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In this updated, newly shortened 9-day itinerary we combine delightful, mostly open-country birding in the llanos of the eastern lowlands of Colombia with a taste of some exciting birding in the Andes near Bogota. We'll be covering just a small part of this bird-rich country but should see a terrific cross section of birds while based out of just two sites, so we won't have to change lodgings much, and for the most part our drives should be fairly short except on a couple of travel-and-birding days as we change from one base to the other.
We'll venture first to the llanos, seasonally flooded plains that provide safari-like birding opportunities and a rich diversity of grassland and water birds, as well as some specialties associated with the scattered patches of woodland here. In the llanos there is always something to see on the ground or flying by overhead, making for an exciting birding experience. Here, we will stay in a wonderful family-owned lodge in the midst of a 12,000-hectare ranch. We will be able to see many of the classic inhabitants of the llanos, such as Jabiru, Orinoco Goose and several species of ibis. The llanos are also known as a wildlife haven, and we'll experience herds of Capybara, troops of Red Howler Monkeys and other mammals; we may also get the chance to see some interesting reptiles.
After our visit to the east, we'll return to Bogota, and from this base we'll make three daytrips to rich birding sites within a 60 to 90 minute drive of the capital. Bogota is one of the highest-elevation cities in Latin America, and it gives us access to some wonderful high-elevation birding. The Andes here are home to an amazingly rich bird life, in particular beautiful hummers and tanagers but also numerous other specialties and endemics. These daytrips in the cooler highlands will introduce us to a completely different set of birds than we will have experienced in the llanos.
We'll travel west of Bogota to visit a forested area featuring a small lake, where we'll search for some of the birds characteristic of the Andean region, such as Bar-crested Antshrike, Rosy Thrush-Tanager, and Gray-throated Warbler. Chicaque National Park lies northeast of Bogota and protects a portion of the Andean cloudforest. Along steep trails, we'll search for specialties of this important habitat, such as Black Inca, Flame-faced Tanager, and Moustached Brush-Finch. The reserve is small, but it encompasses an elevational change that allows us to experience several bird communities within a small area. Laguna Pedro Palo is another small lake, where we will look for Black Inca and Turquoise Dacnis.
This itinerary makes for a wonderful sampler of Colombia's bird riches, and our group will be limited to just 6 participants plus guide Jesse Fagan, who designed and inaugurated this tour in 2015. Join us this November!
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If you would like a longer birding holiday, some departures of this tour may be combined with:
COLOMBIA: CALI ESCAPE: Cloud Forests of the Central & Western Andes