15 – 29 OCTOBER 2015
By Eduardo Ormaeche
This was for sure one of the best birding trips I had the pleasure to guide in the last years. Everything was perfect! With a wonderful group of people we had excellent logistics that provided a smooth trip – including a whole bus for such a small group, amazing countryside lodges including my favourites birding lodges in Ecuador, excellent food, short distances to drive, private birding reserves, superb birding facilities including hummingbird feeders and antpitta feeding stations, and the great hospitality of the Ecuadorians; all this provided for a memorable holiday.
Northern Ecuador is a great destination for all kinds of birders. Beginning birders in the Neotropics would be amazed about the large number of colorful birds like tanagers, toucans, fruiteaters, hummingbirds, and cotingas, while more advanced birders would enjoy the hunt for secretive bird species like Rufous-breasted Antthrush, Ocellated Tapaculo, and a diverse set of forest skulkers, including an interesting set of near-endemic species.
Our 15-day tour started in Quito, the Capital of Ecuador. As soon as we arrived at the new international airport we were transferred to the comfortable Garden Hotel San José Aeropuerto, only 15 minutes from the airport. We spent our first night there. The next day we had an early start, preceded only by a cup of coffee, before we left for the Yanacocha Reserve. This reserve belongs to the Jocotoco Conservation Foundation, an Ecuadorian NGO, and is part of their net of private land and reserves through the country that protect endangered bird habitats. The NGO is named after the Jocotoco Antpitta found in Southern Ecuador.
We enjoyed a tasty but short breakfast at the reserve, and as soon as we had finished we could not ignore all the bird activity around the main house. We started with Cinereous Conebill, Tufted Tit-Tyrant, Streak-throated Bush Tyrant, and Tawny Antpitta. The hummingbird feeders provided our first hummingbirds of the trip with amazing species such as Sword-billed Hummingbird, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Great Sapphirewing, Sapphire-vented Puffleg, and Tyrian Metaltail.
Birding along the main road inside the reserve allowed us to have brief views of Rufous Antpitta, a nice party of Rufous Wren, Andean Guan, Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager, Hooded Mountain Tanager, Pearled Treerunner, Blue-backed Conebill, and Superciliaried Hemispingus. We had lunch at the reserve and then we continue our trip through the Old Nono-Mindo Road towards Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve and Lodge.
On our way to the lodge we could admire the beautiful landscape with views of the upper Tandayapa Valley, but of course we also had more goodies to find, and we were absolutely rewarded with the fantastic Plate-billed Mountain Toucan as well as with Sickle-winged Guan, Turquoise Jay, Band-tailed Pigeon, and more. We arrived at Bellavista Lodge late in the afternoon, with enough light yet to enjoy Buff-tailed Coronet at the feeders.
The first thing the next morning was to check out the compost pile, where we had good views of Sickle-winged Guan and White-throated Quail-Dove. Unfortunately, Ocellated Tapaculo was not very cooperative this year, and only one participant and I managed to have a view of this enigmatic species along the Bellavista Lodge trails. Other bird species around the lodge included the amazing Toucan Barbet, Blue-and-black Tanager, Beryl-spangled Tanager, Blue-winged Mountain Tanager, Masked Trogon, Russet-crowned Warbler, White-winged Brush Finch, Blue-capped Tanager, Grey-breasted Wood Wren, Green-and-black Fruiteater, Strong-billed Woodcreeper, and many Blackburnian Warblers. We also enjoyed great views of Collared Inca, Gorgeted Sunangel, and Green Violetear at the feeders. We found a Common Potoo roosting at daytime not far from the lodge, but perhaps the best bird was the range-restricted Tanager Finch. This species is tricky to find in Ecuador and is more reliable on our Colombia tour, but we were lucky enough to have brilliant views of this enigmatic bird. We spent two nights in Bellavista before we moved to the lower elevations at Septimo Paraiso Lodge, which was our next port of call, close to the town of Mindo.
Septimo Paraiso is a nice lodge and provides excellent facilities and many good birds as well. We used this lodge as a base to explore all the private reserves in the western lowlands, spending a total of four nights there. We arrived at the lodge in the afternoon, with a bit of rain, but we found shelter below the roof of the hummingbird feeder station and were absolutely overwhelmed with species such as Empress Brilliant, White-necked Jacobin, Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Velvet-purple Coronet, Andean Emerald, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, White-whiskered Hermit, and others. At night we were lucky to have amazing close-up views of a pair of Mottled Owl in the lodge garden. Visiting the Angel Paz Antpitta Reserve the next day was considered a highlight by the entire group, so we went to bed with the promise of future excitement.
Angel Paz this year did not disappoint at all. We arrived at the reserve early in the morning and were lucky to start the day with Yellow-breasted Antpitta near the stream. After a short drive within the property we arrived at the Andean Cock-of-the-rock lek, where we were rewarded with views of several males displaying. Just after the lek show we saw a family group of Dark-backed Wood Quails. We then made a short, steep walk along a forest trail, when suddenly Rufous-breasted Antthrush crossed the trail a few meters in front of us and started to feed on worms. Having the opportunity not only to see this elusive skulker in good lights but also in addition to be able to see its behavior was a real treat for me and everybody.
A few minutes later we found Giant Antpitta feeding on worms on one side of the trail. We were able to watch it for several minutes, even when it was chasing Moustached Antpitta, which was trying to approach the same spot to feed on the rest of the worms. This not being enough, we saw a fourth antpitta this morning at the same spot, the tiny Ochre-breasted Antpitta. We had breakfast at Angel Paz, watching the hummingbird feeders with mostly the same species as at Septimo Paraiso, but Wedge-billed Hummingbird was a nice addition.
In the afternoon we birded outside of Mindo, and we found a nice place by a bridge, were we had the chance to see the river and the forest around. The place was full of bird activity; we soon got Sunbittern and White-capped Dipper along the river! We also saw White-edged Oriole, Scrub Blackbird, Golden-rumped Euphonia, and the endemic Pale-mandibled Aracari, among others.
The Rio Silanche Bird Sanctuary was the westernmost location we visited during this trip, and it involved a two-hour drive from the lodge. It is located at 350 meters above sea level. We got nice birds at this sanctuary, including views of Ruddy Pigeon, Choco Trogon, Yellow-throated Toucan, Double-toothed Kite, Lineated Woodpecker, Orange-fronted Barbet, Bronze-winged Parrot, Orange-billed Sparrow, Bay-headed Tanager, Dusky-faced Tanager, Golden-naped Tanager, Rufous Motmot, and Pale-vented Pigeon, as well as Band-backed Wren.
Other reserves we visited during our stay in the western lowlands included San Jorge de Milpe Orchid and Bird Reserve, where we failed to see Club-winged Manakin. Unfortunately, the bird was neither calling nor lekking near the trail anymore, and it was heard distantly only. But we saw One-colored Becard, Broad-billed Motmot, Grey-and-gold Tanager, Pale-mandibled Aracari, Masked Tityra, Green Thorntail, Violet-tailed Sylph, Blue-lored Antbird, and Golden-headed Quetzal.
This year we decided to also try Un poco del Chocó Nature Reserve (“A little of Choco”), which is a private reserve run by a young German biologist. This place became popular after the owners managed to feed the seldom-seen Banded Ground Cuckoo. The bird was seen well by many people during 2013, but unfortunately it is not coming regularly anymore. However, individuals are captured often on the video of the camera traps. We didn’t get the Banded Ground Cuckoo this time, but we were happy visiting the place and finding several good birds, including a Grey-headed Kite on a perch, a soaring Barred Hawk, the large Choco Toucan, the splendid Rufous-throated Tanager, the scarce Purple-crowned Fairy, Bay Wren, and fabulous views of a male Golden-winged Manakin.
After four nights it was hard to leave and say goodbye to Septimo Paraiso and its great hospitality. We spent the last morning birding in the Milpe area, and then we returned to Quito with a stop in the outskirts of the city. Once we reached the Quito area the habitat became typical dry Andean valley, which was an interesting change of habitat to see. Here we saw Common Ground Dove, Black-tailed Trainbearer, Purple-collared Woodstar, Ash-breasted Sierra Finch, and Blue-and-yellow Tanager. Not far from the hotel we managed to have great views of Giant Hummingbird and Aplomado Falcon, which was a nice surprise.
The next day we went to the Antisana Ecological Reserve. This park protects high Andean habitat and the Antisana snow-capped volcano, one of the most important of Ecuador, whose peak reaches 5753 meters above sea level. Its Andean lakes are an important source of freshwater for the city of Quito. Here we finally had our encounter with the king of the Andes, the mighty Andean Condor, the largest flying land bird in the world with a wingspan of 3.5 meters, only surpassed by the Wandering Albatross with a 3.7-meter wingspan. Admired and worshiped by the Incas and other pre-Hispanic civilizations, today it is the national bird of Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, and Bolivia. However, the species is listed as near-threatened and is declining in Ecuador, with only 60 – 120 birds in the whole country. Perhaps the biggest population is at Antisana, with 10 – 11 birds. We saw at least four birds soaring above the Andes.
We also found other good birds here, like the near-endemic Carunculated Caracara, Paramo Ground Tyrant, Paramo Pipit, Plumbeous Sierra Finch, Andean Tit-Spinetail, Blue-mantled Thornbill, and the near-endemic Ecuadorian Hillstar. We also had nice scope views of Andean Duck, Andean Coot, Yellow-billed Pintail, Andean Lapwing, Andean Gull, and Silvery Grebe.
From Antisana we had a long drive to Cabañas San Isidro, and after some tricky parking at the lodge entrance we had enough time to see the hummingbird feeders with nice views of Bronzy Inca, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Collared Inca, Gorgeted Sunangel, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, and Long-tailed Sylph.
The next morning, however, was productive only during the first few hours. We had a great start with White-bellied Antpitta at the feeder station, but, sadly, Chestnut-crowned Antpitta was not coming this year. Then we had a mixed flock with White-banded, White-tailed, and Sulphur-bellied Tyrannulets, Olive-backed and Montane Foliage-gleaners, Black-billed Peppershrike, Tropical Parula, Blackburnian Warbler, Beryl-spangled and Saffron-crowned Tanagers, Mountain Wren, and others. In the bamboo patch across the lodge we saw Handsome Flycatcher, Streak-headed Antbird, Azara’s Spinetail, and Black-eared Hemispingus. Other resident birds in the garden were Subtropical Cacique, Inca Jay, Glossy-black Thrush, Pale-edged Flycatcher, and also a few Swainson’s Thrushes. By noon there was no activity at all anymore, and at about 4:00 p.m. we had a storm, followed by rain all night long, which spoiled our plans for night birding.
After a last morning birding in the area we left the lodge and moved towards Wildsumaco Lodge. We passed by the Cordillera de los Guacamayos ridge, but even though we stopped there we decided not to explore the trail this time due to the bad condition of the trail after the rain. Walking down and up that steep and rocky trail could be risky for some people, so we didn’t take the chance, although probably missing some juicy birds.
We stopped at a nice spot along the Loreto Road to eat our packed lunches. We were lucky to get Cliff Flycatcher, Violaceous Jay, Swallow-tailed Kite, and Crested and Russet-backed Oropendolas. Once on the road to Wildsumaco in the eastern foothills we found Golden-collared Toucanet and a fruiting tree full of birds, including Fiery-throated Fruiteater, Red-headed Barbet, and Paradise, Golden, Bay-headed, Green-and-gold, Blue-necked, Spotted, and Orange-eared Tanagers, all almost at eye level and all passing very quickly.
We arrived at the lodge and had time to get cups of coffee and enjoy the stunning view from the lodge’s balcony, with sightings of Chestnut-fronted Macaw and a few new species of hummingbirds for the trip, such as Many-spotted Hummingbird, Golden-tailed Sapphire, and many Sparkling Violetears. This month, however, is not the most diverse for hummingbirds on the feeders in this fantastic place. But the verbena flowers around the cabins were good for both Booted Racket-tail and Wire-crested Thorntail, the latter seen only twice.
During the next two and a half days we had time to combine the best this great lodge has to offer: We explored the magnificent forest trails of Wildsumaco in search of understory species and forest flocks, we walked along the road looking for mixed flocks and some undergrowth specialists, we visited forest hummingbird feeder stations, and we enjoyed the balcony. We had a fine selection of birds, including Plain-backed Antpitta, Spotted Nightingale-Thrush, Black-streaked Puffbird, Chestnut-tipped Toucanet, Many-banded Aracari, Military Macaw, White-backed Fire-eye, Lined Antshrike, Plain-winged Antwren, Yellow-breasted Antwren, Plain Antvireo, Blackish Antbird, Ecuadorian Tyrannulet, Foothill Elaenia, Blue-rumped and White-crowned Manakins, Olivaceous Greenlet, Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo, Ecuadorian Piedtail, Coppery-chested Jacamar, and many others. Owling provided great views of Band-bellied Owl, Rufescent Screech Owl, and Napo Screech Owl.
We left Wildsumaco after three nights and returned to San Isidro. On the last morning we explored the lowest parts of the Sumaco road, finding Plumbeous Pigeon, Olivaceous Siskin, Roadside Hawk, Long-tailed Tyrant, Thrush-like Wren, Large-headed Flatbill, and Southern Rough-winged Swallow, and we tried hard for a Striolated Puffbird, which didn’t approach close enough to see it at all.
Back to San Isidro we tried for Andean Potoo at its regular spot, but unfortunately it didn’t show up either. However, we were rewarded with fantastic views of the “San Isidro Owl”. This enigmatic bird, which has been known for many years but has not been definitely identified and is not recognized by any authority, looks like an intermediate between Black-and-white Owl and Black-banded Owl. But nothing is certain yet, and further studies on taxonomy, DNA, and vocalization might reveal more data on this unknown bird.
The last day of the trip came, and we tried to maximize the morning as much as possible. We went to the Papallacta Pass and were lucky with the weather, because no matter what time of year it is the weather can be bad at this location, with thick fog and rain and cold wind. We looked for some species in the forest around the Termas de Papallacta hotel. Here we saw Red-crested Cotinga, Superciliaried Hemispingus, Agile Tit-Tyrant, Blue-backed Conebill, Shining Sunbeam, Tawny Antpitta, and others.
After two hours we left the forest and drove up the mountain to look for Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe. The subspecies latreillii here might be a different species, sometimes called “Ecuadorian Seedsnipe”. It was high and a bit chilly up there, but as soon as we descended from the vehicle I spotted a seedsnipe in the bog not far from the road. Unfortunately, it flew away before everybody was able to see it. However, we persisted and found a second bird along the first meters of the trail that goes beyond the antennas up here.
Everybody was happy, and with Many-striped Canastero as the last new bird of the tour we returned to Quito. We said goodbye, and two participants and I flew back that afternoon, while three others stayed in Quito for one more night. This was a highly memorable trip, one I hope I can guide again. Northern Ecuador is perhaps the best birding destination of the tropical Andes. This trip could easily be combined with a week in the Amazon lowlands or even on the Galapagos Islands.
Day 1, October 15
Arrival in Quito. Transfer to and overnight at Garden Hotel San José
Day 2, October 16
Transfer to Yanacocha Reserve. Birding Old Nono-Mindo Road. Overnight Bellavista Lodge
Day 3, October 17
Birding around Bellavista Lodge. Overnight Bellavista Lodge
Day 4, October 18
Birding the road between Bellavista Lodge and Septimo Paraiso. Overnight Septimo Paraiso Lodge
Day 5, October 19
Birding at Angel Paz in the morning and explore the surroundings of Mindo in the afternoon, including the feeders at El Refugio in Mindo. Overnight Septimo Paraiso Lodge
Day 6, October 20
Birding the Silanche Reserve in the morning and Milpe Reserve in the afternoon. Overnight Septimo Paraiso Lodge
Day 7, October 21
Birding Un poco de Chocó Reserve. Overnight Septimo Paraiso Lodge
Day 8, October 22
Birding Milpe Reserve in the morning and transfer to Quito. Overnight Garden Hotel San José
Day 9, October 23
Explore Antisana Ecological Reserve and transfer to Cabañas San Isidro. Overnight Cabañas San Isidro
Day 10, October 24
Full day at Cabañas San Isidro. Overnight Cabañas San Isidro
Day 11, October 25
Birding Cabañas San Isidro and transfer to Wildsumaco Lodge. Overnight Wildsumaco Lodge
Day 12, October 26
Full day at Wildsumaco Lodge. Overnight Wildsumaco Lodge
Day 13, October 27
Full day at Wildsumaco Lodge. Overnight Wildsumaco Lodge
Day 14, October 28
Last morning birding around Wildsumaco Lodge and transfer to Cabañas San Isidro. Overnight Cabañas San Isidro
Day 15, October 29
Explore the Papallacta Pass and transfer to Quito to connect to international flights
WE RECORDED 435 SPECIES OF BIRDS INCLUDING 50 HUMMINGBIRDS
ECUADOR SYSTEMATIC LIST, October 2015
Taxonomy: IOC, International Ornithological Congress, 5.4
(H) Heard only
(E) Country endemic
Little Tinamou (H) Crypturellus soui This species was heard in the vicinity of the Silanche Reserve and also in the eastern lowlands.
Torrent Duck Merganetta armata Great views of a male in Cosanga. The female was seen only by the leader. Here the northern subspecies colombiana
Yellow-billed Pintail Anas georgica Two birds were seen at Antisana Ecological Reserve.
Andean Teal Anas andium Seen at Lake Papallacta
Andean Duck Oxyura ferruginea Seen at Antisana Ecological Reserve
Speckled Chachalaca Ortalis guttata Seen around Wildsumaco Lodge
Andean Guan Penelope montagnii Seen at Bellavista Lodge.
Sickle-winged Guan Chamaepetes goudotii Seen along the Old Nono-Mindo Road and at the Bellavista Lodge compost
Wattled Guan Aburria aburri Seen only by the leader during the Andean Potoo search. The species is listed as near-threatened.
Dark-backed Wood Quail Odontophorus melanonotus Amazing views of this secretive species at Angel Paz. The species is listed as vulnerable.
Rufous-breasted Wood Quail (H) Odontophorus speciosus Heard only at Wildsumaco Lodge. The species is listed as near-threatened.
Rufous-fronted Wood Quail (H) Odontophorus erythrops Heard distantly at Un poco de Chocó Nature Reserve
Silvery Grebe Podiceps occipitalis Seen well at Antisana Ecological Reserve
Western Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis A few throughout the trip
Snowy Egret Egretta thula A few throughout the trip
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus One bird seen at Antisana Ecological Reserve
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus Common
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura Common
Andean Condor Vultur gryphus We saw at least four different individuals at Antisana Ecological Reserve. This is the national bird of Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, and Chile. The species is listed as near-threatened.
Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus Beautiful views of this handsome raptor along the Loreto Road
Double-toothed Kite Harpagus bidentatus Excellent views of one individual from the tower at Silanche
Grey-headed Kite Leptodon cayanensis Scope views of one individual at Un poco de Chocó Nature Reserve
Plain-breasted Hawk Accipiter ventralis Seen well on the west slope of the Andes
Roadside Hawk Rupornis magnirostris Several sightings throughout the trip
Barred Hawk Morphnarchus princeps Only one encounter with this raptor on the west slope of the Andes at Un poco de Chocó Nature Reserve
Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle Geranoaetus melanoleucus Great views of three birds at Antisana Ecological Reserve
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus Seen on the west slope of the Andes
White-rumped Hawk Parabuteo leucorrhous Two birds were seen at Un poco de Chocó Nature Reserve.
Black Hawk Eagle (H) Spizaetus tyrannus Heard distantly at Un poco de Chocó Nature Reserve
Sunbittern Eurypygia helias Seen near Mindo
Blackish Rail Pardirallus nigricans Excellent views of two individuals in the marsh near Wildsumaco Lodge
Andean Coot Fulica ardesiaca Seen at Antisana Ecological Reserve
Andean Lapwing Vanellus resplendens Excellent views at Antisana Ecological Reserve
Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe Attagis gayi Seen at Papallacta
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius At least six different individuals along the river in Cosanga
Andean Gull Chroicocephalus serranus Seen at Antisana Ecological Reserve
Rock Pigeon Columba livia Common
Pale-vented Pigeon Patagioenas cayennensis One seen well at Silanche
Band-tailed Pigeon Patagioenas fasciata Seen along the Old Nono-Mindo road and at Bellavista Lodge
Plumbeous Pigeon Patagioenas plumbea Excellent views of two individuals on the Wildsumaco Lodge road
Ruddy Pigeon Patagioenas subvinacea Seen well at Silanche
Eared Dove Zenaida auriculata Common around Quito
Common Ground Dove Columbina passerina Two birds were seen very well in the outskirts of Quito.
Black-winged Ground Dove Metriopelia melanoptera Seen at Antisana Ecological Reserve
Pallid Dove (H) Leptotila pallida Heard at Silanche
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi Seen well in the Bellavista area
White-throated Quail-Dove Zentrygon frenata Excellent views near the compost at Bellavista Lodge
Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani Several sightings throughout the trip
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana Seen well on the west and east slopes of the Andes
Rufescent Screech Owl Megascops ingens Excellent views along the F.A.C.E trail in Wildsumaco
Napo Screech Owl Megascops napensis Super views at Wildsumaco
Tropical Screech Owl Megascops choliba Seen well near Wildsumaco Lodge
Rufous-banded Owl (H) Strix albitarsis Heard distantly at Bellavista and San Isidro
Mottled Owl Strix virgata Super views in the Septimo Paraiso Lodge garden
“San Isidro Owl” Strix undescribed species or subspecies Amazing views of one individual on the Cabaña San Isidro grounds
Band-bellied Owl Pulsatrix melanota It took some time, but we managed to have good views of one bird in the garden of Wildsumaco Lodge.
Cloudforest Pygmy Owl (H) Glaucidium nubicola Despite our efforts we could not get this bird this year. Heard at Un poco de Chocó Nature Reserve. The species is listed as vulnerable.
Andean Pygmy Owl (H) Glaucidium jardinii This owl was heard distantly at Yanacocha Reserve.
Oilbird Steatornis caripensis One seen in flight above Cabaña San Isidro
Common Potoo Nyctibius griseus One individual seen roosting at day time not far from Bellavista Lodge and another heard before dawn at Septimo Paraiso Lodge
Rufous-bellied Nighthawk Lurocalis rufiventris Seen around Cabaña San Isidro before dawn
Lyre-tailed Nightjar Uropsalis lyra One of the best birds of the trip. The fantastic male was seen close and well near Mindo.
Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis Seen well in Wildsumaco
Chestnut-collared Swift Streptoprocne rutila Seen in Wildsumaco
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris Seen several times during the trip. This is the largest swift in Ecuador.
Grey-rumped Swift Chaetura cinereiventris A couple of sightings on the west slope
White-whiskered Hermit Phaethornis yaruqui Seen very well in the west and at Septimo Paraiso Lodge
Green Hermit Phaethornis guy Seen at Wildsumaco
Tawny-bellied Hermit Phaethornis syrmatophorus Seen in the Tandayapa Valley
White-necked Jacobin Florisuga mellivora Seen very well at Septimo Paraiso
Sparkling Violetear Colibri coruscans The classic bully of the Andes and foothills, especially aggressive and abundant this year at Wildsumaco
Green Violetear Colibri thalassinus Seen at Bellavista
Brown Violetear Colibri delphinae Seen on the west and east slopes. Good views in Septimo Paraiso and at the Wildsumaco Lodge feeders
Violet-headed Hummingbird Klais guimeti Particularly absent and shy this year. Only one of the participants and I managed to have just a glimpse of one individual feeding by the side of the road at Wildsumaco.
Wire-crested Thorntail Discosura popelairii It took a while, but at the end we managed to have a nice view of the lovely male on the Wildsumaco feeders. We saw the tiny female as well. The species is listed as near-threatened.
Green Thorntail Discosura conversii Nice views of one bird in Milpe while having our lunch
Fork-tailed Woodnymph Thalurania furcata Seen at Wildsumaco
Crowned Woodnymph Thalurania colombica Common in the west
Golden-tailed Sapphire Chrysuronia oenone Seen at Wildsumaco
Many-spotted Hummingbird Taphrospilus hypostictus Excellent views at Wildsumaco
Andean Emerald Amazilia franciae Seen at Bellavista Lodge and Septimo Paraiso
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl Common in the west
Speckled Hummingbird Adelomyia melanogenys Seen at both the west and east slopes of the Andes
Ecuadorian Piedtail Phlogophilus hemileucurus Two excellent encounters at Wildsumaco with this always tricky-to-see hummingbird. The species is listed as vulnerable.
Gould’s Jewelfront Heliodoxa aurescens We had just an incredible single sighting of this handsome species at the Wildsumaco feeders.
Empress Brilliant Heliodoxa imperatrix Great views at Septimo Paraiso
Green-crowned Brilliant Heliodoxa jacula
Fawn-breasted Brilliant Heliodoxa rubinoides Excellent views at Cabañas San Isidro
Black-throated Brilliant Heliodoxa schreibersii Seen well at Wildsumaco
Violet-fronted Brilliant Heliodoxa leadbeateri One seen briefly by some in the forest feeders at Wildsumaco
Buff-tailed Coronet Boissonneaua flavescens Common at the Bellavista Lodge feeders
Chestnut-breasted Coronet Boissonneaua matthewsii Common at the San Isidro feeders
Velvet-purple Coronet Boissonneaua jardini Cracker views of this hummingbird at the Septimo Paraiso feeders
Shining Sunbeam Aglaeactis cupripennis Seen at Yanacocha and at Papallacta
Ecuadorian Hillstar Oreotrochilus chimborazo Great views of the female at Antisana Ecological Reserve. A near-endemic, found in Southern Colombia as well
Bronzy Inca Coeligena coeligena Great views at the Cabañas San Isidro feeders
Brown Inca Coeligena wilsoni This Choco endemic was seen nicely at the Septimo Paraiso Lodge feeders.
Collared Inca Coeligena torquata Excellent views of the western subspecies fulgidigula at Bellavista and then the more blackish nominate subspecies at Cabañas San Isidro
Buff-winged Starfrontlet Coeligena lutetiae Great views of males and females at the Yanacocha feeders
Giant Hummingbird Patagona gigas The largest hummingbird in the world was seen in the outskirts of Quito after some search. We got amazing views of this most-wanted species.
Great Sapphirewing Pterophanes cyanopterus This enormous hummingbird, actually the second largest after the Giant Hummingbird, was seen very well in the feeders at Yanacocha, where we got good studies of male and female. There are very few places where you can see this species on a feeder. El Nevado Ruiz National Park in Colombia is another great place to see high Andean elevation species on feeders.
Sword-billed Hummingbird Ensifera ensifera What an amazing species! This most-wanted bird for those who come to the Andes for the first time was seen very well at the Yanacocha Reserve feeders. This true cloudforest species has specialized on feeding on tubular Datura flowers.
Gorgeted Sunangel Heliangelus strophianus Great views of this near-endemic species in the gardens of Bellavista Lodge
Sapphire-vented Puffleg Eriocnemis luciani Seen well at the feeders of the Yanacocha Reserve
Purple-bibbed Whitetip Urosticte benjamini Excellent views at the Septimo Paraiso feeders
Booted Racket-tail Ocreatus underwoodii Great views of the western white-legged subspecies melanantherus at Septimo Paraiso Lodge and the rufous-legged eastern subspecies peruanus at Wildsumaco
Black-tailed Trainbearer Lesbia victoriae Seen well in the outskirts of Quito
Tyrian Metaltail Metallura tyrianthina Seen at Yanacocha and Papallacta. Here the subspecies quitensis. Named for the port of Tyre, today in Lebanon. The city of Tyre was particularly known for the production of a rare and extraordinarily expensive sort of purple dye, produced from a murex shellfish, known as Tyrian purple. This color was, in many cultures of ancient times, reserved for the use of royalty. The type specimen of Tyrian Metaltail has a purple tail, hence the name.
Blue-mantled Thornbill Chalcostigma stanleyi Brief views at both Antisana Ecological Reserve and Papallacta
Long-tailed Sylph Aglaiocercus kingii Great views at Cabañas San Isidro
Violet-tailed Sylph Aglaiocercus coelestis Great views at Septimo Paraiso Lodge
Wedge-billed Hummingbird Schistes geoffroyi Only one seen at the Angel Paz feeders
Purple-crowned Fairy Heliothryx barroti A nice encounter of one male at the Un poco de Chocó Nature Reserve
Purple-throated Woodstar Calliphlox mitchellii Seen in the west
Purple-collared Woodstar Myrtis fanny A few females were seen in the outskirts of Quito.
White-bellied Woodstar Chaetocercus mulsant Only a couple of sightings
Gorgeted Woodstar Chaetocercus heliodor A female was seen at Cabañas San Isidro
Golden-headed Quetzal Pharomachrus auriceps One of our participants spotted the first bird in the Milpe Reserve and then another was seen by the whole group at Un poco de Chocó Nature Reserve.
Crested Quetzal (H) Pharomachrus antisianus Heard on the west slope, but no cigar.
White-tailed Trogon Trogon chionurus Erroneously called Green-backed Trogon. This confusion was due to all of last year’s taxonomic changes and updates. The population in the west belongs to this species, while Green-backed Trogon, Trogon viridis, is found in the eastern lowlands and the Amazon. The two were split.
Choco Trogon Trogon comptus Good views of this Choco endemic at Silanche
Collared Trogon Trogon collaris Great views at Wildsumaco
Masked Trogon Trogon personatus Great views of one bird of the western subspecies assimilis at Bellavista and then we saw the nominate subspecies at Cabañas San Isidro.
Andean Motmot Momotus aequatorialis Great views in Cosanga and at Cabañas San Isidro
Rufous Motmot Baryphthengus martii Seen in the Milpe Reserve
Broad-billed Motmot Electron platyrhynchum Seen at Silanche
Rufous-tailed Jacamar Galbula ruficauda Excellent views at Silanche
Coppery-chested Jacamar Galbula pastazae Beautiful views along the Wildsumaco road. The species is listed as vulnerable.
Black-streaked Puffbird Malacoptila fulvigularis Fantastic views at two different times of this secretive foothill species
Striolated Puffbird (H) Nystalus striolatus Despite all our efforts we could not localize this subcanopy species in Wildsumaco. We attracted a bird from the distance but it did not get close enough to be seen at all.
Gilded Barbet Capito auratus Great views at Wildsumaco
Orange-fronted Barbet Capito squamatus This Choco endemic was seen very well at Silanche. The species is listed as near-threatened.
Red-headed Barbet Eubucco bourcierii Splendid views on the west slope and at Wildsumaco
Toucan Barbet Semnornis ramphastinus Great views at Bellavista for two consecutive days. The species is listed as near-threatened.
Chestnut-tipped Toucanet Aulacorhynchus derbianus One bird was seen with some difficulty along the Wildsumaco trails.
Crimson-rumped Toucanet Aulacorhynchus haematopygus Seen at Angel Paz
White-throated Toucanet Aulacorhynchus albivitta We had only one encounter with this bird at Cabañas San Isidro. There are seven new species as the result of the recent split of Emerald Toucanet Aulacorhynchus prasinus:
Aulacorhynchus wagleri Wagler’s Toucanet Endemic to south-western Mexico
Aulacorhynchus prasinus Emerald Toucanet Found from southern Mexico to Nicaragua. Includes the subspecies warneri, virescens, stenorhabdus, chiapensis, and volcanius
Aulacorhynchus cognatus Violet-throated Toucanet Found in eastern Panama and adjacent far north-western Colombia
Aulacorhynchus lautus Santa Marta Toucanet Endemic to the Santa Marta Mountains in northern Colombia
Aulacorhynchus albivitta White-throated Toucanet Found in the Andes from western Venezuela through Colombia to northern Ecuador. Includes the subspecies griseigularis and phaeolaemus
Aulacorhynchus atrogularis Black-throated Toucanet Found from southern Ecuador through Peru, far western Brazil (in the state of Acre), to central Bolivia. Includes the subspecies dimidiatus and cyanolaemus
Golden-collared Toucanet Selenidera reinwardtii Great scope views on the Wildsumaco road. We also enjoyed views of one pair in front of the lodge balcony. Fantastic!
Pale-mandibled Aracari (E) Pteroglossus erythropygius Seen well at Silanche
Many-banded Aracari Pteroglossus pluricinctus One pair seen well in front of the Wildsumaco Lodge balcony
Chestnut-eared Aracari Pteroglossus castanotis A few around Wildsumaco Lodge. Aracari comes from the Tupi Indian (Brazilian) name arasari for a small toucan (the Portuguese spelling is araçari).
Plate-billed Mountain Toucan Andigena laminirostris One of the birds of the trip. We managed to see at least eight different birds in total during our two days around Bellavista and the Old Nono-Mindo road. The species is listed as near-threatened.
Choco Toucan Ramphastos brevis This Choco endemic was seen nicely along the road at Un poco de Chocó Nature Reserve.
Yellow-throated Toucan Ramphastos ambiguus Seen at Silanche and fantastic views of one bird at Wildsumaco. The species is listed as near-threatened.
Lafresnaye’s Piculet Picumnus lafresnayi Seen at Wildsumaco. Named after the French ornithologist Baron Noël Frédérick Armand André de La Fresnaye (1783-1861)
Yellow-tufted Woodpecker Melanerpes cruentatus Seen along the Wildsumaco road
Golden-olive Woodpecker Colaptes rubiginosus Seen around Bellavista
Little Woodpecker Veniliornis passerinus Seen in a mixed flock at Wildsumaco
Smoky-brown Woodpecker Picoides fumigatus Nice view of a pair at Wildsumaco
Crimson-mantled Woodpecker Colaptes rivolii Seen near Bellavista Lodge and at Cabañas San Isidro
Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus Seen at Silanche
Powerful Woodpecker (H) Campephilus pollens Heard only near Bellavista Lodge
Carunculated Caracara Phalcoboenus carunculatus Excellent views at Antisana Ecological Reserve. This near-endemic species occurs in Ecuador and SW Colombia. The name comes from caruncle, a fleshy outgrowth sometimes on the head of certain birds, such as a fowl’s comb.
Collared Forest Falcon Micrastur semitorquatus Seen briefly by some of the participants (including our driver) around the parking zone of Cabañas San Isidro. We heard it every day during our stay there.
Buckley’s Forest Falcon (H) Micrastur buckleyi Heard only around Wildsumaco. Named after Charles Buckley, a 19th century US entomologist and collector in Bolivia in 1874 and Ecuador in 1878
Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis Seen only by me and one participant at Wildsumaco
American Kestrel Falco sparverius Seen in the outskirts around Quito
Aplomado Falcon Falco femoralis A nice surprise of one bird seen in the outskirts of Quito near the Hotel San José
Military Macaw Ara militaris A flock was seen distantly from the Wildsumaco Lodge, but the excellent light conditions allowed us to see the colors very well. The species is listed as vulnerable.
Chestnut-fronted Macaw Ara severus Great views of one pair in the Wildsumaco area
Maroon-tailed Parakeet Pyrrhura melanura We saw the pacificus subspecies in the west at Silanche, and then the nominate subspecies was seen at Wildsumaco.
Spot-winged Parrotlet Touit stictopterus A flock of this seldom-seen parrot was seen flying by near Wildsumaco. The species is listed as vulnerable.
Blue-headed Parrot Pionus menstruus Seen around Wildsumaco
Red-billed Parrot Pionus sordidus We saw several flocks on the west slope of the Andes.
White-capped Parrot Pionus seniloides Seen in the Cabañas San Isidro garden on our last day there
Bronze-winged Parrot Pionus chalcopterus Great views on the west slope, including Silanche and Milpe Reserves
Stout-billed Cinclodes Cinclodes excelsior Seen well at Antisana Ecological Reserve
Chestnut-winged Cinclodes Cinclodes albidiventris Seen very well at Antisana Ecological Reserve and at Papallacta. This is a split from Bar-winged Cinclodes Cinclodes fuscus. The current English name for Cinclodes fuscus is Buff-winged Cinclodes. There are three new species as the result of the recent split of Cinclodes fuscus
Cinclodes albidiventris Chestnut-winged Cinclodes Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Northern Peru
Cinclodes albiventris Cream-winged Cinclodes Central and Southern Peru, Northern Chile, and NW Argentina
Cinclodes fuscus Buff-winged Cinclodes Central and Southern Chile and Central and Southern Argentina
Pacific Hornero Furnarius cinnamomeus Seen in Mindo town. Pacific Hornero is a split from Pale-legged Hornero Furnarius leucopus, and it is found only in NW Peru and SW Ecuador. In recent years the species has spread more into humid areas in the north of Ecuador. Pale-legged Hornero is more widespread in the Amazon.
Andean Tit-Spinetail Leptasthenura andicola Seen at the entrance of Antisana Ecological Reserve
Azara’s Spinetail Synallaxis azarae We found a few individuals in the Bellavista area, but not well enough to see them well, until we got a most cooperative individual in Cabañas San Isidro. This is one of the most widespread spinetails in the humid montane forests of the Andes. Named after Felix Manuel de Azara (1746-1811), a Spanish officer commanding the Paraguayan border and a naturalist and author (Apuntiamentos para la historia natural de los páxaros de Paraguay y Río de la Plata, 1805)
Slaty Spinetail Synallaxis brachyura A pair of these skulkers was seen briefly along the road at Un poco de Chocó Nature Reserve.
Dark-breasted Spinetail Synallaxis albigularis This grassland spinetail was seen briefly in the Wildsumaco area.
Dusky Spinetail Synallaxis moesta Great views of one individual at Wildsumaco. The species is listed as near-threatened.
Ash-browed Spinetail Cranioleuca curtata One bird was seen in a mixed flock along the forest trails of Wildsumaco. The species is listed as vulnerable.
Many-striped Canastero Asthenes flammulata One bird was seen very well in the Papallacta area.
White-chinned Thistletail Asthenes fuliginosa We saw one bird at Papallacta. Here the nominate subspecies
Pearled Treerunner Margarornis squamiger Seen at both Yanacocha and Papallacta
Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner Anabacerthia variegaticeps Good views on the west slope
Montane Foliage-gleaner Anabacerthia striaticollis Seen every day in a mixed flock around Cabañas San Isidro
Lineated Foliage-gleaner Syndactyla subalaris Seen on the west slope of the Andes
Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner Philydor rufum
Black-billed Treehunter Thripadectes melanorhynchus One seen briefly at Wildsumaco
Olive-backed Foliage-gleaner Automolus infuscatus Seen every day in a mixed flock around Cabañas San Isidro
Streaked Xenops Xenops rutilans A few encounters in the Wildsumaco area. Here the subspecies heterurus
Plain Xenops Xenops minutus We saw one bird of the subspecies littoralis on the west slope of the Andes at Silanche.
Olivaceous Woodcreeper Sittasomus griseicapillus We saw this bird at Wildsumaco. Here the subspecies amazonus. Keep track of your sightings of this species, because it will certainly split into at least five different full new species in the near future.
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper Glyphorynchus spirurus Seen at Wildsumaco. This is the smallest of all the woodcreepers.
Strong-billed Woodcreeper Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus Seen at Bellavista
Spotted Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus erythropygius Seen on the west slope of the Andes
Olive-backed Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus triangularis Seen at Cabañas San Isidro
Streak-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes souleyetii Seen well on the west slope of the Andes
Montane Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger Seen at Cabañas San Isidro and Yanacocha
Lined Antshrike Thamnophilus tenuepunctatus Seen at Wildsumaco. The species is listed as vulnerable.
Uniform Antshrike Thamnophilus unicolor One bird seen well in the Un poco de Chocó area
Black-crowned Antshrike (H) Thamnophilus atrinucha We heard this species at Silanche, but unfortunately this time it didn’t respond to the tape.
White-shouldered Antshrike (H) Thamnophilus aethiops No matter how hard we tried, we could not get this forest skulker at Wildsumaco.
Plain Antvireo Dysithamnus mentalis Seen at Wildsumaco
Slaty Antwren Myrmotherula schisticolor A male was seen briefly at Silanche.
Foothill Antwren Epinecrophylla spodionota Good views of this foothill specialist at Wildsumaco
Ornate Antwren Epinecrophylla ornata Seen at Wildsumaco
Checker-throated Antwren Epinecrophylla fulviventris Seen at Silanche
Plain-winged Antwren Myrmotherula behni Seen well at Wildsumaco
Yellow-breasted Antwren Herpsilochmus axillaris Seen in a mixed flock along the Wildsumaco forest trails. The species is listed as vulnerable.
Rufous-winged Antwren Herpsilochmus rufimarginatus Seen in a mixed flock at Wildsumaco
Chestnut-backed Antbird Myrmeciza exsul Mostly heard by the entire group, except for two participants who managed to have glimpses of the bird. Surprisingly uncooperative this year
Streak-headed Antbird Drymophila striaticeps It took a while, but we managed to have good views of this bamboo specialist in the Cabañas San Isidro grounds. This is a split from Long-tailed Antbird Drymophila caudata, which has been split into the following four species:
Drymophila hellmayri Santa Marta Antbird Santa Marta mountains, Colombia
Drymophila klagesi Klages’s Antbird Venezuela and NE Colombia
Drymophila caudata East Andean Antbird Western slope of the Eastern Andes of Colombia and upper Magdalena Valley in Colombia
Drymophila striaticeps Streak-headed Antbird Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia
Blackish Antbird Cercomacra nigrescens Seen at Wildsumaco
White-backed Fire-eye Pyriglena leuconota Excellent looks of a female carrying nesting material at Wildsumaco
Blue-lored Antbird Myrmeciza immaculata Good views of this species at Silanche
Common Scale-backed Antbird Willisornis poecilinotus Seen along the forest trails of Wildsumaco. Scale-backed Antbird has been split into
Willisornis poecilinotus Common Scale-backed Antbird Venezuela, Guianas, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and W Brazil
Willisornis vidua Xingu Scale-backed Antbird SE Brazil
Black-headed Antthrush (H) Formicarius nigricapillus Unfortunately this species was heard only at Silanche.
Rufous-breasted Antthrush Formicarius rufipectus Amazing, unbelievable views of two birds at Angel Paz. This is a very secretive foothill forest ground skulker. I have heard this species many times on the Manu Road in inaccessible spots and tried once in Northern Peru in the foothill forest of Wakanki, but without success. Due to the fact that it is a personal lifer, the quality of the sighting with great light, almost at eye level (considering we were walking up at steep trail when it showed up), the time we spent admiring it, and being able to watch a bit of its behavior made it my favorite bird of the trip.
Short-tailed Antthrush (H) Chamaeza campanisona Almost! It was coming to the tape and actually I managed to see the head above the plants on the ground, but suddenly some noise scared it away before anybody could put their bins on it. This was along the trails of Wildsumaco.
Giant Antpitta Grallaria gigantea Watching Maria, the huge Giant Antpitta, chasing away a Moustached Antpitta on the worm feeders at Angel Paz was a tour highlight. The species is listed as vulnerable.
Moustached Antpitta Grallaria alleni A near-endemic found in Colombia and Ecuador. We got great views at Angel Paz. The species is listed as vulnerable.
Plain-backed Antpitta Grallaria haplonota This was not coming daily to the Wildsumaco worm feeders this year, but with perseverance we managed to have good views of one near an old worm feeder spot in response to the call.
Yellow-breasted Antpitta Grallaria flavotincta Another near-endemic antpitta was seen very well at Angel Paz near the stream, before we hiked up the steep forest trail.
White-bellied Antpitta Grallaria hypoleuca Cracker views of two birds at the regular worm-feeder spot at Cabañas San Isidro
Rufous Antpitta Grallaria rufula We saw one in response to the tape on our first morning in Yanacocha. Unfortunately, no everybody could see it well or at all. Here the nominate subspecies. Keep track of this species because it might be split in the near future.
Tawny Antpitta Grallaria quitensis One of the easiest antpittas to see. This open-ground, high-elevation antpitta was seen feeding on worms in the Yanacocha Reserve, and later we managed to see at least three more birds in the paramo of Papallacta. Here the nominate subspecies
Chestnut-crowned Antpitta Grallaria ruficapilla Unfortunately, it was not coming to the San Isidro worm feeder this year, but we saw one individual in the Bellavista area.
Ochre-breasted Antpitta Grallaricula flavirostris Excellent views of this tiny antpitta at Angel Paz. The species is listed as near-threatened.
Chestnut-crowned Gnateater Conopophaga castaneiceps Seen well along the Wildsumaco trails
Ocellated Tapaculo Acropternis orthonyx We got a very skulking individual close to us but it remained all the time behind thick vegetation, therefore only brief views this time. Colombia is a great place to see this amazing bird.
Ash-colored Tapaculo (H) Myornis senilis We heard this species in the Cabañas San Isidro area.
Blackish Tapaculo Scytalopus latrans Seen in the Cabañas San Isidro area
Narino Tapaculo Scytalopus vicinior This Choco endemic was seen at Angel Paz. Named after the southern department of Narino in Colombia, located in the SW near the border with Ecuador
Spillmann’s Tapaculo (H) Scytalopus spillmanni Another uncooperative tapaculo this year. We heard it along the Old Nono-Mindo Road and around Bellavista. Named after Franz Spillmanm (1901-1988), an Austrian zoologist resident in Ecuador from 1925 to 1942
Sooty-headed Tyrannulet (H) Phyllomyias griseiceps Heard at Wildsumaco
Foothill Elaenia Myiopagis olallai We managed to see this recently described species in Wildsumaco. Even though it is found in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Peru, it is patchily distributed. Described in 2000. The species is listed as vulnerable.
Southern Beardless Tyrannulet Camptostoma obsoletum One bird seen well in the west
White-throated Tyrannulet Mecocerculus leucophrys Seen well at Yanacocha
White-banded Tyrannulet Mecocerculus stictopterus Excellent views around Bellavista
White-tailed Tyrannulet Mecocerculus poecilocercus Seen on both slopes of the Andes, like at Bellavista and San Isidro
Sulphur-bellied Tyrannulet Mecocerculus minor Seen at Cabañas San Isidro
Tufted Tit-Tyrant Anairetes parulus Great views of one bird in the outskirts of Quito
Agile Tit-Tyrant Uromyias agilis Excellent views of this little cracker at the Papallacta Pass
Torrent Tyrannulet Serpophaga cinerea Seen first on the west slope of the Andes near Mindo and then on the east slope in Cosanga while looking for Torrent Duck
Rufous-headed Pygmy Tyrant Pseudotriccus ruficeps Not very cooperative this year. Only one participant and I managed to see this tiny bamboo skulker in the bush.
Golden-faced Tyrannulet Zimmerius chrysops The nominate subspecies was seen on the east slope at Wildsumaco.
Choco Tyrannulet Zimmerius albigularis This near-endemic was seen well in Mindo. It is a split from Golden-faced Tyrannulet Zimmerius chrysops, together with
Zimmerius viridiflavus Peruvian Tyrannulet Peru
Zimmerius flavidifrons Loja Tyrannulet SW Ecuador
Zimmerius minimus Coopmans Tyrannulet NE Colombia and Venezuela
Marbled-faced Bristle Tyrant Pogonotriccus ophthalmicus Seen well near Milpe Reserve
Ecuadorian Tyrannulet Phylloscartes gualaquizae One seen briefly from the Wildsumaco Lodge balcony. The species is listed as near-threatened.
Streak-necked Flycatcher Mionectes striaticollis Brief views of both subspecies, the subspecies viridiceps on the west slope and the subspecies columbianus on the east slope at Cabañas San Isidro. The members of this genus are frugivorous rather than insectivorous flycatchers. They also have leks like cotingas and manakins.
Olive-striped Flycatcher Mionectes olivaceus Brief views of this species at the same time at which we got the mega flock along the Wildsumaco road
Slaty-capped Flycatcher Leptopogon superciliaris Seen well in the western lowlands
Olive-chested Flycatcher Myiophobus cryptoxanthus One seen well at Wildsumaco
Handsome Flycatcher Nephelomyias pulcher Seen well at Cabañas San Isidro. Here the subspecies bellus
Flavescent Flycatcher Myiophobus flavicans Seen at Cabañas San Isidro
Ornate Flycatcher Myiotriccus ornatus We saw the subspecies stellatus in the western lowlands. Always a pleasure to see this little handsome bird
Scale-crested Pygmy Tyrant Lophotriccus pileatus Brief views of this fast, active bird in the western lowlands
Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher Poecilotriccus ruficeps This lovely-looking bamboo specialist was seen nicely around the Cabañas San Isidro grounds.
Common Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum cinereum Widespread from Mexico to Argentina. We saw one bird in Mindo.
Buff-throated Tody-Tyrant Hemitriccus rufigularis Seen at Wildsumaco. The species is listed as near-threatened.
Yellow Tyrannulet Capsiempis flaveola Seen at Wildsumaco
Yellow-olive Flatbill (H) Tolmomyias sulphurescens Heard in the western lowlands
Cliff Flycatcher Hirundinea ferruginea Scope views at the lunch stop along the Loreto Road
Cinnamon Flycatcher Pyrrhomyias cinnamomeus Lovely views at Cabañas San Isidro
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans Seen along rivers
Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus cooperi A few sightings during the trip. The species is listed as near-threatened.
Smoke-colored Pewee Contopus fumigatus Seen on both slopes of the Andes
Western Wood Pewee Contopus sordidulus Seen at Wildsumaco
Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus Always nice to see this handsome bird
Paramo Ground Tyrant Muscisaxicola alpinus Great views of two birds in the paramo of Papallacta
Streak-throated Bush Tyrant Myiotheretes striaticollis Seen at Yanacocha
Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant Agriornis montanus Seen in the outskirts of Quito
White-tailed Shrike-Tyrant Agriornis albicauda It took a while, but eventually we managed to see one of this scarce species near Quito. The species is listed as vulnerable.
Masked Water Tyrant Fluvicola nengeta Great views of one pair near Mindo town
Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca fumicolor Nice views of one bird at Yanacocha. Here the white-browed subspecies brunneifrons.
Long-tailed Tyrant Colonia colonus Nice views of two birds along the Wildsumaco road
Piratic Flycatcher Legatus leucophaius Seen in the western lowlands. It gets its name because it does not build its own nest but appropriates the domed or enclosed nests of other, often far larger, bird species, such as Yellow-rumped Cacique or Crested Oropendola. Once the persistence of the flycatchers has driven the rightful owners away, their eggs are removed, and the female flycatcher lays up to four, but usually two, black-streaked brown eggs.
Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer Only one sighting during the trip
Pale-edged Flycatcher Myiarchus cephalotes Common around the Cabañas San Isidro grounds
Rusty-margined Flycatcher Myiozetetes cayanensis One bird was seen in the western lowlands.
Golden-crowned Flycatcher Myiodynastes chrysocephalus Daily views around Bellavista
Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus Seen at Silanche. Here the subspecies chapmani
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua One seen well in the western lowlands
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis Several sightings
Snowy-throated Kingbird Tyrannus niveigularis Nice views at Silanche. This species occurs and breeds in the southwest in more deciduous open habitats but makes seasonal movements, dispersing into more humid areas further northeast in the non-breeding season
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus Common
Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus This North American migrant was seen very well along the Cosanga River while we were looking for Torrent Duck.
Large-headed Flatbill Ramphotrigon megacephalum This bamboo specialist was seen very well in the bamboo patch below Wildsumaco Lodge.
Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus Seen at Milpe
Red-crested Cotinga Ampelion rubrocristatus Only one individual seen in the Papallacta area
Green-and-black Fruiteater Pipreola riefferii Great views of one male at Bellavista. Here the subspecies occidentalis
Barred Fruiteater Pipreola arcuata Seen briefly at Yanacocha
Scarlet-breasted Fruiteater Pipreola frontalis Great views at Wildsumaco
Fiery-throated Fruiteater Pipreola chlorolepidota Great views of two males on consecutive days at Wildsumaco. The species is listed as near-threatened.
Andean Cock-of-the-Rock Rupicola peruvianus Excellent views of several males at the Angel Paz lek of the western subspecies sanguinolenta and at Wildsumaco of the eastern subspecies aequatorialis
Grey-tailed Piha Snowornis subalaris Seen at Wildsumaco. The species is listed as near-threatened.
Golden-winged Manakin Masius chrysopterus The spectacular male was seen along the trails of Un poco de Chocó Nature Reserve
Blue-rumped Manakin Lepidothrix isidorei One male was seen in the eastern foothills at Wildsumaco. The species is listed as near-threatened.
Club-winged Manakin (H) Machaeropterus deliciosus Unfortunately, the lek at Milpe wasn’t very active along the trail, and only one individual was heard distantly down the slopes. Southern Ecuador is also a good place to see this Choco endemic.
White-crowned Manakin Dixiphia pipra Seen in the eastern foothills at Wildsumaco. Here the subspecies coracina
White-bearded Manakin Manacus manacus Seen at a few locations in the west
Black-crowned Tityra Tityra inquisitor One seen well during the tour
Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata One seen in the eastern foothills at Wildsumaco
One-colored Becard Pachyramphus homochrous Seen well in a mixed flock at Silanche
Black-billed Peppershrike Cyclarhis nigrirostris Good views of one individual around the Cabañas San Isidro garden, where is seems to be common
Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo Vireolanius leucotis This handsome canopy specie was seen well along the F.A.C.E trail at Wildsumaco.
Brown-capped Vireo Vireo leucophrys Seen along the Old Nono-Mindo Road above Bellavista
Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus A few sightings
Rufous-naped Greenlet Hylophilus semibrunneus One seen at Wildsumaco
Olivaceous Greenlet Hylophilus olivaceus This near-endemic was seen well around Wildsumaco. The species is listed as near-threatened.
Turquoise Jay Cyanolyca turcosa Great views along the Old Nono-Mindo Road on the way to Bellavista Lodge
Violaceous Jay Cyanocorax violaceus We saw this species during our lunch stop along the Loreto Road on the way to Wildsumaco Lodge.
Inca Jay Cyanocorax yncas Wonderful views around the Cabañas San Isidro rooms, where it is common
Grey-breasted Martin Progne chalybea Seen in the western lowlands
Blue-and-white Swallow Notiochelidon cyanoleuca Several sightings
Brown-bellied Swallow Notiochelidon murina Seen at Papallacta and at Antisana Ecological Reserve
Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis A few seen along the Wildsumaco road
Band-backed Wren Campylorhynchus zonatus Seen in the western lowlands
Thrush-like Wren Campylorhynchus turdinus Seen on the way to Wildsumaco, where two birds were drinking in the middle of the road. Unusual behavior
Grey-mantled Wren Odontorchilus branickii Found in mixed flocks most of the time. We had excellent views at Wildsumaco.
Rufous Wren Cinnycerthia unirufa Nice views of a family group at Yanacocha
Sepia-brown Wren Cinnycerthia olivascens We had nice views of this species on the way to Bellavista.
Sedge Wren Cistothorus platensis Seen at Antisana Ecological Reserve
Plain-tailed Wren (H) Pheugopedius euophrys Always a tricky skulker, found on Chusquea bamboo patches in the cloudforest. We heard it a few times around Bellavista and were close to one at Cabañas San Isidro, getting only silhouettes and untickable views. Basically heard only
Bay Wren Cantorchilus nigricapillus We had glimpses of one bird near Mindo.
Mountain Wren Troglodytes solstitialis Great views of one bird along the San Isidro trails
House Wren Troglodytes aedon Several sightings
Grey-breasted Wood Wren Henicorhina leucophrys Seen right in the open in the parking area of Bellavista Lodge
White-breasted Wood Wren Henicorhina leucosticta Seen in the Wildsumaco area
Southern Nightingale-Wren (H) Microcerculus marginatus We heard this species on the west slope at Silanche and at Un poco de Chocó.
Wing-banded Wren (H) Microcerculus bambla We were very close to this one in Wildsumaco, but it remained incredibly concealed on the forest ground.
Paramo Pipit Anthus bogotensis Excellent views of one bird at Antisana Ecological Reserve
Andean Solitaire Myadestes ralloides We saw one bird in the Cabañas San Isidro gardens. This bird produces one of the classic bird songs of the humid mountain forests in the Andes.
Spotted Nightingale-Thrush Catharus dryas Widespread from Mexico to Argentina, but elusive and difficult to see. We got fantastic views at the worm feeder at Wildsumaco.
Swainson’s Thrush Catharus ustulatus Common this time of the year at several locations throughout the trip. Named after William Swainson (1789-1855), English naturalist, artist, and collector
Great Thrush Turdus fuscater Common around Quito, including the hotel grounds
Glossy-black Thrush Turdus serranus Excellent views of two birds around the Cabañas San Isidro rooms
Black-billed Thrush Turdus ignobilis Seen at Wildsumaco
Ecuadorian Thrush Turdus maculirostris Great views of this near-endemic around the Septimo Paraiso Lodge
White-capped Dipper Cinclus leucocephalus Great views from the bridge near Mindo
Hooded Siskin Spinus magellanicus A few sightings on the trip
Olivaceous Siskin Spinus olivaceus This forest siskin was seen well at Wildsumaco
Thick-billed Euphonia Euphonia laniirostris Seen at Wildsumaco
Orange-bellied Euphonia Euphonia xanthogaster We saw the subspecies brevirostris in the east and the subspecies quitensis in the west.
Golden-rumped Euphonia Euphonia cyanocephala Great views of one pair in Mindo town. Here the subspecies pelzelni
Bronze-green Euphonia Euphonia mesochrysa Seen in the Wildsumaco area
Yellow-collared Chlorophonia Chlorophonia flavirostris This species was seen well at Milpe.
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia One seen at Milpe
American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla Seen at Wildsumaco
Cerulean Warbler Setophaga cerulea A female was seen well at Wildsumaco. The species is listed as vulnerable.
Tropical Parula Setophaga pitiayumi Several seen throughout the trip
Blackburnian Warbler Setophaga fusca Many sightings of this North American migrant
Black-crested Warbler Myiothlypis nigrocristata Great views of one individual at Cabañas San Isidro
Canada Warbler Cardellina canadensis Several seen on the east slope
Buff-rumped Warbler Myiothlypis fulvicauda Only one sighting during the trip
Russet-crowned Warbler Myiothlypis coronata Several heard and a few seen at Cabañas San Isidro
Three-striped Warbler Basileuterus tristriatus Seen briefly by some in the western lowlands. Widespread from Venezuela to Central Peru. The subspecies of Southern Peru and Bolivia has been split recently in 2014, now called Yungas Warbler, Basileuterus punctipectus.
Slate-throated Whitetstart Myioborus miniatus Seen at several locations
Spectacled Whitestart Myioborus melanocephalus Nice views around Bellavista of the rusty-capped subspecies ruficoronatus
Russet-backed Oropendola Psarocolius angustifrons Seen well on the way to Wildsumaco
Crested Oropendola Psarocolius decumanus Seen around Wildsumaco
Yellow-rumped Cacique Cacicus cela Common at Wildsumaco
Subtropical Cacique Cacicus uropygialis Daily sightings in the garden of Cabañas San Isidro
Scarlet-rumped Cacique Cacicus microrhynchus Good views of this species in the western lowlands of Silanche. This bird is smaller than the previous species.
Scrub Blackbird Dives warczewiczi Seen around Mindo
White-edged Oriole Icterus graceannae Seen near Mindo
Bananaquit Coereba flaveola Regularly recorded on the tour
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis Seen very well
Yellow-browed Sparrow Ammodramus aurifrons The first bird of this species was seen in Cosanga and then it was seen in the Wildsumaco area.
Orange-billed Sparrow Arremon aurantiirostris A pair was seen at Silanche. Here the subspecies occidentalis
Grey-browed Brush Finch Arremon assimilis This species was seen at Yanacocha. This is one of the six splits from Stripe-headed Brush Finch Arremon torquatus:
Arremon torquatus White-browed Brush Finch Southern Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina
Arremon costaricensis Costa Rica Brush Finch Costa Rica and Western Panama
Arremon basilicus Sierra Nevada Brush Finch Endemic to the Santa Marta Mountains in Colombia
Arremon perijanus Perija Brush Finch Perija Mountains in NE Colombia and adjacent NW Venezuela
Arremon assimilis Grey-browed Brush Finch The Andes of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and most of Peru
Arremon phaeopleurus Caracas Brush Finch Venezuelan coastal range
Choco Brush Finch Atlapetes crassus A near-endemic species seen well at Angel Paz. This was split from Tricolored Brush Finch Atlapetes tricolor.
Yellow-breasted Brush-Finch Atlapetes latinuchus Seen at Yanacocha. Here the subspecies spodionotus (no wing speculum, neither moustached). This is one of the splits from Rufous-naped Brush Finch Atlapetes rufinucha.
White-winged Brush Finch Atlapetes leucopterus Great views of this near-endemic around the Bellavista Lodge parking area. Here the nominate subspecies
Chestnut-capped Brush Finch Arremon brunneinucha Only one bird seen on the first day of the tour
Common Bush Tanager Chlorospingus flavopectus Seen at San Isidro. Here the subspecies phaeocephalus
Dusky Bush Tanager Chlorospingus semifuscus Good views of this near-endemic bird on both the west and east slopes
Yellow-throated Bush Tanager Chlorospingus flavigularis Seen at Wildsumaco. Here the nominate subspecies
Magpie Tanager Cissopis leverianus Nice views at Wildsumaco
Dusky-faced Tanager Mitrospingus cassinii Seen at Silanche
Superciliaried Hemispingus Hemispingus superciliaris Seen at Yanacocha on the first day and on the last day at Papallacta. Here the subspecies nigrifrons. There are several subspecies involved and the species is geographically variable. It ranges from Venezuela to Bolivia. More than one species may be involved.
Black-eared Hemispingus Hemispingus melanotis Seen well in the bamboo of Cabañas San Isidro. Here the nominate subspecies
Fulvous Shrike-Tanager Lanio fulvus Seen leading a canopy mixed flock at Wildsumaco
White-lined Tanager Tachyphonus rufus Several sightings. Widespread from Costa Rica to Argentina
Silver-beaked Tanager Ramphocelus carbo Common at Wildsumaco
Lemon-rumped Tanager Ramphocelus icteronotus Nice views in the garden of Septimo Paraiso Lodge
Blue-grey Tanager Thraupis episcopus We saw the plain-winged subspecies quaesita in the Tandayapa Valley, and the eastern subspecies coelestis (with more whitish wing coverts) was common at Wildsumaco.
Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum Common at several locations
Blue-capped Tanager Thraupis cyanocephala Seen at Bellavista
Blue-and-yellow Tanager Thraupis bonariensis Seen well in the outskirts of Quito
Hooded Mountain Tanager Buthraupis montana Great views at Yanacocha. The largest mountain tanager in Ecuador
Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager Anisognathus igniventris Nice views at Yanacocha
Blue-winged Mountain Tanager Anisognathus somptuosus Excellent views at Bellavista. Here the subspecies cyanopterus
Grass-green Tanager Chlorornis riefferii Seen well at Bellavista. Here the nominate subspecies
Golden-crowned Tanager Iridosornis rufivertex Nice views at Yanacocha
Fawn-breasted Tanager Pipraeidea melanonota Seen only by a few of us at Bellavista
Orange-eared Tanager Chlorochrysa calliparaea Excellent views in the fruiting trees at Wildsumaco
Glistering-green Tanager Chlorochrysa phoenicotis This range-restricted species was seen well at Un poco de Chocó Nature Reserve.
Moss-backed Tanager Bangsia edwardsi This attractive species was seen nicely at Milpe.
Grey-and-gold Tanager Tangara palmeri One bird was seen well at Un poco de Chocó Nature Reserve.
Golden Tanager Tangara arthus Seen on the west slope at several locations. Here the subspecies goodsoni
Silver-throated Tanager Tangara icterocephala Seen at Silanche
Saffron-crowned Tanager Tangara xanthocephala Seen at Cabañas San Isidro
Flame-faced Tanager Tangara parzudakii We saw the subspecies lunigera on the west slope.
Spotted Tanager Tangara punctata Seen at Wildsumaco
Rufous-throated Tanager Tangara rufigula This wonderful near-endemic was seen nicely in Un poco de Chocó Nature Reserve.
Bay-headed Tanager Tangara gyrola We saw the western subspecies nupera at Silanche and the eastern blue-bellied subspecies catharinae.
Golden-naped Tanager Tangara ruficervix We saw a few birds around Bellavista. Here the subspecies leucotis
Blue-necked Tanager Tangara cyanicollis On the west slope we saw the endemic subspecies cyanopygia and the subspecies caeruleocephala on the east slope. A truly handsome bird
Beryl-spangled Tanager Tangara nigroviridis Seen at Bellavista
Blue-and-black Tanager Tangara vassorii Seen at Bellavista
Black-capped Tanager Tangara heinei Only one sighting during the trip
Green-and-gold Tanager Tangara schrankii Seen at Wildsumaco
Paradise Tanager Tangara chilensis Seen at Wildsumaco
Swallow Tanager Tersina viridis Seen on both the west and east slopes
Blue Dacnis Dacnis cayana Seen at Milpe
Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza Seen in the western lowlands
Golden-collared Honeycreeper Iridophanes pulcherrimus The stunning male was seen very well on two different occasions at Wildsumaco.
Cinereous Conebill Conirostrum cinereum Seen at Yanacocha
Blue-backed Conebill Conirostrum sitticolor Seen at both Yanacocha and Papallacta
Glossy Flowerpiercer Diglossa lafresnayii Seen at Yanacocha and common at other high-altitude sites
Bluish Flowerpiercer Diglossa caerulescens Seen at Cabañas San Isidro
Black Flowerpiercer Diglossa humeralis Only one bird was seen at Antisana Ecological Reserve.
White-sided Flowerpiercer Diglossa albilatera Seen at Bellavista
Golden-eyed Flowerpiercer Diglossa glauca Seen well at Wildsumaco
Masked Flowerpiercer Diglossa cyanea The most common flowerpiercer of the trip
Tanager Finch Oreothraupis arremonops Seen at Bellavista. The species is listed as vulnerable.
Plumbeous Sierra Finch Phrygilus unicolor Seen at Antisana Ecological Reserve
Ash-breasted Sierra Finch Phrygilus plebejus Seen at Antisana Ecological Reserve. Here the subspecies ocularis
Saffron Finch Sicalis flaveola Seen at Mindo. Here the subspecies valida
Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina
Variable Seedeater Sporophila corvina A couple were seen along the Lyre-tailed Nightjar road near Mindo.
Black-and-white Seedeater Sporophila luctuosa No leader sighting. The group saw one at Silanche.
Yellow-bellied Seedeater Sporophila nigricollis A single male and a few females were detected near Wildsumaco Lodge.
Chestnut-bellied Seedeater Sporophila castaneiventris The first bird was found in Cosanga while looking for the Torrent Duck, and then we saw another one near Wildsumaco Lodge.
Plain-colored Seedeater Catamenia inornata Seen at Antisana Ecological Reserve
Chestnut-bellied Seed Finch Oryzoborus angolensis Seen along the Wildsumaco road
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra The first one was seen in Bellavista and then a few others in the east.
Scarlet Tanager Piranga olivacea Seen at Wildsumaco
Golden Grosbeak Pheucticus chrysogaster Seen at Bellavista
Slate-colored Grosbeak Saltator grossus Fantastic views of this elusive canopy species at Un poco de Chocó Nature Reserve
Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus Seen in the western lowlands
Greyish Saltator Saltator coerulescens Seen at Wildsumaco
Black-winged Saltator Saltator atripennis One seen in the western lowlands
Red-tailed squirrel Sciurus granatensis Common at several locations
Black agouti Dasyprocta fuliginosa Seen at Cabañas San Isidro
Central American agouti Dasyprocta punctata One seen in the surroundings of Mindo. This species is a split from the Brown Agouti Dasyprocta variegata.
Tapeti Sylvilagus brasiliensis One seen during the trip. This species is also known as Brazilian Rabbit or Brazilian Cottontail.
White-eared opossum Didelphis albiventris Seen at Bellavista while waiting for the olinguito.
South American coati Nasua nasua One seen coming out from the antpitta spot at Cabañas San Isidro
Kinkajou Potos flavus One seen by the leader while waiting for the olinguito at Bellavista
Olinguito Bassaricyon neblina This near-endemic mammal is found in Ecuador and Colombia. On 22 May 2014 the International Institute for Species Exploration declared the olinguito one of the “Top 10 New Species of 2014” among species discovered in 2013. Seen only by those of us who waited until late in the evening at Bellavista Lodge
Colombian night monkey Aotus lemurinus Seen at night at Cabañas San Isidro. It is found in Colombia and Ecuador. The species is listed as vulnerable and faces a significant threat from habitat destruction.
Graells’s tamarin Saguinus graellsi This species of tamarin ranges from the northwestern Amazon in southeastern Colombia to eastern Ecuador and northeastern Peru. It is considered a subspecies of the Black-mantled Tamarin by some authorities, but it differs from that species in having a dull olive-brown (no reddish-orange) lower back, rump and thighs.
Tufted capuchin Sapajus paella Only one seen on the trip. Known as brown capuchin, black-capped capuchin, or pin monkey, it is a New World primate from South America. As traditionally defined, it is one of the most widespread primates in the Neotropics, but it has recently been recommended considering the black-striped, black, and golden-bellied capuchins as separate species in a new genus, thereby effectively limiting the tufted capuchin to the Amazon Basin and nearby regions.