Trip report: Northwest Ecuador (Nov 2014) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Jose Illanes. This was a set departure tour.

Tropical Birding operates two different tours in the northwest of Ecuador, a short Andes Introtour, which covers the Tandayapa/Mindo region over 6 days of birding, and this longer trip, which, like that one, covers that key birding area of the country, but also travels further north, spending longer in the region and ensuring more of the specialties of this Choco biogeographic region are tracked down in the process. On this endemic-focused tour, we managed to see an amazing 59 Choco endemics, (dependent on taxonomy; a Tropical Birding record for this tour) which included some of the most sought after birds in all of Ecuador: Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan and Choco Toucan, Velvet-purple Coronet, Empress Brilliant (photo below), Rose-faced Parrot, Toucan Barbet, Five-colored Barbet, Tanager Finch, Glistening-green, Blue-whiskered, and Scarlet-and-white Tanagers, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Long-wattled Umbrellabird, Beautiful Jay, Scarlet-breasted Dacnis, Black Solitaire, Giant and Yellow-breasted Antpittas, Choco Woodpecker, and the rare Yellow-green Chlorospingus (Bush-Tanager); and that’s not to mention some equally stunning birds that are not endemics: Booted Racket-tail, displaying Andean Cock-of-the-rocks, Ocellated Tapaculo (one of 6 species of tapaculo seen-a clean sweep), Flame-faced, Golden-crowned and Black-chested Mountain-Tanagers, Black-tipped Cotinga, Chestnut-crowned Antpitta, Rufous-breasted Antthrush, and Golden-winged Manakin displaying!

This all added up to a highly successful tour, little affected by rain (in this wet region); which recorded a healthy total of 507 species (469 species were seen by at least one of the group)…

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