Eastern Andes and Foothills, Ecuador, July 21 - 26, 2006

Published by Forrest Rowland (rowbird2005 AT gmail.com)

Participants: Theo Buccholz, Frans van Vuuren, Adele van Vuuren, Elmien Adendorff, and myself, Forrest Rowland


A big factor for us being able to see so many species in such a short time has a lot to do with the itinerary, of course. We were able (willing, more like it) to spend more time than normal at the lower elevations, despite distance and bad roads. As a result, we may have missed a specie or two at the higher elevations. However, we were able to see many many more birds down lower, and those included some amazingly rare and difficult to find birds also. Not my personal highest, but our time in the area is in my top 3 best trips with clients to the area, with regards to quality and quantity, to date. Another factor is that the participants in the group spent 2 weeks on the West Slope and Western Lowlands, before I picked them up in Quito. Because they had seen a fair number of the birds in the West, I was able to focus on the harder birds. This was more of a Post-trip, so to speak. I think the group left the country having seen 600 plus species in 18 days, 351 of those during the 6 days I am describing here.

Itinerary - Day 1 Bird from Quito to Guango Lodge, approx. 85kms total distance, leaving Quito at 6:00am, birding along the main highway and in Coca-Cayambe National Park at Papallacta Pass. Habitats include Paramo, Polylepis woodland, and typical Temperate woodland. 2800m to just over 5000m elevation. Mostly cloudy weather conditions with strong winds and light rain intermittently. Some of the better birds we encountered included Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe at the parking lot near the antennae, good furnariid numbers, and a nice flock in some polylepis that held Bar-bellied Woodpecker, White-throated Tyrannulet, Black-backed Bush-Tanager, and a few others.

Day 2 Bird atypical Temperate (Elfin) woodland at Papallacta Lake from 6:30am until around 9am, birding the road down back to Guango for lunch. Afternoon transfer to Cabanas San Isidro with about 2 hours of daylight left to bird the area there.Approximately 80kms travelled. 3300m to just under 2000m elevation. Cloudy today with some wind and rain, but mostly pleasant. We pulled out good views of Rufous Antpitta, White-browed Spinetail, and some other skulkers, along with a couple good trip birds.

Day 3 Very early departure for the Loreto Road, requiring 1.5 hours driving time through poor driving conditions just to get to the first birding area. The habitat here is entirely different from either Guango or San Isidro, with little or no species overlap. It is considered subtropical forest by most publications but should better be described as transitional forest with mostly lowland and foothill species being present and some very special lower subtropic species being present, as well. We experienced our first real rain of the trip here, only allowing for short stints out of the vehicle at a time, but great nonetheless. 1200 to 850m, give or take, elevation. The amount of good birds seen today was staggering. Here's a few of the more impressive birds: White-tailed Hillstar, Black-mandibled Toucan, Coppery-chested Jacamar, Black-billed Treehunter, Plain-winged, Yellow-breasted, and Rufous-rumped Antwrens, Plumbeous-crowned Tyrannulet, Double-banded Pygmy-Tyrant, Buff-throated Tody-Tyrant, Orange-crested Flycatcher, Olive-chested Flycatcher, Cliff Flycatcher, Coraya Wren, and Bronze-green Euphonia.

Day 4 Today we stayed at the home base, San Isidro, to get some of the good birds there and spend more time in the subtropic habitat. We didn't even have to wake up before 5am today! We had the worst weather of the trip, unfortunately, today. Definitely affected the birding but our luck continued to hold and we managed some great birds. 2000m elevation. Yellow-vented Woodpecker, Blackish and Rufous-vented Tapaculos, Tyrannine Woodcreeper, and a few Tyrannidae marked the best birds of a fairly slow day. The valley's first confirmed record of Rufous-chested Tanager cheered us up, though, on our way back for lunch.

Day 5 The most interesting day on the itinerary, for me, because we got to go to El Para, which is rarely, if ever, on an itinerary. Glad that Theo asked for it specifically! I managed to get my one lifer for the trip here....I'll mention which species it was on the trip list. Only bad thing about the reserve is that it is more than 2 hours driving just to get to Archidona, from there another 15kms on an even more difficult road. But worth the hassle always. 750m elevation. Like, Loreto, the list of interesting species is too long to list all. Group favorites were...well...NOT the 7 species of Antbirds encountered just because they were so difficult. Great looks at Large-headed Flatbill, Golden-winged Tody-Flycatcher, Blackish Pewee, Wire-tailed Manakin, and Amazon Kingfisher were great. Red-billed Tyrannulet and Black-billed Seed-Finch, along with a few other good sightings would be considered the "best" birds, though it's still difficult to people too excited about Tyrannulets.

Day 6 The last morning we spent on the Guacamayos Ridge trail, only advancing the first kilometer and a half or so, due to great birds. One of my favorite places to bird, by far, it delivered only 15 new birds for the trip, but great looks at many we'd seen before. Besides, you can't complain when you're seeing Slate-crowned Antpitta, Greater Scythebill, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, White-capped Tanager, and Fruiteaters all at eye-level, can you? After lunch we headed back to Quito, making a few short stops trying to pick up a bird or two, but to no avail. I think we managed to see a little over 350 species in 5.5 days birding. I mean, enough is enough! Have to leave at least one bird to come back for, right?

Species Lists

The trip list consists of all the birds recorded on the trip, heard or seen. I put the letter H in parentheticals just after the bird's name, if it was only heard and not seen. We had a few species which were seen my most, but not all participants in the group. I will place an asterisk behind the names of those species. I give numbers, albeit only as accurately as I can, given the circumstances. It is difficult, the more of one species you see, to remember to keep counting it, especially when constantly searching out more species. However, I include numbers of all SEEN species. If a species was seen once, then heard only after, I put a Plus sign after the number.

Gray Tinamou H
Great Tinamou H
Highland Tinamou H
Little Tinamou H
Torrent Duck 2
Andean Teal 14
Yellow-billed Pintail 6
Andean Condor 1
Black Vulture 13
Turkey Vulture 11
Greater Yellow-headed Vulture 1
Hook-billed Kite 1
Swallow-tailed Kite 18
Double-toothed Kite H
Plumbeous Kite 4
Plain-breasted Hawk 1
Barred Hawk 1
Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle 3
Roadside Hawk 9
White-rumped Hawk 1
Short-tailed Hawk 1
Variable Hawk 4
Black Hawk-Eagle 1
Black-and-Chestnut Eagle 1
Black Caracara 2*
Caruncaulated Caracara 7
Barred Forest-Falcon H
American Kestrel 2
Speckled Chachalaca 6
Andean Guan 2
Sickle-winged Guan 2*, seen poorly by me though I made no effort to show the group as they had seen these on the other slope
Andean Coot 4
Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe 1
Andean Gull 3
Southern Lapwing 6
Rock Pigeon ~10
Band-tailed Pigeon 15
Ruddy Pigeon 2
Plumbeous Pigeon 1
Eared Dove 12
White-tipped Dove 1
Chestnut-fronted Macaw 4
White-eyed Parakeet ~70
Dusky-headed Parakeet 17
Barred Parakeet 14
Blue-winged Parrotlet 1
Cobalt-winged Parakeet ~15
Blue-headed Parrot 7
Red-billed Parrot 22
White-capped Parrot 25
Scaly-naped Amazon 7
Squirrel Cuckoo 4
Black-bellied Cuckoo 1
Smooth-billed Ani 8
San Isidro Owl 1
Rufous-banded Owl H
Swallow-tailed Nightjar H
White-collared Swift ~30
Chestnut-collared Swift ~50
Spot-fronted Swift ~10
Short-tailed Swift ~15
Gray-rumped Swift ~30
Tawny-bellied Hermit 1
Straight-billed Hermit 1
Gray-breasted Sabrewing 2
Napo Sabrewing 1
Green Violetear 1
Sparkling Violetear 3
Blue-tailed Emerald 1
Western Emerald 1
Fork-tailed Woodnymph 2
Glittering-throated Emerald 2
Speckled Hummingbird 8
Fawn-breasted Brilliant 5
Ecuadorian Hillstar 3
White-tailed Hillstar 1
Shining Sunbeam 4
Mountain Velvetbreast 2
Great Sapphirewing 3
Bronzy Inca 5
Collared Inca ~17
Buff-winged Starfrontlet ~10
Sword-billed Hummingbird 4
Buff-tailed Coronet 3
Chestnut-breasted Coronet 22
Tourmaline Sunangel ~10
Glowing Puffleg 1
Booted Racket-tail 1
Black-tailed Trainbearer 4
Green-tailed Trainbearer 1
Purple-backed Thornbill 3
Viridian Metaltail 4
Tyrian Metaltail ~12
Blue-mantled Thornbill 2*
Mountain Avocetbill 1
Long-tailed Sylph ~18
Amethyst Woodstar 1
White-bellied Woodstar ~6
Gorgeted Woodstar 3
Golden-headed Quetzal 3
Amazonian White-tailed Trogon H
Masked Trogon 3
Blue-crowned Trogon H
Ringed Kingfisher 1
Amazon Kingfisher 2
Broad-billed Motmot 1*
Highland Motmot 3
Coppery-chested Jacamar 3+
Yellow-billed Nunbird 5
Gilded Barbet 3
Lemon-throated Barbet 2
Red-headed Barbet 3
Andean Toucanet 1
Lettered Aracari 3
Black-billed Mountain-Toucan 1
Black-mandibled Toucan 1
LaFresnaye's Piculet 1
Golden-olive Woodpecker 1
Crimson-mantled Woodpecker 4
Lineated Woodpecker H
Yellow-tufted Woodpecker 4
Smoky-brown Woopecker 1
Little Woodpecker 1
Yellow-vented Woodpecker 2
Bar-bellied Woopecker 1
Powerful Woodpecker H
Bar-winged Cinclodes ~10
Stout-billed Cinclodes 2
Andean Tit-Spinetail 4
Azara's Spinetail 2
Dark-breasted Spinetail 2
Rufous Spinetail 1
White-browed Spinetail 2
White-chinned Thistletail 2
Many-striped Canastero 1
Orange-fronted Plushcrown 3
Streaked Tuftedcheek 3
Pearled Treerunner 7
Rusty-winged Barbtail 1
Spotted Barbtail 1*
Lineated Foliage-Gleaner 2
Montane Foliage-Gleaner 1*
Eastern Woodhaunter 1
Rufous-rumped Foliage-Gleaner 2
Buff-throated Foliage-Gleaner 1
Bamboo Foliage-Gleaner 1
Striped Treehunter H
Black-billed Treehunter 1*
Streaked Xenops 1
Tawny-throated Leaftosser H
Tyrannine Woocreeper 1
Plain-brown Woodcreeper 2
Olivaceous Woodcreeper H
Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper 1
Strong-billed Woodcreeper 2
Buff-throated Woodcreeper H
Olive-backed Woodcreeper 3
Montane Woodcreeper 8
Greater Scythebill 1
Great Antshrike H
Fasciated Antshrike 1
Lined Antshrike 3+
Plain-winged Antshrike 2
Pygmy Antwren H
Stripe-chested Antwren 1*
White-flanked Antwren 2
Slaty Antwren 1
Plain-winged Antwren 1
Yellow-breasted Antwren 1
Long-tailed Antbird 1+
Striated Antbird 1*+
Rufous-rumped Antwren 1*
Gray Antbird 1
Blackish Antbird 1
Black Antbird H
White-browed Antbird 1*+
Black-faced Antbird 3
Warbling Antbird 4
Yellow-browed Antbird 2
Spot-winged Antbird 1*
White-backed Fire-Eye H
Sooty Antbird 2
Reddish-winged Bare-Eye 2
Black-faced Antthrush H
Giant Antpitta H
Moustached Antpitta H
Plain-backed Anpitta H
Chestnut-crowned Antpitta 1
Chestnut-naped Antpitta H
White-bellied Anpitta H
Rufous Antpitta 1
Tawny Anpitta 2
Thrush-like Anpitta H
Slate-crowned Anpitta 1+
Ash-colored Tapaculo H
Blackish Tapaculo 1+
Rufous-vented Tapaculo 1+
Northern White-crowned Tapaculo H
Spillman's Tapaculo 1*
Ocellated Tapaculo H
White-fronted Tyrannulet 1
Plumbeous-crowned Tyrannulet 1
Black-capped Tyrannulet 2
Ashy-headed Tyrannulet 1
Golden-faced Tyrannulet 7
Red-billed Tyrannulet 1
Southern Beardless Tyrannulet 1
Small-billed Elaenia 1
White-throated Tyrannulet 2
White-banded Tyrannulet 9
White-tailed Tyrannulet 5
Sulphur-bellied Tyrannulet 3
Torrent Tyrannulet 1
Tufted Tit-Tyrant 3
Streak-necked Flycatcher 1
Olive-striped Flycatcher 1
Rufous-breasted Flycatcher 3
Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant 1
Variegated Bristle-Tyrant 2
Bronze-olive Pygmy-Tyrant H
Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrant 2
Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant 2
Double-banded Pygmy-Tyrant 1
Buff-throated Tody-Tyrant 1
White-eyed Tody-Tyrant H
Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher 1*
Golden-winged Tody-Flycatcher 1
Common Tody-Flycatcher 3
Large-headed Flatbill 1
Gray-crowned Flatbill H
Olive-faced Flatbill 3
Ornate Flycatcher 1
Flavescent Flycatcher 2
Orange-crested Flycatcher 1
Bran-colored Flycatcher 1
Olive-chested Flycatcher 2
Handsome Flycatcher 2
Cinnamon Flycatcher 10
Blackish Pewee 1
Smoke-colored Pewee 5
Black Phoebe 4
Vermilion Flycatcher 2
Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant 1
Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant 2
Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant 4
Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant 1
Smoky Bush-Tyrant 1
Cliff Flycatcher 3
Paramo Ground-Tyrant 4
Long-tailed Tyrant 3
Ducky-capped Flycatcher 1
Pale-edged Flycatcher 1
Great Kiskadee 1
Boat-billed Flycatcher 2
Social Flycatcher 5
Gray-capped Flycatcher 3
Crowned Slaty-Flycatcher 1
Dusky-chested Flycatcher 2
Golden-crowned Flycatcher 2
Tropical Kingbird 6
Barred Becard H
White-winged Becard 2
Masked Tityra 2
Black-crowned Tityra 1
Barred Fruiteater H
Green-and-Black Fruiteater 4
Black-chested Fruiteater 2
White-browed Purpletuft 2
Olivaceous Piha 1
Dusky Piha 3
Amazonian Umbrellabird H
Andean Cock-of-the-Rock 1
Wire-tailed Manakin 2
Blue-backed Manakin 1*
Turquoise Jay 8
Inca Jay 19
Violaceous Jay 7
Black-billed Peppershrike H
Yellow-green Vireo 2
Brown-capped Vireo 2
Dusky-capped Greenlet 2
Olivaceous Greenlet 4
Andean Solitaire H
Pale-eyed Thrush 2
Great Thrush ~25
Glossy-black Thrush 12
Black-billed Thrush 3
Tropical Mockingbird 1
White-capped Dipper 1
Gray-breasted Martin 3
Brown-bellied Swallow ~50
Blue-and-White Swallow ~50
White-banded Swallow ~10
Rough-winged Swallow ~20
Black-capped Donacobius 2
Thrush-like Wren 5
Rufous Wren 1
Plain-tailed Wren H
Grass Wren H
Coraya Wren 2
House Wren ~5
Mountain Wren 3+
White-breasted Wood-Wren 1+
Gray-breasted Wood-Wren 3
Southern Nightingale-Wren H
Tawny-faced Gnatwren 1
Tropical Parula 1
Slate-throated Whitestart 9
Spectacled Whitestart ~11
Black-crested Warbler 7
Citrine Warbler 12
Three-striped Warbler 7
Russet-crowned Warbler 6
Buff-rumped Warbler 1
Bananaquit ~10
Purple Honeycreeper 2
Green Honeycreeper 2
Golden-collared Honeycreeper 2
Black-faced Dacnis 3
Yellow-bellied Dacnis 2
Cinereous Conebill 4
Blue-backed Conebill 5
Capped Conebill 3
Bluish Flowerpiercer 7
Masked Flowerpiercer ~22
Golden-eyed Flowerpiercer 2
Glossy Flowerpiercer ~5
Black Flowerpiercer 2
White-sided Flowerpiercer 3
Rufous-chested Tanager 1
Guira Tanager 2
Fawn-breasted Tanager 1
Blue-naped Chlorophonia H
Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia 2*
Thick-billed Euphonia 4
Orange-bellied Euphonia 12
Rufous-bellied Euphonia 2
Bronze-green Euphonia 3
White-lored Euphonia 3
Orange-eared Tanager 4
Golden Tanager 2
Saffron-crowned Tanager ~25
Flame-faced Tanager 4
Golden-naped Tanager 1
Beryl-spangled Tanager 5
Blue-and-black Tanager 3
Black-capped Tanager 4
Blue-necked Tanager 13
Turquoise Tanager 4
Paradise Tanager ~10
Green-and-Gold Tanager 4
Spotted Tanager 4
Yellow-bellied Tanager 2
Bay-headed Tanager 2
Yellow-throated Tanager 1
Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager 3
Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager 2
Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager 17
Hooded Mountain-Tanager 3
Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager 2
Rufous-crested Tanager 1
Swallow Tanager 2
Blue-gray Tanager ~20
Palm Tanager ~20
Blue-capped Tanager 1*
Blue-and-Yellow Tanager 5
Silver-beaked Tanager ~10
Red-crowned Ant-Tanager 1
White-lined Tanager 2
White-shouldered Tanager 6
Fulvous Shrike-Tanager 1
Common Bush-Tanager ~10
Ashy-throated Bush-Tanager 4
Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager 4
Yellow-whiskered Bush-Tanager 2
Gray-hooded Bush-Tanager ~8
Black-backed Bush-Tanager 5
Black-capped Hemispingus 7
Superciliaried Hemispingus 6
Black-eared Hemispingus 4
Black-headed Hemispingus 1
Magpie Tanager 8
White-capped Tanager 4
Buff-throated Saltator 1
Grayish Saltator 2
Southern Yellow Grosbeak 6
Black-backed Grosbeak 2
Blue-black Grassquit ~10
Lesser Seed-Finch 7+
Black-billed Seed-Finch 6
Caqueta Seedeater 2
Black-and-White Seedeater 1+
Chestnut-bellied Seedeater ~10
Plain-colored Seedeater 4
Band-tailed Seedeater 6
Plumbeous Sierra-Finch 4
Ash-breasted Sierra-Finch 2
Slaty Finch 1
Slaty Brush-Finch 4
Rufous-collared Sparrow ~18
Yellow-browed Sparrow 5+
Yellow-rumped Cacique ~15
Northern Mountain-Cacique 8
Subtropical Cacique 16
Yellow-billed Cacique 2
Crested Oropendola 2
Russet-backed Oropendola 22
Shiny Cowbird ~10
Giant Cowbird 1*
Orange-backed Troupial 1
Hooded Siskin 6
Andean Siskin 2
Olivaceous Siskin H, flyover

393 Total Species Recorded
352 Total Species Seen
41 Species Heard Only