The Eastern Llanos at Hato La Aurora (January 11 – 13, 2018).

15 - 01 - 2018

Crestless Curassow is an uncommon and elusive bird that can defeat many birder´s intention to register the species. Having seasonal behaviors marked by rainfalls, water levels and availability of food resources, the bird is unreliable and somewhat unpredictable. During some months of the year, the bird might attend certain sites & gallery forests, disappearing for the rest of the year. In this case, the bird had eluded Hans Jornvall several times before, gradually becoming a highly desirable target.

Hato La Aurora is a birder´s paradise harboring a huge collection of Eastern Llanos species, some restricted to the Orinoco region, such as Pale-headed Jacamar, Orinoco Goose, Purple-throated Euphonia and White-bearded Flycatcher. Amazing lowland birds are present at Hato La Aurora, like the Jabiru, Maguari Stork, Horned Screamer, Sunbittern, Scarlet Ibis, Double-striped Thick-Knee, Hoatzin, Dwarf Cuckoo, Great Horned Owl, Black-and-white Owl, Burrowing Owl, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Russet-throated Puffbird, Wire-tailed Manakin, Orange-crowned Oriole and many, many more.

With a lifelist over 9200 species seen, it was not surprising that Hans had already bagged all birds listed in the ranch´s inventory, except for two: Crestless Curassow & Masked Cardinal. Therefore, this short visit to Hato La Aurora had the sole intention of finding and seeing these two birds.

We flew from Bogota to Yopal early morning on January 11 (2018) with Avianca Airlines. We met our driver at Yopal´s airport and drove 4 hours to the ranch. Two local guides at the ranch had seen the Curassow in previous days, so we immediately went to the exact location, but we had to return to the lodge without seeing the bird, before the night settled in. However, highlights of this day included 2 Brazilian Teals, 2 Speckled Chachalacas, 2 Woodstorks, 4 Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures, 1 Crane Hawk, 1 Pied Lapwing, 2 Double-striped Thicknees, 2 Orange-winged Parrots, 8 Nacunda Nighthawks, 1 White-bearded Hermit, 2 Blue-tailed Emeralds, 4 Pale-headed Jacamars, 1 Chestnut-eared Aracari, 2 White-bearded Flycatchers, 2 Black-faced Tanagers, 1 Orange-crowned Oriole and 2 Purple-throated Euphonias.

The next day we decided to visit a second site where the bird was seen visiting a plantain crop, apparently attracted by fallen fruit. There was a small stream running nearby and a thin but dense gallery forest covering the edge of the stream. Next to the forest was a narrow belt of high pasture with scattered trees and bushes, followed by the plantain plants growing in dense clumps. We waited silently for about 1 hour, and certainly a beautiful male show up, walking slowly between the forest and the plantation, almost leisurely. For some moments, the bird will stand still, nervously looking around, and for some other moments, it will calmly smooth the tail feathers with the bill, almost as if taking a sun bath. The situation went on for about 30 minutes, and it gave us plenty of time for great scope views.

After seeing our main and most difficult target, we used the rest of the day for finding the Masked Cardinal, which quickly showed up near the lodge. Special birds for the day included 5 Horned Screamers, 3 Orinoco Geese, 2 Rufous-vented Chachalacas, 1 Rufescent Tiger-Heron, 4 Whistling Herons, 6 Scarlet Ibises, 2 Sharp-tailed Ibises, 7 Buff-necked Ibises, 1 Roseate Spoonbill, 3 Jabirus, 1 Aplomado Falcon, 1 Sunbittern, 10 Chestnut-fronted Macaws, 4 Hoatzins, 1 Glittering-throated Emerald, 2 Pale-headed Jacamars, 2 Crimson-crested Woodpeckers and 1 Purple-throated Euphonia.

In this short visit, we registered 131 species (127 species seen, plus 4 species heard-only).


Birding Hato La Aurora in the Eastern Llanos with Todd Pepper & Mark Eaton (December 1 – 4, 2017).

07 - 12 - 2017

This was a short visit to a wonderful birding paradise in the Orinoco region of Colombia, where savannas, gallery forests and wetlands form a prodigious landscape home to an amazing fauna.

First day of trip begun with an early morning (6:03 departure) domestic flight from Bogota to Yopal. Immediately after landing, the ranch´s driver picked us up and we drove to Paz de Ariporo, continuing to Montañas del Totumo & Lodge Juan Solito at Hato La Aurora. Birding this day was done along the road, and in the lodge´s gardens and nearby forests.

Second day was a full day trip from the lodge to the ranch´s main house, traversing open savannas and wetlands.

Third day was a shorter day trip, from the lodge to Mata de Palma, a wetland midways to the ranch´s main house. Fourth and last day was mostly rainy, driving back to Yopal´s airport for our 18:45 flight back to Bogota.

The trip was customized around Todd´s and Mark´s target birds, which were just a few: Orinoco Goose, Sharp-tailed Ibis, Crestless Curassow, Pale-headed Jacamar and White-bearded Flycatcher. The Amazonian Black-Tyrant & Pinnated Bittern apparently have been registered at this locality, but they are both extremely uncommon.

Special birds seen at Hato La Aurora and along the roads were: Horned Screamer, Orinoco Goose, Brazilian Teal, Rufous-vented Chachalaca, Crested Bobwhite, Maguari Stork, Jabiru, Anhinga, Rufescent Tiger-Heron, Cocoi Heron, Striated & Whistling Heron, Capped Heron, Scarlet Ibis, Sharp-tailed & Bare-faced Ibis, Buff-necked Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Black-collared Hawk, Crane  & Savanna Hawk, Great Black Hawk, Gray-cowled Wood-Rail, Purple Gallinule, Limpkin, Double-striped Thick-Knee, Black-necked Stilt, Pied Lapwing, Collared Plover, Wattled Jacana, Large-billed Tern, Pale-vented Pigeon, Scaled Dove, Blue Ground-Dove, White-tipped Dove, Gray-fronted Dove, Striped & Little Cuckoo, Dwarf & Squirrel Cuckoo, Black-and-white Owl, Great Horned Owl, Burrowing Owl, Nacunda Nighthawk, Common Pauraque, White-tailed Nightjar, White-bearded Hermit, White-tailed Goldenthroat, Blue-tailed & Glittering-throated Emerald, Russet-throated Puffbird, Pale-headed & Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Scaled Piculet, Spot-breasted Woodpecker, Crimson-crested Woodpecker, Aplomado Falcon, Yellow-crowned & Orange-winged Parrot, Spectacled Parrotlet, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Blue-crowned & Brown-throated Parakeet, Black-crested & Barred Antshrike, White-fringed Antwren, Rufous-fronted Thornbird, Rusty-backed & Pale-breasted Spinetail, Mouse-colored & Yellow Tyrannulet, Pale-eyed Pygmy-Tyrant, White-headed Marsh-Tyrant, Short-crested & Brown-crested Flycatcher, Lesser Kiskadee, White-bearded Flycatcher, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Wire-tailed Manakin, Black-crowned Tityra, White-winged Becard, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Violaceous Jay, White-winged Swallow, Bicolored & Buff-breasted Wren, Black-capped Donacobius, Spectacled & White-necked Thrush, Cocoa Thrush, Yellowish Pipit, Masked Cardinal, Silver-beaked Tanager, Orange-fronted Yellow-Finch, Yellow-browed Sparrow, Eastern & Red-breasted Meadowlark, Oriole Blackbird, Venezuelan Troupial, Yellow Oriole, Yellow-rumped Cacique, Crested Oropendola and Purple-throated Euphonia, among others.

In total, we registered 161 species, including a nice set of range-restricted species that were new to either Todd or Mark, including Orinoco Goose, Sharp-tailed Ibis, Pale-headed Jacamar, White-bearded Flycatcher & Purple-throated Euphonia. Sadly, we missed the Crestless Curassow this time.

Family group of Burrowing Owls at the Eastern Llanos of Colombia.




Birding the Central & Western Andes of Colombia with Anthony Collerton (July 14 – 23, 2017).

25 - 07 - 2017

After landing in Bogota on a direct flight from USA, Anthony took a domestic flight to Pereira with Avianca (July 14, 2017). Soon after landing in Pereira, we met and drove to Otún-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary, lodging there for two nights. We then drove to Manizales, birding en route Cameguadua marsh. The following days we visited Los Nevados National Park and Rio Blanco. Afterwards, we traveled to Tinamu Birding Lodge and Cerro Montezuma, finishing back at Pereira´s airport for a domestic flight back to Bogota and connections back home.

Special birds seen in Otún-Quimbaya included 14 Cauca Guans, 4 Chestnut Wood-Quails, 4 Sickle-winged Guans, 6 Bronze-winged Parrots, 1 Colombian Screech-Owl, 1 Mottled Owl (heard), 2 Rufous-bellied Nighthawks, 1 Speckled Hummingbird, 1 Bronzy Inca, 1 Booted Racket-Tail, 1 Western Emerald (male), 2 Collared Trogons, 4 Highland Motmots, 1 Red-headed Barbet, 4 Southern Emerald Toucanets, 1 Grayish Piculet, 9 Acorn Woodpeckers, 1 Golden-olive Woodpecker (heard), 4 Bar-crested Antshrikes, 4 Moustached Antpittas (heard), 2 Chestnut-crowned Antpittas (heard), 1 Hooded Antpitta, 1 Stiles´s Tapaculo, 2 Strong-billed Woodcreepers, 3 Montane Woodcreepers, 2 Streaked Xenops, 2 Rusty-winged Barbtails, 2 Spotted Barbtails, 1 Lineated Foliage-Gleaner, 2 Streak-capped Treehunters, 2 Red-faced Spinetails, 1 Plumbeous-crowned Tyrannulet, 4 Torrent Tyrannulets, 2 Variegated Bristle-Tyrants, 4 Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrants, 1 Streak-necked Flycatcher, 3 Rufous-breasted Flycatchers, 2 Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrants, 4 Golden-crowned Flycatchers, 3 Dusky-capped Flycatchers, 1 Pale-edged Flycatcher, 9 Red-ruffed Fruitcrows, 1 Barred Becard (male), 1 Black-billed Peppershrike, 1 Rufous-naped Greenlet, 10 Green Jays, 3 Whiskered Wrens, 2 Chestnut-breasted Wrens, 1 White-capped Dipper, 1 Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush, 3 White-capped Tanagers, 2 Oleaginous Hemispinguses, 8 Flame-rumped Tanagers, 3 Fawn-breasted Tanagers, 4 Black-capped Tanagers, 3 Scrub Tanagers, 4 Blue-necked Tanagers, 3 Metallic-green Tanagers, 4 Rusty Flowerpiercers, 7 Black-winged Saltators, 2 Chestnut-capped Brush-Finches, 6 White-naped (Yellow-throated) Brush-Finches, 1 Ashy-throated Bush-Finch, 2 Russet-crowned Warblers, 2 Three-striped Warblers, 4 Yellow-bellied Siskins, 7 Lesser Goldfinches and 7 Orange-bellied Euphonias.

The birding at Cameguadua marsh was brief (2 hours) but good as usual, with 8 Striated Herons, 2 Blackish Rails, 6 Purple Gallinules, 6 Spectacled Parrotlets, 12 Blue-headed Parrots, 3 Steely-vented Hummingbirds, 3 Ringed Kingfishers, 1 Green Kingfisher, 1 Great Antshrike (male), 2 Bar-crested Antshrikes, 2 Slaty Spinetails, 6 Vermilion Flycatchers, 2 Pied Water-Tyrants, 4 Rusty-margined Flycatchers, 2 Gray Seedeaters, 1 Rudy-breasted Seedeater (male), 2 Grayish Saltators, 1 Streaked Saltator and 1 Olive-crowned Yellowthroat, among others.

Los Nevados National Park holds special high-altitude birds, and in our day visit we saw 3 Andean Teals, 1 Andean Duck (male), 2 Black-chested Buzzard-Eagles, 1 Andean Pygmy-Owl (heard), 1 Tourmaline Sunangel, 2 Rainbow-bearded Thornbills (male & female), 1 Buffy Helmetcrest (male), 3 Tyrian Metaltails, 5 Viridian Metaltails, 3 Black-thighed Pufflegs, 5 Golden-breasted Pufflegs, 8 Shinning Sunbeams, 1 Collared Inca, 3 Buff-winged Starfrontlets, 2 Mountain Velvetbreasts, 1 Sword-billed Hummingbird, 5 Great Saphirewings, 2 Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucans, 1 Yellow-vented Woodpecker, 1 Rufous Antpitta, 1 Tawny Antpitta, 1 Ash-colored Tapaculo, 1 Paramo Tapaculo, 2 Stout-billed Cinclodes, 1 Andean Tit-Spinetail, 3 White-browed Spinetails, 1 Many-striped Canastero, 2 White-banded Tyrannulets, 4 White-throated Tyrannulets, 2 Brown-backed Chat-Tyrants, 8 Brown-bellied Swallows, 6 Sedge Wrens, 1 Hooded Mountain-Tanager, 2 Lacrimose Mountain-Tanagers, 4 Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanagers, 2 Blue-backed Conebills, 2 Glossy Flowerpiercers, 5 Plumbeous Sierra-Finches, 8 Plain-colored Seedeaters, 4 Paramo Seedeaters, 1 Gray-browed Brush-Finch, 4 Pale-naped Brush-Finches, 2 Slaty Brush-Finches, 2 Black-crested Warblers, 4 Golden-fronted Whitestarts and 6 Andean Siskins, among others.

The paramo vegetation at the Visitor´s Center of Los Nevados National Park is one of the best sites to see the

endemic Buffy Helmetcrest.

We birded Rio Blanco for one full day plus one morning. Rio Blanco holds a wonderful mid-elevation forest and our birding covered an altitudinal gradient from 2100 meters to 2900 meters. We saw many birds, and will mention here just the most interesting of all. We enjoyed seeing 7 Sickle-winged Guans, 3 Chestnut Wood-Quails, 10 Golden-plumed Parakeets, 30 Scarlet-fronted Parakeets, 2 White-throated Screech-Owls, 1 Rufous-banded Owl (heard), 1 Lyre-tailed Nightjar (male), 1 White-throated Wedgebill, 3 Tourmaline Sunangels, 2 Speckled Hummingbirds, 5 Long-tailed Sylphs, 3 Bronzy Incas, 5 Collared Incas, 4 Fawn-breasted Brilliants, 6 White-bellied Woodstars, 4 Golden-headed Quetzals, 1 Masked Trogon, 1 Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, 2 Bar-bellied Woodpeckers, 2 Crimson-mantled Woodpeckers, 2 Powerful Woodpeckers, 2 Streak-headed Antbirds, 5 Chestnut-crowned Antpittas, 1 Bicolored Antpitta, 1 Chestnut-naped Antpitta (heard), 2 Brown-banded Antpittas, 1 Slate-crowned Antpitta, 1 Ocellated Tapaculo, 5 Ash-colored Tapaculos (heard), 3 Blackish Tapaculos (one seen, two heard), 4 Spillmann´s Tapaculos (one seen, three heard), 1 Tyrannine Woodcreeper, 2 Montane Woodcreepers, 5 Streaked Xenops, 9 Pearled Trerunners, 3 Black-capped Tyrannulets, 2 Mountain Elaenias, 2 White-tailed Tyrannulets, 3 Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatchers, 4 Cinnamon Flycatchers, 1 Smoky Bush-Tyrant, 2 Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrants, 1 Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant, 4 Rufous-breasted Flycatchers, 2 Pale-edged Flycatchers, 1 Green-and-black Fruiteater, 4 Barred Becards, 4 Black-billed Peppershrikes, 4 Brown-capped Vireos, 3 Pale-footed Swallows, 4 Mountain Wrens, 6 Rufous Wrens, 8 Sharpe´s Wrens, 1 White-capped Dipper, 1 Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush,  6 White-capped Tanagers, 4 Black-capped Hemispinguses, 14 Gray-hooded Bush-Tanagers, 2 Grass-green Tanagers, 4 Lacrimose Mountain-Tanagers, 12 Blue-winged Mountain-Tanagers, 5 Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanagers, 1 Fawn-breasted Tanager, 2 Blue-capped Tanagers, 4 Blue-and-black Tanagers, 3 Beryl-spangled Tanagers, 8 Capped Conebills, 4 Plushcaps, 1 Masked Saltator, 1 Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch, 3 Gray-browed Brush-Finches, 4 White-naped (Yellow-throated) Brush-Finches, 4 Slaty Brush-Finches, 2 Black-crested Warblers, 4 Russet-crowned Warblers, 1 Slate-throated Whitestart, 4 Golden-fronted Whitestarts, 3 Mountain Caciques (heard), 4 Yellow-billed Caciques (heard) and 2 Yellow-bellied Siskins.

We birded one afternoon and one morning at Tinamu Birding Lodge, and we managed to add more nice birds to a growing list, including 2 Little Tinamous (heard), 2 Buff-necked Ibises (fly overs), 2 Pale-vented Pigeons, 4 Gray-headed Doves, 2 Spectacled Parrotlets, 15 Blue-headed Parrots, 2 Squirrel Cuckoos, 2 Striped Cuckoos, 1 Tropical Screech-Owl (heard), 2 Common Potoos, 10 White-necked Jacobins, 1 Stripe-throated Hermit, 6 Green Hermits, 8 Lesser Violetears, 1 Sparkling Violetear, 11 Black-throated Mangos, 1 Long-billed Starthroat, 6 White-vented Plumeleteers, 12 Rufous-tailed Hummingbirds, 10 Steely-vented Hummingbirds, 1 Highland Motmot, 2 Moustached Puffbirds, 2 Acorn Woodpeckers, 3 Red-crowned Woodpeckers, 1 Smoky-brown Woodpecker, 1 Spot-breasted Woodpecker, 1 Lineated Woodpecker, 1 Great Antshrike, 1 Bar-crested Antshrike, 2 Parker´s Antbirds, 2 Jet Antbirds, 2 Blue-lored Antbirds, 2 Scaled Antpittas (heard), 1 Plain-brown Woodcreeper, 2 Cocoa Woodcreepers, 4 Streak-headed Woodcreepers, 2 Pale-breasted Spinetails, 2 Slaty Spinetails, 4 Sooty-headed Tyrannulets, 1 Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet, 2 Golden-faced Tyrannulets, 2 Ochre-bellied Flycatchers, 1 Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, 2 Yellow-olive Flycatchers, 1 Tawny-breasted Flycatcher, 2 Vermilion Flycatchers, 2 Streaked Flycatchers, 3 Golden-collared Manakins, 2 Cinereous Becards, 1 Red-eyed Vireo, 2 Rufous-naped Greenlets, 2 Scaly-breasted Wrens, 2 White-breasted Wood-Wrens, 2 Clay-colored Thrushes, 3 Gray-headed Tanagers, 2 White-shouldered Tanagers, 2 Crimson-backed Tanagers, 2 Bay-headed Tanagers, 3 Green Honeycreepers, 2 Thick-billed Seed-Finches, 2 Streaked Saltators, 2 Buff-rumped Warblers and 2 Golden-crowned Warblers, among many others.

Food is good and abundantly served in Colombia. As an example, this dish is the representative plate for the Andean region of Colombia in the Central Andes, called the “Bandeja Paisa”.

Our final birding locality was Cerro Montezuma, on the Pacific slope of the Western Andes. This is an outstanding site for mountain-Choco specialties. The number of species we registered in two days is very high, and we will mention here just the specialties. We saw 1 Tawny-breasted Tinamou, 1 Wattled Guan, 2 Plumbeous Pigeons, 1 White-throated Quail-Dove, 30 Scaly-naped Parrots, 1 Cloud-forest Pygmy-Owl, 2 Tawny-bellied Hummingbirds, 3 Green-fronted Lancebills, 8 Violet-tailed Sylphs, 1 Greenish Puffleg, 1 Brown Inca, 7 Velvet-purple Coronets, 2 Booted Racket-Tails, 8 Rufous-gaped Hillstars, 2 Purple-bibbed Whitetips, 2 Green-crowned Brilliants, 4 Empress Brilliants, 20 Purple-throated Woodstars, 6 Andean Emeralds, 2 Golden-headed Quetzals (heard), 1 Collared Trogon, 2 Toucan Barbets, 2 Golden-olive Woodpeckers, 2 Uniform Antshrikes, 3 Bicolored Antvireos, 1 Parker´s Antbird, 1 Plain-backed Antpitta (heard), 1 Yellow-breasted Antpitta, 1 Ochre-breasted Antpitta, 2 Tatama Tapaculos, 2 Choco Tapaculos, 3 Nariño Tapaculos, 2 Wedge-billed Woodcreepers, 1 Spotted Woodcreeper, 1 Brown-billed Scythebill, 1 Buffy Tuftedcheek, 1 Streaked Tuftedcheek, 2 Buff-fronted Foliage-Gleaners, 2 Uniform Treehunters, 6 Fulvous-dotted Treerunners, 2 Red-faced Spinetails, 2 Rufous Spinetails, 2 Black-capped Tyrannulets, 1 Bronze-olive Pygmy-Tyrant, 1 Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrant, 1 Streak-necked Flycatcher, 2 Black-throated Tody-Tyrants, 4 Handsome Flycatchers, 1 Scaled Fruiteater, 1 Golden-winged Manakin, 1 Club-winged Manakin, 1 Barred Becard, 2 Beautiful Jays, 2 Black-chested Jays, 2 Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireos, 2 Munchique Wood-Wrens, 1 Chestnut-breasted Wren, 6 Black Solitaires, 2 Glossy-black Thrushes, 2 Black-and-gold Tanagers, 5 Gold-ringed Tanagers, 2 Black-chested Mountain-Tanagers, 2 Black-chinned Mountain-Tanagers, 1 Purplish-mantled Tanager, 2 Glistening-green Tanagers, 1 Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer, 4 Dusky-faced Tanagers, 1 Buff-throated Saltator, 2 Black-headed Brush-Finches, 4 Olive Finches, 5 Tricolored Brush-Finches, 3 Dusky Bush-Finches, 4 Crested Ant-Tanagers, 2 Ochre-breasted Tanagers, 2 Golden-fronted Redstarts, 3 Orange-bellied Euphonias, 12 Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonias and 2 Yellow-collared Chlorophonias.

Overall, this was a very nice trip, with 377 species registered in 8 days of birding, of which 75 were lifers for Anthony.

Michelle (Leopoldina) & Anthony, having breakfast in the field, on top of Cerro Montezuma.


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.


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.


Second birding trip for Steve Huggins & Glenn Giacinto from Chicago, Illinois (January 23 – February 2, 2016).

03 - 02 - 2016

After touring the Central Andes in 2014, Steve Huggins and Glenn Giacinto came back to Colombia for a second time, this time focusing on birds largely restricted to the Eastern Andes.

From January 23 to February 2 (2016) we visited a nice array of birding localities, including the Observatorio de Colibríes at La Calera, Pedro Palo Lagoon & Chicaque Park, Chingaza National Park & Siecha gravel pits, Paramo de Guasca & Pantano de Martos, Fúquene Lagoon, Rogitama, Paramo de Onzaga, Soata scrubland & oak forests, Paramo de Sumapaz, Tabacal Lagoon and the Enchanted Gardens of San Francisco. All in just 11 days!

A nice list of hummingbird lifers gradually build up for Steve & Glenn, including the Green-bearded Helmetcrest (E&VU), Chestnut-bellied Hummingbird (E&EN), Black Inca (E&VU), Indigo-capped Hummingbird (E), Bronze-tailed Thornbill (NE), Coppery-bellied Puffleg (NE&NT), Golden-bellied Starfrontlet (NE), Blue-throated Starfrontlet (NE), Gorgeted Woodstar, Red-billed Emerald (NE), Short-tailed Emerald (NE), Lazuline Sabrewing, Ruby-topaz Hummingbird and Green-tailed Trainbearer.

Gladly, the skulking and cryptic also went into the bag, including great birds such as Blue-lored Antbird, Rusty-breasted Antpitta, Pale-bellied Tapaculo (NE), Streak-backed Canastero, Silvery-throated Spinetail (E), Stripe-breasted Spinetail, Rosy-thrush Tanager, Black-headed Brush-Finch (NE) and Moustached Brush-Finch (NE).

The marshes we visited yielded many more lifers, with great views of the endemic & endangered Apolinar´s Wren (seen at Sumapaz), Bogota Rail (E&EN), Noble Snipe, Andean Teal, Subtropical Doradito and Yellow-hooded Blackbird.

The precious Colombian Mountain Grackle (E&EN) showed up at Soata´s oak forests, as well as the critically endangered Niceforo´s Wren (E) and the scarce Black-banded Woodcreeper. Visiting the Pantano de Martos near Guasca was most rewarding, with an unforgettable encounter of the beautiful & rare Black-chested Mountain-Tanager and close views of the Andean Pygmy-Owl.

Other lifers included the endemics Velvet-fronted Euphonia & Turquoise Dacnis, near-endemics Gray-throated Warbler, Rufous-browed Conebill and Black-headed Hemispingus, and the Striped Manakin, Cinereous Becard and Bluish Flowerpiercer. In summary, 42 lifers total!

From left to right: Alejandro Pinto, Daniel, Steve and Glenn, at Sumapaz National Park.