In association with Birdseekers
Ecuador's Hummingbirds, Tanagers, & Oilbirds!
November 24 - December 5, 2008
This tour now includes access to a fantastic
Oilbird colony on private land!
This remarkable birding destination boasts nearly 1,600 species of birds and is renowned as the hummingbird capital of the world. Many of the world’s most brilliantly colored and ornamented birds reside here, and we will bird this magnificent landscape under the superb direction of one of the country’s best local guides, Juan Carlos Calvachi. In all, 62 species of gorgeous hummingbirds are possible on this tour - many fearless of humans and seen from close proximity at feeders and flowers around our comfortable lodges. And the hummingbirds are only the beginning! Tanagers abound in dazzling, sometimes gaudy colors and we will search out as many of the 70 possible species as we can find. With the magnificent Andes Mountains and its 30 volcanoes as our backdrop, we will explore a variety of habitats including paramo grasslands, highland lakes, mountain slopes, and tropical forests in search of Ecuador's feathered gems. These habitats are brimming with brilliantly colored toucans, quetzals, parrots, tapaculos, and a host of spectacular species including the incredible Andean Cock-of-the-rock.
Don't miss this extraordinary tour of Ecuador’s top birding
destinations in search of the glittering jewels of the bird world --
hummingbirds and tanagers, and much more!
See photos from the 2006 tour>>
Trip Cost and Travel Planning | Registration Form
Day 1 - Arrival Quito
We will arrive in Quito in the evening. After clearing customs, we will be transferred to our private guest house, El Jardin del Colibri, for the evening.
Day 2 - Yanacocha
We will begin our quest for hummingbirds immediately as we look for Sparkling Violetear and Black-tailed Trainbearer on the grounds of our guest house. This morning we’ll drive to the
luxuriant undisturbed forests of Yanacocha, situated on the slopes of Pichincha Volcano for
our introduction to Ecuador’s spectacular and diverse avifauna. We'll search for a number of
target species that include Rufous Antpitta, Barred Fruiteater, Crowned Chat-Tyrant,
Superciliaried Hemispingus, Rufous Wren, and the first of what should be a long list of gorgeous
hummingbirds and stunning tanagers. We’ll search for the outrageous looking Sword-billed
Hummingbird, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Sapphire-vented Puffleg, and the uncommon and
endemic Black-breasted Puffleg, as well Black-chested, Hooded, and Scarlet-bellied Mountain
Tanagers. We will stay at the rustic and charismatic Bellavista Lodge set on the top of a
mountain rainforest. (B, L, D)
Day 3 - Bellavista Reserve
Early morning on the trails around our lodge we can search for specialties such as
Toucan Barbet, Beautiful Jay, Masked Trogon, Ocellated Tapaculo, and Plate-billed Mountain
Toucan. We'll look for a multitude of dazzling hummingbirds with names like Gorgeted Sunangel, Purple-bibbed
Whitetip, Booted Racket-tail, Empress Brilliant, Long-tailed Sylph, and Collared Inca,
many of which can be observed easily from the lodge restaurant. Our first feeding flocks of
tanagers should include Blue-winged Mountain Tanager, Golden-naped, Fawn-breasted, Metallic
Green, Flame-faced, Silver-throated, Orange-eared, Blue-capped, and the wonderful Grass Green Tanager.
We will also check a nearby site for the localized Tanager Finch, in addition to Barred Hawk, both Powerful and Crimson-mantled Woodpeckers,
Golden-headed Quetzal, Azara’s and Red-faced Spinetails, Uniform Treehunter, Spillman’s and
Narino Tapaculos, Green-and-black Fruiteater, Tricolored Brush-Finch, Southern Yellow
Grosbeak, Turquoise Jay, Masked and White-sided Flowerpiercers, Andean Solitaire, Black-crested
and Three-striped Warblers, Long-tailed Antbird, White-tailed and Rufous-winged
Tyrannulets, Olivaceous Piha, and Plushcap. Hummingbirds abound and we'll look for more of the strikingly beautiful species here including White-tailed Hillstar,
Brown Inca, Purple-throated and White-bellied Woodstars, Green-fronted Lancebill, Western
and Andean Emeralds, Tawny-bellied Hermit, Buff-tailed Coronet, Green-tailed Trainbearer and
Wedge-billed Hummingbird. The end of the day, we'll search for nocturnal birds and with luck we may see Common Potoo on its
roost, the impressively large Rufous-bellied Nighthawk, Swallow-tailed and Lyre-tailed Nightjars! (B, L, D)
Days 4, 5 & 6 - Mindo Region
We spend the next three days in the forests of the Mindo region, considered to be one of the most productive habitats in the neotropics. We begin with an early morning search for the spectacular Andean Cock-of-the-rock. With any luck, we will catch a glimpse of the brilliant red males displaying on their leks. The lush cloud forests of this area offer exciting species such as Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Scaled Fruiteater, Club-winged Manakin, Wattled Guan, and Red-billed Parrot. We will search the river habitat for Sunbittern, White-capped Dipper, and Black Phoebe and add to our list of hummingbirds species such as Velvet Purple Coronet, Violet-tailed Sylph, White-whiskered Hermit, Green Violetear, Stripe-throated Hermit, Green Thorntail, and Blue-chested Hummingbird. We will search the bromeliads and moss encrusted branches for brilliant Glistening-green, Rufous-throated, Golden, Beryl-spangled, Grey-and-gold, Scarlet-browed, and Black-capped Tanagers. Another day will be spent visiting Los Bancos and the Pedro Vicente Maldonado Road in search of localized endemics and other species including Moss-backed Tanager, Choco and Chestnut-mandibled Toucans, Pale-mandibled Aracari, Guayaquil Woodpecker, Pacific Hornero, Yellow-collared Chlorophonia and Choco Trogon. More tanagers can be found here including Flame-rumped, White-capped, Tawny-crested, Scarlet-browed, White-shouldered and Swallow Tanagers, as well as Slate-colored Grosbeak, Red-headed Barbet, Ornate and Rusty-margined Flycatchers, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Pacific Antwren, Cinnamon and One-colored Becards. Our nights will be spent at the wonderful Septimo Paraiso Cloud Forest Lodge which has its own trails and observation platform. (B, L, D)
Day 7 - Papallacta Pass/Termas de Papallacta
Today we travel through Papallacta Pass at an elevation of 14,530 feet. This high elevation habitat is home to the magnificent Andean Condor. The lush vegetation, stunted Polylepis woodland, green hillsides, and damp paramo play host to an exciting range of high altitude species including Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe, Giant Conebill, Black-backed Bush-Tanager, Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant, White-chinned Thistletail, Red-crested Cotinga, Many-striped Canastero, Stout-billed Cinclodes, Tawny Antpitta, Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant, Andean Tit-Spinetail, Paramo Tapaculo, Silvery Grebe, Variable Hawk, and Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle. Possible Hummingbirds include Ecuadorian Hillstar, Shining Sunbeam, Purple-backed and Blue-mantled Thornbills, Viridian Metaltail and the largest of all, the Giant Hummingbird. We spend the night in the delightful Termas de Papallacta lodge, complete with thermal hot springs. (B, L, D)
Days 8 & 9 – Guango Lodge, Guacamayos Ridge, Loreta Road, San Isidro Lodge
Today we travel out of the high elevation paramo to the subtropical cloud forests on the eastern slope of the Andes. We will stop for lunch and to bird the trails at Guango Lodge and check for such specialties as Tourmaline Sunangel, Mountain Velvetbreast, Bar-bellied Woodpecker, Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan, and Mountain Avocetbill. Nearby flocks could reveal Sword-billed Hummingbird, Long-tailed Sylph, Black-headed and Black-eared Hemispingus, Fawn-breasted Tanager, Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager, Gray-hooded Bush-Tanager, and Slaty Brush-Finch. Our destination is the exceptional San Isidro Lodge where we will spend the next two nights.
The cascading rivers provide perfect conditions for the much sought-after and highly specialized Torrent Duck. Gorgeous valleys, forested ridges, and misty mountain tops will introduce us to a wonderful selection of new species such as Black-and-chestnut Eagle, Roadside Hawk, Black-billed Mountain Toucan, Emerald Toucanet, Crested Quetzal, White-capped Parrot, Scaly-naped Amazon, Dusky Piha, Inca Jay, and both Subtropical and Mountain Caciques. Our days spent here and at the nearby Guacamayos Ridge should yield more hummingbirds for our list including Tourmaline Sunangel, Tyrian Metaltail, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Mountain Velvetbreast, and Great Sapphirewing. On the forest trails, we will search for White-bellied Antpitta, White-rimmed Brush-Finch, Blackish, Ash-colored and Equatorial Rufous-vented Tapaculos, Whitecapped Tanager, Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant, Rufous-crowned Tody-Tyrant, Capped Conebill, Smoky Bush-Tyrant, Plain-tailed Wren, Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager, Chestnut-bellied Thrush and Rufous-breasted Flycatcher. With any luck, we will find the beautiful Rufous-banded Owl or perhaps White-throated Screech-Owl or Andean Potoo. A search of the Loreta Road will give us access to several Amazon species on the very edge of their range. We will look for the colorful Paradise Tanager, as well as Orange-eared Tanager and one of our guide’s favorite hummingbirds, the attractive Wire-crested Thorntail. Nights at San Isidro Lodge. (B, L, D)
Day 10 - Coca Falls, Termas de Papallacta
Today we will drive to the largest waterfall in Ecuador, the Coca Falls. This
spectacular fall is surrounded by lush subtropical forest with a good collection bird species, and
the scenery alone must surely rank as one of Ecuador’s most beautiful and memorable sights.
There are a huge variety of birds to sift through and amongst these we will look for the mystical
Andean Cock-of-the-Rock in its eastern orange form, and we'll search for Ecuadorian Piedtail, White-tailed Hillstar, and White-tipped
Sicklebill. We will then overnight at the superb accommodation of Termas (thermal baths) and whose cabins are all set among a garden full of boiling hot
thermal bathing pools. (B, L, D)
Day 11 - Papallacta Pass/Quito
Once again we drive through the Papallacta Pass where we can
catch up with any species we may have missed previously. By exploring several different
habitats we will score many new birds which may include such as Rainbow-bearded and Purple-backed Thornbills, the stunning Giant
Hummingbird, Shining Sunbeam, the outrageous Sword-billed Hummingbird, and the Mountain
Avocetbill with its strange up-tilted bill. After leaving this fabulous area we make our way back
to Quito keeping ever vigilant for the king of raptors, the Andean Condor. Overnight in our
guide’s private guest house. (B, L, D)
Day 12 - After breakfast and a final morning of birding in the famous Antisana region, we will transfer to Quito for flights home. (B)