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Year round birdwatching tours in Ecuador

Pablo Andrade's birdwatching tours in Southern Ecuador
Tour I.
8-day birdwatching tour to Southern Ecuador.
Tour II.
13-day birdwatching tour to Southern Ecuador.


Pablo Andrade's birdwatching tours in Southern Ecuador

Loja City is located in the Southern Ecuadorian Andes at 2200 meters above sea level. Temperatures typically range between 12 - 20°C Podocarpus National Park: It is situated in the Provinces of Loja and Zamora Chichipe and covers an area of 146.280 ha, ranging from 1000 - 3600 m of altitude. The climate is temperate permanently humid, with an annual rainfall of 850 -1500 mm in the high areas, and more than 2000 mm in the low areas.
Cajanuma Cloud Forest (Loja Province): The Podocarpus National Park (PNP), with its diverse ecosystems such as the cloud or mountain forests in Cajanuma (the western part of the Park), and the tropical rain forests in Zamora (the eastern region), is one of the most important natural refuges for many species of flora and fauna. The cloud forest is mostly primary, with patches of Chusquea Bamboo on naturally and man disturbed slopes. Proximity to the eastern Andean slope gives rise to a very wet climate, creating a forest rich in epiphytes. The cloud forest in Cajanuma is located between 2400 and 3100 m.

"Turrent Duck"

Bombuscaro Tropical Forest (Zamora Province): The Bombuscaro River in the tropical Forest of Zamora Province is located at 900 m above sea level. The Bombuscaro zone, the second entrance to the Podocarpus has an spectacular landscape as soon as high diversity of species of flora and fauna, especially of birds, where have been registered more than approximately 350 species. Bombuscaro is very important for the presence of the recently discovered Foothill Elaenia and two other endemics birds: the White-breasted Parakeet and Coppery-chested Jacamar.



Tour I

8 day long birdwatching tour in Southern Ecuador.


PLACES TO VISIT: PODOCARPUS NATIONAL PARK: TROPICAL FOREST( BOMBUSCARO RIVER, COPALINGA RESERVE, 900 meters); CAJANUMA: PODOCARPUS N, PARK: CLOUD FOREST 2700 meters), TAPICHALACA RESERVE: CLOUD FOREST, BUENAVENTURA RESERVE: CHOCO REGION (CLOUD FOREST 400 – 1000 meters).

Itinerary
Expect more than 250 species of birds.

Day 1.
Welcome at the airport of Cumbaratza in Zamora Chinchipe. We will begin our first birdwatching in the surroundings of the airport which has an average from 900 to 950 m. of elevation. Immediately we go to the Copalinga Reserve that it is located next to the Bombuscaro River, and is characterized by cultivated zones and farms. Copalinga and its surroundings is very good for birding and walking the trails. When the Inga edulis tree is flowering, you can see the Wire-crested Thorntail, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Violet-headed Hummingbird, Golden-tailed Sapphire, Green Violetear, and maybe the elusive Spangled Coquete. We may also encounter the White-banded Swallow, Long-tailed Tyrant, Mottle-backed Elaenia, and flocks of tanagers such as Black-faced Dacnis, Swallow Tanager, Guira Tanager, Orange-eared Tanager, Paradise Tanager, Blue-necked Tanager and Bay-headed Tanager. We can also hear species such as the Dark-breasted Spinetail, Lined-Antshrike and Blackish Antbird depending on the time of the year. The noisy Speckled Chachalaca may be heard and with a bit of luck be seen.
Dinner and night at Copalinga Eco-lodge.

"White-breasted Parakeet"

Day 2.
After early breakfast, we start birding birding along the paths of the reserve. Following the Bombuscaro River we will look for White-capped Dipper, Torrent Duck and Green Kingfisher.
The Podocarpus National Park is located 3 km from the Copalinga Reserve. To reach the Podocarpus Park and the Visitor Center will take about 40 minutes. Along this trail we will look for the Coppery-chested Jacamar, White-breasted Parakeet and see species such as Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Ornate Flycatcher, a variety of tanagers such as the Golden-eared Tanager, Golden Tanager, Blue Dacnis, Bay-headed Tanager, Flame-crested Tanager, Common-bush Tanager, Yellow-throated Bush Tanager, Subtropical Cacique and, if we are lucky, we will find the Andean Cock of the Rock and Amazonian Umbrellabird. We will also search for other important species such as Ecuadorian Piedtail and the Highland Motmot.
Dinner and night at the Copalinga Eco-lodge.
Day 3.
11h00 departure to Loja and Tapichalaca Reserve, trip which takes about three hours thirty minutes. Birding along the road towards Tapichala Reserve. Our first impression at the lodge will be the presence of many hummingbird species by the feeders around the house. Amongst these Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Chesnut-breasted Coronet, Collared Inca, Little Sunangel, Long–tailed Sylph. In the afternoon we will walk the paths around the lodge. Possibilities are Chusquea Tapaculo, Golden Plumed Parakeet, tanagers such as Lacrimouse Mountain Tanager, Buff-breasted Mountain Tanager, Hoode Mountain Tanager, Golden-crowned Tanager, Other possibilities are and White-capped Tanager or the elusive Andean Potoo that can be seen or heard.
Dinner and night at the Tapichalaca Reserve.

"Tapichalaka Reserve Cabin"

Day 4.
We will bird along the trails early morning. After breakfast at the lodge we will walk along a trail for about 40 minutes, and if the luck is with us, we will be able to see the famous Jocotoco Antpitta. After, we will continue looking for new birds such as, Grass-green Tanager, Orange-banded Flycatcher, Ocellated Tapaculo, Azara's Spinetail and Rufous Wren and many others.
Dinner and night at the Tapichalaca Reserve.
Day 5.
Tapichalaca, birding around the lodge. 11h00 departure to Cajanuma in the Podocarpus National Park. Whole day in Cajanuma. Target birds Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan, Bearded Guan and many more.
Dinner and night at Loja.
Day 6.
Return back to Cajanuma. 11h00 Returning to Loja and then to Buenaventura Reserve. This trip takes 4 hours. Lunch on the way to Buenaventura.
Dinner and night at the Buenaventura Reserve.
Day 7.
After breakfast at the reserve we will begin our day in the best birding locations in southwest - Buenaventura. Here we will have the opportunity to see species such as the Long Wattled Umbrella Bird, El Oro Parakeet, Chesnut-mandibled Toucan, Pacific Tuftedcheek, Booted Racket-tail, Tawny-bellied Hermit, White-whiskered Hermit, Baron´s Hermit, White-bearded Manakin, Club-winged Manakin, Bay Wren, Whiskered Wren, Lesser Greenlet and several tanagers such as Silver-throated and Rufous-throated Tanager. Other elusive species that we will try to see are the Choco Toucan or el Oro Tapaculo. Other important species we may see are: Gray-back Hawk, Gray-cheeked Parakeet, Speckle-breasted Wren and Ecuadorian Thrush and many others.
Dinner and nights at the Buenaventura Reserve
Day 8.
We will bird at Buenaventura Reserve for half day and then return to Lojaor Guayaquil for your accomodation and flight to Quito the next day.


8 Days tour price is: 2 pax US$1900 per person double room. 4 pax US$1385 per person double room. 6 pax US$1180 per person double room.
Single supplement US$380.
The single supplement is not available in the most of the private reserves, since accommodation is limited and only available in hotels.

Due to currency fluctuations and fuel cost we reserve the right to adjust any pricing prior to departure.

Convert your tour cost into your currency of choice.

Included:
Guide, Language(Spanish/English), Meals, Transportation, Accommodation.
Excluded:
Internal flight to Cumbaratza (Zamora Chinchipe province), personal expenses and alcoholic drinks.
Note: Return to Quito or Guayaquil from Lojaor Zamora, as well as the accommodation of the last day are not included.


Tour II

13 day long birdwatching tour in Southern Ecuador.


PLACES TO VISIT: ZAMORA PROVINCE - PODOCARPUS NATIONAL PARK AND COPALINGA RESERVE (TROPICAL FOREST: 900 meters) – TAPICHALACA RESERVE; CAJANUMA: PODOCARPUS N.PARK (CLOUD FOREST: 2400 – 2700 meters); UTUANA RESERVE; JORUPE RESERVE (DRY FOREST 600 meters); BUENAVENTURA RESERVE (400 -1000 meters).

Itinerary

Expect more than 350 species of birds
Day 1.
Welcome at the airport of Cumbaratza in Zamora Chinchipe. We will begin our first birdwatching in the surroundings of the airport which has an average from 900 to 950 m. of elevation. Immediately we go to the Copalinga Reserve that it is located next to the Bombuscaro River, and is characterized by cultivated zones and farms. Copalinga and its surroundings is very good for birding and walking the trails. When the Inga edulis tree is flowering, you can see the Wire-crested Thorntail, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Violet-headed Hummingbird, Golden-tailed Sapphire, Green Violetear, and maybe the elusive Spangled Coquete. We may also encounter the White-banded Swallow, Long-tailed Tyrant, Mottle-backed Elaenia, and flocks of tanagers such as Black-faced Dacnis, Swallow Tanager, Guira Tanager, Orange-eared Tanager, Paradise Tanager, Blue-necked Tanager and Bay-headed Tanager. We can also hear species such as the Dark-breasted Spinetail, Lined-Antshrike and Blackish Antbird depending on the time of the year. The noisy Speckled Chachalaca may be heard and with a bit of luck be seen.
Dinner and night at Copalinga Eco-lodge.

"Rufous-banded Owl"

Day 2.
After early breakfast, we start birding along the paths of the reserve. Following the Bombuscaro River we will look for White-capped Dipper, Torrent Duck and Green Kingfisher. The Podocarpus National Park is located 3 km from the Copalinga Reserve. To reach the Podocarpus Park and the Visitor Center will take about 40 minutes. Along this trail we will look for the Coppery-chested Jacamar, White-breasted Parakeet and see species such as Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Ornate Flycatcher, a variety of tanagers such as the Golden-eared Tanager, Golden Tanager, Blue Dacnis, Bay-headed Tanager, Flame-crested Tanager, Common-bush Tanager, Yellow-throated Bush Tanager, Subtropical Cacique and, if we are lucky, we will find the Andean Cock of the Rock and Amazonian Umbrellabird. We will also search for other important species such as Ecuadorian Piedtail and the Highland Motmot.
Dinner and night at Copalinga Eco-lodge.

"Jacotoco Antpitta"

Day 3.
Podocarpus Park and “La Fragancia”, which is located on the old highway Loja-Zamora. This is another special place for birdwatching and we will look for, Glitering-throated Emerald, Guira Tanager, Orange-eared Tanager, Golden-collared Honeycreeper, Chestnut-vented Conebill, Silver-beaked Tanager, Red-headed Barbet, EcuatorialGraytail, Ecuadorian Tyrannulet and Yellow-olive Flatbill. Other species such as OlivaceousGreenlet, Ash-browed Spinetail, Lined Antshrike and Grayish Saltator can be heard and often seen. We will bird until 12h00 and come back to Copalingafor our lunch.
Dinner and night at Copalinga Eco-lodge.
Day 4.
Breakfast at the lodge and leaving again for the Podocarpus Park to find birds, that we missed yesterday. 10h00 return to the reserve and leaving to Loja and the Tapichalaca Reserve. After 3 hour and half of driving we will arrive at the visitor’s center. Depending of the weather and our time we will keep birding at the surroundings of the lodge or try others trails. Our first impression at the lodge will be the presence of many species of hummingbirds on the feeders around the house. Among these Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Chesnut-breasted Coronet, Collared Inca, Little Sunangel, Long–tailed Sylph.
Dinner and night at Tapichalaca Reserve.

"Golden-plumed Parakeet"


Day 5.
After our early breakfast we will walk along a trail for about 40 minutesto looking for the famous Jocotoco Antpitta. Lunch at the lodge, and the whole morning looking for new birds such as Lacrimouse-mountain Tanager, Grass-green Tanager and other species such as Orange-banded Flycatcher, Ocellated Tapaculo, Azara's Spinetail and Rufous Wren.
Other target birds that are in our goal are Chusquea Tapaculo, White-capped Tanager, Golden-plumed Parakeet and many others. After our lunch at the lodge, we will go to the lower part of the reserve and arrive in the town of Valladolid (1600 m) on the way to Tapala Town. Trip which takes approximately 30 minutes. Valladolid and most of its surroundings are very cultivated, nevertheless we may encounter several species such as Marañon Thrush, Blue Dacnis, Black-faced Dacnis, Black-faced Tanager, Spotted Tanager, White-lined Tanager, Streaked Saltator, as well as a variety of Humingbirds such as Andean Emerald and Sparkling Violetear.
Dinner and night at Tapichalaca Reserve.

"Band-bellied Owl"

Day 6.
Birding around the reserve, and after our lunch leaving to the Cajanuma in the Podocarpus National Park. We begin our bird observation on the access road to the Podocarpus National Park, which leads to the visitor center. This path is 3 Km long, and is an excellent site for birdwatching. It takes about 2 or 3 hours to complete, depending on the time we spend birdwatching. Common species are: The Bearded Guan, Masked Trogon, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Russet-crowned Warbler, Azara’s Spinetail, Rufous-naped Brush Finch. We will also see Tanagers such as Grass-green Tanager, Lacrimouse-mountain Tanager, Buff-breasted Mountain Tanager, Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager, Hooded Mountain Tanager, Red Hooded Tanager. Depending on the flowering season of specific plants, we will see Hummingbirds such as Rainbow Starfrontlet, Tyrian Metaltail, Little Sunangel, Collared Inca, Green Violetear, and depending on our luck, the time of year and if the passiflora plant (taxo) is in bloom, the Sword-billed Humingbird.
A wide variety of other species such as the Barred Fruiteater, Black-chested Buzzard Eagle, Smoky-bush Tyrant, White-banded Tyrannulet, Black Capped Tyrannulet can also be seen, and with luck we may see the Black and Chestnut Eagle. You can often hear the Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan and occasionally be lucky enough to see it. The Tawny-breasted Tinamou is among the more elusive species, which can often be heard. Once in the visitor center we will take a short break before continuing our adventure on the “Oso de Anteojos” and Bosque Nublado” paths.
Depending of the climatic conditions we will take the path “Lagunas del Compadre”. This path climbs steeply in parts and is normally muddy. It takes approximately an hour and half to arrive at the Páramo at an altitude of 3200 meters. Along this trail we may see Buff-winged Starfrontlet, listen to Chusquea Tapaculo and, depending on the time of year, we will hear the Ocellated Tapaculo and with a bit of luck see it. Further along the trail at slightly higher elevations, we will look for the Neblina Metaltail, Masked-mountain Tanager and Plush-capped Finch. Once on the Paramo, the high grasslands, you may see Pale-footed Swallow and others such as the Many-striped Canastero.
Dinner and night at Loja.
Day 7.
Departure to Cajanuma (Cloud Forest). Target Birds, Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan, Bearded Guan. After our lunch departure to Macará and the Jorupe Reserve. This trip will take about 4 and half hours.
Dinner and night at Jorupe Reserve.
Day 8.
Birding around the reserve. Typical birds we will find at Jorupe are: Harris´s Hawk, Watkin´s Antpitta, Collared Antshrike, Pacific Elaenia and with a little bit of luck, we will see the Henna-hooded Foliage Gleaner and Blackish Spinetail.
Dinner and night at Jorupe Reserve.
Day 9.
Departure to the Utuana Reserve travelling one hour. The 1 km long gravel access road leading to the main entrance is an excellent site for birdwatching and takes about 2 to 3 hours to complete. We will have the entire morning birding in Utuana. In Utuana we will find species such as the Plain-breasted Hawk, Rufous-necked Foliage Gleaner, Chapman’s Antshrike, Black-cowled Saltator. We will also look for the Gray Headed Antbird and Black–crested Tit-Tyrat, one of the rarest species found in the reserve. Other species that we could find here are the Variable Hawk, Raimbow Starfrontlet, Green-tailed Trainbearer, White-banded Tyrannulet and Dusky-capped Flycatcher. Lunch in the Jorupe Reserve.
Dinner and night at Jorupe Reserve.
Day 10.
After looking for some birds we missed yesterday, we will have our lunch at 11 o´clock and departure to Buenaventura Reserve. Trip of four hours thirty minutes long.
Dinner and night at Buenaventura Reserve.

"West Peruvian Screech Owl"

Day 11 and 12.
After breakfast at the reserve we will begin our day in the best birding locations in southwest - Buenaventura.
Here we will have the opportunity to see species such as the Long Wattled Umbrella Bird, El Oro Parakeet, Chesnut-mandibled Toucan, Pacific Tuftedcheek, Booted Racket-tail, Tawny-bellied Hermit, White-whiskered Hermit, Baron´s Hermit, White-bearded Manakin, Club-winged Manakin, Bay Wren, Whiskered Wren, Lesser Greenlet and several tanagers such as Silver-throated and Rufous-throated Tanager. Other elusive species that we will try to see are the Choco Toucan or el Oro Tapaculo.
Other important species we may see are: Gray-back Hawk, Gray-cheeked Parakeet, Speckle-breasted Wren and Ecuadorian Thrush and many others.
Dinner and nights at Buenaventura Reserve

"Rufous-headed Chachalaca"

Day 13.
Buenaventura and departure to Loja or Guayaquil.


13 Days tour price is: 2 pax US$3307 per person double room. 4 pax US$2495 per person double room. 6 pax US$2132 per person double room.
US$530 single supplement.
The single supplement is not available in the most of the private reserves since accommodation is limited and only available in hotels.

Due to currency fluctuations and fuel cost we reserve the right to adjust any pricing prior to departure.

Convert your tour cost into your currency of choice.

Included:
Guide, Language(Spanish/English), Meals, Transportation and Accommodation
Excluded:
Internal flight to Cumbaratza (Zamora Chinchipe province), Personal expenses and alcoholic drinks.
Note: Return to Quito or Guayaquil from Lojaor Zamora, as well as the accommodation of the last day are not included.


Notes.
The above birding itineraries are based on what are essentially popular routes for birders. It can be shortened or extended.
All the date of itineraries include arrival and departure dates.
Availability year round
For booking allow minimum six(6) weeks prior to departure.
To check availability for tours on short notice, fill out Request for Quote form with desirable dates.
Fitness and equipment:
Any person taking such a trip has to be in good physical condition and able to walk the trails at high attitude.
Recommended Packing List: Personal items: Insect repellent, Sun Protection (sun cream/sunglasses/hat or cap), Lightweight long pants and long sleeved shirts for walks, Shorts and short sleeves for the lodge, Bathing suite, Comfortable shoes, Small day pack, Rain Jacket, Plastic bags to protect cameras, binoculars, film , etc, from rain, Flashlight (torch), A small Medicine kit, Sandals, Extra Socks, Warm clothes for the highest parts and a small Umbrella (optional).


Should you only need a guide for a day please send a message to Pablo.   

Birding guide Pablo Andrade, your local Birdingpal guide
Pablo Andrade is an ornithologist with more that 15 years experience leading ornithological tours in Ecuador. Pablo has participated in many important bird research projects and has written literature about the birds of Southern Ecuador. Also an avid bird painter many of his paintings can be found in nature and birding guides. Undoubtedly, Pablo's work has contributed to educate the people of Ecuador with respect to birds and their conservation.


Testimonial.

February 2005. We hired Pablo to guide for us during our stay near Podocarpus. He drew up an itinerary that included all of the best birding areas in/near the Park, allowing us to visit as many habitats and elevations as possible. The end result was a wonderfully intense and rewarding six days that yielded 250 + species, including four antpittas and three tapaculos. We even visited a particular area of dry forest that is apparently not on the regular birding-group circuit, and which gave us a long list of new birds. The biggest thrill, for me, was seeing the Jocotoco Antpitta in the reserve established for them. It took us two visits to tick the bird, but, in the end, we got a very close look at one by using a tape, then we saw two more up the trail without the tape. At that point, they were calling all around us. What a wonderfull and exiting experience. In Fact, when I saw the first one, I will admit to you that I cried. Pablo's English is good and getting better. We had no trouble understanding each other. And, not only does he know the birds' common names, he knows most of their Latin names, as well.
His passion for birds is obvious. He has been a birder since he was very young, and he did an outstanding job of finding and identifying, both by sight and sound, the species we would likely encounter in the various sites we visited. In the rare instance when Pablo was unsure of an identification, he readily said so and consulted the plates.
Pablo is punctual, organized, and persistent. With regard to the last, he did not allowed me to give up. I came close, when we almost dipped on a very elusive Gray-headed Antbird. In the end, I did see the bird, thanks to Pablo, as well as, in that same area, Black-crested Tit Tyrant and Black-cowled Saltator. It was a very rewarding trip, loads of intense good fun chasing birds.
By the way, writing this letter was my idea, not Pablo's. I just wanted you to know about this guides passion and expertise. If you ever do need a competent and reliable local guide, keep Pablo Andrade in mind.
Betsy Rogers, Pullayup, WA betsyloveswalking(AT)hotmail.com


Some facts about Ecuador.

One of the smallest countries in America, it lies on both the northern and the southern Hemispheres and is divided by the Equator, thus the name of the country.
It has the biggest bio diversity per area in the world, ranked among the 17 mega diverse countries.
The richness of Ecuador lies in its diversity both natural and cultural. Ecuador has 4 diverse and unique regions: The Amazon Rainforest, the highland Andes, the coast and the Galapagos Archipelago. Besides its exuberant bio diversity, Ecuador is home to an impressive variety of ethnic groups, including communities, who still practice ancient cultural traditions.
Area: 270.670 square km.
Population: Approximately 13 million.
Language: The first language is Spanish, however, most of the indigenous population speaks Quichua.
Climate. The Climate throughout the country ranges from tropical equatorial rain in the Amazon to perpetual snow on the top of the mountains. Cities in the highlands have temperatures that vary from 50ºF to 70ºF, while costal cities temperatures vary from 60ºF to 80ºF during the day. The weather in the jungle is constant: rainy, humid and warm.


More facts about Ecuador.

Guide books and CD's recommended:

The Birds of Ecuador: Field Guide, Volume I and II by Robert S. S. Ridgely, Paul J. Greenfield, and Frank B. Gill.

Find lowest prices here

Bird Recordings

The Birds of Eastern Ecuador. Volume 1: The foothills and lower subtropics.
The Birds of Southwest Ecuador.

www.wildsounds.com


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Last update 20/02/2014