Trip report: Eastern Ecuador (November-December 2010) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Andrew Spencer. This was a set departure tour.

The Amazon.  Merely hearing that word conjures up images of vast, unbroken rainforests teeming with life to an extent unequaled anywhere else on the planet.  To a birder it means hundreds of bird species of exotic colors, shapes, and behaviors.  It is, in short, one of the ultimate wildlife (and birding) experiences in the world, not to be missed, and hopefully experienced time after time.

Ecuador has a good share of this natural cornucopia.  In fact, the Amazonian forests in Ecuador are among the best in the in the entire basin, and it is not unusual to rack up a large trip list when visiting the area.  This tour was no exception, and when combined with the wide variety of habitats from the high páramo of Papallacta Pass through the temperate and subtropical forests of the Andes, we had a highly successful trip.  Highlights ranged from the ptarmigan-esque Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe to the rarely seen Greater Scythebill to the glowingly red Black-necked Red-Cotinga.  In total we scored (including heard-onlies), just over 600 species on this excellent introduction to the Amazon.

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