Guided by Jose Illanes.This was a set departure tour.
Ecuador is one of the most diverse countries in the World for birds and this trip provided plentiful evidence of this; just over 600 species were recorded on this trip. The reason for such totals was that we birded from high up, above the treeline in the Andes, all the way down the lowland tropical forests of the Amazon, with cloudforests and Andean foothills birded in between these extremes. Early highlights, from the higher elevations of the trip included, Andean Condor, Black-faced Ibis, and Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe.
Downhill from there the forests of the subtropics and foothills yielded Military Macaw, Ocellated Tapaculo, Coppery-chested Jacamar, White-bellied and Plain-backed Antpittas, White-capped Tanager, and a wonderful set of hummingbirds, including Sword-billed Hummingbird, Napo Sabrewing, and Gould’s Jewelfront. Then there was the Amazon itself, with birds like Great Jacamar, lots of antbirds, including Lunulated Antbird, and Zigzag Heron, Crested Owl, and Plum-throated Cotinga, not to mention plentiful trogons, toucans, and parrots, as well as mammals like Golden-mantled Tamarin, Giant River Otter, and Spix’s Night Monkey.
From the bird list, the participants highlighted the following ones among their favorites: Ocellated Tapaculo, Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe, Zigzag Heron, Chestnut-crowned Gnateater, Crested Quetzal, Wire-tailed Manakin, Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Andean Cock-of-the Rock, Sparkling Violetear, Wire-crested Thorntail, Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Scarlet Macaw, Ecuadorian Hillstar and the bizarre Hoatzin. We had healthy amounts of rain, but a very healthy bird list too, and we can consider this a successful trip for sure, in my own backyard!