Duration: 3 days
Group size: 4 – 8
Tour Start: Quito
Tour End: Quito
For people who do not have time to join us on our complete, fantastic Northern Ecuador tour or are in Quito for business or visiting family and want to spend three days visiting the famous Angel Paz Antpitta site, we recommend this easy trip, which starts in the city of Quito and will visit the Yanacocha Reserve, the bird-rich Tandayapa Valley, and the Angel Paz Bird Reserve. This area is considered a paradise for birdwatchers, providing views of many spectacular birds, including several colorful Neotropical families, such as a large list of hummingbirds and tanagers. Please check the itinerary below for further details.
Itinerary (3 days/2 nights)
Day 1. Yanacocha Reserve and Old Nono-Mindo Road
You will be picked up at your hotel in Quito, from where we will drive to the Yanacocha Reserve, which consists of 1200 hectares of Polylepis forest on the north-west side of the Pichincha Volcano near Quito and was created to help preserve the last known habitat for the endemic and Critically Endangered (IUCN) Black-breasted Puffleg Eriocnemis nigrivestis. As we enter the reserve we will check out the hummingbird feeders for Mountain Velvetbreast, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Shining Sunbeam, Great Sapphirewing, Sapphire-vented Puffleg, Sword-billed Hummingbird, and Golden-breasted Puffleg. Apart from hummingbirds we will have chances to see Masked Flowerpiercer, Azara’s Spinetail, and Tawny Antpitta, which are often easy to spot at the feeders.
From here we will explore a trail running through pre-montane forest. It is likely that we might spot Andean Guan, Barred Fruiteater, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Ecuadorian Hillstar, Rufous Antpitta, Ocellated Tapaculo, Andean Pygmy Owl, Variable Hawk, Rufous Wren, Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager, Buff-breasted Mountain Tanager, Hooded Mountain Tanager, Cinereous Conebill, Bar-bellied Woodpecker, Giant Conebill, Superciliaried Hemispingus, Pearled Treerunner, White-throated Tyrannulet, Spectacled Whitestart, and Blue-and-black Tanager.
After lunch we will continue birding along the Old Nono-Mindo Road, looking for Toucan Barbet, Turquoise Jay, Golden-headed Quetzal, Masked Trogon, Blue-winged Mountain Tanager, and if we are lucky Plushcap.
In the afternoon we will arrive at the Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve.
Overnight: Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge
Day 2. Bellavista Research Station, Tandayapa Valley, and El Descanso
We will have a full morning birding around the Bellavista research Station in the Tandayapa Valley, where we hope to find Plate-billed Mountain Toucan, Grass-green Tanager, Grey-breasted Wood Wren, Golden-headed Quetzal, and if we are lucky the seldom-seen Tanager Finch.
In the afternoon we will visit the cloud forest around Mindo. As we drop in elevation we will have chances to see Pacific Hornero, Blue-grey Tanager, Palm Tanager, and Bronze-winged Parrot.
We will also stop at El Descanso to visit their feeders. We often can see Green Thorntail, Empress Brilliant, Tourmaline Sunangel, Gorgeted Woodstar, Violet-tailed Sylph, Choco Toucan, Broad-billed Motmot, and Lemon-rumped Tanager here, and near the river we often spot Sunbittern and Ringed Kingfisher.
In the late afternoon we will try for Lyre-tailed Nightjar.
Overnight: Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge
Day 3. Refugio Paz de los Aves and transfer back to Quito
We will spend the morning at the famous Refugio Paz de los Aves, looking particularly for Andean Cock-of-the-rock. Then we will start our way on the trails to the antpitta feeding stations. Along the way we hope to see Dark-backed Wood Quail, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Golden-headed Quetzal, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Sickle-winged Guan, Toucan Barbet, and if we are lucky White-faced Nunbird.
At the antpitta feeders typically we are able to see Yellow-breasted Antpitta, Giant Antpitta, Ochre-breasted Antpitta, and Moustached Antpitta coming to the feeding stations. With luck we might also see Rufous-breasted Antthrush coming to the worm feeders.
After a delicious lunch we will begin our return to Quito, stopping at the Intiñan Museum on the way, where we should be able to find White-tailed Shrike-Tyrant, Giant Hummingbird, Purple-throated Woodstar, and Plumbeous Sierra Finch.
In the afternoon you will arrive at your hotel.
Please note that the itinerary cannot be guaranteed as it is only a rough guide and can be changed (usually slightly) due to factors such as availability of accommodation, updated information on the state of accommodation, roads, or birding sites, the discretion of the guides and other factors.