Another challenging & productive trip for Hans Jörnvall from Sweden (January 2 – 15, 2017).

16 - 01 - 2017

Hans Jörnvall has a life-list over 9,200 species, and in previous trips we have been finding the most wanted species, adding now more than 120 species to his life list.

In this occasion we birded the Anchicayá Valley (along the Old Road to Buenaventura), San Cipriano & Aguaclara, covering a big altitudinal gradient from the high mountains to the foothills of the Western Andes. And we added a quick run to the Central Andes in search of the endemics Fuerte´s Parrot & Rufous-fronted Parakeet, plus the range restricted Gray-headed Dove.

In the first leg of the trip we were joined at different localities by Jose Luna, Anderson Muñoz and Andres Mauricio Henao, all birding guides with great knowledge on the places we were visiting. Our strategy for birding the Old Road to Buenaventura worked very well, achieving thirteen of the much desired targets. At the Anchicaya Valley we had great views of the near-endemics Moss-backed & Golden-chested Tanagers, Lita Woodpecker, near-endemic & near-threatened Choco Poorwill, Tooth-billed Hummingbird, Esmeraldas Antbird, Fulvous-breasted Flatbill, Green Manakin & Pacific Flatbill. At San Cipriano we were rewarded by finding the near-endemics Pallid Dove & Five-colored Barbet, the Black-headed Antthrush and the Stub-tailed Antbird. In spite of much effort and having them really close, the Rufous-fronted Wood-Quail & near-endemic Berlepsch´s Tinamou went into the list as “heard only”.

The second leg of the trip was very productive too. Above Santa Rosa de Cabal we had great scope views of the Fuerte´s Parrot, at Hotel Tinamu we found the Gray-headed Dove and at Los Nevados we met with a group of five Rufous-fronted Parakeets.

Overall, 16 new birds plus 2 birds heard-only for a very large +9,200 life list. A productive trip!

The near-endemic Moss-backed Tanager seen with Hans Jörnvall at El Danubio (low Anchicaya Valley).

This is one of the most wanted birds in Colombia & Ecuador.


The Eastern Andes from Bogota to Soata: birding trip for recordist Terry Morgan & Karen Walz (November 18-30, 2016).

01 - 12 - 2016

A 13-day birding trip through the Eastern Andes of Colombia, with emphasis on recording bird vocalizations of new species unknown to Terry Morgan & Karen Walz from USA. First days were devoted to localities near Bogota, including Laguna de Pedro Palo, Chicaque Ecopark, Monterredondo, Chingaza National Park, Paramo de Guasca & Siecha gravel pits. Moving north, we visited Laguna de Fúquene, Rogitama Nature Reserve & Paramo de la Rusia, including a 3-day stay at Soata where we birded the dry scrublands of the Chicamocha Canyon and the Oak Forests above town. Returning to Bogota, we visited the Enchanted Gardens of San Francisco and Laguna de Tabacal.

Covering 2,385 kilometers of mountain roads on the Eastern & Western sides of the Bogota plateau, we registered 303 species of which 55 were new to Terry & Karen. Highlights for the tour included the endemics Bogota Rail, Brown-breasted Parakeet, Black Inca, Chestnut-bellied & Indigo-capped Hummingbirds, Cundinamarca Antpitta (taped only), Silvery-throated Spinetail, Apical Flycatcher, Apolinar´s & Niceforo´s Wrens, and the rare Mountain Grackle. Among the near-endemics we enjoyed seeing well the Bronze-tailed Thornbill, Golden-bellied & Blue-throated Starfrontlets, Red-billed & Short-tailed Emeralds, Pale-bellied (Matorral) Tapaculo, Rufous-browed Conebill and Gray-throated Warbler. True specialties included the Noble Snipe, Spectacled Parrotlet, Andean Pygmy-Owl, Amethyst-throated (Longuemare´s Sunangel), Purple-backed Thornbill, Lazuline Sabrewing, Moustached Puffbird, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Bar-crested Antshrike, Blue-lored Antbird, Undulated Antpitta (taped only), Rusty-breasted Antpitta, Ash-browed Spinetail, Black-headed Hemispingus, Black-chested & Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanagers, Golden-crowned & Scrub Tanagers, Ochre-breasted & Yellow-breasted Brush-Finches, among others.



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!


Birding for much desired targets with Keith Betton, Andrew Herbert (UK) and Rainer Kopa (Germany) (April 17-May 7, 2016).

08 - 05 - 2016

Another memorable 21-day birding trip (April 17 – May 7, 2016) along the Eastern Andes, Central Andes & Santa Marta Mountains! It all started with a list of 47 country endemics, birds highly wanted to be seen by Keith, Andrew & Rainer.  Nine species were located in sites that were extremely difficult to visit and the other 38 species were widely spread all over the country. After carefully reviewing all reachable sites where those 38 species could be seen, Daniel designed an itinerary that maximized the number of targets to be seen in a 3-week tour.

The itinerary favored the Eastern & Central Andes, and the Santa Marta Mountains, and it took us through amazing birding sites in Colombia, starting near Bogota with Monterredondo, Paramo de Guasca, Laguna de Fuquene, Rogitama, Soata dry forests (Chicamocha canyon), Paramo La Rusia & Onzaga oak forests, La Florida wetland, Enchanted Gardens & Tabacal Lagoon, all in the Eastern Andes. We then traveled briefly through the mid-Magdalena Valley & Ibague area, climbed the Central Andes dropping into the Cauca Valley, visiting Finlandia, Otun-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary, Santa Rosa de Cabal, Montezuma (mountainous Choco), Los Nevados National Park, Rio Blanco & Hotel Tinamu near Manizales. The final leg of the tour included a domestic flight to Santa Marta, birding the iconic Santa Marta Mountains and Isla de Salamanca Park.

In summary, we saw and enjoyed 59 target species, including the following Colombian endemics (30): Cauca Guan, Chestnut-winged Chachalaca, Tolima Dove, Santa Marta Parakeet, Brown-breasted Parakeet, Rufous-fronted Parakeet, Fuerte´s Parrot, Santa Marta Screech-Owl, Chestnut-bellied & Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird, Black Inca, Cundinamarca Antpitta, Brown-banded Antpitta, Brown-rumped Tapaculo, Apical Flycatcher, Niceforo´s Wren, Turquoise Dacnis, Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer, White-tailed Starfrontlet, Santa Marta & Tolima Blossomcrown, Santa Marta & Bang´s Wood-Wren, Indigo-capped Hummingbird, Buffy Helmetcrest, Santa Marta Bush-Tyrant, Santa Marta Antbird, Munchique Wood-Wren, Yellow-headed Brush-Finch and Velvet-fronted Euphonia.

From left to right: Keith Betton, Andrew Herbert, Daniel Uribe and Rainer Kopa, at the San Lorenzo ridge (Santa Marta Mountains), just after seeing the endemic Brown-rumped Tapaculo.

We also saw nine (9) much desired near-endemics, including the Hooded Antpitta, Colombian Screech-Owl, Black-fronted Wood-Quail, Black-thighed, Golden-breasted & Coppery-bellied Puffleg, Coppery Emerald, Moustached Antpitta & Moustached Brush-Finch.

And we saw twenty (20) additional species that were lifers for either Keith, Andrew or Rainer: Band-tailed Guan, Streak-backed Canastero, Subtropical Doradito, Purple-backed Thornbill, Grey-headed Dove, Lined Quail-Dove, Chestnut-breasted Wren, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Lazuline Sabrewing, White-browed & Stripe-breasted Spinetail, Yellow-vented Woodpecker, Flammulated Treehunter, Pale-bellied Hermit, Russet-throated Puffbird, Slate-crowned Antpitta, Long-tailed Tapaculo, Coopman´s Tyrannulet, Yellow-breasted Brush-Finch & Slate-coloured Seedeater.

Unfortunately, we missed 8 targets. The Apolinar´s Wren did not show up, probably because the reeds at the edge of the lagoons were badly affected by an unusually strong drought as a consequence of El Niño. We were rained-out the morning that we visited Bellavista forest, missing Beautiful Woodpecker & Sooty Ant-Tanager. The Black-backed Thornbill was not coming to the feeders at El Dorado Lodge, the Bicolored Antpitta did not show up for worms at Rio Blanco and the Santa Marta Antpitta refused good looks. Also, we looked hard but missed the Mountain Grackle & Green-bearded Helmetcrest.

Overall, a very good trip where we saw nearly 90% of the desired targets!


Birding the Western & Central Andes with Richard & Jennifer Kershaw from UK (March 10-31, 2016).

01 - 04 - 2016

First time in Colombia for Richard & Jennifer Kershaw from UK, birding the Western and Central Andes, with the Cauca Valley in between. Tour started in Cali and finished 22 days later in Medellin (March 10-31, 2016), visiting the following main birding localities:

  • Cloud forests at Km 18, Finca Alejandría (hummingbird & tanager feeders, gardens), Restaurant “Aquí me quedo” (feeders) & San Antonio Forest above Cali;
  • El Vinculo dry forest near Buga;
  • Sonso marsh;
  • Cerro Montezuma (mountain humid forest to top of the mountain, lodge feeders & gardens);
  • Pre-montane humid forest at Otún-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary;
  • Cameguadua marsh;
  • Los Nevados National Park (paramo ecosystems & elfin forest on tree line, and the hummingbird feeders at Hotel Nevado del Ruiz);
  • Rio Blanco (three antpitta feeding stations, cloud forests along the ridge, hummingbird & tanager feeders on lodge, gardens);
  • Bolombolo dry forests at Quebrada Sinifana;
  • Cock-of-the-Rock lek & cloud forest along the road to Ventana´s Pass, forests at ProAves´s Yellow-eared Parrot reserve & hummingbird feeders at Doña Lucía´s house, above Jardin;
  • Shaded coffee plantations & forest fragments at Morro Amarillo;
  • Las Tangaras at Carmen de Atrato;
  • Mountain forests at “La M” on the road to Urrao;
  • La Romera ecopark;
  • Chestnut-capped Piha Reserve in the northern tip of the Central Andes.

Richard & Jen Kershaw having lunch at Restaurante Aquí me Quedo, above Cali in Km 18.

We enjoyed bird after bird, sighting 23 country endemics, 17 near-endemics and more than 40 specialties. In total, 89 lifers for Richard & Jen, including three highly desired species that had been denied in previous trips to Ecuador and other South American countries: Sword-billed Hummingbird, White-capped Tanager and Ocellated Tapaculo.

Country endemics seen (23): Cauca Guan, Colombian Chachalaca, Chestnut Wood-Quail, Yellow-eared Parrot, Rufous-fronted Parakeet, Buffy Helmetcrest, White-mantled Barbet, Greyish Piculet, Parker´s Antbird, Brown-banded Antpitta, Stiles´s & Alto de Pisones Tapaculo, Chestnut-capped Piha, Apical Flycatcher, Antioquia Wren, Munchique Wood-Wren, Black-and-Gold & Gold-ringed Tanager, Multicoloured Tanager, Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer, Sooty & Crested Ant-Tanager, and Red-bellied Grackle.

Near-endemics seen (17): Colombian Screech-Owl, Black-thighed Puffleg, Golden-breasted Puffleg, Bar-crested Antshrike, Bicoloured Antpitta, Yellow-breasted Antpitta, Hooded Antpitta, Nariño Tapaculo, Yellow-headed Manakin, Sooty-headed Wren, Yellow-collared Chlorophonia, Purplish-mantled Tanager, Scrub Tanager, Indigo Flowerpiercer, Black-headed Brush-Finch, Velvet-purple Coronet and Uniform Treehunter.

Equally valuable, we saw magnificent specialties, including the following: Highland Tinamou, Semi-collared Hawk, Spectacled Parrotlet, White-tipped Sicklebill, Blue-headed Sapphire, White-tailed Hillstar, Crested Quetzal, Black-billed Mountain-Tanager, Yellow-vented Woodpecker, Powerful Woodpecker, White-browed Spinetail, Fulvous-dotted Treerunner, Western Woodhaunter, Streak-capped Treehunter, Andean Leaftosser, Tyranine Woodcreeper, Brown-billed Scythebill, Rufous-rumped & Yellow-breasted Antwren, Blue-lored & Zeledon´s Antbird, Plain-backed Antpitta, White-crowned Tapaculo, Chestnut-crested Cotinga, Scaled Fruiteater, Olivaceous Piha, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Plumbeous-crowned & Ashy-headed Tyrannulet, Rufous-browed Tyrannulet, White-headed & Chestnut-breasted Wren, Rufous-naped Greenlet, Flame-rumped Tanager, Olive Finch, Slate-coloured Seedeater and Red-hooded Tanager.

We had an incredible encounter with a Semi-collared Hawk at Las Tangaras forest while the bird was in a hunt. Photo taken by Jen Kershaw.