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Field Guides Tour Report
Colombia: Llanos & More 2016
Nov 5, 2016 to Nov 15, 2016
Jesse Fagan with local guide Andres Trujillo

A morning boat ride along the Rio Ariporo was a good way to start the day on the llanos portion of our tour. Photo by guide Jesse Fagan.

What a tour for weather! Rain was the dominate feature for many days in the highlands, but we were also delayed in the llanos where it was supposed to be dry! Hail, on a level not often experienced, fell hard at Chingaza one afternoon. However, somehow we managed to plug through and persevere with good birds and, in the end, had a fine trip. Indeed, the contrast between the Bogota highlands and the eastern llanos is nowhere more evident than on this trip. What can be more different than a Golden-bellied Starfrontlet and a Jabiru?!

Our highlights were many, and included a lifer hummingbird for Joanne (Bronze-tailed Thornbill; one of five new hummingbirds for her). Amy really appreciated the Brown-billed Scythebill that hung around for multiple close looks at Chicaque. Both Maggie and Dean agreed that the Pale-bellied Tapaculo, mouse-like at our feet, was something you don't see (yes, we actually saw it!) very often. Dean and Amy thought the number of Orinoco Geese seen on this tour was really special, a testament to the intact habitat and the low level of hunting in the llanos area. Finally, there was the experience of the morning jeep ride across the llanos plain, with hundreds of Fork-tailed Flycatchers flitting about on thistle heads and Brown-throated Parakeets wheeling about in the crisp air. Memorable.

Many thanks to this group and to our local guide, Andres Trujillo, for all his hard work and fun nature. I enjoyed working with him. Also, thanks to our longtime driver in Bogota, Jovanni, for his skilled driving in heavy traffic, as well as getting us to our destinations safely.

Until the next time, best of birding in the rest of 2016 and for the new year!

-- Jesse Fagan (aka Motmot) from Lima, Peru

One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Tinamidae (Tinamous)
LITTLE TINAMOU (Crypturellus soui) [*]
Anhimidae (Screamers)
HORNED SCREAMER (Anhima cornuta) – For such an odd, but cool looking bird, we were happy to see several in the llanos.
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
WHITE-FACED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna viduata) – A small group was seen at the large laguna at Hato La Aurora.
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis) – Several small pools in the llanos had this species; also at the large laguna.

Orinoco Goose was quite common in the wetlands and along the Ariporo River. Photo by guide Andres Trujillo.

ORINOCO GOOSE (Oressochen jubatus) – So nice to see so many in the llanos and on the property of Hato La Aurora.
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Anas discors) – A few were at La Florida on the first day.
ANDEAN TEAL (Anas andium)
RUDDY DUCK (RUDDY) (Oxyura jamaicensis andina) – A bit confusing the situation in Colombia. Birds (males) at La Florida show a variety of head patterns: some with solid white cheeks, others with black heads, and still some with a mix of black and white. It is here where Ruddy and "Andean" duck seem to transition to males with all black heads further south.
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
RUFOUS-VENTED CHACHALACA (RUFOUS-TIPPED) (Ortalis ruficauda ruficauda) – Seen at the banana feeders at Juan Solito.
ANDEAN GUAN (Penelope montagnii) – Dean spotted one at Chicaque which stayed around for a long study.
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
CRESTED BOBWHITE (Colinus cristatus) – Seen several times in the llanos.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps) – A couple were on the water at La Florida.
Ciconiidae (Storks)
JABIRU (Jabiru mycteria) – This bird dinosaur was seen a few times in the llanos. More impressive in flight.
WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana) – Several seen on the ground and in flight in the llanos.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) – Small numbers in the llanos.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga) – One "Flying Cross" was seen soaring over our group at Cascabel.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
RUFESCENT TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma lineatum marmoratum) – Several were seen in the llanos where they were quite tame, allowing close views.
COCOI HERON (Ardea cocoi) – Fairly common in the llanos.
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) – Smaller numbers than the previous species.
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula) – Just a couple or three seen in the llanos.
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea) – Probably the most common long-legged wader seen in the llanos.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – Smaller numbers than I expected in cattle country, but still common.
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata) – The Green Heron look alike was seen in the llanos several times.
WHISTLING HERON (Syrigma sibilatrix) – This lovely bird was thankfully seen a few times on the llanos part of the tour.
CAPPED HERON (Pilherodius pileatus) – Another striking bird that we saw along the Ariporo River. They seem to like to stick close to lowland rivers.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – A few were seen at the big laguna.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
SCARLET IBIS (Eudocimus ruber) – We saw a few in flight, but on our way back to Yopal stopped at a field that had several feeding close to the road.

These Sharp-tailed Ibis, fairly common on the llanos portion of this trip, were photographed by guide Andres Trujillo along the Ariporo River.

SHARP-TAILED IBIS (Cercibis oxycerca) – A llanos speciality that were numerous and seen (or heard) most days.
BARE-FACED IBIS (Phimosus infuscatus) – Our first good looks were at La Florida in Bogota.
BUFF-NECKED IBIS (Theristicus caudatus) – Seen in the llanos most days. Call is very similar to Sharp-tailed.
ROSEATE SPOONBILL (Platalea ajaja) – A couple of birds in flight were our only ones.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus) – Lots around Bogota and llanos.
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura) – Most common in the llanos where we had nice comparisons with the next species. Resident birds show the white collar, while migrant/wintering birds lack this field mark. We saw one wintering bird.
LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes burrovianus) – A few were seen in the llanos and we could compare their more squared off tail and silver wing lining. Good field marks when you aren't able to see the head well.
KING VULTURE (Sarcoramphus papa) – Adults and juveniles in the llanos.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
WHITE-TAILED KITE (Elanus leucurus) – One was perched for nice scope views at La Florida.
BLACK-COLLARED HAWK (Busarellus nigricollis) – Fantastic close views of a calling bird. This species is always close to water.
PLUMBEOUS KITE (Ictinia plumbea) – Two soaring of Guadeloupe (above Bogota) were almost certainly migrants. Populations of this species breed in Central American and Mexico, then return to SA in the fall.
CRANE HAWK (Geranospiza caerulescens) – One was briefly seen on our drive to Juan Solito. Another two were seen in flight on the final day.
SAVANNA HAWK (Buteogallus meridionalis) – Fairly common in the llanos.
ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris) – Seen in the llanos and again in the highlands around Bogota. This bird gets around!
WHITE-TAILED HAWK (Geranoaetus albicaudatus) – One immature was seen gliding over our group at Juan Solito.
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus) – Two birds were seen soaring over Guadeloupe, migrants or already birds on winter territories?
Eurypygidae (Sunbittern)
SUNBITTERN (Eurypyga helias) – Such a cool bird and they were seen quite regularly along the Ariporo River.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
BOGOTA RAIL (Rallus semiplumbeus) – Fantastic finding this local endemic at La Florida. We had one in the scope and saw a few other swimming and flying. [E]
GRAY-COWLED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides cajaneus) – This species is a recent split from the old "Gray-necked Wood-Rail." Birds in South America are all Gray-cowled, while the Northern Central America species (south to Costa Rica) is Russet-naped Wood-Rail. The split is mainly based on differences in vocalizations.
SORA (Porzana carolina) – One was out in the open at La Florida.

Guides Jesse Fagan and Andres Trujillo say goodbye to our llanos hosts, Nelson and Jorge.

SPOT-FLANKED GALLINULE (Porphyriops melanops bogotensis) – This species is quite local in Colombia, being only found on the Bogota plateau! We saw two at La Florida.
AZURE GALLINULE (Porphyrio flavirostris) – We found several in the large laguna at Hato La Aurora.
COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata) – Several at La Florida marsh and again in the llanos.
AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana columbiana) – The resident subspecies with yellowish bill was seen in the Bogota marshes and at Pedro Palo.
Aramidae (Limpkin)
LIMPKIN (Aramus guarauna) [*]
Burhinidae (Thick-knees)
DOUBLE-STRIPED THICK-KNEE (Burhinus bistriatus) – Probably the best place I know of to show someone this species. Nearly common in the cattle fields and savannah of the Colombian llanos.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus) – Small groups were seen along the watering holes in the llanos.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
PIED LAPWING (Vanellus cayanus) – This sharp looking species was seen several times along the Rio Ariporo sandbars.
SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis) – The llanos are the perfect place for this species as we noted.
COLLARED PLOVER (Charadrius collaris) – Half a dozen or more were around the cattle pond.
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
WATTLED JACANA (Jacana jacana) – Most of the small watering holes with surface vegetation had a pair or two.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla) – Several were with the Collared Plovers at the cattle pond.
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) – Several on the lake edge at La Florida.
SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria) – A couple were along the edge at La Florida.
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca) [*]
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
YELLOW-BILLED TERN (Sternula superciliaris) – This small tern (the South American Least Tern) was seen in the llanos a few times, like at the big laguna and along the Ariporo River.
LARGE-BILLED TERN (Phaetusa simplex) – Pairs were seen sitting on sandbars along the Rio Ariporo.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – Pretty common in the cities and towns. [I]
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis) – Good numbers in the llanos.
BAND-TAILED PIGEON (WHITE-NECKED) (Patagioenas fasciata albilinea) – Seen in the highlands, mostly in flight.
RUDDY GROUND-DOVE (Columbina talpacoti) – Small numbers were in the llanos.
SCALED DOVE (Columbina squammata) – One of the more common doves in the llanos. Very much like an Inca Dove.
BLUE GROUND-DOVE (Claravis pretiosa) – Never very common, we saw one or two in the llanos.
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi) – Several times throughout the tour in the llanos and highlands.
GRAY-FRONTED DOVE (Leptotila rufaxilla) – By voice, quite common in the llanos. Seen just briefly once or twice flushing up from the trail.
LINED QUAIL-DOVE (Zentrygon linearis) – Seen well at Chicaque and heard again at Pedro Palo.
EARED DOVE (Zenaida auriculata) – The subspecies (pentheria) around Bogota is quite dark overall with rusty tail tips unlike other populations (llanos, for example) which are paler and have white tail tips.
Opisthocomidae (Hoatzin)
HOATZIN (Opisthocomus hoazin) – Seen well along the Ariporo River.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
GREATER ANI (Crotophaga major) – The pot boileth over!
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani) – Common in the llanos.
STRIPED CUCKOO (Tapera naevia) – One showed well during our safari trek through the savannah.
LITTLE CUCKOO (Coccycua minuta) – Widespread, but never super common. We had a couple of different encounters in the llanos.
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana) – Good numbers throughout the tour.
YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO (Coccyzus americanus) – What a surprise as we almost hit this bird driving back to Yopal. We called it in for better looks. What is the migratory route of this bird? Would love to get a transmitter on one.
Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)
BARN OWL (Tyto alba) – One heard and seen briefly during our night birding at Hato La Aurora.
Strigidae (Owls)
TROPICAL SCREECH-OWL (Megascops choliba) [*]
GREAT HORNED OWL (Bubo virginianus) – A day roosting bird was seen on the grounds of Juan Solito.
BURROWING OWL (Athene cunicularia) – Seen a bunch of times during our safari drives.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
BAND-TAILED NIGHTHAWK (Nyctiprogne leucopyga) – One memorable encounter was had when we had one doing a moth-like display in Jesse's light. You could really appreciate all the field marks!
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis) – These were common at night in the llanos.
Nyctibiidae (Potoos)
COMMON POTOO (Nyctibius griseus) – One was heard and briefly seen in flight.
Apodidae (Swifts)
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris) – The flocking behavior and thermal riding was witnessed well at Cascabel.
SHORT-TAILED SWIFT (Chaetura brachyura) – Fairly common over the forest at Cascabel.
GRAY-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura cinereiventris) – Not many, but several over the forest patches in the llanos. Less common than the previous species?
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora) – One was at Jardin Encantado.
WHITE-BEARDED HERMIT (Phaethornis hispidus) – One was briefly seen on the trail at Juan Solito.
LESSER VIOLETEAR (Colibri cyanotus) – A recent split from "Green Violetear" this species was seen at Chicaque.
SPARKLING VIOLETEAR (Colibri coruscans) – Fairly common in the highlands.
BLACK-THROATED MANGO (Anthracothorax nigricollis) – Common at the Jardin Encantado feeders.
TOURMALINE SUNANGEL (Heliangelus exortis) – This hummingbird was seen well a few times at Chicaque.
GREEN-TAILED TRAINBEARER (Lesbia nuna) – One made a brief appearance along the entrance road to Chingaza.
BRONZE-TAILED THORNBILL (Chalcostigma heteropogon) – A special moment for Joanne as this was her last new hummingbird to see on the tour. We were treated to lengthy scope views followed by a figure-eight like display flight. Very cool.
GREEN-BEARDED HELMETCREST (Oxypogon guerinii) – Andres spotted this endemic to the excitement of all. A female was feeding at the Espaletia flowers in the Paramo grassland.
TYRIAN METALTAIL (Metallura tyrianthina) – Several seen at Chingaza. The subspecies is tyrianthina with purple-copper tails.
GLOWING PUFFLEG (Eriocnemis vestita) – Several females were seen at Chingaza.
BRONZY INCA (Coeligena coeligena) – Maggie and Andres saw one at Chicaque.

Black Inca is a local Colombian endemic that we saw well at Chicaque and again at Pedro Palo. Photo by guide Andres Trujillo.

BLACK INCA (Coeligena prunellei) – A Colombian endemic that we saw well at Chicaque and Pedro Palo. [E]
COLLARED INCA (Coeligena torquata) – Fairly common at Chicaque.
GOLDEN-BELLIED STARFRONTLET (Coeligena bonapartei) – A female was seen feeding on red flowers at Chicaque while a male visited the upper feeders. This is a very good bird to see. Rare and local.
MOUNTAIN VELVETBREAST (Lafresnaya lafresnayi) – One all too briefly at Guadeloupe. The white in the tail was pretty obvious, however.
GREAT SAPPHIREWING (Pterophanes cyanopterus) – A female was seen at Chingaza.
WHITE-BELLIED WOODSTAR (Chaetocercus mulsant) – A female seemed out of place at La Florida, but also again in good numbers at Jardin Encantado where we had nice comparisons with the next species.
GORGETED WOODSTAR (Chaetocercus heliodor) – Several males and a female were at Jardin Encantado.
BLUE-TAILED EMERALD (Chlorostilbon mellisugus) – This species was seen several times in the llanos. One of the more common hummingbird species here.
WHITE-VENTED PLUMELETEER (Chalybura buffonii) – Several at Jardin Encantado.
CROWNED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania colombica) – Finally caught up with this species at Pedro Palo.
ANDEAN EMERALD (Amazilia franciae) – Subtly plumaged, but, man, when the light hits this
GLITTERING-THROATED EMERALD (Amazilia fimbriata) – This was seen a few times around the feeders at the hacienda Hato La Aurora.
INDIGO-CAPPED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia cyanifrons) – Common at the Jardin Encantado feeders. [E]
RUFOUS-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia tzacatl) – Also at the Jardin Encantado feeders.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata) – Fairly common along the Rio Ariporo.
GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana) – Singles on different days while in the llanos.
Bucconidae (Puffbirds)
RUSSET-THROATED PUFFBIRD (Hypnelus ruficollis) – Amy spotted a pair during our llanos drive. Nice work! The subspecies is "bicinctus" also called "Double-banded Puffbird" for the distinctive double bands on the chest.

Pale-headed Jacamar is a llanos specialist found in Colombia and Venezuela. It was common along the river and at our lodge. Photo by guide Andres Trujillo.

Galbulidae (Jacamars)
PALE-HEADED JACAMAR (Brachygalba goeringi) – This llanos specialty is actually quite common along the Ariporo River and on the grounds of the lodge.
RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda) – Also quite common in the forest patches at Hato La Aurora.
Capitonidae (New World Barbets)
RED-HEADED BARBET (Eubucco bourcierii) – A couple of different pairs were seen at Pedro Palo, but always a bit high or skulking silently in the vegetation.
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
EMERALD TOUCANET (Aulacorhynchus prasinus) – Several were seen in the highlands, our first at Chicaque.
CHESTNUT-EARED ARACARI (Pteroglossus castanotis) – Nice looks at a group flying across the Ariporo river and landing in a Cecropia tree.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
SCALED PICULET (Picumnus squamulatus) – Seen a few times in the llanos. This species has a rather limited distribution in Colombia, and the llanos is the best place to see it.
OLIVACEOUS PICULET (Picumnus olivaceus) – A skulky pair was at Pedro Palo.
ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus) – Heard at Chicaque, but then seen well at Pedro Palo.
RED-CROWNED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes rubricapillus) – This was the common woodpecker of the llanos.
SMOKY-BROWN WOODPECKER (Picoides fumigatus) – Several were heard/seen at Chicaque.
LITTLE WOODPECKER (Veniliornis passerinus)
GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus) – This species was seen most days on the grounds of Juan Solito.
LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus) – Fairly common in most places we visited on tour, but not found in the extreme highlands.
CRIMSON-CRESTED WOODPECKER (Campephilus melanoleucos) – It was really neat seeing this species (a male) with two Lineated Woodpeckers feeding on the same large dead tree. Nice comparisons!
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
COLLARED FOREST-FALCON (Micrastur semitorquatus) [*]
CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara cheriway) – Pretty common in the llanos.
YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima chimachima) – More common than the previous species in the llanos.
LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans) – Some of you saw this species carrying a snake!
AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius) – Seen most days in the llanos.
APLOMADO FALCON (Falco femoralis) – Always fun to see this species. A sharp looking raptor that we saw in the llanos.
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
YELLOW-CROWNED PARROT (Amazona ochrocephala) – Their baby-like calls were a frequent sound at Juan Solito. We also found out they don't like green lasers! ;-)
ORANGE-WINGED PARROT (Amazona amazonica) – Slightly more common in the llanos than the previous species? Around in good numbers especially at the lodge.
SPECTACLED PARROTLET (Forpus conspicillatus) – Heard most days in the llanos, but we eventually had nice looks at a pair drinking water from a small puddle.
BROWN-THROATED PARAKEET (Eupsittula pertinax) – A highlight for Maggie was watching this species cartwheel in flight and feeding on the thistle heads in the morning light.
CHESTNUT-FRONTED MACAW (Ara severus) – A pair were seen at our first stop in the llanos just past Paz de Ariporo.
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
BLACK-CRESTED ANTSHRIKE (Sakesphorus canadensis) – Seen a few times on various trails around Juan Solito.
BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus) [*]
WHITE-FRINGED ANTWREN (NORTHERN) (Formicivora grisea fumosa) – A split is in the work here. Be sure to note which subspecies you see. The ones we saw in the llanos are part of the "Northern" group.
Grallariidae (Antpittas)
CHESTNUT-CROWNED ANTPITTA (Grallaria ruficapilla) [*]
RUFOUS ANTPITTA (Grallaria rufula) – Fantastic looks (thanks to Joanne!) at Chingaza. The subspecies here is the nominate, rufula.
TAWNY ANTPITTA (Grallaria quitensis alticola) [*]
Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)
BLACKISH TAPACULO (Scytalopus latrans) – A few folks got nice looks at this species while birding the steep trails at Chicaque.
PALE-BELLIED TAPACULO (Scytalopus griseicollis) – Wow. What an experience we had this one. Popped right out for a look, then decided to act like a mouse, then decided to run across the road! Pretty amazing.
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
BROWN-BILLED SCYTHEBILL (Campylorhamphus pusillus) – Always difficult and a treat to see. One performed nicely at Chicaque.
MONTANE WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger) – Several were actually singing within the mixed-species flocks at Chicaque.
STREAKED XENOPS (Xenops rutilans) – One was in the large mixed-species flock at Chicaque.
STREAKED TUFTEDCHEEK (Pseudocolaptes boissonneautii) – Never predicable and always a treat to see. Plus I just like the name. One was at Chicaque.
MONTANE FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Anabacerthia striaticollis) – Common in mixed-species flocks at Chicaque and Pedro Palo.
LINEATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Syndactyla subalaris) – A pair were seen at Chicaque.
RUFOUS-FRONTED THORNBIRD (PLAIN) (Phacellodomus rufifrons inornatus) – This species was common in the llanos. We observed its impressive stick nests and wondered, how do they do that?!
MANY-STRIPED CANASTERO (Asthenes flammulata multostriata) – We had to work at seeing one, but eventually it sat right up.
WHITE-CHINNED THISTLETAIL (Asthenes fuliginosa) – Showed well at Chingaza NP.

I am not sure guide Andres Trujillo could have captured this Rusty-backed Spinetail any better!

RUSTY-BACKED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca vulpina) – One of the llanos specialties that we saw a few times including a pair dashing back and forth across the Rio Ariporo.
ASH-BROWED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca curtata) – A brief look at one in the canopy at Chingaza NP, but better looks were had at Pedro Palo.
YELLOW-CHINNED SPINETAIL (Certhiaxis cinnamomeus) [*]
SILVERY-THROATED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis subpudica) – This endemic performed remarkably well at La Florida (where often missed). Heard again at Chingaza. Despite the name the throat is dark! [E]
AZARA'S SPINETAIL (Synallaxis azarae) – One was seen on the lower portion of the Chicaque trail.
PALE-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis albescens) – Common by voice in the llanos where it was also seen.
RUFOUS SPINETAIL (Synallaxis unirufa) – This highland Synallaxis was seen well at Chicaque.
STRIPE-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis cinnamomea) – Maggie and Dean got pretty good looks at this species at Pedro Palo. It gave the rest of us fits.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
SOUTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (Camptostoma obsoletum) – Fairly common in the semiarid habitat of the llanos.
WHITE-TAILED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus poecilocercus) – One was seen at Chicaque, but briefly.
WHITE-THROATED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus leucophrys) – This species actually lives up to its name. Fairly common in the highlands around Bogota.
MOUSE-COLORED TYRANNULET (Phaeomyias murina) – Seen in the llanos where they like to hang out in the short scrubby vegetation (much like the next species).
YELLOW TYRANNULET (Capsiempis flaveola) – A couple were seen at Cascabel in the llanos.
SUBTROPICAL DORADITO (Pseudocolopteryx acutipennis) – We pulled one out of the reeds at La Florida where it is difficult to see.
YELLOW-CROWNED TYRANNULET (Tyrannulus elatus) – One was seen near the hacienda at Hato La Aurora. It was a surprise we didn't encounter more.
FOREST ELAENIA (Myiopagis gaimardii) – Several were along the river trail at Juan Solito.
YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster) – This species was common in the llanos, but heard again at Pedro Palo.
MOUNTAIN ELAENIA (Elaenia frantzii) – Heard at La Florida, and then several folks saw one at Chicaque.
SEPIA-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon amaurocephalus) [*]
SLATY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon superciliaris) – A pair were seen at Pedro Palo.
SOOTY-HEADED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias griseiceps) [*]
BLACK-CAPPED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias nigrocapillus) – Several seen at Chicaque and Chingaza.
GOLDEN-FACED TYRANNULET (GOLDEN-FACED) (Zimmerius chrysops chrysops) – Several were called in at Pedro Palo.
PALE-TIPPED TYRANNULET (Inezia caudata) – A fairly recent range extension for the llanos of Colombia. We saw two or three during our time there.
SCALE-CRESTED PYGMY-TYRANT (Lophotriccus pileatus)
PALE-EYED PYGMY-TYRANT (Atalotriccus pilaris) – One of the more common small passerines in the llanos. Its sputtering call was heard frequently from the thick vegetation.
RUFOUS-CROWNED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus ruficeps) – One was seen at Chicaque.
COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum) – Seen a few times in the llanos.
YELLOW-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias flaviventris) – These species was super common in the llanos (at least by voice).
CINNAMON FLYCATCHER (Pyrrhomyias cinnamomeus) – A small family group of 3 or 4 birds was seen at Chicaque.
FLAVESCENT FLYCATCHER (Myiophobus flavicans) – A pair was seen at Chicaque near the bottom of the steep descent.
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Contopus cooperi) – One was seen at La Florida on our first day.
WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus sordidulus) – Seen at La Florida where we were able to study its bill and wing bars to confirm.
EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus virens) – Heard at La Florida, but seen at Chicaque. Both pewees migrant and spend the winter in Colombia, but Eastern seems more common.
BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans) – I suppose the birds we saw feeding at the trash cans in La Florida were immatures as they lacked the strong wing bars and white edging of the South American "White-winged" group (angustirostris). It seems the "Northern" group (without white in the wing and blacker below) stops in Costa Rica.
VERMILION FLYCATCHER (Pyrocephalus rubinus)
PIED WATER-TYRANT (Fluvicola pica) – A couple were seen in the llanos including one at the hacienda feeders (which seemed a bit out of place!).
WHITE-HEADED MARSH TYRANT (Arundinicola leucocephala) – One or two in the marsh areas (not surprising) of the llanos.
CROWNED CHAT-TYRANT (CROWNED) (Ochthoeca frontalis albidiadema) [*]
BROWN-BACKED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca fumicolor) – One or two seen at Chingaza NP.
CATTLE TYRANT (Machetornis rixosa) – Fairly common in the llanos including one standing on top of a Capybara!
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer) – Several were seen in the llanos.
BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus) – We called up one near the hacienda at Hato La Aurora.
LESSER KISKADEE (Pitangus lictor) – These were seen along the Ariporo River.
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus) – Good numbers in the llanos, of course, but also around Bogota.
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua) – Only in the llanos where uncommon, but seen each day.
RUSTY-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes cayanensis) – Very common in the llanos where usually associated with water.

White-bearded Flycatcher was seen in good numbers in the llanos. Photo by guide Andres Trujillo.

WHITE-BEARDED FLYCATCHER (Phelpsia inornata) – A llanos specialty seen well on the grounds at Juan Solito. Found only in Colombia and Venezuela.
GOLDEN-CROWNED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes chrysocephalus) – We called up a pair at Chicaque.
VARIEGATED FLYCATCHER (Empidonomus varius) – This was unexpected at Pedro Palo where usually found lower down in the Magdalena Valley or in eastern lowlands. Surely the weather had something to do with this off course austral migrant?
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus) – Common on tour.
FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Tyrannus savana) – For most of us, this was a highlight of the tour, watching many individuals flying and perching on thistle heads on the llanos plain.
Pipridae (Manakins)
WIRE-TAILED MANAKIN (Pipra filicauda) – Several female-plumaged birds were feeding on berries along the river trail at Juan Solito.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
BLACK-CROWNED TITYRA (Tityra inquisitor) – One male was seen near the llanos lodge.
BARRED BECARD (Pachyramphus versicolor) – A vocal bird was responsive along the Chicaque trail.
WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus) – Fairly common in the llanos (by voice), and we observed a feeding pair during our boat ride. Interesting that the male was extensively black hooded and the female appearing more like female Black-and-white Becard. This subspecies here is nigriventris; there are many subspecies and geographic variation in this species.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
RUFOUS-BROWED PEPPERSHRIKE (Cyclarhis gujanensis) [*]
BLACK-BILLED PEPPERSHRIKE (Cyclarhis nigrirostris) – One was scoped and seen nicely at Chicaque. Also heard at Pedro Palo.
SCRUB GREENLET (Hylophilus flavipes) [*]
RUFOUS-NAPED GREENLET (Pachysylvia semibrunnea) [*]
BROWN-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo leucophrys) – Singles at Chicaque and Pedro Palo.
RED-EYED VIREO (Vireo olivaceus) – Migrants were seen at La Florida and Pedro Palo.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
VIOLACEOUS JAY (Cyanocorax violaceus) – Common and vocal in the llanos. A visitor to the banana feeders where it competed with the Yellow-rumped Caciques. Jets vs. Eagles or Bloods vs. Crips?
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BROWN-BELLIED SWALLOW (Orochelidon murina) – A huge swarm was seen out in front of the massive storm at Chingaza NP.
WHITE-WINGED SWALLOW (Tachycineta albiventer) – Along the Rio Ariporo.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – Over the rice fields in the llanos.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
HOUSE WREN (SOUTHERN) (Troglodytes aedon musculus) – Many subspecies, but these are part of the "Southern" group. They can be quite variable in song as we found out! ;-)
SEDGE WREN (PARAMO) (Cistothorus platensis aequatorialis) – Keep track of this. 6 way split coming and the birds we saw at Chingaza will be called Paramo Wren.
APOLINAR'S WREN (Cistothorus apolinari) – This Sedge Wren-look-a-like endemic to Colombia was seen well at La Florida in the remaining marsh habitat. [E]
BICOLORED WREN (Campylorhynchus griseus) – Amy finally got a glimpse! ;-) Pretty common in the llanos including hanging out in the rafters of our cabins.
WHISKERED WREN (Pheugopedius mystacalis) [*]
BUFF-BREASTED WREN (Cantorchilus leucotis) – Seen well on the river trail at Juan Solito. Heard a few other times in the llanos.
SHARPE'S WREN (Cinnycerthia olivascens) – Nice studies of this skulker at Chicaque.
GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucophrys) – Seen at Chicaque and heard at Pedro Palo. Always difficult.
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
TROPICAL GNATCATCHER (WHITE-BROWED) (Polioptila plumbea anteocularis) – Seen a couple of times at Hato La Aurora.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
ANDEAN SOLITAIRE (Myadestes ralloides) – One was observed on the valley floor at Chicaque.
PALE-BREASTED THRUSH (Turdus leucomelas) – We called in one birding the forest patch in the llanos. Probably more common than we recorded.
SPECTACLED THRUSH (Turdus nudigenis) – One was seen at the hacienda La Aurora. More of a llanos bird than the other Turdus thrushes.
BLACK-BILLED THRUSH (Turdus ignobilis) – Seen in the llanos and again at Pedro Palo.
GREAT THRUSH (Turdus fuscater) – Common in the Bogota area including on the grounds of our city hotel.
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus gilvus) – Common in the llanos, but also seen at Pedro Palo.
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
YELLOWISH PIPIT (YELLOWISH) (Anthus lutescens lutescens) – In Colombia, only in the llanos. We had two high flyers, but they never really showed well.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (Mniotilta varia) – Females were seen at Chicaque and Pedro Palo. Where do the males go?
MOURNING WARBLER (Geothlypis philadelphia) – One first-year bird was seen at La Florida.
TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi) – Our only ones were at Pedro Palo.
BAY-BREASTED WARBLER (Setophaga castanea) – One was seen at La Florida.

A lovely sunset over the Rio Ariporo. Photo by guide Andres Trujillo.

BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER (Setophaga fusca) – The most common wintering warbler seen on this tour. Mostly females and first-year birds.
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia) – A few at La Florida and another in the lowlands near Yopal.
THREE-STRIPED WARBLER (Basileuterus tristriatus) – Several were seen at Chicaque.
BLACK-CRESTED WARBLER (Myiothlypis nigrocristata) – This species was common by voice at Chicaque and Chingaza. Seen a few times.
RUSSET-CROWNED WARBLER (Myiothlypis coronata) – Common in the understory at Chicaque.
CANADA WARBLER (Cardellina canadensis) – Small numbers were seen at Chicaque and Pedro Palo.
SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus) – Also Chicaque and Pedro Palo.
GOLDEN-FRONTED REDSTART (Myioborus ornatus) – A favorite of Dean, and why not, this is a gorgeous looking warbler. Seen at Chingaza NP.
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
MASKED CARDINAL (Paroaria nigrogenis) – Seen around Juan Solito and again at La Aurora. The males are sharp looking, the females confusing. [N]
BLACK-FACED TANAGER (Schistochlamys melanopis) – Andres with a few others saw this species on the grounds at Juan Solito.
BLACK-CAPPED HEMISPINGUS (Hemispingus atropileus) – Andres and Maggie saw this species at Chicaque.
SUPERCILIARIED HEMISPINGUS (Hemispingus superciliaris) – Good numbers in the mixed-species flocks at Chicaque.
OLEAGINOUS HEMISPINGUS (Hemispingus frontalis) – A trio was seen at Chicaque in the understory.
BLACK-EARED HEMISPINGUS (Hemispingus melanotis) – Not many and skulky in the mixed-species flocks at Chicaque.
GRAY-HEADED TANAGER (Eucometis penicillata) – This striking bird was seen at our lunch spot below Pedro Palo.
WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus) – A pair was seen by a few folks in the llanos.
SILVER-BEAKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus carbo) – This was the common tanager of the llanos. Replaced by the next species on the west slope of the Eastern Cordillera.
CRIMSON-BACKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus dimidiatus)
SCARLET-BELLIED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Anisognathus igniventris) – Our first were at Guadeloupe where they showed nicely and at least one individual was heard singing.
BUFF-BREASTED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Dubusia taeniata) – One was responsive at Chingaza NP.
GOLDEN-CROWNED TANAGER (Iridosornis rufivertex) – One of our highlights at Chingaza was finding a small group of this species. Always a treat.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus) – Seen most days of the tour.
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum) – Nearly as common as the previous species.
BLUE-CAPPED TANAGER (Thraupis cyanocephala) – Several were at Chicaque.
BLACK-CAPPED TANAGER (Tangara heinei) – Seen well males and females at Pedro Palo.
SCRUB TANAGER (Tangara vitriolina) – Seen on our last day at Pedro Palo.
BLUE-NECKED TANAGER (Tangara cyanicollis) – A better name for this bird? "Blue-hooded" perhaps? Good numbers at Pedro Palo.
BLUE-AND-BLACK TANAGER (Tangara vassorii) – A pair were seen at Chicaque.
BERYL-SPANGLED TANAGER (Tangara nigroviridis) – Also seen at Chicaque.
METALLIC-GREEN TANAGER (Tangara labradorides) – One of the targets for Chicaque. We saw at least six individuals. Somewhat uncommon and local in Colombia.
BAY-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara gyrola) – Several at Pedro Palo.
FLAME-FACED TANAGER (Tangara parzudakii) – We caught up with this species at Pedro Palo.
GOLDEN TANAGER (Tangara arthus) – Just a couple at Chicaque in the mixed-species flocks.
TURQUOISE DACNIS (Dacnis hartlaubi) – This local endemic was seen well at Pedro Palo. It took a few times to explain exactly where it was in the tree since it was much smaller than the leaves! [E]
BLUE-BACKED CONEBILL (Conirostrum sitticolor) – A female was at Chicaque.
CAPPED CONEBILL (Conirostrum albifrons) – Not super common, but singles at Guadeloupe and Chicaque.
RUFOUS-BROWED CONEBILL (Conirostrum rufum) – Very nice looks at La Florida. This is a near endemic to Colombia as it is also found just over the border in Venezuela.
GLOSSY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa lafresnayii) – This was the common "black" type flowerpiercer at Chingaza.
BLACK FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa humeralis humeralis) – The subspecies around Bogota looks real similar to Glossy. It has the gray shoulder. However, Black is smaller, and I hate to say it, not as "glossy" looking. '-)
WHITE-SIDED FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa albilatera) – Seen at Chicaque and Pedro Palo.
BLUISH FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa caerulescens) – Much less common than the other flowerpiercers, but a pair was seen at Chicaque.
MASKED FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa cyanea) – Good numbers at Chicaque and Pedro Palo. A good tour for flowerpiercers!
PLUMBEOUS SIERRA-FINCH (Phrygilus unicolor) – This species was seen at Chingaza NP.
ORANGE-FRONTED YELLOW-FINCH (Sicalis columbiana) – A llanos specialty seen super well along the Rio Ariporo.
SAFFRON FINCH (Sicalis flaveola) – Very common in the llanos.
BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina) – Small numbers in the llanos. We watched a few doing their "Johnny Jump Up" display.
RUDDY-BREASTED SEEDEATER (Sporophila minuta) – Just one in the llanos.
GRAY SEEDEATER (Sporophila intermedia) – Also, just one in the llanos.
YELLOW-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila nigricollis) – A male was seen on our last day at Pedro Palo. It was in full song, so def on territory. This species does make small scale migrations.
PARAMO SEEDEATER (Catamenia homochroa) – One all too briefly in the paramo at Chingaza NP.
BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola) – Good numbers in the llanos (where there was some strange song!) and again at Pedro Palo.
YELLOW-FACED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris olivaceus) – One at Pedro Palo in the cutover habitat.
GRAYISH SALTATOR (Saltator coerulescens) – Small numbers in the llanos.
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
ASHY-THROATED CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus canigularis) – Chicaque is one of the best places to see this species. We had excellent views.
GRASSLAND SPARROW (Ammodramus humeralis) – This species can be difficult to locate. Andres spotted a pair on our first stop in the llanos. They briefly showed again.
YELLOW-BROWED SPARROW (Ammodramus aurifrons) – Super common (at least by voice; a buzzy insect like trill) in the llanos.
GRAY-BROWED BRUSHFINCH (Arremon assimilis assimilis) – A pair were called up at Chicaque.
CHESTNUT-CAPPED BRUSHFINCH (Arremon brunneinucha) – The white throat really stands out on this shady, understory species. Seen at Pedro Palo.
RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis) – Every day in the Bogota area. A hotel bird for us.
MOUSTACHED BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes albofrenatus) – Seen at Chicaque and again at Pedro Palo.
SLATY BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes schistaceus) – Seen super well (and singing) at Guadeloupe. They sound very similar to Pale-naped Brushfinch, and it even responded to the song of that species.

This Pale-naped Brushfinch was photographed at Chicaque Reserve by guide Andres Trujillo. This subspecies appears to be more like papallactae of the Central Cordillera (?).

PALE-NAPED BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes pallidinucha) – Maggie saw this at Chicaque and the rest of us caught up with it at Chingaza NP.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra) – Seen a few times on the tour, but most common at Pedro Palo.
SCARLET TANAGER (Piranga olivacea) – At least four individuals were seen at Pedro Palo.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella magna) – Seen in the Bogota area as well as in the lowlands.
RED-BREASTED MEADOWLARK (Sturnella militaris) – Formerly a blackbird, now a meadowlark. Common in the open country of the llanos.
CARIB GRACKLE (Quiscalus lugubris) – Common in the llanos where they have expanded over the years.
ORIOLE BLACKBIRD (Gymnomystax mexicanus) – This showy bird was seen every day in the llanos.
YELLOW-HOODED BLACKBIRD (Chrysomus icterocephalus) – Dean pointed out that the population around Bogota is a distinctive subspecies, bogotensis. The ones in the lowlands are nominate.
SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis) – Seen in the Bogota area.
GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus) – A pair at Juan Solito.
YELLOW-BACKED ORIOLE (Icterus chrysater) – Heard at La Florida, but seen at Pedro Paulo. [*]
VENEZUELAN TROUPIAL (Icterus icterus) – Not common and we saw just two in the llanos.
YELLOW-RUMPED CACIQUE (Cacicus cela) – These were pretty common in the llanos often hanging out with the jays at the banana feeder.
CRESTED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius decumanus) – Fairly common in the llanos.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
PURPLE-THROATED EUPHONIA (Euphonia chlorotica) [*]
THICK-BILLED EUPHONIA (Euphonia laniirostris) – I was surprised to find so many in the llanos, where we had none last year.
LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria) – A small flock was in the reeds at La Florida.
ANDEAN SISKIN (Spinus spinescens) – Fairly common in the highlands around Bogota.

RED HOWLER MONKEY (Alouatta seniculus) – Such rich color! Heard most days in the llanos and seen well along the river trail.
RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis) – One was around the feeders at our lunch spot in Pedro Palo.
GUINEA PIG (Cavia aperea) – One was along the marsh edge at La Florida. Also known as "Brazilian Guinea Pig" and apparently is native to Colombia and at elevations up to 3000 meters. Seems we saw a wild one!
CAPYBARA (Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris) – Good numbers in the llanos!
BLACK AGOUTI (Dasyprocta fuliginosa) – One was seen briefly on the trail at Chicaque.

Capybaras were seen by the hundreds in the llanos. Photo by guide Andres Trujillo.

WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus) – These were fairly common in the llanos, but we also saw a small individual at Chingaza.


We had some nifty critters on this tour:

1) Spectacled Caiman (Caiman crocodilus) = These were common along the Rio Ariporo in the llanos.

2) Black Caiman (Melanosuchus niger) = There was one along the shore that appeared much darker. It wasn't much larger than the Spectacled Caimans we saw (Black Caiman can grow to lengths of 20 ft!), but the color gave me pause. I think it was this species.

3) Green Iguana (Iguana iguana) = Common in the llanos, which is good to see.

4) Podocnemis spp. = several "side-necked" turtles seen along the river edges and around the lagoons. Not sure how many species were represented here (in the genus there are six species), but one possible candidate from Venezuela and Colombia is Savanna Side-necked Turtle (P. vogli).

5) Tegu sp. = The large monitor-like lizards were probably Tupinambis tequixin or Colombian Tegu, among other common names.

6) Drymoluber dichrous = this was the species of snake we saw along the river trail at Juan Solito.

7) Dendrosophus sp. = a couple of cute tree frogs were seen from this genus at Juan Solito. An informative link to this genus (and other herps in Colombia) can be found here:

Also, here is the bird list provided by Andres Trujillo (not in taxonomic order) for those that visited the hummingbird feeders pre-tour:

Torrent Duck

Eared Dove

White-throated Tyrannulet

Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant

Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant

Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager

Cinnamon Flycatcher

Ochre-breasted Brushfinch

Blackburnian Warbler

Lazuline Sabrewing

White-bellied Woodstar

Gorgeted Woodstar

Lesser Violetear

Sparkling Violetear

Green-tailed Trainbearer

Black-tailed Trainbearer

Sword-billed Hummingbird

Blue-throated Starfrontlet

Short-tailed Emerald

Tyrian Metaltail

Black Vulture

Turkey Vulture

Swallow-tailed Kite

American Kestrel

Mountain Elaenia

Tropical Kingbird

Brown-capped Vireo

Yellow-green Vireo

Blue-and-white Swallow

Brown-bellied Swallow

Great Thrush

Black Flowerpiercer (humeralis)

Rufous-collared Sparrow

Blue-capped Tanager

Mountain Cacique

Totals for the tour: 328 bird taxa and 6 mammal taxa