in mirror image each side of the Andes. The purpose of this winter trip was to explore a cross section of this environment from west to east, crossing multiple evolutionary divides of both altitude and aspect. The altitudinal zoning can be roughly categorised as follows:
a. Upto c 900 meters: Tropical lowland and foothill Evergreen Forest
These forests occur up to 900 meters where rainfall is abundant. Typically these forests reach 25-40 m in height, rich in buttressed trees, canopy and undergrowth palms, woody vines and vascular epiphytes.
Although not true lowland evergreen forest, foothill forests were visited at Pedro Vicente Maldonado and Milpe on the western Andean slopes. See daily account (below) 30th and 31st December for characteristic bird species .
On the other side of the evolutionary divide the eastern slope foothills of the Loreto Road were visited. See daily account (below) 4th Janaury for characteristic bird species.
b. Varying altitiude from 900 meters to c3000 meters: Montane Evergreen Forest
In a varying transition zone, typically above 900 meters many montane plants replace lowland taxa. Generally by 1500 m the transition is complete with a profusion of mosses and other epiphytes that cover exposed branches and trunks of most trees. Tree ferns and montane bamboos are also typical.
The Tandayapa valley forests and environs from 1750 meters to around 2300 meters were explored on the west slope. See daily account 28th and 29th December and 1st January for characteristic species.
On the east slope areas explored in this biozone included Cabanas San Isidro, the Guacamayos Ridge and Guango lodge. See daily account 2nd-3rd and 5th Janaury for characteristic bird species.
c. c3000m to 3800 meters: Elfin Forests
In the humid Andes, stunted forests form an almost continuous band (3200 –3800 meters) below the Paramo. Elfin forest has been defined as a single storied impenetrable tangle of trees and shrubs 1 to 10 meter tall. Bryophytic epiphytes and lichens tend to cover the branches of the trees and sbrubs also carpeting the ground.
This habitat was visited at Yanacocha and Papallacta. See daily account 28th December and 2nd January for characteristic species.
d. c. 3500 to 4500 meters: Polylepis Woodlands
This distinctive high elevation forest occurs at 3500 to 4500 meters. These woodlands tend to occur as islands of woody vegetation surrounded by paramo, generally restricted to steep rocky slopes in sheltered valleys.
The high elevation localties of Papallacta and Antisana hosting this type of habitat were visited.. See daily account 2nd and 6th Janaury for characteristic bird species.
e. c4000m : Paramo Grasslands
These humid grasslands mixed with shrubby vegetation occur above montane and elfin forests. They form the spine of the Andes through Ecuador and host a very distinctive aviafauna.
The high elevation localties of Papallacta and Antisana hosting this type of habitat were visited.. See daily accounts 2nd and 6th January for characteristic bird species.
Paramo grassland at Antisana. The realms of Andean Condors, Black Faced Ibis and Carunculated Caracaras.
The western slopes of the Andes on Northwest Ecuador form part of the biologically diverse ‘Choco’ region. This is one of the planet’s biodiversity hotspots with an extremely high level of endemism. This region supports the greatest concentration of restricted range endemic species in the world (Ridgely 2001), holding an incredible 75 endemic species. Unfortunately this area is under intense pressure from human activities and there are serious conservation concerns. In recent years the mindo cloud forest foundation (www.mindocloudforest.org) has purchased two significant patches of this habitat at the Milpe and Rio Bird Sanctuaries.
28th December 2005
Yanacocha, Elfin forest, 3500 meters
Characteristic species observed: Imperial snipe (one feeding in the open beside the path), Scarlet- bellied Mountain-Tanager, Black-chested Mountain-Tanager, Golden-breasted Puffleg, Sapphire-vented Puffleg, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Rufous Antpitta, Stripe headed Brush finch, Andean Guan, Barred Fruiteater and Andean Pygmy Owl.
Tyrian Metaltail (Yanacocha)
Nono-Mindo Road, Montane Evergreen Forest, 2600 meters
Characteristic species observed: Sickle winged Guan, Slaty-backed Chat Tyrant, Andean Cock-of-the- Rock (several lekking males were seen and heard giving their distinctive calls at a regular lek site).
Mindo area, Montane Evergreen Forest, Private farm at 2000 meters
This ‘antpitta feeding station’ was a remarkable sight, a rare and successful attempt at extending the boundaries of feeding stations to encompass some of the most secretive forest birds. These methods certainly take a lot of the work out of looking for antpittas. Some purists criticise these methods but in many ways it is an extension of all other bird feeding methodology (inc. hummingbird feeders) to coax in otherwise shy and retiring species. The relationship between Angel Paz and his antpittas, I found endearing considering he used to hunt these birds for his dinner.
Target species observed: Giant Antpitta (3), Yellow Breasted Antpitta (2), Moustached Antpitta (1), Black-chinned Mountain-Tanagers (3 birds in a mixed feeding flock there), Scaled Fruiteater (1 female) and Crested Quetzal
Upper Tandayapa Valley, Montane Evergreen Forest, 2320 meters
Characteristic species observed: Plate billed Mountain Toucan, Velvet-purple Coronet ,Hooded Mountain Tanager, Barred Becard, Ocellated Tapaculo, Toucan Barbet, Beautiful Jay (at higher elevation than usual, more normally found in the lower parts of the valley) and Swallow-tailed Nightjar (a male roosting at a regular roost site).
Giant Antpitta, Mindo, December 2005. This individual is of the subspecies G.g.hylodrama, more richly coloured than G.g lehmanni (restricted to Colombia) and G.g. gigantean (east slope of Andes). Further research may lead to reclassification of more than one species. Some advocates have proposed splitting the eastern and western birds, where the eastern ones would then remain Giant Antpitta and the western slope individuals would then be considered under the name ‘Pichincha Antpitta’.
Pedro Vicente Maldonado Reserve, (Lower) foothill forest, 500 meters
The Mindo Cloudforest Foundation (www.mindocloudforest.org) have purchased a good patch of this forest and have recently set up some trails and a new canopy tower which we spent the day exploring.
Characteristic species observed: Scarlet breasted Dacnis ( 1 pair in a mixed feeding flock with Blue-whiskered and Emerald Tanagers), Scarlet-browed Tanager, Emerald Tanager (1 pair), Gray-and-Gold Tanager (2), Blue Whiskered Tanager, Barred Puffbird (1 pair), Uniform Crake (an exceptional record for this area and for Ecuador in general a very rarely seen bird), Scarlet-backed Woodpecker, Red-rumped Woodpecker, Black Cheeked Woodpecker, Olivaceous Piculet, Blue-fronted Parrotlet (two birds seen perched from the new Mindo Cloudforest canopy tower), Pale-mandibled Aracaris, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Checker-throated Antwren, White-flanked Antwren, Dot-winged Antwren, Dusky Antbird, Stub-tailed Antbird (the female of a pair of these Choco endemics came in really close), Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Red-billed Scythebill and Rufous-bellied Nighthawk (2 along the main road, on the way there).
Barred Puffbird (1 of a pair of highly territorial birds), Pedro Vicente Maldonado Reserve, December 2005. The generic name Nystalus means ‘drowsy’ reflecting the habits of these birds.
Milpe Bird Sanctuary, Foothill forest, 1100 meters
Another area recently purchased by the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation. Characteristic species observed: Uniform Treehunter, Ochre-breasted Tanager, Rufous-throated Tanager, Rufous-rumped Antwren, Toucan Barbets (1 pair), Club-winged Manakins (5+ males at a lek site, that is apparently the best lek in all of Ecuador) , Golden-winged Manakins, Esmeraldas Antbird (1 pair taped-in), Choco Toucan, Pale-vented Thrush.
Tandayapa Valley, Montane Evergreen Forest, c1750 to 1900 meters, (at Tandayapa Bird Lodge), rising to over 2300meters on the Tandayapa Ridge in the Upper Valley.
Target species observed; Tanager Finch (1 singing bird on territory in the Upper Tandayapa Valley-most birders who have seen this bird have visited just one of the few pairs in the same area of the Upper Tanadayapa Valley as this is the best place in the World for this scarce, elusive regional endemic), Rufous-breasted Antthrush (1 was seen from the purpose built bird hide at the Tandayapa Bird Lodge-they are apparently regular in this area).
Tandayapa Bird Lodge, Montane Evergreen Forest 1750 to 1900 meters
Characteristic birds observed: Wedge-billed Hummingbird (a bird at a regular lek along the trails of the bird lodge), Crimson mantled Woodpecker, Streak-capped Treehunter, Immaculate Antbirds, Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager (sometimes seen at the fruit feeders right by the Tandayapa Bird Lodge windows while eating in the dining area there), White-winged Brush-finch (also seen at the fruit feeders there), Spotted Barbtail, Andean Cock- of- the -Rock, Scaled Fruiteater and Moustached Antpitta (1 seen). The hummingbird feeders at Tandayapa attract huge numbers of individuals and many species including some of the Choco specialties like Violet-tailed Sylph, Brown Inca, Western Emerald and Purple-bibbed Whitetip.
Female Scaled Fruiteater., Tandayapa Bird Lodge, Janaury 2006. As well as fruit, this species readily consumes arboreal snails, beating them against branches to remove part of the shell.
Pappallacta, Paramo grasslands, polylepis and elfin woodland, 3600 to 4200 meters
Characteristic birds of Papallacta Paramo observed: Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe (a pair), Andean Condor, Tawny Antpitta (4 different birds seen relatively easily), Bar-winged Cinclodes, Stout-billed Cinclodes, Many-striped Canastero, White-chinned Thistletail
Characteristic birds of Papallacta polylepis observed: Giant Conebill (a party of 4 birds), Paramo Tapaculo (1 seen).
Characteristic birds of Papallacta Elfin observed: Masked-mountain Tanager (in a mixed flock with the following two species), Golden crowned Tanager, Black-backed Bush Tanager (15+), Viridian Metaltail, and Shining Sunbeam.
Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe, Papallacta, January 2006. There are only four species of Seedsnipe in the world, all confined to South America. The term snipe comes from their erratic snipe-like zig-zagging flight.
Many endemic species on the west slope of the Andes, have counterparts in similar habitats on neighbouring east slope mountains. The majority of these birds are highly sedentary and do not cross the arid tree-less valleys that separate the different forest cordilleras within the Andean range. Interestingly there is a tendency for disjunct distribution patterns and for differentiation of local populations to increase from lowland forests to the tree line.
The high rate of endemism in Ecuador and the Choco region is repeated in other areas of the Andes, It is suggested that the cold and generally dry climate that prevailed during glacial periods caused the downwards shift of the forest (by up to 1500 meters) which enabled montane birds to expand their ranges as their habitat moved to lower elevations. On the higher ground the forest was replaced with paramo. During the interglacials the open and forested habitats shifted back again causing fragmentation and isolation of the montane biota. This oscillation seems to have played a crucial role in the evolution of the high biodiversity and endemism which is now apparent in the region.
Guango Lodge, East slope Montane Evergreen Forest, 2600 meters
Characteristic species observed: Gorgeted Woodstar (1 female perched by the feeders), Glowing Puffleg, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Tourmaline Sunangel (7 or more). Sword-billed Hummingbird.
Guacamayos Ridge, Montane Evergreen Forest, 2200 meters
Characteristic species observed: Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager, Bluish Flowerpiercers, Dusky Piha, Olivaceous Piha, Rufous Breasted Flycatcher, Handsome Flycatcher, Sulphur-bellied Tyrannulets, Emerald Toucanet, Scaly-naped Amazons, White throated Quail-Dove, Long-tailed Antbird, Powerful Woodpecker, Slate-crowned Antpitta .
Cabañas San Isidro, Montane Evergreen Forest, 2000 meters
Characteristic species observed: Black-billed Mountain Toucan and the famous ‘San Isidro Mystery Owl’. Two of these ‘mystery owls’ have been present at San Isidro for over six years which are the only known specimens in the world. They have yet to formally described or named.
Loreto Road, East slope foothill forest, 1100 meters
Characteristic species observed: Cliff Flycatcher (5), Plain backed Antpitta (1 seen well just off the road), Wing-banded Wren, Paradise Tanagers, Ecuadorian Tyrannulets, Olivaceous Greenlets, Striolated Puffbird (1 vocal pair), Ash-browed Spinetail, White-backed Fire-eyes (a pair), Foothill Antwren, Fulvous Shrike-Tanager (a pair), Many-spotted Hummingbird, Violet-fronted Brilliant, Grey-chinned Hermit, Orange-eared Tanager, Cerulean Warbler, Canada Warbler and Military Macaw (2 flew over).
Striolated Puffbird, Loreto Road, January 2006. Sometimes bucconids (puffbirds) vocalize without opening the bill, making it difficult to locate the sound even from a short distance.
San Isidro, Montane Evergreen Forst, 2000 meters
Characteristic species observed: White-rumped Hawk (a pair seen well perched), Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher, Pale-edged Flycatcher, Sub-tropical Caciques, Russet-backed Oropendolas and Inca Jay.
Antisana, Dry, arid Paramo grasslands and high elevation lakes. 3850 meters
Characteristic species observed: Andean Condor, Giant Hummingbird, Streak-backed Canastero, Black-winged Ground Doves, Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant, Paramo Pipit, Cinereous Harrier, Short-eared Owl, Ecuadorian Hillstar (5), Black-faced Ibis (15), Carunculated Caracaras (c.50), Aplomado Falcon.
Characteristic species observed on high elevation lakes: Andean Ruddy Duck (23), Silvery Grebe (43), Andean Coot, Yellow-billed Pintail, White-cheeked Pintail (an extra-limital bird which had been present a few weeks), Nearctic wintering waders and Blue-winged Teal.
Black Faced Ibis, Antisana, January 2006.
BIRD LIST by Sam Woods (Tropical Birding Guide)
The taxonomy and nomenclature of this list follow: Ridgely, Robert & Greenfield, Paul. The Birds of Ecuador: Field Guide. 2001. Ithica, NY: Comstock Publishing.
All species listed below were seen by at least one person in the group. Birds marked with an H were only heard.
Little Tinamou Crypturellus soui H
Silvery Grebe Podiceps occipitalis: Recorded at both Antisana and Papallacta with much better views and greater numbers of the birds at the former.
CORMORANTS AND SHAGS Phalacrocoracidae
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus
DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS Anatidae
Torrent Duck Merganetta armata: One female was seen alongside the Loreto road.
Andean (Speckled) Teal Anas andium
White-cheeked Pintail Anas bahamensis: An off course bird seen at Antisana, as this bird is more normally found much further west in Ecuador, and also in lowland areas. NB. An individual was seen in the same area last year and therefore probably represents a returning bird?
Yellow-billed Pintail Anas spinicauda
Blue-winged Teal Anas discors: 3 were seen on the main lake at Antisana.
Andean Ruddy-Duck (Andean Duck) Oxyura ferruginea: Recorded at both Papallacta and Antisana with much better views of them at the latter.
HERONS, BITTERNS, AND EGRETS Ardeidae
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
IBISES AND SPOONBILLS Thresliornithidae
Black-faced Ibis Theristicus melanopis: 15 birds seen at Antisana,definately one of the highlights of our day up there for Pete and Kate.
AMERICAN VULTURES Cathartidae
Andean Condor Vultur gryphus: 2 sightings - an immature flew over the antennas at Papallacta and another was seen at Antisana.
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
KITES, EAGLES, HAWKS, AND OSPREY Accipitridae
Gray-headed Kite Leptodon cayanensis: 1 was seen perched at Pedro Vicente Maldonado.
Hook-billed Kite Chondrohierax uncinatus: 1 was seen perched in the Upper Tandayapa Valley.
Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus
Plumbeous Kite Ictinia plumbea
Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris
White-rumped Hawk Buteo leucorrhous: 2 calling birds (presumably a pair) were seen along the road near to San Isidro.
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus: Several sightings in the east and another in the west. NB. This is a boreal migrant that is only present in Ecuador during the northern winter.
Variable Hawk Buteo polyosoma
FALCONS AND CARACARAS Falconidae
Carunculated Caracara Phalcoboenus carunculatus: Very common at Antisana where dozens were seen feeding on the ground close to the car.
American Kestrel Falco sparverius
Aplomado Falcon Falco femoralis: 1 seen on several occasions at Antisana, both in flight and also perched on a low mound beside the road.
CURASSOWS, GUANS, CHACHALACAS Cracidae
Andean Guan Penelope guttata: A pair were seen at Yanacocha.
Wattled Guan Aburria aburri H
Sickle-winged Guan Chamaepetes goudotii: 1 was seen on the old Nono-Mindo road, en-route to Tandayapa Bird Lodge from Yanacocha.
NEW WORLD QUAILS Odontophoridae
Dark-backed Wood-Quail Odontophorus melanonotus H
RAILS, GALLINULES, AND COOTS Rallidae
Uniform Crake Amaurolimnas concolor: An amazing surprise sighting (that may well represent the first record for Pichincha province?), of a calling bird at Pedro Vicente Maldonado. Thanks to the birders we fortuitously met there for passing on the news of this bird to us.
Andean Coot Fulica ardesiaca: Many recorded on high altitude lakes at both Papallacta and Antisana.
SANDPIPERS, SNIPES, AND PHALAROPES Scolopacidae
Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca: Both Greater and Lesser were seen together at the main laguna at Antisana. NB. Both species are boreal migrants, only present during the northern winter.
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia
Baird's Sandpiper Calidris bairdii: A flock of 22 birds was seen at Antisana. A boreal migrant from the north.
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla: 1 seen in a flock of 22 Baird's Sandpipers C. Bairdii.
Imperial Snipe Gallinago imperialis: An incredibly lucky sighting of a close bird feeding beside the trail at Yanacocha on the first day of the tour (this bird is rarely seen except in silouhette in flight, when displaying at dawn or dusk ).
Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe Attagis gayi: A pair were seen at Papallacta.
PLOVERS AND LAPWINGS Charadriidae
Andean Lapwing Vanellus resplendens: Many were seen around the main laguna at Antisana.
GULLS AND TERNS Laridae
Andean Gull Larus serranus: Recorded at both Antisana and Papallacta.
PIGEONS AND DOVES Columbidae
Rock Pigeon Columba livia
Band-tailed Pigeon Columba fasciata
Ruddy Pigeon Columba subvinacea
Plumbeous Pigeon Columba plumbea
Dusky Pigeon Columba goodsoni H
Eared Dove Zenaida auriculata
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
Pallid Dove Leptotila pallida H
White-throated Quail-Dove Geotrygon frenata: 1 seen on the Guacamayhos Ridge in the east and another seen on the Tandayapa Bird Lodge trails.
PARROTS AND MACAWS Psittacidae
Military Macaw Ara militaris: A pair flew low overhead on the Loreto road while we had stopped to view a roadside flock.
Maroon-tailed Parakeet Pyrrhura melanura
Pacific Parrotlet Forpus coelestis: Several seen at Pedro Vicente Maldonado.
Blue-fronted Parrotlet Touit dilectissima: 2 seen flying over and then perched from the new canopy tower at Mindo Cloudforest Foundation's Rio Silanche Bird Sanctuary. A lucky sighting of a scarce species and even more fortunate to have seen them perched as they are more normally seen flying distantly overhead.
Blue-headed Parrot Pionus menstruus
White-capped Parrot Pionus seniloides
Bronze-winged Parrot Pionus chalcopterus
Scaly-naped Amazon Amazona mercenaria: A pair flew over the Guacamayos Ridge.
Mealy Amazon Amazona farinosa: Several seen perched at Pedro Vicente Maldonado.
CUCKOOS AND ANIS Cuculidae
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani
Striped Cuckoo Tapera naevia H
TYPICAL OWLS Strigidae
Andean Pygly-Owl Glaucidium jardinii: One was seen really well and photographed at Yanacocha.
San Isidro "Mystery" Owl Strix sp.: Seen really well on two of three nights at San Isidro between the dining room and the cabins as we returned after dinner. This bird, one of a pair that has been coming to the cabins for 6 years, is of undetermined species as the location and elevation do not fit the only known similar species in Ecuador and therefore this may yet prove to be a completely new species altogether.
Rufous-banded Owl Strix albitarsis H
Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus: 1 seen at Yanacocha on the first day of the tour and another recorded at Antisana on the last day of the tour.
NIGHTJARS AND NIGHTHAWKS Caprimulgidae
Rufous-bellied Nighthawk Lurocalis rufiventris: A pair were seen flying around the main highway en-route to Pedro Vicente Maldonado.
Swallow-tailed Nightjar Uropsalis segmentata: A roosting male was seen extremely well and photographed during the day in the Tandayapa Valley.
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris
Gray-rumped Swift Chaetura cinereiventris
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift Panyptila cayennensis: 1 seen at Pedro Vicente Maldonado was the only sighting.
White-whiskered Hermit Phaethornis yaruqui: Several sightings of this Chocó endemic at Mindo Cloudforest Foudation's Milpe Bird Sanctuary.
Green Hermit Phaethornis guy: 1 seen along the Loreto road.
Tawny-bellied Hermit Phaethornis syrmatophorus
Gray-chinned Hermit Phaethornis griseogularis: 1 seen on the trail off the Loreto road.
Wedge-billed Hummingbird Schistes geoffroyi: 1 male seen at a regular lek along the Tandayapa Bird Lodge trails.
Purple-bibbed Whitetip Urosticte benjamini: Regularly recorded at the Tandayapa Bird Lodge feeders.
Speckled Hummingbird Adelomyia melanogenys
Wire-crested Thorntail Popelairia popelairia: One female seen along the Loreto road.
Green Thorntail Popelairia conversii
Booted Racket-tail Ocreatus underwoodii: Dozens at the Tandayapa Bird Lodge feeders.
Purple-throated Woodstar Calliphlox mitchellii
White-bellied Woodstar Acestrura mulsant: Surprisingly only recorded at the Guango Lodge feeders (normally also seen at Tandayapa) where they were fairly common.
Gorgeted Woodstar Acestrura heliodor: One female at the Guango Lodge feeders.
Brown Violet-ear Colibri delphinae
Green Violet-ear Colibri thalassinus
Sparkling Violet-ear Colibri coruscans
Fawn-breasted Brilliant Heliodoxa rubinoides
Violet-fronted Brilliant Helidoxa leadbeateri: A female was seen really well along the trail off the Loreto road.
Green-crowned Brilliant Heliodoxa jacula
Empress Brilliant Heliodoxa imperatrix: Several sightings (of both a male and female) at the Tandayapa Bird Lodge feeders, and a male also seen at the Giant Antpitta site near Mindo. One of the most distinctive and striking of all the Chocó endemic hummers.
Long-billed Starthroat Heliomaster longirostris: One along the Loreto road.
Many-spotted Hummingbird Taphrospilus hypostictus: One seen perched by the trail off the Loreto road.
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl
Andean Emerald Amazilia franciae
Green-crowned Woodnymph Thalurania fannyi
Fork-tailed Woodnymph Thalurania furcata
Western (Blue-tailed) Emerald Chlorostilbon melanorhynchus: A common fixture at the Tandayapa Bird Lodge feeders. NB. This 'species' is a split from Blue-tailed Emerald C. mellisugus and as such becomes a Chocó endemic.
Ecuadorian Hillstar Oreotrochilus chimborazo: As ever Antisana proved a great place for this near-endemic, with at least three birds (including an incredible male) at the feeders there and another two females seen elsewhere.
Giant Hummingbird Patagona gigas: 1 seen perched at Antisana.
Shining Sunbeam Aglaeactis cupripennis
Great Sapphirewing Pterophanes cyanopterus
Sword-billed Hummingbird Ensifera ensifera: Many seen at the feeders at both Yanacocha and Guango Lodge.
Bronzy Inca Coeligena coeligena: Seen in the forest and at the feeders at San Isidro. Restricted to the east slope of the Andes in Ecuador.
Brown Inca Coeligena wilsoni: 1 or 2 birds regularly seen at the Tandayapa Bird Lodge feeders, and another seen at the Giant Antpitta site near Mindo.A Chocó retricted range species.
Collared Inca Coeligena torquata
Buff-winged Starfrontlet Coeligena lutetiae
Black-tailed Trainbearer Lesbia victoriae
Long-tailed Sylph Aglaiocercus kingi
Violet-tailed Sylph Aglaiocercus coelestis: Regular at the Tandayapa Bird Lodge feeders.
Buff-tailed Coronet Boissonneaua flavescens
Chestnut-breasted Coronet Boissonneaua matthewsii
Velvet-purple Coronet Boissonneaua jardini: 5 birds were seen in a single tree together on the old Nono-Mindo road along the Tandayapa Valley. Frequently considered by visitors as one of the best looking Ecuadorian hummers, for good reason.
Mountain Velvetbreast Lafresnaya lafresnayi
Glowing Puffleg Eriocnemis vestidus: One seen coming to the Guango Lodge feeders on several occasions.
Sapphire-vented Puffleg Eriocnemis luciani: Seen regularly at Yanacocha where it is the commonest puffleg.
Golden-breasted Puffleg Eriocnemis mosquera: A few seen coming to the hummingbird feeders at Yanacocha.
Viridian Metaltail Metallura williami: Two singles seen around Papallacta.
Tyrian Metaltail Metallura tyrianthina
Blue-mantled Thornbill Chalcostigma stanleyi
Rainbow-bearded Thornbill Chalcostigma herrani: One male was seen at the Yanacocha feeders, where it is often recorded.
Gorgeted Sunangel Heliangelus strophianus: This Chocó endemic was seen a number of times in the Upper Tandayapa Valley.
Tourmaline Sunangel Heliangelus exortis: One of the commonest and most visible hummers at the Guango feeders.
TROGONS AND QUETZALS Trogonidae
Crested Quetzal Pharomachrus antisianus: A male was seen in the car park as we arrived at the Giant Antpitta site near Mindo.
Golden-headed Quetzal Pharomachrus auriceps
Western White-tailed Trogon Trogon chionurus: 1 seen on the new Mindo Cloudforest Foundation reserve at Pedro Vicente Maldonado (the Rio Silanche Bird Sanctuary). NB. Some authors consider Western and Amazonian White-tailed Trogon T. viridis conspecific under the name White-tailed Trogon.
Collared Trogon Trogon collaris: 1 male seen in the Milpe Bird Sanctuary.
Masked Trogon Trogon personatus
Rufous-tailed Jacamar Galbula ruficauda: One was seen at Pedro Vicente Maldonado.
Barred Puffbird Nystalus radiatus: For my fourth tour in a row a pair of puffbirds were found in the same area at Pedro Vicente Maldonado.
Striolated Puffbird Nystalus striolatus: A pair came in to tape (eventually), in a known area for them along the trail off the Loreto road.
NEW WORLD BARBETS Capitonidae
Red-headed Barbet Eubucco bourcierii
Toucan Barbet Semnornis ramphastinus: A single bird was found in a mixed feeding flock in the Upper Tandayapa Valley and a pair were seen very well along the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation's trails at the Milpe Bird Sanctuary. A stunning Chocó restricted range species.
Gilded Barbet Capito auratus H
Emerald (Andean) Toucanet Aulacorhynchus prasinus: A pair were seen in a fruiting cecropia along the Guacamayos Ridge. Some authors have split this species into 6 or more species, when this one then becomes Andean Toucanet.
Crimson-rumped Toucanet Aulacorhynchus haematopygus
Pale-mandibled (Collared) Araçari Pteroglossus erythropygius
Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan Andigena laminirostris: Several sightings in the Upper Tandayapa of this superb Chocó restricted range species.
Black-billed Mountain-Toucan Andigena nigrirostris: 1 bird was seen near to San Isidro.
Chocó Toucan Ramphastos brevis: A pair were seen near Mindo Cloudforest Foundation's Milpe Bird Sanctuary reserve.
Channel-billed Toucan Ramphastos vitellinus H
Chestnut-mandibled Toucan Ramphastos swainsonii H
WOODPECKERS & PICULETS Picidae
Olivaceous Piculet Picumnus olivaceus
Crimson-mantled Woodpecker Piculus rivolii
Golden-olive Woodpecker Piculus rubiginosus
Yellow-tufted Woodpecker Melanerpes cruentatus: 1 seen along the Loreto road.
Black-cheeked Woodpecker Melanerpes pucherani
Smoky-brown Woodpecker Veniliornis fumigatus
Red-rumped Woodpecker Veniliornis kirkii
Bar-bellied Woodpecker Veniliornis nigriceps H
Scarlet-backed Woodpecker Veniliornis callonotus
Powerful Woodpecker Campephilus pollens
Bar-winged Cinclodes Cinclodes fuscus: Recorded at both Papallacta and Antisana, and also at the top of the Pichincha teleferico (cable car) in Quito.
Stout-billed Cinclodes Cinclodes excelsior: Recorded at both Papallacta and Antisana.
Pacific Hornero Furnarius cinnamomeus: NB. This is a split from Pale-legged Hornero F. leucopus, that not all authors follow. Pacific Hornero is only found in western Ecuador and Northwest Peru.
Andean Tit-Spinetail Leptasthenura andicola
Azara's Spinetail Synallaxis azarae
Slaty Spinetail Synallaxis brachyura H
Rufous Spinetail Synallaxis unirufa
White-browed Spinetail Hellmayrea gularis: One seen well at Yanacocha.
Ash-browed Spinetail Cranioleuca curtata: Two different birds seen in flocks around the Loreto road.
Red-faced Spinetail Cranioleuca erythrops
White-chinned Thistletail Schizoeaca fuliginosa: One was seen near the Papallacta Pass.
Streak-backed Canastero Asthenes wyatti: 1 was seen at Antisana.
Many-striped Canastero Asthenes flammulata
Pearled Treerunner Margarornis squamiger
Pacific Tuftedcheek Pseudocolaptes johnsoni H
Streaked Tuftedcheek Pseudocolaptes boissonneautii
Spotted Barbtail Premnoplex brunnescens
Rusty-winged Barbtail Premnornis guttuligera
Lineated Foliage-gleaner Syndactyla subalaris
Montane Foliage-gleaner Anabacerthia striaticollis H
Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner Anabacerthia variegaticeps
Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner Philydor rufus
Striped Treehunter Thripadectes holostictus H
Flammulated Treehunter Thripadectes flammulatus: 1 was seen very well along the Guacamayos Ridge.
Streak-capped Treehunter Thripadectes virgaticeps: 1 was seen around the lodge itself at Tandayapa and also along the lodge trails there.
Uniform Treehunter Thripadectes ignobilis: We were lucky to have good views of this indistinct Chocó restricted range species, in a mixed flock at Milpe.
Plain Xenops Xenops minutus
Streaked Xenops Xenops rutilans
Tyrannine Woodcreeper Dendrocincla tyrannina: Seen several times in the Tandayapa Valley and also near Mindo.
Plain-brown Woodcreeper Dendrocincla fuliginosa: 1 seen at the Rio Silanche Bird Sanctuary.
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper Glyphorynchus spirurus
Strong-billed Woodcreeper Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus
Black-striped Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus H: Frustratingly only heard from the canopy tower on the new Mindo Cloudforest Foundation reserve at Pedro Vicente Maldonado (the Rio Silanche Bird Sanctuary).
Spotted Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus erythropygius
Olive-backed Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus triangularis
Streak-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes souleyetii
Montane Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger
Red-billed Scythebill Campylorhamphus trochilirostris: We were lucky to get good views of a bird at Pedro Vicente Maldonado where it is a rare bird.
TYPICAL ANTBIRDS Thamnophilidae
Uniform Antshrike Thamnophilus unicolor: 1 male seen near Mindo (the Giant Antpitta site), and another male along the Tandayapa Bird Lodge trails.
Western Slaty-Antshrike Thamnophilus atrinucha: 1 male seen at Rio Silanche Bird Sanctuary.
Russet Antshrike Thamnophilus anabatinus
Pacific Antwren Myrmotherula pacifica: Recorded at Pedro Vicente Maldonado.
Checker-throated Antwren Myrmotherula fulviventris: 1 seen on the trails of Mindo Cloudforest Foundation's Rio Silanche Bird Sanctuary.
Foothill Antwren Myrmotherula spodionota: One pair seen by the trail off the Loreto road.
White-flanked Antwren Myrmotherula axillaris
Slaty Antwren Myrmotherula schisticolor
Dot-winged Antwren Microrhopias quixensis
Long-tailed Antbird Drymophila caudata: Recorded in the Tandayapa Valley and on the Guacamayos Ridge.
Rufous-rumped Antwren Terenura calinota: Seen several times in a mixed flock near the Milpe reserve, and also recorded on the trail near the Loreto road in the east.
Dusky Antbird Cercomacra tyrannina: 3 birds seen at Pedro Vicente Maldonado.
White-backed Fire-eye Pyriglena leuconota: A pair came in really close along the Loreto road trail. NB. The female of the eastern race castanoptera, is markedly different from the western race birds (pacifica), with some authors proposing splittting off the western birds as Pacific Fire-eye P. pacifica.
Immaculate Antbird Myrmeciza immaculata: One pair seen along the Tandayapa Bird Lodge trails.
Chestnut-backed Antbird Myrmeciza exsul H
Esmeraldas Antbird Myrmeciza nigricauda: Great views of a pair of this normally secretive bird were had on the Mindo Cloudforest reserve at Milpe.
Stub-tailed Antbird Phaenostictus mcleannani: A male was glimpsed, and a female showed really well on the new Rio Silanche reserve, Pedro Vicente Maldonado.
ANTTHRUSHES & ANTPITTAS Formicariidae
Black-headed Antthrush Formicarius nigricapillus H
Rufous-breasted Antthrush Formicarius rufipectus: The trails at Tandayapa Bird Lodge are one of the most reliable places in the World for this stunning bird, and once again they did not fail us, as we had good views of a bird coming into the compost by the hide there.
Giant Antpitta Grallaria gigantea: Pete said the highlight of the tour was seeing this species, and with the unbelievable sight of three different birds in view at one time, (at extremely close range, within a few feet of us), it is not hard to understand why. The comical sight of the farmer, Angel, feeding these birds worms from his hand will definately live long in the memory, and it would seem this may be the best chance anyone has ever had of catching up with this normally very difficult species.
Undulated Antpitta Grallaria squamigera H
Scaled Antpitta Grallaria guatimalensis H: Unfortunately we just could not find the close calling bird by the Tandayapa Bird Lodge hide, which sometimes comes in and feeds right in front of it. At least 2 others were also heard in this area.
Moustached Antpitta Grallaria alleni: Two sightings, firstly of a 'tamed' bird that comes into worms at the same incredible site where both Giant & Yellow-breasted Antpittas are also coming into worms, near Mindo. Also another bird was seen on the Tandayapa Bird Lodge trails.
Plain-backed Antpitta Grallaria haplonata: Ridgely states this 'is the hardest antpitta to actually see', and therefore we consider ourselves lucky that we saw one with relative ease, along the Loreto road in the east.
Chestnut-crowned Antpitta Grallaria ruficapilla H
White-bellied Antpitta Grallaria hypoleuca H
Yellow-breasted Antpitta Grallaria flavotincta: One of the highlights of the tour for me personally was getting really good views of 2 separate individuals at Angel's farm, near Mindo, even seeing one of these birds in the same view as a Moustached Antpitta G. alleni when it chased it away from the worms it was also after. Getting photos of this species had always seemed impossible to me as they are ordinarily so elusive, so getting a record shot of this bird was also a personal highlight from this tour.
Rufous Antpitta Grallaria rufula: Two separate birds were both seen well at Yanacocha, one along the entrance track and another in the reserve itself.
Tawny Antpitta Grallaria quitensis: Always the easiest antpitta to see, and this proved the case again with 4 different individuals seen at Papallacta.
Slate-crowned Antpitta Grallaricula nana: One gave superb views on the Guacamayos Ridge.
Peruvian Antpitta Grallaricula peruviana H: Frustratingly only heard (on two separate occasions) at San Isidro-very frustrating for guide and clients alike!
Ash-colored Tapaculo Myornis senilis H
Unicolored (Blackish) Tapaculo Scytalopus unicolor (latrans)
Equatorial Rufous-vented Tapaculo Scytalopus micropterus: 1 was seen on the trails at San Isidro.
Nariño Tapaculo Scytalopus vicinior H
Spillmann's Tapaculo Scytalopus spillmanni H
Páramo Tapaculo Scytalopus canus: We were fortunate to find a bird feeding in the open in an area of sparse polylepis woodland near Papallacta Pass.
Ocellated Tapaculo Acropternis orthonyx: Always an easy bird to hear as their loud calls carry a long way although they can be a difficult bird to actually see, however on this tour we managed to get really good prolonged views of a bird on a private trail where they can often be found. A great-looking, unique Tapaculo that stands out from an otherwise fairly non-descript family.
TYRANT FLYCATCHERS Tyrannidae
Sooty-headed Tyrannulet Phyllomyias griseiceps
Ashy-headed Tyrannulet Phyllomyias cinereiceps H
Golden-faced Tyrannulet Zimmerius chrysops
Yellow-bellied Elaenia Elaenia flavogaster
White-crested Elaenia Elaenia albiceps
Sierran Elaenia Elaenia pallatangae
White-throated Tyrannulet Mecocerculus leucophrys
White-banded Tyrannulet Mecocerculus stictopterus
White-tailed Tyrannulet Mecocerculus poecilocercus
Rufous-winged Tyrannulet Mecocerculus calopterus
Sulphur-bellied Tyrannulet Mecocerculus minor: Seen a few times in flocks on the Guacamayos Ridge.
Torrent Tyrannulet Serpophaga cinerea
Tufted Tit-Tyrant Anairetes parulus
Streak-necked Flycatcher Mionectes striaticollis
Olive-striped Flycatcher Mionectes olivaceus
Slaty-capped Flycatcher Leptopogon superciliaris
Rufous-breasted Flycatcher Leptopogon rufipectus: Recorded on several occasions along the Guacamayos Rodge when birds were seen accompanying mixed feeding flocks.
Ecuadorian Tyrannulet Phylloscartes gualaquizae: Recorded a few times along the Loreto road (a good site for this restricted range bird that is only found on the east slope of the Andes in Ecuador and northern Peru).
Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant Pogonotriccus ophthalmicus: One was seen right beside the lodge at Tandayapa, and another was seen along the Loreto road.
Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrant Pseudotriccus ruficeps
Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant Lophotriccus pileatus
Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher Poecilotriccus ruficeps: Seen at both San Isidro and on the Guacamayos Ridge.
Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum nigriceps: Two different birds were seen at Pedro Vicente Maldonado.
Common Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum cinereum
Pacific Flatbill Rhynchocyclus pacificus H
Yellow-margined Flatbill Tolmomyias flavotectus: One was seen at Pedro Vicente Maldonado.
Ornate Flycatcher Myiotriccus ornatus
Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher Myiobius sulphureipygius: One was recorded at Pedro Vicente Maldonado.
Tawny-breasted Flycatcher Myiobius villosus: Several sightings at Milpe.
Flavescent Flycatcher Myiophobus flavicans
Bran-colored Flycatcher Myiophobus fasciatus: One seen at the Milpe reserve.
Handsome Flycatcher Myiophobus pulcher: A few were seen along the Guacamayos Ridge.
Cinnamon Flycatcher Pyrrhomyias cinnamomea
Eastern Wood-Pewee Contopusvirens H
Western Wood-Pewee Contopus sordidulus
Smoke-colored Pewee Contopus fumigatus
Acadian Flycatcher Empidonax virescens: A boreal migrant from the north only present during the boreal winter.
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca fumicolor
Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca cinnamomeiventris: One bird seen along the old Nono-Mindo road.
Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant Silvicultrix diadema
Smoky Bush-Tyrant Myiothertes fumigatus: 1 was seen along the Guacamayos ridge.
Cliff Flycatcher Hirundinea ferruginea: 5 birds seen along the Loreto road, one of the few places in Ecuador where they are relatively easy.
Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant Agriornis montana: Seen a few times at Antisana where they are frequently recorded, and another was seen from the cable car (teleferico) up Pichincha in Quito.
Paramo (Plain-capped) Ground-Tyrant Muscisaxicola maculirostris: One was seen near Papallacta Pass with quite a few others seen at Antisana.
Masked Water-Tyrant Fluvicola nengeta
Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus H
Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer
Pale-edged Flycatcher Myiarchus cephalotes: One was seen around the cabins at San Isidro.
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis
Rusty-margined Flycatcher Myiozetetes cayanensis
Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus
Golden-crowned Flycatcher Myiodynastes chrysocephalus
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
Barred Becard Pachyramphus versicolor: Recorded in subtropical forest, both in the Upper Tandayapa Valley and on the Guacamayos Ridge.
Cinnamon Becard Pachyramphus cinnamomeus
White-winged Becard Pachyramphus polychopterus
One-colored Becard Pachyramphus homochrous
Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata
Black-tailed Tityra Tityra cayana
Red-crested Cotinga Ampelion rubrocristata
Barred Fruiteater Pipreola arcuata: Good views of a male of this temperate forest fruiteater on the main trail at Yanacocha.
Green-and-black Fruiteater Pipreola riefferii: Recorded in the east (on the Guacamayos ridge) and in the west in the Tandayapa Valley.
Scaled Fruiteater Ampelioides tschudii: Two sightings of this distinctive cotinga-1 on the trails at Tandayapa Bird Lodge and a female on the Angel's private trails near Mindo.
Olivaceous Piha Lipaugus cryptolophus: 1 seen in an area of fruiting trees (along with Dusky Piha L. fuscocinereus & Andean Cock-of-the-rock Rupicola peruviana), along the Guacamayos Ridge.
Dusky Piha Lipaugus fuscocinereus: 2 sightings along the Guacamayos Ridge, including one in a fruiting area with an Olivaceous Piha Lipaugus cryptolophus and a male Andean Cock-of-the-rock Rupicola peruviana.
Purple-throated Fruitcrow Querula purpurata: 1 very vocal female seen at the Rio Silanche Bird Sanctuary, Pedro Vicente Maldonado.
Andean Cock-of-the-rock Rupicola peruviana: Both the eastern aequatorialis and western Sanguinolenta race birds seen, with western race males being a much more vivid stronger scarlet red compared to the much paler orange males in the east. In the west at least 2 males seen at a lek along the Nono-Mindo road and in the east a male was seen in a fruiting tree on the Guacamayos Ridge (with two species of piha in the same area).
Golden-winged Manakin Masius chrysopterus: 3 birds (2 males) seen in the same area as the Club-winged Manakins Machaeropterus deliciosus at Milpe.
White-bearded Manakin Manacus manacus
Club-winged Manakin Machaeropterus deliciosus: At least four males seen displaying on the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation reserve at Milpe, when there distinctive mechanical 'song' was frequently heard.
CROWS, JAYS, AND MAGPIES Corvidae
Turquoise Jay Cyanolyca turcosa
Beautiful Jay Cyanolyca pulchra: Stunning views of a single bird in the Tandayapa Valley (a bird that deserves its given name).
Inca (Green) Jay Cyanocorax yncas: Commonly seen and heard around the cabins at San Isidro.
VIREOS, PEPPERSHRKES, SHRIKE-VIREOS Vireonidae
Black-billed Peppershrike Cyclarhis nigrirostris H: Only heard distantly at San Isidro.
Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus
Brown-capped Vireo Vireo leucophrys
Lesser Greenlet Hylophilus decurtatus
Olivaceous Greenlet Hylophilus olivaceus: A few seen along the Loreto Road.
Andean Solitaire Myadestes ralloides
Black-billed Thrush Turdus ignobilis
Swainson's Thrush Catharus ustulatus: A boreal migrant, only present during the northern winter.
Great Thrush Turdus fuscater
Glossy-Black Thrush Turdus serranus
Pale-vented Thrush Turdus obsoletus: A singing bird seen near Milpe reserve.
Ecuadorian Thrush Turdus maculirostris: 1 seen at the Giant Antpitta site near Mindo. NB. Ridgely & Greenfield list this as a Tumbesian lowland endemic, being restricted only to western Ecuador and NW Peru.
White-capped Dipper Cinclus leucocephalus: 3 seen on a rivr by the Loreto road, including 2 birds which were observed aggressively displaying towards each other.
SWALLOWS AND MARTINS Hirundinidae
Gray-breasted Martin Progne chalybea: 1 seen in a flock of Blue-and-White Swallows Notiochelidon cyanoleuca along the Loreto road.
Brown-bellied Swallow Notiochelidon murina
Blue-and-white Swallow Notiochelidon cyanoleuca
Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica: 1 seen over the main lake at Antisana. NB. This is a sesonal visitor to Ecuador, only present during the boreal winter.
Rufous Wren Cinnycerthia unirufra: A small flock was seen at Yanacocha, in a mixed feeding flock.
Sepia-Brown (Sharpe's) Wren Cinnycerthia unirufa: 1 Seen in the Upper Tandayapa Valley and a party of 4 birds were seen along the Guacamayos ridge.
Grass (Sedge) Wren Cistothorus platensis: Recorded at Antisana, Papallacta and from the top of the Pichincha cable car above Quito.
Bay Wren Thryothorus nigricapillus: 2 were seen (a pair) at Pedoro Vicente Maldonado.
Plain-tailed Wren Thryothorus euophrys: 1 seen on the Guacamayos ridge.
Stripe-throated Wren Thryothorus leucopogon H: Unfortunately only heard distantly at Pedro Vicente Maldonado.
House Wren Troglodytes aedon
Mountain Wren Troglodytes solstitialis
Gray-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucophrys
White-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucosticta: A pair were seen by the Loreto road.
Chestnut-breasted Wren Cyphorhinus thoracicus H: Heard calling distantly from the Guacamayos ridge.
Musician Wren Cyphorhinus arada H: 1 heard along the Loreto road.
Southern Nightingale (Scaly-breasted) Wren Microcerculus marginatus H
Wing-banded Wren Microcerculus bambla: 1 bird was seen very well alongside the Loreto road, and at least one other was heard along there.
GNATCATCHERS AND GNATWRENS Polioptilidae
Slate-throated Gnatcatcher Polioptila schistaceigula: 1 was seen in a feeding flock on the Rio Silanche trail (Pedro Vicente Maldonado), in a flock with Scarlet-browed Heterospingus xanthopygius, Blue-whiskered T. johannae & Emerald Tanagers T. Florida.
NEW WORLD WARBLERS Parulidae
Tropical Parula Parula pitiayumi
Cerulean Warbler Dendroica cerulea: A few were seen in a flock along the Loreto road (a boreal migrant, only present during the northern winter).
Blackburnian Warbler Dendroica fusca: Commonly encountered in mixed flocks on the west slope, where it is a migrant during the boreal winter.
Olive-crowned Yellowthroat Geothlypis semiflava
Canada Warbler Wilsonia canadensis: 3 seen in a mixed feeding flock off the Loreto road. NB. Only a boreal migrant to Ecuador.
Slate-throated Whitestart Myioborus miniatus
Spectacled Whitestart Myioborus melanocephalus
Black-crested Warbler Basileuterus nigrocristatus
Chocó Warbler Basileuterus chlorophrys: Quite common and frequently seen in mixed feeding flocks on the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation Milpe reserve.
Three-striped Warbler Basileuterus tristriatus
Russet-crowned Warbler Basileuterus coronatus
Buff-rumped Warbler Basileuterus fulvicauda: A bird strongly associated with rivers & streams, we saw one hopping along the rocks in the Rio Silanche, Pedro Vicente Maldonado.
TANAGERS AND ALLIES Thraupidae
Bananaquit Coereba flaveola
Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza
Yellow-tufted Dacnis Dacnis egregia: Several sightings at Pedro Vicente Maldonado. NB. This is a split from Black-faced Dacnis D. lineata, that not all authors adopt. When considered separate species they are distributed on different slopes with Yellow-tufted in the west and Black-faced in the east.
Scarlet-breasted Dacnis Dacnis berlepschi: One of the most stunning looking Choco endemics, and we were really pleased to get good views of a pair of these stunning tanagers in a mixed feeding flock with Emerald T. florida & Blue-whiskered Tanagers T johannae at the new Mindo Cloudforest Foundation Rio Silanche reserve.
Cinereous Conebill Conirostrum cinereum
Blue-backed Conebill Conirostrum sitticolor
Capped Conebill Conirostrum albifrons
Giant Conebill Oreomanes fraseri: A group of 4 were seen in a patch of polylepis woodland near Papallacta Pass. These superb birds are polylepis specialists, rarely being found away from that habitat.
Bluish Flowerpiercer Diglossopis caerulescens: A couple of sightings along the Guacamayos ridge.
Masked Flowerpiercer Diglossopis cyanea
Golden-eyed Flowerpiercer Diglossopis glauca: 2 sightings along the Loreto road. NB. This species is often listed as Deep-blue Flowerpiercer on many World lists.
Glossy Flowerpiercer Diglossa lafresnayii
Black Flowerpiercer Diglossa humeralis
White-sided Flowerpiercer Diglossa albilatera
Guira Tanager Hemithraupis guira
Rufous-chested Tanager Thlypopsis ornata: 3 seen in the Upper Tandayapa Valley. NB. This tanager is erratic in appearances in the Tandayapa Valley (sometimes missing for months on end).
Blue-naped Chlorophonia Chlorohonia cyanea: 1 seen near the Loreto road.
Thick-billed Euphonia Euphonia laniirostris
Orange-bellied Euphonia Euphonia xanthogaster
Orange-eared Tanager Chlorochrysa calliparaea: 1 seen on the Loreto road.
Rufous-throated Tanager Tangara rufigula: Recorded at both the Milpe reserve and also at the nearby fruit feeders at the restaurant in Los Bancos.
Gray-and-gold Tanager Tangara palmeri: 2 seen in a feeding flock in the Rio Silanche reserve.
Golden Tanager Tangara arthus
Emerald Tanager Tangara florida: A pair were seen in a mixed feeding flock in the Rio Silanche reserve.
Silver-throated Tanager Tangara icterocephala: Regular at the feeders of the Los Bancos restaurant near Milpe.
Saffron-crowned Tanager Tangara xanthocephala: Quite a few sightings in mixed flocks around San Isidro in the east.
Flame-faced Tanager Tangara parzudakii: Both eastern and western race birds seen (they are markedly different in plumage), at San Isidro and in the Tandayapa Valley and the Los Bancos restaurant respectively (where unrivalled views can be had of these superb tanagers).
Golden-naped Tanager Tangara ruficervix
Metallic-green Tanager Tangara labradorides: Only one sighting, in the Upper Tandayapa Valley.
Beryl-spangled Tanager Tangara nigroviridis: Fairly common in the Upper Tandayapa Valley.
Black-capped Tanager Tangara heinei
Blue-necked Tanager Tangara cyanicollis
Golden-hooded Tanager Tangara larvata: One sighting around Pedro Vicente Maldonado.
Paradise Tanager Tangara chilensis: Several sightings of this gorgeous tanager along the Loreto road.
Blue-whiskered Tanager Tangara johannae: A very scarce Chocó speciality, so we were lucky to get some good prolonged views of a low bird in a feeding flock on the Rio Silanche reserve, Pedro Vicente Maldonado. (The bird was in a mixed flock with Emerald Tanagers T. florida and Scarlet-breasted Dacnises Dacnis berlepschi).
Spotted Tanager Tangara punctata: Several sightings along the Loreto road.
Yellow-bellied Tanager Tangara xanthogastra: 1 seen on the Loreto road.
Bay-headed Tanager Tangara gyrola
Golden-crowned Tanager Iridosornis rufivertex: Some good views were had on the first day of the tour at Yanacocha on the west slope, and another was seen in a mixed flock in an area of elfin woodland on the east slope (with the rare Masked Mountain-Tanager Buthraupis wetmorei and around 15 Black-backed Bush-Tanagers Urothraupis stolzmanni).
Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager Anisognathus igniventris
Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager Anisognathus lacrymosus: 1 bird was seen on the Guacamayos ridge.
Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager Anisognathus somptuosus: Many were seen in the Tandayapa Valley, including at the Tandayapa Bird Lodge fruit feeders.
Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager Anisognathus notabilis: At least three birds were seen in a mixed feeding flock at the Giant Antpitta Grallaria gigantea site near Mindo.
Hooded Mountain-Tanager Buthraupis montana: Seen on the Guacamayos ridge and also in the Tandayapa Valley.
Masked Mountain-Tanager Buthraupis wetmorei: For the third straight tour, this scarce tanager was seen in a mixed flock in an elfin woodland patch near Papallacta. On this occasion the bird was with around 15 Black-backed Bush-Tanagers Urothraupis stolzmanni and a Golden-Crowned Tanager Iridosornis rufivertex.
Black-chested Mountain-Tanager Buthraupis eximia: Several were seen in tanager flocks along the trail at Yanacocha.
Grass-green Tanager Chlorornis riefferii: This attractive tanager was seen a number of times on the tour, inclusing in the Tandayapa Valley, at Yanacocha and on the Guacamayos ridge.
Swallow Tanager Tersina viridis
Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus
Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum
Silver-beaked Tanager Ramphocelus carbo: Recorded a few times along the Loreto road.
Lemon-rumped (Flame-rumped) Tanager Ramphocelus icteronotus
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra: A boreal migrant to Ecuador. A male was seen Pedro Vicente Maldonado.
White-winged Tanager Piranga leucoptera
Ochre-breasted Tanager Chlorothraupis stolzmanni: Fairly common in mixed flocks in the Milpe reserve.
Dusky-faced Tanager Mitrospingus cassinii: Seen a few times at Pedro Vicente Maldonado.
White-lined Tanager Tachyphonus rufus
White-shouldered Tanager Tachyphonus luctuosus
Tawny-crested Tanager Tachyphonus delatrii: 3+ seen in a one-species flock at Pedro Vicente Maldonado.
Fulvous Shrike-Tanager Lanio fulvus: A calling pair were seen in a mixed flock on the trail off the Loreto road.
Scarlet-browed Tanager Heterospingus xanthopygius: 3+ seen in mixed feeding flocks on the Rio Silanche reserve, Pedro Vicente Maldonado.
Common Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus ophthalmicus
Dusky Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus semifuscus: Fairly common in the Upper Tandayapa Valley.
Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus flavigularis
Yellow-whiskered Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus parvirostris: Seen a number of times on the Guacamayos ridge.
Black-backed Bush-Tanager Urothraupis stolzmanni: A flock of 15 birds was seen in a patch of elfin woodland near Papallacta. The birds were in a very low mixed feeding flock with at least one Masked Mountain-Tanager Buthraupis wetmorei and a Golden-crowned Tanager Iridosornis rufivertex.
Superciliaried Hemispingus Hemispingus superciliaris
Oleaginous Hemispingus Hemispingus frontalis: 1 was seen well in a feeding flock along the Guacamayos ridge.
Black-eared Hemispingus Hemispingus melanotis: A vocal pair were seen by the cabins at san Isidro.
Western Hemispingus Hemispingus ochraceus: A pair were seen in a feeding flock in the Upper Tandayapa Valley. This Chocó speciality is sometimes considered conspecific with Black-eared Hemispingus H. melanotis.
Magpie Tanager Cissopis leveriana: A small group were seen by the roadside en-route to the Loreto road.
SALTATORS,GROSBEAKS, CARDINALS Cardinalidae
Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus
Black-winged Saltator Saltator atripennis
Grayish Saltator Saltator coerulescens: One seen near the Loreto road.
Southern Yellow (Golden-bellied) Grosbeak Pheucticus chrysogaster
EMBERIZINE FINCHES Emberizidae
Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina
Yellow-faced Grassquit Tiaris olivacea
Lesser Seed-finch Oryzoborus angolensis funerius
Variable Seedeater Sporophila corvina
Yellow-bellied Seedeater Sporophila nigricol
Plain-colored Seedeater Catamenia inornata
Plumbeous Sierra-Finch Phrygilus unicolor
Rufous-naped Brush-Finch Atlapetes latinuchus: Seen at Yanacocha (where fairly common), from the teleferico up Pichincha in Quito and also at Antisana.
Tricolored Brush-Finch Atlapetes tricolor: Seen in the Tandayapa Valley.
White-winged Brush-Finch Atlapetes leucopterus: One came to the fruit feeders at Tandayapa Bird Lodge on several occasions.
Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch Buarremon brunneinuchus: 1 seen on the trails at Tandayapa Bird Lodge.
Stripe-headed Brush-Finch Buarremon torquatus: Two sightings at Yanacocha-1 on the trail and another along the entrance track.
Tanager Finch Oreothraupis arremonops: Checking out a known territory proved very worthwhile as we saw a bird singing (unusually) in the open there.
Orange-billed Sparrow Arremon aurantiirostris: 2 seen at Pedro Vicente Maldonado.
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis
AMERICAN ORIOLES AND BLACKBIRDS Icteridae
Northern Mountain-Cacique Cacicus leucoramphus: Encountered a number of times along the Guacamyos ridge.
Subtropical (Scarlet-rumped) Cacique Cacicus uropygialis: Quite common around San Isidro where they were seen around the cabins and also along the Guacamayos ridge trail.
Russet-backed Oropendola Psarocolius angustifrons: Seen a number of times around the cabins at San Isidro and also on the Loreto road.
Scrub Blackbird Dives warszewiczi
CARDUELINE FINCHES Fringillidae
Hooded Siskin Carduelis magellanica
Lesser Goldfinch Carduelis psaltria: 1 male seen right beside Tandayapa Bird Lodge on New Years Day.
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