North-west Ecuador - 15-16 March 2006

Published by Forrest Rowland (rowbird2005 AT

Participants: Forrest Rowland, Suzanne Methvin, Luis Die



What a trip! I almost always say that starting out, because any day in the field is better than a day in the city. These two days were, in a word, exceptional, however, and soared above all expectations we had. The three of us (Suzanne, Luis, and I) had met each other about two years ago. We all work in tourism here in Ecuador, and had been wanted to spend some time birding together. We finally got our schedules together, even if it was for just two days, and enjoyed the trip very, very much. Great company, and great birds.

We headed out of Quito at 6am the morning of the 15th, and made our way straight to the Milpe reserve, arriving at approximately 7:30. This al depends on road conditions, but the Quito-Esmeraldas highway is well maintained, and we breezed, with only one small landslide to navigate on the way.

The Milpe reserve is located at kilometer marker 91, off the main highway. There is a small, hexagonal, church, on the right side of the road, at the right-hand turn. It is a small dirt road, but easy to find given these two landmarks. The entrance to the reserve is about 200 meters from the highway. The habitat is somewhat disturbed, mixed secondary/primary forest, at 1050m elevation. The birding is very good, with some of the target species present being Club-winged Manakin, Choco Warbler, and Moss-backed Tanager.

We had a good morning here, the weather holding out and giving us decent flocks until about noon, when we decided it was lunchtime. Some of the highlights we encountered here were Brown-billed Scythebill, Bronze-olive Pygmy-Tyrant, Club-winged Manakin, and Choco Warbler.

From here we headed to Sachatamia, back up the highway near the Mindo turnoff, at around kilometer marker 75. The food here is excellent, and Luis organized our overnight stay here. A great place and highly recommended for both convenience and great accomodation. After lunch we attempted to head down to the Los Bancos road for some more foothill birding, but we got rained out. It was raining incredibly hard most of the way down, and back up, so we decided to spend a few minutes birding the Sachatamia property. The bird activity was pretty scarce, aside from the amazing hummingbird display at the feeders, but we did see two South American Coatimundi, which were great, Golden-winged Manakin, and Orange-crested Flycatcher.

The following morning we awoke at 5am, had breakfast at 5:30, and were out the door, headed down to lower elevations, by 6 sharp. We headed directly to the Rio Silanche Reserve. This area is not as easy to find, initially, as the turnoff to Milpe. To reach the reserve itself, go don the main highway until reaching kilometer marker 126, then continue on another 400 meters, give or take. You will see a dirt road heading off to the right, at an angle, near a small store and a couple wooden shacks/houses. Take this dirt track (high clearance recommended) for another 7 kms, following the arrowed signs indicating Rio Silanche, until you see the large bamboo gates on your left. The trip from Sachatamia took a little over an hour, and we were out of the car, birding, by 7:15am.

The habitat here is Choco lower foothill/lowland forest, and the birding was some of the best any of us had ever had in (I think we would all agree) our lives. We managed to record 158 species, over 150 seen, before we had to pull ourselves away for lunch and the return trip home, at 1pm. It was superb, and we highly recommend this stop to any and everyone. Some of the more interesting birds seen included Purple-chested Hummingbird, Double-banded Graytail, Black-striped Woodcreeper, numerous Antwrens, Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant, Western Sirystes, Rufous Piha, Red-capped Manakin, Dagua Thrush, Scarlet-breasted Dacnis, Emerald, Blue-whiskered, and Rufous-winged Tanagers, among many other great birds.

On the way back to Quito we stopped for lunch at Mindo Loma, from about 2pm to 3:30pm. We made it back to Quito by 5:00. Mindo Loma continues to be the place for Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager, and we had some other great birds around the main house.

Species Lists

Little Tinamou (H)
Cattle Egret
Turkey Vulture
Black Vulture
Swallow-tailed Kite
Plumbeous Kite
Plumbeous Hawk
Barred Hawk
Roadside Hawk
American Kestrel
Bat Falcon
Laughing Falcon
Rufous-fronted Wood-Quail
Ruddy Pigeon
Plumbeous Pigeon
Maroon-tailed Parakeet
Blue-headed Parrot
Bronze-winged Parrot
Squirrel Cuckoo
Striped Cuckoo
Smooth-billed Ani
White-collared Swift
Chestnut-collared Swift
Band-rumped Swift
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift
Green-fronted Lancebill
White-necked Jacobin
Brown Violetear
Green-crowned Woodnymph
Rufous-tailed Humingbird
Purple-chested Hummingbird
Andean Emerald
Purple-bibbed Whitetip
Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer
Empress Brilliant
Green-crowned Brilliant
Fawn-breasted Brilliant
Brown Inca
Buff-tailed Coronet
Velvet-purple Coronet
Booted Racket-tail
Long-tailed Sylph
Violet-tailed Sylph
Purple-crowned Fairy
Purple-throated Woodstar
White-bellied Woodstar
Choco Trogon
Western White-tailed Trogon
Northern Violaceous Trogon
Collared Trogon
Rufous Motmot
Broad-billed Motmot
White-whiskered Puffbird
Orange-fronted Barbet
Pale-mandibled Toucan
Stripe-billed Aracari
Choco Toucan
Olivaceous Piculet
Golden-olive Woodpecker
Cinnamon Woodpecker
Black-cheeked Woodpecker
Guayaquil Woodpecker
Pacific Hornero
Red-faced Spinetail
Azara’s Spinetail
Slaty Spinetail
Double-banded Graytail
Western Woodhaunter
Lineated Foliage-Gleaner
Scaly-throated Foliage-Gleaner
Buff-fronted Foliage-Gleaner
Buff-throated Foliage-Gleaner
Plain Xenops
Streaked Xenops
Plain-brown Woodcreeper
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper
Northern Barred-Woodcreeper
Strong-billed Woodcreeper
Black-striped Woodcreeper
Spotted Woodcreeper
Streak-headed Woodcreeper
Montane Woodcreeper
Brown-billed Scythebill
Great Antshrike
Western Slaty-Antshrike
Pacific Antwren
Checker-throated Antwren
White-flanked Antwren
Slaty Antwren
Dot-winged Antwren
Immaculate Antbird
Chestnut-backed Antbird
Bicolored Antbird
Rufous-breasted Antthrush
Black-headed Antthrush
Sooty-crowned Tyrannulet
Golden-faced Tyrannulet
Brown-capped Tyrannulet
Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet
Gray Elaenia
White-tailed Tyrannulet
Ochre-bellied Tyrannulet
Olive-striped Flycatcher
Slaty-capped Flycatcher
Yellow Tyrannulet
Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant
Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant
Bronze-olive Pygmy-Tyrant
Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant
Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher
Common Tody-Flycatcher
Yellow-olive Flatbill
Yellow-margined Flatbill
Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher
Ornate Flycatcher
Orange-crested Flycatcher
Bran-colored Flycatcher
Smoke-colored Pewee
Masked Water-Tyrant
Bright-rumped Attila
Acadian Flycatcher
Western Sirystes
Dusky-capped Flycatcher
Boat-billed Flycatcher
Social Flycatcher
Gray-capped Flycatcher
White-ringed Flycatcher
Piratic Flycatcher
Tropical Kingbird
One-colored Becard
Cinnamon Becard
Rufous Piha
Purple-throated Fruitcrow
Red-capped Manakin
White-bearded Manakin
Golden-winged Manakin
Club-winged Manakin
Red-eyed Vireo
Brown-capped Vireo
Lesser Greenlet
Swainson’s Thrush
Pale-vented Thrush
Ecuadorian Thrush
Dagua Thrush
Blue-and-White Swallow
Southern Rough-winged Swallow
White-thighed Swallow
Band-backed Wren
Whiskered Wren
Bay Wren
Plain-tailed Wren
Stripe-throated Wren
Gray-breasted Wood-Wren
House Wren
Southern Nightingale-Wren
Tropical Parula
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Slate-throated Whitestart
Choco Warbler
Russet-crowned Warbler
Three-striped Warbler
Purple Honeycreeper
Green Honeycreeper
Blue Dacnis
Scarlet-thighed Dacnis
Scarlet-breasted Dacnis
Capped Conebill
Masked Flowerpiercer
Guira Tanager
Thick-billed Euphonia
Orange-bellied Euphonia
Fulvous-vented Euphonia
Orange-crowned Euphonia
Rufous-throated Tanager
Silver-throated Tanager
Golden Tanager
Emerald Tanager
Flame-faced Tanager
Golden-naped Tanager
Metallic-green Tanager
Beryl-spangled Tanager
Black-capped Tanager
Blue-necked Tanager
Golden-hooded Tanager
Blue-whiskered Tanager
Bay-headed Tanager
Rufous-winged Tanager
Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager
Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager
Blue-gray Tanager
Palm Tanager
Lemon-rumped Tanager
Summer Tanager
Ochre-breasted Tanager
White-lined Tanager
White-shouldered Tanager
Tawny-crested Tanager
Dusky Bush-Tanager
Buff-throated Saltator
Slate-colored Grosbeak
Blue-black Grassquit
Variable Seedeater
Yellow-bellied Seedeater
Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch
Rufous-collared Sparrow
Scarlet-rumped Cacique
Shiny Cowbird
Giant Cowbird
Yellow-bellied Siskin