This trip report summarizes almost six months that I spent in Ecuador from 6 August 2005 – 25 January 2006. It is my hope that this, supplemented with other reports, can serve as an adequate birdfinding guide to the country, as none are currently available (though two are out of print). My purpose of this trip was threefold: first to travel around and see some good birds, second to learn Spanish, and third to do some volunteer work for Fundacion Jocotoco. I found Ecuador to be safe and extremely easy to travel on public transportation. While now a little more expensive than some other South American countries for budget birders (i.e. Peru), it is still a good deal.
It appears that the vast majority of birders visiting Ecuador do so as part of a tour or with a private guide from one of the many companies, which is quite expensive. However, with some knowledge of Spanish and a good head on your shoulders, you should have no problem seeing just as many birds without the aid of guides and expensive lodges, which can usually be visited anyway for a small fee even if you don’t stay there. I have written this mainly to aid independent travelers on public transport, but it should be helpful for those on tours to look at what is found at sites as well. That said there are some places that require forking out a little (and by a little, I mean a lot of) money, such as the Choco lowlands, Amazonia, and of course, the Galapagos.
Public transportation is cheap and reasonably efficient. I found bus prices to be around $1.50 per hour. Cheap hostels are available everywhere, usually you won’t have to spend more than $6-8 per person, and I spent as little as $2.50-3.00 in the south in nasty places. Food is also cheap, set menu almuerzos and meriendas are usually $1.50-$2.00. Renting cars, necessary for a few sites, is expensive, though I found Team Rent a Car at the airport to be a good and trustworthy company.
Of course, the Birds of Ecuador Field guide by Ridgely and Greenfield is essential. The status and distribution guide is nice to browse through as well but not necessary, if you have your own vehicle bring it along, if you are backpacking leave it at home. Also if you are backpacking bring a Lonely Planet or Rough Guide, with a tour you won’t need it. If you can still find the Birdfinding Guide by Henjin, Best, and Williams, it is supposed to be good, but I haven’t seen it. The Birdfinding guide by Clive Green is mostly a waste of paper, though the maps were helpful once or twice. I found the best trip report to be from Frank Rheindt, posted on Surfbirds. I pretty much used it as my birdfinding guide, and flushed it out with information from a few others, such as Pat O’Donnell, Barry Wright, and John Hornbuckle. Thanks guys, I appreciate the work that goes into these things. Last, in the Galapagos we used a Wildlife Guide by Collins, which was decent, and included all vertebrates as well as many plants and inverts. As for recordings, Ecuador has the best coverage of any tropical country, with the John Moore CDs (Northwest vol. 1 and 2, Southwest, Highlands, East slope), the John Moore tapes (La Selva and San Isidro) the Birdsongs international DVD (I haven’t seen it, since I lack a DVD on my ancient computer, but their other material I know is great), and an old east Ecuador tape from Cornell Library of Natural sounds by Parker.
Since I met lots of people at different times to bird different areas, my route was pretty much all over the place, and won’t make any sense to anyone. Therefore, I have decided to write everything in a logical order, regardless of when I was there. My schedule in order, was as follows.
6 Aug: Fly into Quito, bus to Bellavista to meet Ken Behrens, Nick Block, and Michael Retter
7 Aug: Bellavista in the morning, then a bus to Quininde and La Ye de la Laguna
8 Aug: Walk from La Ye de la Laguna to Jatun Sacha Bilsa
9-12 Aug: Jatun Sacha Bilsa
13 Aug: Walk from Bilsa to La Ye, and then to Quininde by Chiva
14 Aug: Bus from Quininde to Borbon
15 Aug: Bus from Borbon to Selva Alegre, then boat to Playa de Oro
16-18 Aug: Playa de Oro
19 Aug: Playa de Oro to Selva Alegre by Boat, bus to Esmeraldas, hitch to Quininde
20Aug: Bus from Quninde to Pedro Vicente Maldonado; Rio Silache
21 Aug: Rio Silache in morning; to Resturante El Mirador
22 Aug: Milpe Rd in morning, Virgin of Caliculi in the afternoon, to Quito. Nick Block leaves
23 Aug: Car to Yanacocha in the morning, then to Papallacta
24 Aug: Papallacta, back to Quito. Michael Retter leaves
26-28 Aug: Bus to Baeza and Huacamayo Ridge
29 Aug-4 Sept: Yasuni National Park, Universidad Catolica field station. Ken Behrens leaves
5 Sept-2 Oct: Spanish school in Cuenca
17-18 Sept: Cajas National Park
25-26 Sept: Valle Yungilla
3-8 Oct: Tapichalaca
9 Oct: Old Loja-Zamora Rd.
10-28 Oct: Tapichalaca
30-31 Oct: Buenaventura
1-4 Nov: Tapichalaca
5-6 Nov: Peru, New visa fiasco
7-12 Nov: Tapichalaca
13-18 Nov: Buenaventura
23 Nov-3 Dec: Rio Canande
3-5 Dec: Mindo Loma
9-11 Dec: Tapichalaca, Dan Lebbin arrives (all travel bus)
12-14 Dec: Bombuscaro
15 Dec: Jorupe
16 Dec: Utuana
17 Dec: Jorupe alto
18-20 Dec: Buenaventura, Dan Lebbin leaves
22-27 Dec: La Selva, my parents arrive (all travel car, or flights)
28 Dec: Rio Palanque
29-30 Dec: Rio Ayampe
30 Dec: Equasal lagoons
31 Dec: Cerro Blaco
1 Jan: El Cajas
2 Jan: Laguna de Colta
3 Jan: Chimborazo
4 Jan: Papallacta
5 Jan: Guango Lodge/San Isidro
6 Jan: San Isidro
8-15 Jan: Galapagos
16 Jan: Yanacocha, my brother arrives
17-18 Jan: Tandayapa
19 Jan: Bellavista
19-20 Jan: Mindo Loma
20 Jan: Milpe Rd.
21 Jan: Rio Silache, my brother leaves
21 Jan: Septimo Paraiso
23 Jan: Bellavista
24 Jan: Yanacocha
I have included what I consider to be highlights in the narratives, this includes regional endemics, rare birds, birds which are generally uncommon but reliable at that site, and some other random things typical for the site or habitat. In addition, I have an excel spreadsheet with columns for all species seen at all localities with rough abundances, however with the surfbirds format I can’t include it. If you would like this reference, please email me (pah24_at_cornell.edu). If you come across something that seems impossible at a site, it is probably a transcription error (I only had 2600 records to enter), so let me know so I can fix it in my own records. In the beginning of each site, I have included a few target specialties, particularly if I missed them, just to keep an eye out for. I felt I did a good job getting around the country, though there are several more places I didn’t get a chance to visit, and anyone reading this should consider them, most importantly the Loreto Road (east slope foothills) and Cerro Mongus (Chestnut-bellied Cotinga and Crescent-faced Antpitta), and to a lesser extent El Placer (Choco), the Maldonado Road (Choco), the La Bonita Road (Bicolored Antpitta), Cajanuma in Podocarpus National Park (east slope temperate forest), and Chinapintza in the Cordillera del Condor (foothills; to which there is now once a day bus service from Loja at 7am)
Northwest Ecuador: The most commonly visited area of the country, as the main areas are close to visit from Quito. The main attraction are the 50+ Choco regional endemics. The best time to visit is the dry season, as during the wet season rain killed a lot of birding time and even when it was clear it seemed less active.
Jatun Sacha Bilsa:
Low to mid-elevation Choco forest, second growth, pasture edges. 300-500m.
An excellent site, not to be missed for the adventurous. The cost is reasonable at $30 per night including meals, which were horrible. In 5 days we went through the cooks repertoire, twice. There is a large trail system (all muddy) and a couple old roads which are good for mixed flocks. The lodging is dank but adequate. Bilsa is now famous as the only guaranteed site for Long-Wattled Umbrellabird, and is also one of the most reliable sites for Indigo-crowned Quail-dove, Plumbeous Forest-falcon, and Banded Ground-cuckoo. We had over 200 species in 5 days. $30 per night for visitors.
I spent 5 nights at the station with Nick Block, Ken Behrens, and Michael Retter. Weather mostly overcast, little precipitation but some fog. This was a good amount of time for this site, though one may want to spend another day or two to look for the difficult species. Note that usually this is one of the rainiest places on earth, and the mud is horrendous. It wasn’t bad when we were there in Aug, which is typically the dry season. I would recommend visiting in the dry season.
Bilsa is a little out of the way, but worth the trip, as it is one of three locations to bird nice forest in the Choco. First, go to the Jatun Sacha office (check the lonely planet or rough guide for the address) in Quito to pay your station fees and get current directions from them. The basic plan is to bus to Quininde (careful, one of the most dangerous cities in Ecuador according to some Ecuadorians I have spoken with), and then get a truck or Chiva (truck converted to a bus) west to La Ye de la Laguna, (watch for White-tailed Kite and Gray Hawk, rare but spreading in Esmeraldas) a tiny town out in the middle of nowhere in the coastal hills. There we stayed the night in a hostel that Jatun Sacha arranged ($10 including dinner and breakfast). From La Ye it is a 13km hike in to the station, but mules (and perhaps horses) are available, and a guide is provided by Jatun Sacha to show the way and handle the mules. The walk in is usually horrendously muddy, but was dry for us. Plan on taking most of the day, and bird along the way. Likewise, the walk out also mostly kills a day
One doesn’t even need to get to Bilsa for the good birds to start. In La Ye, we stayed at a hostel that was very close to the laguna, and despite hideous habitat, saw many excellent things. While this is humid forest, some of the northern reaching tumbesian birds exist in the forest patches. We had a pair of Slaty Becards and Ochraceous Atilas right from the balcony of the hostel at dawn. At about 7am we started walking up the road (going further away from town) where there are better forest patches. About 300m up the road, Retter spotted a rail run across the road, and playback brought a pair of Brown Wood-rails in for quick views. Apparently they seldom vocalize on their own, but respond well to playback. In the area I would try a lot of trolling in the secondary forest, particularly around streams or wet areas.
At 10am we began walking in to the station, we met our guide and mule for the walk. We arrived at about 4pm. Along the walk it is mostly pasture, with some small logged forest patches. That aside, bird activity was pretty good, as were the butterflies. Highlights included raptors, including Black Hawk-eagle, Gray-breasted Flycatcher, and a Choco Woodpecker.
At the station, there is a table with bananas that attracts lots of Pale-mandlibled Aracaris and a few other birds. The station clearing was good for occasional flocks that went through, including Lita Woodpecker. At dusk near the station and along the road we heard many forest-falcons, with Barred being the most common but we also heard Plumbeous daily, and had decent views one evening. Another interesting sighting around the station was a single Scrub Nightjar, which was seen several evenings at dusk at the start of the green trail. Spectacled Owl was heard nightly.
The trail system is color coded, but unfortunately the map is not to scale and isn’t very good. We spent most of our time on the red and green trails, as they were close to the station and good. Talk to the staff at the station about good sites for birds, Carlos gave us directions to umbrellabird, Tooth-billed Hummingbird, Indigo-crowned Quail-dove, and Banded Ground-cuckoo. Our first morning we went to the closest umbrellabird lek, which was on a small unnamed trail near the station. Go before 6am or after 6pm to hear the birds. We had two birds at the lek, but got there a little late so they were no longer calling. Away from the lek, we saw them at least once daily, in groups up to 6 individuals. On the Green trail, there is a Tooth-billed Hummingbird lek about 2km down, get directions from folks at the station. This trail is on a ridge and was very good for canopy and flock birds, including Tanagers (Gray-and-gold, Emerald, Scarlet-browed), all the toucans, Orange-fronted Barbet, and others. Other sweet birds included a very cooperative Tiny Hawk, and a Lanceolated Monklet, and leks of Red-capped and singing Blue-crowned Manakins.
The red trail is ‘the’ trail at Bilsa. Six months before our visit, researchers netted and radio-collared a Banded Ground-cuckoo, which later lead them to a nest. This pair frequented the red trail near where it met the ‘ducha’ river (more of a creek). Also from the end of the trail, you can walk the ducha river up to the ducha (shower) near the station and vice versa. This stretch is very reliable for Indigo-crowned Quail-dove, which we saw several times. Other stream birds easy in this area include White-tipped Sicklebill, Green Manakin, Esmeraldas Antibird, and Dagua Thrush. On our second to last day, we ran into a huge antswarm in the cuckoo territory, which brought in 20 Bicolored Antbirds, 8 Ocellated Antbirds, 2 Immaculate Antbirds, and loads of Northern Barred, Plain-brown, and Spotted Woodcreepers. An immature Collared Forest-falcon was present for the duration, and a Plumbeous came in briefly before it was chased away by the collared. We stayed from 8am to noon, hoping for the cuckoo before we left for lunch. We returned from 1-3pm, though there was much less activity. As we were leaving, we heard 3 bill snaps, which was the Banded Ground-cuckoo announcing its presence. Unfortunately after much searching, we could not get a look.
A few other random interesting birds included King Vulture, Rose-faced Parrot, Andean Emerald (a question mark on the range map for Bilsa) Choco Trogon (common), Tawny-throated Leaftosser (several heard), Spot-crowned Antvireo (fairly common in understory flocks) Black-headed Antthrush (common), Scaled Antpitta (several heard), White-ringed Flycatcher (fairly common, usually in small groups at treefall gaps or old log-cuts), Golden-winged Manakin (very common), White-thighed Swallow (on the walk in and out), several Spotted Nightengale-thrushes, and Ochre-breasted Tanager (very common). Other wildlife included a Boa constrictor which captured a Kinkajou, which put up a fight and eventually escaped, a 2m Fer-de-lance, and poison arrow frogs (Dendrobates and Epidobates).
Playa de Oro:
Primary Choco forest, below 100m
The only accessible truly pristine forest in the Choco. The forest was spectacular, but we found birding to be slow most of the time (it happens in primary forest, after all). Expensive for us at $50 a night, I still think it was worth it. The food was among the best I have eaten in Ecuador, including great pescado encocado and river clam ceviche. We were disappointed that the foothills (and the foothill birds) were not accessible from the lodge, and that hunting did occur in the lodge area. Our hopes of many of the rare birds recorded by Olaf Jahn in his studies there such as Berlepsch’s Tinamou, Baudo Guan, Golden-chested Tanager, etc. would be available, but in reality they are not. The trails were not extensive, (there were only three, and they were short), which made things a little repetitive. No one at the lodge speaks English, so some Spanish is needed. Given the same time investment as Bilsa, we had 50 fewer species. However, this area does give good chances for birds difficult elsewhere such as Rufous-crowned Antpitta, Sapayoa (common), Five-colored Barbet, and Stub-tailed Antbirds
4 nights (with Nick, Ken, and Retter), we lost one whole day and two afternoons to rain. Given the lack of trails, this was maybe a day much, however given how tough a lot of the birds are to find and it takes a lot to get out here, perhaps some will want more.
You need to make reservations by emailing Rosa Jordan at email@example.com at least one month in advance, as there is no regular communication with the lodge. Bus to Selva Alegre (near Borbon, where we stayed the night beforehand), from there it’s a 2 hour boat trip up the Rio Santiago to the lodge. More information at http://www.webhome.idirect.com/~rosaj/po-birds.htm .
The two hour ride in canoe through good forest produced a couple interesting things, a few kingfishers, etc., but not a whole lot. Highlights were King Vulture and 90% certain adult Black-and-white Hawk-eagle (I say 90% because calling one from a moving boat is a bit stringy). General activity was fairly low, but we still saw plenty of good birds. Around the lodge birding was disappointing, we were hoping that the edge habitat would be good for canopy flocks, but pretty much the only decent thing we pulled out was Scarlet-thighed Dacnis. Other interesting birds in the area included Red-throated Caracara, Black Hawk-eagle, Choco Poorwill (one on the path around the lodge with many Paraques several nights), Purple-chested Hummingbird (feeding on the Inga), and a pair of Guayaquil Woodpeckers that frequented the large snag out back.
We started out first afternoon on the main trail that lead back from the lodge. It forks after a few hundred meters, and the left branch swings around to the river and an excellent area of floodplain forest, and the right fork goes up and over a small hill and then continues on a couple km to the village of Playa de Oro. This first evening we had a couple good flocks and a very cooperative pair of Streak-chested Antpittas, which proved to be very common and vocal in this area. The next morning we went out the same trail, with good weather and birding. The understory flocks were dominated by Tawny-crowned Greenlets, with their distinctive harsh vocalizations. Finding them is the key to finding Sapayoa in this area (and others too, I am beginning to think). Almost every flock of Tawny-crowneds we searched through also held a Sapayoa or two, though it took us a couple flocks to really begin to pick up on them. The Sapayoa’s faint trill is very difficult to hear, there was even one individual singing 20m away from me that I had in my binoculars that I could see its bill moving, but couldn’t hear it over the sounds of the flock. These flocks also included antwrens, Pacific Flatbill, Rufous Mourner, Spot-crowned Antvireo (common), and Lemon-spectacled Tanager (common). Other interesting birds in this area included Crested Guan (apparently Baudo is now hunted out of the area, as is Curassow), Stripe-billed Aracari (a couple small flocks, Brown-billed Scythebill (apparently, though we never got a good look, and one responded very strongly to tape of Red-billed), Stub-tailed Antbird (one pair along the stream), White-ringed Flycatchers, Stripe-throated Wren (sometimes in flocks, but always skulking around in epiphytes growing on tree trunks like Philodendrons), White-breasted Woodwren (the Choco ‘subspecies’ that genetically groups with Gray-breasted Woodwren, and given the plumage and apparent vocal differences likely deserves species status), Dagua Thrush (vocal and common), and a pair of Fulvous-vented Euphonia.
In the floodplain section at the end of the trail, which was reminiscent of varzea in Amazonia, there was natural secondary vegetation section, with lots of Heliconia and Guadua. Birds included second-growth birds like Fasciated Antshrike, Griscom’s and Pacific Antwrens, Dusky Antbird, Dot-winged Antwren, and Western Sirystes, many of these species are more characteristic of skanky habitat, but here found in a natural setting. We lost our afternoon to rain.
The second day we tried the trail across the river. The land was a little higher in this area, with small ravines cut by streams and we came across one area where there was some light logging. Given the small ravines, this seems like the area to look for Rufous-crowned Antpitta, and Nick thinks he had one singing (I heard the bird in question once and it sounded good to me as well, but they didn’t respond to playback and given that the song is rather innocuous, perhaps it was something else. Also note that the very common Tawny-faced Gnatwren has a similar call, but different in pitch). Things were generally a little slow here, but we did have one good canopy flock. Unfortunately for birding, the canopy is so high here it was difficult to see or get others on anything of interest. The flock held 4 different singing Five-colored Barbets, none of which we could see (they seemed to just sit in the top of 40m trees and not move and inch to playback, very similar in behavior to Asian Megalamia), one Blue-whiskered Tanager, and Nick pulled out a female Black-tipped Cotinga. Again, we lost the afternoon to rain, but birded a bit around the main trail.
Almost the whole third day it rained as well, but we tried the trail to the town of Playa de Oro anyway. It cleared up as we neared the town. Things were slow but we had calling Semiplumbeous Hawk and Bicolored Hawk, and a couple of Bronze-tailed Plumleteer feeding on hotlips. We had hoped that the cleared fields around the town would be good for edge flocks, but we had very little. A male Red-legged Honeycreeper in the town as we were drinking coconuts waiting for the boat ride back to the lodge was my only one in Ecuador. Our final day we birded around the main trail until 10am or so before getting the boat back to Selva Alegre.
Reserva Rio Canande:
Primary and secondary (along the road) lowland to mid-elevation forest. 300-550m.
This is a new site owned by Fundacion Jocotoco, that opened its doors to visitors in April 2005. There are extensive trails, and a second house (media casa) out in the middle of the reserve (a 6 hour hike) that most people won’t have time or ability to access. The forest is nicer out there and Sapayoa is fairly common, other than that there is little reason to make the trek out there bird wise. I think this is the best spot in the Choco lowlands, I had over 200 species during my visit.
Two weeks while working with Fundacion Jocotoco. Weather was mostly overcast with no precipitation. To really do this site justice, at least 5 days are needed. This will give you a nice assortment of birds, but to give yourself a shot at seeing most the really rare stuff, more time will be needed (1-2 weeks).
Oh boy. You can’t visit without a guide/private vehicle. The lodge is 4-5 hours north of PVM on unsigned backroads. From Zapallo, one needs to cross the Rio Canande (letter of permission needed) on a barge, then 6km on the road towards Hoja Blanca. There is one bus a day that you could take that goes to Hoja Blanca from Quininde, but this isn’t a site you can really do on your own. Cost per night for tourists is almost $100 per person, but given this is the only or easiest opportunity to see many rare species, if you can afford it, do it, no question. If you are on a budget, enjoy what you get at Bilsa/Rio Salache or give El Placer/Alto Tambo a try. Note everything you can see at Salache can be found along the road at Canande, but given how much less expensive it is you should hit it beforehand for a day to cut down on your targets for Canande and spend your time in the forest.
Exceptional, the best lowland birding in west Ecuador hands down. There is an extensive trail system, that starts in an old cacao plantation and heads out into the forest. This is the feeders trail, which splits into the Red-capped Manakin trail and the Great-green Macaw trail. The Choco tapaculo trail branches off this and works back to the road. From the end of the Macaw trail, Don Galo’s trail heads to media casa. The habitat basically breaks down into two categories, the upland ridgetops and the lower areas. The low areas have a general lowland Choco avifauna, while the upland ridgetops gain a few mid-elevation species, some of which are rare and highly desirable. Also, birding along the mostly forested road is excellent, and provides some easy access to ridge areas and good viewing conditions for flocks.
The road: From the ferry (the Albizia plantation on the other side of the river is reliable for Slate-colored Seedeater, though I didn’t have an opportunity to look), the road goes km, at first through degraded habitat such as cacao plantations (in an Inga in cacao I had 4 Scarlet-breasted Dacnis), then climbing up and down a series of ridges. Especially if you are not birding Silache, the road will provide your best looks at canopy frugivores, as Tangara flocks and others are easily seen, and often you can look out at the canopy at eye-level. I spent only one morning along the road, but I had many highlights including Plumbeous Hawk (2nd bridge south of the lodge), Gray-backed Hawk (same site), Black Hawk-eagle, Bronzy Hermit, Orange-fronted Barbet, Pale-mandibled Aracari (Stripe-billed apparently also occurs here, I didn’t note any signs of intergrades, but others have), Choco Woodpecker, Lita Woodpecker (common), Streak-chested Antpitta (rare here, one heard at the 1st bridge south of the lodge), Slate-throated Gnatcatcher (fairly common), Black-headed Tody-flycatcher (common by voice), and tanagers: Bay-headed, Rufous-winged (fairly common), Blue-whiskered (1), Blue-necked, Gray-and-Gold, Golden-hooded, Emerald (common), Scarlet-browed, and the highlight, Scarlet-and-white (fairly common, often in small groups along ridges), and Scarlet-thighed and Yellow-tufted Danis (would Dacni be plural?). Other interesting things seen in this area (but not by me) include Black-tipped Cotinga and Double-banded Graytail.
The second growth around the lodge itself is also productive, and includes Long-tailed Tyrant, Sooty-headed Tyrannulet (nesting) Black-and-white Becard, White-thighed Swallow (good looks perched in the trees, showing white thighs and all), and most common scrubby birds. It was great at night as well, with Choco Screech-owl and Spectacled Owl heard regularly, and one night after dusk I had Central American Pygmy-owl, Crested Owl, and Black-and-white Owl as well, all in a half hour period. On the trails around the cacao Paraque is common, and I had Choco Poorwill once as well. In the forest at dawn and dusk I could hear Barred Forest-falcon (Plumbeous also occurs) and Tawny-faced Quail regularly. I also saw a juvenile Berlepsch’s Tinamou in the cacao once (pale gray with pink legs and a golden eye). The feeders have very little activity, but do bring in Purple-chested Hummingbird.
The trails from the lodge go out into forest that has had some logs taken out, but is in nice shape. This is the area for most of the lower forest species. Antswarms were very common here, I had three different swarms I was keeping tabs on that I found in three days. Usually coming across one every couple of weeks is more standard. Therefore, obligate antfollowers, including lots of Ocellated, Bicolored, Spotted, and Immaculate Antbirds, and Northern Barred, Spotted, and Plain-brown Woodcreepers were all easily seen. At the start of the Manakin trail, I once had loud bill-snaps at an active antswarm, probably of Banded Ground-cuckoo, which hasn’t yet been positively seen at the reserve, but others have heard it and one of the park guards had a sighting which I fully believe. Also, I had Rufous-crowned Antpitta singing once at an antswarm, but could not get a look at it and it did not respond to playback. Perhaps one of my most interesting sightings at the antswarms were Nightingale Wrens, which aren’t that unusual at antswarms. What was unusual was that I saw both the white-breasted and the scaly breasted ‘subspecies’ at Canande, which makes one wonder what is going on (as if this species wasn’t puzzling enough before I saw this). At dusk, this area is good for Berlepsch’s Tinamous (heard once) Tawny-faced Quail (common by voice but seasonal, seen once), Scaly-throated Leaftosser, and Choco Poorwill (edge at dusk). Other good birds seen included Crested Guan, Olive-backed Quail-dove (one pair seen), Semiplumbeous Hawk (seen once) Plumbeous Hawk (heard once), Esmeraldas Antbird (seen once but strangely not heard). The Manakin trail had a couple lookouts which are good for canopy birds including Black-tipped Cotinga, but I had things like Rose-faced Parrot, Choco Trogon, Spot-crowned Antvireo, lots of antwrens, Black-headed Tody-flycatcher, Thrush-like Shiffornis, Black-capped Pygmy-tyrant, Pacific Flatbill, Speckled Mourner, Stripe-throated Wren, White-breasted Woodwren (Choco form) and, Slate-throated Gnatcatcher.
The Great Green Macaw trail goes farther out into the forest, and goes through an old grown over clearing on the way out to and then up the ridge. The Choco Tapaculo trail meets it before it accends, and goes back to the road. In the area around the old clearing I had Crimson-bellied Woodpecker, Griscom’s Antwren, some other second growth things, Choco Poorwill, and 3 Flyover Great Green Macaws. At the junction of the Tapaculo trail I had Choco Tapaculo. After that the trail climbs a bit before accending up a steep staircase cut into the earth/rock to the top of the ridge, which then goes flat on the ridge top for a km or so. This area is good for the ridgetop specialists, including Golden-chested (I think I heard it once here, but others have had it regularly in the past) and Scarlet-and-white Tanager, as well as the other tanagers in flocks. Some other rare birds possible in this area (none of which I had here) include Rufous-brown Solitare, Yellow-green Bush-tanager, Long-wattled Umbrellabird, and Red-ruffed Fruitcrow (possibly heard once). More common mid-elevation species that you start to pick up include Ornate Flycatcher, Russet Antshrike, Choco Warbler, and Ochre-breasted Tanager. I also had a mind-numbing view of an adult Berlepsch’s Tinamou. The Choco Tapaculo trail takes you back to the road, and is good for the Tapaculo, also I had Great Jacamar and White-tipped Sicklebill.
Last, around media casa in the middle of the reserve I had some good things, but this area will be out of reach for most, unless doing some sort of research. Around the house, an Ornate Hawk-eagle was heard frequently, and Green Green Macaw was heard once. A pair of Plumbeous Hawks, apparently on territory were heard daily from the house along in the stream to the east, and also I had Semiplumbeous once. There is a short maze of unmarked trails and also walking along the streams. Trails held Tooth-billed Hummingbird, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Choco Poorwill (on a nest with egg), Gray-mantled Wren, Slate-colored Gnatcatcher, Scarlet-and-white and Scarlet-browed Tanagers. Stream birds included Sunbittern, Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Green-and-rufous Kingfisher, White-tipped Sicklebill, and flocks with Tawny-crowned Greenlets twice also held Sapayoa. Ridgetops in the area held a pair of gorgeous Golden-chested Tanagers, 3 dull but rare Yellow-green Bush-tanagers, and a low Golden-winged Manakin (first for the reserve). From the house, I had at least 5 Black-tipped Cotingas.
Secondary forest, 500m
Another good site, all second growth but usually very birdy. Everything here also occurs at Canande, but since access is so easy it is worth a stop to get some of the ‘road birds’ out of the way. Owned by the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation, there is a new $5 fee and canopy tower. You can also buy a $8 3-day pass to Silache and Milpe. Note this site has several names, also simply “Pedro Vicente Maldonado” or the “Simon Bolivar Rd.” Targets include Double-banded Graytail, Scarlet-breasted Dacnis, and other second-growth flocking birds.
I spent one afternoon and the following morning with Nick, Ken, and Retter, and one day with my family. Weather was partly sunny on all occasions. The first afternoon and morning were very active, with a huge flock and over 120 species seen. When I returned with my family it was pretty dead, which happens sometimes, but we still had 80 species in about 6 hours. You really only need one day here, but if it will be your only lowland site, maybe spend two.
From Pedro Vicente Maldonado, head west 10km to a small hamlet with a shop “Viveres Dolorosa.” Turn right (north) on the dirt road and drive about 6km north. You will pass a large gravel pit, a small stream (no bridge at the crossing) and finally a river (the Salache) with a concrete bridge. Go about ½ km uphill after the bridge, and the reserve is on the left. This is doable with bus to the dirt road and then waiting to hitch in to the reserve on a truck, but it is much easier to go in taxi from PVM ($25 one way) if you can afford it. There are several cheap hostels in PVM ($5 a night).
This is a small woodlot, and the trails are not extensive, all can be walked fast in about ½ an hour. You can also bird on the road down to the river. Basically just walk around and look for flocks, as the main attraction here are the mixed species flocks. If this is your only lowland choco site, then you will want to look for understory birds as well, such as Chestnut-backed Antbird, and Black-headed Anthrush and some flycatchers and woodcreepers. When you get a flock just stay on it and work it over as long as possible to pick out the rare stuff, with the highlight being Double-banded Graytail, which we had. Other targets we picked out in flocks include Slate-throated Gnatcatcher, Scarlet-breasted Dacnis, Gray Elaenia, and Stripe-throated Wren, Scarlet-browed Tanager, other birds to look for include Scarlet-and-white Tanager and Blue-whiskered Tanager. More common flock birds include Orange-fronted and Red-headed Barbets, Streaked Xenops, Plain Antvireo, antwrens, White-shouldered, Tawny-crested, Dusky-faced, Emerald, Silver-throated, Bay-headed, Rufous-winged, Golden-hooded Tanagers, and Swallow Tanager, Yellow-tufted, and Blue Dacnis. Some other residents of the woodlot include Bat Falcon, Collared Forest-falcon, Purple-chested Hummingbird, Purple-crowned Fairy, Choco Toucan, White-bearded Manakin, Sooty-headed Tyrannulet (common by voice), Black-headed Tody-flycatcher (common by voice) Black-capped Pygmy-tyrant (common by voice), and Buff-rumped Warbler. Down by the river you can look for Brown Woodrail, and the area is good for owling as well. Perhaps our most interesting find was three singing Choco Tapaculos, which I haven’t heard reports of here (or this far south). Retter even got a look at one. Unlike stereotypical Scytalopus, they do not respond strongly to playback.
The fields and edges on the way in are good for some scrub birds like White-throated Crake, Striped Cuckoo, Little Cuckoo, Pacific Antwren, Slaty Spinetail, Pied Water-tyrant, and Snowy-throated Kingbird.
Resturante El Mirador, Los Bancos
Forest edge, 1100m
This is my favorite hotel in Ecuador. Set on the beautiful Rio Blanco canyon, they have good hummingbird feeders and bananas for tanagers. Cost is only $8 per night, and there is a good (but expensive, $5 a meal) restaurant. The owners are fantastic, and speak English. This is a great base for birding Milpe and Silache. Not to be missed.
One night with Ken, Nick, and Retter, three nights with my family.
On the south side of the road on the east side of Los Bancos.
The hummingbird feeders attracted my only Black-throated Mango in Ecuador. Also Purple-chested Hummingbird (1 male), Green Thorntail, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Green-crowned Brilliant, Emerald-crowned Woodnymph, and White-whiskered Hermit. Birds at the Bananas included Pale-mandibled Aracari, Golden, Flame-faced, Rufous-throated, Emerald, Palm, Blue-gray, and Lemon-rumped Tanagers, and Thick-billed Euphonia. I have heard reports of Golden-collared Chlorophonia in the wet season (Dec-Mar).
Forest patches, pasture edge, 1100m
A nice mid-elevation area, with a good number of species not found higher or lower in this area, though there is actually a lot of overlap with Buenaventura. Now owned by Mindo Cloudforest Foundation, there is s $5 entrance, or $8 for a 3 day pass to Milpe/Silache. Key Targets include a great Club-winged Manakin lek, Moss-backed Tanager, Uniform Treehunter, Pacific Tuftedcheek, and Glistening-green Tanager.
One morning with Nick, Ken, and Retter, one afternoon with my family. I wish I could have spent 2 full days here so I wouldn’t have dipped on Glistening-green Tanager, but one full day is probably enough.
From Los Bancos, bus or hitch east 2km to a small dirt road with a bus stop (which leads to the town of Milpe), then walk north 1/2km to the preserve entrance. There are also spots to bird further down the road for Yellow-green Bush-tanager and another Moss-back site, but I don’t know them (but Tropical Birding and other folks would).
There are good trails, fairly extensive, but very poorly signed and marked. As always, the edges were more active for birds and flocks. From the entrance, proceed down the walk to the hummingbird feeders. We had Brown Violet-ear, Green Thorntail, Green-crowned Woodnymph, Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Green-crowned Brilliant, Brown Inca, Violet-tailed Sylph, and Purple-throated Woodstar. From the clearing near the feeders, keep an eye out for Barred Hawk and other raptors, we also had an immature Gray-headed Kite. From the feeders, walk down to the Club-winged Manakin lek, which you can hear from the feeders if it is active (not sure of the months, but it was not active in August, and kicking in January with about 10 males, I think there is just a short time in early fall when they don’t display). Anywhere keep an eye out for flocks, which included Red-headed Barbet, Toucan-barbet (a single bird rather than the usual pair, low for this species and I haven’t heard it reported here, perhaps a wanderer), Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Uniform Treehunter (twice), Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, Ruddy Foliage-gleaner, Chestnut-shouldered Antwren (twice, seems fairly common here, listen for its indistinct song and try playback), Pacific Flatbill, Thrush-like Shiffornis, Golden-winged Manakin, and Golden, Silver-throated, Rufous-throated, Blue-necked, and Ochre-breasted Tanagers. More territorial birds inside the forest included Esmeraldas Antbird (many heard in Aug in ravines), Yellow Tyrannulet (junky habitat and edge), White-throated Spadebill, Orange-crested Flycatcher (ravines near streams), Tawny-breasted Flycatcher, Pale-vented Thrush, Olive-crowned Yellowthroat (old pasture), Moss-backed Tanager (edge and old pasture), Fawn-breasted Tanager (old pasture and edge), Olive Finch (streams), and Tricolored Brushfinch. Yellow-collared Chlorophonia is seasonally common but difficult to get good looks at, but once you learn the call note they are everywhere during the wet season, about Dec-Mar. It’s a helluva bird.
Subtropical forest and edge, 1800m.
Long known as the “Velvet-purple Coronet spot,” Mindo Loma also offers a great trail with great access to the majority of the NW cloud forest birds. Unfortunatly few birders visit them despite the fact that many visit the feeders, which is a shame. This is my favorite cloud forest site in the Choco, and I think everyone needs a full day here, even if you are staying at Tandayapa. Also, while Mindo Loma is at the same elevation as Tandayapa Lodge, there are many specialties that occur here and not at Tandayapa, and vice versa. Mindo Loma has a lower elevation feel, with birds like Uniform Treehunter and Pacific Tuftedcheek, and a couple endemics (Hoary Puffleg, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Black-chinned Mountain-tanager) are found more easily here than anywhere else. However, hummingbird feeder diversity is dwarfed by Tandayapa, though the aforementioned Coronets and also Empress Brilliant are common. They have just opened a new lodge building, which currently houses 4 but will house 8 when finished, I believe. The are charging $50 a night I believe, which includes breakfast an guide (probably Patricio, who will have lots of stakeouts), a day visit to the feeders/trails is $5.
Two days on my own, one with my family. Overcast, one day was very misty all day.
An easy one. Between km 73 and km 74 on the new main road (Calacali to La Independencia Rd). They have a large sign out front, the lodge and feeders are 200m south on a dirt road.
The hummingbird feeders attracted Tawny-bellied Hermit, Speckled Hummingbird, Fawn-breasted and Empress Brilliants, Buff-tailed and Velvet-purple Coronets, Brown Inca, and Violet-tailed Sylph. Bananas attracted Golden-naped Tanager, which had a nest nearby, and Black-chinned Mountain-tanager. The deck is also a good place to watch for flocks and canopy birds, as is the edge around the restaurant. Flocks included Yellow-vented Woodpecker, Lineated Foliage-gleaner, Black-chinned and Blue-winged Mountain-tanagers, and Beryl-spangled, Golden, and Flame-faced Tanagers. Other birds include Hook-billed Kite, Plate-billed Mountain-toucan, Toucan-barbet, and Golden-headed Quetzal. At dawn, the lights around the lodge attract many moths, which brought in Strong-billed Woodcreepers and Masked Trogons.
There is a two track that leads to a separate forest property, the edge in the area is also good for flocks, in addition Orange-breasted Fruiteater is regular and Black-billed Peppershrike has been seen. Inside the forest patch, I had a Moustached Antpitta feeding on the trail 3 times in the same day.
The waterfall trail is a bit steep, but leads to one of the nicest waterfalls in the area. It is good for true forest birds of the region, I had Sickle-winged Guan, Dark-backed Wood-quail (heard only), Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Powerful Woodpecker (several times), Uniform Treehunter (once), Uniform Antshrike, Rufous-breasted Anthrush (fairly commonly heard, seen in response to playback), Moustached Antpitta (fairly common by voice, unresponsive to playback but often feeding on the trails at dawn and dusk), Yellow-breasted Antpitta (several heard), Narino Tapaculo, Bronze-olive Pygmy-tyrant (in ravines), Ashy-headed Tyrannulet (in flocks), Olivaceous Piha (once in a flock), Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Tricolored Brushfinch, Sepia-brown Wren, and Glossy-black Thrush. The trail leads up from a huge magnolia tree about 100m and then flattens out as it enters a ravine and ends at the waterfall. Near the top of the accent, I had one of my best birds of the trip, a singing Purplish-mantled Tanager (heard only, identified by the Coopmans recording from Colombia on the John Moore CD). It sang 5-7 times from dense undergrowth, and did not respond to playback. I am unaware of any other reports of this species here or elsewhere in the area, except for the Lysinger sighting in the Tandayapa valley mentioned in Ridgely and Greenfield. Further up the trail near the waterfall, White-tailed Hillstar is regular perching on bare twigs near the stream, as is Slaty-backed Chat-tyrant.
The last notable area is the small trail up to the water holding tanks, which goes along a small stream. It is perhaps the most reliable place to see Hoary Puffleg, as there is a regular singing perch, though it took me several times to find it. Also on this short “trail” I had Green-fronted Lancebill, and looks at Moustached and Yellow-breasted Antpittas.
Tandayapa Bird Lodge
Primary and secondary subtropical forest, 1800m.
Needs no introduction. Costs about $70. Food was lackluster, but at least portions were small. Extensive trails, superb feeders. You can watch the feeders for $5.
Two days with my family, mostly rainy. I think this was sufficient time for the area, with the day at Mindo Loma at the same elevation as well.
There is no sign for the lodge, which makes it tough to find if you are traveling independently. From Nanagalito, go east 4km on the main road, then south 4 km on a dirt road to the small village of Tandayapa. From there go straight another km, and take a right on the rough looking dirt road up a hundred meters or so to the parking lot. There is no public transportation on this road, so try a taxi from Nanagalito (expensive).
The hummingbird feeders are spectacular, during out visit we recorded Tawny-bellied Hermit (uncommon), Brown Violet-ear (uncommon), Sparkling Violet-ear, Western Emerald, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Andean Emerald, Fawn-breasted and Empress Brilliants (only 1 female), Buff-tailed and Velvet-purple Coronets (not regular here, this one had been around for a few weeks), Brown Inca, Purple-bibbed White-tip, Booted Raquet-tail, Violet-tailed Sylph, Wedge-billed Hummingbird (not at feeders, but lekking nearby in secondary forest), and Purple-throated and White-bellied Woodstars. Also, White-winged Brushfinches visit the bananas.
The trails are nice and extensive, but generally had low activity as forest usually does, combined with marginal weather. The trails go through second growth and edge for the first bit, and then into primary forest. The hide, which contains a compost heap and lights, attract insects and insectivorous birds, sometimes including antpittas. Great looks are had at everything that visit, best at dawn and dusk. We had Tyrannine and Strong-billed Woodcreepers, Streak-capped Treehunter, Spotted Barbtail, and Immaculate Antbird. Cock-of-the-rock frequently called nearby. On the trail to the hide, we taped in a Rufous-breasted Anthrush and had good looks at White-throated Quail-dove at dusk. Also, the overlook from the roof of the two rooms below the main lodge is excellent for viewing mixed flocks, if one happens to come by. We had one nice flock that hung around for about 2 hours one late morning, and included Flame-faced, Metallic Green, Black-capped, Beryl-spangled, Golden-naped, and Golden Tanagers, Crimson-mantled and Yellow-vented Woodpeckers, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Red-headed Barbet, Rufous-winged Tyrannulet, and others.
Once we got into primary forest, we recorded Dark-backed Woodquail, Masked Trogon, Golden-headed Quetzal, Beautiful Jay, Powerful Woodpecker, Bronze-olive Pygmy-tyrant, and heard Scaled and Moustached Antpittas.
The roads are also good for birding. The road east towards Nono has better forest, and a cock-of-the-rock lek, around the telephone pole numbered 18 a-b. The day we went up in the afternoon it was pretty rainy, so we saw few species but had very high quality. I would have liked to spend more time here. Perhaps because of the rain the lek wasn’t active, but we did see a couple Andean Cock-of-the-Rocks anyway. Also a few Russet-backed Oropendolas, and Turquoise Jays. A scope if helpful, as the lek is on the opposite side of the ravine from the road. While waiting and watching, a Semicollared Hawk glided by close. On our way back, a small dark bird darted across the road, and when we got out to look, it turned out to be a male Slaty Finch (with a female as well). Oddly, there was no bamboo in the area, so perhaps they were wandering. Later, on our way back to Quito via Yanacocha we stopped at dawn at the lek, which was active. We also had a flyover Rufous-bellied Nighthawk.
We also birded the road up to Bellavista one morning, which was fairly productive, including Sickle-winged Guan (with a young chick), Dark-backed Wood-quail (several heard), Cloud-forest Pygmy-owl (one heard), Toucan-barbet, and Moustached Antpitta (several heard).
Secondary and primary subtropical forest, 2100-2300m.
The lodge is expensive, but the research station is cheap ($12 a night, bring your own food). Extensive trails, good feeders. You can just watch the feeders/use the trails for $5. This site supliments Tandayapa well as there are many other things this high up, including Tanager Finch and Giant Antpitta.
A couple hours with Ken, Nick, and Retter, also a day and a half with my family. Weather was great in August, rainy in January. I think two days is enough, but you may want to buy food and just hang out at the research station a while if you can.
4 km further up the road from Tandayapa Bird Lodge, well signed
The hummingbird feeders are good, but have few species not present at Tandayapa, the main target is Gorgeted Sunangel, which is common, and also Collared Inca. Speckled Hummingbird, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Buff-tailed Coronet, Long-tailed Sylph and Booted Raquet-tail are also preset.
The road is a good area to see many of the birds, canopy and edge species anyway. From the lodge you can walk the road a km up to the ‘research station road’ which is flat and generally productive. This is perhaps the easiest place to see Toucan Barbet and Plate-billed Mountain-toucan, both are common. Flocks in this area produced loads of Furnariids for us, including Rusty-winged Barbtail, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Striped Treehunter, and Flammulated Treehunter (in Chusquea), as well as Green-and-black Fruiteater, Grass-green and other Tanagers, and one of the major targets for this area, the local Western Hemispingus (we had it twice), which is fairly common in flocks. Watch for its acrobatic more Furnariid than Hemispingus-like behavior. The corner of the research station road is the traditional spot for Tanager Finch. Ask at the desk to see where it has been seen recently (they suggested trail F to us), as it is the only place to find the bird in Ecuador, the guides usually have it pinned down. I had no luck despite much effort.
The trails are better for the understory insectivores. From the lodge, head out to the compost heap, which attracts birds mainly at dawn and dusk. We had Chestnut-crowned Antpitta several times, as well as Spillmans’s Tapaculo and White-throated Quail-dove feeding. I have heard reports of Moustached Antpitta there as well. 100m further, there is a 4-way intersection (trails W,F,H) that has long been a regular spot to see Giant Antpitta feeding on the trails. I went there pre-dawn on my first day in Ecuador, and the Antpitta was seen for about 10 minutes hoping up the H trail to about the water tanks. It nailed a large grub from the leaf litter with its huge bill. The trails are also good for Slaty-backed Nightingale-thrush at dawn, as well as Spillman’s and Ocellated Tapaculos. Finally, there is a bamboo pole in the lodge grounds where a Common Potoo perches readily in the night, and all the staff know it.
Primary temperate forest, 3500m
Famous as “The Black-breasted Puffleg site”. Also great for other hummers and temp. forest birds. In addition there is some rarely visited Polylepis and Puna grassland, 4wd is nessecary (I never went up there). Note that the puffleg is irregular, the best chance is in spring. I have heard from some other birders that there is a new lodge down the road towards Nono called Verdecocha that also has the puffleg, even more so when it is absent at Yanacocha (they saw it in December). Verdecocha is also a locality where many of the museum specimens were collected in the past, so it may be easier there than at Yanacocha, where it is quite difficult. Entrance is $5.
One morning with Ken and Retter, one morning and one afternoon with my family. Mostly clear, the afternoon was terribly foggy though. One full day is enough for the site. In Aug the feeders were loaded, but in Jan they were dead, and I understand there is a strong seasonal effect.
In Quito, there is a traffic circle in the north that joins Ave Occidental, the Calacali-La Independencia Rd, and a couple others. From there take Occidental west (south) a couple km. On your right there will be a large Shell Petrol station. Less than one km after there is a walkbridge over the road. Turn right just before the bridge, the street is signed as Machala. This is the old Mindo Rd. Take it up about 10km, just after a sharp turn with a trafficlight (though no intersection) there is the signed road to Yanacocha. Take a left and follow the signs to the reserve. It takes almost 2 hours from Quito to get there, though the distance is probably 15km or so as the crow flies.
The road up, once it enters the agricultural areas, can have raptors such as Cinereous Harrier, Puna Hawk, and Black-chested Buzzard-eagle, and some ag birds such as Sierra-finches and Grassland Yellow-finch, but basically the birding begins at the reserve gates, though there are a few small patches of humid scrub that hold a few birds such as Scarlet-bellied Mountain-tanager before the entrance. From the entrance it is a km or two to the parking area for the trail. Keep an eye out for flocks along this stretch, as the forest and birding is as good here as anywhere else. We had 3 Black-chested Mountain-tanagers and White-browed Spinetail along here. The feeder setup is interesting, from the parking lot along the trail there are feeding stations spaced out every 500m, with the largest at the end (with a bathroom). It is a wide trail, more of an old road, so it is easy to view birds. In addition, there is another trail (Spectacled Bear Trail) that leads into more forest, I believe it is about 2km, but I never took it. The feeders attracted Shinning Sunbeam (common), Mountail Velvetbreast (uncommon), Buff-winged Starfrontlet (abundant), Sword-billed Hummingbird (common), Great Sapphirewing (common), Giant Hummingbird (one, strangely my only one in Ecuador), Turquoise-vented, and Golden-breasted Pufflegs, Tyrian Metaltail, in addition we saw Rainbow-bearded Thornbill away from the feeders. The last feeding station is the largest and most diverse, and this is where we had one female Black-breasted Puffleg in Aug. In January hummingbird numbers were greatly reduced, I’m not sure exactly what the seasonality is but perhaps the wet season is bad for hummingbirds here. Perhaps adding a stop to Verdecocha would help.
Flocks in the area included Rufous Spinetail, Streaked Tuftedcheek, White-throated Tyrannulet, Brown-backed Chat-tyrant, Barred Fruiteater, Blue-backed and Cinereous Conebills, Glossy and Masked Flowerpiercers, Black-chested Mountain-tanager, Golden-crowned Tanager, and Chestnut-naped (one), Rufous (common), Tawny (several), and Undulated (two in Jan, not singing in Aug) Antpittas, and Unicolored Tapaculo (common) were singing, though given the steep sides of the ravine and wide trail they are difficult to get looks at here.
The virgin of Calacali
Dry paramo scrub, not sure of elevation (3500m?)
This is a minor site, worth a stop for the reliable White-tailed Shrike-tyrants.
A couple hours one afternoon on the way back to Quito. This was plenty of time
There is a large virgin shrine on the south side of the road at the pass over the west slope on the new Calacali-la Independencia road. Get off the bus here (no parking if you have your own vehicle). From the shrine there is a path that heads south through the scrub for a couple kms.
Diversity is low. We had the White-tailed Shrike-tyrants after walking out ½ an hour. When we came back, they were right by the road. Other birds included Golden-rumped Euphonia, Tufted Tit-tyrant, Ash-breasted Sierra-finch, Common Ground-dove, Black-tailed Trainbearer (get other birds from nick).
East Slope, Oriente: A transect down the east slope of the Andes to good Amazonian forest is the best birding in the world. From Paramo down through cloud forest to the lowlands, the different habitats provide few local endemics, but very high diversity.
Paramo, Polylepis, and temperate forest 3700-4500m.
One afternoon and one morning with Ken and Retter, one afternoon with my family. Conditions were reasonable with a mix of fog, rain and clear periods. One morning is enough, and this combined with visiting the Guango feeders makes for a good day.
From Quito, take any bus to Papallacta (Baeza, Tena, Lago Agrio, etc.), which takes about 3 hours to reach the pass, so it can be done as a day trip from Quito. From the pass, walk north on a two track up to the radio towers. Down along the road (4200m) the habitat is shrubbier and supports most of the paramo birds, however you need get up to around the parking lot just under the radio towers (4500m) to look for Seedsnipe. This is a couple km walk, and note the elevation so use your head. One km down the east side of the pass there is a good sized Polylepis patch on the north side of the road. There is no good area to park, but just after a rock outcropping the slope is covered with Polylepis, and there is a short trail that leads up into it and then over a crest so you can view a large lake. Also, about 2km above Papallacta there is a large resivour, and on the north side of it there is a two-track that leads through some upper temperate forest. This is some 6 or so km down from the pass. In Papallacta, the Termas de Papallacta have wonderful landscaping with some great hummingbirds.
On the road up to the tower, there are swampy grass areas and areas of richer paramo vegetation. These richer areas tend to have the more typical paramo birds of the area, such as White-chinned Thistletail, Many-striped Canastero, Andean Tit-spinetail, and Paramo Ground-tyrant. Tawny Antpitta is common and conspicuous, often hopping around in the open, occasionally approaching. Blue-mantled Thornbill was the most common hummingbird, feeding on small flowers, occasionally on the ground. Bar-winged Cinclodes is common, and Stout-billed is present in lower numbers, we had two. Sedge Wrens prefer the grassy areas. The highlight of the area though are the extremely reliable Rufous-bellied Seedsnipes that are found near the top of the road, from the parking lot up to the radio towers. Finding them is much like Ptarmigan, they are tame and blend in well but allow close views. The do respond a little to playback as well, but just walking around in the grass for a while should locate them. I have heard many people look for Snipes in the wet areas, as did we, though few if any find them. Keep eyes to the sky if it is clear for Puna Hawk and Carunculated Caracara, as we had a pair of each. Condor occurs in the area.
In the Polylepis area, there was a single flock of birds moving through that contained several Giant Conebills, 5 Black-backed Bush-tanagers, Pearled Treerunner, Pale-naped Brushfinch, and Paramo Seedeater. Note there is a ton of Polylepis in the area, and all of is should contain these birds, so if there is not a flock in this area try looking elsewhere. For example, we stopped briefly at a patch on the west side of the pass and had Giant Conebill and Paramo Seedeater Continue on the trail up over the ridge to view the large lake, which had distant Andean Teal, Yellow-billed Pintail, Andean Coot, and Silvery Grebe. Below the Polylepis patch, small patches of Polylepis grade into other high elevation shrubs, which become more frequent as you go down. In this area (there are a couple dirt roads on either side to try) we had some treeline species, such as Red-crested Cotinga and Viridian Metaltail. Continuing down in elevation you reach a large reservoir before the town of Papallacta. On the north site of the late there is a two track that we walked which had some temperate forest birds, such as Mountain Velvetbreast, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Great Sapphirewing, and Tyrian Metaltail. Several Rufous Antpittas sang, one of which we saw. Flocks had Glossy and Masked Flowerpiercers, Superciliaried Hemispingus, Scarlet-bellied and Buff-breasted Mountain-tanagers, White-throated and White-banded Tyrannulets. The lake itself held little besides Andean Gull and Andean Teal, and a few Baird’s Sandpipers along the edges. On the small cliff next to the restaurant, there was Band-winged Nightjar. If you decide to visit the Termas de Papallacta, a snooty hot spring resort (entrance $5) for rich Quitenos, bring your bins. The flowers in the gardens abound with hummingbirds including Sword-billed and Viridian Metaltail, and I even had a brief look at a sweet Mountain Avocetbill.
Temperate forest, 3300m.
One of the 3 best hummingbird feeding stations in Ecaudor. You can visit for $5, or it is $60 a night
One morning with my family, mostly sunny. A few hours is plenty to see the hummingbirds and take a quick walk around.
The lodge is 11km downslope from the village of Papallacta, on the right. Best to give advanced notice of you can, if you are just going to watch the feeders. Of course, staying here would be much nicer, but it is quite expensive.
The site offers little except for the feeders. The trails are short and next to a flowing river (White-capped Dipper) which made birding just about impossible. You can also walk a powerline cut for a white, but roadnoise makes this less than exciting. I did see my only Slaty Brush-finches here though, and a beautiful Black-and-chestnut Eagle soaring at about 10am.
The targets here are Tourmaline Sunangel (common and awesome), Gorgeted Woodstar (rare, we had a female, which was easily identified from White-bellied from smaller size and the two small buff flank patches that connect over the rump to form a ‘U’), and Mountain Avocetbill (dipped). Others included Sword-billed and Speckled Hummingbirds, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Tyrian Metaltail, Collared Inca, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, and Glowing Puffleg.
Cabanas San Isidro
Subtropical secondary and primary forest, 2200m.
Expensive, but you can visit and walk the trails for $10, or it is $80 a night. Good birds in the area include Black-billed Mountain-toucan, White-rimmed Brushfinch, Bicolored Antvireo, Peruvian Antpitta, and the undescribed Strix, known from only here and the Manu Rd. in Peru, which can be seen regularly around the lodge at nights (it sounds like Rufous-banded Owl which also occurs, but appears like Black-banded/Black-and-white Owl).
One sunny morning with my family, also a couple hours in the afternoon along the road, which is not enough time. A couple days (whether it be here or Huacamayo, or probably better still split between the two) should do it justice.
I believe it is unreachable on public transportation. The lodge is close to the small town of Cosanga, between Baeza and Tena. The road leading up to it is just north of Cosanga, and signed for the lodge. There is also a small town up there somewhere. It is several km (3?) from the road up to the lodge, but it goes through a lot of second growth with good birding. It can be walked easily as it isn’t steep, but you wouldn’t want to do it with a pack.
Very similar avifauna to Huacamayo Ridge, which I liked better, as it was all primary forest and (more so) because my luck there was too good to be true. That said, the presence of secondary forest at San Isidro adds diversity. There are some forest patches along the road on the way in, which yielded a wonderful afternoon flock at about 4pm, which was almost all tyrannids and furnariids. It pretty much worked the edge of the road for 2 hours, giving us lots of time to look through it. Birds included Smokey-brown Woodpecker, Olive-backed and Montane Woodcreepers, Streaked Xenops, Montane Foliage-gleaner, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Variegated and Marble-faced Bristle-tyrants, White-tailed and Golden-faced Tyrannulets, Barred Becard, Black-browned Peppershrike, and a single male Chestnut-breasted Cholorphonia. Other birds not in the flock were Sickle-winged Guan and Highland Motmot.
The next morning we birded on the lodge grounds. The feeders had Speckled Hummingbird, Sparkling Violet-ear, Bronzy Inca, Long-tailed Sylph, and Chestnut-breasted Coronet. On the trails (we walked the Antvireo and Cock-of-the-Rock trails we had several calling Wattled Guans, Masked Trogon, Golden-headed Quetzal, White-bellied Antpitta (one seen without playback), Black-capped Tanager (edge) and Black-browned Peppershrike (edge). I feel we did not do justice to this site, so don’t be deterred by our meager findings. Check out the full birdlist online, which will make your mouth water (speaking of which, I hear wonderful things about the food here as well for several birders).
The Virgen of Huacamayo Ridge
Primary subtropical forest, 2000m.
The same birds as San Isidro, and a better option for budget travelers on buses.
One full day with Ken, on and off pouring rain. The area is worth a couple days.
Huacamayo Ridge is an outlying ridge of the Andes that connects to the main chain more or less at this local. Some 5km southeast of Coasanga on the main road, you go over a mini ‘pass’ over the ridge, where there are some radio towers and a large Virgin Mary shrine. Get off the bus here, and you will find a good trail that leads past the radio towers, eventually ending 4km later at a oil pipeline. It is mostly a contour trail, though you probably loose a few hundred meters by the time you get to the oil line. You can also walk up and down the oil pipeline, probably almost indefinitely. It would also be possible to camp out here, though with the weather it is probably more comfortable to stay in Baeza. There may also be a hostal in Cosanga. We stayed in Baeza in Restuaraunte Gina ($5 per night), which was good and had an excellent restaurant as well. From there we got a dawn bus towards Tena in old Baeza. From old Baeza you can do some limited birding if you have free time, but the habitat is poor. From the town square walk up the dirt road to the river, which is about a km. At the bridge, there is a path that goes upstream to some small forest patches, but the trail itself does not go in any forest. It is all heavily disturbed.
On the walk in to the pipeline, weather was mostly good and we found a good number of flocks and other birds. The forest was alive with Formicariid noises, though we managed not to see a single one, we heard Barred Antthush (1), and Moustached (1), Chestnut-crowned (common), and White-bellied (1) Antpittas. After about an hour we ran into our first good flock, which contained Brown-billed Scythebill, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Green-and-black Fruiteater, Fulvous-breasted Flatbill, Yellow-throated and Yellow-whiskered Bush-tanagers and both Olivaceous and Dusky Pihas. It was also in this flock that I saw my best bird in Ecuador, Yellow-headed Manakin. The bird was on the edge of the flock, and I wasn’t 100% sure it was really with the flock at all. It sat motionless on a branch, and then would sally up 2m behind a clump of leaves, hover, and return to the same perch. It did this 5-7 times over the course of the 2-3 minutes I was watching the bird. I assume it was gleaning fruit. The bird was fat but proportionally long-tailed with a thin and narrow bill, giving the same ‘I’m not sure if it’s a manakin or a flycatcher’ jizz I have come to recognize as Chloropipo. The color of the bird was identical to Golden-olive Woodpecker on the upperparts, slightly brighter on the head and duller below, and the eye was chestnut. It was either a female or (?) an imm. male. Other birds along this stretch included Greenish Puffleg, a bird that repeatedly came back to a perch over the trail, Masked Trogon, Rufous Spinetail (bamboo), Unicolored and Equatorial Rufous-vented Tapaculo, Rufous-headed Pygmy-tyrant (abundant but skulky), Flavescent (common) and Handsome (1) Flycatchers, and a group of Sepia-brown Wrens. We came across two flocks of Bicolored Antvireos, each of 4 birds giving call notes. They did not respond to playback (not surprising, as the tape from the antbirds cds sounds like scold notes).
By the time we got to the pipeline it was about noon, and it poured on us for a couple hours. We took refuge under my tarp hung over the pipeline. Afterwards we walked up and down the pipeline for a while, which was more productive for tanagers than the forest interior, we had Red-headed Barbet, Deep-blue Flowerpiercer (common), Grass-green, Rufous-crested, Vermillion, Saffron-crowned, Flame-faced, Golden-naped, Beryl-spangled, Blue-necked, and Black-capped Tanagers in various flocks, as well as many of the previously mentioned species. The surprise of the pipeline was a Gray Tinamou, running down the pipeline cut in bright sunshine (high elevation, though as the trail descends toward to pipeline it is lower here than at the virgin). Other birds along the cut included White-backed Fire-eye and Chestnut-bellied Thrush.
We began our walk back at 4pm, and not long after we started we heard a couple birds singing that sounded like Ochre-breasted Antpittas. I played tape, which sound almost perfect, but the pitch was off slightly. The birds did not respond and gave up calling. I wasn’t sure what to make of it at the time, as though the song is quiet and innocuous it was still distinctive. Now I realize that they may have been Peruvian Antpittas, now known from San Isidro, and the voice is now known to be similar to Ochre-breasted. Other birds included a large mixed flock of Subtropical and Northern Mountain Caciques, and to cap things off, two different flocks of White-capped Tanager, which responded to playback and got nice and mad for us, giving excellent views.
Around old Baeza we had White-capped Dipper, Olivaceous Sisken (I think, they fit the part but who really knows), Slate-crowned Antpitta, Andean Guan, and a small flock of Blue-naped Cholorphonias. Highlight was my only Black-chested Fruiteater in Ecuador.
Parque Nacional Yasuni
Terra firme, Varzea, secondary habitats (along the roadcut), canopy tower. 300m.
6 Days with Ken. Weather good, with on and off showers. I felt 6 days was a good start here, though with any site in Amazonia it takes months to years before you see almost everything at a site.
The field station is run by Universidad Catolica in Quito. You need to go the University to get permission, pay for the station, and present a Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate. We paid $27.50 per night, plus $30 for transport (as it turns out there is lots of traffic on the Maxus Road, and you don’t really need it as you could hitch, but they will probably make you get it). By far the best deal in Amazonian Ecuador. Accommodations are nice, with air con and hot water, though the food was lackluster (but sufficient, not a complaint. The station is located just about due south of the La Selva lodge along a controversial road that was built by oil companies to access Yasuní park. The road is unique amongst Amazonian byways in Ecuador in that it is flanked for 60 km or so by primary rainforest. This is because there is only one entrance to the road, the gateway being controlled by an oil company. Supposedly the only those persons who are visitors to the station, oil workers, and the Quechua and Haorani peoples that live in a few small communities in the area are allowed through the gate. In reality, the only people they question coming in are gringos, ironic because they are the only folks that probably actually have permission to be there. There are several illegal chacras along the road, and we regularly heard gunshots (and even gave a kid with a shotgun a ride in the station vehicle). For visitors to the station, proof of vaccination for Yellow Fever and a signed note of permission are required from the university. How to get there - First, a visit to the university must be made (arrangements might be possible via postal service but that could be a long, drawn-out process). The Universidad Católica is located at 12 de Octubre and Tamayo in Quito. The office for Yasuní is located on the 4th floor of the science building, 2nd or 3rd door on the right after taking a right from the stairwell. The office hours are weekdays from approximately 9 AM until 5 PM. Arrangements to visit the station must be made at least 3 days (and a week is better) before the arrival date. This is because the office must fax or send the oil people at the entrance a copy of your passport and Yellow Fever vaccination because they will check these when you arrive. All costs must be made at this time as well which for us included; the $27 per night fee, $30 for transport to and from the station from the road entrance. A yellow fever vaccination can be obtained for about $4 from the university clinic if needed but must be gotten at least 10 days before the arrival date at the station. When the secretary has been paid and given copies of proof of the vaccination and passport, then she acquires the note of permission which must be signed by the director of the station. This might actually take a day or 2 depending upon where the director is. For us there was no wait. This permission slip is absolutely necessary - you will not be allowed entrance without it. The secretary also asks for a pick-up time at the entrance. 9:30 AM worked fine for us, staying over the night before in Shushufinfi and taking a taxi for $10 for the hour ride to Pompeya Norte in the morning. From Pompeya Norte, it may take hours before a boat arrives just to ferry you across the river. We were taken across in a canoe used by some oil workers. By land, the trip is 14 hours from Quito. To get to the station, there are 3 options: 1. Plane from Quito-Coca, then hired boat to Pompeya Sur (the entrance) is the quickest and therefore most expensive. 2. Bus to Coca, then boat hire to the entrance. The bus is long and cheap, the boat 2 hours and usually at least $30. 3. Bus to Lago Agrio, then a taxi to Pompeya Norte, or a variety of buses to Shushufindi, then Pompeya Norte. We got a boat back to Coca from the entrance road on our way back for $3.
Birding Stellar, with almost 300 species in 6 days, which is about 10% more than I had at La Selva in the same amount of time. Don’t think that because the lodges have guides and great birdlists that you will actually see more birds than at Yasuni. While the Maxus Road is a terrible scar in the national park for the nature itself, it is great for the birder.
The research station clearing is near the Rio Tiputini, on the edge of the varzea. Right around the station was good for a few edge things (White-vented and Rufous-bellied Euphonias, Masked Crimson Tanager, Variegated Flycatcher) and river birds, like Drab Water-tyrant, White-banded Swallow, Black Caracara, and Yellow-breasted Flatbill. From the station trails go east and west, mostly through terra firme forest, but there is one trail (lagunas) with varzea. While it is limited in extent, the varzea was productive for specialists and had a couple cochas for waterbirds.
The first lagoon generally didn’t have much, but there was always a single Sungrebe and many Hoatzins there. The second is much larger, and there we regularly saw Rufescent Tiger-heron, Green-and-rufous Kingfisher, Greater Ani, and Velvet-fronted Grackle. Short-billed and Amazonian Streaked Antwrens frequented the vegetation along the edges of the lagoon, and Plumbeous and White-shouldered Antbirds were common in the areas around both lagoons. The area was also productive for flocks, including Cream-colored, and Red-necked Woodpeckers, and even a single male Rufous-headed which was in tall varzea, not monoculture Cecropia like usual in Ecuador. The area was also extremely productive for woodcreepers, including Black-banded (several times), Striped (twice, excellent views showing black fringed pale streaks on the back, and responding vocally to playback of song recorded in Peru), Spix’s (once), Straight-billed (once), and Long-billed (heard only). One day we had an excellent understory flock on the edge of the varzea that contained a family of Orange-eyed Flatbills, including an adult feeding two young. It also contained a single Cinnamon Neopipo, and many more typical antwrens, Thamnomanes, etc. At the river, there was a flowering tree that regularly had Gray-breasted Sabrewing. We spent one dusk waiting on the edge of the second lagoon, and many swifts were flying overhead, including around about half a dozen we believed to be White-chinned Swifts. They were flying with Gray-rumped, Short-tailed, and Lesser Swallow-tailed for comparison, and were larger with longer wings and slower wingbeats. The lighting was excellent, from the side from the setting sun, at times I could see well enough to count the primaries, with the sun glinting off each one. The plumage was uniform dark brownish-blackish, all were identical, and with the only other possibility of them being Chestnut-collared all lacking the chestnut (and this far from the Andes the chance seems remote). On our way back in the dark we heard a Great Potoo and Tawny-bellied Screech-owl.
We spent one full morning, one mid-morning, and one late evening at the canopy tower. It was generally a little slow for spending hours on end, but we were rewarded with plenty of good things for the effort. At dawn and dusk we were hoping for lots of Parrots and Swifts (at dusk) flying around, and there was a little more activity (for parrots) then but not a whole lot. Anyone who has been to Southeast Peru will be sorely disappointed by parrots in Ecuador. We had our best views of Macaws from the tower, which were still distant. Our entire 6 days we recorded only 2 Blue-and-yellow, 2 Red-and-green, and 7 Scarlet Macaws, mostly from the tower, but they and other parrots can also be seen flying from the road. We also recorded Yellow-crowned and Mealy Amazons. Swifts however, were spectacular. On our full morning, we recorded 6 species, including great views of 4 White-chested, 6 Pale-rumped, and many Gray-rumped, Short-tailed, Neotropical Palm, and Lesser-swallow-tailed Swifts. Ironically, we didn’t have any White-collared that day, though we had them several other days in large numbers. Since many of these swifts seem to breed in the Andes and wander out into the lowlands, there appearance may be sporadic. Other canopy birds seen well included a male Spangled Cotinga, which seemed agitated by our presence and even vocalized at us, a weak chip note, followed by a low dove-like ‘whooo,’ about a second and a half in duration. We were only 5m away and it was very soft, not much of a surprise this vocalization hasn’t been described. A pair of Purple-throated Cotingas wandered by, and a male Dugand’s Antwren came in to playback, which is very difficult to get looks at from the forest floor, though we heard it regularly around the trails. A couple small flocks went by with little that wasn’t easier seen along the road. A White-necked Puffbird spent the whole day with us in the tree. At 10:00am or so, raptors were very good, with King Vulture, Gray-headed, Hook-billed, Swallow-tailed, Double-toothed, and Plumbeous Kites, White Hawk, and Black and Ornate Hawk-eagles seen and heard.
Typically frugivorous birds are more abundant and more easily seen in the foothills and subtropical forest of the Andes than in the lowlands, as the canopy is much lower and along many roads there are excellent places to view flocks at eye-level. Usually not so in Amazonia, where canopy towers get you up there but then you must sit and wait for the birds. Along the Maxus Road, the edges have been cleared of big trees that could fall and block traffic, and as a result almost the entire way is lined with Cecropia. Abundances of frugivorous birds are extremely (artificially) high, with great numbers of diversity especially of Tanagers and Toucans.
We sometimes saw over 40 Toucans in a day, including Ivory-billed, Chestnut-eared, and Many-banded Aracaris and Channel-billed and White-throated Toucans. Gilded and Lemon-throated Barbets were also common. Other fruiting trees as well attracted tanager flocks, with Magpie (cut secondary areas), Yellow-backed (common), Turquoise (common), Paradise (common), Green-and-gold (common), Yellow-bellied (fairly common), Bay-headed (1), Masked (fairly common), Opal-rumped (common), Opal-crowned Tanagers (common), Blue (common), Black-faced (common), and Yellow-bellied Dacnis (1), Green (common), Short-billed (a couple), and Purple Honeycreepers (common), and White-lored Euphonia. We saw a male Cotinga, either Spangled or Plum-throated almost every day, and had one male Purple-throated Cotinga as well. Bare-neck Fruitcrows were common as flyovers. Other frugivores included Moriche Oriole, Chestnut-crowned and Black-capped Becards.
Large frugivores are common within a few kms of the research station, and Blue-throated Piping-guans and Spix’s Guans can be seen daily feeding in the Cecropia along the road and at the edge of the station, and once we believe we had a Salvin’s Currasow singing at dawn (or something else that sounded exactly like the Razor-billed recorded I had) just east of the station on a trail. Unfortunately, away from the station they are almost hunted out, as are monkeys, as the National Park does nothing to prevent hunting along the road. We even found a few shotgun shells and heard some gunshots out on the trails. Bob Ridgley even told me that sometimes the park guards themselves have to hunt for food, as sometimes they go months without pay from the completely unreliable park staff, as it is a necessity to feed their families.
The area was also good for some second growth and edge flycatchers like Yellow-browed Tody-flycatcher, Forest Elaenia, and Dusky-chested Flycatcher (fairly common), and Oropendolas, with Russet-crowned by far being the most common, with regular numbers of Crested and Green, with a few Olive as well. Scrubby areas and cut second growth provided habitat for Chestnut-headed and Gray-breasted Crakes, and Black-capped Donacobius. The open sky is also good for spotting raptors and swifts.
Night walks on the road produced a few birds, Tropical Screeh-owl and was common, and we heard a Black-banded Owl one night as well. A Ferruginous Pygmy-owl called around the station. At dusk, we had one Short-tailed Nighthawk flyover.
However, the main reason to hit Amazonia is the terra firme forest, which as Yasuni did not disappoint. The rolling hills produced a variety of habitats for the majority of the expected birds. The trail system to the west is shorter than the east, and connects to the varzea trails and the road, for a good “all habitats” day. To the east of the station, especially the transect trail provides extensive habitat.
To the east, we heard 6 species of Tinamous including Bartlett’s, saw Red-throated Caracara, heard Barred, Slaty-backed (near the huge Ceiba tree where the Ceiba trail meets the road), and Lined Forest-falcons, Gray-winged Trumpeter (a pair seen on the transect trail near the station), Black-headed Parrot (common calling in the canopy), Black-bellied Cuckoo (fairly common), Straight-billed Hermit (once), Yellow-billed and Purplish (in flocks) Jacamars, Great Jacamars (heard), Golden-collared Toucanet, Spot-throated Woodcreeper (one in a flock), Red-billed Scythebill, Chestnut-winged Hookbill, Rufous-winged Foliage-gleaner, Mouse-colored (a pair in a flock) and Undulated Antshrikes (not heard but a pair and a male seen in ravines with thick vegetation), Dusky-throated and Cinereous Antshrikes (both common, and by taping them in with playback you can bring in entire flocks that follow them, I found this to be the best way to keep flocks around for enough time to work them over sufficiently), Pygmy, Rufous-tailed, Long-winged, White-flanked, Plain-throated (in small flocks by themselves), Yasuni (common), Ornate (pair in a vine tangle), and Rio Suno (one male) Antwrens, Banded Antbird (several, listen for the high-pitched voice on open hilltops, playback very usefull), Spot-winged Antbird (fairly common along streams, wet areas), White-plumed and Bicolored Antbirds, Reddish-winged Bare-eye (all three species in a flock at dusk that was presumably following around ants, but we couldn’t find the antswarm or birds the next morning), Thrush-like Antpitta (common), Rusty-belted Tapaculo (numerous around treefalls), Blue-backed, Blue-crowned, Golden-headed, and Striped Manakins (all at fruit trees, we didn’t run into any leks there), Dwarf Tyrant-manakin (uncommon), Double-banded Pygmy-tyrant (common), White-eyed Tody-tyrant (uncommon), Brownish Twistwing (several), Olivaceous Flatbill (once), Red-rumped (several) and a single Ecuadorian Cacique and Casqued Oropendola.
We had similar birds on the west side of the station, including another Slaty-backed Forest-falcon, Flame-crested and Fulvous-crested Tanagers, a single juvenile Rufous-vented Ground-cuckoo that ran across the trail, and hung around bill snapping for 10 minutes, Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper, Lafresnaye’s Piculet, Golden-green Woodpecker, our only Striated Antthush, a pair of Wing-barred Piprites, a pair of White-browed Purple-tufts, and Lemon-chested Greenlet (three).
On the way there and back from the station in the Lago Agrio/Coca area we had a couple interesting second growth things not seen at the station from the bus and boat,
Pearl Kite, White-eared Jacamar, and Yellow-headed Caracara (from Lago Agrio to Pompei Norte), Orange-cheeked Parrot and Orange-winged Amazon waiting for the boat across the river, and Plain-breasted Ground-dove near Coca.
La Selva Lodge
Terra firme, Varzea, river islands, 300m.
Six days, with my family. Weather mostly clear, a few showers.
The lodge is two hours downriver from Coca. Make reservations ahead with one of several travel companies. As for a guide, request Jose. The guy is a machine, knows everything down to call note, and is up for anything. Give him a short list of targets, and he’ll do a good a job as any as finding them. His only English are bird names and directing birders to locations of birds, so Spanish is helpful, though the other English speaking guides and staff I’m sure would translate.
Since anyone coming here will have a guide who will know more about where to find things than I do, I will just give a brief list of highlights and the areas in which we had them.
Trails around the lodge, laguna garzacocha: Anaconda, Lined Forest-falcon, Orange-fronted Plushcrown, White-chinned Jacamar, Long-billed Woodcreeper, Black-tailed Leaftosser, Undulated Antshrike, Silvered Antbird, Chestnut-belted Gnateater, Cinnamon Atila, Short-billed Honeycreeper.
Flooded forest, laguna, trail north of laguna: Zigzag Heron, Azure Gallinule, Cocha Antshrike, Dot-backed Antbird, Wire-tailed Manakin, Yellow-crowned Elaenia.
Parrot licks and trails south of the Napo: White Hawk, Blue-and-yellow, Scarlet, Chestnut-fronted, and Red-bellied Macaws, Orange-cheeked Parrot, Orange-winged Parrot, Scarlet-shouldered Parakeet, White-eared and Brown Jacamars, Tawny-throated Leaftosser, Banded Antbird, Yellow-browed Antbird.
River Islands and Cecropia dominated varzea downriver: Black-banded Crake, Gray-breasted Crake, Olive-spotted Hummingbird, Scarlet-crowned Barbet, Rufous-headed Woodpecker, Lesser Hornero, White-bellied Spinetail, Castlenau’s Antshrike, Black-and-white Antbird, White-lored Antpitta, Lesser Wagtail-tyrant, Amazonian Umbrellabird, Northern Waterthrush, Caqueta Seedeater.
The South(west): A really diverse area. Important for the Tumbesian endemic bird are, with 50 or so species, some spill over into the Maranon drainage. In addition, some interesting high elevation sites as well as a couple east slope locations with some endemics of their own. The tumbes sites are much better in the wet season, from Feb-Apr, and occurrence of a couple migrants is only during this time. Also the birds will sing more and be nesting. That said, I have managed to find all the endemics in the dry season in not a lot of time spent, over the course of this trip and one to Peru last year in Dec.
Secondary with some primary forest, 100m.
Not really in the southwest, kind of in the middle of nowhere, but may be on your route from Quito to the southwest. A tiny forest remnant in banana plantations, but the area itself was nice and pleasant, and we had a great lunch there as well. $5 entrance, you can stay there as well (but we didn’t). I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit, but if you are in the area surely stop by, the lodge was nice-looking with good food, and the place just had a very pleasant ambience to it. Slaty-winged Foliage-gleaner is present and there are old reports of some good Choco birds such as Berlepsch’s Tinamou.
Had a free morning to kill here with my parents. Nice and sunny. Not many specialties here, but there are a few Choco and Tumbes birds, and it was very birdy, we had almost 60 species in three hours.
About and hour south of Santo Domingo on the main road, on the left. From the gate, the road goes in to the station, which is a km or two. Someone at the gate will direct you inside.
We walked a few trails around the research center and had Gray-backed Hawk, Baron’s Hermit, Ecuadorian Trogon, Olivaceous Piculet, Guayaquil Woodpecker, Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner, Great Antshrike, Black-headed Tody-flycatcher, Black-tailed Flycatcher, Ochraceous Atila, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Whiskered Wren, Crimson-breasted Finch, Orange-billed Sparrow, Dusky-faced Tanager, and Scarlet-rumped Cacique.
Secondary humid lowland forest, also nearby dry forest, mangroves, ocean habitats. 0-100m.
The Esmeraldas Woodstar site, as well as a mix of humid and dry forest birds. The Woodstar is only present from Dec-Apr, as far as is known.
One day and one morning with my family. Weather was surprisingly cool and overcast. This was enough time for the site, though since it is basically a one bird site, you want to make sure you can spend another day if necessary.
The areas are all within walking distance of the tiny village of Ayampe, where the Rio Ayampe spills into the Pacific. The bird of the area, Esmeraldas Woodstar, is on the main road just south of the river, where is ascends slightly into the hills. Apparently the whole area between 1-5km south of Ayampe has the woodstar. Unfortunatly there are no trails in the area to bird, but hummingbirds are much easier along roads anyway, so this is ok. To get to the place where we had the woodstar, head south of Ayampe about 2km. There is a fairly sharp curve at the bottom of a hill, and a small trail that leads up to a pasture. Also, you could park at Hostal Atamari (as we did), and walk 0.7km north, downhill to the same spot. In addition to the road, you can bird along the river itself, as there is a two-track that leads along it the entire length. The better habitat is a km or two upstream from the town. Also, there are some waterbirds and things where the river spills into the ocean, which you can walk to from town or the lodges. There are about 4 inexpensive (ours was $10 per person, Palmas Cocos) lodges to stay in Ayampe and numerous others in nearby towns, check guidebooks. Staying at Atamari is some $70 a night, but you can walk to the bird.
The forest along the road in the woodstar area appears to be good (mildly logged) forest. We had good numbers of hummingbirds there of 6 species, not bad for the lowlands. It took us about an hour and a half to find the target, a young male Esmeraldas Woodstar, at the location described above. It was feeding on some small purple flowers growing on a vine, and came back several times over the course of an hour. The next day we did not re-find it, and the flowers were gone. There was a female Little Woodstar in the area both days. While the forest is humid, it is in a matrix of dry forest, therefore there are isolated populations of a few humid forest birds here (like Choco Toucan), as well as dry forest birds inhabiting humid forest (Speckle-breasted Wren, Black-capped Sparrow). Other good tumbes birds here included three singing Ochre-bellied Doves, Baron’s Hermit, Ecuadorian Trogon, Guayaquil Woodpecker, three singing Ochraceous Atila, and a single male Slaty Becard. Some other humid forest birds included Plain-brown and Wedge-billed Woodcreepers, and Western Slaty and Great Antshrikes, and the big surprise was a single Blackburnian Warbler, wintering away from the Andes.
Along the shore in Ayampe, there was Blue-footed Booby offshore, and a small pond where the river runs into the ocean had a good number of waders and such. There is a small grove of trees just north of this pond, and between it and the beach an area of gravel. Here during the day we flushed 5 Scrub Nightjars, one of which was on a nest.
Another birding option is to walk or drive the two track up the Rio Ayampe, which goes through more disturbed habitat but is very birdy. Birds were similar here to the woodstar spot, minus the woodstar of course, but we did have Crimson-breasted Finch, and (undeniable) Saffron Siskens.
Ecuasal Lagoons (Salinas)
Salt Ponds, 0m.
A minor site, flamingos and shorebirds. If you are in the area it is worth a stop, but don’t make a special trip. Perhaps the best shorebirding/gull spot in Ecuador, and the best place to see Chilean Flamingo, which always seem to be around.
A few hours one afternoon, with my family. Overcast. This was plenty for the site.
You are supposed to make arrangements prior to your visit through Ben Haase. I couldn’t get ahold of him, so we just showed up. After talking a few minutes with the staff there, I went to visit his wife to get permission. She tried to arrange a local guide (apparently necessary protocol) but couldn’t find one, so I “explained” that I was an “ornithologist” and didn’t need a guide. She was happy with this, and permission was granted. The salt ponds are on the main road (that follows the coast) on the south side of Santa Elena Peninsula, a couple km out of Salinas. Note that you could observe the birds from the road, the ponds with the most birds are the least saline on the west side of the complex. There are many decrepit buildings that produce farmed shrimp larvae in the area, and also vacant lots that you could walk down. Views are not as good and a scope would be useful for this, but it avoids the permission issue. I would not come here in public transport (actually, I would never come to this area again, it is a hole). The whole area is very run down, and I think safety may be an issue.
The vast majority of the birds were in the ponds far to the east of the office, which have lower salinity. We had about 30 Chilean Flamingos, and lots of Peruvian Pelicans (along with many Browns) and a good number of shorebirds including Cocoi and Tricolored (my only one in Ecuador) Herons, Black-bellied, Semipalmated and Snowy Plovers, Americna Oystercatcher, Black-necked Stilt, Short-billed Dowitcher, Whimbrel, Willet, both Yellowlegs, Spotted, Western, Least, Semipalmated, and Stilt Sandpipers, Wilson’s Phalerope, and Gray-headed Gull. Also Red-backed Hawk and a couple Peregrines. The ‘scorched earth’ scrub in the area is home to some Tumbesian birds that are local in Ecuador, but common in Peru such as Collared Warbling-Finch and Gray-and-white Tyrannulet, but I skipped looking for them because the area was nasty and I had seen them a year previous in Peru.
Tumbesian dry forest, 300-500m.
Nice forest with a good selection of tough birds, like Blackish-headed Spinetail, Henna-hooded Foliage-gleaner, Ochre-bellied Dove, and Gray-cheeked Parakeet.
One morning, with my family. Overcast. It could take a couple days here to find the more difficult things, but everything can be found at other sites as well. I found Jorupe to be much nicer
Drive or bus 10km on the west side of Guayaquil. The gate doesn’t open until 8am unless there is a request for an earlier time. They happily opened the gate at 7am for us. Once inside, the road goes 500m or so through forest to the headquarters, where there are trails.
The area breaks down into two basic habitat types, the undisturbed hillside higher areas (most trails) and the scrubbier low areas (entrance road, etc.). In the high areas, we had Pale-browed Tinamou (common by voice), Short-tailed Hawk, Ochre-bellied Dove (one heard), Red-masked and Gray-cheeked Parakeets (both common), Peruvian Pygmy-owl (two seen), Collared Antshrike, White-backed Fire-eye, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher (felt out of place), Yellow-olive Flatbill, and a single male Saffron Sisken. A flowering yellow tree in the parking lot attracted Emerald-bellied Woodnymph and a couple other hummers. Birds in the lower scrubby areas included Ecuadorian Piculet, Scarlet-backed Woodpecker, Elegant Crescent-chest, and Sooty-crowned Flycatcher.
Parque Nacional El Cajas
Paramo, Polylepis, temperate forest, 3300-3700m
One sunny and one cloudy day alone, one cloudy day with my parents. The metaltail is tough, and could take a couple days to find, most of the other things are widespread.
From Cuenca, it is about an hour bus ride from the main terminal to the Park. The bus driver will let you off at the Lago Torreadora area/visitors center. The Lago Llaviucu area is not served by public transportation, and is a several km walk off the road. However, locals come here on weekends to fish, so maybe you could hitchhike. Also, people often bird the forested sections of the road in this area, below the park, to look for the Metaltail.
To begin, I started walking around Lago Torreadora to the west, which goes by a small Polylepis patched (signed no entry) and then to a flat area of short grass, with Bar-winged and a Stout-billed Cinclodes, and Paramo Ground-tyrant. On the edges of this flat area there are some small shrubby areas that attracted hummingbirds, including Ecuadorian Hillstar (which feed from one species, which has a spiny pink flower reminiscent of a thistle), two female Metaltails which appeared to be Viridian (certainly not Tyrian as the showed no buff, and showed no gorget, so were not Violet-throated). They have been recorded at lower elevations in the area around Mazan I know), and Blue-mantled Thornbill (common). The lake itself had Andean Duck, Yellow-billed Pintail, Andean Teal, and Andean Coot, as did most in the area. A Puna Hawk soared overhead (Condor is possible), and I had a Carunculated Caracara on the shore.
Continuing around the edge of the lake, you reach a larger Polylepis patch which held a few Tit-like Dacnis (which are common in the area) but no Giant Conebills. I walked all the way around the lake, eventually ending up back at the visitors center. About ½ a km east of the visitors center there is a shallow lake with a muddy edge that had Baird’s Sandpipers and Andean Lapwing. Small patches of shrubs had Mouse-colored Thistletail, Many-striped Canastero, Andean Tit-spinetail, Black-billed Shrike-tyrant, Unicolored Tapaculo (one heard) and Tawny Antpitta (uncommon).
At Lago Illincocha, just up the road a km or so on the south side of the road, there is another small Polylepis patch and a fair number of Gnoxys shrubs, which were in yellow flower. These attracted a large number of Blue-mantled Thornbills and a single female Violet-throated Metaltail, which visited for over half an hour. Tit-like Danis were common.
If you don’t have luck with the Metaltail up high, many birders have had better luck on the main road down lower where the patches of temperate forest begin. I tried here after missing it my first morning, but saw very little due to high winds. I did see Scarlet-bellied Mountain-tanager and Green-tailed Trainbearer.
Another spot to try is the forest around Lago Llaviucu. It is nice temperate forest in a beautiful valley, but with very low diversity. The best forest is on the north side of the lake. Here with my parents one morning we saw three different Gray-breasted Mountain-toucans, Glowing Puffleg, Tyrian Metaltail, Rufous Antpitta, Crowned Chat-tyrant, and had one flock with Streaked Tuftedcheek, Turquoise Jay, Blue-backed Conebill, Black and Masked Flowerpiercers, Supercilliaried Hemispingus, Rufous-chested Tanager, and Scarlet-bellied Mountain-tanager. There was a flock of about 30 Hooded Siskens in the area, and I noticed some of them had black-caps only and dull greenish yellow breasts, which made me wonder if they were Andean Siskens, known in Ecuador in the extreme north. With closer inspection, I found one that had a black chin and cap, and one that had a well defined cap, but also a few other random black feathers on the head. This appeared to just be molting Hoodeds that happened to have an extremely similar pattern to Andean, so if you see this in the field and are thinking Andean, beware. The pitfalls in identifying these things are endless.
Dry scrub and woodland, about 2000m?
The Pale-headed Brushfinch site. The brushfinch is easy to find when you know the spot, even at mid-day it shouldn’t take more than a couple hours. A visit to the site is $15
One full day by myself, a couple hours with Dan Lebbin. Sunny and warm.
An arrangement needs to be made with Fundacion Jocotoco prior to your visit. From Cuenca, take a bus to La Union, and asked to be dropped by the Caballero (statue). From there, get a white pickup taxi up to Enrique Calle’s (the guadaparque) house, which will cost $3-4. From there you walk to the reserve ($15 entrance). Enrique will guide you to the area with the Brushfinches, and also the small forest patch (which is not owned by Jocotoco), which has a few interesting typically humid species, and a pair of Buff-fronted Owls, if you spend the night in la Union.
There is a strange mix of birds at this site. The diversity is low, but for some reason some humid forest birds inhabit this site, even though it is quite dry. The forest patch (along the road) does have a few epiphytes and a little bamboo in places, the scrub where the brushfinches occur seems typical but for some reason (probably due to underground water) remains green even in the dry season, and this probably supports year round food for them.
The scrub produced good looks and several Pale-headed Brushfinches, as well as
Purple-collared Woodstar, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Line-cheeked Spinetail (common), Chestnut-crowned Antpitta (abundant), Unicolored Tapaculo, Pacific Elaenia, Rufous-browned Peppershrike, and Southern Yellow Grosbeak. In the forest patch I ran into an interesting army ant swarm, and though there were no specialists in this area (obviously) it did attract a family of Groove-billed Anis (perhaps the fist time I’ve seen them under a forest canopy), several Slaty-backed Nightingale-thrushes (abundant in the forest), a couple Slate-throated Whitestarts, Stripe-headed Brushfinches, and a pair of Chestnut-crowned Antpittas. They are very easy to see in the forest patch, I think I probably saw 10-15 in one day. Other interesting birds included Blue-winged Mountain-tanager, Rufous-crowned Tody-tyrant, and Turquoise Jay.
High elevation dry paramo, rock, ice, 4500-5000m.
I just wanted to see this place. The scenery is spectacular, the Vicuna are awesome, but there aren’t many birds. The endemic green-throated race of the Ecuadorian Hillstar is common.
One morning with my parents, clear and sunny. Plenty of time to see what was around.
From Riobamba take the new paved road to Guaranda up to the pass. A little before the pass (4400m) there is a dirt road that heads up to the climber’s refuges. The road goes to the first refuge at 4800m, which was above snow-ice line when we were there. One can walk up to the second refuge at 5000m if they wish. We just birded the little vegetation that occurs along the entrance road. You could also get dropped off by bus at the beginning of the road, it is high enough for all the birds.
The green throated Ecuadorian Hillstars were common, feeding in ‘hillstar bushes’. The other vegetation supported very little, but I did have my only Streak-backed Canasteros, as well as Andean Tit-spinetail, Paramo Ground-tyrant, Black-winged Ground-dove, and Plumbeous Sierra-finch. From 4800m I think I heard Seedsnipe call once in the distance, but I’m not sure if they are supposed to be here.
Laguna de Colta (outside Riobamba)
A minor site, but if you are in the area it is worth a stop for large numbers of waterbirds, Subtropical Doradito, and Ecuadorian Rail.
An hour just before dark with my parents. A full morning would be better
It is on the Pan-am about 15km south of Riobamba, and bus south on the Pan-am will get you there. I think city busses from Riobamba make it out here too. We found the best vantage point to be the south end of the lake, there is a road that goes all the way around, but I don’t know about land rights so ask whoever’s around permission (we had no problems).
Good numbers of waterbirds, including Silvery Grebe (2!, despite being a disturbed location), Pied-billed Grebe, Yellow-billed Pintail, Andean Teal, and Andean Duck. My hope was to find Subtropical Doradito, but didn’t have any luck. Approaching dusk Ecuadorian Rail was calling everywhere, but I couldn’t get looks at any, though I had as many as 4 pairs calling at the same time.
Humid subtropical forest, second growth, dry tumbesian woodland.
This makes for a huge list of birds, and it is the site for the two El Oro endemics, the Parakeet and the Tapaculo. Also a good number of tumbesian birds, especially down lower in the scrub and lots of mid-elevation Choco birds reach their farthest south localities here, as the birdlife is quite similar to Milpe Rd. in the mid-section, Including Pacific Tuftedcheek, which is more common here than anywhere else.
Six days alone, 3 more with Dan Lebbin. Mostly foggy, 2 reasonably clear days. I would recommend at least 3 days here. In the ‘wet season’ the sky tends to be clear, but there are periods of strong rain. In the ‘dry season’ it is always foggy and misty, but rarely rains outright. Therefore, it is much easier birding (especially the get looks at the parakeets) when it is clear.
Jocotoco has a new lodge, still in the process of being built and expanded, named the Umbrellabird Lodge. You can stay here, though it is also possible to bird the area from Pinas if you are on a budget. In either case, contact Fundacion Jocotoco ahead of time. From Pinas, take a bus towards Machala, and get off at the large Virgin Mary Shrine built by the “chofers” of Pinas. Note that there are two other smaller shrines closer to Pinas. There is also a large Jocotoco sign, and the bus driver may know of the reserve. From this point, you can access the Tapaculo trail, which is 20 or 30 meters towards Pinas from the shrine, on the south side of the road. The trail is hidden to prevent orchid thieves and not visible, but with some effort you should be able to find it. If not, go there with a guadaparque. From here you can also access the Ecoruta, which is the old road (gated) that heads down to the lodge. Walk down the dirt road north from the shrine for 100m and it forks, the lower road goes down to the lodge, but it is some 6km to the lodge, all downhill. Two km down the road there is the old Dianita or Parakeet trail, which is on a (one of many) hairpin turns on your right. 1km or so above the lodge there is the Umbrellabird trail and some other unnamed trails. The lodge itself had spectacular hummingbird feeders, among the best in Ecuador. Below the lodge the forest becomes much drier, and has more of a tumbesian birdlife. It is another 4km down the road to Selva Alegre, where you can get a bus back to Pinas. On the main road there are also hummingbird feeders at Baldamiro’s house, one of the guadaparques, and also another hidden trail (the Sicklebill trail). The lodge is $90, and a visit to the reserve is $15 (good for several days). Dan and I stayed in Hotel Orchideas ($7) right off of where the busses take off from.
The reserve covers a substantial elevational range, which I will cover from high to low. Probably my favorite area of the reserve was the Tapaculo trail, which is from 1000-1200m. The trail either goes along the road on a contour, through two small clearings and then goes through the edge of a large one before working its way around the other side of the hill, where it ascends up and over. Or, you can go the other way and start with the climb. The forest here is very humid, and feels higher elevation than it is. Also, we observed some typically higher elevation birds here, such as Beryl-spangled Tanager and Stripe-headed Brushfinch. The first area is the best (I think) for El Oro Tapaculo, which is much more difficult to see and especially to hear than most Scytalopus. Rather than singing constantly and responding to playback like crazy, when I was there at least, the birds simply ignored it completely. Generally one would sing one time, sometimes two or three, and then maybe call half an hour later. Needless to say, I didn’t get a look at one, and when Dan and I were there we didn’t even hear it, despite much time in areas where I had heard birds a month previously. I also had my best luck with El Oro Parakeet here, with flyovers from the Virgin and two small flocks flying over cleared areas, which are the best place to view them. Other birds in the area included Rufous-headed Chachalaca, Gray-backed and Barred Hawks, Blue-fronted Parrotlet (a pair flying over a clearing), Purple-bibbed White-tip (single female feeding on flowers), and Line-cheeked Spinetail (single in a mixed flock). Scaled Antpitta usually sang near the entrance, but as always in my experience, shut up immediately when greeted with playback. However, Dan and I were determined to get a look, so we tracked it to a dense clump of vegetation, thinking we were only feet away from it. We had it surrounded, yet could still not place exactly where it was, until I realized it was singing from above us. We stepped back and Dan spotted it singing 7m up in a tree, from a clump of moss. Club-winged Manakins sonated occasionally when I was there in November, but really started to get going in December. Dan and I had several leks of displaying males, usually in forest edge dominated by Ceropia. Also on the edges, Loja Tyrannulet was common, and we had out biggest surprise when a Gray-headed Antbird sang (recorded) at noon as we were eating lunch from the edge of the last clearing before the trail goes around to the other side of the hill, away from the road. The edge had considerable vine tangle growth and dense ferns, which apparently can substitiute for the Chusquea they typically inhabit. The Buenaventura checklist gives single records from 1985 and 1995, so if you are visiting in 2015, keep an ear out. Dan also spotted a nest-building Rufous-throated Tanager in the area.
The sicklebill trail has similar birds and covers similar high elevations as the Tapaculo trail, but I only did it once in pouring rain and therefore didn’t see much. I did have an El Oro Tapaculo singing at the entrance though. There are another set of feeders along the road near Baldimiro’s house to attract local passerbys, and a short trail. Here I had a female Black-and-white Warbler with four Slaty Antwrens.
The birdy-ist area in the reserve is the Ecoruta, the two-track that leads from the virgin down to the lodge and eventually to Selva Alegre and the main road again. The humid mossy forest is mostly from 600-100m, and the birds anywhere in the area are fairly similar. Above the El Oro Parakeet (Dianita) trail, Plain-backed Antpitta sings regularly, and Dan and I taped in a Ochre-breasted Antpitta (listen carefully for the innocuous song) once which consisted of a small, circular ball of feathers with a bill and legs. At the beginning of the Parakeet trail, two Plain-backed Antpittas were singing, one of which I crawled up the first gully to see, then down the second and up the other side, all on my hands and knees in light rain, eventually getting breathtaking views from about 5m away. This really made seeing them hopping on the trails at Bombuscaro later on very disappointing. This trail continues through two small clearings to one large clearing with a couple trees left standing. If you are lucky, then El Oro Parakeets may be sitting in these trees. I had a nice flock there once, unfortunately it was so foggy I could only see the bottom 3m of the trunk before it disappeared over my head. They were very close though. My only other observation in this area (which has traditionally been the best) were distant views from the second clearing. Twice I had mega-flocks on the edge of this clearing, including Wedge-billed, Plain-brown, and Spotted Woodcreepers, Brown-billed Scythebill, Streaked Xenops, Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner, Rufous-rumped Antwren, Rufous-winged Tyrannulet, Silver-throated, Golden, Flame-faced, Rufous-throated, Bay-headed, and Ochre-breasted, Tanagers, Black-winged Saltator, and Common (only pacific slope locality, get excited!), Yellow-throated, and Ashy-headed Bush-tanagers. On the trail itself, I had Crested Guan, Song Wren, Immaculate Antbird, Spotted Nightingale-thush, White-tipped Sicklebill, and Bronze-olive Pygmy-tyrant. Once I heard Ochre-bellied Dove.
The patchy forest along the road is excellent for mixed flocks, especially Furnariids. Twice I had an excellent flock just below the El Oro Parakeet trail that contained Wedge-billed, Plain-brown, and Spotted Woodcreepers, Brown-billed Scythebill, Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner, Western Woodhaunter, Streaked Xenops, and one of the stars of the area, a pair of Pacific Tuftedcheeks. Also in the flock was a Russet Antshrike, which is an honorary Furnarrid in my book due to its association and excessive brown-ness.
The stretch of road between the Parakeet trail and the Umbrellabird trail (at 600m), had Rufous-headed Chachalaca, Sickle-winged Guan, Barred Hawk, White-tipped Sicklebill, Wedge-billed Hummingbird, Brown Inca, Stripe-throated Hermit, Rufous, and Broad-billed Motmots, White-whiskered Puffbird, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Scaled Fruiteater, Golden-winged Manakin, Yellow-tyrannulet, Whiskered Wren, Pale-vented Thrush, and Tricolored Brush-finch.
At the trailhead of the Umbrellabird trail, now only 500m from the lodge, has a Club-winged Manakin lek. For some reason, this small area is reliable for Slaty-winged Foliage-gleaner, which I had twice in this spot. The trail leads down the valley to the river, and the forest is less humid and more typical of lowland forest, as are the birds, such as Green Manakin, Thushlike Schiffornis, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, Checker-throated Antwren, Chestnut-backed Antbird, and others. The main attraction is of course the Long-wattled Umbrellabird lek, which is a 15 minute slow walk down the trail, and they can be heard calling from the road at dawn and (better yet) at dusk, after about 5pm or so.
Finally, down around the lodge the land is pretty cut up, but it is good for raptors, one day I had a kettle of Barred Hawk, Double-toothed Kite (range extension), Swallow-tailed and Plumbeous Kites, and Black-Hawk-eagle, and there always seems to be a pair of Gray-backed Hawks around and a Laughing Falcon. The hummingbird feeders are spectacular and rival Tandayapa’s in diversity and possibly surpass it in numbers. While there common species were Baron’s and, White-bearded, Hermits, Brown Violet-ear, Green Thorntail, Rufous-tailed and Violet-bellied Hummingbirds, and Green-crowned Brilliants. Present in low numbers were White-necked Jacobin, Long-billed Starthroat, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Amazilia Hummingbird, and the two main targets, the tumbesian subspecies of White-vented Plumeleteer and Emerald-bellied Woodnymph. The plumeleteer is also treated as Bronze-tailed by some authors, but perhaps better treated as its own thing. Dan and I also had the first reserve record of Sparkling Violet-ear (at 500m?!) in December. Violet-tailed Sylph is common in the area, but doesn’t visit the feeders. Also attracted to the sugar water are Bananaquits, Green (in large numbers) and Purple Honeycreepers, and Saffron Finch. When tourists are at the lodge, the Fundacion buys bananas which bring in numbers of Pale-mandibled Aracaris, and in time hopefully Choco and Chestnut-mandibled Toucans as well (which were eyeing them, but didn’t come in to feed. A few common Tanagers such as Blue-gray, Palm, Lemon-rumped, and Thick-billed Euphonias. Red-masked Parakeet are common perching in the trees around the lodge.
Below the lodge on the road down to the river the forest becomes very chopped up and dry, and some tumbesian birds occur here, including Ecuadorian Trogon, Scarlet-backed Woodpecker, Guayaquil woodpecker, White-backed Fire-eye, Pacific Royal-Flycatcher, Ochraceous Atila. Other notables included Fasciated Tiger-heron in the river, Blue-crowned Motmot, Olivaceous Piculet, and Yellow-tufted Danis.
A final note about Siskens. Unquestionably Yellow-bellied Sisken is an uncommon resident. There are no published or specimen records of Saffron Sisken from El Oro, yet several folks have reported it from Buenaventura. I observed Hooded/Saffron Siskens fairly commonly in both the high and low sections of the reserve, and Dan got some photos. Unfortunately for identification, there is a very bright subspecies of Hooded Sisken, C. m. paula, that occurs in northwest Peru and certainly Ecuador as well, though apparently is unrecorded. These bright Hoodeds are basically identical to Saffrons in plumage, but differ in their measurements being much larger. If paula or something like it occurs in Ecuador, it would be in Loja and (?) El Oro, where birds reported as Saffrons occur on the main chain of the Andes. It is possible that all of these Siskens may be just brightly marked Hoodeds, or they are sympatric. Anyway, these birds are probably unidentifiable in the field anyway, so to really see Saffrons, a trip to Ayampe or Cerro Blanco may be necessary.
Reserva Jorupe (Macara):
Dry tumbesian forest and more humid tumbesian upland temperate forest, 500-2200m.
This was my favorite tumbesian site, including sites visited in Peru on a previous trip. A good number of the more difficult species, and real nice forest. A visit to the site is $15 (good several days)
Two full days with Dan Lebbin. It was a good amount of time for the site.
Contact Fundacion Jocotoco prior to your trip. From Macara, it is about 5km up the road towards Sozoranga, and could be done in bus or taxi ($4). The reserve house is on the left just after a Fundacion Jocotoco sign and just before a fairly major bridge.
From the house, a small trail leads back to a two-track dirt road that heads up into the good forest. From the two track, there are five trails (numbered 1,2,3,4,5) that lead into the forest and all end up meeting with each other. Hopefully a map will be available, as I took gps tracks of all of them to create one while I was there. The quality of the forest is excellent, with lots of big green ceibas and lots of undergrowth and leaf litter, which is scant in most localities as they are grazed by cows and goats. Pale-browed Tinamou was common and conspicuous, mostly at dusk. One evening, I saw as many as 10 walking noisily through the leaflitter as I was hurrying to finish walking all the trails before it got dark. I also saw 2 Watkin’s Antpittas, which hoped great distances between branches in the undergrowth. Other understory birds included a single Henna-hooded Foliage Gleaner and a pair of Blackish-headed Spinetails. Flocks included Ecuadorian Piculet, Scarlet-backed Woodpecker, Olivaceous, Strong-billed (very low elevation) and Streak-headed Woodcreepers, and Chapman’s Antshrike. Other common birds included Collared Antshrike, Baird’s Flycatcher, White-tailed Jay (feeding on wild papayas), Speckle-breasted Wren, Plumbeous-backed Thrush, Black-capped Sparrow, and White-edged Oriole, the last three very common around the house. We had a single Gray-breasted Flycatcher on the trails. In addition to the good forest habitat, there are some old rice fields and scrubby vegetation along the river which can be walked. In this area we had many Gray-cheeked Parakeets, Ecuadorian Trogon, a single juvenile Black-chested Buzzard-eagle (low elevation), Black-lored Yellowthroat, and Saffron (? See note about Buenaventura about ID, the same applies here) Siskens. At night, Peruvian Pygmy-owls were calling everywhere and easily seen, a pair copulated under the lights outside the building. Tumbes Swifts often flew overhead.
Our second morning, we went to the high area of the reserve, which is accessible from a dirt road off of the main road to Loja. While only a few km away as the crow flys, it too about 45 minutes to get up there. The habitat and elevation is similar to Utuana, but there birdlife is more poorly known. Most of the same species are expected to occur there There was a sizable flock of Swallow-tailed Kites flying around calling, and we had several calling White-throated Quail-dove, Band-tailed Pigeons, and a single Ochre-bellied Dove. Rainbow-fronted Starfrontlets were common, as were Unicolored Tapaculo Flocks included Line-cheeked Spinetail, Rufous-necked Foliage-gleaner, Chapman’s Antshrike (in scrubby edge), Tumbes Tyrannulet, and Silver-backed Tanager. The highlight though, was after hours of tape playback at Utuana and Jorupe, nice quick views of Gray-headed Antbird (my last and much worked for tumbesian endemic), in Chusquea. Chestnut-crowned Antpitta was common by voice.
Bosque Hann (Utuana)
Temperate forest, 2500m
Strange, stunted forest that was dry, yet wet at the same time. The best site for the high elevation tumbes endemics such as Gray-headed Antbird, Piura Hemispingus, and Jelski’s Chat-tyrant, and the only Ecuadorian local for Black-crested Tit-tyrant. Rusty-breasted Antpitta also occurs. Now owned by Fundacion Jocotoco, there is a $15 entrada.
One day with Dan Lebbin. I think a day is enough, we just had poor luck, and the area is small.
There is nowhere to stay in Utuana. From Sosoraga, take a bus towards Loja and get out before the military checkpoint, which stopped all the busses when we were there. There is a road that leads to the right along the ridge. Walk it for about a km, and you will reach the reserve which is on your right. Ask around and someone will be able to point to it.
There is one main and a couple side trails through the stunted forest. There aren’t many birds up this high, but the ones that are here are pretty neat. On the main trail we had a single Jelski’s Chat-tyrant, Silver-backed Tanager, a single Black-cowled Saltator, Tumbesian Tyrannulet, and a Bay-crowned Brushfinch. On the trail to the feeders the habitat is more scrubby, this is the area for Black-crested Tit-tyrant, and the feeders attract stunning Rainbow Starfrontlets and Purple-throated Sunangels, we also had a Black-tailed Trailbearer. Rufous-necked Foliage-gleaner and Golden-headed Quetzal were common in the taller forest, and Chapman’s Antshrike and Chestnut-crowned Antpitta were common in the scrubbier stuff. Plain-breasted Hawk and White-rumped Hawk, were flying overhead. Our most surprising find was a very high elevation female Ecuadorian Trogon. I played tape constantly for Gray-headed Antbird and Rusty-breasted Antpitta, and got no response whatsoever.
The old Loja-Zamora Rd.
Foothill Forest second growth, 1200m.
More good foothill forest very similar to Bombuscaro, but since it is an old road on a steep mountainside observing flocks is easier, and I had several typical ‘Bombuscaro’ specialties that I missed there. This is the only Ecuadorian site where Chestnut-vented Conebill is regular. The main reason I came here was that Spectacled Prickletail has been reported, but I dipped it.
One morning, overcast, which was good in combination with Bombuscaro.
From Zamora, get a bus or Taxi towards Loja, and get off after 2km (from the police checkpoint in Zamora), at the small town (really a couple houses) of La Fragrencia. From there the old road meets up with the new road. Walk down, across the bridge, and bird up along the old road for a couple km. Be carefull of dogs in the town, I almost got bit (pick of some large rocks, they know what you can do with them and back off). Another spot from Zamora is a road that leads up to a waste treatment area on the north side of the river. From town, walk across a bridge (there are three) to the north side of the river, and walk west until you find the only road that heads on the north side of the river. The habitat is pretty bad here, but I had a nice flock of Spot-winged Parrotlets. My guess is your chance at them is equal on the old road though, so stay there.
Mostly just working though flocks. Black Caracara (1 flyvoer), White-tipped Sicklebill (1), Ash-browned and Dark-breasted Spinetails (in scrub along main road near the police checkpoint), Lined Antshrike, Short-tailed Antthrush (1 heard), Ecuadorian Tyrannulet (common, 3 pair), Cliff Flycatcher (a pair at the roadcut 50m west of the police checkpoint on the west side of town), Orange-crested Flycatcher (2), Black-and-white Becard, Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Olivaceous Greenlet, Slaty-capped Shrike-vireo, and Paradise, Golden, Golden-eared, Spotted, Bay-headed, Blue-necked, and Hepatic Tanagers.
Bombuscaro Sector, Podocarpus National Park
Foothill Forest, 1000-1300m.
Excellent foothill forest, and home to the newly described Foothill Elaenia, as well as a host of other target birds, and is the most reliable place for White-breasted Parakeet. Just outside Zamora makes it easy to visit. Park entrance is $10.
Three days with Dan Lebbin. We could have used another day or two to really clean up, though pretty much the only main bird missed was the Parakeet, which we had at Tapichalaca previously.
From Zamora, get a taxi ($5) to the headquarters. That’s it! It’s a couple km, so arrange to have it come back and pick you up. We did walk back twice though, and it wasn’t bad You can also arrange to stay at the park, but since hotels are so cheap and cooking for yourself is a pain we found it easier to stay in Zamora. We stayed at Hotel Torres ($6), and ate every meal at Restaurante Riena del Cisne, the best restaurant in Ecaudor I had for the money which had simple but fantastic Ecuadorian meals (we always got Pescado) for $1.50.
We found the walk in to the visitors center to from the parking lot to be as good as any of the trails. Our first morning we started about 20 minutes after dawn, and immediately had Coppery-chested Jacamar singing, Highland Motmot, a male Hylocharis (none should occur here) hummingbird that will have to go unidentified, a single Long-tailed Woodcreeper, and a Violet-fronted Brilliant.
We continued to the visitors center which takes between 30 minutes to an hour to reach depending on how much birding you do, but don’t be in a rush. We waited at the visitors center in hopes that a Foothill Elaenia would be singing, but there was not, so we continued up the main trail that goes along the river. We walked it until about noon, when we turned around and returned. For birds, we had a pair of Orange-crested Flycatchers at one of the first stream crossings after the visitors center, as well as good looks at a Plain-backed Antpitta foraging just off trail. A flowering Inga tree had good hummingbirds, including Golden-tailed Sapphire, Amethyst Woodstar, Glittering-throated Emerald, and Fork-tailed Woodnymph. Also in this stretch of trail we had 5 Ecuadorian Piedtails in one day, one of which inspected us very closely. In the area of our Inga, we watched 5 Amazonian Umbrellabirds fly across the canyon, followed by an equal number of Andean Cock-of-the-rocks. About 1pm, we hit the monster flock I was hoping for, and worked it over for about an hour. I picked out a drab flycatcher that I hoped was the Elaenia but lost it before I could get enough on it, but about 20 seconds later we heard an accending buzzy trill, and then picked up the bird. Sure enough, it was Foothill Elaenia. There was also a single Equatorial Graytail, and couple Gray-mantled Wrens. Most of the other birds were fairly common at the site and we saw good numbers of, such as Olivaceous and Strong-billed Woodcreepers, Ash-browed Spinetail, Black-billed Treehunter, Lafresnaye’s Piculet, Red-headed Barbet, Yellow-breasted Antwren (listen for the song), Fulvous Shrike-tanager (only once), Orange-eared, Paradise, Green-and-Gold, Golden, Golden-eared, Yellow-bellied, Spotted, Bay-headed, Blue-necked, Summer, and White-winged Tanagers, Yellow-throated and Ashy-throated Bush-tanagers, and Golden-collared Honeycreeper. We also had out first Black-streaked Puffbirds, which after we learned the song (a high pitch fruiteater like note similar to other Malacoptila) was singing everywhere, and I think we saw as many as 7 in a day. Also a treat was a Lanceolated Monklet, and we flushed and got views of White-throated and Ruddy Quail-doves.
Back at the visitors center we found a Gray Tinamou feather on the trail, but none were heard calling while we were there. We decided to climb up to overlook trail, which basically went straight up the canyon, in hopes of getting good views of flying parakeets. After 45 minutes of straight up with no birds, we gave up and headed down, coming across a flock of 3 Foothill Antwrens in the process. Our taxi failed to meet us at dusk, so we walked all the way back to Zamora, which took a little over an hour. We had Blackish Nightjar on the road at dusk.
The next morning we got an earlier start, and had three Blackish Nightjars and a Plain-backed Antpitta in the headlights of the taxi on the way in. On the trail in to the visitors center it was still pretty dark, and we had another Plain-backed Antpitta hopping on the trail, and then chasing off a White-necked Thrush. We birded the short trails around the visitor center and then went up the canyon to our Inga tree, but it had fewer hummingbirds. Most of our good birds we had seen the previous day, such as Black-streaked Puffbird and Coppery-chested Jacamar, Around 1030am we decided to walk out in hopes of seeing some interesting flocking birds along the road, since the old Loja/Zamora road is good for these things. However, we saw little of note, except for a young Fasciated Tiger-heron in the river on the way out. We came back around 4pm and stayed until an hour after dark in hopes of hearing owls, but none where calling. We did have good new good birds though, including a Chestnut-tipped Toucanet (seen the next day as well in the same place), a male Blue-rumped Manakin (we had been seeing many females), a quick view of Chestnut-belted Gnateater, and a very cooperative female Plain-winged Antwren (which may be unrecorded at this site) feeding a young fledgling in tow. Our third day we arrived early again, this time treated to a pair of Tawny-throated Leaftossers on the trail, and later another Lanceolated Monklet in the same area. Other birds included Lemon-browed Flycatcher, Pale-eyed Thrush, White-tipped Sicklebill, and Bronze-green Euphonia. We left around 11am.
Temperate forest, subtropical forest patches, Paramo, 2000-3400m. The main area people visit is the temperate forest at 2400-2700m.
Excellent forest, and home of the recently described Jocotoco Antpitta. In addition to the Antpitta this is the nicest temperate forest site in Ecuador, with 6 species of sympatric Antpittas (plus Barred Antthrush) on one trail. Most people just come here for two to three days to tick the Antpitta, but it is worth more time, the subtropical areas have lots of good birds as well, and the paramo edge holds great birds as well. Basically all the ‘Cajanuma’ birds can be found just as or more reliably here, with the addition of lower elevation species as well. If the lodge ($100 a night, ouch) is out of your budget, than you can stay in Vilcambama (2hrs) and bus in, or the small town of Valladolid which has no signed hostal but people can accommodate you. Entrance is $15, contact Fundacion Jocotoco prior to your trip there.
Six weeks while working for Fundacion Jocotoco. It rained most of the time.
The lodge is on the road between Yangana and Valldolid. After Yangana, the road goes over the Sabanillas pass, and shortly after enters the reserve. After a couple more km you will pass the Quebrada Honda trail and bus stop. 1 km further is the lodge, on the left (with the sign on the right). From there it is 6km further to Valladolid. Bus companies will have never heard of Tapichalaca, Fundacion Jocotoco, or Quebrada Honda, to them the area is known as ‘Cruz del Solado.’
Around the lodge itself, the feeders are great and the edge is good for mixed flocks of common birds. The feeders attract Speckled Hummingbird (uncommon), Fawn-breasted Brilliant (uncommon), Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Mountain Velvetbreast, Collared Inca, Amethyst-throated and Flame-throated Sunangels, Rufous-capped Thornbill (uncommon, more often seen at the flowering bushes around the feeders than the feeders themselves, Long-tailed Sylph, and White-bellied Woodstar. Common yard birds included Barred Becard, Lacrimose Mountain-tanager, Gray-hooded Bush-tanager, Masked Flowerpiercer, Rufous-chested and Blue-and-black Tanagers, Spectacled Whitestart White-sided Flowerpiercer, and Mountain Wren. At night, Rufous-banded and White-throated Screech-owls called regularly, and there was a female Swallow-tailed Nightjar that hung out on the rocks next to the lodge at dusk. I once had Rufous-bellied Nighthawk at 530am. Also, there is a blind at a compose heap to attract understory insectivorous birds, but there wasn’t anything visiting while I was there. Perhaps the best bird from the clearing I had was Golden-plumed Parakeet, which is seasonally present from Dec-Mar or so, when they breed in the wax palms on the ridge, and quite easy to see at that time. However, since I was only there a couple days in December, I only got a few quick distant looks at them.
The main trail (Jocotoco trail) starts from the lodge and goes just over 3km up, around, and over the ridge, and then continues on to the Quebrada Honda Trail, and is from 2450-2600m in elevation. There is also a short .5km trail (las Tangaras) that starts from the lodge and meets up with the Jocotoco trail. The main area for Jocotoco Antpittas is the back side of the ridge, between about 1800m and 2500m distance on the Jocotoco trail (0m is at the start of the trail, 3100m at the end at Quebrada Honda trail). In this area there are several territories, and this is where they are densest, most easily, and most commonly seen. Playback is absolutely necessary to get a look at one, and probably just to hear one as well. In six weeks, I heard natural song only three times, whereas in response to playback one or more can usually be heard almost daily. In reasonable weather (it always rains, so as long it isn’t pouring), my guess is one will respond vocally to playback 50-75% of the days, and if one responds the chance of getting looks is about 50%. Therefore, it can take a couple of days, which can be frustrating, but chances are pretty good (considering its an Antpitta). In addition to this area, there is a territory near the lodge on the Jocotoco/Tangaras trail, but I never saw or heard this bird. There are also two territories along mule trail abajo (which may be given a proper name soon), and two on the Tapir trail, new territories found by Neils Krabbe a month before I got there, and the original territory is still occupied where the Jocotoco trail meets the Quebrada Honda trail.
While most people come to Tapichalaca solely for the Antipitta, it also is probably the nicest temperate forest on the east slope of Ecuador, and most of the ‘Cajanuma’ specialty birds are just as reliable or easier here, with the exceptions being Chestnut-bellied Cotinga and Red-faced Parrot, which you really have zero chance of finding at Cajanuma anyway. Other regional endemics include Bearded Guan, which is regular along the main trail, and Orange-banded Flycatcher, which is actually pretty common, especially in stunted forest like at the beginning of Quebrada Honda trail and near Neils’ camp on the Tapir trail. Chusquea Tapaculo is the most common Tapaculo (actually one of the most common birds period), and calls everywhere. Other specialties of this elevation (most of these are difficult) included Tawny-breasted Tinamou (running on the trail) Gray-breasted Mountain-toucan, Bar-bellied Woodpecker, Tyrannine Woodcreeper, Flammulated Treerunner, Ocellated and Blackish Tapaculos, Dusky Piha, and White-capped Tanager. In flocks, regular common species include White-browed Spinetail, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Black-capped Tyrannulet, Black-capped and Black-headed Hemispingus, Blue-backed Conebill, Hooded Mountain-tanager, Plush-cap, and Grass-green Tanager. More typical territorial birds (mostly common) include Rufous Spinetail, Ash-colored Tapaculo, Rufous-headed Pygmy-tyrant, Rufous-crowned Tody-tyrant, Black-throated Tody-tyrant, Yellow-breasted and Rufous-breasted Chat-tyrants, Barred Becard, Smokey Bush-tyrant, Green-and-black and Barred Fruiteaters, and Rufous Wren. The first few weeks I was there, there was extensive seeding Bamboo, and Slaty Finch was common, I saw up to 25 in flocks, one time with Paramo Seedeaters. After a few weeks they had departed.
The star birds are the Antpittas though. Rufous and Rufous-naped Antpittas are two of the most common birds, though the latter is very difficult to see as it does not respond to playback. The best way to see them is to be on the trails at dawn and dusk when sometimes they hop about. The same is true for Undulated Antpitta, which has never been heard hear, but are seen occasionally. I saw it twice, once at dawn and once at dusk, hoping on the trails near the lodge. Slate-crowned Antpitta is vocal and pretty easy to see with playback, which is refreshing given how difficult some of the other Grallaricula are. Barred Antthush is regular but difficult to see on the backside of the ridge as well, though it sings irregularly and seemly always far from the trail
I typically didn’t bird the Quebrada Honda trail much except for the first part, as after about 500m the quality of the forest decreases, though I did hear Chestnut-crested Cotinga in this area once. This area (and the road in this area) are good for flocks and more second growth/scrub birds such as Mouse-colored Thistletail (uncommon down this low) and Golden-crowned Tanager. Also, this area (especially the road) is good for viewing Scaly-naped Amazons and Red-billed and Speckle-faced parrots, as it is so open. Where the trail meets the road is good for Band-winged Nightjar.
The main road below the lodge goes through good forest in the reserve for a few km, then after the border turns mostly to pasture with small (but often productive) forest patches.
The upper part is temperate but a little lower in elevation, birds seen here included Lyre-tailed Nightjar (a male singing regularly near the stream crossing near the bus accident markers) White-capped Tanager (fairly regular), Turquoise Jay, Northern Mountain-Cacique, Inca Jay, Yellow-vented Woodpecker, Slaty-backed Chat-tyrant (stream crossings), and White-capped Dipper. Once you get down to the forest patches the habitat is more subtropical, and you begin to pick up things like Capped Conebill, Golden, Saffron-crowned, Flame-faced, Bay-headed, Metallic-green, Beryl-spangled, and Silver-backed Tanagers, the Maranon taxa of the Golden-faced Tyrannulet complex, Ashy-headed Tyrannulet, Yellow-throated Bush-tanager, Bronzy Inca, and Emerald Toucanet. Good birds seen in this area included Spectacled Prickletail, Yellow-whiskered Bush-tanager, Black-eared Hemispingus, Dusky Piha, and Chestnut-bellied Chlorophonia. Just above Valladolid, the river has Torrent Ducks. White-bellied Antpitta is rare but around in the first forest patch below the main part of the reserve (which is owned by Jocotoco also).
Below Valladolid, with your own transportation you can go to Palanda, which has some Maranon endemics, such as Maranon Thrush (common) and Spinetail, and I had a Maranon Antshrike as well. You can also go over to Tapala, on the way in this area once I had a flock of Spot-winged Parrotlets. Many Bombuscaro-type birds can be found there, like Graytail, Chestnut-tipped Toucanet, and Coppery-chested Jacamar, as well as Andean Potoo and Subtropical Pygmy-owl.
To find similar birds to the road, but more forest, it is also possible to walk on two mule trails down to about 2200m. This is the part of the refuge where I would like to spend a lot more time. The lower one, mule trail abajo, goes down the valley to a clearing, and then in and out of forest patches. The one that goes up, mule trail arriba, goes up a hundred meters elevation, over a ridge, and then down the other side before it ends at a large pasture. These trails are steep and long. On mule trail abajo, there are a couple Jocotoco territories along the first 500m or so, afterwards the Chusquea becomes less dense and the habitat less suitable. In this area I found a Striped Treehunter nest (which is undescribed). I was only able to go past the first clearing twice, once on my own, and the other time with Bob Ridgely, Pancho Sornoza, and Dan Lebbin. On my own, I had a pair of Chestnut-crested Cotingas (this is their preferred habitat). Together, we had a spectacular day. We had Black-billed Mountain-toucan calling on the way down, and when we got to the clearing Bob asked my to play tape of White-faced Nunbird, as they prefer clearings as well. About 30 seconds later Pancho spotted one, followed by another. The pair hung out for about 10 minutes before wandering off. Continuing down to the second clearing, we stopped for lunch as a small flock of White-breasted Parakeets flew by, and there was a flock of 7 Red-hooded Tanagers flying about. We continued on the trail until we reached a new lot the Fundacion had recently purchased, which still had a couple Podocarpus trees. Other birds in this area included Equatorial Rufous-vented, Sulphur-bellied Tyrannulet, and Sepia-brown Wren On our way back we stopped at a flock, and waited trying to pull some birds out. There really wasn’t much there, but we waited anyway, and eventually something caught our attention. It was a pair of gray and white birds, one with its tail fanned showing a distinctive white tail band. I was taken back to Asia and thinking it was a Pied Fantail, until its head popped out revealing a red conical bill, a pair of Masked Saltators. On our way back up we had a great large mixed flock containing more than 50-60 birds, including as many as 5 Dusky Pihas singing, and I unsuccessfully tried to string a distant Strong-billed Woodcreeper into a Greater Scythebill. Also down in this are and in the low area at the end of mule trail arriba I commonly had Chestnut-crowned Antpitta, to pad the Antpitta list.
The mule trail arriba is also interesting, along it I had a Tawny-breasted Tinamou with 2 chicks, a singing White-faced Nunbird, Gray-breasted Mountain-toucan, Barred Antthrush (several heard), Rufous-crowned Tody-tyrant, Chestnut-crested Cotinga (two out of three visits where the trail hits the pasture edge), Ocellated Tapaculo (several pairs) a Rufous Antpitta nest, and Red-hooded Tanager, among the more typical birds.
The Tapir trail is a contour recently cut to explore a previously inaccessible area of the ridge. In general the area and birds (including Joctocos) are similar to the Jocotoco trail at the first part, but it reaches an area of stunted forest when it crosses a ridge, and then descends on this ridge. The stunted area has a few higher elevation things like Glowing Puffleg, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, and Mountain Velvetbreast, and Orange-banded Flycatcher is fairly numerous. On the way back my first visit, when the bamboo was seeding, I heard a Maroon-chested Ground-dove singing. About 20 minutes latter, I flushed a male and got a brief look, as well as lots of Slaty Finches. Other birds included White-rumped and White-throated Hawks
The final area to bird is the Paramo trail, which goes from 2700m on the road up to 3400m (treeline is very low here, about 3300m) over about 3km. This area is awesome, but will be strenuous for many people. Also, weather is an issue, as it is difficult to see anything in poor conditions, and conditions are usually poor. I went up in foggy weather my first time to map the trail with gps, and I saw a total of 5 birds the entire time. I will not complain though, as one of these birds was a stoinkin’ Masked Mountain-tanager at 3200m. Above this, Neblina Metaltail is fairly common, but I missed it and never got a chance to go back up that high. That day I went to the paramo and didn’t even see a hummingbird. The trail goes through stunted temperate forest, which gets shorted and shorter until you get to Niels’ first camp which is the Imperial Snipe spot. From there it is mostly low elfin forest with a 2m canopy, which gradually becomes knee high bushes before giving way to grasses. This is the habitat for the Metailtail and Mountain-tanager. The snipe was one of my most wanted birds, so my last week I made a decision that I would get up every day at 3am, and if there was good weather I would ascend to see the snipe at dawn. Also, if it was clear at 3-4pm, I would ascend to see them at dusk. After 7 days straight of 3am rain and foggy afternoons, on my last day it was clear and sunny. I made my way up and had 2 Imperial Snipe displaying, which started at about 6:30pm. One even landed in a 2m tree for a bit. Other birds in the lower elfin area included Scarlet-breasted Mountain-tanager, Bearded Guan, Glowing Puffleg, the ‘white-winged’ southern form of Paramo Tapaculo (see HBW), Mouse-colored Thistletail, Glossy Flowerpiercer, Tawny Antpitta, Gray-breasted Mountain-toucan, and Ocellated Tapaculo.
Dry forest, shore, humid forest, 0-500m.
One week with my parents on a small tourist boat. These boats are not set up with birders in mind, but you can see almost everything anyway (you will not see Mangrove Finch, Charles Mochingbird, or Medium Tree-finch and probably miss the Martin and the Rail as well), and for much less than a birding tour. They are still ridiculously expensive though.
You have to fly in. If you want to do the Galapagos on a budget it is possible, but you will have to write off Flightless Cormorant, Waved Albatross, and the best seabird colonies at Genovese. It will still be expensive, just less. You can bird around Santa Cruz, which will get you most of the widespread birds. The Darwin Center has most of the finches, and you can take day trips to the highlands (tortoises, Tree-finches, the rail, the martin) on public transportation, and a day trip to Bartolome to see Penguin. You can also visit highlands on San Cristobal. You should see a lot of things this way, for maybe half the cost of a boat trip. A guidebook should contain information needed to plan this.
There is no freedom to leave your group, so there isn’t much to put here as you are limited to what flys (or walks) in front of you. At first I thought I was going to go crazy with the restrictions, but it really wasn’t that bad after I got used to it, check my site list (Galapagos is at the Bottom). Just take a look at where I found things (they are all commonly visited sites you may find yourself at), and keep an eye out. One piece of advise: Darwin’s Finches respond to pishing better than Yellow-rumped Warblers. Use it endlessly.
Gray Tinamou Tinamus tao
Great Tinamou Tinamus major
White-throated Tinamou Tinamus guttatus
Tawny-breasted Tinamou Nothocercus julius
Berlepsch's Tinamou Crypturellus berlepschi
Cinereous Tinamou Crypturellus cinereus
Little Tinamou Crypturellus soui
Undulated Tinamou Crypturellus undulatus
Pale-browed Tinamou Crypturellus transfasciatus
Variegated Tinamou Crypturellus variegatus
Bartlett's Tinamou Crypturellus bartletti
Rufous-headed Chachalaca Ortalis erythroptera
Speckled Chachalaca Ortalis guttata
Bearded Guan Penelope barbata
Baudo Guan Penelope ortoni
Andean Guan Penelope montagnii
Crested Guan Penelope purpurascens
Spix's Guan Penelope jacquacu
Blue-throated Piping-Guan Pipile pipile
Wattled Guan Aburria aburri
Sickle-winged Guan Chamaepetes goudotii
Salvin's Curassow Mitu salvini
Marbled Wood-Quail Odontophorus gujanensis
Rufous-fronted Wood-Quail Odontophorus erythrops
Dark-backed Wood-Quail Odontophorus melanonotus
Tawny-faced Quail Rhynchortyx cinctus
Fulvous Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna bicolor
Torrent Duck Merganetta armata
Andean Teal Anas andium
Yellow-billed Pintail Anas georgica
White-cheeked Pintail Anas bahamensis
Andean Duck Oxyura ferruginea
Peruvian Pelican Pelecanus thagus
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
Blue-footed Booby Sula nebouxii
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus
Anhinga anhinga Anhinga
Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens
Least Grebe Tachybaptus dominicus
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
Silvery Grebe Podiceps occipitalis
Chilean Flamingo Phoenicopterus chilensis
Cocoi Heron Ardea cocoi
Great Egret Ardea alba
Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
Snowy Egret Egretta thula
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Striated Heron Butorides striata
Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Nyctanassa violacea
Fasciated Tiger-Heron Tigrisoma fasciatum
Rufescent Tiger-Heron Tigrisoma lineatum
Zigzag Heron Zebrilus undulatus
Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Greater Yellow-headed Vulture Cathartes melambrotus
King Vulture Sarcoramphus papa
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Gray-headed Kite Leptodon cayanensis
Hook-billed Kite Chondrohierax uncinatus
Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus
Pearl Kite Gampsonyx swainsonii
White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus
Double-toothed Kite Harpagus bidentatus
Plumbeous Kite Ictinia plumbea
Cinereous Harrier Circus cinereus
Tiny Hawk Accipiter superciliosus
Semicollared Hawk Accipiter collaris
Plain-breasted Hawk Accipiter ventralis
Bicolored Hawk Accipiter bicolor
Plumbeous Hawk Leucopternis plumbeus
Barred Hawk Leucopternis princeps
Semiplumbeous Hawk Leucopternis semiplumbeus
White Hawk Leucopternis albicollis
Gray-backed Hawk Leucopternis occidentalis
Savanna Hawk Buteogallus meridionalis
Harris's Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus
Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle Geranoaetus melanoleucus
Gray Hawk Asturina nitida
Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus
White-rumped Hawk Buteo leucorrhous
Short-tailed Hawk Buteo brachyurus
White-throated Hawk Buteo albigula
Red-backed Hawk Buteo polyosoma
Puna Hawk Buteo poecilochrous
Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle Spizastur melanoleucus
Black Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus tyrannus
Ornate Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus ornatus
Black-and-chestnut Eagle Oroaetus isidori
Black Caracara Daptrius ater
Red-throated Caracara Ibycter americanus
Carunculated Caracara Phalcoboenus carunculatus
Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway
Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima
Laughing Falcon Herpetotheres cachinnans
Barred Forest-Falcon Micrastur ruficollis
Plumbeous Forest-Falcon Micrastur plumbeus
Lined Forest-Falcon Micrastur gilvicollis
Slaty-backed Forest-Falcon Micrastur mirandollei
Collared Forest-Falcon Micrastur semitorquatus
Buckley's Forest-Falcon Micrastur buckleyi
American Kestrel Falco sparverius
Aplomado Falcon Falco femoralis
Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
Gray-winged Trumpeter Psophia crepitans
Chestnut-headed Crake Anurolimnas castaneiceps
Black-banded Crake Anurolimnas fasciatus
White-throated Crake Laterallus albigularis
Gray-breasted Crake Laterallus exilis
Ecuadorian Rail Rallus aequatorialis
Gray-necked Wood-Rail Aramides cajanea
Brown Wood-Rail Aramides wolfi
Paint-billed Crake Neocrex erythrops
Purple Gallinule Porphyrio martinica
Azure Gallinule Porphyrio flavirostris
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Andean Coot Fulica ardesiaca
Sungrebe Heliornis fulica
Sunbittern Eurypyga helias
Wattled Jacana Jacana jacana
American Oystercatcher Haematopus palliatus
Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus
Pied Lapwing Vanellus cayanus
Andean Lapwing Vanellus resplendens
American Golden-Plover Pluvialis dominica
Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola
Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus
Snowy Plover Charadrius alexandrinus
Imperial Snipe Gallinago imperialis
Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia
Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Sanderling Calidris alba
Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla
Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla
Baird's Sandpiper Calidris bairdii
Stilt Sandpiper Calidris himantopus
Wilson's Phalarope Phalaropus tricolor
Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe Attagis gayi
Gray-headed Gull Larus cirrocephalus
Andean Gull Larus serranus
Laughing Gull Larus atricilla
Franklin's Gull Larus pipixcan
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis
Royal Tern Sterna maxima
Yellow-billed Tern Sterna superciliaris
Rock Pigeon Columba livia
Band-tailed Pigeon Patagioenas fasciata
Pale-vented Pigeon Patagioenas cayennensis
Plumbeous Pigeon Patagioenas plumbea
Ruddy Pigeon Patagioenas subvinacea
Dusky Pigeon Patagioenas goodsoni
Eared Dove Zenaida auriculata
Common Ground-Dove Columbina passerina
Plain-breasted Ground-Dove Columbina minuta
Ecuadorian Ground-Dove Columbina buckleyi
Ruddy Ground-Dove Columbina talpacoti
Croaking Ground-Dove Columbina cruziana
Blue Ground-Dove Claravis pretiosa
Maroon-chested Ground-Dove Claravis mondetoura
Black-winged Ground-Dove Metriopelia melanoptera
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
Gray-fronted Dove Leptotila rufaxilla
Pallid Dove Leptotila pallida
Ochre-bellied Dove Leptotila ochraceiventris
Indigo-crowned Quail-Dove Geotrygon purpurata
Olive-backed Quail-Dove Geotrygon veraguensis
White-throated Quail-Dove Geotrygon frenata
Ruddy Quail-Dove Geotrygon montana
Blue-and-yellow Macaw Ara ararauna
Great Green Macaw Ara ambigua
Scarlet Macaw Ara macao
Red-and-green Macaw Ara chloroptera
Chestnut-fronted Macaw Ara severa
Red-bellied Macaw Orthopsittaca manilata
Scarlet-fronted Parakeet Aratinga wagleri
Red-masked Parakeet Aratinga erythrogenys
White-eyed Parakeet Aratinga leucophthalmus
Dusky-headed Parakeet Aratinga weddellii
Golden-plumed Parakeet Leptosittaca branickii
Maroon-tailed Parakeet Pyrrhura melanura
El Oro Parakeet Pyrrhura orcesi
White-necked Parakeet Pyrrhura albipectus
Pacific Parrotlet Forpus coelestis
Gray-cheeked Parakeet Brotogeris pyrrhopterus
Cobalt-winged Parakeet Brotogeris cyanoptera
Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlet Touit huetii
Blue-fronted Parrotlet Touit dilectissima
Spot-winged Parrotlet Touit stictoptera
Black-headed Parrot Pionites melanocephala
Rose-faced Parrot Pionopsitta pulchra
Orange-cheeked Parrot Pionopsitta barrabandi
Blue-headed Parrot Pionus menstruus
Red-billed Parrot Pionus sordidus
Speckle-faced Parrot Pionus tumultuosus
Bronze-winged Parrot Pionus chalcopterus
Red-lored Parrot Amazona autumnalis
Yellow-crowned Parrot Amazona ochrocephala
Orange-winged Parrot Amazona amazonica
Scaly-naped Parrot Amazona mercenaria
Mealy Parrot Amazona farinosa
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
Black-bellied Cuckoo Piaya melanogaster
Little Cuckoo Piaya minuta
Greater Ani Crotophaga major
Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani
Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris
Striped Cuckoo Tapera naevia
Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo Neomorphus geoffroyi
Banded Ground-Cuckoo Neomorphus radiolosus
Hoatzin Opisthocomus hoazin
Barn Owl Tyto alba
Tropical Screech-Owl Megascops choliba
Rufescent Screech-Owl Megascops ingens
Choco Screech-Owl Megascops ventralis
Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl Megascops watsonii
White-throated Screech-Owl Megascops albogularis
Mottled Owl Ciccaba virgata
Black-and-white Owl Ciccaba nigrolineata
Black-banded Owl Ciccaba huhula
Rufous-banded Owl Ciccaba albitarsus
Crested Owl Lophostrix cristata
Spectacled Owl Pulsatrix perspicillata
Cloud-forest Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium nubicola
Central American Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium griseiceps
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium brasilianum
Peruvian Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium peruanum
Great Potoo Nyctibius grandis
Common Potoo Nyctibius griseus
Short-tailed Nighthawk Lurocalis semitorquatus
Rufous-bellied Nighthawk Lurocalis rufiventris
Sand-colored Nighthawk Chordeiles rupestris
Lesser Nighthawk Chordeiles acutipennis
Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis
Choco Poorwill Nyctiphrynus rosenbergi
Band-winged Nightjar Caprimulgus longirostris
Scrub Nightjar Caprimulgus anthonyi
Blackish Nightjar Caprimulgus nigrescens
Lyre-tailed Nightjar Uropsalis lyra
Swallow-tailed Nightjar Uropsalis segmentata
Ladder-tailed Nightjar Hydropsalis climacocerca
White-chinned Swift Cypseloides cryptus
White-chested Swift Cypseloides lemosi
Chestnut-collared Swift Streptoprocne rutila
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris
Band-rumped Swift Chaetura spinicaudus
Gray-rumped Swift Chaetura cinereiventris
Pale-rumped Swift Chaetura egregia
Short-tailed Swift Chaetura brachyura
Tumbes Swift Chaetura ocypetes
Fork-tailed Palm-Swift Tachornis squamata
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift Panyptila cayennensis
White-tipped Sicklebill Eutoxeres aquila
Rufous-breasted Hermit Glaucis hirsuta
Bronzy Hermit Glaucis aenea
Band-tailed Barbthroat Threnetes ruckeri
Pale-tailed Barbthroat Threnetes niger
White-whiskered Hermit Phaethornis yaruqui
Green Hermit Phaethornis guy
White-bearded Hermit Phaethornis hispidus
Baron's Hermit Phaethornis baroni
Great-billed Hermit Phaethornis malaris
Tawny-bellied Hermit Phaethornis syrmatophorus
Straight-billed Hermit Phaethornis bourcieri
Reddish Hermit Phaethornis ruber
Black-throated Hermit Phaethornis atrimentalis
Stripe-throated Hermit Phaethornis striigularis
Gray-chinned Hermit Phaethornis griseogularis
Tooth-billed Hummingbird Androdon aequatorialis
Green-fronted Lancebill Doryfera ludovicae
Gray-breasted Sabrewing Campylopterus largipennis
White-necked Jacobin Florisuga mellivora
Brown Violet-ear Colibri delphinae
Green Violet-ear Colibri thalassinus
Sparkling Violet-ear Colibri coruscans
Black-throated Mango Anthracothorax nigricollis
Green Thorntail Discosura conversii
Western Emerald Chlorostilbon melanorhynchus
Green-crowned Woodnymph Thalurania fannyi
Emerald-bellied Woodnymph Thalurania hypochlora
Fork-tailed Woodnymph Thalurania furcata
Violet-bellied Hummingbird Damophila julie
Golden-tailed Sapphire Chrysuronia oenone
Olive-spotted Hummingbird Leucippus chlorocercus
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl
Amazilia Hummingbird Amazilia amazilia
Loja Hummingbird Amazilia alticola
Andean Emerald Agyrtria franciae
Glittering-throated Emerald Polyerata fimbriata
Blue-chested Hummingbird Polyerata amabilis
Purple-chested Hummingbird Polyerata rosenbergi
White-vented Plumeleteer Chalybura buffonii
Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer Chalybura urochrysia
Ecuadorian Piedtail Phlogophilus hemileucurus
Speckled Hummingbird Adelomyia melanogenys
Fawn-breasted Brilliant Heliodoxa rubinoides
Violet-fronted Brilliant Heliodoxa leadbeateri
Empress Brilliant Heliodoxa imperatrix
Green-crowned Brilliant Heliodoxa jacula
White-tailed Hillstar Urochroa bougueri
Chestnut-breasted Coronet Boissonneaua matthewsii
Buff-tailed Coronet Boissonneaua flavescens
Velvet-purple Coronet Boissonneaua jardini
Shining Sunbeam Aglaeactis cupripennis
Ecuadorian Hillstar Oreotrochilus chimborazo
Mountain Velvetbreast Lafresnaya lafresnayi
Bronzy Inca Coeligena coeligena
Brown Inca Coeligena wilsoni
Collared Inca Coeligena torquata
Buff-winged Starfrontlet Coeligena lutetiae
Rainbow Starfrontlet Coeligena iris
Sword-billed Hummingbird Ensifera ensifera
Great Sapphirewing Pterophanes cyanopterus
Giant Hummingbird Patagona gigas
Amethyst-throated Sunangel Heliangelus amethysticollis
Gorgeted Sunangel Heliangelus strophianus
Tourmaline Sunangel Heliangelus exortis
Flame-throated Sunangel Heliangelus micraster
Purple-throated Sunangel Heliangelus viola
Black-breasted Puffleg Eriocnemis nigrivestis
Glowing Puffleg Eriocnemis vestitus
Sapphire-vented Puffleg Eriocnemis luciani
Golden-breasted Puffleg Eriocnemis mosquera
Greenish Puffleg Haplophaedia aureliae
Hoary Puffleg Haplophaedia lugens
Purple-bibbed Whitetip Urosticte benjamini
Booted Racket-tail Ocreatus underwoodii
Black-tailed Trainbearer Lesbia victoriae
Green-tailed Trainbearer Lesbia nuna
Tyrian Metaltail Metallura tyrianthina
Violet-throated Metaltail Metallura baroni
Viridian Metaltail Metallura williami
Rufous-capped Thornbill Chalcostigma ruficeps
Blue-mantled Thornbill Chalcostigma stanleyi
Rainbow-bearded Thornbill Chalcostigma herrani
Mountain Avocetbill Opisthoprora euryptera
Long-tailed Sylph Aglaiocercus kingi
Violet-tailed Sylph Aglaiocercus coelestis
Wedge-billed Hummingbird Schistes geoffroyi
Purple-crowned Fairy Heliothryx barroti
Black-eared Fairy Heliothryx aurita
Long-billed Starthroat Heliomaster longirostris
Purple-throated Woodstar Calliphlox mitchellii
Amethyst Woodstar Calliphlox amethystina
Purple-collared Woodstar Myrtis fanny
White-bellied Woodstar Chaetocercus mulsant
Little Woodstar Chaetocercus bombus
Gorgeted Woodstar Chaetocercus heliodor
Esmeraldas Woodstar Chaetocercus berlepschi
Amazonian White-tailed Trogon Trogon viridis
Western White-tailed Trogon Trogon chionurus
Northern Violaceous Trogon Trogon caligatus
Amazonian Violaceous Trogon Trogon violaceus
Choco Trogon Trogon comptus
Collared Trogon Trogon collaris
Masked Trogon Trogon personatus
Black-throated Trogon Trogon rufus
Blue-crowned Trogon Trogon curucui
Black-tailed Trogon Trogon melanurus
Ecuadorian Trogon Trogon mesurus
Slaty-tailed Trogon Trogon massena
Golden-headed Quetzal Pharomachrus auriceps
Ringed Kingfisher Ceryle torquatus
Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona
Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana
Green-and-rufous Kingfisher Chloroceryle inda
American Pygmy Kingfisher Chloroceryle aenea
Blue-crowned Motmot Momotus momota
Highland Motmot Momotus aequatorialis
Rufous Motmot Baryphthengus martii
Broad-billed Motmot Electron platyrhynchum
White-eared Jacamar Galbalcyrhynchus leucotis
Brown Jacamar Brachygalba lugubris
Yellow-billed Jacamar Galbula albirostris
Rufous-tailed Jacamar Galbula ruficauda
Coppery-chested Jacamar Galbula pastazae
White-chinned Jacamar Galbula tombacea
Purplish Jacamar Galbula chalcothorax
Great Jacamar Jacamerops aureus
White-necked Puffbird Notharchus macrorhynchos
Barred Puffbird Nystalus radiatus
White-chested Puffbird Malacoptila fusca
Black-streaked Puffbird Malacoptila fulvogularis
White-whiskered Puffbird Malacoptila panamensis
Lanceolated Monklet Micromonacha lanceolata
Brown Nunlet Nonnula brunnea
White-faced Nunbird Hapaloptila castanea
Black-fronted Nunbird Monasa nigrifrons
White-fronted Nunbird Monasa morphoeus
Yellow-billed Nunbird Monasa flavirostris
Swallow-wing Chelidoptera tenebrosa
Scarlet-crowned Barbet Capito aurovirens
Orange-fronted Barbet Capito squamatus
Five-colored Barbet Capito quinticolor
Gilded Barbet Capito auratus
Lemon-throated Barbet Eubucco richardsoni
Red-headed Barbet Eubucco bourcierii
Toucan Barbet Semnornis ramphastinus
Chestnut-tipped Toucanet Aulacorhynchus derbianus
Crimson-rumped Toucanet Aulacorhynchus haematopygus
Emerald Toucanet Aulacorhynchus prasinus
Lettered Aracari Pteroglossus inscriptus
Ivory-billed Aracari Pteroglossus azara
Chestnut-eared Aracari Pteroglossus castanotis
Pale-mandibled Aracari Pteroglossus erythropygius
Stripe-billed Aracari Pteroglossus sanguineus
Many-banded Aracari Pteroglossus pluricinctus
Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan Andigena laminirostris
Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan Andigena hypoglauca
Black-billed Mountain-Toucan Andigena nigrirostris
Golden-collared Toucanet Selenidera reinwardtii
Choco Toucan Ramphastos brevis
Channel-billed Toucan Ramphastos vitellinus
Chestnut-mandibled Toucan Ramphastos swainsonii
White-throated Toucan Ramphastos tucanus
Lafresnaye's Piculet Picumnus lafresnayi
Ecuadorian Piculet Picumnus sclateri
Olivaceous Piculet Picumnus olivaceus
Black-cheeked Woodpecker Melanerpes pucherani
Yellow-tufted Woodpecker Melanerpes cruentatus
Scarlet-backed Woodpecker Veniliornis callonotus
Yellow-vented Woodpecker Veniliornis dignus
Bar-bellied Woodpecker Veniliornis nigriceps
Smoky-brown Woodpecker Veniliornis fumigatus
Little Woodpecker Veniliornis passerinus
Choco Woodpecker Veniliornis chocoensis
Red-rumped Woodpecker Veniliornis kirkii
Lita Woodpecker Piculus litae
Golden-green Woodpecker Piculus chrysochloros
Golden-olive Woodpecker Piculus rubiginosus
Crimson-mantled Woodpecker Piculus rivolii
Cinnamon Woodpecker Celeus loricatus
Chestnut Woodpecker Celeus elegans
Cream-colored Woodpecker Celeus flavus
Rufous-headed Woodpecker Celeus spectabilis
Ringed Woodpecker Celeus torquatus
Spot-breasted Woodpecker Chrysoptilus punctigula
Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus
Powerful Woodpecker Campephilus pollens
Crimson-bellied Woodpecker Campephilus haematogaster
Red-necked Woodpecker Campephilus rubricollis
Crimson-crested Woodpecker Campephilus melanoleucos
Guayaquil Woodpecker Campephilus gayaquilensis
Tyrannine Woodcreeper Dendrocincla tyrannina
Plain-brown Woodcreeper Dendrocincla fuliginosa
Long-tailed Woodcreeper Deconychura longicauda
Spot-throated Woodcreeper Deconychura stictolaema
Olivaceous Woodcreeper Sittasomus griseicapillus
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper Glyphorynchus spirurus
Long-billed Woodcreeper Nasica longirostris
Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper Dendrexetastes rufigula
Strong-billed Woodcreeper Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus
Northern Barred-Woodcreeper Dendrocolaptes sanctithomae
Amazonian Barred-Woodcreeper Dendrocolaptes certhia
Black-banded Woodcreeper Dendrocolaptes picumnus
Striped Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus obsoletus
Ocellated Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus ocellatus
Spix's Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus spixii
Buff-throated Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus guttatus
Black-striped Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus
Spotted Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus erythropygius
Olive-backed Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus triangularis
Straight-billed Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus picus
Streak-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes souleyetii
Montane Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger
Lineated Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes albolineatus
Red-billed Scythebill Campylorhamphus trochilirostris
Brown-billed Scythebill Campylorhamphus pusillus
Bar-winged Cinclodes Cinclodes fuscus
Stout-billed Cinclodes Cinclodes excelsior
Pacific Hornero Furnarius cinnamomeus
Lesser Hornero Furnarius minor
Andean Tit-Spinetail Leptasthenura andicola
Rufous Spinetail Synallaxis unirufa
Azara's Spinetail Synallaxis azarae
Dark-breasted Spinetail Synallaxis albigularis
Slaty Spinetail Synallaxis brachyura
Plain-crowned Spinetail Synallaxis gujanensis
White-bellied Spinetail Synallaxis propinqua
Black-faced Spinetail Synallaxis tithys
White-browed Spinetail Hellmayrea gularis
Line-cheeked Spinetail Cranioleuca antisiensis
Ash-browed Spinetail Cranioleuca curtata
Red-faced Spinetail Cranioleuca erythrops
Parker's Spinetail Cranioleuca vulpecula
White-chinned Thistletail Schizoeaca fuliginosa
Mouse-colored Thistletail Schizoeaca griseomurina
Streak-backed Canastero Asthenes wyatti
Many-striped Canastero Asthenes flammulata
Orange-fronted Plushcrown Metopothrix aurantiacus
Equatorial Graytail Xenerpestes singularis
Double-banded Graytail Xenerpestes minlosi
Spectacled Prickletail Siptornis striaticollis
Rusty-winged Barbtail Premnornis guttuligera
Spotted Barbtail Premnoplex brunnescens
Pearled Treerunner Margarornis squamiger
Plain Xenops Xenops minutus
Streaked Xenops Xenops rutilans
Montane Foliage-gleaner Anabacerthia striaticollis
Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner Anabacerthia variegaticeps
Streaked Tuftedcheek Pseudocolaptes boissonneautii
Pacific Tuftedcheek Pseudocolaptes johnsoni
Flammulated Treehunter Thripadectes flammulatus
Striped Treehunter Thripadectes holostictus
Black-billed Treehunter Thripadectes melanorhynchus
Streak-capped Treehunter Thripadectes virgaticeps
Uniform Treehunter Thripadectes ignobilis
Lineated Foliage-gleaner Syndactyla subalaris
Rufous-necked Foliage-gleaner Syndactyla ruficollis
Western Woodhaunter Hyloctistes virgatus
Chestnut-winged Hookbill Ancistrops strigilatus
Chestnut-winged Foliage-gleaner Philydor erythropterus
Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner Philydor rufus
Slaty-winged Foliage-gleaner Philydor fuscipennis
Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner Automolus ochrolaemus
Olive-backed Foliage-gleaner Automolus infuscatus
Ruddy Foliage-gleaner Automolus rubiginosus
Henna-hooded Foliage-gleaner Hylocryptus erythrocephalus
Tawny-throated Leaftosser Sclerurus mexicanus
Black-tailed Leaftosser Sclerurus caudacutus
Scaly-throated Leaftosser Sclerurus guatemalensis
Fasciated Antshrike Cymbilaimus lineatus
Undulated Antshrike Frederickena unduligera
Great Antshrike Taraba major
Collared Antshrike Sakesphorus bernardi
Barred Antshrike Thamnophilus doliatus
Chapman's Antshrike Thamnophilus zarumae
Lined Antshrike Thamnophilus tenuepunctatus
Cocha Antshrike Thamnophilus praecox
Castelnau's Antshrike Thamnophilus cryptoleucus
Uniform Antshrike Thamnophilus unicolor
Plain-winged Antshrike Thamnophilus schistaceus
Mouse-colored Antshrike Thamnophilus murinus
Western Slaty-Antshrike Thamnophilus atrinucha
Maranon Slaty-Antshrike Thamnophilus leucogaster
Spot-winged Antshrike Pygiptila stellaris
Russet Antshrike Thamnistes anabatinus
Plain Antvireo Dysithamnus mentalis
Spot-crowned Antvireo Dysithamnus puncticeps
Bicolored Antvireo Dysithamnus occidentalis
Dusky-throated Antshrike Thamnomanes ardesiacus
Cinereous Antshrike Thamnomanes caesius
Pygmy Antwren Myrmotherula brachyura
Short-billed Antwren Myrmotherula obscura
Griscom's Antwren Myrmotherula ignota
Pacific Antwren Myrmotherula pacifica
Amazonian Antwren Myrmotherula multostriata
Plain-throated Antwren Myrmotherula hauxwelli
Checker-throated Antwren Myrmotherula fulviventris
Yasuni Antwren Myrmotherula fjeldsaai
Foothill Antwren Myrmotherula spodionota
Ornate Antwren Myrmotherula ornata
Rufous-tailed Antwren Myrmotherula erythrura
White-flanked Antwren Myrmotherula axillaris
Slaty Antwren Myrmotherula schisticolor
Rio Suno Antwren Myrmotherula sunensis
Long-winged Antwren Myrmotherula longipennis
Plain-winged Antwren Myrmotherula behni
Gray Antwren Myrmotherula menetriesii
Banded Antbird Dichrozona cincta
Dugand's Antwren Herpsilochmus dugandi
Yellow-breasted Antwren Herpsilochmus axillaris
Dot-winged Antwren Microrhopias quixensis
Long-tailed Antbird Drymophila caudata
Rufous-rumped Antwren Terenura callinota
Gray Antbird Cercomacra cinerascens
Dusky Antbird Cercomacra tyrannina
Blackish Antbird Cercomacra nigrescens
Black Antbird Cercomacra serva
White-backed Fire-eye Pyriglena leuconota
Black-faced Antbird Myrmoborus myotherinus
Warbling Antbird Hypocnemis cantator
Yellow-browed Antbird Hypocnemis hypoxantha
Black-and-white Antbird Myrmochanes hemileucus
Silvered Antbird Sclateria naevia
Spot-winged Antbird Percnostola leucostigma
Stub-tailed Antbird Myrmeciza berlepschi
Chestnut-backed Antbird Myrmeciza exsul
Esmeraldas Antbird Myrmeciza nigricauda
Plumbeous Antbird Myrmeciza hyperythra
White-shouldered Antbird Myrmeciza melanoceps
Immaculate Antbird Myrmeciza immaculata
Gray-headed Antbird Myrmeciza griseiceps
White-plumed Antbird Pithys albifrons
Bicolored Antbird Gymnopithys leucaspis
Spotted Antbird Hylophylax naevioides
Spot-backed Antbird Hylophylax naevia
Dot-backed Antbird Hylophylax punctulata
Scale-backed Antbird Hylophylax poecilinota
Black-spotted Bare-eye Phlegopsis nigromaculata
Reddish-winged Bare-eye Phlegopsis erythroptera
Ocellated Antbird Phaenostictus mcleannani
Rufous-capped Antthrush Formicarius colma
Black-headed Antthrush Formicarius nigricapillus
Black-faced Antthrush Formicarius analis
Rufous-breasted Antthrush Formicarius rufipectus
Striated Antthrush Chamaeza nobilis
Short-tailed Antthrush Chamaeza campanisona
Barred Antthrush Chamaeza mollissima
Rufous-crowned Antpitta Pittasoma rufopileatum
Undulated Antpitta Grallaria squamigera
Giant Antpitta Grallaria gigantea
Scaled Antpitta Grallaria guatimalensis
Moustached Antpitta Grallaria alleni
Plain-backed Antpitta Grallaria haplonota
Chestnut-crowned Antpitta Grallaria ruficapilla
Watkins's Antpitta Grallaria watkinsi
Chestnut-naped Antpitta Grallaria nuchalis
Jocotoco Antpitta Grallaria ridgelyi
Yellow-breasted Antpitta Grallaria flavotincta
White-bellied Antpitta Grallaria hypoleuca
Rufous Antpitta Grallaria rufula
Tawny Antpitta Grallaria quitensis
Streak-chested Antpitta Hylopezus perspicillatus
White-lored Antpitta Hylopezus fulviventris
Thrush-like Antpitta Myrmothera campanisona
Ochre-breasted Antpitta Grallaricula flavirostris
Slate-crowned Antpitta Grallaricula nana
Chestnut-belted Gnateater Conopophaga aurita
Chestnut-crowned Gnateater Conopophaga castaneiceps
Rusty-belted Tapaculo Liosceles thoracicus
Elegant Crescent-chest Melanopareia elegans
Ash-colored Tapaculo Myornis senilis
Unicolored Tapaculo Scytalopus unicolor
Blackish Tapaculo Scytalopus latrans
Equatorial Rufous-vented Tapaculo Scytalopus micropterus
Narino Tapaculo Scytalopus vicinior
Spillman's Tapaculo Scytalopus spillmanni
Paramo Tapaculo Scytalopus canus
Choco Tapaculo Scytalopus chocoensis
El Oro Tapaculo Scytalopus robbinsi
Chusquea Tapaculo Scytalopus parkeri
Ocellated Tapaculo Acropternis orthonyx
Green Manakin Chloropipo holochlora
Yellow-headed Manakin Chloropipo flavicapilla
White-bearded Manakin Manacus manacus
Blue-backed Manakin Chiroxiphia pareola
Blue-crowned Manakin Lepidothrix coronata
Blue-rumped Manakin Lepidothrix isidorei
Wire-tailed Manakin Pipra filicauda
Golden-headed Manakin Pipra erythrocephala
Red-capped Manakin Pipra mentalis
Golden-winged Manakin Masius chrysopterus
Western Striped Manakin Machaeropterus striolatus
Club-winged Manakin Machaeropterus deliciosus
Dwarf Tyrant-Manakin Tyranneutes stolzmanni
Wing-barred Piprites Piprites chloris
Sapayoa Sapayoa aenigma
Thrush-like Schiffornis Schiffornis turdinus
Brown-capped Tyrannulet Ornithion brunneicapillus
Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet Camptostoma obsoletum
Tumbesian Tyrannulet Phaeomyias tumbezana
Yellow Tyrannulet Capsiempis flaveola
Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet Tyrannulus elatus
Forest Elaenia Myiopagis gaimardii
Foothill Elaenia Myiopagis olallai
Gray Elaenia Myiopagis caniceps
Yellow-crowned Elaenia Myiopagis flavivertex
Pacific Elaenia Myiopagis subplacens
Greenish Elaenia Myiopagis viridicata
Yellow-bellied Elaenia Elaenia flavogaster
White-crested Elaenia Elaenia albiceps
Mottle-backed Elaenia Elaenia gigas
Lesser Elaenia Elaenia chiriquensis
Sierran Elaenia Elaenia pallatangae
Torrent Tyrannulet Serpophaga cinerea
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher Mionectes oleagineus
Streak-necked Flycatcher Mionectes striaticollis
Olive-striped Flycatcher Mionectes olivaceus
Rufous-breasted Flycatcher Leptopogon rufipectus
Slaty-capped Flycatcher Leptopogon superciliaris
Bronze-olive Pygmy-Tyrant Pseudotriccus pelzelni
Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrant Pseudotriccus ruficeps
Variegated Bristle-Tyrant Pogonotriccus poecilotis
Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant Pogonotriccus ophthalmicus
Ecuadorian Tyrannulet Phylloscartes gualaquizae
Sooty-headed Tyrannulet Phyllomyias griseiceps
Black-capped Tyrannulet Phyllomyias nigrocapillus
Ashy-headed Tyrannulet Phyllomyias cinereiceps
Golden-faced Tyrannulet Zimmerius chrysops
Loja Tyrannulet Zimmerius flavidifrons
White-throated Tyrannulet Mecocerculus leucophrys
White-tailed Tyrannulet Mecocerculus poecilocercus
Rufous-winged Tyrannulet Mecocerculus calopterus
Sulphur-bellied Tyrannulet Mecocerculus minor
White-banded Tyrannulet Mecocerculus stictopterus
Lesser Wagtail-Tyrant Stigmatura napensis
Black-crested Tit-Tyrant Anairetes nigrocristatus
Tufted Tit-Tyrant Anairetes parulus
Tawny-crowned Pygmy-Tyrant Euscarthmus meloryphus
Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant Myiornis atricapillus
Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant Lophotriccus pileatus
Double-banded Pygmy-Tyrant Lophotriccus vitiosus
Rufous-crowned Tody-Tyrant Poecilotriccus ruficeps
White-eyed Tody-Tyrant Hemitriccus zosterops
Black-throated Tody-Tyrant Hemitriccus granadensis
Common Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum cinereum
Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum nigriceps
Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum chrysocrotaphum
Brownish Twistwing Cnipodectes subbrunneus
Pacific Flatbill Rhynchocyclus pacificus
Olivaceous Flatbill Rhynchocyclus olivaceus
Fulvous-breasted Flatbill Rhynchocyclus fulvipectus
Yellow-olive Flycatcher Tolmomyias sulphurescens
Yellow-margined Flycatcher Tolmomyias flavotectus
Zimmer's Flycatcher Tolmomyias assimilis
Gray-crowned Flycatcher Tolmomyias poliocephalus
Orange-eyed Flycatcher Tolmomyias traylori
Yellow-breasted Flycatcher Tolmomyias flaviventris
Golden-crowned Spadebill Platyrinchus coronatus
White-throated Spadebill Platyrinchus mystaceus
Pacific Royal-Flycatcher Onychorhynchus occidentalis
Ornate Flycatcher Myiotriccus ornatus
Flavescent Flycatcher Myiophobus flavicans
Orange-crested Flycatcher Myiophobus phoenicomitra
Handsome Flycatcher Myiophobus pulcher
Orange-banded Flycatcher Myiophobus lintoni
Bran-colored Flycatcher Myiophobus fasciatus
Olive-chested Flycatcher Myiophobus cryptoxanthus
Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher Terenotriccus erythrurus
Tawny-breasted Flycatcher Myiobius villosus
Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher Myiobius sulphureipygius
Whiskered Flycatcher Myiobius barbatus
Black-tailed Flycatcher Myiobius atricaudus
Cinnamon Tyrant Neopipo cinnamomea
Cinnamon Flycatcher Pyrrhomyias cinnamomea
Cliff Flycatcher Hirundinea ferruginea
Gray-breasted Flycatcher Lathrotriccus griseipectus
Tufted Flycatcher Mitrephanes phaeocercus
Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus cooperi
Smoke-colored Pewee Contopus fumigatus
Western Wood-Pewee Contopus sordidulus
Eastern Wood-Pewee Contopus virens
Tropical Pewee Contopus cinereus
Acadian Flycatcher Empidonax virescens
Alder Flycatcher Empidonax alnorum
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus
Crowned Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca frontalis
Jelski's Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca jelskii
Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca diadema
Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca cinnamomeiventris
Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca rufipectoralis
Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca fumicolor
Drab Water-Tyrant Ochthornis littoralis
Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant Myiotheretes striaticollis
Smoky Bush-Tyrant Myiotheretes fumigatus
Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant Agriornis montana
White-tailed Shrike-Tyrant Agriornis andicola
Paramo Ground-Tyrant Muscisaxicola alpina
Rufous-tailed Tyrant Knipolegus poecilurus
Masked Water-Tyrant Fluvicola nengeta
Long-tailed Tyrant Colonia colonus
Cinnamon Attila Attila cinnamomeus
Ochraceous Attila Attila torridus
Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus
Eastern Sirystes Sirystes sibilator
Western Sirystes Sirystes albogularis
Rufous Mourner Rhytipterna holerythra
Grayish Mourner Rhytipterna simplex
Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer
Short-crested Flycatcher Myiarchus ferox
Pale-edged Flycatcher Myiarchus cephalotes
Sooty-crowned Flycatcher Myiarchus phaeocephalus
Lesser Kiskadee Philohydor lictor
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua
Rusty-margined Flycatcher Myiozetetes cayanensis
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis
Gray-capped Flycatcher Myiozetetes granadensis
Dusky-chested Flycatcher Myiozetetes luteiventris
White-ringed Flycatcher Conopias albovittata
Lemon-browed Flycatcher Conopias cinchoneti
Golden-crowned Flycatcher Myiodynastes chrysocephalus
Baird's Flycatcher Myiodynastes bairdii
Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus
Piratic Flycatcher Legatus leucophaius
Variegated Flycatcher Empidonomus varius
Crowned Slaty Flycatcher Griseotyrannus aurantioatrocristatus
Sulphury Flycatcher Tyrannopsis sulphurea
Snowy-throated Kingbird Tyrannus niveigularis
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus
Chestnut-crowned Becard Pachyramphus castaneus
Barred Becard Pachyramphus versicolor
Cinnamon Becard Pachyramphus cinnamomeus
White-winged Becard Pachyramphus polychopterus
Black-and-white Becard Pachyramphus albogriseus
Black-capped Becard Pachyramphus marginatus
Slaty Becard Pachyramphus spodiurus
One-colored Becard Pachyramphus homochrous
Black-tailed Tityra Tityra cayana
Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata
Red-crested Cotinga Ampelion rubrocristata
Chestnut-crested Cotinga Ampelion rufaxilla
Green-and-black Fruiteater Pipreola riefferii
Barred Fruiteater Pipreola arcuata
Orange-breasted Fruiteater Pipreola jucunda
Black-chested Fruiteater Pipreola lubomirskii
Scaled Fruiteater Ampelioides tschudii
White-browed Purpletuft Iodopleura isabellae
Speckled Mourner Laniocera rufescens
Cinereous Mourner Laniocera hypopyrra
Olivaceous Piha Snowornis cryptolophus
Dusky Piha Lipaugus fuscocinereus
Screaming Piha Lipaugus vociferans
Rufous Piha Lipaugus unirufus
Purple-throated Cotinga Porphyrolaema porphyrolaema
Plum-throated Cotinga Cotinga maynana
Spangled Cotinga Cotinga cayana
Black-tipped Cotinga Carpodectes hopkei
Bare-necked Fruitcrow Gymnoderus foetidus
Purple-throated Fruitcrow Querula purpurata
Long-wattled Umbrellabird Cephalopterus penduliger
Amazonian Umbrellabird Cephalopterus ornatus
Andean Cock-of-the-rock Rupicola peruviana
Inca Jay Cyanocorax yncas
Violaceous Jay Cyanocorax violaceus
White-tailed Jay Cyanocorax mystacalis
Turquoise Jay Cyanolyca turcosa
Beautiful Jay Cyanolyca pulchra
Brown-capped Vireo Vireo leucophrys
Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus
Yellow-green Vireo Vireo flavoviridis
Lemon-chested Greenlet Hylophilus thoracicus
Dusky-capped Greenlet Hylophilus hypoxanthus
Olivaceous Greenlet Hylophilus olivaceus
Tawny-crowned Greenlet Hylophilus ochraceiceps
Lesser Greenlet Hylophilus decurtatus
Rufous-browed Peppershrike Cyclarhis gujanensis
Black-billed Peppershrike Cyclarhis nigrirostris
Brown-chested Martin Progne tapera
Gray-breasted Martin Progne chalybea
White-winged Swallow Tachycineta albiventer
Blue-and-white Swallow Notiochelidon cyanoleuca
Brown-bellied Swallow Notiochelidon murina
Pale-footed Swallow Notiochelidon flavipes
White-banded Swallow Atticora fasciata
White-thighed Swallow Neochelidon tibialis
Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis
Bank Swallow Riparia riparia
Chestnut-collared Swallow Petrochelidon rufocollaris
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Black-capped Donacobius Donacobius atricapilla
Band-backed Wren Campylorhynchus zonatus
Thrush-like Wren Campylorhynchus turdinus
Fasciated Wren Campylorhynchus fasciatus
Gray-mantled Wren Odontorchilus branickii
Rufous Wren Cinnycerthia unirufa
Sepia-brown Wren Cinnycerthia olivascens
Whiskered Wren Thryothorus mystacalis
Plain-tailed Wren Thryothorus euophrys
Coraya Wren Thryothorus coraya
Speckle-breasted Wren Thryothorus sclateri
Bay Wren Thryothorus nigricapillus
Stripe-throated Wren Thryothorus leucopogon
Buff-breasted Wren Thryothorus leucotis
House Wren Troglodytes aedon
Mountain Wren Troglodytes solstitialis
Sedge Wren Cistothorus platensis
White-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucosticta
Gray-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucophrys
Southern Nightengale-Wren Microcerculus marginatus
Wing-banded Wren Microcerculus bambla
Song Wren Cyphorhinus phaeocephalus
Tawny-faced Gnatwren Microbates cinereiventris
Long-billed Gnatwren Ramphocaenus melanurus
Tropical Gnatcatcher Polioptila plumbea
Slate-throated Gnatcatcher Polioptila schistaceigula
White-capped Dipper Cinclus leucocephalus
Long-tailed Mockingbird Mimus longicaudatus
Andean Solitaire Myadestes ralloides
Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus fuscater
Spotted Nightingale-Thrush Catharus dryas
Swainson's Thrush Catharus ustulatus
Pale-eyed Thrush Platycichla leucops
Chiguanco Thrush Turdus chiguanco
Great Thrush Turdus fuscater
Glossy-black Thrush Turdus serranus
Plumbeous-backed Thrush Turdus reevei
Chestnut-bellied Thrush Turdus fulviventris
Maranon Thrush Turdus maranonicus
Black-billed Thrush Turdus ignobilis
Lawrence's Thrush Turdus lawrencii
Pale-vented Thrush Turdus obsoletus
Hauxwell's Thrush Turdus hauxwelli
Ecuadorian Thrush Turdus maculirostris
Dagua Thrush Turdus daguae
White-necked Thrush Turdus albicollis
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Tropical Parula Parula pitiayumi
Blackburnian Warbler Dendroica fusca
Blackpoll Warbler Dendroica striata
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia
Northern Waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis
Olive-crowned Yellowthroat Geothlypis semiflava
Black-lored Yellowthroat Geothlypis auriculatus
Canada Warbler Wilsonia canadensis
Slate-throated Redstart Myioborus miniatus
Spectacled Redstart Myioborus melanocephalus
Gray-and-gold Warbler Basileuterus fraseri
Choco Warbler Basileuterus chlorophrys
Citrine Warbler Basileuterus luteoviridis
Black-crested Warbler Basileuterus nigrocristatus
Russet-crowned Warbler Basileuterus coronatus
Three-banded Warbler Basileuterus trifasciatus
Three-striped Warbler Basileuterus tristriatus
Buff-rumped Warbler Basileuterus fulvicauda
Cinereous Conebill Conirostrum cinereum
Blue-backed Conebill Conirostrum sitticolor
Capped Conebill Conirostrum albifrons
Giant Conebill Oreomanes fraseri
White-sided Flowerpiercer Diglossa albilatera
Glossy Flowerpiercer Diglossa lafresnayii
Black Flowerpiercer Diglossa humeralis
Deep-blue Flowerpiercer Diglossopis glauca
Bluish Flowerpiercer Diglossopis caerulescens
Masked Flowerpiercer Diglossopis cyanea
Magpie Tanager Cissopis leveriana
Grass-green Tanager Chlorornis riefferii
White-capped Tanager Sericossypha albocristata
Gray-hooded Bush-Tanager Cnemoscopus rubrirostris
Black-capped Hemispingus Hemispingus atropileus
Superciliaried Hemispingus Hemispingus superciliaris
Black-eared Hemispingus Hemispingus melanotis
Western Hemispingus Hemispingus ochraceus
Black-headed Hemispingus Hemispingus verticalis
Rufous-chested Tanager Thlypopsis ornata
Orange-headed Tanager Thlypopsis sordida
Guira Tanager Hemithraupis guira
Yellow-backed Tanager Hemithraupis flavicollis
Scarlet-and-white Tanager Erythrothlypis salmoni
Fulvous Shrike-Tanager Lanio fulvus
Rufous-crested Tanager Creurgops verticalis
Scarlet-browed Tanager Heterospingus xanthopygius
Flame-crested Tanager Tachyphonus cristatus
Fulvous-crested Tanager Tachyphonus surinamus
White-shouldered Tanager Tachyphonus luctuosus
Tawny-crested Tanager Tachyphonus delatrii
White-lined Tanager Tachyphonus rufus
Vermilion Tanager Calochaetes coccineus
Masked Crimson Tanager Ramphocelus nigrogularis
Silver-beaked Tanager Ramphocelus carbo
Lemon-rumped Tanager Ramphocelus nitrogularis
Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus
Blue-capped Tanager Thraupis cyanocephala
Blue-and-yellow Tanager Thraupis bonariensis
Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum
Golden-chested Tanager Bangsia rothschildi
Moss-backed Tanager Bangsia edwardsi
Hooded Mountain-Tanager Buthraupis montana
Black-chested Mountain-Tanager Buthraupis eximia
Masked Mountain-Tanager Buthraupis wetmorei
Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager Anisognathus lacrymosus
Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager Anisognathus igniventris
Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager Anisognathus somptuosus
Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager Anisognathus notabilis
Purplish-mantled Tanager Iridosornis porphyrocephala
Golden-crowned Tanager Iridosornis rufivertex
Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager Dubusia taeniata
Fawn-breasted Tanager Pipraeidea melanonota
Orange-eared Tanager Chlorochrysa calliparaea
Turquoise Tanager Tangara mexicana
Gray-and-gold Tanager Tangara palmeri
Paradise Tanager Tangara chilensis
Blue-whiskered Tanager Tangara johannae
Green-and-gold Tanager Tangara schrankii
Emerald Tanager Tangara florida
Golden Tanager Tangara arthus
Silver-throated Tanager Tangara icterocephala
Golden-eared Tanager Tangara chrysotis
Saffron-crowned Tanager Tangara xanthocephala
Flame-faced Tanager Tangara parzudakii
Yellow-bellied Tanager Tangara xanthogastra
Spotted Tanager Tangara punctata
Rufous-throated Tanager Tangara rufigula
Bay-headed Tanager Tangara gyrola
Rufous-winged Tanager Tangara lavinia
Golden-naped Tanager Tangara ruficervix
Metallic-green Tanager Tangara labradorides
Blue-necked Tanager Tangara cyanicollis
Golden-hooded Tanager Tangara larvata
Masked Tanager Tangara nigrocincta
Beryl-spangled Tanager Tangara nigroviridis
Blue-and-black Tanager Tangara vassorii
Black-capped Tanager Tangara heinei
Silver-backed Tanager Tangara viridicollis
Opal-rumped Tanager Tangara velia
Opal-crowned Tanager Tangara callophrys
Golden-collared Honeycreeper Iridophanes pulcherrima
Yellow-tufted Dacnis Dacnis egrigia
Black-faced Dacnis Dacnis lineata
Yellow-bellied Dacnis Dacnis flaviventer
Scarlet-thighed Dacnis Dacnis venusta
Blue Dacnis Dacnis cayana
Scarlet-breasted Dacnis Dacnis berlepschi
Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza
Short-billed Honeycreeper Cyanerpes nitidus
Purple Honeycreeper Cyanerpes caeruleus
Red-legged Honeycreeper Cyanerpes cyaneus
Tit-like Dacnis Xenodacnis parina
Swallow-Tanager Tersina viridis
Plush-Cap Catamblyrhynchus diadema
Black-backed Bush-Tanager Urothraupis stolzmanni
Streaked Saltator Saltator striatipectus
Grayish Saltator Saltator coerulescens
Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus
Slate-colored Grosbeak Saltator grossus
Black-winged Saltator Saltator atripennis
Black-cowled Saltator Saltator nigriceps
Masked Saltator Saltator cinctus
Crimson-breasted Finch Rhodospingus cruentus
Plumbeous Sierra-Finch Phrygilus unicolor
Ash-breasted Sierra-Finch Phrygilus plebejus
Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina
Caqueta Seedeater Sporophila murallae
Variable Seedeater Sporophila corvina
Lesson's Seedeater Sporophila bouvronides
Black-and-white Seedeater Sporophila luctuosa
Yellow-bellied Seedeater Sporophila nigricollis
Chestnut-bellied Seedeater Sporophila castaneiventris
Great-billed Seed-Finch Oryzoborus maximiliani
Lesser Seed-Finch Oryzoborus angolensis
Band-tailed Seedeater Catamenia analis
Plain-colored Seedeater Catamenia inornata
Paramo Seedeater Catamenia homochroa
Dull-colored Grassquit Tiaris obscura
Bananaquit Coereba flaveola
Slaty Finch Haplospiza rustica
Saffron Finch Sicalis flaveola
Red-capped Cardinal Paroaria gularis
Olive Finch Lysurus castaneiceps
Pale-naped Brush-Finch Atlapetes pallidinucha
Rufous-capped Brush-Finch Atlapetes latinuchus
Slaty Brush-Finch Atlapetes schistaceus
Tricolored Brush-Finch Atlapetes tricolor
Bay-crowned Brush-Finch Atlapetes seebohmi
White-winged Brush-Finch Atlapetes leucopterus
Pale-headed Brush-Finch Atlapetes pallidiceps
Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch Buarremon brunneinucha
Stripe-headed Brush-Finch Buarremon torquatus
Orange-billed Sparrow Arremon aurantiirostris
Black-capped Sparrow Arremon abeillei
Black-striped Sparrow Arremonops conirostris
Yellow-browed Sparrow Ammodramus aurifrons
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis
Common Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus ophthalmicus
Dusky Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus semifuscus
Yellow-whiskered Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus parvirostris
Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus flavigularis
Yellow-green Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus flavovirens
Ashy-throated Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus canigularis
Hepatic Tanager Piranga flava
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra
White-winged Tanager Piranga leucoptera
Red-hooded Tanager Piranga rubriceps
Dusky-faced Tanager Mitrospingus cassinii
Lemon-spectacled Tanager Chlorothraupis olivacea
Ochre-breasted Tanager Chlorothraupis stolzmanni
Southern Yellow Grosbeak Pheucticus chrysogaster
Blue-black Grosbeak Cyanocompsa cyanoides
Peruvian Meadowlark Sturnella bellicosa
Scrub Blackbird Dives warszewiczi
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus
Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonariensis
Giant Cowbird Molothrus oryzivorus
Moriche Oriole Icterus chrysocephalus
Yellow-tailed Oriole Icterus mesomelas
White-edged Oriole Icterus graceannae
Orange-backed Troupial Icterus croconotus
Yellow-billed Cacique Amblycercus holosericeus
Yellow-rumped Cacique Cacicus cela
Red-rumped Cacique Cacicus haemorrhous
Subtropical Cacique Cacicus uropygialis
Scarlet-rumped Cacique Cacicus microrhynchus
Northern Mountain-Cacique Cacicus leucoramphus
Ecuadorian Cacique Cacicus sclateri
Casqued Oropendola Psarocolius oseryi
Crested Oropendola Psarocolius decumanus
Green Oropendola Psarocolius viridis
Russet-backed Oropendola Psarocolius angustifrons
Chestnut-headed Oropendola Psarocolius wagleri
Olive Oropendola Psarocolius yuracares
Oriole Blackbird Gymnomystax mexicanus
Velvet-fronted Grackle Lampropsar tanagrinus
Hooded Siskin Carduelis magellanica
Yellow-bellied Siskin Carduelis xanthogastra
Saffron Siskin Carduelis siemiradzkii
Olivaceous Siskin Carduelis olivacea
Orange-crowned Euphonia Euphonia saturata
Thick-billed Euphonia Euphonia laniirostris
Golden-rumped Euphonia Euphonia cyanocephala
Fulvous-vented Euphonia Euphonia fulvicrissa
Bronze-green Euphonia Euphonia mesochrysa
White-lored Euphonia Euphonia chrysopasta
White-vented Euphonia Euphonia minuta
Orange-bellied Euphonia Euphonia xanthogaster
Rufous-bellied Euphonia Euphonia rufiventris
Yellow-collared Chlorophonia Chlorophonia flavirostris
Blue-naped Chlorophonia Chlorophonia cyanea
Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia Chlorophonia pyrrhophrys
Galapagos Penguin Spheniscus mendiculus
Waved Albatross Phoebastria irrorata
Galapagos Petrel Pterodroma phaeopygia
Audubon's Shearwater Puffinus lherminieri
White-vented Storm-Petrel Oceanites gracilis
Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrel Oceanodroma tethys
Red-billed Tropicbird Phaethon aethereus
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
Blue-footed Booby Sula nebouxii
Nazca Booby Sula granti
Red-footed Booby Sula sula
Flightless Cormorant Phalacrocorax harrisi
Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens
Great Frigatebird Fregata minor
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
Great Egret Ardea alba
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Striated Heron Butorides striata
Lava Heron Butorides sundevalli
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Nyctanassa violacea
Caribbean Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber
Galapagos Hawk Buteo galapagoensis
Paint-billed Crake Neocrex erythrops
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
American Oystercatcher Haematopus palliatus
Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus
Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola
Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Wandering Tattler Heterosceles incanus
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Sanderling Calidris alba
Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla
Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri
Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus
Lava Gull Larus fuliginosus
Laughing Gull Larus atricilla
Franklin's Gull Larus pipixcan
Swallow-tailed Gull Creagrus furcatus
Brown Noddy Anous stolidus
Galapagos Dove Zenaida galapagoensis
Dark-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus melacoryphus
Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani
Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus
Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus
Galapagos Flycatcher Myiarchus magnirostris
Galapagos Mockingbird Nesomimus parvulus
Hood Mockingbird Nesomimus macdonaldi
San Cristobal Mockingbird Nesomimus melanotis
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia
Large Ground-Finch Geospiza magnirostris
Medium Ground-Finch Geospiza fortis
Small Ground-Finch Geospiza fuliginosa
Sharp-beaked Ground-Finch Geospiza difficilis
Common Cactus-Finch Geospiza scandens
Large Cactus-Finch Geospiza conirostris
Vegetarian Finch Camarhynchus crassirostris
Large Tree-Finch Camarhynchus psittacula
Small Tree-Finch Camarhynchus parvulus
Woodpecker Finch Camarhynchus pallidus
Warbler Finch Certhidea olivacea