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Worldwide Birding Tours - Birding Ecotours





This October Birding Ecotours tour leader and guide Andy Walker led a custom Pacific Tour around New Caledonia, Fiji, and Samoa. This custom tour followed our scheduled departure Pacific Tour itinerary, and the 2017 itinerary can be viewed here. The trip report is now online and can be found here. Below, Andy summarizes the trip and provides a few photos. Please visit our tour page for many more photos.

 

We had a great tour around several Pacific Islands this October. First stop was Grande Terre, the largest island in New Caledonia and home to plenty of endemics, several of which are totally astonishing, like Kagu, Cloven-feathered Dove, Horned Parakeet, and the tool-using New Caledonia Crow. These are some of the most interesting, beautiful, and bizarre birds on our planet, and we enjoyed taking pictures and observing them all at length.

birding ecotours kagu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kagu

Cloven-feathered Dove

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cloven-feathered Dove

We also enjoyed spending time with numerous other endemics, such as New Caledonian Whistler, Yellow-bellied Flyrobin, Crow Honeyeater, White-bellied Goshawk, New Caledonian Myzomela, and Red-throated Parrotfinch.

Our second destination was Fiji. We spent time on three islands: Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, and Kadavu. Here we experienced real Fijian culture and weather and an assortment of exciting birds. Endemic parrots were a big draw with Masked Shining Parrot, Maroon Shining Parrot, Crimson Shining Parrot, and Collared Lory all spectacular birds. However, the shining parrots were outshone by the totally outrageous fruit doves with the following all seen well: Golden Fruit Dove, Orange Fruit Dove, Whistling Fruit Dove, and Many-colored Fruit Dove.

Orange Fruit Dove

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orange Fruit Dove

It wasn’t all about the doves and parrots, though, with loads of other endemics seen well: Azure-crested Flycatcher, Vanikoro Flycatcher, Fiji Whistler, Sulphur-breasted Myzomela, Black-throated Shrikebill, Fiji Goshawk, and of course one of the main Fijian targets – Silktail.

Our final stop was a brief one on Upolu, Samoa, where we found some very nice birds during our short stay. Flat-billed Kingfisher was a big target, and we got good views of several birds. Other highlights included the showy Crimson-crowned Fruit Dove, Cardinal Myzomela, Blue-crowned Lorikeet, Pacific Robin, Mao, Samoan Whistler, and Red-headed Parrotfinch. It was also hard not to enjoy the sight of Buff-banded Rails walking around gardens and roadside verges out in plain sight and totally abundant!

Also while on Upolu we saw the graceful White-tailed Tropicbird and White Terns displaying over forests we were birding in along with a constant stream of Brown Noddies passing overhead taking a shortcut across the island. All very spectacular!

Cardinal Myzomela

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cardinal Myzomela

This Pacific Tour gives the perfect introduction into the region. Some great food, scenery, and people also accompany the wonderful birds and make for a great experience. A final word from Andy:

There is a lot of work to do on the taxonomy of many species in the region. Recent updates from BirdLife International hint at many proposed splits; however, we used the IOC taxonomy for our tour and so will have to wait whether any of these are accepted by the IOC.

We saw several subspecies across different islands in Fiji or the wider region, and many of these may be elevated to full-species status in the near future. Examples that spring to mind include the Fiji Whistler complex – we saw at least three very different subspecies on the Fijian islands we visited (these looked and sounded very different to each other – see the photos below of two of the three subspecies we encountered, one from Vanua Levu and one from Kadavu). Similarly, the Streaked Fantail on Grande Terre (New Caledonia) looked and sounded very different to those seen on Viti Levu and Vanua Levu (Fiji)… just some food for thought.

The trip list in the Trip Report is broken down to subspecies level so that we can keep track of any potential armchair ticks that may arise in the future!

Fiji Whistler – (aurantiiventris) from Vanua Levu, Fiji

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiji Whistler – (aurantiiventris) from Vanua Levu, Fiji

Fiji Whistler – (kandavensis) from Kadavu Island, Fiji.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiji Whistler – (kandavensis) from Kadavu Island, Fiji.

 

 

 


Ecuador Birding Tours

Ecuador lies both on the equator and over the spine of the Andes, affording it some spectacular birding. The western slope holds some staggering birding, especially hummingbirds — from the amazingly long-billed Sword-billed Hummingbird to the visual candy of Velvet-purple Coronet. Antpittas, owls, tanagers, and the many Choco specialties make the western slope so appealing. Crossing over the Andes from the capitol Quito affords the chance to visit Papallacta pass for species like Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe as well as giving access to the eastern slope and its many treasures. The Andes have split once-joined species, and here you can pick up the eastern counterparts leading all the way down to the lush forests of the Ecuadorian Amazon. This gives Ecuador an impressive list of over 1600 species in a country the size of the state of Nevada.

Birding Tour Ecuador - Ecuadorian Toucan - Charly Sax

Birding Tour Ecuador: The North, with Optional Extension to the Amazon 2018

Duration: 15 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: January 06, 2018
Date End: January 20, 2018
Tour Start:: Quito
Tour End:: Quito
Price: Main tour: US$6831 per person sharing (4 people), US$6096 (5 people). US$5900 (6 - 8 people); Extension: US$3240 per person sharing (4 people), US$3020 (5 people), US$2985 (6 - 8 people).
Summary: Ecuador has the highest bird species diversity per square kilometer on the planet and offers some of the best birding of South America. Due to the short distances to drive, good tourist infrastructure, and...

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Brown Violetear - Mukesh Ramdass

Birding Tour Ecuador: The South 2018

Duration: 19 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: March 02, 2018
Date End: March 20, 2018
Tour Start:: Guayaquil
Tour End:: Guayaquil
Price: US$6421.00 per person sharing
Summary: Although it is not as famous as The Northern Ecuador Birding Circuit, the Southern Ecuador route is truly a gem for birders, offering a very unique set of birds, including some country endemics and several...

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Buff-fronted Owl - Alan van Norman

Ecuador: Night Birds of the Northern Andes

Tour Start:: Quito
Tour End:: Quito
Summary: Please contact us for details. ...

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Featured Guide - Galo Real

Tour Leader for Birding Ecotours Galo Real was born and raised in the heart of the Andes in Quito, Ecuador.  After graduating with a degree in Eco-tourism from Catholic University in Quito (PUCE), he ...

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What our clients say

Hello Eduardo: I feel that our trip to Colombia was one of the most enjoyable and rewarding bird tours I have ever been on. You did an excellent job of planning, guiding and looking after the logistics on the tour. Colombia is a pleasure to travel in with very friendly people, excellent roads and pleasant, clean accommodation. Even the more basic places were comfortable, clean and quiet. Santa Marta is a wonderful place with plentiful birds and fantastic scenery. Rio Blanco was my favorite part of the tour with the antpittas and Ocellated Tapaculo at my feet. Otun Quimbaya with Red-ruffed Fruitcrows as yard birds was also a very enjoyable. In all parts of the country I never felt at risk. Colombia is now a safe, rewarding country to travel in. I can hardly wait to return. Thank you, Jim Martin

James Martin, Toronto, Canada
02/19/2015



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