Second birding trip for Katy Krigbaum & Birgit Felser: the Western & Central Andes of Colombia (September 1-20, 2016).

21 - 09 - 2016

From September 1-20 (2016) we birded the Western & Central Andes of Colombia, starting tour in Cali and finishing in Medellin. Moving from south to north, we visited the best birding localities the country has to offer in this section of the Andes. This includes, of course, the following: Kilometro 18 above Cali (with Finca Alejandria, Bosque de San Antonio & the road to Dapa), Laguna de Sonso, Madrevieja El Conchal & El Vinculo semi-dry forest near Buga, Cerro Montezuma, Otun-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary, Cameguadua marsh, Los Nevados National Park, Rio Blanco, Ecohotel Tinamu, semi-dry forests at Quebrada Sinifana near Bolombolo, Jardin (including Ventanas´s Pass, Yellow-eared Parrot Reserve, Cock-of-the-Rock Lek & Morro Amarillo), Las Tangaras reserve at Carmen de Atrato, La Romera Ecopark in Sabaneta, and Arrierito Antioqueño (Chestnut-capped Piha Reserve in English) in the Northern Central Andes.

Endemics seen (21): Cauca Guan, Colombian Chachalaca, Chestnut Wood-Quail, Yellow-eared Parrot, Rufous-fronted Parakeet, Buffy Helmetcrest, White-mantled Barbet, Grayish Piculet, Parker´s Antbird, Brown-banded Antpitta, Alto de Pisones Tapaculo, Stiles´s Tapaculo, Apical Flycatcher, Antioquia Wren, Munchique Wood-Wren, Black-and-Gold Tanager, Gold-ringed Tanager, Multicolored Tanager, Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer, Crested Ant-Tanager and Red-bellied Grackle.

Near-endemics seen (32): Colombian Screech-Owl, Violet-tailed Sylph, Velvet-purple Coronet, Empress Brilliant, Purple-throated Woodstar, Black-thighed Puffleg, Golden-breasted Puffleg, Brown Inca, Toucan Barbet, Bar-crested Antshrike, Bicolored Antvireo, Bicolored Antpitta, Yellow-breasted Antpitta, Hooded Antpitta, Nariño Tapaculo, Uniform Treehunter, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Choco Vireo, Beautiful Jay, Sooty-headed Wren, Black Solitaire, Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager, Purplish-mantled Tanager, Glistening-green Tanager, Scrub Tanager, Rufous-throated Tanager, Indigo Flowerpiercer, Black-backed Bush-Tanager, Dusky Bush-Finch, Golden-fronted Whitestart and Yellow-collared Chlorophonia.

From left to right: Katy Krigbaum, Daniel Uribe & Birgit Felser after seeing the endemic Buffy Helmetcrest at Los Nevados National Park.

Specialties seen included the following: Horned Screamer, Cinnamon Teal, Andean Teal, Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Sickle-winged Guan, Blackish Rail, Scarlet-fronted Parakeet, Spectacled Parrotlet, Blue-fronted Parrotlet, Gray-headed Dove, White-throated Screech-Owl, Cloud-forest Pygmy-Owl, Band-winged Nightjar, Swallow-tailed Nightjar, Wedge-billed Hummingbird, Tourmaline Sunangel, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Greenish Puffleg, Sword-billed Hummingbird, White-tailed Hillstar, Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Blue-headed Saphire, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Yellow-vented & Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Powerful Woodpecker, Rufous-rumped Antwren, Jet & Blue-lored Antbird, Chestnut-naped, Chestnut-crowned, Rufous, Tawny, Ochre-breasted & Slate-crowned Antpittas, Black-banded, Brown-billed & Cocoa Woodcreepers, Greater Scythebill, Buffy Tuftedcheek, Scaly-throated Foliage-Gleaner, Striped, Streak-capped & Flammulated Treehunters, Fulvous-dotted Treerunner, Rufous-browed Tyrannulet, Rufous-tailed Tyrant, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Olivaceous Piha, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Wing-barred Piprites, Black-billed Peppershrike, Chestnut-breasted & Speckle-breasted Wrens, White-capped Dipper, Rufous-crested Tanager, Metallic-green Tanager and Masked Saltator, among many others.

The near-threatened Greater Scythebill (Drymotoxeres pucheranii) is the Holy Grail of all woodcreepers in the neotropics. Extremely rare and seldom seen, it is found in humid cloud forests of Colombia, Ecuador & Peru between 900 – 3,450 meters. Photographed here while solitary, exploring very low mossy branches at the site known as “Cajones” in Cerro Montezuma, Pacific slope of the Western Andes of Colombia. Arguably the rarest bird seen in this tour!