The Very Best of Colombia Trip Report, January 2018

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23 JANUARY – 15 FEBRUARY 2018

By Eduardo Ormaeche

Overview
Our first 24-day Colombia tour 2018 was a fabulous experience, which allowed us to see probably the best birding route of the country and most of the highlights that this amazing country has to offer to birdwatchers and real adventurous travelers. No other country holds more species than Colombia, and we had the chance to see some of the most spectacular birds in this part of the world and finished the tour with most of the Neotropical families well represented on our list.

Main Report
This first Colombia tour of the year was rather easy for a group of very enthusiastic birders who contemplated the birds, became familiar with them, and admired their natural behavior in a more relaxed pace than usual. We did not get as large a list total as on some previous trips, but we had fun from beginning to end and learned a lot about the distribution of species in one of the countries with the most complex geography in the Americas.
Our trip started in Cali, where the group arrived on different flights, and the participants were transferred to our comfortable hotel in town. The following morning we left Cali and drove to the famous Km 18 on the Cali-Buenaventura Road. Here we visited the by now famous Finca Alejandria, where we had an amazing start with species such as the endemic Colombian Chachalaca, Golden-headed Quetzal, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, and Squirrel Cuckoo around the gardens. The fruit feeders attracted several attractive species, including Scrub Tanager, Golden Tanager, Golden-naped Tanager, Saffron-crowned Tanager, Black-winged Saltator, Flame-rumped Tanager, Summer Tanager, Red-headed Barbet, and cracker views of the incredibly beautiful Multicolored Tanager, perhaps one of the most handsome Colombian endemics!

The hummingbird feeders at Finca Alejandria are incredible, and they allowed us a good introduction and good studies of one of the largest families represented in Colombia. We had great views of White-necked Jacobin, Brown Violetear, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, and Steely-vented Hummingbird, to name just a few. Northern Ecuador, Classic Colombia, and Northern Peru are the three main birding routes to admire hummingbirds in the largest numbers possible, and we encountered 50 species of hummingbirds on this tour.

After having lunch in the area we moved to the Anchicaya road, staying two nights at El Queremal. The old Anchicaya road used to join Bogotá with the Pacific lowlands, especially the port of Buenaventura, and today, after a new road has been built, provides incredible birding with very attractive species. As soon as we arrived we went to Doña Dora, a local woman who owns a small, basic restaurant located below El Queremal. On the feeders we had dynamite views of Toucan Barbet, Silver-throated Tanager, Scrub Tanager, Flame-rumped Tanager, Black-headed Brushfinch, Empress Brilliant, White-tailed Hillstar, and White-whiskered Hermit. Later we moved to our basic hotel in El Queremal for an overnight. This was our first birding day in Colombia!

The next day, with the assistance of a local guide (which is suggested but not mandatory), we went to visit areas that have only recently been opened to foreign visitors on the Anchicaya road, and we had an incredible day. We started with breakfast at Doña Dora, followed with views of Choco Toucan, Spot-crowned Barbet, Toucan Barbet, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Collared Aracari, Cinnamon Woodpecker, Spotted Woodcreeper, Pacific Antwren, Golden-faced Tyrannulet, Lemon-browed Flycatcher, and a wonderful encounter with Purple-crowned Fairy on its nest. In addition we enjoyed Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo, Bay Wren, several Tawny-crested Tanagers, Golden-hooded Tanager, Lemon-spectacled Tanager, Scarlet-and-white Tanager, the spectacular Golden-chested Tanager, Masked Tityra, Rufous Mourner, and Scarlet-thighed Dacnis. We had taken a packed lunch with us and enjoyed a tasty meal near the lek of the amazing Tooth-billed Hummingbird and had super views of this most-wanted species. Then we drove back to El Queremal after an intense day in the field.

The next morning we spent a couple of hours in the upper parts of El Queremal before we moved to our next destination. The morning’s birding provided Black and Turkey Vultures, Swallow-tailed Kite, Southern Lapwing, Lyre-tailed Nightjar ̶ a female roosting at daytime was rather nice, Uniform Treehunter, Violet-tailed Sylph, Lineated Woodpecker, Scale-crested Pygmy Tyrant, Orange-bellied Euphonia, Bay-breasted Warbler, Canada Warbler, Slate-throated Whitestart, Choco Brushfinch, Dusky-faced Tanager, Rufous-throated Tanager, Golden Tanager, and White-lined Tanager. Then we left Anchicaya and moved to the town of Buga with little birding en route. However, we managed to see several Yellow-headed and Northern Crested Caracaras, Bronze-winged Parrot, Bare-faced Ibis, and the only Buff-necked Ibis of the trip. We arrived at Buga and rested in our comfortable hotel, in whose gardens we had views of Blue-headed Parrot, Vermilion Flycatcher, Southern Lapwing, Great Kiskadee, and Rusty-margined Flycatcher.

The next day we went to explore the Sonso Lake, 65km north of Cali. Located at the edge of the Cauca River, this wetland ecosystem of 2045 hectares holds an interesting set of waterfowl and aquatic species such as Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Fulvous Whistling Duck, Cocoi Heron, Western Osprey, Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Striated Heron, Ringed Kingfisher, Snail Kite, Blue-winged Teal, Wattled Jacana, Limpkin, Cinnamon Teal, Neotropic Cormorant, Anhinga, Purple Gallinule, and Common Gallinule. In addition we had great views of Jet Antbird, Spectacled Parrotlet, Red-crowned Woodpecker, Cocoa Woodcreeper, Pale-vented Pigeon, Thick-billed Euphonia, Mourning Warbler, Yellow-backed Oriole, Crimson-backed Tanager, and Common Nighthawk and Common Potoo, both roosting at daytime.

Then we had lunch in our hotel in Buga, after which we started our long drive toward Tatamá National Park, where the Pacific Chocó lowlands meet the Western Andes. We planned three nights at the Montezuma Eco-Lodge as base in order to explore the forest above the lodge and find the jewels that this place holds, only reserved for the most intrepid birders who adventure into this area. But not only birdwatchers visit the park but a good number of butterfly aficionados from different parts of the world as well, due to the fact that this place holds one of the largest concentrations of butterfly species in Colombia.

We drove toward the town of Pueblo Rico, and it was interesting to see how the town becomes very much alive on weekends, especially in the main square. There were lots of people and all kind of different characters chilling out around the square. Colombian folk music was playing loudly from different local pubs, several old 4×4 jeeps parked around the square, even some people on horses were around, and of course there was the flamboyant chiva, the colorful Colombian local bus. For a moment it was like watching a picture in color of a Gabriel García Márquez novel.

At Pueblo Rico we switched our comfortable van for a 4×4 vehicle and started the drive toward Montezuma. We arrived late in the afternoon with just enough time to take a look at the hummingbird feeders and enjoy Empress Brilliant, White-tailed Hillstar, Crowned Woodnymph, Velvet-purple Coronet, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, and Western Emerald. The fruit feeders attracted Silver-throated, Crimson-backed, Golden, and Lemon-rumped Tanagers, and Black-winged Saltator. After a delicious dinner we went to sleep to get ready for the next day.

We met in the dining room at 4.45 a.m. in order to get a coffee and left at 5 a.m. toward the top of the ridge in Tatamá National Park. After an hour (10-km drive) we arrived at the top of the ridge at dawn and had our delicious field breakfast with amazing views of the mountain forest. Tatamá National Park is somehow remote, and the only people using this road are the members of the Montezuma Eco-Lodge and the Colombian army that still has a small military base at the top of the ridge. Our first encounter was a Great Thrush that came close to our jeep, obviously looking for some breakfast leftovers; apparently they have learned well that the local food from the lodge is quite tasty. During breakfast we scoped Smoky Bush Tyrant, followed by the first endemic of the day, Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer. After great scope views of this endemic we started looking for the second target of the ridge, Munchique Wood Wren, which is also a range-restricted country endemic. We were lucky with one that came rather quickly this year, allowing fantastic views. We tried for Tanager Finch but sadly were not successful on this trip. As consolation we were blessed with a much better award, nothing less than a male Dusky Starfrontlet. This poorly-known hummingbird, range-restricted and endemic to Colombia, is only known from very few locations and ultra-rare everywhere. It was seen in the past at the feeders of the remote Colibri Rayo Del Sol, but unfortunately ProAves has closed the tourist operation at the Dusky Starfrontlet Bird Reserve due to the difficulty involved in running these facilities in a very inaccessible place. Our local guide from the Montezuma Eco-Lodge told us that this was his first time watching a male on what definitely is his home turf and that his only previous record was a female some years ago. This sighting was simply amazing!

We started walking down the road, and spent the day exploring the area between the ridge and mid-elevations, focusing more on the upper-parts species. The morning rewarded us with views of the endemic Gold-ringed Tanager, Blue-winged Mountain Tanager, Lacrimose Mountain Tanager, Purplish-mantled Tanager, the endemic Black-and-gold Tanager, Rufous Spinetail, Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant, Black-throated Tody-Tyrant, Streak-necked Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant, Green-and-black Fruiteater, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Golden-fronted Whitestart, and the recently described Tatama Tapaculo (April 2017), known previously as Alto Pisones Tapaculo. The hummingbird feeders at high- and mid-elevations provided excellent views of Velvet-purple Coronet, Brown Inca, Collared Inca, Tourmaline Sunangel, Greenish Puffleg, Viridian Metaltail, and Violet-tailed Sylph. With all six endemics and incredible views of the species listed above we returned to the lodge to end the day with a good rest and a shower after our long hike back. We finished our day after enjoying a bottle of wine, a tasty dinner, and finding Tropical Screech Owl around the cabins.

Another day came and we repeated the same formula, leaving the lodge at 5.00 a.m. and focusing on middle-elevation species this time. On the way up the road we stopped for an obligate Colombian Screech Owl that showed nicely for everyone. We started the morning with Masked Trogon and Tawny-bellied Hermit, heard Chestnut Wood Quail distantly, and enjoyed Andean Motmot, Pacific Tuftedcheek, Montane Woodcreeper, Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Ornate, Handsome, and Cinnamon Flycatchers, Barred Becard, Sepia-brown Wren, Chestnut-capped Brushfinch, Choco Brushfinch, Yellow-throated Bush Tanager, Glistening-green Tanager, Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia, Indigo Flowerpiercer, and Olive Finch.

At lower elevations we managed to get crippling views of the most-wanted Lanceolated Monklet, the endemic Crested Ant Tanager, and Ochre-breasted Tanager. We went back to the lodge after spending the whole morning by the road. In the afternoon we explored the area around the house, having a lovely encounter with the endemic Greyish Piculet and also found Chestnut-headed Oropendola, Thick-billed Seed Finch, Variable Seedeater, Smooth-billed Ani, House Wren, and other classic birds of open grounds and secondary growth.

We left Montezuma the next morning and started our long drive to the Otún Quimbaya Fauna and Flora Sanctuary located near the town of La Suiza beyond Pereira at the shores of the upper parts of the Otún River. We arrived there at lunchtime. Our plan was to explore the area around the lodge in the afternoon. As soon we arrived we encountered an impressive Red-ruffed Fruitcrow; this is probably one the best places to see this species in South America. Later we found one of our main targets, the endemic and Endangered (IUCN) Cauca Guan. Andean Motmot, Blackburnian Warbler, and Golden-faced Tyrannulet were also in evidence. We went to the river to look for Torrent Duck, sadly with no luck, but had views of the classic White-capped Dipper and also of Black Phoebe, Torrent Tyrannulet, and Broad-winged Hawk. After dinner we tried for Mottled Owl around the lodge, but too much moonlight and dogs barking noisily from a neighboring house spoiled our search. However, we heard it.

The next morning we left toward El Cedral before dawn. El Cedral is only a six-kilometer drive away, but it will takes 30 minutes on a 4×4 jeep on a bad road. The idea was to get there at dawn to try for the enigmatic Hooded Antpitta. We managed to attract an individual responding, but after two tries the bird stopped and did not show up. It was sad to miss it on this trip. But we continued and saw Sickle-winged Guan, Blackburnian Warbler, Plumbeous-crowned Tyrannulet, Rufous-breasted Tody-Flycatcher, Metallic-green Tanager, White-naped Brushfinch, Whiskered Wren, Streak-capped Treehunter, Lesser Goldfinch, Yellow-bellied Seedeater, Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant, Strong-billed and Olive-backed Woodcreepers, the endemic Parker’s Antbird, and Collared Trogon. We heard Moustached Antpitta distantly and saw Colombian Red Howler Monkeys, and Grey-handed Night Monkeys were sleeping at daytime. We also saw more Cauca Guans. After lunch we were lucky to find a nice pair of Torrent Ducks along the Otún River. We were thrilled with close-up views of what appeared to be a courtship display. Then we drove towards Manizales, which is the capital of the Department of Caldas and is situated close to the Nevado Del Ruiz volcano. Manizales is the main center for the production of Colombian coffee and an important hub for higher educational institutions.

One can use Manizales as base to explore the two magnificent birding sites for which the town is famous among birders, Los Nevados National Park and the Rio Blanco Nature Reserve. Both locations are essential to admire some of the most-wanted birds of Colombia. We went straight to the Hotel Termales del Ruiz, located at 3500 meters above sea level and surrounded by magic views of the páramo and the Andes. Hot springs around the hotel doubtlessly make it a great place to stay, but most important for us are the high-elevation hummingbird species one can see at the hotel, which include Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Viridian Metaltail, Great Sapphirewing, Mountain Velvetbreast, Shining Sunbeam, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, and Golden-breasted Puffleg. They feed so close to observers that they might literally perch on someone’s head. We had great views of all of them, and after a nice contemplation of the fabulous scenery we retired to our rooms to get ready for the next day.

We took it easy the next day with a drive to the entrance of the national park. Here where had incredible views of a male Buffy Helmetcrest, another Colombian endemic. Other great birds included Tawny Antpitta, White-chinned Thistletail, Andean Tit-Spinetail, Andean Siskin, Plain-colored Seedeater, Stout-billed Cinclodes, nice views of Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Brown-bellied Swallow, Masked and Glossy Flowerpiercers, Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant, Plumbeous Sierra Finch, and Paramo Tapaculo. After a whole morning’s birding we were forced to go back to Manizales by the same way we had taken when we came in (the main road from Manizales to Los Nevados National Park). We had wanted to explore the old road that runs below the Hotel Termales Del Ruiz toward Manizales, where we had had great luck in the past, but the road was blocked by road maintenance. We went to Manizales city, where we stayed in a comfortable hotel. It was nice to go to a pasta restaurant to have a change in the menu.

The next day we left the hotel before dawn and drove toward the Rio Blanco Nature Reserve, which is run by the Aguas de Manizales municipal and regional program. This reserve protects the forest and the headwaters for Manizales and for many years has been trying to provide tourist facilities for birdwatchers, including accommodation, food, guided visits, and the famous antpitta feeding stations.

We arrived at 6 a.m. to have breakfast, and then we had 30 minutes to check the hummingbirds and saw Collared Inca, Long-tailed Sylph, Buff-tailed Coronet, and Tourmaline Sunangel. We also had Masked Flowerpiercer and Buff-breasted Mountain Tanager around the feeders. By 7.00 a.m. we and other birders were called to visit the first feeding station, which was just next to the house. We waited for Bicolored Antpitta, which was close but did not show up. We followed the person in charge of the antpitta feeders, who took us to the next station, where we had incredibly close-up views of the endemic Brown-banded Antpitta and of the widespread Chestnut-crowned Antpitta and Grey-browed Brushfinch as well. Finally, the last station provided dynamite views of Slate-crowned Antpitta. After the show was over we separated from the others birders and stayed on our own, enjoying views of a nice mixed flock with Black-eared Hemispingus, Oleaginous Hemispingus, Capped Conebill, Brown-capped Vireo, Superciliaried Hemispingus, Grey-hooded Bush Tanager, Slaty Brushfinch, Blue-and-black Tanager, Glossy-black Thrush, Black-billed Peppershrike, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Azara’s Spinetail, Pearled Treerunner, Streaked Xenops, and Strong-billed and Montane Woodcreepers. We also noticed Band-tailed Pigeon, Sickle-winged Guan, Masked Trogon, and Golden-headed Quetzal.

After lunch we took a break and met again in the afternoon to bird the road and look for some night birds. The activity was rather slow in the afternoon, with the same mixed flock described above but with fewer species. Before dusk we managed to see Rufous-bellied Nighthawk flying above us and a single Band-winged Nightjar. We spent the night at Rio Blanco.

The following morning we had to wait a few minutes, and then we managed to get Bicolored Antpitta at the feeder station. Then we continued along the patches of Chusquea bamboo and had great views of Streak-headed Antbird, Flammulated Treehunter, and Blackish Tapaculo. We were amazed at Stygian Owl roosting at daytime. This excitement was followed by superb views of three Black-billed Mountain Toucans and more species of the mixed flock described above.

Then we left Rio Blanco for the long drive toward Jardín in the Antioquia Department. On the way out of Rio Blanco we saw Green-fronted Lancebill, but Wedge-billed Hummingbird was not present at its usual place. The drive was long but fun, allowing us to see more of the countryside, and after a tasty lunch we arrived at our next destination. Jardín de Antioquia, a picturesque, colorful Spanish-style town, is famous among Colombians for having the most beautiful women in Colombia and the best coffee of the region, but as birders we also have to add one of the best, or perhaps “the” best Andean Cock-of-the-rock lek in South America. We arrived in time to watch the show and enjoyed at least 10 male Andean Cocks-of-the–rock displaying at eye level and at a very close distance. We stayed the night in Jardín.

The next morning we drove to Ventanas in search of the Endangered (IUCN) Yellow-eared Parrot. Once more we switched our comfortable vehicle for a 4×4 jeep to deal with the rough road to Ventanas. We immediately started to check each of the wax palms that grow in the steep forest and serve as potential nesting sites for the parrots. We could hear a flock that passed on the other side of the mountain, but, no matter how hard we tried, we could not see them and experienced some 10 minutes of stress at not being able to find them from where we were on the road.

Thanks to our driver’s advice we asked permission to enter into a local property (probably the only house up there in Ventanas) and scanned the forest slope from a different point of view. It was a good move, and suddenly we managed to get two Yellow-eared Parrots on their nest and about four of them flying at a low distance, providing first-class views. I decided to keep checking the palm trees in search of potential new nests when suddenly I could not believe what I witnessed at that moment. I found a huge Spectacled Bear at the top of a wax palm, eating the new palm fronds and the palm heart, and, even more extraordinarily, there was a second animal, a bear cup trying to climb the same tree following its mother. This was probably the most spectacular wildlife encounter I have ever experienced. The dream of a wildlife lover coming true!

Back into birding we found Red-crested Cotinga, White-sided and Masked Flowerpiercers, Streak-throated Bush Tyrant, Green-and-black Fruiteater, Sepia-brown Wren, Glossy-black Thrush, Golden-fronted Whitestart, Plushcap, Mountain Wren, and Flammulated Treehunter and had non-tickable glances at two Tanager Finches that came to the tape but flew away from us in a fraction of a second. We also heard Tawny-breasted Tinamou, but quite distantly. Unfortunately, we could not spend the whole day in Ventanas. We had to keep with our schedule and move to Medellín. We stayed in a nice hotel in Sabaneta, a suburb of Medellín, strategically located to explore our next port of call the following day.

After a good and quick breakfast we went to La Romera Ecological Park, located on the steep slope of the Sabaneta area. In a very short time we managed to get all our targets, namely the endemic Red-bellied Grackle, the endemic Stiles’s Tapaculo, and Yellow-headed Manakin. We also noted Russet-crowned Warbler and Andean Motmot.

Then we moved to the Cañon del Rio Claro in the mid-Magdalena Valley and in the afternoon explored the vicinity of the area, getting good views of Band-backed Wren, King Vulture, Buff-throated Saltator, Citron-throated Toucan, and the endemic Antioquia Bristle Tyrant. We also tried to get into the Oilbird cave, but even though the cattle fields on the way to the cave were quite birdy, the path to the cave was tricky, forcing us to cross and walk in streams on several occasions. The frustration came to an end when the access to the cave was so flooded that it was literally impossible to pass without submerging into the channel with water up to the belly. We only heard the species near the entrance to the cave. However, because all participants had seen Oilbirds in Trinidad it was not a big deal, and we decided to retreat. But the access to the cave should be improved to make visiting it easier.

The next day we went to the Rio Claro Nature Reserve, where the first bird we tried was Magdalena Antbird, which cooperated very well this year, providing excellent views. Other birds included Black-bellied Wren, Dusky-faced Tanager, Western Striped Manakin, Yellow-throated Toucan, Collared Aracari, Stripe-throated Hermit, Gartered Trogon, Blue-headed Parrot, Orange-chinned Parakeet, and Black Phoebe. We also heard Southern Nightingale-Wren. After leaving the Rio Claro area we headed toward Puerto Berrio on our way to the ProAves El Paujil Bird Reserve. On the way to Puerto Berrio we passed the Hacienda Nápoles, once home of the infamous drug baron Pedro Pablo Escobar, today an entertainment center and a kind of local zoo. Hacienda Nápoles was famous during the 1980s for holding the private collection of African animals imported by Escobar.

Once we arrived at Puerto Berrio we passed through some nice marshes and wetlands, where we saw our first Northern Screamer, one of the highlights of the trip, and then we managed to add more Northern Screamers, Black-capped Donacobius, Red-breasted Blackbird, Yellow-hooded Blackbird, Pied Water Tyrant, and White-headed Marsh Tyrant. We also had great views of both Orange-winged Amazon and Yellow-crowned Amazon.

We reached Puerto Pinzon and switched our van again for an old 4×4 jeep, which looked interesting, to say the least, but managed the tricky drive to El Paujil Bird Reserve. We arrived on time to see the endemic and Critically Endangered (IUCN) Blue-billed Curassow (male and female), one of the main reasons to come to this reserve. This curassow couple are habituated to the lodge and spends quite some time around the lodge grounds but can disappear for several days as well. It seems that the male is attracted to another female that the lodge keeps as a pet, a bird that the lodge staff were able to rescue from pet dealers and that has remained with them for some time. After dinner we had brief views of Pauraque while doing the list. We went to bed early to be ready for the next day.

After breakfast we spent the first hours of the morning at the tower with a nice 360° view of the forest. We had good views of raptors such as Swallow-tailed Kite, Plumbeous Kite, and a single Black Hawk-Eagle, which all performed very well for us. The parrots also played their part with giving us great and consecutive views of Blue-and-yellow Macaw and Chestnut-fronted Macaw. Other birds included Citron-throated Toucan, Red-crowned Woodpecker, Crimson-crested Woodpecker, and the endemic and most-wanted Beautiful Woodpecker. Black Antshrike, White-bearded Manakin, Cinnamon Woodpecker, Black-chested Jay, Orange-bellied and Thick-billed Euphonias, Plain-colored Tanager, Masked Tityra, Common Tody-Flycatcher, and Forest Elaenia were also seen near the tower. At night we tried for some night birds and were reward with superb views of Great Potoo and Choco Screech Owl.

Our last full day at El Paujil was dedicated to exploring the main road above the lodge. We easily found Laughing Falcon, Broad-billed Motmot, Southern Bentbill, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Russet-winged Schiffornis, Grey-throated Leaftosser, Piratic Flycatcher, Pale-vented Pigeon, Pied Puffbird, Venezuelan Troupial, Bar-crested Antshrike, Grey-headed Tanager, White-winged Becard, and the most-wanted Sooty Ant Tanager. The afternoon was rather quiet with little activity at the tower, so we tried for Black-billed Flycatcher, which gave wonderful views. Sadly, the most wanted Bare-crowned Antbird was heard distantly only on one occasion.

The next day we left early in the morning for the long drive back to Medellín. The wetlands were full of activity with Blue-and-yellow Macaw, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Orange-chinned Parakeet, Black-capped Donacobius, Grey-necked Wood Rail, Purple Gallinule, Green Ibis, Red-breasted Blackbird, Southern Lapwing, Limpkin, Bare-faced Ibis, Crested Oropendola, and Yellow-rumped Cacique. We drove straight to the Medellín international airport to catch our domestic flight to Barranquilla, where we arrived late in the evening in the middle of Barranquilla’s Carnival. This is the second-largest carnival in Latin America after the one in Rio de Janeiro, so no matter where one stayed it was hard to escape the noise.

The next day we drove to Minca in the lower parts of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. We arrived at Minca before lunch and enjoyed the feeders of our favorite Hotel Minca – La Casona. Here we enjoyed White-vented Plumeleteer, White-necked Jacobin, Steely-vented Hummingbird, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Pale-breasted Thrush, Baltimore Oriole, and Orange-chinned Parakeet in the lodge garden. After lunch we had a rest, and then we headed to the lower parts of Minca, where we saw Pale-eyed Pygmy Tyrant, Orange-chinned Parakeet, Blue-headed Parrot, scope views of Military Macaw perched distantly, and Crested Oropendola. Before our return to the lodge we found the impressive Black-and-white Owl roosting at daytime near the hotel.

The next day we left the lodge and started birding the road above Minca. Early in the morning there is good birding here, with species such as Golden-winged Sparrow, Rufous-capped Warbler, Keel-billed Toucan, Lineated Woodpecker, Masked Tityra, Black-chested Jay, Rufous-and-white Wren, Bicolored Wren, Mourning Warbler, American Redstart, White-lined Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Buff-throated Saltator, Summer Tanager, and Broad-winged Hawk, and approaching the y-intersection we had great views of a female endemic Santa Marta Woodstar.

We arrived at El Dorado Lodge at lunchtime and there had great views of Crowned Woodnymph, Brown Violetear, and Lesser Violetear at the feeders. The tanager feeders provided nice views of Blue-naped Chlorophonia and Black-capped Tanager. In the afternoon we saw White-throated Toucanet (here the endemic subspecies lautus [“Santa Marta Toucanet”]), the endemic White-lored Warbler, and Hermit Wood Wren. At the compost we enjoyed Black-hooded Thrush, Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush, the endemic Sierra Nevada Brushfinch, Santa Marta Brushfinch, Band-tailed Guan, and White-tipped Dove. Surprisingly, Black-throated Wood Quail was not found at the compost, but later a local friend found some roosting at night in a tree for us.

The San Lorenzo Ridge was our location for the next morning. We left early in order to be there by dawn. Once we arrived there we had our field breakfast and started to look for birds. We found the endemic Rusty-headed Spinetail, Streak-capped Spinetail, Flammulated Treehunter, Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant, Santa Marta Mountain Tanager, Santa Marta Brushfinch, Yellow-crowned Whitestart, and White-throated Tyrannulet. But, sadly, Santa Marta Warbler was not to be found. We saw Scarlet-fronted Parakeet and Santa Marta Parakeet, the latter only as a fly-by, however. Later we drove to the San Lorenzo Field Station, looking for Santa Marta Antpitta. We had heard that a local family had started to feed this bird with success, but sadly again this time we were not successful. We drove back to the lodge for lunch and had great views of White-tipped Quetzal and Golden-breasted Fruiteater near the lodge grounds. In the afternoon we also explored a private house, Palo Alto, but even though we stayed there for almost two hours waiting, there was no sign of the Santa Marta Blossomcrown. At night, however, we had a nice surprise when we were able to watch a Kinkajou at the banana feeders eating whatever the tanagers had left.

The next day we left El Dorado and explored the road by the y-intersection. Here we found some mid-elevation species such as Groove-billed Toucanet, Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Yellow-legged Thrush, Masked Trogon, Santa Marta Tapaculo, Swallow Tanager, Santa Marta Antbird, and Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner. We had lunch in Minca and then headed to Riohacha in the Guajira. Before we arrived at Riohacha we saw Brown-throated Parakeet, Double-striped Thick-knee by the road, our first Bare-eyed Pigeon, and Glaucous Tanager.

The last day of the tour had arrived, and we started it exploring the deciduous area near Camarones. As soon as we arrived we had great views of Orinoco Saltator, Vermilion Cardinal, Crested Bobwhite, Pale-tipped Inezia, Northern White-fringed Antwren, Black-crested and Black-backed Antshrikes, Slender-billed Inezia, White-whiskered Spinetail, Russet-throated Puffbird, Grey Pileated Finch, Black-faced Grassquit, Common Ground Dove, Scaled Dove, and Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant. We tried to track down Ferruginous Pygmy Owl in the bush, but no cigar.

At the end of the morning we moved to the shores of Camarones, where we had nice views of American White Ibis, Scarlet Ibis, Reddish Egret, Royal Tern, Cabot’s Tern, and Caspian and Common Terns, as well as Lesser Black-backed Gull. It became very windy by the end of the morning, so we headed back to the hotel in Riohacha to pick up our luggage and have our last meal together as a group. Then we transferred to the airport, where we said goodbye and the group connected with their flight to Bogotá.

Another adventure had come to an end, full of incredible and wonderful memories of yet another successful Birding Ecotours Colombia tour.

 

SYSTEMATIC LIST (IOC 8.1)

Tinamidae

Little Tinamou (H) Crypturellus soui Distantly heard at the lowest parts of the Anchicaya road

Tawny-breasted Tinamou (H) Nothocercus julius Unfortunately heard only at Ventanas above Jardín de Antioquia. Extremely rarely encountered

Anhimidae

Northern Screamer Chauna chavaria At least six birds were seen at Puerto Berrio on the way to El Paujil. Found in Colombia and Venezuela only. A most-wanted species. The species is classified as Near-threatened.

Anatidae

Fulvous Whistling Duck Dendrocygna bicolor Seen at Sonso Lake

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis Seen at Sonso Lake

Torrent Duck Merganetta armata Nice views of a pair displaying along the Otún River near La Suiza. A classic bird of the Andes!

Cinnamon Teal Spatula cyanoptera Seen at Sonso Lake

Blue-winged Teal Spatula discors Seen at Sonso Lake. The most common migratory duck in Colombia

Andean Teal Anas andium Seen below Los Nevados National Park

Andean Duck Oxyura ferruginea Seen below Los Nevados National Park

Cracidae

Colombian Chachalaca Ortalis columbiana We had our first encounter at Finca Alejandria. A country endemic

Cauca Guan Penelope perspicax Excellent views at Otún Quimbaya. A country endemic. The species is classified as Endangered.

Band-tailed Guan Penelope argyrotis Close-up views at El Dorado Lodge in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Sickle-winged Guan Chamaepetes goudotii Seen at Montezuma, Rio Blanco, and El Dorado Lodge. We saw the sanctaemarthae subspecies at El Dorado Lodge and the nominate subspecies in the Western and Central Andes.

Blue-billed Curassow Crax alberti A habituated pair seen nicely at El Paujil. A country endemic. The species is classified as Critically Endangered.

Odontophoridae

Crested Bobwhite Colinus cristatus Seen near Camarones

Black-fronted Wood Quail Odontophorus atrifrons Seen at El Dorado Lodge, amazingly not at the compost but roosting a night. Found in Colombia and Venezuela. The species is classified as Vulnerable.

Chestnut Wood Quail (H) Odontophorus hyperythrus Distantly heard at Otún Quimbaya. A country endemic. The species is classified as Near-threatened.

Threskiornithidae

Buff-necked Ibis Theristicus caudatus Two birds seen in flight at Sonso Lake

Bare-faced Ibis Phimosus infuscatus The most common ibis throughout the trip

Green Ibis Mesembrinibis cayennensis One seen in Puerto Pinzon

American White Ibis Eudocimus albus Nice views at Camarones

Scarlet Ibis Eudocimus ruber Superb views at Camarones, where it is not always easy

Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja Seen at Camarones on the last day of the tour

Ardeidae

Fasciated Tiger Heron Tigrisoma fasciatum A juvenile was seen along the Anchicaya River.

Rufescent Tiger Heron Tigrisoma lineatum One seen at El Paujil

Great Egret Ardea alba Several seen throughout the trip

Reddish Egret Egretta rufescens Seen at Camarones on the last day of the tour. The species is classified as Near-threatened.

Snowy Egret Egretta thula Seen on the way to Buga

Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea One seen on the way to Puerto Pinzon

Western Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis Several seen throughout the trip

Striated Heron Butorides striata Seen at Sonso Lake, Puerto Pinzon, and Rio Claro

Cocoi Heron Ardea cocoi Seen at Sonso Lake

Pelecanidae

Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis Seen on the way to Santa Marta and Camarones

Fregatidae

Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens Seen on the way to Santa Marta and Camarones

Phalacrocoracidae

Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus Seen at Sonso Lake and along the Magdalena River

Anhingidae

Anhinga Anhinga anhinga Seen at Sonso Lake

Cathartidae

Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura Several sightings

Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture Cathartes burrovianus Only one sighting on the way to El Paujil

Black Vulture Coragyps atratus One of the most common bird species in South America

King Vulture Sarcoramphus papa Seen at La Romera

Pandionidae

Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus Nice views at Sonso Lake. Pandion haliaetus is widespread worldwide, except from Sulawesi to Australasia, Solomon Islands, and New Caledonia, where it is replaced by Eastern Osprey, Pandion cristatus.

Accipitridae

Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus Nice views at Montezuma in the Tatamá National Park

Black Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus tyrannus Close-up view from the tower at El Paujil

Plumbeous Kite Ictinia plumbea Seen at El Paujil

Snail Kite Rostrhamus sociabilis Several were seen at Sonso Lake

Crane Hawk Geranospiza caerulescens Great views at El Paujil

Savanna Hawk Buteogallus meridionalis Seen on the way to El Paujil

Roadside Hawk Rupornis magnirostris A few seen on the trip

Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle Geranoaetus melanoleucus Only two birds were seen at the entrance of Los Nevados National Park.

Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus Perhaps the most frequently encountered raptor of the trip

Short-tailed Hawk Buteo brachyurus Only one encounter on the trip

Zone-tailed Hawk Buteo albonotatus Nice views at the lower parts of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Rallidae

Russet-crowned Crake (H) Laterallus viridis This species was only heard at El Paujil.

Grey-necked Wood Rail Aramides cajaneus Seen nicely at El Paujil

Purple Gallinule Porphyrio martinica Seen at Sonso Lake

Common Gallinule Gallinula galeata Seen at Sonso Lake

Aramidae

Limpkin Aramus guarauna Seen at Sonso Lake

Burhinidae

Double-striped Thick-knee Burhinus bistriatus Great views on the way to Riohacha

Haematopodidae

American Oystercatcher Haematopus palliatus Seen at Camarones

Charadriidae

Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis Common throughout the trip

Jacanidae

Wattled Jacana Jacana jacana Seen at Sonso Lake

Scolopacidae

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus Seen at Camarones

Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius A few sightings of this common boreal migrant

Laridae

Franklin’s Gull Leucophaeus pipixcan Seen at Camarones

Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus Seen at Camarones

Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus Seen at Camarones

Cabot’s Tern Thalasseus acuflavidus Seen at Camarones

Common Tern Sterna hirundo Seen at Camarones

Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia Seen at Camarones

Columbidae

Rock Dove Columba livia Common in cities and human settlements

Band-tailed Pigeon Patagioenas fasciata A couple of sightings

Scaled Pigeon Patagioenas speciosa Scope views at the y-intersection in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Bare-eyed Pigeon Patagioenas corensis Seen at La Guajira, where we had scope views. Found in Colombia, Venezuela, and the Netherlands Antilles

Plumbeous Pigeon Patagioenas plumbea Seen at El Paujil

Pale-vented Pigeon Patagioenas cayennensis Seen at Sonso Lake

Scaled Dove Columbina squammata Seen near Camarones

Common Ground Dove Columbina passerina A few seen at La Guajira. Here the subspecies albivitta

Ruddy Ground Dove Columbina talpacoti Common in our hotel grounds in Buga

White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi Several sightings on the trip

Lined Quail-Dove (H) Zentrygon linearis Only heard at El Dorado Lodge in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

White-throated Quail-Dove (H) Zentrygon frenata Only heard at Tatamá National Park

Eared Dove Zenaida auriculata Common in cites and parks

Cuculidae

Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani Common at many locations, including Sonso Lake

Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris Seen on the way to Riohacha

Greater Ani Crotophaga major Seen at Sonso Lake and other places

Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana Several sightings, including at Finca Alejandria

Strigidae

‘Santa Marta Screech Owl (H) Megascops gilesi’ Only heard at El Dorado Lodge. Very recently described in 2017 and not yet officially recognized by either the South American Classification Committee or by IOC, the recognition of this poorly-known species should only be a matter of time. A country endemic and one of the most-wanted birds in Colombia in recent years

Colombian Screech Owl Megascops colombianus Great views above Montezuma before dawn. The species is classified as Near-threatened.

Tropical Screech Owl Megascops choliba Nice views of one individual around our cabins at Montezuma

Choco Screech Owl Megascops centralis Crippling views of this secretive forest owl at El Paujil. A recent split from Middle American Screech Owl, Megascops guatemalae

Black-and-white Owl Strix nigrolineata Two birds were seen roosting at daytime at Minca.

Mottled Owl (H) Strix virgata Only heard in the pine forest of Otún Quimbaya

Stygian Owl Asio stygius Scope views of one individual roosting at daytime at Rio Blanco

Steatornithidae

Oilbird (H) Steatornis caripensis Only heard at the Oilbird cave entrance near Rio Claro

Nyctibiidae

Common Potoo Nyctibius griseus Roosting at daytime at Sonso Lake

Great Potoo Nyctibius grandis One found at El Paujil during our night walk

Caprimulgidae

Rufous-bellied Nighthawk Lurocalis rufiventris Seen before dusk at Rio Blanco

Common Nighthawk Chordeiles minor Seen roosting at daytime at Sonso Lake

Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis Brief views of one individual at El Paujil

Band-winged Nightjar Systellura longirostris Just a glimpse a Rio Blanco

Lyre-tailed Nightjar Uropsalis lyra A female was seen roosting at daytime at the upper parts of the Anchicaya road.

Apodidae

White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris Several sightings throughout the trip

Chestnut-collared Swift Streptoprocne rutila Our first encounter was on the way to Otún Quimbaya.

Grey-rumped Swift Chaetura cinereiventris Seen at El Paujil

Short-tailed Swift Chaetura brachyura Seen at El Paujil

Trochilidae

Green Hermit Phaethornis guy Seen at Finca Alejandria

White-whiskered Hermit Phaethornis yaruqui Excellent views of this Chocó specialist at the feeders of Doña Dora in the upper parts of the Anchicaya road

Tawny-bellied Hermit Phaethornis syrmatophorus Seen at the feeders of Montezuma Eco-Lodge

Pale-bellied Hermit Phaethornis anthophilus Seen at El Paujil

Tooth-billed Hummingbird Androdon aequatorialis Great views of this range-restricted species below the waterfall at the lower parts of the Anchicaya road. The serrated bill is well adapted for catching small spiders and insects, while the hooked tip of the male’s bill is further suited for extracting prey from within rolled leaves and cavities.

Green-fronted Lancebill Doryfera ludovicae Seen at Rio Blanco

White-necked Jacobin Florisuga mellivora Several sightings. including Finca Alejandria, Minca, Montezuma, and El Paujil

Brown Violetear Colibri delphinae Common at the feeders of El Dorado Lodge

Sparkling Violetear Colibri coruscans Only a few sightings on this trip

Lesser Violetear Colibri cyanotus Common at Rio Blanco and El Dorado Lodge

Black-throated Mango Anthracothorax nigricollis Seen at Finca Alejandria and Montezuma

Green Thorntail Discosura conversii Only one sighting at the feeders of Doña Dora

Western Emerald Chlorostilbon melanorhynchus Seen at Montezuma

Red-billed Emerald Chlorostilbon gibsoni Only one sighting at La Guajira. Found in Colombia and Venezuela

Crowned Woodnymph Thalurania colombica We saw the subspecies colombica at El Dorado Lodge. This subspecies is sometimes treated as a different species called Violet-crowned Woodnymph. We also saw the subspecies fannyae at Montezuma, which is sometimes called Green-crowned Woodnymph.

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl Several seen on the trip

Andean Emerald Amazilia franciae Seen at Finca Alejandria and Montezuma

Steely-vented Hummingbird Amazilia saucerottei We saw the nominate subspecies at Finca Alejandria and the subspecies warscewiczi at Minca.

White-vented Plumeleteer Chalybura buffonii Good views at Minca

Fawn-breasted Brilliant Heliodoxa rubinoides Seen at Finca Alejandria and Rio Blanco

Green-crowned Brilliant Heliodoxa jacula Seen at the feeders at Montezuma

Empress Brilliant Heliodoxa imperatrix Seen at Doña Dora’s feeders and Montezuma. Found in Colombia and Ecuador

White-tailed Hillstar Urochroa bougueri Seen at Doña Dora’s feeders and Montezuma

Buff-tailed Coronet Boissonneaua flavescens Seen at Finca Alejandria and Rio Blanco

Velvet-purple Coronet Boissonneaua jardíni This striking species was seen nicely at Montezuma. Found in Colombia and Ecuador

Shining Sunbeam Aglaeactis cupripennis Close-up views at the Hotel Termales del Ruiz feeders

Mountain Velvetbreast Lafresnaya lafresnayi Close-up views at the Hotel Termales del Ruiz feeders

Bronzy Inca Coeligena coeligena Seen at Finca Alejandria and Rio Blanco

Brown Inca Coeligena wilsoni Good views at Montezuma. Found in Colombia and Ecuador

Collared Inca Coeligena torquata Good views at Rio Blanco and Montezuma

Dusky Starfrontlet Coeligena orina This was the first documented record for the area! Amazing views of the male at the upper parts of Montezuma. A country endemic. The species is classified as Critically Endangered.

Buff-winged Starfrontlet Coeligena lutetiae Seen nicely at the Hotel Termales del Ruiz feeders

Great Sapphirewing Pterophanes cyanopterus Great views at the Hotel Termales del Ruiz feeders. The second-largest hummingbird in the world

Tourmaline Sunangel Heliangelus exortis Seen at Rio Blanco and Montezuma. Found in Colombia and Ecuador

Golden-breasted Puffleg Eriocnemis mosquera Seen at Hotel Termales del Ruiz

Greenish Puffleg Haplophaedia aureliae Seen at the high-elevation feeders at Montezuma Purple-bibbed Whitetip Urosticte benjamini Seen at the feeders at Montezuma

White-booted Racket-tail Ocreatus underwoodii Seen at Finca Alejandria. This is the result of the recent split of Booted Racket-tail Ocreatus underwoodii. The split is as follows:

*White-booted Racket-tail Ocreatus underwoodii N Venezuela to W Ecuador

*Peruvian Racket-tail Ocreatus peruanus From E Ecuador to NE Peru

*Rufous-booted Racket-tail Ocreatus addae From C. Peru to Bolivia

Black-backed Thornbill Ramphomicron dorsale Seen at the ridge above El Dorado Lodge. A country endemic restricted to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The species is classified as Endangered.

Buffy Helmetcrest Oxypogon stuebelii Great views of a male near the entrance of Los Nevados National Park. A country endemic. The species is classified as Vulnerable.

Viridian Metaltail Metallura williami Seen at the Hotel Termales del Ruiz feeders

Rainbow-bearded Thornbill Chalcostigma herrani Seen at the Hotel Termales del Ruiz feeders

Long-tailed Sylph Aglaiocercus kingii Seen at Rio Blanco and Finca Alejandria

Violet-tailed Sylph Aglaiocercus coelestis Seen at Montezuma and Doña Dora’s feeders

Purple-crowned Fairy Heliothryx barroti An individual on its nest at the lower Anchicaya road

Purple-throated Woodstar Calliphlox mitchellii Seen at the Montezuma Eco-Lodge feeders. Found in Colombia and Ecuador with an isolated population in Panama

White-bellied Woodstar Chaetocercus mulsant Seen at Rio Blanco

Santa Marta Woodstar Chaetocercus astreans A female was seen above the y-intersection below the El Dorado Lodge. A country endemic restricted to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Trogonidae

Golden-headed Quetzal Pharomachrus auriceps Great views at Finca Alejandria

White-tipped Quetzal Pharomachrus fulgidus Nice views of a family around El Dorado Lodge. Found in Venezuela and Colombia, where it is restricted to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and the Períjá Mountains

Masked Trogon Trogon personatus Seen at Rio Blanco and Jardín de Antioquia

Collared Trogon Trogon collaris Seen at Otún Quimbaya

Gartered Trogon Trogon caligatus Seen at El Paujil

Alcedinidae

Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona Seen on the way to El Paujil

Ringed Kingfisher Megaceryle torquata Seen at Sonso Lake

Momotidae

Andean Motmot Momotus aequatorialis Seen at Montezuma

Broad-billed Motmot Electron platyrhynchum Seen at El Paujil

Galbulidae

Rufous-tailed Jacamar Galbula ruficauda Seen along the Anchicaya road and at Minca

Bucconidae

Pied Puffbird Notharchus tectus Great views at El Paujil

Russet-throated Puffbird Hypnelus ruficollis Always a pleasure to see at La Guajira

Lanceolated Monklet Micromonacha lanceolata An excellent encounter with this most-wanted species at the lower parts of Montezuma

Capitonidae

Red-headed Barbet Eubucco bourcierii Close-up views at Finca Alejandria

Spot-crowned Barbet Capito maculicoronatus Good views along the Anchicaya road. Found in Colombia and Panama

Semnornithidae

Toucan Barbet Semnornis ramphastinus Dynamite views of this sought-after species at the feeders of Doña Dora at the upper part Anchicaya road. Found in Colombia and Ecuador. The species is classified as Near-threatened.

Ramphastidae

White-throated Toucanet Aulacorhynchus albivitta Several sightings, including close-up views of the subspecies lautus [“Santa Marta Toucanet”] at the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and the subspecies griseogularis [“Grey-throated Toucanet”] at Otún Quimbaya

Crimson-rumped Toucanet Aulacorhynchus haematopygus Seen at the feeders of Finca Alejandria

Groove-billed Toucanet Aulacorhynchus sulcatus Good views of two birds at the y-intersection below El Dorado Lodge. Found in Colombia and Venezuela

Collared Aracari Pteroglossus torquatus Seen at Minca and Anchicaya

Black-billed Mountain Toucan Andigena nigrirostris Spectacular views at Rio Blanco

Choco Toucan Ramphastos brevis Close-up views along the Anchicaya road. Found in Colombia and Ecuador

Keel-billed Toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus Great views above Minca and below the y-intersection in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The national bird of Belize

Yellow-throated Toucan Ramphastos ambiguus Seen along the Anchicaya road. The species is classified as Near-threatened.

Citron-throated Toucan Ramphastos citreolaemus Good views at Rio Claro. Found in Venezuela and Colombia

Picidae

Greyish Piculet Picumnus granadensis Great views at Montezuma. A country endemic

Chestnut Piculet Picumnus cinnamomeus This handsome piculet was seen in the dry Guajira on the last day of the tour. Found in Venezuela and Colombia

Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus Seen around Finca Alejandria

Beautiful Woodpecker Melanerpes pulcher Excellent views at El Paujil. A country endemic restricted to the mid-Magdalena valley

Red-crowned Woodpecker Melanerpes rubricapillus Common at several locations, including the gardens of our hotel in Jardín de Antioquia

Spot-breasted Woodpecker Colaptes punctigula Quite a few sightings

Golden-olive Woodpecker Colaptes rubiginosus Seen below El Dorado Lodge

Crimson-mantled Woodpecker Colaptes rivolii A beautiful woodpecker found at Rio Blanco

Cinnamon Woodpecker Celeus loricatus Good views at El Paujil

Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus A few sightings on the trip

Crimson-crested Woodpecker Campephilus melanoleucos Only one encounter in the Cauca valley

Falconidae

Northern Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway Common at several locations

Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima Common at several locations

Laughing Falcon Herpetotheres cachinnans Scope views at Minca

Collared Forest Falcon (H) Micrastur semitorquatus Heard only at El Paujil

Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus A glimpse of one individual from the restaurant of our hotel in Riohacha

American Kestrel Falco sparverius A few sightings on the trip

Psittacidae

Orange-chinned Parakeet Brotogeris jugularis Scope views at Minca

Red-billed Parrot Pionus sordidus Seen above Minca

Blue-headed Parrot Pionus menstruus Several sightings throughout the trip

Bronze-winged Parrot Pionus chalcopterus Nice views of one individual on the way to Buga

Scaly-naped Amazon Amazona mercenarius Fly-by views at Jardín de Antioquia

Orange-winged Amazon Amazona amazonica Seen nicely at Rio Claro

Yellow-crowned Amazon Amazona ochrocephala Seen on the way to El Paujil

Spectacled Parrotlet Forpus conspicillatus Seen at Sonso Lake.

Santa Marta Parakeet Pyrrhura viridicata A brief view of four individuals flying by above the San Lorenzo ridge. A country endemic. The species is classified as Endangered.

Brown-throated Parakeet Eupsittula pertinax Seen on the way to the Guajira

Blue-and-yellow Macaw Ara ararauna Daily views at El Paujil

Military Macaw Ara militaris Scope views of a few distant individuals below Minca. The species is classified as Vulnerable.

Chestnut-fronted Macaw Ara severus Seen at El Paujil

Yellow-eared Parrot Ognorhynchus icterotis At least six birds were seen nicely in Ventanas above Jardín de Antioquia. Formerly found in Northern Ecuador, but there have not been any confirmed records in Ecuador since the mid-1990s. The populations have been impacted by hunting and habitat destruction, particularly the harvesting of wax palm. The species is classified as Endangered.

Scarlet-fronted Parakeet Psittacara wagleri Seen at the San Lorenzo Ridge above El Dorado Lodge. Here the nominate subspecies. The species is classified as Near-threatened.

Furnariidae

Stout-billed Cinclodes Cinclodes excelsior Good views at Los Nevados National Park

Caribbean Hornero Furnarius longirostris Seen in the dry scrub of the Guajira

Andean Tit-Spinetail Leptasthenura andicola Two individuals were seen well at Los Nevados National Park.

White-chinned Thistletail Asthenes fuliginosa Brief views of one individual at Los Nevados National Park

White-whiskered Spinetail Synallaxis candei Great views of this distinctive spinetail in the dry habitat of the Guajira. Found in Colombia and Venezuela

Rufous Spinetail Synallaxis unirufa Seen at the top of the ridge at Montezuma

Rusty-headed Spinetail Synallaxis fuscorufa Great views at the San Lorenzo Ridge above El Dorado Lodge. A country endemic restricted to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The species is classified as Vulnerable.

Azara’s Spinetail Synallaxis azarae Seen at Rio Blanco. Named after Felix de Azara (18 May 1746 – 20 October 1821), a Spanish military officer, naturalist, and engineer

Pale-breasted Spinetail Synallaxis albescens Only one sighting on the trip

Red-faced Spinetail Cranioleuca erythrops Seen at mid-elevations along the Montezuma road

Streak-capped Spinetail Cranioleuca hellmayri Seen at the San Lorenzo Ridge above El Dorado Lodge. Almost a Santa Marta endemic, but a few birds are sneaking into Venezuela

Spotted Barbtail (H) Premnoplex brunnescens This species was heard at Otún Quimbaya.

Pearled Treerunner Margarornis squamiger Seen at Rio Blanco

Pacific Tuftedcheek Pseudocolaptes johnsoni Seen at mid-elevation at Montezuma. Found in Colombia and Ecuador

Montane Foliage-gleaner Anabacerthia striaticollis Seen around El Dorado Lodge. Here the endemic subspecies anxia

Uniform Treehunter Thripadectes ignobilis Seen at the upper parts of the Anchicaya road

Flammulated Treehunter Thripadectes flammulatus Seen at Rio Blanco and Santa Marta, both the nominate subspecies

Streak-capped Treehunter Thripadectes virgaticeps Seen at Otún Quimbaya

Ruddy Foliage-gleaner (H) Automolus rubiginosus Heard only at the Anchicaya road

Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner Automolus rufipectus Great views at mid-elevations in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. A country endemic restricted to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The species is classified as Near-threatened.

Grey-throated Leaftosser Sclerurus albigularis Seen at El Paujil. The species is classified as Near-threatened.

Streaked Xenops Xenops rutilans Seen at Otún Quimbaya

Tyrannine Woodcreeper (H) Dendrocincla tyrannina Heard before dusk at Rio Blanco

Wedge-billed Woodcreeper Glyphorynchus spirurus A couple of encounters on the trip

Strong-billed Woodcreeper Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus Seen at Rio Blanco

Straight-billed Woodcreeper Dendroplex picus Seen at La Guajira

Cocoa Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus susurrans Seen at Sonso Lake

Spotted Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus erythropygius Seen along the Anchicaya road

Olive-backed Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus triangularis Seen at Otún Quimbaya and Rio Blanco

Streak-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes souleyetii Seen at Sonso Lake

Montane Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger Seen at Rio Blanco

Brown-billed Scythebill Campylorhamphus pusillus Only a brief sighting at El Paujil

Thamnophilidae

Great Antshrike (H) Taraba major This species was heard only at Sonso Lake.

Black-crested Antshrike Sakesphorus canadensis Seen in the Guajira, where we saw the subspecies pulchellus

Black-backed Antshrike Thamnophilus melanonotus Seen in the Guajira. Found in Colombia and Venezuela

Bar-crested Antshrike Thamnophilus multistriatus Only one encounter on the trip. Found in Colombia and Venezuela

Barred Antshrike Thamnophilus doliatus Only one encounter on the trip

Black Antshrike Thamnophilus nigriceps Brief views at El Paujil. Found in Colombia and Panama

Yellow-breasted Antwren Herpsilochmus axillaris Seen in the lower parts of the Montezuma road. The species is classified as Vulnerable.

Pacific Antwren Myrmotherula pacifica Seen in Anchicaya

Northern White-fringed Antwren Formicivora intermedia Nice views in the Guajira. Found in Colombia and Venezuela

Santa Marta Antbird Drymophila hellmayri Seen at the y-intersection below El Dorado Lodge. A country endemic. The species is classified as Near-threatened.

Streak-headed Antbird Drymophila striaticeps Seen at Rio Blanco

Jet Antbird Cercomacra nigricans Seen at Sonso Lake

Parker’s Antbird Cercomacroides parkeri Seen at the lower parts of Montezuma and Otún Quimbaya. A country endemic. Named after Theodore Albert “Ted” Parker III (April 1, 1953 – August 3, 1993), an American ornithologist who specialized in the Neotropics. He was widely considered the finest field birder of recent times. He died tragically on a plane crash in Ecuador together with Alwyn Gentry, one of the top botanist in the Neotropics.

Magdalena Antbird Sipia palliata Great views this year of this species at Rio Claro. Named after the Magdalena River in Colombia. The species is classified as Near-threatened.

Bare-crowned Antbird (H) Gymnocichla nudiceps No matter how hard we tried, this species was heard only once.

Grallariidae

Moustached Antpitta (H) Grallaria alleni Heard only at Otún Quimbaya. Found in Colombia and Ecuador. The species is classified as Vulnerable.

Chestnut-crowned Antpitta Grallaria ruficapilla Fantastic views at Rio Blanco

Santa Marta Antpitta (H) Grallaria bangsi Only seen by the leader at San Lorenzo in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. A country endemic. The species is classified as Vulnerable.

Brown-banded Antpitta Grallaria milleri Close-up views of this antpitta at the worm feeders at Rio Blanco. A country endemic. The species is classified as Vulnerable.

Tawny Antpitta Grallaria quitensis Seen at Los Nevados National Park

Bicolored Antpitta Grallaria rufocinerea Seen briefly at Rio Blanco. Found in Colombia and Ecuador. The species is classified as Vulnerable.

Slaty-crowned Antpitta Grallaricula nana Nice views at Rio Blanco

Ochre-breasted Antpitta Grallaricula flavirostris Seen at mid-elevations at Montezuma. The species is classified as Near-threatened.

Hooded Antpitta (H) Grallaricula cucullata Sadly only heard this year. Found in Colombia and Venezuela. The species is classified as Vulnerable.

Rusty-breasted Antpitta (H) Grallaricula ferrugineipectus This species was seen briefly by the leader only at the y-intersection below El Dorado Lodge.

Rhinocryptidae

Ocellated Tapaculo (H) Acropternis orthonyx Despite all our efforts it did not show up either at Rio Blanco or Jardín.

Stiles’s Tapaculo Scytalopus stilesi Seen at Otún Quimbaya and La Romera. A country endemic. Named after Gary Stiles, American ornithologist and author of the A guide to the Birds of Costa Rica

Narino Tapaculo Scytalopus vicinior Seen at Montezuma

Tatama Tapaculo Scytalopus alvarezlopezi Seen at Montezuma. Described in April 2017. Its English name used to be Alto Pisones Tapaculo before its official description. A country endemic. Named after Tatamá National Park

Santa Marta Tapaculo Scytalopus sanctaemartae Seen below El Dorado Lodge. A country endemic

Spillmann’s Tapaculo (H) Scytalopus spillmanni Heard at Rio Blanco

Paramo Tapaculo Scytalopus opacus Brief views below Los Nevados National Park

Blackish Tapaculo (H) Scytalopus latrans Heard at Rio Blanco

Tyrannidae

Sooty-headed Tyrannulet Phyllomyias griseiceps Seen at Otún Quimbaya

Plumbeous-crowned Tyrannulet Phyllomyias plumbeiceps Seen at Otún Quimbaya

Black-capped Tyrannulet Phyllomyias nigrocapillus Seen at Rio Blanco

Forest Elaenia Myiopagis gaimardii Seen at El Paujil

Southern Beardless Tyrannulet Camptostoma obsoletum Seen at Otún Quimbaya

White-throated Tyrannulet Mecocerculus leucophrys Seen at Rio Blanco and Santa Marta

White-tailed Tyrannulet Mecocerculus poecilocercus Seen at Rio Blanco

White-banded Tyrannulet Mecocerculus stictopterus Seen at Rio Blanco

Torrent Tyrannulet Serpophaga cinerea Seen at Otún Quimbaya

Bronze-olive Pygmy Tyrant Pseudotriccus pelzelni Seen at Montezuma

Golden-faced Tyrannulet Zimmerius chrysops Seen at Otún Quimbaya and Montezuma

Coopmans’s Tyrannulet Zimmerius minimus Seen above Minca

Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant Pogonotriccus ophthalmicus Seen at Otún Quimbaya

Variegated Bristle Tyrant Pogonotriccus poecilotis Seen at El Paujil

Antioquia Bristle Tyrant Pogonotriccus lanyoni Seen at Rio Claro. Named after the department of Antioquia in Colombia. A country endemic. The species is classified as Endangered.

Streak-necked Flycatcher Mionectes striaticollis Seen at Montezuma

Slaty-capped Flycatcher Leptopogon superciliaris Seen at Anchicaya

Northern Scrub Flycatcher Sublegatus arenarum Seen in the Guajira

Slender-billed Inezia Inezia tenuirostris Seen in the Guajira. Found in Colombia and Venezuela

Pale-tipped Inezia Inezia caudata Seen in the Guajira

Handsome Flycatcher Nephelomyias pulcher Seen at Montezuma

Ornate Flycatcher Myiotriccus ornatus Seen at Montezuma

Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant Hemitriccus margaritaceiventer Seen in the Guajira

Black-throated Tody-Tyrant Hemitriccus granadensis Seen at Montezuma

Black-capped Pygmy Tyrant Myiornis atricapillus Seen along the Anchicaya road

Southern Bentbill Oncostoma olivaceum Seen at El Paujil. Found in Colombia and Panama

Scale-crested Pygmy Tyrant Lophotriccus pileatus Seen in the upper parts of the Anchicaya road

Pale-eyed Pygmy Tyrant Atalotriccus pilaris Nice views below Minca

Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher Poecilotriccus ruficeps It took time, but we had good views of this little, handsome flycatcher at Rio Blanco.

Common Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum cinereum Several sightings

Pacific Flatbill Rhynchocyclus pacificus Seen at the lower Anchicaya road

Cinnamon Flycatcher Pyrrhomyias cinnamomeus Seen at several locations

Black-billed Flycatcher Aphanotriccus audax Great views at El Paujil. Found in Colombia and Panama. The species is classified as Near-threatened.

Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans Several sightings throughout the trip

Smoke-colored Pewee Contopus fumigatus Seen at Rio Blanco and Montezuma

Western Wood Pewee Contopus sordidulus Seen above Minca

Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus obscurus Seen in Buga and Jardín de Antioquia. According to IOC (Carmi et al. 2016), Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus has been split as follows:

* Scarlet Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus SE Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay

* Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus obscurus SW USA to N Chile

* Darwin’s Flycatcher Pyrocephalus nanus Galapagos Islands (except San Cristobal)

* San Cristobal Flycatcher Pyrocephalus dubius San Cristobal Island (Galapagos) [Today extinct]

Streak-throated Bush Tyrant Myiotheretes striaticollis Seen at Ventanas above Jardín de Antioquia

Smoky Bush Tyrant Myiotheretes fumigatus Scope views at the top of the ridge at Montezuma

Pied Water Tyrant Fluvicola pica A nice encounter on the way to El Paujil

White-headed Marsh Tyrant Arundinicola leucocephala Seen on the same wetlands as the species above on the way to El Paujil

Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant Silvicultrix diadema Seen at the top of the ridge above El Dorado Lodge

Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca fumicolor Seen at Los Nevados National Park

Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca cinnamomeiventris Good views at Otún Quimbaya

Long-tailed Tyrant Colonia colonus Seen at the lower Anchicaya road

Cattle Tyrant Machetornis rixosa Seen at our hotel in Buga

Piratic Flycatcher Legatus leucophaius Seen at the lower Anchicaya road. Its name refers to the fact that 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.

Rusty-margined Flycatcher Myiozetetes cayanensis Seen at Sonso Lake among other locations early in the trip

Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis Only a couple of encounters

Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus Common at several locations

Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua Seen at El Paujil

Lemon-browed Flycatcher Conopias cinchoneti A nice family party was seen at the lower Anchicaya road. The species is classified as Vulnerable.

Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus Quite a few sightings, including Minca and Sonso Lake

Golden-crowned Flycatcher Myiodynastes chrysocephalus Seen at Montezuma

Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus Common

Fork-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus savana Seen on the way out of El Paujil

Rufous Mourner Rhytipterna holerythra Seen at the lower Anchicaya road

Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer Seen at the upper parts of the Anchicaya road

Venezuelan Flycatcher Myiarchus venezuelensis Seen on the way to Guajira. Found in Colombia and Venezuela

Panama Flycatcher Myiarchus panamensis Seen at El Paujil

Pale-edged Flycatcher Myiarchus cephalotes Seen at Rio Blanco

Brown-crested Flycatcher Myiarchus tyrannulus Seen above Minca

Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus Mostly heard, but seen at the upper parts of the Anchicaya road

Cotingidae

Red-crested Cotinga Ampelion rubrocristatus Seen at Jardín de Antioquia

Green-and-black Fruiteater Pipreola riefferii Seen at Rio Blanco

Orange-breasted Fruiteater Pipreola jucunda Seen at Montezuma. Found in Colombia and Ecuador

Golden-breasted Fruiteater Pipreola aureopectus Seen around El Dorado Lodge. Found in Colombia and Venezuela

Andean Cock-of-the-rock Rupicola peruvianus Superb views at the lek in Jardín de Antioquia

Purple-throated Fruitcrow Querula purpurata Seen at El Paujil

Red-ruffed Fruitcrow Pyroderus scutatus Close-up views at Otún Quimbaya, where it is common

Pipridae

Yellow-headed Manakin Chloropipo flavicapilla Seen at La Romera. Found in Colombia and Ecuador. The species is classified as Vulnerable.

White-bearded Manakin Manacus manacus Nice views at El Paujil

Western Striped Manakin Machaeropterus striolatus Good views of a female at Rio Claro

Lance-tailed Manakin Chiroxiphia lanceolata Seen below Minca

Tityridae

Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher Myiobius sulphureipygius Seen along the lowest parts of the Anchicaya road.

Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata Seen at Anchicaya

Russet-winged Schiffornis Schiffornis stenorhyncha One seen at El Paujil

Barred Becard Pachyramphus versicolor Seen at Rio Blanco

White-winged Becard Pachyramphus polychopterus Seen at El Paujil

Cinnamon Becard Pachyramphus cinnamomeus Seen at Anchicaya

Vireonidae

Black-billed Peppershrike Cyclarhis nigrirostris Seen at Rio Blanco

Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo Vireolanius leucotis Great views along the Anchicaya road

Brown-capped Vireo Vireo leucophrys Seen at Rio Blanco

Corvidae

Black-chested Jay Cyanocorax affinis Several sightings throughout the trip

Hirundinidae

Grey-breasted Martin Progne chalybea Quite a few sightings at lower elevations

Blue-and-white Swallow Notiochelidon cyanoleuca Widespread in small numbers

Brown-bellied Swallow Notiochelidon murina Seen below Los Nevados National Park

White-thighed Swallow Neochelidon tibialis Nice views along the lowest parts of the Anchicaya road

Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis Widespread in good numbers

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica A few seen on the last day of the tour

Donacobiidae

Black-capped Donacobius Donacobius atricapilla Seen on the way to El Paujil

Troglodytidae

Band-backed Wren Campylorhynchus zonatus Seen along cattle fields on the way to the Oilbird cave in Rio Claro

Bicolored Wren Campylorhynchus griseus Good views of this large wren around our hotel in Minca

Sepia-brown Wren Cinnycerthia olivascens Seen at Rio Blanco

Black-bellied Wren Pheugopedius fasciatoventris Nice views at Rio Claro

Rufous-and-white Wren Thryophilus rufalbus Seen well above Minca

Rufous-breasted Wren Pheugopedius rutilus Seen below the y-intersection in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Whiskered Wren Pheugopedius mystacalis Seen at Otún Quimbaya

Bay Wren Cantorchilus nigricapillus Seen at Anchicaya

House Wren Troglodytes aedon A few sightings throughout the trip

Mountain Wren Troglodytes solstitialis Seen at Rio Blanco

Grey-breasted Wood Wren Henicorhina leucophrys Seen at mid-elevations at Montezuma. We also saw the subspecies bangsi above Minca, which sometimes is treated as a different species.

Hermit Wood Wren Henicorhina anachoreta Good views at El Dorado Lodge. This is a split from Grey-breasted Wood Wren Henicorhina leucophrys (Caro et al. 2013, SACC 700). Replaces H. l. bangsi at lower elevations. A country endemic. The species is classified as Near-threatened. Munchique Wood-Wren Henicorhina negreti Great views at the top of the ridge at Montezuma. A country endemic. The species is classified as Critically Endangered. Described only in 2003. Named after the Munchique National Natural Park in the Western Andes of the Cauca department

Southern Nightingale-Wren (H) Microcerculus marginatus Heard in the lower parts of the Anchicaya road

Chestnut-breasted Wren (H) Cyphorhinus thoracicus Heard in the upper parts of the Anchicaya road

Polioptilidae

Tropical Gnatcatcher Polioptila plumbea Seen in the Guajira

Mimidae

Tropical Mockingbird Mimus gilvus Seen in the Guajira

Turdidae

Andean Solitaire (H) Myadestes ralloides Heard at Rio Blanco

Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus aurantiirostris Good views below the y-intersection in Santa Marta. Here the subspecies sierrae

Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus fuscater Great views at El Dorado Lodge

Swainson’s Thrush Catharus ustulatus Seen at Otún Quimbaya

Yellow-legged Thrush Turdus flavipes Seen at the y-intersection in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Great Thrush Turdus fuscater Seen at the top of the ridge at Montezuma

Glossy-black Thrush Turdus serranus Only one bird was seen at Rio Blanco.

Black-hooded Thrush Turdus olivater Seen at El Dorado Lodge

Pale-breasted Thrush Turdus leucomelas Seen around Minca

Black-billed Thrush Turdus ignobilis Widespread

Cinclidae

White-capped Dipper Cinclus leucocephalus Nice views at Otún Quimbaya

Fringillidae

Lesser Goldfinch Spinus psaltria Seen at Otún Quimbaya

Andean Siskin Spinus spinescens Seen at Rio Blanco

Orange-bellied Euphonia Euphonia xanthogaster Widespread

Thick-billed Euphonia Euphonia laniirostris A few sightings on the trip

Fulvous-vented Euphonia Euphonia fulvicrissa Seen at El Paujil

Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia Chlorophonia pyrrhophrys Splendid views at Montezuma

Blue-naped Chlorophonia Chlorophonia cyanea Seen at the feeders at El Dorado Lodge

Passerellidae

Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis Seen at Otún Quimbaya

Golden-winged Sparrow Arremon schlegeli Nice views above Minca

Chestnut-capped Brushfinch Arremon brunneinucha Seen at Otún Quimbaya

Black-headed Brushfinch Arremon atricapillus Seen a Doña Dora’s feeders. Found in Colombia and Panama

Sierra Nevada Brushfinch Arremon basilicus Seen at El Dorado Lodge. A country endemic restricted to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The species is classified as Near-threatened.

Grey-browed Brushfinch Arremon assimilis Seen at Rio Blanco. Here the nominate subspecies

Olive Finch Arremon castaneiceps Superb views of a pair at Montezuma

Santa Marta Brushfinch Atlapetes melanocephalus Common around El Dorado Lodge in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. A country endemic

White-naped Brushfinch Atlapetes albinucha Seen at Otún Quimbaya

Choco Brushfinch Atlapetes crassus Seen at Montezuma. Found in Colombia and Ecuador

Slaty Brushfinch Atlapetes schistaceus Seen well at Rio Blanco

Dusky Bush Tanager Chlorospingus semifuscus Seen at Montezuma

Yellow-throated Bush Tanager Chlorospingus flavigularis Only one sighting at Montezuma

Icteridae

Red-breasted Blackbird Leistes militaris Seen on the way to El Paujil

Chestnut-headed Oropendola Psarocolius wagleri Seen at Montezuma and Anchicaya

Crested Oropendola Psarocolius decumanus Seen below Minca

Russet-backed Oropendola Psarocolius angustifrons Seen at Rio Claro

Yellow-rumped Cacique Cacicus cela Seen at Rio Claro

Scarlet-rumped Cacique Cacicus microrhynchus Seen along the Anchicaya road

Yellow Oriole Icterus nigrogularis Seen in the Guajira

Yellow-backed Oriole Icterus chrysater Only one sighting on the trip

Orchard Oriole Icterus spurius Only one sighting on the trip

Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula Seen below Minca

Venezuelan Troupial Icterus icterus Seen at El Paujil

Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonariensis Seen at Sonso Lake

Giant Cowbird Molothrus oryzivorus Seen at Sonso Lake

Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus Common in the Caribbean lowlands

Carib Grackle Quiscalus lugubris Seen in the Guajira

Red-bellied Grackle Hypopyrrhus pyrohypogaster Seen at La Romera. A country endemic. The species is classified as Vulnerable.

Yellow-hooded Blackbird Chrysomus icterocephalus Seen on the way to El Paujil

Oriole Blackbird Gymnomystax mexicanus Seen at Sonso Lake

Parulidae

Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia Seen at Rio Blanco

Mourning Warbler Geothlypis philadelphia Seen at Otún Quimbaya

Tennessee Warbler Leiothlypis peregrina Seen above Minca

American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla Seen below El Dorado Lodge

Blackburnian Warbler Setophaga fusca I’ve never seen so many as I saw on this trip. The most common boreal migrant warbler in Colombia

Bay-breasted Warbler Setophaga castanea Two sightings on this trip at Montezuma and Otún Quimbaya

Tropical Parula Setophaga pitiayumi Seen at Otún Quimbaya

White-lored Warbler Myiothlypis conspicillata Seen around El Dorado Lodge. A country endemic restricted to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The species is classified as Near-threatened.

Russet-crowned Warbler Myiothlypis coronata Seen at Rio Blanco

Buff-rumped Warbler Myiothlypis fulvicauda Seen along the lower parts of the Anchicaya road

Three-striped Warbler Basileuterus tristriatus Seen at Montezuma. The population in SE Peru and Bolivia has been split as Yungas Warbler Basileuterus punctipectus.

Rufous-capped Warbler Basileuterus rufifrons Close-up views of this handsome species above Minca

Canada Warbler Cardellina canadensis Seen at Anchicaya

Slate-throated Whitestart Myioborus miniatus Seen at Anchicaya and Montezuma

Golden-fronted Whitestart Myioborus ornatus Seen at Rio Blanco

Yellow-crowned Whitestart Myioborus flavivertex Great views above El Dorado Lodge. A country endemic restricted to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Mitrospingidae

Dusky-faced Tanager Mitrospingus cassinii Seen at Rio Claro and Anchicaya

Cardinalidae

Summer Tanager Piranga rubra Several sightings throughout the trip

Crested Ant Tanager Habia cristata Great views at the lower parts of Montezuma. A country endemic

Sooty Ant Tanager Habia gutturalis One of my favorites in Colombia. Nice views in El Paujil. A country endemic. The species is classified as Near-threatened.

Lemon-spectacled Tanager Chlorothraupis olivacea A brief but good view in the mixed flock at Anchicaya

Ochre-breasted Tanager Chlorothraupis stolzmanni Seen in the lower parts of the Anchicaya road. Found in Colombia and Ecuador

Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus Seen below El Dorado Lodge

Vermilion Cardinal Cardinalis phoeniceus Great views in the Guajira. Found in Colombia and Venezuela

Thraupidae

Masked Cardinal Paroaria nigrogenis Seen at Sonso Lake. Masked Cardinal is split from Red-capped Cardinal P. gularis (Dávalos & Porzecanski 2009, SACC 469A).

Superciliaried Hemispingus Hemispingus superciliaris Seen at Rio Blanco

Black-eared Hemispingus Hemispingus melanotis Seen at Rio Blanco

Oleaginous Hemispingus Hemispingus frontalis Seen at Rio Blanco

Grey-hooded Bush Tanager Cnemoscopus rubrirostris Seen at Rio Blanco

Grey-headed Tanager Eucometis penicillata Seen at El Paujil

Tawny-crested Tanager Tachyphonus delatrii Seen along the Anchicaya road

White-lined Tanager Tachyphonus rufus Seen at Doña Dora’s feeder in Anchicaya

Crimson-backed Tanager Ramphocelus dimidiatus Several sightings throughout the trip

Flame-rumped Tanager Ramphocelus flammigerus Several sightings. A country endemic

Lemon-rumped Tanager Ramphocelus icteronotus Several sighting throughout the trip

Blue-grey Tanager Thraupis episcopus Almost daily sightings

Glaucous Tanager Thraupis glaucocolpa Only one sighting on the way to Riohacha. Found in Colombia and Venezuela

Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum Several sightings throughout the trip

Blue-capped Tanager Thraupis cyanocephala Seen at Finca Alejandria and Montezuma

Black-and-gold Tanager Bangsia melanochlamys Great views at Montezuma. A country endemic. The species is classified as Vulnerable.

Golden-chested Tanager Bangsia rothschildi Incredible sighting at the lower Anchicaya road. Found in Colombia and Ecuador

Gold-ringed Tanager Bangsia aureocincta A magical encounter in the Tatamá National Park. A country endemic. The species is classified as Endangered.

Santa Marta Mountain Tanager Anisognathus melanogenys Seen at the top of the San Lorenzo Ridge above El Dorado Lodge. A country endemic restricted to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Blue-winged Mountain Tanager Anisognathus somptuosus Seen at Finca Alejandria and Rio Blanco

Lacrimose Mountain Tanager Anisognathus lacrymosus Seen at Jardín de Antioquia and Rio Blanco

Black-chinned Mountain Tanager Anisognathus notabilis Excellent views at Montezuma. Found in Colombia and Ecuador

Buff-breasted Mountain Tanager Dubusia taeniata Seen at Rio Blanco

Grass-green Tanager Chlorornis riefferii Seen at Rio Blanco and Montezuma

Purplish-mantled Tanager Iridosornis porphyrocephalus Splendid views at Montezuma but also recorded in Jardín de Antioquia. Found in Colombia and Ecuador. The species is classified as Near-threatened.

Glistening-green Tanager Chlorochrysa phoenicotis A beautiful bird seen at Montezuma. Found in Colombia and Ecuador

Multicolored Tanager Chlorochrysa nitidissima First-class views at Finca Alejandria outside Cali, which is so far the best place in the world to see this gorgeous species. A country endemic. The species is classified as Vulnerable.

Golden Tanager Tangara arthus Seen at Finca Alejandria, Otún Quimbaya, and Montezuma among other localities

Grey-and-gold Tanager Tangara palmeri Seen at the lower Anchicaya road. Found in Colombia and Ecuador

Emerald Tanager Tangara florida Seen at the lower Anchicaya road

Bay-headed Tanager Tangara gyrola Seen above Minca. Here the subspecies toddi

Scrub Tanager Tangara vitriolina Seen at Finca Alejandria and Montezuma

Blue-and-black Tanager Tangara vassorii Seen at Rio Blanco, where it is common

Beryl-spangled Tanager Tangara nigroviridis Seen at Rio Blanco

Silver-throated Tanager Tangara icterocephala Seen at Montezuma and Doña Dora’s feeders

Saffron-crowned Tanager Tangara xanthocephala Seen at Finca Alejandria

Rufous-throated Tanager Tangara rufigula Seen along the Anchicaya road. Found in Colombia and Ecuador

Golden-hooded Tanager Tangara larvata Seen at Montezuma and Anchicaya

Black-capped Tanager Tangara heinei Seen at Finca Alejandria and El Dorado Lodge

Metallic-green Tanager Tangara labradorides Only one sighting at Otún Quimbaya

Plain-colored Tanager Tangara inornata Seen around Rio Claro

Golden-naped Tanager Tangara ruficervix Seen at Finca Alejandria

Swallow Tanager Tersina viridis Common below Minca

Blue Dacnis Dacnis cayana Seen at Anchicaya

Scarlet-thighed Dacnis Dacnis venusta Only one sighting at Anchicaya

Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza Common at Finca Alejandria, Montezuma, and Doña Dora’s feeders

Scarlet-and-white Tanager Chrysothlypis salmoni Seen along the Anchicaya road. Found in Colombia and Ecuador

Blue-backed Conebill Conirostrum sitticolor Seen below Los Nevados National Park

Capped Conebill Conirostrum albifrons Seen at Rio Blanco. Here the distinctive subspecies centralandium that shows white in the crown

Rusty Flowerpiercer Diglossa sittoides Seen only at Finca Alejandria

Masked Flowerpiercer Diglossa cyanea Several sightings, including Rio Blanco

Bluish Flowerpiercer Diglossa caerulescens Seen at Montezuma

Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer Diglossa gloriosissima Great views at the top of the ridge at Montezuma. A country endemic. The species is classified as Endangered.

Indigo Flowerpiercer Diglossa indigotica Seen at mid-elevations at Montezuma. Found in Colombia and Ecuador

White-sided Flowerpiercer Diglossa albilatera Several sightings throughout the trip, including El Dorado Lodge

Glossy Flowerpiercer Diglossa lafresnayii Seen in the Hotel Termales del Ruiz gardens

Grey Pileated Finch Coryphospingus pileatus Nice views in the Guajira. Here the subspecies brevicaudus

Plumbeous Sierra Finch Phrygilus unicolor Seen at Los Nevados National Park

Saffron Finch Sicalis flaveola Several sightings on the trip

Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus Seen above Minca and at El Paujil

Black-winged Saltator Saltator atripennis Seen at Anchicaya and Montezuma. Found in Colombia and Ecuador

Greyish Saltator Saltator coerulescens Seen in the Guajira

Orinoco Saltator Saltator orenocensis Three birds were seen in the Guajira. Found in Colombia and Venezuela. Named after the Orinoco River

Masked Saltator Saltator cinctus We managed to get brief views of this species but, unfortunately, it flew away before we could admire more of its behavior. The species is classified as Near-threatened.

Streaked Saltator Saltator striatipectus Seen above Minca

Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina A few sightings on the trip

Variable Seedeater Sporophila corvina Seen around the fish ponds at Montezuma

Yellow-bellied Seedeater Sporophila nigricollis Seen at Otún Quimbaya

Ruddy-breasted Seedeater Sporophila minuta Only one sighting on the trip

Plain-colored Seedeater Catamenia inornata Seen at Los Nevados National Park

Bananaquit Coereba flaveola Seen around Montezuma feeders among other locations

Thick-billed Seed Finch Oryzoborus funereus Seen above Minca and at Montezuma

Black-faced Grassquit Tiaris bicolor Seen in the Guajira

Plushcap Catamblyrhynchus diadema Seen at Jardín de Antioquia

Bananaquit Coereba flaveola Seen around Montezuma feeders among other locations

 

WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS

Colombian Red Howler Alouatta seniculus seniculus Seen at Otún Quimbaya

Grey-headed Night Monkey Aotus griseimembra Seen sleeping at daytime at Otún Quimbaya

Humboldt’s White-fronted Capuchin Cebus albifrons Seen at El Paujil

Kinkajou Potos flavus Seen at El Dorado Lodge in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

South American Coati Nasua nasua Only one sighting at the lower Anchicaya road

Spectacled Bear Tremarctos ornatus An incredible sighting of an adult and a cub climbing a wax palm tree at Ventanas above Jardín de Antioquia

Crab-eating Fox Cerdocyon thous Seen at Otún Quimbaya

Central American Agouti Dasyprocta punctata Seen at Montezuma and at El Dorado Lodge

Red-tailed Squirrel Sciurus granatensis Several sightings throughout the trip

Western Dwarf Squirrel Microsciurus mimulus A few sightings on the trip

Tropical House Gecko Hemidactylus mabouia Several sightings throughout the trip

Green Iguana Iguana iguana Seen below Minca

Green Basilisk Basiliscus plumifrons Seen at El Paujil