Andean Endemics tour with British crew: from the Eastern Andes to the mid-Magdalena Valley & Central Andes of Colombia (March 1 – 14, 2017).

16 - 03 - 2017

This was a private birding tour for Allan Hale, Ian Black, Ray Gribble & Malcolm Rains from UK. Starting in Bogota, tour covered the Eastern Andes near Bogota, visiting Chingaza National Park, Siecha gravel pits, the Hummingbird Observatory at La Calera, La Florida Park, Tabacal Lagoon and the Enchanted Gardens of San Francisco at La Vega.

The mid-Magdalena Valley was represented by the Bellavista Forest at Victoria, El Dosymedio near Puerto Boyaca, El Refugio at Rio Claro canyon, the road to Puerto Nare near Doradal, and the adjacent road to El Palacio de Los Frisoles in Cocorna.

The second leg of the tour saw us visiting La Romera Ecopark at Sabaneta in the Medellin suburbs, the Quebrada Sinifana near Bolombolo, the road to Ventanas´s Pass, and Morro Amarillo near Jardin.

Finally, the itinerary covered comprehensively the Central Andes in the coffee region of the country, with great birding at Los Nevados National Park, the hummingbird feeders at Hotel Termales del Ruiz, Rio Blanco, Tinamu Birding Lodge, Cameguadua marsh and Otun-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary. Flight back to Bogota was through Pereira´s airport.

As a result, Malcolm had 112, Allan 88 and Ray 120 lifers, not counting the “heards only”.

In the Eastern Andes section of the tour (days 1 & 2) some of the special birds recorded included Andean Teal, Andean Duck, Lesser Scaup, White-tailed Kite, Black-Hawk Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Bogota Rail, Spot-flanked Gallinule, Noble Snipe, Ruddy Quail-Dove, Spectacled Parrotlet, Stripe-throated Hermit, Sparkling Violetear, Black-throated Mango, Black-tailed & Green-tailed Trainbearer, Tyrian Metaltail, Glowing & Coppery-bellied Puffleg, Blue-throated Starfrontlet, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Great Saphirewing, White-bellied & Gorgeted Woodstar, Red-billed Emerald, White-vented Plumeleteer, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Andean Emerald, Indigo-capped Hummingbird, Red-crowned & Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Spot-breasted Woodpecker, White-chinned Thistletail, Silvery-throated & Stripe-breasted Spinetail, Rusty-breasted Antpitta, Pale-bellied Tapaculo, Yellow-bellied & Mountain Elaenia, White-throated Tyrannulet, Subtropical Doradito, Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant, Cattle Tyrant, Pyratic & Rusty-margined Flycatcher, Great Kiskadee, Striolated & White-bearded Manakin, Brown-bellied Swallow, Gray-breasted Martin, Long-billed Gnatwren, Swainson´s & Pale-breasted Thrush, Black-billed Thrush, Tropical Mockingbird, Superciliaried & Black-headed Hemispingus, Crimson-backed Tanager, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Golden-crowned Tanager, Scrub Tanager, Blue-necked Tanager, Plain-colored Tanager, Bay-headed Tanager, Green Honeycreeper, Rufous-browed Conebill, Glossy Flowerpiercer, Black Flowerpiercer, Masked Flowerpiercer, White-sided Flowerpiercer, Grayish & Streaked Saltator, Rosy Thrush-Tanager (heard), Grassland Yellow-Finch, Ruddy-breasted & Band-tailed Seedeater,  Pale-naped Brush-Finch, Black-backed Grossbeak, Golden-fronted Redstart, Black-crested & Rufous-capped Warbler, Yellow-backed Oriole, Yellow-hooded Blackbird, Andean Siskin and Golden-rumped Euphonia, among many others.

From left to right: Allan, Ian, Ray & Malcolm, on Ventanas´s Pass after seeing the endemic Yellow-eared Parrots cruising by as they flew from their roosting sites to distant feeding grounds.

Special birds of the mid-Magdalena Valley leg of the trip (days 3, 4 & 5) included Northern Screamer, Colombian Chachalaca, Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Striated Heron, Cocoi Heron, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Savanna Hawk, Russet-crowned Crake (heard), Yellow-billed Tern, Wattled Jacana, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Spectacled Parrotlet, Orange-chinned Parakeet, Mealy Parrot, Greater Ani, Oilbird, White-collared Swift, Gray-rumped Swift, Short-tailed Swift, Rufous-breasted Hermit, Band-tailed Barbthroat, Pale-bellied Hermit, Purple-crowned Fairy, Long-billed Hermit, Blue-chested Hummingbird, White-tailed Trogon, Green Kingfisher, Broad-billed Motmot (heard), Rufous Motmot, Pied Puffbird, Barred Puffbird, White-whiskered Puffbird, White-mantled Barbet,  Channel-billed (Citron-throated) Toucan, Collared Aracari, Olivaceous Piculet, Beautiful Woodpecker, Russet-throated Puffbird, Cinnamon & Lineated Woodpecker, Pale-breasted Spinetail, Yellow-chinned Spinetail, Plain-brown Woodcreeper, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Straight-billed Woodcreeper, Cocoa Woodcreeper, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Bar-crested & Black-crowned Antshrike, Pacific & Slaty Antwren, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Magdalena Antbird, Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant, Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Olivaceous Flatbill, Black-tailed Flycatcher, Acadian Flycatcher, Pied Water-Tyrant, White-headed Marsh-Tyrant, Long-tailed Tyrant, Streaked Flycatcher, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Panama Flycatcher, Bright-rumped Attila, White-bibbed Manakin, Striolated Manakin, White-bearded Manakin, Rufous Piha, Cinereous & Cinnamon Becard, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Scrub Greenlet, White-thighed Swallow, Southern Rough-Winged Swallow, Gray-breasted Martin, White-winged Swallow, Barn Swallow, Band-backed Wren, Bicolored Wren, Black-bellied Wren, Bay Wren, White-breasted Wood-Wren, Sooty-headed Wren, Gray-headed Tanager, Lemon-rumped Tanager, Golden-hooded Tanager, Blue-necked Tanager, Swallow Tanager, Black-faced Tanager, Blue Dacnis, Purple Honeycreeper, Scarlet-browed Tanager, Dusky-faced Tanager, Buff-throated Saltator, Thick-billed Seed-Finch, Black-striped Sparrow, Tennessee Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, Mourning Warbler, Canada Warbler, Golden-crowned Warbler, Buff-rumped Warbler, Crested Oropendola, Chestnut-headed Oropendola, Baltimore Oriole, Yellow Oriole, Red-breasted Blackbird, Velvet-fronted Euphonia and Fulvous-vented Euphonia.

Happy birders at Victoria after spotting the endemic Beautiful Woodpecker on scattered trees in the middle of an Avocado plantation.

From Sabaneta to Jardin we also had a good set of specialties, including Sickle-winged Guan, Colombian Chachalaca, Yellow-eared Parrot, Scarlet-fronted Parakeet, Speckle-faced & Bronze-winged Parrot, Green Hermit, Green-fronted Lancebill, Booted Racket-Tail, Western & Andean Emerald, Steely-vented Hummingbird, Highland Motmot, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Grayish Piculet, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Rufous & Red-faced Spinetail, Pearled Treerunner, Tyrannine Woodcreeper, Bar-crested & Black-crowned Antshrike,  Parker´s Antbird, Ocellated Tapaculo, Blackish Tapaculo, Stiles´s Tapaculo, Spillmann´s Tapaculo, Sooty-headed & Black-capped Tyrannulet, Greenish & Mountain Elaenia, Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Golden-faced Tyrannulet, Streak-necked Flycatcher, Black-throated Pygmy-Tyrant, Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher, Slate-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Yellow-olive & Cinnamon Flycatcher, Smoke-colored Pewee, Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant, Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant, Golden-crowned & Pale-edged Flycatcher, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Barred & White-winged Becard, Black-chested & Green Jay, Whiskered & Antioquia Wren, Tropical Gnatcatcher, White-capped Dipper, Andean Solitaire, Flame-rumped & Blue-capped Tanager, Lacrimose & Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager, Golden-crowned Tanager, Black-capped Tanager, Blue-and-black Tanager, Beryl-spangled Tanager, Saffron-crowned Tanager, Golden Tanager, Guira Tanager, Blue-backed Conebill, Yellow-faced Grassquit, Black-winged Saltator, White-naped (Yellow-throated) Brush-Finch, Slaty Brush-Finch, Common Bush-Finch, Hepatic Tanager, Citrine & Three-striped Warbler, Russet-backed Oropendola, Mountain Cacique, Yellow-backed Oriole, Red-bellied Grackle, Giant Cowbird, Yellow-bellied Siskin and Thick-billed Euphonia.

The high paramo ecosystem, from the road to Los Nevados National Park.

As always, the last leg of the trip at the Central Andes (days 9 – 14) was very productive. Highlights included Torrent Duck, Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Andean & Cauca Guan, Sickle-winged Guan, Crested Bobwhite, Chestnut Wood-Quail, White-rumped Hawk, Sharp-shinned (Plain-breasted) Hawk, Purple Gallinule, Gray-headed Dove, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Bronze-winged Parrot, Dwarf & Striped Cuckoo, Colombian & White-throated Screech-Owl, Mottled Owl, Common Potoo, Lyre-tailed Nightjar, White-throated Wedgebill, Tourmaline Sunangel, Speckled Hummingbird, Long-tailed Sylph, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Buffy Helmetcrest, Viridian Metaltail, Black-thighed & Golden-breasted Puffleg, Shinning Sunbeam, Bronzy & Collared Inca, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Mountain Velvetbreast, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Great Saphirewing, Booted Racket-Tail, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Long-billed Starthroat, White-bellied Woodstar, Western Emerald, Golden-headed Quetzal, Collared & Masked Trogon, Highland Motmot, Moustached Puffbird, Southern Emerald Toucanet, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Grayish Piculet, Yellow-vented & Golden-olive Woodpecker, Crimson-mantled & Spot-breasted Woodpecker, Powerful Woodpecker, Stout-billed Cinclodes, Andean Tit-Spinetail, White-chinned Thistletail, Slaty Spinetail, Streak-capped & Flammulated Treehunter, Streaked Xenops, Tyrannine Woodcreeper, Strong-billed & Black-banded Woodcreeper, Cocoa & Montane Woodcreeper, Great & Bar-crested Antshrike, Parker´s & Jet Antbird, Blue-lored (Immaculate) Antbird, Moustached Antpitta, Scaled Antpitta, Chestnut-crowned Antpitta, Bicolored Antpitta, Chestnut-naped Antpitta, Rufous Antpitta, Tawny Antpitta, Brown-banded Antpitta, Slate-crowned Antpitta, Ash-colored Tapaculo, Blackish Tapaculo, Spillmann´s Tapaculo, Paramo Tapaculo (heard), Plumbeous-crowned Tyrannulet, White-tailed & White-banded Tyrannulet, Torrent Tyrannulet, Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrant, Variegated & Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, Slate-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Smoky Bush-Tyrant, Slaty-backed & Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant, Rusty-margined Flycatcher, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Pale-edged Flycatcher, Green-and-black Fruiteater, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Black-billed Peppershrike, Brown-capped Vireo, Rufous-naped Greenlet, Black-collared Jay, Brown-bellied Swallow, Sedge Wren, Speckle-breasted Wren, Rufous & Sharpe´s Wren, Chestnut-breasted Wren, White-capped Dipper, Clay-colored Thrush, Black-capped Hemispingus, Superciliaried Hemispingus, Oleagineous Hemispingus, Black-eared Hemispingus, Gray-hooded Bush-Tanager, Gray-headed Tanager, Crimson-backed Tanager, Scarlet-bellied & Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager, Grass-green Tanager, Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager, Blue-necked Tanager, Blue-and-black Tanager, Beryl-spangled Tanager, Metallic-green Tanager, Bay-headed Tanager, Golden Tanager, Capped Conebill, Rusty Flowerpiercer, Plushcap, Black-winged Saltator, Plumbeous Sierra-Finch, Slaty Finch, Plain-colored Seedeater, Paramo Seedeater, Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch, Gray-browed Brush-Finch, Slaty Brush-Finch, Common Bush-Finch, Ashy-throated Bush-Finch, Tropical Parula, Golden-fronted Redstart, Citrine Warbler, Russet-crowned Warbler, Andean & Yellow-bellied Siskin, Lesser Goldfinch, Orange-bellied Euphonia and Blue-naped Chlorophonia.

Upper montane forest at 3,000 meters, from the Old Road to Los Nevados.

The lovely city of Manizales, seen from El Mirador de Rio Blanco.

Ian, Malcolm, Ray & Allan, birding the cloud forest at Rio Blanco.