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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


Uganda Birding Tours

The essential birds of Uganda are Shoebill (this is the easiest country to see this monster in), the 20-plus Albertine Rift endemics (including African Green Broadbill), and finally a few other birds tough to locate elsewhere, such as Green-breasted Pitta. Most other birds can be seen in other countries and are not focused on during this tour, although you’ll certainly see a lot of some widespread spectacular species such as Great Blue Turaco, Ross’s Turaco, amazing barbets, and so many others.

Birding Tour Uganda - Shoebill - Errol de Beer

Birding Tour Uganda: 14-day Shoebill and Albertine Rift Endemics 2017

Duration: 14 days
Limit (Group Size): 1 - 8
Spaces Available:: 6
Date Start: August 01, 2017
Date End: August 14, 2017
Tour Start:: Entebbe
Tour End:: Entebbe
Price: US$7359 per person sharing, Murchison Falls NP extension US$2673 per person sharing
Summary: The main trip allows one to find the most important birds and primates that Uganda has to offer in just 14 days. Shoebill is almost guaranteed. Over 20 Albertine (Western) Rift endemics are also sought, in...

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Archer's Robin-Chat by Oz Horine - Uganda birding tour

Birding Tour Uganda: Shelley's Crimsonwing Expedition, RFCG conservation tour 2017

Duration: 8 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 7
Date Start: August 22, 2017
Date End: August 29, 2017
Tour Start:: Kigali, Rwanda
Tour End:: Kigali, Rwanda
Price: US$ 3585 per person sharing assuming 6 – 7 participants; US$4149 per person sharing assuming 4 – 5 participants.
Summary: This is a Rafe Finch Conservation Group conservation trip. Ten percent of the tour costs will be donated to the RFCG. We would like to try and get photos and sound recordings of Shelley’s Crimsonwing, on...

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Birding Tour Uganda - Shoebill - Errol de Beer

Birding Tour Uganda: 14-day Shoebill and Albertine Rift Endemics 2018

Duration: 14 days
Limit (Group Size): 1 - 8
Date Start: August 01, 2018
Date End: August 14, 2018
Tour Start:: Entebbe
Tour End:: Entebbe
Price: US$8168 per person sharing, Murchison Falls NP extension US$2967 per person sharing
Summary: The main trip allows one to find the most important birds and primates that Uganda has to offer in just 14 days. Shoebill is almost guaranteed. Over 20 Albertine (Western) Rift endemics are also sought, in...

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Archer's Robin-Chat by Oz Horine - Uganda birding tour

Birding Tour Uganda: Shelley's Crimsonwing Expedition 2018

Duration: 8 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 7
Date Start: August 22, 2018
Date End: August 29, 2018
Tour Start:: Kigali, Rwanda
Tour End:: Kigali, Rwanda
Price: US$ 3979 per person sharing assuming 6 – 7 participants; US$4605 per person sharing assuming 4 – 5 participants
Summary: On this tour we would like to try and get photos and sound recordings of Shelley’s Crimsonwing, one of Africa’s rarest finches. We plan to be as close as possible to the sites we feel are best for the ...

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Featured Guide - Jason Boyce

Senior Birding guide and administrative assistant for Birding Ecotours. Jason recently completed a BSc in Environmental Science and now does a lot of guiding in Africa and Europe. We’re aiming to ha ...

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What our clients say

On a special (custom) trip for a dozen target birds: “I want to tell you that Eduardo and Raul were great on the recent trip in Peru. They worked hard to find birds for me. Raul is a careful, safe driver”.

Bill Tucker, Kingston, New Hampshire



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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