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Ross's Turaco by Masa Wang - Uganda birding tour


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Birding Ecotours News – March 2015

Dear Birders


Greetings to ya’ll and we hope your 2015 is going well and has been full of birds so far? Please let us know!


Long-whiskered Owlet (Alan van Norman) is seen on our long and short Northern Peru trips each year

Our blog at https://birdingecotours.com/blog/ has (as always) been extremely active over the last month or so. We’ve completely updated our field guide blog which answers the question “which field guide is best for any country on the planet I find myself going to next?”  Then, we’ve added a piece about our participation in the “Champions of the Flyway” bird race we are participating in later this month – it’s a sobering story about the large-scale massacre of birds trying to migrate between Eurasia and Africa – we humbly ask if perhaps you can donate any amount (small or large) which will go straight to reducing the slaughter of these migrant birds. The story (and how to donate) is at https://birdingecotours.com/the-champions-of-the-flyway-project-because-it-is-personal/ . We’ve also uploaded a blog on our recent birding trip to see the rare rallids (such as Streaky-breasted Flufftail) that move into Harare’s wetlands during a brief time window (between January and March) during years of exceptional rainfall. And yet another blog is on success at finding Cape Eagle Owls practically within sight of Johannesburg (this is part of a wider owl atlassing project we’re currently busy with). Finally, our “know your birds” post was on Ground Hornbill last month. And that’s not even it – we’ve written even more, e.g. about the African Bird Club and its conservation work and, finally, a post on “how to choose a birding tour”. In the next few weeks, there will be a lot more appearing on this blog, including a birding optics and a birding photography blog. Or social media pages are also exceptionally active (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest).



Black Coucal (Hugh Chittenden) is featured in one of our new blogs at https://birdingecotours.com/blog/

Now, to highlighting a sample of our upcoming tours, first in 2015 and then in early 2016:


Some 2015 tours:


Tanzania in April – 3 places left – https://birdingecotours.com/tour/19-day-tanzania-birding-safari-savanna-birds-wildebeest-migration-and-eastern-arc-mountain-endemics

Hildebrandt's Starling - Niall Perrins


Hildebrandt’s Starling (Niall Perrins)

Uganda in July – https://birdingecotours.com/tour/uganda-short-shoebill-albertine-rift-endemics-green-breasted-pitta-gorillas-and-chimpanzees-in-12-days-2015

Great Blue Turaco - Niall Perrins


Great Blue Turaco is almost twice the size of a “normal” turaco (Niall Perrins)

12 owls of southern Africa in April – https://birdingecotours.com/tour/12-owls-of-southern-africa-featuring-namibia-botswana-and-south-africa?type=style&where=Owls%20of%20the%20World%20%C2%AE Featuring Namibia, Botswana and South Africa, this is a great tour for wildlife photography in general



We find many of these 12 owls at their day-time roosts, such as this diminutive African Scops Owl (Martin Benadie)

A bunch of upcoming US birding tours – see https://birdingecotours.com/tours/destination/country/usa which were featured individually in our last newsletter (available at https://birdingecotours.com/blog/)



Blue Grosbeak in Texas (Earl Harrison)

Northern Peru mega-tour in June – limited places left – https://birdingecotours.com/tour/birding-in-peru-north-and-cordillera-blanca

Buff-fronted Owl -Alan van Norman

Buff-fronted Owl (Alan van Norman)

Or you might prefer to join a shorter Northern Peru tour in July/August – see https://birdingecotours.com/tour/peru-birding-tour-northwest-abra-patricia-mountains

Marvellous Spatuletail (Niall Perrins)


Marvelous Spatuletail (Niall Perrins) is seen on both the long and short Northern Peru trips

Southern Peru in July – limited places left – https://birdingecotours.com/tour/south-peru-birding-the-inca-empire-mountain-and-lowland-rainforests plus Diademed Sandpiper Plover (DSP) and coastal extensions


DSP by Niall Perrins

Brazil in August/September/October – https://birdingecotours.com/tours/destination/country/brazil


Black-faced Dacnis (Carlos Sanchez)

Zambia/Malawi – south-central African endemics in August/September – https://birdingecotours.com/tour/south-central-africa-zambia-and-malawi


Peter’s Twinspot (John Caddick)

Cape (South Africa) in October – 4 places left, https://birdingecotours.com/tour/birding-tour-south-africa-western-cape-october-2016?type=country&where=South%20Africa


Table Mountain forms the northern part of the endemic-rich Cape Peninsula (Martin Benadie)

Subtropical South Africa in October, https://birdingecotours.com/tour/subtropical-south-africa-16-day-birding-adventure-october?type=country&where=South%20Africa


Subtropical South Africa as well as the Namibia/Botswana/Zambia trips (below), generate almost 400 bird species along with African megafauna.

Long-tailed Widowbird - John Caddick

South Africa is teaming with spectacular birds! This is a Long-tailed Widowbird (John Caddick)

Namibia/Botswana/Victoria Falls in November – 2 places left but we have added a Nov 20 – Dec 7 additional departure which currently has 6 places left –  https://birdingecotours.com/tour/namibia-okavango-and-victoria-falls-18-day-birding-adventure?type=country&where=Namibia

Dune Lark - Ian Merrill


Dune Lark (Ian Merrill)

Highland Zimbabwe to Coastal Mozambique birding transect in November/December, limited places left



We find African Pitta (Hugh Chittenden) at its breeding grounds in the lower Zambezi Delta of Mozambique

Madagascar in October, 2 places left, https://birdingecotours.com/tours/destination/country/madagascar

Madagascan Pygmy Kingfisher - Niall Perrins

Madagascar Pygmy Kingfisher (Niall Perrins)

Australia in November – please e-mail us for a bunch of new details “hot off the press”!


Galah (Andy Walker)

West Papua in November – discount when mentioning this newsletter – https://birdingecotours.com/tour/waigeo-and-arfak-birding-expedition-2?type=country&where=Indonesia


Image from the field guide we recommend for West Papua – see https://birdingecotours.com/field-guides-to-australasia-what-to-take-into-the-field/

Bhutan (and Assam extension) in November – 2 places left – https://birdingecotours.com/tour/the-himalayas-of-bhutan-in-november-white-bellied-heron-black-necked-crane-and-awe-inspiring-vistas-2015


Golden-breasted Fulvetta we see in Bhutan and China on either side of the Himalayas

And some 2016 tours:


Costa Rica in March/April  – comprehensive tour broken into 2 parts you can also join individually if you just want “the best of Costa Rica” (but then you have to choose from 2 amazing shorter legs – we don’t know which really is better!). https://birdingecotours.com/tour/birding-tour-costa-rica-parts-1-and-2-2016


Colombia – we’re developing a couple of new tours here – but in the mean time see the trip report at the end of this newsletter.


White-capped Tanager (Trevor Hardaker)

Ecuador – the North, in January, https://birdingecotours.com/tour/ecuador-the-north-2016


Pale-mandibled Aracari (Charly Sax)

Japan in winter (February/March) – https://birdingecotours.com/tours/destination/country/japan


Steller’s Sea Eagle (Mark Brazil)

China (Sichuan/Tibet, Yunnan and Qinghai, extensions available) and Taiwan. In May/June – https://birdingecotours.com/tours/destination/country/china and https://birdingecotours.com/tour/taiwan?type=country&where=Taiwan



Lots in Europe – https://birdingecotours.com/tours/tours-by-destination/europe


Long-tailed Duck

E.g. Bulgaria and the Danube Delta in May/June, https://birdingecotours.com/tour/birding-tour-bulgaria-and-the-romanian-danube-delta-2016?type=country&where=Bulgaria


Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker


Finally, please see the Trip Report section on our website where we actively add new reports each month. Here is a recent example – magnificent Colombia:

The Best of Colombia trip report January 2015

By Eduardo Ormaeche


Santa Marta Screech Owl (photo Gabriel Utria)

This 14-day tour was designed to explore the most incredible birding circuits in Colombia. It was a nice introduction to the land with more birds than any other country in the world. Colombia hosts over 1900 bird species, and together with Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, and Indonesia it is one of the most mega diverse countries on earth.

Colombia is unique in South America due to its geography. North of Ecuador the Andes branch in three mountain chains that pass through the country; they are separated by the Magdalena and Cauca rivers, each with its endemic avifauna.

The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is an isolated mountain range separated from the Andes, reaching an altitude of 5,700 meters. Just 42 kilometers from the Caribbean coast, the Sierra Nevada is the world’s highest coastal range and holds over 16 endemic bird species, a true paradise for birdwatchers.

Long is it in the past that Colombia suffered the violence of terrorism and drug bands. Today Colombia represents one of the most prosperous countries of the region, with an impressive network of roads that made our travel much easier around this fascinating land.

Birding Ecotours have been visiting Colombia since 2012, and every year we found it better and full of surprises. Since every year more and more birders are coming to Colombia, there are new birding sites, new species recorded for the country (with several not officially described yet), new lodges, new private reserves open for tourism, and new hummingbird feeder stations.


Day 1, January 13th. Jardín Encantado, Laguna Tabacal, La Florida Park

Our tour started in Bogota as a pre-extension of the main tour at special request of one of the participants, who came to Colombia to find 15 lifers on her quest to reach 7500 bird species.

We met in Bogota and then headed to the Jardín Encantado (Enchanted Garden) in the Magdalena Valley, located a 1½ -hour drive from the city. The family who runs this private garden has more than 40 hummingbird feeders set up, which attract species such as the endemic Indigo-capped Hummingbird, one of our targets for the day. The number of hummingbirds here is amazing, with species like Ruby-topaz Hummingbird, Steely-vented Hummingbird, Black-throated Mango, Gorgeted Woodstar, Andean Emerald, and many more, truly enchanting the garden’s visitors.

We also visited Laguna Tabacal, where we found a pair of the endemic Velvet-fronted Euphonia as well as Bar-crested Antshrike, Ruddy Quail-Dove, Spectacled Parrotlet, Western Striped Manakin, and White-bearded Manakin. At the lake we also saw Neotropic Cormorant, Striated Heron, and Pied-billed Grebe.

On our way back to Bogota we stopped at La Florida Park and visited the wetlands behind the golf field. The reeds surrounding the wetlands are tall enough to provide good habitat for the endemic Apolinar’s Wren. It took us a while, though, to find a pair of these wrens. We saw White-tailed Kite, Yellow-hooded Blackbird, and Andean Siskin, but unfortunately the Subtropical Doradito proved elusive this time, allowing only a glimpse by the leader. Before dusk we had great views of the endemic Silvery-throated Spinetail, however.


Day 2, January 14th. La Florida Park, Chicaque Natural Park, flight to Barranquilla

In the morning we came back to La Florida Park for another try for the doradito, but sadly to no avail. But we found Andean Siskin, Great Thrush, and Eared Dove near the entrance and saw Southern Lapwing, American Coot, Common Gallinule, and Blue-winged Teal in the wetlands.

We decided to leave the park and head to the Chicaque Natural Park, a privately-run reserve. This reserve is popular among other things because the endemic Golden-bellied Starfrontlet regularly visits the feeders, but surprisingly the hummer wasn’t here during our stay. However, our target was not the starfrontlet but the near-endemic Moustached Brush Finch. We saw Glowing Puffleg and Green Violetear at the feeders and encountered a small mixed flock by the entrance, including species such as Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager, Grass-green Tanager, Blue-capped Tanager, Black-crested Warbler, White-throated Tyrannulet, and Masked Flowerpiercer. We also were lucky to find a pair of our target skulker, Moustached Brush Finch, which allowed us quick but good views.

Then we transferred to the airport to connect with our flight to Barranquilla.


Day 3, January 15th. Isla de Salamanca NP, transfer to Minca, birding on the way

Today was the official start of the tour, and we began our day with the endemic Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird at the entrance of Isla de Salamanca National Park, a reserve which protects an important mangrove ecosystem. Here we had good views of Rufescent Tiger Heron, Red-rumped Woodpecker, American Yellow Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Russet-throated Puffbird, Chestnut Piculet, and Bicolored Conebill.

Then we decided to explore an area close to the reserve, where we found several new birds, including the endemic Chestnut-winged Chachalaca and the most-wanted Northern Screamer. Other birds we saw here included Glaucous Tanager, Cattle Tyrant, Limpkin, Tricolored Heron, Brown-throated Parakeet, Black-collared Hawk, Northern Crested Caracara, and more.

We continued on our trip towards Santa Marta, and a detour along the road took us straight to Minca, a village below the Santa Marta Mountains. During the drive along the coast we saw several Brown Pelicans and Magnificent Frigatebirds.

We arrived at our hotel for lunch and enjoyed the hummingbird feeders, which hosted Steely-vented Hummingbird, Black-throated Mango, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Long-billed Starthroat, and White-vented Plumeleteer.

After a short siesta we explored the road below Minca. It was hot at 15:00  and also rather quiet, but we managed to find Orange-chinned Parakeet, Whooping Motmot, Keel-billed Toucan, Crested Oropendola, Streaked Flycatcher, Coopmans’s Tyrannulet, Masked Tityra, Blue-necked Tanager, Red-eyed Vireo, Black-chested Jay, Blackburnian Warbler (the first of many), and more.

With a tasty dinner in town we ended our first birding day as a group and went to bed soon to rest enough and get ready for next day.


Day 4, January 16th. Birding the Minca area, transfer to El Dorado Lodge

On the road above Minca we had a great morning with a lot of birds, including a few Military Macaw flying just above our heads, followed by more Keel –billed Toucan, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Bicolored Wren, Rufous-and-white Wren, Rufous-breasted Wren, Pale-breasted Thrush, Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Yellow-legged Thrush, and Tennessee Warbler. Further up the road we made our first try for Rosy Thrush-Tanager and got great views of a female. This was one of the most-wanted birds for Jim. Even further up we tried for the endemic Santa Marta Tapaculo, which allowed crippling views, and a few minutes later we tried for Rufous-breasted Antpitta, which, unfortunately, didn’t show for us. But we had good looks at the endemic Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner.

We reached El Dorado Lodge, located at 1750 meters above sea level. We were received at the lodge by a nice selection of hummingbirds at the feeders, including the endemic White-tailed Startfrontlet, Crowned Woodnymph, Brown Violetear, Tyrian Metaltail, and finally the endemic and rare Black-backed Thornbill, a leader lifer!

After lunch the members of the lodge staff told us about a pair of the endemic (and not yet described) Santa Marta Screech Owl roosting at daytime. We had to walk down a steep trail for 200 meters and we got good views of the owls.

We returned to the lodge and we saw a convoy of Black-fronted Wood Quail at the compost together with Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush and the endemic Sierra Nevada Brush Finch.


Black-backed Thornbill (photo Gabriel Utria)


Black-fronted Wood Quail (photo Gabriel Utria)

Day 5, January 17th. Birding Cuchilla San Lorenzo and the Orchid and Flower House

A predawn start saw us drive up the Cuchilla San Lorenzo. This is a small mountain ridge separated from the Santa Marta mountains by a deep valley. With an altitude of 2700 meters it is home to most of the endemic birds of Santa Marta. During the drive we spotted two Santa Marta Screech Owls, allowing us superb views

It was a bit chilly on the ridge, and as soon as we arrived and could get our breakfast we were greeted by the endemic Santa Marta Brush Finches, which come to your feet and even your hands for some crumbs of bread. As soon as we finished breakfast we found a nice flock with Santa Marta Warbler, White-lored Warbler, Plushcap, and Santa Marta Mountain Tanager. We managed to get terrific views of the endemic Brown-rumped Tapaculo and also good views of Streak-capped and Rusty-headed Spinetails. We continued birding the ridge, when suddenly a small flock of Santa Marta Parakeets came toward us and two birds perched in the top of a nearby tree, allowing us scope views. Perfect!

Birds continued coming as long as the morning lasted. We found White-tipped Quetzal, the endemic Yellow-crowned Whitestart, Blue-naped Chlorophonia, the first Flammulated Treehunter, the new split from Grey-breasted Wood Wren, Santa Marta Wood Wren (not described yet), and more. Despite all our efforts, however, the Santa Marta Antpitta did not prove cooperative on this trip, allowing brief views for the leader only.

Full of new birds we came back to the lodge for lunch and had a decent siesta during the heat of the day.

Later we went down to the Orchid and Flower House, which is a small house that provides accommodation, bed and breakfast style, for visitors. The house is surrounded by a huge garden full of flowering plants, which of course attract several hummingbirds, including the endemic Blossomcrown and Santa Marta Woodstar. We had great views of both. We also saw a pair of Groove-billed Toucanets and Golden-breasted Fruiteater.

We returned to the lodge before dark and saw two Band-tailed Guans coming to the banana feeders.

We went to sleep soon after dinner to get ready for the next day


Santa Marta Woodstar (photo Gabriel Utria)

Day 6, January 18th. Birding Tayrona National Natural Park, transfer to Riohacha

Our next port of call was the Tayrona National Natural Park down the coast. This park, one of the most-visited by birders, protects white sand beaches and Caribbean tropical forest.

Once in the park, we walked the trail that goes to Playa Brava. Here we had fantastic views of Lance-tailed Manakin and White-bellied Antbird and also of White-chinned Sapphire, Venezuelan Flycatcher, and Southern Bentbill. Unfortunately, however, we could not find the endemic and secretive Blue-billed Curassow, a species that was seen during our last March 2014 tour. Nor did we see the cotton-headed tamarin (the endemic primate of the Santa Marta region). Argh! Well, next time…

We left Tayrona and headed north to La Guajira, with a stop for lunch at a nice restaurant by the beach. After a tasty fish we went to explore a few birding sites before reaching Riohacha. It was hot and dead around 15:50, but after 30 minutes we saw Rufous-vented Chachalaca, Caribbean Hornero, Green-rumped Parrotlet, Black-crowned Antshrike, and more.

Then we headed to Riohacha to spent a night there.


Day 7, January 19th. Birding La Guajira Peninsula, transfer to Santa Marta

The last morning in the Caribbean was very well spent with a visit to the dry decidous forest near the Los Flamencos Nature Sanctuary. Just at dawn we found the first Vermilion Tanager, Orinoco Saltator, and Bare-eyed Pigeon. Later we explored the deciodous forest, finding specialities like Tocuyo Sparrow, Northern White-fringed Antwren, Buffy Hummingbird, Crested Bobwhite, and Shining-green Hummingbird.

We left the dry habitat and went to the shore of Camarones (which actually means “shrimps” or “prawns”), where we saw Black Skimmer, Cabot’s Tern, Royal Tern, American Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, American White Ibis, and Reddish Egret. However, the Scarlet Ibis were not visible from the shore, and we had to hire a fishing boat to sail to a small  island, where a local crab and seafood collector had spotted two individuals the day before. The water was very shallow, but we made it to the island and were surprised with a colony of Roseate Spoonbills at the same time that Northern Crested Caracaras and Black Vultures were assaulting the nests to prey on the chicks. After a few minutes we also got excellent views of two striking Scarlet Ibis and later of two more, in this case juveniles.

We left La Guajira and drove to Santa Marta, where we had our last dinner together as the whole group and celebrated with wine and a tasty meal one of the best Santa Marta tours ever, as well as the amazing amount of 26 lifers for Kay!

It was a privilege to guide Kay in Colombia. She is an 89-years-old avid birder, who walks better than most people in their mid-60s, with fast eyes always ready to spot every bird nearby.  She had been in Colombia twice before, and this time she came back for only a hoped-for 15 potential lifers.


Day 8, January 20th. Flight to Cali, birding Kilometer 18 and Finca Alejandria

Today Kay flew back to the USA, and the rest of us flew to Cali to continue with another leg of the tour. We arrived in Cali around 8.00 a.m. and went straight to the birding site known as Kilometer 18 on the Cali-Buenaventura road. The cloudforest here is home to many interesting species, such as Scaled Fruiteater, Narino Tapaculo, Flame-rumped Tanager, Dusky Bush Tanager, Andean Motmot, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Lineated Woodpecker, and the striking Multicolored Tanager.

After a great, successful morning we decided to have lunch in a restaurant that had hummingbird feeders, and we enjoyed a nice meal with views of Steely-vented Hummingbird, Green Hermit, and Brown Inca.

We were lucky with the weather here. Since it was slightly overcast with no sun, the bird activity continued through most of the day.

We visited Finca Alejandria or the “Hummingbird Paradise”, and indeed it was a paradise with several species of hummingbirds, including Purple-throated Woodstar, Brown Violetear, and the impressive Blue-headed Sapphire among many others. We had several tanager sightings as well, including Blue-necked, Scrub, Golden-naped, and Beryl-spangled Tanagers and Red-headed Barbet at the fruit feeders. Colombian Chachalaca and a Golden-headed Quetzal were also seen around the garden.


Multicolored Tanager (photo Anderson Muñoz)


Red-headed Barbet (photo Gabriel Utria)

Day 9, January 21st. Visit to El Arboreto, transfer to Burga

Today we had an unusual morning for a birding trip, but this was a special request by the participants. We went to visit El Arboreto, which perhaps boasts one of the largest collection of plants in the world, and surely in South America.

The owner, Alvaro Calonje, has collected over 2500 species of plants from Colombia and all over the world, including its most exotic corners like New Caledonia, Madagascar, New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, Juan Fernández Islands, and more – a true paradise for foresters, botanists, and plant lovers like our friend Jim. We had the opportunity to be guided by Alvaro himself, who explained to us the history of his arboretum and the plants he keeps there. This was indeed a magnificent class in botany for us!

We left El Arboreto and transferred to the town of Buga, where we spent a night at the comfortable Hotel Guadalajara.


Day 10, January 22nd. Birding Sonso Lake and Otún Quimbaya National Park

At dawn we got some rain and went to visit the Sonso Lake, where we found numerous species such as Bar-crested Antshrike, Jet Antbird, Common Potoo roosting at daytime, Common Nighthawk, Fulvous Whistling Duck, Guira Tanager, the endemic Apical Flycatcher, Pied Water Tyrant, Yellow Oriole, Buff-throated Woodcreeper, Glossy Ibis, and Bare-faced Ibis, but unfortunately our quest for the endemic Greyish Piculet failed here as well as at the Regional Natural Park El Vinculo. This is, sadly, the first time we failed to deliver this species.

We left Sonso before noon, went to Otún Quimbaya National Park, and stayed in La Suiza, which is probably the best place in the world to see Red-ruffed Fruitcrow. Indeed we had close-up views of two individuals at the moment of our arrival. Birding along the main track provided more Andean Motmots and the endemic Cauca Guan, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, great views of the endemic Crested Ant Tanager, a brief view of two Chestnut Wood Quail, and Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant.

We had an early start in the evening to look for the Colombian Screech Owl but even though we heard it, it wouldn’t come to us.


Day 11, January 23rd. Birding Otún Quimbaya National Park, transfer to Manizales

The day began with the chorus of Wattled Guan, which sadly also was heard only, and more Cauca Guan. We walked along the trails, where we tried for the endemic Stiles’s Tapaculo, but again it was heard only. The best bird of the day was an extremely cooperative Chestnut-breasted Wren, which came right into the open, where the sun shone on it, showing all its true colors, while it was singing for few minutes. I have never seen such a good view of this bird before.

With more lifers in the pocket we left Otún Quimbaya and continued our trip to Manizales and the famous Reserva Ecologica Rio Blanco. The reserve is famous for protecting an excellent patch of primary cloudforest and the source of water for the town of Manizales. It offers accommodation in a small house with meals included. Since the family who owns the house was not expecting any other visitors for the next days, we decided to stay there and have the house and the reserve to ourselves during the next two-and-a-half days. Even though the house was not as comfortable as the hotel in town, our decision turned out to be the best one, considering all the things we saw and the days that were to come.

That afternoon we enjoyed the hummingbird feeders with views of Tourmaline Sunangel, Long-tailed Sylph, and the abundant Buff-tailed Coronet. Then we walked up to the reserve to wait for some night birds. We had excellent views of Rufous-bellied Nighthawk, Band-winged Nightjar, Lyre-tailed Nightjar (female), and a pair of White-throated Screech Owl, which, however, were flying too high to allow us good views.


Days 12 – 13, January 24th – 25th. Birding Reserva Ecologica Rio Blanco

The next morning after breakfast we went up to the reserve and … well, how can I describe it? I don’t ever remember such an overwhelming day, with mega flocks of over 40 species! This experience reminded me of my first visit to the Manu Road in Peru 15 years ago, and of those lucky days at El Afluente in Northern Peru, where you could hit one of those flocks…

It was overcast, but with enough light to enjoy the birds and their colors, and all the birds at eye level! We had Buff-breasted Mountain Tanager, Lacrimose Mountain Tanager, Grass-green Tanager, Blue-capped Tanager, Beryl-spangled Tanager, Red-hooded Tanager, Plushcap, Black-capped, Superciliaried, Black-eared, and Oleaginous Hemispingus, White-tailed, White-throated, Black-capped, and White-banded Tyrannulets, the most-wanted Tyrannine Woodcreeper, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher, and many more.

After one hour of watching the flocks we went to the antpitta spot, where Albeiro (the local lodge keeper and environmentalist) has five species of antpittas coming to his three different worm feeders. We saw four Antpittas on the first day, the endemic Brown-banded, Chestnut-crowned, Slate-crowned, and the most-wanted Bicolored. Only the Chestnut-naped Antpitta made us suffer until the end.

The next day was less hectic, but with good weather (slightly overcast – a thing that doesn’t help photographers much, but it’s a reality that birds don’t like the sunny mornings in the cloudforest). We saw such an amazing selection of birds like White-capped Tanager, Black-mandibled Toucan, Powerful and Yellow-vented Woodpeckers, Ash-colored, Blackish, and Spillmann’s Tapaculos, Masked Trogon, Grey-throated Toucanet, the most-wanted Masked Saltator, Golden-plumed Parakeet, and more Plushcaps.

And finally there he was, the king of the tapaculos: we had magical views of a pair of Ocellated Tapaculos tossing leafs while calling in the understory. In my humble opinion this has to be one of the best birds in the world! In addition, during our last afternoon there we also managed great views of the Chestnut-naped Antpitta.

Ocellated Tapaculo - Charly Sax

Ocellated Tapaculo (photo Charly Sax)

Day 14, January 26th. Birding Los Nevados National Park and high-elevation feeders

The next day we left the reserve and headed to Los Nevados National Park. This national park protects the snow-capped Nevado del Ruiz volcano and the entire páramo ecosystem dominated by Espeletia at 4000 meters above sea level. We had superb views of the endemic Buffy Helmetcrest, Paramo Seedeater, and Tawny Antpitta right in the open; it could not have been better. We also encountered Andean Tit-Spinetail, White-chinned Thistletail, Stout-billed Cinclodes, Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager, and Blue-backed Conebill.

Then we visited the feeders at the recently-built Nevado del Ruiz Hotel located at 3500 meters above sea level. We had been told that the hotel has a set of hummingbird feeders that could not be better. I had never before seen high-elevation species on a feeder. We saw Great Sapphirewing, Shining Sunbeam, the gorgeous Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Buff-winged Startfrontlet, Black-thighed Puffleg, Coppery-bellied Puffleg, Purple-backed Thornbill, and Viridian Metaltail, absolutely amazing! We also had views of Pale-naped Brush Finch at the hotel feeders. But, unfortunately, the Paramo Tapaculo didn’t play for us this time.

We then went back to Manizales and spent a night in a hotel.


Day 15, January 27th. Departure

Today we transferred to Cali and connected with our international flights.


There is no doubt that Colombia is one of best birding destinations in the world. The country is improving its tourist services with a huge potential to offer, and every day the global number of birders is growing. We are sure that soon we will develop new itineraries to visit more stunning destinations in this marvelous land.


We recorded 478 species in 13 days, including 18 that were heard only. The species count includes 40 country endemics (heard only excluded) plus 51 species of hummingbirds.



13th January

Meeting in Bogota for two pre-extension days. Jardín Encantado, drive to Laguna Tabacal near La Vega, Parque La Florida. Overnight Bogota

14th January

Visit Parque La Florida and Chicaque. Transfer to the airport and flight to Barranquilla. Overnight Barranquilla

15th January

Visit Isla de Salamanca NP and surroundings. Drive to Minca above Santa Marta. Birding above Minca. Overnight Minca

16th January

Birding above Minca and drive to El Dorado. Overnight El Dorado Lodge

17th January

Full morning on the San Lorenzo ridge. Transfer back to El Dorado. Overnight El Dorado Lodge

18th January

Drive to Tayrona NP and transfer to Riohacha. Overnight Riohacha

19th January

Birding in La Guajira, Los Flamencos, and Camarones. Transfer to Santa Marta. Overnight Santa Marta

20th January

Flight to Cali. Explore km 18. Overnight Cali

21st January

Visit the Arboreto Botanical Garden and transfer to Buga. Overnight Buga

22nd January

Visit the Sonso Lake and transfer to Otún Quimbaya NP. Overnight Otún Quimbaya

23rd January

Explore the Otún Quimbaya trails and transfer to Manizales. Overnight Rio Blanco

24th January

Full day at Rio Blanco

25th January

Full day at Rio Blanco

26th January

Drive to Los Nevados NP. Overnight Manizales

27th January

Transfer to Cali. Departure


Taxonomy: IOC, International Ornithological Congress, 5.1
(H) Heard only
(E) Country endemic



Northern Screamer Chauna chavaria Good views of two birds near Barranquilla. A most-wanted species for many people, and usually the last screamer in the collection of many. There are only three species in the family. This near-endemic species is listed as near-threatened.


Black-bellied Whistling Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis Seen near Barranquilla. Here the subspecies autumnalis

Fulvous Whistling Duck Dendrocygna bicolor Seen flying at Sonso Lake

Torrent Duck Merganetta armata A couple was seen nicely along the Otún River during our way to Manizales. The subspecies here, colombiana, is very pale.

Blue-winged Teal Anas discors Seen at La Florida Park near Bogota and near Barranquilla

Andean Teal Anas andium Seen a Los Nevados NP

Andean Duck Oxyura ferruginea Seen a Los Nevados NP



Chestnut-winged Chachalaca (E) Ortalis garrula We found two individuals near Barranquilla.

Rufous-vented Chachalaca Ortalis ruficauda This bird is almost endemic, but with records in Trinidad and Margarita Island. We saw two birds on our way to Riohacha.

Colombian Chachalaca (E) Ortalis columbiana A few birds were seen at km 18 near Cali.

Sickle-winged Guan Chamaepetes goudotii We had brief views of a few individuals in the Santa Marta mountains, subspecies sanctaemarthae, and then daily good views at Rio Blanco, subspecies goudotii.

Band-tailed Guan Penelope argyrotis Two birds were seen at El Dorado Lodge in Santa Marta. Here the subspecies columbiana. The species is near-endemic.

Andean Guan Penelope montagnii Daily views in the Rio Blanco reserve. Here the nominate subspecies montagnii

Cauca Guan (E) Penelope perspicax Great views of this localized endemic in the Otún Quimbaya NP. Rediscovered here in 1994. The species is listed as endangered.

Wattled Guan (H) Aburria aburri Heard in the Otún Quimbaya NP. The species is listed as near-threatened.


Crested Bobwhite Colinus cristatus Seen in La Guajira

Black-fronted Wood Quail Odontophorus atrifrons Daily views of at least four individuals at the compost heap at El Dorado Lodge. This near-endemic species is listed as vulnerable.

Chestnut Wood Quail (E) Odontophorus hyperhytrus We got brief views of two birds crossing the main track at Otún Quimbaya NP. The species is listed as near-threatened.



American Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber We got scope views of several birds in La Guajira.


Least Grebe Tachybaptus dominicus We saw two birds at the roadside lagoon on the way to Manizales. Here the subspecies brachyrhynchus

Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps Seen at Laguna Tabacal and also on the way to Manizales



Wood Stork Mycteria americana We got one individual in Los Flamencos. Here the subspecies antarcticus


Bare-faced Ibis Phimosus infuscatus Seen at several locations

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus Only one bird seen at the Laguna Sonso entrance point

Scarlet Ibis Eudocimus ruber Great views of two adults and two juveniles at Camarones. A leader lifer!

American White Ibis Eudocimus albus Seen at Camarones together with the Scarlet Ibis

Roseate Spoonbill   Platalea ajaja A huge colony with chicks was seen at Camarones. We managed to see several Black Vultures and Northern Crested Caracaras attacking the colony for the chicks.


Rufescent Tiger Heron Tigrisoma lineatum One bird was seen well near Barranquilla.

Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax A few seen at Laguna Tabacal

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Nyctanassa violacea One bird was seen well at Camarones. Here the subspecies cayennensis

Striated Heron Butorides striata Seen at Laguna Tabacal and also near Barranquilla

Green Heron Butorides virescens One seen at Los Flamencos

Western Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis Common and widespread throughout Colombia

Great Egret Ardea alba A few seen throughout the trip

Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias One bird was seen near Barranquilla.

Cocoi Heron Ardea cocoi One was seen at Camarones.

Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor Nice views of two birds at Camarones

Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea Seen near Barranquilla

Reddish Egret Egretta rufescens Great views of three birds at Camarones. The species is listed as near-threatened.

Snowy Egret Egretta thula Seen in Riohacha and Isla de Salamanca NP


Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis Hundreds seen along the Caribbean shore



Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens Seen in large numbers on our way to Santa Marta


Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus A few seen during the tour



Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura Several sightings of this species. It has one of the most powerful senses of smell among the birds.

Black Vulture Coragyps atratus Almost daily encounters, including the attack of the Roseate Spoonbill colony to prey on the chicks


Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus Seen at Isla de Salamanca NP and on our way to Riohacha


White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus One adult was seen nicely at La Florida.

Grey-headed Kite Leptodon cayanensis One individual was seen soaring high at Otún Quimbaya NP.

Ornate Hawk-Eagle (H) Spizaetus ornatus Heard only at km 18. The species is listed as near-threatened.

Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus

Black-collared Hawk Busarellus nigricollis One seen near Isla de Salamanca NP

Snail Kite Rostrhamus sociabilis Seen at Isla de Salamanca NP. Here the subspecies sociabilis

Common Black Hawk Buteogallus anthracinus Seen on the way to Riohacha. Here the subspecies subtilis

Savanna Hawk Buteogallus meridionalis A juvenile was seen near Isla de Salamanca NP.

Grey-lined Hawk Buteo nitidus One seen on our way to Riohacha. This species was split from Grey Hawk Buteo plagiatus.

White-rumped Hawk Parabuteo leucorrhous Great views of one bird flying low at Rio Blanco Roadside Hawk Rupornis magnirostris Amazingly, only one bird was seen during the trip. Has been placed in the genus Rupornis

Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus Only one sighting of this North American raptor below the San Lorenzo ridge



Common Gallinule Gallinula galeata Seen at La Florida and at Laguna de Sonso

American Coot Fulica americana Seen at Parque La Florida. Here the subspecies columbiana


Limpkin Aramus guarauna Several seen throughout the trip



Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis Common at several locations


Double-striped Thick-knee Burhinus bistriatus Excellent views of a family roosting with no less than 18 individuals at our usual site near Riohacha. Here the subspecies pediacus


Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus Seen near Isla de Salamanca NP


Wattled Jacana Jacana jacana Seen near Isla de Salamanca NP


Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria One bird was seen well at Isla de Salamanca NP.

Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius Seen at Isla de Salamanca NP

Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca Seen at Camarones

Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes Seen at Camarones

Sanderling Calidris alba Seen at the coast


Black Skimmer Rynchops niger Seen at Camarones

American Herring Gull Larus smithsonianus One seen at Camarones

Laughing Gull Leucophaeus atricilla Seen at Camarones

Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus Seen at Camarones

Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus Seen at Camarones

Cabot’s Tern Thalasseus acuflavidus Seen at Camarones. Named after S. Cabot (1815-1885), US zoologist

Large-billed Tern Phaetusa simplex Seen at Camarones



Rock Dove Columba livia Common

Bare-eyed Pigeon Patagioenas corensis Great views on the way to Riohacha. A regional endemic found in Colombia, Venezuela and the Netherlands Antilles

Band-tailed Pigeon Patagioenas fasciata Seen at Santa Marta and Rio Blanco

Pale-vented Pigeon Patagioenas cayennensis Seen at Isla de Salamanca NP

Eared Dove Zenaida auriculata Common around Bogota and other locations

Scaled Dove Columbina squammata Only one seen near Isla de Salamanca NP

Common Ground Dove Columbina passerina Only one sighting near Riohacha

Ruddy Ground Dove Columbina talpacoti Seen at several locations throughout the trip

Lined Quail-Dove Geotrygon linearis One bird was seen sitting in a branch at two meters above the ground at Laguna Tabacal. This is the second time I found a Quail Dove on a tree. We also got another view in the Santa Marta mountains.

Ruddy Quail-Dove Geotrygon montana One bird was seen running away from us along the trails at Laguna Tabacal.

White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi Seen in the Santa Marta mountains



Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani Seen on the way to Laguna Tabacal

Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris Seen near Barranquilla

Greater Ani Crotophaga major Seen at Isla de Salamanca NP

Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana Seen in Santa Marta and Rio Blanco

Striped Cuckoo (H) Tapera naevia One bird was heard above Cali.



Colombian Screech Owl (H) Megascops colombianus One bird was heard before dawn at Otún Quimbaya NP but didn’t come to the tape. The species is listed as near-threatened.

White-throated Screech Owl Megascops albogularis Two birds were seen flying above us but then remained hidden in the subcanopy. Here the subspecies macabrus

Santa Marta Screech Owl Megascops gilesi Great views of this as yet undescribed species in the Santa Marta mountains. We saw a pair roosting at daytime at El Dorado Lodge and another pair before dawn above El Dorado Lodge on our drive to San Lorenzo.

Ferruginous Pygmy Owl Glaucidium brasilianum One bird was seen well near Isla de Salamanca NP.



Common Potoo Nyctibius griseus Three different individuals were seen at daytime at Laguna de Sonso.


Least Nighthawk Chordeiles pusillus Seen by Jim and Jose only. The same bird was photographed later and the picture is proof that it is a juvenile.

Common Nighthawk Chordeiles minor A few seen roosting at daytime at Laguna de Sonso

Rufous-bellied Nighthawk Lurocalis rufiventris Great views of two birds before dusk at the Rio Blanco reserve

Band-winged Nightjar Systellura longirostris Seen well at Rio Blanco

Swallow-tailed Nightjar Uropsalis segmentata A female came to the tape at Rio Blanco.

Lyre-tailed Nightjar Uropsalis lyra Seen at Rio Blanco


White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris Seen above Santa Marta

Chestnut-collared Swift Streptoprocne rutila A flock was seen at Rio Blanco.


Rufous-breasted Hermit Glaucis hirsutus One seen in Minca. Here the subspecies hirsutus

Green Hermit Phaethornis guy One seen at the feeders near Cali. Here the subspecies emiliae

Pale-bellied Hermit Phaethornis anthophilus Seen at the feeders below El Dorado Lodge. Here the subspecies anthophilus

Long-billed Hermit Phaethornis longirostris Several seen in the Santa Marta mountains

White-necked Jacobin Florisuga mellivora Common at El Dorado, Hotel Minca, and the km 18 sugar feeders

Sparking Violetear Colibri coruscans One seen at Jardín Encantado

Green Violetear Colibri thalassinus Seen in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and Jardín Encantado. Here the subspecies cyanotus

Brown Violetear Colibri delphinae Seen in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and at the km 18 feeders

Black-throated Mango Anthracothorax nigricollis Seen in Hotel Minca, Jardín Encantado, and at the km 18 feeders

White-vented Plumeleteer Chalybura buffoni Seen at Hotel Minca and Jardín Encantado

Red-billed Emerald (E) Chlorostilbon gibsoni Seen in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Coppery Emerald Chlorostilbon russatus This near-endemic species was seen in Tayrona NP.

Indigo-capped Hummingbird (E) Amazilia cyanifrons Common at the Jardín Encantado feeders

Ruby-topaz Hummingbird Chrysolampis mosquitus Seen at Jardín Encantado

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl Common at several locations

Steely-vented Hummingbird Amazilia saucerrottei Seen at Hotel Minca and the km 18 feeders

Crowned Woodnymph Thalurania colombica Common in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. We saw the subspecies colombica in Santa Marta and the subspecies subtropicales in the Cauca Valley around Cali.

Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird (E) Lepidopyga lilliae Great views of this country endemic at the entrance of Isla de Salamanca NP. One of the target birds for Kay.  This species is listed as critically endangered.         

Shining-green Hummingbird Lepidopyga goudotii We got great views of the subspecies luminosa of this near-endemic species in the Guajira. Another target bird for Kay

White-chinned Sapphire Hylocharis cyanus We saw the subspecies viridiventris at the km 18 feeders.

Blue-headed Sapphire Hylocharis grayi Great views of this awesome little bird, a near-endemic species, at the feeders at km 18.

Buffy Hummingbird Leucippus fallax Great views of this near-endemic species in La Guajira

Andean Emerald Amazilia franciae We had brief views of one bird at the Jardín Encantado feeders. Here the subspecies franciae

Santa Marta Blossomcrown (E) Anthocephala floriceps This had us worried for a while. We failed at the first attempt at the shop (its usual place below El Dorado), where it’s normally seen, but we were reward with fantastic views at Palo Alto, which is the new B&B below El Dorado. We saw the subspecies floriceps, while the subspecies berlepschi is restricted to the Magdalena Valley.

Speckled Hummingbird Adelomyia melanogenys We saw the subspecies servina at Rio Blanco.

Fawn-breasted Brilliant Heliodoxa rubinoides We saw the subspecies rubinoides at the feeders at km 18.

Buff-tailed Coronet Boissonneaua flavescens The dominant species at the feeders in Rio Blanco

Shining Sunbeam Aglaeactis cupripennis Great views at the feeders at the Nevado del Ruiz Hotel

Bronzy Inca Coeligena coeligena We saw one individual along the main track at Otún Quimbaya NP. Here the subspecies ferruginea

Brown Inca Coeligena wilsoni Great views at the feeders at km 18

Collared Inca Coeligena torquata Seen daily at Rio Blanco. We saw the nominate subspecies torquata.

White-tailed Starfrontlet (E) Coeligena phalerata Great views of the spectacular male at the El Dorado feeders. We saw the female as well on the San Lorenzo ridge.       

Buff-winged Starfrontlet Coeligena lutetiae Awesome views at the Nevado del Ruiz Hotel feeders

Great Sapphirewing Pterophanes cyanopterus This was the first time I have ever seen this impressive hummingbird on a feeder. This is the second-largest hummingbird in the world. At least two different individuals at the Nevado Del Ruiz Hotel

Tourmaline Sunangel Heliangelus exortis Great views at Rio Blanco

Black-thighed Puffleg Eriocnemis derbyi Great views of this near-endemic species at the Nevado del Ruiz Hotel feeders. This species is listed as near-threatened.  

Coppery-bellied Puffleg Eriocnemis cupreoventris Great views of this near-endemic species at the Nevado del Ruiz Hotel feeders. This species is listed as near-threatened.   

Black-backed Thornbill (E) Ramphomicron dorsale Awesome views of one individual at the El Dorado feeders. A leader lifer! This species is listed as endangered.           

Purple-backed Thornbill Ramphomicron microrhynchum One bird was seen briefly in Rio Blanco. Here the subspecies microrhynchum

Buffy Helmetcrest (E) Oxypogon stuebelii Amazing close-up views of this fantastic hummingbird at the entrance of Los Nevados NP. This species is listed as vulnerable.    

It is a result of a recent split of Bearded Helmetcrest:

Blue-bearded Helmetcrest: Oxypogon cyanolaemus Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (high elevations)

White-bearded Helmetcrest: Oxypogon lindenii Andes of Venezuela

Green-bearded Helmetcrest: Oxypogon guerinni Eastern Andes of Colombia

Buffy Helmetcrest: Oxypogon stuebelii Central Colombia

Glowing Puffleg Eriocnemis vestita One bird was seen at the entrance of the Chicaque Reserve near Bogota

Booted Racket-tail Ocreatus underwoodii Good views of a juvenile bird at the feeders at km 18

Tyrian Metaltail Metallura tyrianthina We saw the subspecies tyrianthina in Rio Blanco and the subspecies districta in the Santa Marta mountains. Named after the Tyrian purple color, which was an ancient dye obtained from sea molluscs during the times of the Roman Empire.

Viridian Metaltail Metallura williami Seen well at the feeders of Nevados del Ruiz Hotel

Rainbow-bearded Thornbill Chalcostigma herrani This fantastic hummingbird was seen well at the feeders of the Nevado Del Ruiz Hotel.

Long-tailed Sylph Aglaiocercus kingii Seen well at Rio Blanco. Here the subspecies emmae

Long-billed Starthroat Heliomaster longirostris Seen well at the feeders at km 18 near Cali

Purple-throated Woodstar Calliphlox mitchellii Awesome views at the km 18 feeders

White-bellied Woodstar Chaetocercus mulsant Seen well at Jardín Encantado

Santa Marta Woodstar (E) Chaetocercus astreans Superb views of male and female at Palo Alto in the Santa Marta mountains

Gorgeted Woodstar Chaetocercus heliodor A female was seen briefly at the Jardín Encantado feeders.



Golden-headed Quetzal Pharomachrus auriceps Seen at km 18

White-tipped Quetzal Pharomachrus fulgidus Great views of one individual above El Dorado Lodge

Masked Trogon Trogon personatus Seen at the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Here the subspecies sanctaemartae


Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona Seen near Isla de Salamanca NP

Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana Seen on the way to Riohacha

Ringed Kingfisher Megaceryle torquata A few noted along the coast


Whooping Motmot Momotus subrufescens Seen well in Minca below the Santa Marta mountains

Andean Motmot Momotus aequatorialis Seen well in Otún Quimbaya NP. Here the subspecies aequatorialis. There are six new species as the result of the Blue-crowned Motmot split:

Blue-crowned Motmot Momotus coeruliceps – NE and Central Mexico

Blue-diademed Motmot Momotus lessoni – South Mexico to Central Panama

Whooping Motmot Momotus subrufescens Whooping Motmot – E Panama to NC Venezuela and the Magdalena Valley of Colombia; SE Ecuador and extreme NW Peru

Trinidad Motmot Momotus bahamensis – Trinidad & Tobago

Amazonian Motmot Momotus momota – Venezuela (S of the Orinoco) and the Guianas S through the entire Amazon basin to extreme N Argentina and Paraguay

Andean Motmot Momotus aequatorialis – The Andes from NC Colombia to NE Bolivia



Rufous-tailed Jacamar Galbula ruficauda Seen well in Minca


Russet-throated Puffbird Hypnelus ruficollis


Red-headed Barbet Eubucco bourcierii Great views of a pair at the feeders at km 18


Santa Marta Toucanet (E) Aulacorhynchus lautus Seen above El Dorado Lodge

White-throated Toucanet Aulacorhynchus albivitta Seen at Rio Blanco and Otún Quimbaya NP. Both species above are results of a split of Emerald Toucanet:

Wagler’s Toucanet Aulacorhynchus wagleri Endemic to south-western Mexico

Emerald Toucanet Aulacorhynchus prasinus Southern Mexico to Nicaragua

Blue-throated Toucanet Aulacorhynchus caeruleogularis Costa Rica to western Panama

Violet-throated or Nelson’s Toucanet Aulacorhynchus cognatus Found in eastern Panama and adjacent far north-western Colombia

Santa Marta Toucanet Aulacorhynchus lautus Endemic to the Santa Marta Mountains in northern Colombia

White-throated Toucanet Aulacorhynchus albivitta The Andes from western Venezuela through Colombia to northern Ecuador

Black-throated Toucanet Aulacorhynchus atrogularis From southern Ecuador through Peru, far western Brazil (in the state of Acre), to central Bolivia

Groove-billed Toucanet Aulacorhynchus sulcatus A near-endemic species, seen well at Palo Alto in the Santa Marta mountains. Here the subspecies calorhynchus

Grey-throated Toucanet (E) Aulacorhynchus griseigularis Seen at Rio Branco

Crimson-rumped Toucanet Aulacorhynchus haematopygus One bird seen well at km 18. The species is listed as near-threatened.

Black-billed Mountain Toucan Andigena nigrirostris Crippling views of one bird at Rio Blanco

Keel-billed Toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus Two birds seen well above Minca. Here the subspecies brevicarinatus. This is the national bird of Belize.

Black-mandibled Toucan Ramphastos ambiguus Seen at Rio Blanco


Chestnut Piculet Picumnus cinnamomeus This near-endemic species was first seen at Isla Salamanca NP and then another bird was seen very well at La Guajira. A Kay’s lifer

Red-crowned Woodpecker Melanerpes rubricapillus Seen at several locations

Red-rumped Woodpecker Veniliornis kirkii One seen briefly at Isla Salamanca NP. Here the subspecies cecilii

Yellow-vented Woodpecker Veniliornis dignus Crippling views of this rarely-encountered woodpecker in a mixed flock at Rio Blanco

Golden-olive Woodpecker Colaptes rubiginosus Seen well in Minca

Crimson-mantled Woodpecker Colaptes rivolii Great views in a mixed flock at Rio Blanco

Spot-breasted Woodpecker Colaptes punctigula Seen well near Isla de Salamanca NP

Powerful Woodpecker Campephilus pollens A pair was seen very well at Rio Blanco.

Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus Great views at km 18



Northern Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway Common in the northern lowlands

Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima Seen well near Isla de Salamanca NP

Laughing Falcon (H) Herpetotheres cachinnans Heard at Minca

Collared Forest-Falcon (H) Micrastur semitorquatus Heard before dusk at El Dorado Lodge

Merlin Falco columbarius Great views of one individual in La Guajira. A rare North American migrant



Military Macaw Ara militaris 10 birds were seen flying low above Minca. The species is listed as vulnerable.

Brown-throated Parakeet Eupsittula pertinax Seen at Isla de Salamanca NP

Scarlet-fronted Parakeet Psittacara wagleri Seen in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. This species has been placed in the genus Psittacara.

Golden-plumed Parakeet Leptosittaca branickii Several birds were seen flying above Rio Blanco, and we had scope views of one bird along the road. The species is listed as vulnerable.

Santa Marta Parakeet (E) Pyrrhura viridicata Good views of this handsome endemic at the San Lorenzo ridge. The species is listed as endangered.

Green-rumped Parrotlet Forpus passerinus Great views in La Guajira

Spectacled Parrotlet Forpus conspicillatus Seen at Laguna Tabacal and Laguna de Sonso

Orange-chinned Parakeet Brotogeris jugularis Scope views in Minca

Blue-headed Parrot Pionus menstruus Seen well above Minca

Red-billed Parrot Pionus sordidus Seen well at El Dorado. Here the subspecies saturatus

Bronze-winged Parrot Pionus chalcopterus Seen flying at Rio Blanco

Scaly-naped Amazon Amazona mercenarius Seen at the San Lorenzo ridge



Stout-billed Cinclodes Cinclodes excelsior Common at Los Nevados NP

Caribbean Hornero Furnarius longirostris Seen well on the way to Riohacha. A recent split from Pale-legged Hornero

Rusty-headed Spinetail (E) Synallaxis fuscorufa Seen well in the Santa Marta mountains. The species is listed as vulnerable.

Silvery-throated Spinetail (E) Synallaxis subpudica Another Colombian endemic seen nicely at La Florida Park

White-whiskered Spinetail Synallaxis candei Good views of this striking, near-endemic spinetail in La Guajira

Azara’s Spinetail Synallaxis azarae Seen at Rio Blanco. Named after Felix Manuel de Azara (1746-1811), Spanish officer commanding the Paraguayan border, naturalist and author (Apuntiamentos para la historia natural de los páxaros de Paraguay y Río de la Plata, 1805)

Rufous Spinetail (H) Synallaxis unirufa This species was heard only at Rio Blanco.

Streak-capped Spinetail (E) Cranioleuca hellmayri Another Santa Marta endemic seen well at the San Lorenzo ridge

Ash-browed Spinetail Cranioleuca curtata Seen briefly at Laguna Tabacal. The species is listed as vulnerable.

Red-faced Spinetail Cranioleuca erythrops Seen well at km 18

Andean Tit-Spinetail Leptasthenura andicola Good views at Los Nevados NP

White-chinned Thistletail Asthenes fuliginosa Glimpses only at Los Nevados NP

Many-striped Canastero Asthenes flammulata A male displaying at Los Nevados NP. Here the subspecies quindiana

Spotted Barbtail Premnoplex brunnescens Brief views of one bird at Rio Blanco

Montane Foliage-gleaner Anabacerthia striaticollis Seen in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Here the subspecies anxia

Lineated Foliage-gleaner Syndactyla subalaris Seen well at km 18

Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner (E) Automolus rufipectus One bird seen quite well above Minca. The species is listed as near-threatened.

Streaked Tuftedcheek Pseudocolaptes boissonneautii Seen well at Rio Blanco

Flammulated Treehunter Thripadectes flammulatus Great views of one bird in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and at Rio Blanco

Plain Xenops Xenops minutus Seen at Tayrona NP

Streaked Xenops Xenops rutilans Seen at Rio Blanco. Here the subspecies heterurus

Tyrannine Woodcreeper Dendrocincla tyrannina Daily views at Rio Blanco. A most-wanted species, as it is one of the most uncommon woodcreeper species to get

Strong-billed Woodcreeper Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus Seen well at Rio Blanco

Straight-billed Woodcreeper Dendroplex picus Seen well at Isla de Salamanca NP

Buff-throated Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus guttatus Seen well at Laguna de Sonso

Cocoa Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus susurrans Seen well in the lowlands of Santa Marta around Minca

Montane Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger Seen in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (subspecies sanctaemartae) and at Rio Blanco (subspecies sneiderni)

Streaked-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes souleyetii Seen in the Santa Marta lowlands


Black-backed Antshrike Thamnophilus melanonotus Excellent views of a male in Minca. A near-endemic species

Black-crested Antshrike Sakesphorus canadensis We saw birds at both Isla de Salamanca NP and La Guajira. The form pulchellus shows different plumage and vocalization from Sakesphorus canadensis and may represent a different species.

Bar-crested Antshrike Thamnophilus multistriatus This near-endemic species was seen well at Laguna Tabacal and Laguna de Sonso.

Uniform Antshrike (H) Thamnophilus unicolor We heard this species at km 18.

Black-crowned Antshrike Thamnophilus atrinucha One bird was seen well at Tayrona NP.

Plain Antvireo Dysithamnus mentalis A female was seen briefly at Laguna Tabacal.

Northern White-fringed Antwren Formicivora intermedia Great views at La Guajira

Santa Marta Antbird (E) Drymophila hellmayri Great views above Minca

Streak-headed Antbird Drymophila striaticeps One bird was seen well at Rio Blanco.

White-bellied Antbird Myrmeciza longipes Great views of two birds at Tayrona NP. It was also heard at Laguna Tabacal.

Jet Antbird Cercomacra nigricans Great views of one bird at Laguna de Sonso


Chestnut-crowned Antpitta Grallaria ruficapilla Awesome views of one bird at the worm feeders in Rio Blanco

Tawny Antpitta Grallaria quitensis Two birds seen very well at Los Nevados NP. Here the subspecies quitensis

Brown-banded Antpitta (E) Grallaria milleri Amazing views of this endemic at Rio Blanco. The species is listed as vulnerable.

Chestnut-naped Antpitta Grallaria nuchalis This bird made us struggle till the end. It used to be a daily commensal at the worm feeders at Rio Blanco, but it has not been coming with regularity for almost a year. We tried every day until we finally had amazing views.

Santa Marta Antpitta (E, H) Grallaria bangsi This bird was heard at the San Lorenzo ridge but didn’t came to the tape. The species is listed as vulnerable.

Moustached Antpitta (H) Grallaria alleni This species was heard only at Otún Quimbaya NP. It is easier on our Ecuador tours. The species is listed as vulnerable.

Bicolored Antpitta (E) Grallaria rufocinerea One of my favorite antpittas. Great views at Rio Blanco. The species is listed as vulnerable.

Slate-crowned Antpitta Grallaricula nana Great views of two birds at the worm feeders at Rio Blanco

Rusty-breasted Antpitta (H) Grallaricula ferrugineipectus This was only heard above Minca.


Ocellated Tapaculo Acropternis orthonyx One of my favorite birds in the world! A magical moment when two birds came closer and we could watch them calling and tossing leaves.

Ash-colored Tapaculo Myornis senilis One bird was seen well at Rio Blanco.

Blackish Tapaculo Scytalopus latrans Seen at Rio Blanco. Here the nominate subspecies latrans

Spillmann’s Tapaculo Scytalopus spillmanni A hard species to get in Ecuador but more reliable here at Rio Blanco. We saw one quite well. It is named after Franz Spillmann (1901 – 1988), an Austrian zoologist, resident in Ecuador.

Santa Marta Tapaculo (E) Scytalopus sanctaemartae Great views of a cooperative bird above Minca

Brown-rumped Tapaculo (E) Scytalopus latebricola Superb view of this hard-to-see species at the San Lorenzo ridge

Narino Tapaculo Scytalopus vicinior Seen at km 18

Stiles’s Tapaculo (E, H) Scytalopus stilesi Only heard at Otún Quimbaya NP. It is named for Gary Stiles, an active professor at Colombia’s National University, author of The Birds of Costa Rica and an influential member of the SACC.

Paramo Tapaculo (H) Scytalopus opacus This was heard only at Los Nevados NP.


Black-capped Tyrannulet Phyllomyias nigricapillus Great views at Rio Blanco

Mountain Elaenia Elaenia frantzii Seen in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and Rio Blanco

Sierran Elaenia Elaenia pallatangae Seen at km 18

Southern Beardless Tyrannulet Camptostoma obsoletum Seen well at La Guajira

White-throated Tyrannulet Mecocerculus leucophrys Seen at Chicaque, the Sierra de Nevada de Santa Marta, and Rio Blanco

White-banded Tyrannulet Mecocerculus stictopterus Seen at Rio Blanco

White-tailed Tyrannulet Mecocerculus poecilocercus Seen at Rio Blanco

Torrent Tyrannulet Serpophaga cinerea Seen along the Otún River

Golden-faced Tyrannulet Zimmerius chrysops Seen at Rio Blanco

Coopmans’s Tyrannulet Zimmerius minimus Seen well above Minca. It is named after Paul Coopmans, a Belgium ornithologist and tour leader, who lived in Ecuador and guided bird tours in South America for many years.

Rufous-headed Pygmy Tyrant Pseudotriccus ruficeps Great views of one bird at Rio Blanco

Variegated Bristle Tyrant Pogonotriccus poecilotis Seen well at Otún Quimbaya NP

Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant Pogonotriccus ophthalmicus Seen well at Otún Quimbaya NP

Ochre-bellied Flycatcher (H) Mionectes oleagineus This bird was heard at Minca.

Streak-necked Flycatcher Mionectes striaticollis One bird was seen at km 18.

Rufous-breasted Flycatcher Leptopogon rufipectus Seen well at Otún Quimbaya NP

Northern Scrub Flycatcher Sublegatus arenarum Seen well at La Guajira

Slender-billed Inezia Inezia tenuirostris This near-endemic species was seen well at La Guajira.

Pale-tipped Inezia Inezia caudata Seen well at La Guajira

Flavescent Flycatcher Myiophobus flavicans Seen well at Rio Blanco

Black-throated Tody-Tyrant Hemitriccus granadensis One seen well at El Dorado Lodge. Here the subspecies lehmanni

Southern Bentbill Oncostoma olivaceum One bird seen well at Tayrona NP. A near-endemic species

Pale-eyed Pygmy Tyrant Atalotriccus pilaris Seen at Tayrona NP

Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher Poecilotriccus ruficeps Seen well at Rio Blanco. Here the subspecies melanomystax

Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum nigriceps We managed to see only one bird during the tour.

Common Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum cinereum Seen in the Santa Marta lowlands

Cinnamon Flycatcher Pyrrhomyias cinnamomeus Daily views at Rio Blanco

Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus A few noted during the tour

Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans Seen well along the Otún River

Smoke-colored Pewee Contopus fumigatus Seen well at Rio Blanco

Tropical Pewee Contopus cinereus Seen well in Minca

Smoky Bush Tyrant (H) Myiotheretes fumigatus One bird was heard at Rio Blanco.

Santa Marta Bush Tyrant (E) Myiotheretes pernix Scope views of this elusive species at the San Lorenzo ridge. The species is listed as endangered.

Pied Water Tyrant Fluvicola pica Seen at Laguna de Sonso

Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant Silvicultrix diadema We heard one bird in the Santa Marta mountains and another was seen nicely at Rio Blanco.

Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca fumicolor Seen well at Los Nevados NP. Here the subspecies ferruginea

Cattle Tyrant Machetornis rixosa A few noted during the tour

Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis A few during the tour

Piratic Flycatcher (H) Legatus leucophaius This species was heard at Laguna Tabacal.

Rusty-margined Flycatcher Myiozetetes cayanensis Several recorded during the tour

Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus Common

Lesser Kiskadee Philohydor lictor One seen near Isla de Salamanca NP

Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua One seen well at Laguna Tabacal

Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus Seen around Minca

Golden-crowned Flycatcher Myiodynastes chrysocephalus One seen well below El Dorado

Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus Common

Brown-crested Flycatcher Myiarchus tyrannulus One seen well at La Guajira

Apical Flycatcher (E) Myiarchus apicalis Seen well at Laguna de Sonso

Pale-edged Flycatcher Myiarchus cephalotes Seen well at Rio Blanco

Venezuelan Flycatcher Myiarchus venezuelensis Seen at La Guajira


Red-crested Cotinga Ampelion rubrocristatus Seen well at Rio Blanco

Golden-breasted Fruiteater Pipreola aureopectus Great views of one pair below El Dorado Lodge. Here the subspecies decora

Green-and-black Fruiteater Pipreola riefferii Seen daily at Rio Blanco, including a male visiting the antpitta worm feeder station to steal a few worms. Here the nominate subspecies riefferii

Scaled Fruiteater Ampelioides tschudii Great views of a male at km 18

Red-ruffed Fruitcrow Pyroderus scutatus Great views at Otún Quimbaya NP. Here the subspecies granadensis


White-bearded Manakin Manacus manacus We saw a male in Minca, the subspecies abditivus, and also another male at Laguna Tabacal, the subspecies flaveolus.

Western Striped Manakin Machaeropterus striolatus Great views of one male at Laguna Tabacal

Lance-tailed Manakin Chiroxiphia lanceolata Great views of a few males at Tayrona NP


Black-crowned Tityra Tityra inquisitor Seen well above Minca

Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata Seen well above Minca

Black-and-white Becard Pachyramphus albogriseus Seen well at km 18

Barred Becard Pachyramphus versicolor Seen well at Rio Blanco


Rufous-browed Peppershrike Cyclarhis gujanensis Seen at Laguna Tabacal. Here the subspecies cantica

Black-billed Peppershrike (H) Cyclarhis nigrirostris Heard at Rio Blanco

Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus Seen in Santa Marta

Brown-capped Vireo Vireo leucophrys Seen briefly at Rio Blanco

Yellow-green Vireo Vireo flavoviridis Seen near Riohacha

Scrub Greenlet Hylophilus flavipes A female was seen well in response to the tape at Laguna Tabacal.


Black-chested Jay Cyanocorax affinis Seen well in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Black-collared Jay Cyanolyca armillata Seen well at Rio Blanco

Inca Jay Cyanocorax yncas Seen at Rio Blanco


Grey-breasted Martin Progne chalybea Seen at several locations

Blue-and-white Swallow Notiochelidon cyanoleuca A few noticed during the tour

Brown-bellied Swallow Notiochelidon murina Seen at Rio Blanco

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica A few seen near Bogota

Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis A few noticed during the tour


Band-backed Wren Campylorhynchus zonatus Seen near Isla de Salamanca NP

Bicolored Wren Campylorhynchus griseus Seen well around Minca

Sedge Wren Cistothorus platensis Seen at Los Nevados NP

Sepia-brown Wren Cinnycerthia olivascens A family party was seen daily at Rio Blanco.

Apolinar’s Wren (E) Cistothorus apolinari It took a while, but we managed to have views of one pair at La Florida Park near Bogota. The species is listed as endangered. It is named after Brother H. Apolinar, a 1914 Colombian missionary and zoologist

Rufous-breasted Wren Pheugopedius rutilus Seen well above Minca

Rufous-and-white Wren Thryophilus rufalbus Seen well around Minca

Buff-breasted Wren Cantorchilus leucotis One bird seen well at Tayrona NP. Here the subspecies venezuelanus from Santa Marta and the plains of La Guajira

House Wren Troglodytes aedon A few noticed during the tour

Mountain Wren Troglodytes solstitialis Seen well at Rio Blanco

Grey-breasted Wood Wren Henicorhina leucophrys Seen at Rio Blanco

Santa Marta Wood Wren (E) Henicorhina anachoreta Seen at the San Lorenzo ridge above El Dorado Lodge. A species not yet recognized by IOC

Bang’s Wood Wren (E) Henicorhina bangsi Found at lower elevations than the previous species, from Minca to El Dorado Lodge. This species also has not yet been recognized by IOC.

Chestnut-breasted Wren Cyphorhinus thoracicus Superb views of one bird along the trails at Otún Quimbaya NP


Tropical Gnatcatcher Polioptila plumbea Seen at La Guajira. Here the subspecies plumbiceps


Tropical Mockingbird Mimus gilvus Seen in La Guajira


Andean Solitaire (H) Myadestes ralloides Heard at km 18. In many locations this is one of the classic calls of the cloudforest.

Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus aurantiirostris Seen above Minca. Here the subspecies sierrae

Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus fuscater Great views of one individual in the compost at El Dorado. Here the subspecies sanctaemartae

Swainson’s Thrush Catharus ustulatus A few seen on the tour

Yellow-legged Thrush Turdus flavipes Seen well above Minca

Great Thrush Turdus fuscater Common around Bogota and at other locations

Glossy-black Thrush Turdus serranus Nice views at Rio Blanco. Here the subspecies fuscobrunneus

Black-hooded Thrush Turdus olivater One bird of the subspecies sanctaemartae was seen well below El Dorado.

Pale-breasted Thrush Turdus leucomelas Seen well in Santa Marta. Here the subspecies albiventer

Black-billed Thrush Turdus ignobilis Common at several locations

Clay-colored Thrush Turdus grayi Seen well in Santa Marta. The national bird of Costa Rica

White-necked Thrush Turdus albicollis Seen well above Minca


House Sparrow Passer domesticus A few


Andean Siskin Spinus spinescens Seen at La Florida Park

Yellow-bellied Siskin Spinus xanthogastra Nice views of a couple at Rio Blanco

Velvet-fronted Euphonia (E) Euphonia concinna A female was seen well at Laguna Tabacal. Thick-billed Euphonia Euphonia laniirostris A few seen during the tour

Trinidad Euphonia Euphonia trinitatis Seen at La Guajira

Blue-naped Chlorophonia Chlorophonia cyanea Great views at the fruit feeders at El Dorado, Palo Alto, and the shop above Minca. Here the subspecies psittacina


Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia Seen in Santa Marta

Prothonotary Warbler Protonotaria citrea Great views of this pretty little bird at Isla de Salamanca NP and also on the way to Riohacha

Tennessee Warbler Leiothlypis peregrina Seen in Santa Marta

American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla A few sightings during the tour

Tropical Parula Setophaga pitiayumi Seen well above Minca

Blackburnian Warbler Setophaga fusca One of the most common North American warblers on this tour with records at Santa Marta, Cali, Otún Quimbaya NP, and Rio Blanco

American Yellow Warbler Setophaga aestiva Seen at Isla de Salamanca NP

Black-crested Warbler Myiothlypis nigrocristata One seen at the entrance of the Chicaque reserve and then another one at Rio Blanco. It has been placed in the genus Myiothlypis.

White-lored Warbler (E) Myiothlypis conspicillata Great views of two birds at the San Lorenzo ridge. The species is listed as near-threatened.

Santa Marta Warbler (E) Myiothlypis basilica We had close-up views of this species at the San Lorenzo ridge. The species is listed as vulnerable.

Russet-crowned Warbler Myiothlypis coronata We saw this species at Rio Blanco, where it was heard as well.

Rufous-capped Warbler Basileuterus rufifrons A pretty bird! It was seen well above Minca.

Three-striped Warbler Basileuterus tristriatus Seen at Rio Blanco. The subspecies of Southeast Peru and Bolivia has recently been awarded full species status as Yungas Warbler Basileuterus punctipectus.

Canada Warbler Cardellina canadensis We found one single bird in Rio Blanco.

Slate-throated Whitestart Myioborus miniatus Seen in Santa Marta. Here the subspecies sanctaemartae

Yellow-crowned Whitestart (E) Myioborus flavivertex Good views in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Golden-fronted Whitestart Myioborus ornatus This handsome, near-endemic species was seen nicely at Rio Blanco.


Yellow-billed Cacique Amblycercus holosericeus Seen at Rio Blanco

Crested Oropendola Psarocolius decumanus Seen around Minca

Northern Mountain Cacique Cacicus leucoramphus Seen well at Rio Blanco

Yellow-rumped Cacique Cacicus cela Seen in the Santa Marta lowlands. Here the subspecies vitellinus

Orange-crowned Oriole Icterus auricapillus Nice views this year of this good-looking Oriole in Santa Marta

Yellow-backed Oriole Icterus chrysater A few seen during the tour

Yellow Oriole Icterus nigrogularis A few seen during the tour

Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula One seen well on the way to Riohacha

Carib Grackle Quiscalus lugubris Seen at Isla de Salamanca NP

Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus Common around the Santa Marta lowlands

Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonariensis Common at some locations

Bronze-brown Cowbird (E) Molothrus armenti IOC recognized Molothrus armenti as a different species from Bronze Cowbird Molothrus aeneus. We had one view near Isla de Salamanca NP.

Yellow-hooded Blackbird Chrysomus icterocephalus Seen at La Florida Park. Here the subspecies bogotensis


Bananaquit Coereba flaveola Common in the Santa Marta lowlands. Here the subspecies luteola


Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis A few noticed during the tour

Tocuyo Sparrow Arremonops tocuyensis Good views of this tricky, near-endemic species at La Guajira

Golden-winged Sparrow Arremon schlegelii Excellent views of this near-endemic species above Minca. Here the subspecies schlegeli

Chestnut-capped Brush Finch Arremon brunneinucha Seen at Otún Quimbaya NP and Rio Blanco

Sierra Nevada Brush Finch (E) Arremon basilicus Great views of one bird at El Dorado

Grey-browed Brush Finch Arremon assimilis Seen well at Rio Blanco

White-naped Brush Finch Atlapetes albinucha Seen well at Rio Blanco

Santa Marta Brush Finch (E) Atlapetes melanocephalus Seen well at the San Lorenzo ridge, where a couple came to feed from our hands

Moustached Brush Finch Atlapetes albofrenatus One pair of this near-endemic species was seen well but briefly at the entrance to the Chicaque reserve.

Pale-naped Brush Finch Atlapetes pallidinucha Seen at Los Nevados NP. Here the subspecies papallactae

Slaty Brush Finch Atlapetes schistaceus Seen well at Rio Blanco. Here the subspecies schistaceus

Common Bush Tanager Chlorospingus flavopectus We saw a few individuals in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

Ashy-throated Bush Tanager Chlorospingus canigularis Seen well at Rio Blanco. Here the nominate subspecies canigularis

Grey-hooded Bush Tanager Cnemoscopus rubrirostris Seen at Rio Blanco

Dusky Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus semifuscus Seen around km 18


White-capped Tanager Sericossypha albocristata Great views at Rio Blanco. Are they really tanagers?

Superciliaried Hemispingus Hemispingus superciliaris Seen at Rio Blanco

Black-capped Hemispingus Hemispingus atropileus Seen at Rio Blanco

Black-eared Hemispingus Hemispingus melanotis Seen at Rio Blanco

Oleaginous Hemispingus Hemispingus frontalis Seen at Rio Blanco

White-lined Tanager Tachyphonus rufus Seen well above Minca

Crimson-backed Tanager Ramphocelus dimidiatus Several seen during the tour

Flame-rumped Tanager (E) Ramphocelus flammigerus Great views at km 18

Blue-grey Tanager Thraupis episcopus A few

Glaucous Tanager Thraupis glaucocolpa Good views of one individual of this near-endemic species near Isla de Salamanca NP and then another in La Guajira

Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum A few

Blue-capped Tanager Thraupis cyanocephala Seen at Rio Blanco

Santa Marta Mountain Tanager (E) Anisognathus melanogenys Great views at the San Lorenzo ridge

Lacrimose Mountain Tanager Anisognathus lacrymosus Seen at Rio Blanco

Vermilion Tanager Calochaetes coccineus Seen at Los Flamencos

Hooded Mountain Tanager Buthraupis montana Great views at Rio Blanco

Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager Anisognathus igniventris Seen at Los Nevados NP

Blue-winged Mountain Tanager Anisognathus somptuosus Seen at Rio Blanco

Grass-green Tanager Chlorornis riefferii Seen at Rio Blanco

Buff-breasted Mountain Tanager Dubusia taeniata Seen well at Rio Blanco

Multicolored Tanager (E) Chlorochrysa nitidissima Amazing views of one male at km 18 and then superb views of the female at the fruit feeders of km 18. The species is listed as vulnerable.

Golden Tanager Tangara arthus Seen at km 18

Saffron-crowned Tanager Tangara xanthocephala Seen at km 18

Bay-headed Tanager Tangara gyrola We saw a few individuals in the Santa Marta mountains. Here the subspecies toddi without blue on the belly

Scrub Tanager Tangara vitriolina Seen at km 18

Metallic-green Tanager Tangara labradorides Seen at km 18

Blue-necked Tanager Tangara cyanicollis Seen around Minca. The whole head is blue, not only the neck.

Golden-naped Tanager Tangara ruficervix This bird was seen well at km 18. Here the subspecies ruficervix

Beryl-spangled Tanager Tangara nigroviridis Seen at Rio Blanco

Blue-and-black Tanager Tangara vassorii Seen at Rio Blanco

Black-capped Tanager Tangara heinei Seen in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Black-headed Tanager Tangara cyanoptera Seen in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Swallow Tanager Tersina viridis Seen around Minca

Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza Seen at km 18

Guira Tanager Hemithraupis guira Seen at Laguna de Sonso

Bicolored Conebill Conirostrum bicolor Seen at Isla de Salamanca NP. The species is listed as near-threatened.

Blue-backed Conebill Conirostrum sitticolor Seen at Los Nevados NP

Capped Conebill Conirostrum albifrons The subspecies centralandium with a white patch on the forehead was seen well at Rio Blanco.

Glossy Flowerpiercer Diglossa lafresnayii Seen at the entrance to the Chicaque reserve

Black Flowerpiercer Diglossa humeralis Seen at Los Nevados NP

Masked Flowerpiercer Diglossa cyanea Seen at Rio Blanco and Chicaque

White-sided Flowerpiercer Diglossa albilatera Seen well at Rio Blanco

Grey Pileated Finch Coryphospingus pileatus Seen at La Guajira

Saffron Finch Sicalis flaveola Seen at Otún Quimbaya NP

Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina Only one bird seen during the tour

Yellow-bellied Seedeater Sporophila nigricollis Seen at Otún Quimbaya NP

Thick-billed Seed Finch Oryzoborus funereus One bird seen in the Santa Marta lowlands

Plain-colored Seedeater Catamenia inornata Seen at Los Nevados NP

Paramo Seedeater Catamenia homochroa A most-wanted species! We saw one well at Los Nevados NP.

Rosy Thrush-Tanager Rhodinocichla rosea Great stuff! A female was seen very well above Minca. A most-wanted species for Jim

Plushcap Catamblyrhynchus diadema A few seen at Rio Blanco and at the San Lorenzo ridge


Tooth-billed Tanager Piranga lutea A few only

Summer Tanager Piranga rubra A few in the Santa Marta mountains

Red-hooded Tanager Piranga rubriceps This handsome little bird was seen nicely at Rio Blanco.

Crested Ant Tanager (E) Habia cristata Excellent views at Otún Quimbaya NP. The species is listed as near-threatened.

Vermilion Cardinal Cardinalis phoeniceus Great views at La Guajira

Rose-breasted Chat Granatellus pelzelni Seen around Minca

Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus Seen around Minca

Greyish Saltator Saltator coerulescens Seen near Isla de Salamanca NP

Streaked Saltator Saltator striatipectus Seen on the way to Riohacha

Orinoco Saltator Saltator orenocensis This near-endemic species was seen at La Guajira.

Masked Saltator Saltator cinctus Seen at Rio Blanco. This is probably the best place on earth to see this elusive species, which is listed as near-threatened.



Red-tailed Squirrel Sciurus granatensis Seen in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Andean Squirrel Sciurus pucheranii An endemic mammal of Colombia. Nice views at Rio Blanco

Central American Agouti Dasyprocta punctata Seen at El Dorado

Colombian Red Howler Monkey Alouatta seniculus Seen at Otún Quimbaya NP

Crab-eating Fox Cerdocyon thous Great views at Rio Blanco

Common Green Iguana Iguana iguana A few at Isla de Salamanca NP


Good Birding, from the Birding Ecotours team! 


Cape Point as seen from the start of our Cape Town pelagic trips (Martin Benadie)


Orange-breasted Sunbird (John Tinkler) is common on the slopes above Cape Town



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