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Worldwide Birding Tours - Birding Ecotours





By Eduardo Ormaeche

Birding is amazing, no matter where you go and what kind of birds you prefer. For me, highlights are walking down a montane forest road such as the incredible Manu Road in Peru or the equally amazing Santa Marta Road in Colombia, or looking at massive mixed flocks of colorful tanagers and other treasures, or observing more subtle species that are however rare or of major ornithological value. Or watching dozens of canopy dwellers and witnessing a spectacular sunrise from a 165-foot-tall canopy tower in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, or doing a 26-day trip driving through the Andes of northern Peru, ticking a plethora of country endemics. No matter what country, I enjoy birding in South America very much. But, one of my absolutely top favorite highlights of birding is to stand or sit in front of a hummingbird feeding station watching swarms of hummers buzzing all around me while sipping a good cup of tea.

 

Sparkling Violetear by Niall Perrins

Sparkling Violetear by Niall Perrins

Hummingbirds are among the most beautiful, fancy and diverse birds in the world and South America has become an obligatory destination to see these exclusively New World species. Despite controversies as to whether feeding hummingbirds is bad from a conservation point of view, I believe that the frenzy of hummingbirds flying all over and around the feeders is not only one of the greatest shows on earth, but it is also an invaluable learning experience for getting to grips with hummingbird identification. It allows birders to observe the different plumages of males, females, and juveniles of the same species feeding at the same time, to recognize the similarities and differences (sometimes only slight!) between species, and last but not least to have excellent views of some of the most elusive hummingbirds that are much harder to see in the bush than on a feeder. These include impressive things like Booted Racket-tail and in fact (these days) Marvelous Spatuletail.

Booted Racket-tail

Booted Racket-tail          

Marvelous Spatuletail by Ken Logan

Marvelous Spatuletail by Ken Logan                                      

The most famous hummingbird-watching destination has arguably always been northern Ecuador due to its compact size, excellent birding infrastructure, long ecotourism industry history, and of course the sheer number of hummingbird species (and individuals) that visit some of the well-established feeding stations there. A three-week trip to Ecuador might yield the spectacular amount of 74 hummingbird species, a true record. Recently, since Colombia’s violent times are over and thousands of birders put their radars on this fantastic destination, birding has become popular among the locals of Colombia, who realize that birding is a good way to obtain benefits from ecotourism. New lodges and private reserves are widespread throughout the country, providing the most spectacular bird species, including a long list of 69 hummingbird species on a three-week trip. Costa Rica is also one of the top countries for seeing hummingbirds at feeders.

For many years, Peru was a famous destination because of Machu Picchu, the Manu Biosphere Reserve, the unbelievably bird-rich Tambopata National Park and other famed sites. But Peru offers much more than these classic destinations. Today, northern Peru has become a fantastic destination to see some of the most sought-after birds in the world, including the most spectacular of all hummingbirds, the Marvelous Spatuletail.

Marvelous spatuletail Niall Perrins

Marvelous spatuletail Niall Perrins

If you visited northern Peru over ten years ago, you might remember some good birds but also how difficult it was to track them down and how bad the roads were. But today, northern Peru allows some of the easiest (and least expensive) birding in the country, with 90% of all the roads paved. Today you can reach Chiclayo, the classic rendezvous point for northern Peru birding tours, with a direct flight from Panama City, or from Tarapoto after a one-hour domestic flight (daily) from Lima. The stretch of road between Tarapoto in the Amazon and the Pomacochas cloudforest, which is the habitat of Marvelous Spatuletail, is only 280 kilometers (174 miles) and today holds eight hummingbird feeding stations. At the best of times, these can provide between 40 and 45 other hummingbird species in three days only compared to 74 species in Ecuador but given three weeks, not three days!

Amethyst Woodstar by Charly Sax

Amethyst Woodstar by Charly Sax

You can easily join our existing northern Peru tours to see these hummers, or you can book a special three-day visit to this area to enjoy a spectacular selection of hummingbirds, including the endemics Koepcke’s Hermit and Marvelous Spatuletail, and also Royal Sunangel, Blue-fronted Lancebill, Gould’s Jewelfront, Wire-crested Thorntail, Ecuadorian Piedtail, Rufous-crested Coquette, Black-throated Hermit, Rufous-vented Whitetip, Emerald-bellied Puffleg, and Little Woodstar, among many others.

Rufous-crested Coquette by Ken Logan

Rufous-crested Coquette by Ken Logan

We invite you to join an easy trip to relax with many brilliant hummingbird species and all the classic Birding Ecotours treats: friendly leaders, comfortable vehicles and hotels, and a few cold beers and nice ginger tea.

Black-breasted Hillstar by Niall Perrins

Black-breasted Hillstar by Niall Perrins

Northern Peru is also one of the best places to see a large number of owl species, so we also offer an “Owls of the World” trip there – see details, including a photo gallery from previous “owls of northern Peru” tours, at http://birdingecotours.com/tour/northern-peru-owl-birding-tour?type=country&where=Peru

Black-throated Mango by Janice Petko

Black-throated Mango by Janice Petko

However, to combine hummingbirds, owls and all the many endemic birds of northern Peru, its best just to join one of our standard trips to this area – either the comprehensive one or the short one (in which we also avoid the highest altitudes, good for those who don’t tolerate these well!) – see http://birdingecotours.com/tour/birding-tour-peru-north-and-cordillera-blanca-2017?type=country&where=Peru and http://birdingecotours.com/tour/birding-tour-peru-northwest-abra-patricia-mountains-2016?type=country&where=Peru respectively for the long and short Northern Peru birding tours we offer annually.

Booted Racket-tail

Festive Coquette by Charly Sax

Festive Coquette by Charly Sax

All our other Peru bird tours are shown at http://birdingecotours.com/tours/destination/country/peru – these include the classic southern routes as well.

Fork-tailed Woodnymph by Alan van Norman

Fork-tailed Woodnymph by Alan van Norman

Rufous-crowned Coquette by Niall Perrins

Rufous-crowned Coquette by Niall Perrins

White-bellied Woodstar by Niall Perrins

White-bellied Woodstar by Niall Perrins


Madagascar Birding Tours

Birding Madagascar, our world’s fourth-largest island is, quite simply, unique. Five bird families and five mammal families (including the lemurs) are endemic to this massive island, and half the world’s chameleons, weird and wonderful endemic plant families, and tons of other wildlife can be found here. An astonishing 120 bird species are endemic ( including such exotic groups as vangas, ground rollers, cuckoo roller, couas, asities, and mesites). Lemurs vie for attention, from the tiny mouse lemurs to the marvelous sifakas and the amazing indri with its calls that resound through the forest. Our tour visits a range of habitats: grasslands, dry deciduous woodland, the bizarre spiny forest with its odd octopus trees (Didiera madagascariensis) and elephant’s foot trees (Pachypodium rosulatum), and lush eastern rainforest, as well as lagoons and mudflats.

The birds that we’ll look for include the roadrunner-like Long-tailed Ground Roller and the stunning Pitta-like, Scaly, and Rufous-headed Ground Rollers, as well as the highly-prized Subdesert Mesite, the unforgettable Giant Coua, the astounding Velvet Asity, and Madagascan Ibis, to name just a handful. We invite you to join us on a special tour to an amazing island!

The Masoala Peninsula extension can generate the unbelievable Helmet VangaBrown Mesite, and Short-legged Ground Roller, as well as the largest, and most bizarre, nocturnal lemur, the aye-ayeand a stack more.

One hundred and twenty nine species of birds have been recorded in the northwestern Ankarafantsika National Park, more than half of them endemic to Madagascar. They include Van Dam’s Vanga, Rufous Vanga, the elusive Banded Kestrel, and the more easily observed Madagascan Fish Eagle, which can often be seen at Ravelobe Lake. The endangered Humblot’s Heron can also be seen at Lake Ravelobe.

Berenty Reserve is a haven for birdwatchers, boasting a high number of endemic species. With luck we might be able to find Madagascan Sandgrouse, Madagascan Green Pigeon, Torotoroka Scops Owl, and perhaps even Madagascan Cuckoo-Hawk here.

 

Madagascan Pochard - Remote Madagascar birding tour

Birding Tour Madagascar: The Remote North 2017

Duration: 10 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: September 19, 2017
Date End: September 28, 2017
Tour Start:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Tour End:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Price: €4982 per person sharing
Summary: Our Birding Tour Madagascar: The Remote North is good for serious listers who may have already done the basics of Madagascar; the standard Madagascar trips that most birding companies do allow one to see p...

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Sickle-billed Vanga - Ian Merrill

Birding Tour Madagascar: 7-day Northwest Pre-tour 2017

Duration: 7 days
Limit (Group Size): 6 - 8
Date Start: October 06, 2017
Date End: October 12, 2017
Tour Start:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Tour End:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Price: €2781 per person sharing, assuming 6-8 participants
Summary: One hundred and twenty nine species of birds have been recorded in Ankarafantsika National Park, more than half of them endemic to Madagascar. They include Van Dam’s Vanga, Rufous Vanga, the elusive...

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Red Owl - Alan van Norman

Birding Tour Madagascar: 6-day Masoala Peninsula Pre-tour 2017

Duration: 6 days
Limit (Group Size): 6 - 8
Date Start: October 12, 2017
Date End: October 17, 2017
Tour Start:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Tour End:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Price: €2149 per person sharing, assuming 6-8 participants
Summary: The Masoala Peninsula extension can generate the unbelievable Helmet Vanga, Brown Mesite, and Short-legged Ground Roller, as well as the largest – and most bizarre – nocturnal lemur, the aye-aye, and a...

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Tomato Frog - Fabienne Raphoz

Birding Tour Madagascar: Best of Madagascar Birds and Wildlife 2017

Duration: 15 days
Limit (Group Size): 6 - 8
Spaces Available:: 4
Date Start: October 17, 2017
Date End: October 31, 2017
Tour Start:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Tour End:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Price: €5307 per person sharing, assuming 6-8 participants
Summary: Madagascar! Our world’s fourth-largest island is, quite simply, unique. Five bird families and five mammal families (including the lemurs) are endemic to this massive island, and half the world’s chame...

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Giant Coua

Birding Tour Madagascar: 6-day Berenty Reserve Extension 2017

Duration: 6 days
Limit (Group Size): 6 - 8
Date Start: October 31, 2017
Date End: November 05, 2017
Tour Start:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Tour End:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Price: €2154 per person sharing, assuming 6-8 participants
Summary: The small, private Berenty Reserve, situated at the southern tip of Madagascar, is one of the island’s best-known and most frequently visited nature reserves. Stretching along the Mandrare River, it is c...

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Madagascan Pochard - Remote Madagascar birding tour

Birding Tour Madagascar: The Remote North 2018

Duration: 10 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: September 19, 2018
Date End: September 28, 2018
Tour Start:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Tour End:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Price: €4982 per person sharing (These are 2017 prices; 2018 prices are expected to be 5 - 10% higher.)
Summary: Our Birding Tour Madagascar: The Remote North is good for serious listers who may have already done the basics of Madagascar; the standard Madagascar trips that most birding companies do allow one to see p...

See full tour detail
Sickle-billed Vanga - Ian Merrill

Birding Tour Madagascar: 7-day Northwest Pre-tour 2018

Duration: 7 days
Limit (Group Size): 6 - 8
Date Start: October 06, 2018
Date End: October 12, 2018
Tour Start:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Tour End:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Price: €2976 per person sharing, assuming 6-8 participants
Summary: One hundred and twenty nine species of birds have been recorded in Ankarafantsika National Park, more than half of them endemic to Madagascar. They include Van Dam’s Vanga, Rufous Vanga, the elusive...

See full tour detail
Red Owl - Alan van Norman

Birding Tour Madagascar: 6-day Masoala Peninsula Pre-tour 2018

Duration: 6 days
Limit (Group Size): 6 - 8
Date Start: October 12, 2018
Date End: October 17, 2018
Tour Start:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Tour End:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Price: €2299 per person sharing, assuming 6-8 participants
Summary: The Masoala Peninsula extension can generate the unbelievable Helmet Vanga, Brown Mesite, and Short-legged Ground Roller, as well as the largest – and most bizarre – nocturnal lemur, the aye-aye, and a...

See full tour detail
Tomato Frog - Fabienne Raphoz

Birding Tour Madagascar: Best of Madagascar Birds and Wildlife 2018

Duration: 15 days
Limit (Group Size): 6 - 8
Date Start: October 17, 2018
Date End: October 31, 2018
Tour Start:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Tour End:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Price: €5678 per person sharing, assuming 6-8 participants
Summary: Madagascar! Our world’s fourth-largest island is, quite simply, unique. Five bird families and five mammal families (including the lemurs) are endemic to this massive island, and half the world’s chame...

See full tour detail
Giant Coua

Birding Tour Madagascar: 6-day Berenty Reserve Extension 2018

Duration: 6 days
Limit (Group Size): 6 - 8
Date Start: October 31, 2018
Date End: November 05, 2018
Tour Start:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Tour End:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Price: €2305 per person sharing, assuming 6-8 participants
Summary: The small, private Berenty Reserve, situated at the southern tip of Madagascar, is one of the island’s best-known and most frequently visited nature reserves. Stretching along the Mandrare River, it is c...

See full tour detail

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What our clients say

Had a great time with Jason birding around Johannesburg – Pretoria – Dullstrom area countryside. Jason’s easy-going and patient style made for a comfortable four days. His amazing ability to spot well-hidden birds and to identify in a flash, along with his expert knowledge of numerous local habitats allowed us to see 85 species the first day! Would love to come back and do another tour.

Sandy Campbell, Edmonton, Canada, on a South Africa tour guided by Jason
10/07/2013



We can run any of our tours privately any time and we can also arrange custom itineraries - send us your wish-list and we'll put the itinerary together! Please click here.

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