A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Colombia's Cloudforests: The Western & Central Andes 2022

November 4-13, 2022 with Jesse Fagan & Daniel Uribe guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
It would have been hard not to include this as the first photo on the trip list! Amazing capture of a Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan tossing up a treat. Thanks to Linnet Tse for sharing it (there are a bunch more wonderful shots by her below).

This tour covers the southern end of the Cauca Valley. It is only 8-days long, which seems incredible considering we visit both the Central and Western Cordillera, including stops in the Cauca Valley, and observed 370+ bird taxa! And that doesn't mean we spent a lot of time in the vehicle; no, most stops are within a few hours of each other. Further, each birding location was a multi-night stay. This meant we could unpack and get comfortable.

We started the tour this year in Pereira, in actuality running it in reverse from previous past years. However, you could hardly notice the difference. Our first birding stop was at Otun-Quimbaya, a protected watershed located along the Rio Otun near Pereira. This is the spot (emphasis here) for the endemic Cauca Guan, a species as recently as the 1980's thought to be extinct. An added bonus is that it is also a good place for Red-ruffed Fruitcrow. After we had filled our scopes with both species (and others), we moved north to Manizales, but with a birdy stop at Embalse Cameguadua for rails and shorebirds. Manizales was our home base for three nights as we explored several important birding sites including La Sierra de los Nevados (Hacienda El Bosque and Hotel Los Termales de Ruiz), Rio Blanco, and Tinamu Lodge. There is a lot of feeder action at Hacienda El Bosque, but the real prize is Crescent-faced Antpitta. This is one of the rarest of the antpittas and much sought after by birders. Just below Volcan Ruiz we were eventually rewarded with a nice show by the endemic (and my personal favorite), Buffy Helmetcrest. Rio Blanco had its own set of antpittas, including Bicolored and the (very) friendly Chestnut-crowned, but the birding here overall is excellent and we saw lots of mixed-species flocks with tanagers, wrens, and furnarids. We topped off that day with a flyover Lyre-tailed Nightjar at dusk!

We next moved south crossing the Cauca Valley and climbing up and over the Western Cordillera, eventually descending (at Pueblo Rico) to the Choco side and Montezuma Rainforest Lodge. Montezuma Lodge, located in the Tatama NP, is a special place because of its location to an accessible road that surveys a large elevation swath of the cordillera. The lodge itself is located at around 1500 meters, but the highest point (where we saw Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer, for example), is 2800 meters. This means you get to explore over 1000 meters in Choco foothill habitat! We do this over three days, focusing on the highest elfin forest area one day, the middle section on day two, and the area just above the lodge on our final morning. Choco specialties and endemics that we saw only here include Chami Antpitta, Tatama Tapaculo, Fulvous-dotted Treerunner, Munchique Wood-Wren, Crested Ant-Tanager, Yellow-collared Chlorophonia, two species of Bangsia tanagers (Gold-ringed and Black-and-gold), Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager, and Rufous-throated Tanager. The staff and local guides (like Fernando) worked really hard to give us an enjoyable experience. They succeeded!

Our next few nights had us visiting the hot lowlands at Buga, but they weren't really hot and mostly wet! Rain settled in for a night and we were surprised the next morning to learn that Sonso Marsh had flooded and the Cauca River was cresting its banks. Indeed, a quick look out our hotel window at the raging river confirmed it. We decided to move quickly up to the famous KM 18 area above Cali where we visited two important fincas, Finca La Florida and Finca Alejandria. Both have excellent feeder action and the number of tanagers, toucanets, and hummingbirds visiting these sites is mind boggling. Both fincas have their specialty birds. At Finca Alejandria it would have to be the opportunity to see and photograph Multicolored Tanager. At Finca La Florida, well, the Chestnut Wood-Quail are a big draw. We stayed our last night at the comfortable and pleasant, Araucana Lodge, and the next day we birded a bit at KM 18 before departing from the Cali international airport. It was the end of an excellent trip.

Thanks to my group, to our driver, Hermes, and our local guide, Daniel Uribe. I hope to see you all again soon on another adventure. Happy New Year!

—Jesse 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) [*]

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Spatula discors)

Large numbers were on Embalse Cameguadua.

Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)

COLOMBIAN CHACHALACA (Ortalis columbiana) [E]

This endemic was seen at finca feeders near KM 18 above Cali.

ANDEAN GUAN (Penelope montagnii)

CAUCA GUAN (Penelope perspicax) [E]

Nice scope views along the Otun-Quimbaya entrance road, sitting in the introduced ash trees.

Field Guides Birding Tours
And here we are! What a fun group. Thanks to Hermes, our driver (left), and our professional local guide, Daniel Uribe (center left with ballcap), for such a great tour.

SICKLE-WINGED GUAN (Chamaepetes goudotii)

Odontophoridae (New World Quail)

CHESTNUT WOOD-QUAIL (Odontophorus hyperythrus) [E]

Amazing views at Finca La Florida, where they are enjoying cracked corn.

Podicipedidae (Grebes)

PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps)

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis)

Seen in the lowlands of the Cauca Valley.

BAND-TAILED PIGEON (WHITE-NECKED) (Patagioenas fasciata albilinea)

Seen in the highlands of the Central and Western cordilleras.

PLUMBEOUS PIGEON (Patagioenas plumbea chapmani)

One seen on our last morning at Montezuma. The pale eye was evident, which helps distinguish it from the next species.

RUDDY PIGEON (Patagioenas subvinacea)

RUDDY GROUND DOVE (Columbina talpacoti)

WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi)

GRAY-HEADED DOVE (Leptotila plumbeiceps)

Fantastic views on the trail at Tinamu Lodge.


Not often you have this species at a feeder. We had awesome looks at Hacienda El Bosque above Manizales.

EARED DOVE (Zenaida auriculata)

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani)

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of our first target birds was Red-ruffed Fruitcrow at Otun-Quimbaya near Pereira. Photo by guide Jesse Fagan.

SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana)

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis)


What an experience watching a long-tailed male sally out from his roosting cliff face at dusk.

Nyctibiidae (Potoos)

COMMON POTOO (Nyctibius griseus)

Day roosting birds were seen in the bamboo at Tinamu Lodge.

Apodidae (Swifts)

SPOT-FRONTED SWIFT (Cypseloides cherriei)

A large group was seen while we were birding down the Montezuma Road. Mostly identified by location, shape, and flight style. Fernando, our local guide, has encountered them here before.

CHESTNUT-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne rutila)

WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris)

GRAY-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura cinereiventris)

WHITE-TIPPED SWIFT (Aeronautes montivagus)

A large group was seen in the Otun-Quimbaya valley where they are unexpected.

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora)

GREEN HERMIT (Phaethornis guy)

Singles seen at feeders at several sites on our tour.

GREEN-FRONTED LANCEBILL (Doryfera ludovicae)

Field Guides Birding Tours
The view from Rio Blanco looking towards the city of Manizales. Photo by guide Jesse Fagan.

WHITE-THROATED DAGGERBILL (Schistes albogularis)

Quite local and rare in its range. We had a nice encounter with a female along the lower entrance road at Rio Blanco.

SPARKLING VIOLETEAR (Colibri coruscans)

BROWN VIOLETEAR (Colibri delphinae)

LESSER VIOLETEAR (Colibri cyanotus)

BLACK-THROATED MANGO (Anthracothorax nigricollis)

TOURMALINE SUNANGEL (Heliangelus exortis)

One of my favorites. It is a such an elegant looking bird, and the flash of color on the gorget is striking. Fairly common at the Montezuma feeders and in the forest.

GREEN THORNTAIL (Discosura conversii)

These small sneaks were seen at the Montezuma lodge feeders.

SPECKLED HUMMINGBIRD (Adelomyia melanogenys)

Field Guides Birding Tours
This is definitely a hummingbird tour. We registered 44 species! Here is the endemic Buffy Helmetcrest seen below Volcan Ruiz. Photo by participant Linnet Tse.

LONG-TAILED SYLPH (Aglaiocercus kingii)

Seen in the Central Cordillera and on the west slope of the Western Cordillera (but not crossing the divide into the Choco Region).

VIOLET-TAILED SYLPH (Aglaiocercus coelestis)

The sylph encountered on the Choco side. Seen well at Montezuma Lodge.

PURPLE-BACKED THORNBILL (Ramphomicron microrhynchum)

One was seen at Rio Blanco.

BUFFY HELMETCREST (Oxypogon stuebelii) [E]

What an amazing bird! The habitat is pretty incredible, too.

TYRIAN METALTAIL (Metallura tyrianthina)

Both metaltails were seen on our day at Sierra de los Nevados. The Viridian were less common, but seen well at thermal feeders.

VIRIDIAN METALTAIL (Metallura williami)

GREENISH PUFFLEG (Haplophaedia aureliae)

BLACK-THIGHED PUFFLEG (Eriocnemis derbyi)

One was seen in the understory at Hotel Termales del Ruiz.

GOLDEN-BREASTED PUFFLEG (Eriocnemis mosquera)

Just one at the Hotel Termales del Ruiz feeders.

SHINING SUNBEAM (Aglaeactis cupripennis)

Field Guides Birding Tours
Such a lovely image by Linnet Tse of this Violet-tailed Sylph in the misty rain at Montezuma Rainforest Lodge.

BRONZY INCA (Coeligena coeligena)

BROWN INCA (Coeligena wilsoni)

This Choco endemic was seen a few times at Montezuma.

COLLARED INCA (Coeligena torquata)


Small numbers visiting feeders in the Sierra de los Nevados.

MOUNTAIN VELVETBREAST (Lafresnaya lafresnayi)


Always a hit. One was seen at the Hacienda El Bosque feeders.

GREAT SAPPHIREWING (Pterophanes cyanopterus)

BUFF-TAILED CORONET (Boissonneaua flavescens)

VELVET-PURPLE CORONET (Boissonneaua jardini)

A limited range Choco endemic, but pretty common at Montezuma, which included visiting the lodge feeders.

WHITE-BOOTED RACKET-TAIL (Ocreatus underwoodii)

RUFOUS-GAPED HILLSTAR (Urochroa bougueri)

Another limited range Choco endemic hummingbird. Less common than Velvet-purple Coronet, but visiting the same feeders around Montezuma.

PURPLE-BIBBED WHITETIP (Urosticte benjamini)

A striking bird that was visiting the Montezuma feeders, but erratically. This is a Choco endemic.

FAWN-BREASTED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa rubinoides)


As mentioned, the hummingbird action on this tour is pretty awesome, but the feeder action at Finca Alejandria was another level. Check out this time-lapse video by guide Jesse Fagan.As mentioned, the hummingbird action on this tour is pretty awesome, but the feeder action at Finca Alejandria was another level. Check out this time-lapse video by guide Jesse Fagan.

EMPRESS BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa imperatrix)

This large, often dark looking hummingbird has an impressive tail that readily separates it from Green-crowned. It is a Choco endemic so only seen at Montezuma Rainforest Lodge.

WHITE-BELLIED WOODSTAR (Chaetocercus mulsant)

PURPLE-THROATED WOODSTAR (Philodice mitchellii)

Common in the Western Cordillera.

WESTERN EMERALD (Chlorostilbon melanorhynchus melanorhynchus)

One was a frequent visitor to the flowering bushes at the Montezuma Lodge feeders.


CROWNED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania colombica)

STEELY-VENTED HUMMINGBIRD (Saucerottia saucerottei)

The next three species were the most common visitors to feeders at most sites we visited on the tour.


The latin specific epithet is from Aztec mythology; Tzacatl was a warrior chief.

ANDEAN EMERALD (Uranomitra franciae)

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

BLACKISH RAIL (Pardirallus nigricans)

Good numbers and responses at Embalse Cameguadua.

COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata)

PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinica)

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus)

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis)

Jacanidae (Jacanas)

WATTLED JACANA (Jacana jacana)

Field Guides Birding Tours
Another "theme" on this tour (hummingbirds being the first), are the antpittas. There are a bunch possible. Bicolored Antpitta was seen super well as evident in this crisp photo by participant Linnet Tse.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

PECTORAL SANDPIPER (Calidris melanotos)

Migrants were spotted at Embalse Cameguadua.

SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)

Some folks were surprised to see them without spots!

SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria)

Big numbers at Embalse Cameguadua, so not so solitary.

GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca)

LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes)

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Nannopterum brasilianum)

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of the most sought after antpittas: Crescent-faced Antpitta. Thanks to participant, Linnet Tse, for the photo.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

All of the egrets and herons were seen at Embalse Cameguadua near Pereira, except Cattle Egret was also seen on other days.

SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)

LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)

STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata)

BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

BARE-FACED IBIS (Phimosus infuscatus)

BUFF-NECKED IBIS (Theristicus caudatus)

Nice fly over views in the morning at Otun-Quimbaya.

Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

ANDEAN CONDOR (Vultur gryphus)

One soaring bird in the clouds above Volcan Ruiz seemed fitting for the location.

BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)

TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)

Pandionidae (Osprey)

OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)

One was at Embalse Cameguadua.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

BLACK HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus tyrannus)

Awesome experience with a duetting pair soaring above us at Montezuma Lodge. We specifically stopped at the overlook hoping for something like this!

MISSISSIPPI KITE (Ictinia mississippiensis)

Seen on the pre-tour day. A large group of immatures were seen soaring in the clouds.

BARRED HAWK (Morphnarchus princeps)

Always good to see this species. One was beginning to soar in the early morning thermals above Montezuma Lodge.

ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris)

BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus)

Trogonidae (Trogons)

COLLARED TROGON (Trogon collaris)

Momotidae (Motmots)

ANDEAN MOTMOT (Momotus aequatorialis)

Several visiting feeders on this tour was a nice treat. It's always a good day when you see a motmot! ;-)

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata)

Field Guides Birding Tours
The impressive cloud forest from the higher forest at Montezuma. Photo by guide Jesse Fagan.
Bucconidae (Puffbirds)

MOUSTACHED PUFFBIRD (Malacoptila mystacalis)

We called one in at Tinamu Lodge. It sat nicely and long enough for scope views.

LANCEOLATED MONKLET (Micromonacha lanceolata)

A pair showed fantastically well at Montezuma.

Capitonidae (New World Barbets)

RED-HEADED BARBET (Eubucco bourcierii)

We debated which had the better plumage, males or females?

Semnornithidae (Toucan-Barbets)

TOUCAN BARBET (Semnornis ramphastinus) [*]

Ramphastidae (Toucans)

SOUTHERN EMERALD-TOUCANET (Aulacorhynchus albivitta)

Both this species and the next were visiting banana feeders at Finca La Alejandria.

CRIMSON-RUMPED TOUCANET (Aulacorhynchus haematopygus)


I have never seen anything like what we observed at Hacienda El Bosque. There were at least 10 (!!) individuals visiting the feeders. Incredible, and normally a difficult bird to see.

BLACK-BILLED MOUNTAIN-TOUCAN (Andigena nigrirostris)

Good scope views at Rio Blanco.

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

GRAYISH PICULET (Picumnus granadensis) [E]

We caught up with this tiny woodpecker, an endemic, along the entrance road to Tinamu Lodge.

ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus)

RED-CROWNED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes rubricapillus)

SMOKY-BROWN WOODPECKER (Dryobates fumigatus)


A pair were seen in the rainforest at Montezuma.

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of the skulkers of the Montezuma understory, Tanager Finch! Photo by guide Jesse Fagan.

LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus)

GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus)


One of the most striking woodpeckers. We saw individuals at Rio Blanco and Los Nevados National Park. This is a foothills and highland species.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans) [*]

CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara plancus)

YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Daptrius chimachima chimachima)

AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)

BLUE-FRONTED PARROTLET (Touit dilectissimus) [*]

BARRED PARAKEET (Bolborhynchus lineola)

Actually seen in flight which is incredible. A small group of four were flying in the clouds at the military outpost above Montezuma Lodge.

BLUE-HEADED PARROT (Pionus menstruus)

BRONZE-WINGED PARROT (Pionus chalcopterus)

Replaces the previous species (which is common) in the foothills and higher elevations. Seen a couple of times around Pereira.

SPECTACLED PARROTLET (Forpus conspicillatus)

Great looks at Tinamu Lodge and again around KM 18.

BROWN-THROATED PARAKEET (Eupsittula pertinax)


Mostly flybys during the tour, but fairly common in the Cauca Valley.

Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)

GREAT ANTSHRIKE (Taraba major) [*]

BAR-CRESTED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus multistriatus)

This near endemic (also found in VZ) was seen well at Tinamu Lodge.

PLAIN ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus mentalis)

Seen our last morning above Montezuma Lodge.

BICOLORED ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus occidentalis)

Wow! Awesome experience of a super rare bird. We had a male approach closely while birding the curves above Montezuma Lodge. This is THE spot in its range to see it consistently.

SLATY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula schisticolor)

Field Guides Birding Tours
Gold-ringed Tanager is a Colombian endemic restricted to the Choco side of the Western Cordillera. Nice photo by Linnet Tse.

STREAK-HEADED ANTBIRD (Drymophila striaticeps)

Good numbers, especially singing, in the bamboo at Montezuma.

PARKER'S ANTBIRD (Cercomacroides parkeri) [E]

We called one up at Tinamu Lodge in the thick bamboo.

ZELEDON'S ANTBIRD (Hafferia zeledoni)

It gave us fits, as it generally likes to stay hidden, but most folks got a glimpse. Seen at Montezuma.

Conopophagidae (Gnateaters)

CHESTNUT-CROWNED GNATEATER (Conopophaga castaneiceps) [*]

Grallariidae (Antpittas)

MOUSTACHED ANTPITTA (Grallaria alleni) [*]

SCALED ANTPITTA (Grallaria guatimalensis) [*]

CHESTNUT-CROWNED ANTPITTA (Grallaria ruficapilla)

One of the highlights of the tour for everyone. We literally had this bird eating out of our hands at Rio Blanco.

YELLOW-BREASTED ANTPITTA (Grallaria flavotincta) [*]

BICOLORED ANTPITTA (Grallaria rufocinerea)

Another difficult and rare antpitta seen at Rio Blanco.

CHAMI ANTPITTA (Grallaria alvarezi)

A lovely bird recently split from Rufous Antpitta. This one is endemic to the Western Cordillera.

EQUATORIAL ANTPITTA (Grallaria saturata)

Also a split from the Rufous Antpitta complex, but this one is found in the Central Cordillera. We had nice views at Hacienda El Bosque.

TAWNY ANTPITTA (Grallaria quitensis) [*]

BROWN-BANDED ANTPITTA (Grallaria milleri) [E*]

SLATE-CROWNED ANTPITTA (Grallaricula nana)

We worked on this one at Rio Blanco eventually getting everyone a pretty good view. It was hard to spot in the scope!

CRESCENT-FACED ANTPITTA (Grallaricula lineifrons)

By far the rarest of the antpittas we encountered on this trip, and what an amazing bird! We had in-your-face views of one visiting a feeding station at Hacienda El Bosque.

Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)

ASH-COLORED TAPACULO (Myornis senilis) [*]

BLACKISH TAPACULO (Scytalopus latrans)

Seen at Rio Blanco.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Another speciality of the Montezuma forest is Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia, which were around in good numbers this year. How did participant Linnet Tse manage to capture this bird?! What a photo.

NARI–O TAPACULO (Scytalopus vicinior)

Seen at the mid-to-higher elevations at Montezuma.

CHOCO TAPACULO (Scytalopus chocoensis) [*]

TATAMA TAPACULO (Scytalopus alvarezlopezi) [E]

One seen at the lower elevations above Montezuma Lodge.

SPILLMANN'S TAPACULO (Scytalopus spillmanni) [*]

Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)

SOUTH AMERICAN LEAFTOSSER (ANDEAN) (Sclerurus obscurior andinus)

Incredible views of a bird near the feeders at Finca La Florida.

TYRANNINE WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla tyrannina) [*]

PLAIN-BROWN WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla fuliginosa)

Pretty common in the forest at Tinamu Lodge.

STRONG-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus)

Seen for some on our first day pre-tour.

OLIVE-BACKED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus triangularis)

BROWN-BILLED SCYTHEBILL (Campylorhamphus pusillus) [*]

STREAK-HEADED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii)

MONTANE WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger)

Good views of this species at Rio Blanco.

PLAIN XENOPS (Xenops minutus)

Usually found at lower elevations than the previous species, though we saw one individual at KM 18 at around 1500 meters which is just at its limit.

STREAKED XENOPS (Xenops rutilans)

STREAKED TUFTEDCHEEK (Pseudocolaptes boissonneautii)

SCALY-THROATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Anabacerthia variegaticeps)

Both this species and the next were present in the forest at Montezuma.

MONTANE FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Anabacerthia striaticollis)

LINEATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Syndactyla subalaris) [*]

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A non-avian treat at Montezuma were these two friendly Crab-eating Foxes. Photo by guide Jesse Fagan.

UNIFORM TREEHUNTER (Thripadectes ignobilis)

Seen a couple of times in the understory at Montezuma.

SPOTTED BARBTAIL (Premnoplex brunnescens)

FULVOUS-DOTTED TREERUNNER (Margarornis stellatus)

This Choco endemic sat for a long time giving us good views in the cloud forest at Montezuma.

PEARLED TREERUNNER (Margarornis squamiger)

Seen in several (most?) mixed species flocks at Rio Blanco.

RED-FACED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca erythrops)

Good numbers in the mixed-species flocks on both cordilleras.

SLATY SPINETAIL (Synallaxis brachyura)

Pretty common in dense thickets and phragmites stands in the Cauca Valley. We had good looks at Embalse Cameguadua.

AZARA'S SPINETAIL (Synallaxis azarae)

RUFOUS SPINETAIL (Synallaxis unirufa)

A nice looking species seen in the thick elfin understory at the higher elevations above Montezuma.

Pipridae (Manakins)

GOLDEN-COLLARED MANAKIN (Manacus vitellinus)

Another highlight for some was seeing this species lekking at Tinamu Lodge.

CLUB-WINGED MANAKIN (Machaeropterus deliciosus)

Good numbers by voice at Montezuma, but seeing them was more difficult.

Cotingidae (Cotingas)


Good numbers this trip.

BARRED FRUITEATER (Pipreola arcuata)

A pair seen well at Montezuma was a treat. This species is widespread in the Andes, but less common than the Green-and-black.


This Choco endemic was seen a few times at Montezuma.

SCALED FRUITEATER (Ampelioides tschudii)

By far the rarest fruiteater and Montezuma seems to be a good place to see them!

RED-CRESTED COTINGA (Ampelion rubrocristatus)

PURPLE-THROATED FRUITCROW (Querula purpurata) [*]

RED-RUFFED FRUITCROW (Pyroderus scutatus)

Otun-Quimbaya was the place for this species.

DUSKY PIHA (Lipaugus fuscocinereus)

We lucked out finding this species at Rio Blanco. It is uncommon and scarce throughout its patchy range.

Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)

BARRED BECARD (Pachyramphus versicolor)

WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus dorsalis)

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The star of the show at Finca Alejandria was the male Multicolored Tanager. Hard to argue with this. Photo by participant Linnet Tse.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

STREAK-NECKED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes striaticollis)

OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus)

SLATY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon superciliaris)

MARBLE-FACED BRISTLE-TYRANT (Pogonotriccus ophthalmicus)

We were excited to see this species at Otun-Quimbaya. Its appearance is like other small tyrannulets, but the voice is diagnostic.

VARIEGATED BRISTLE-TYRANT (Pogonotriccus poecilotis)

RUFOUS-BROWED TYRANNULET (Phylloscartes superciliaris)

This species stayed high in the canopy, but responded well to the call.

BRONZE-OLIVE PYGMY-TYRANT (Pseudotriccus pelzelni)

Heard at Otun-Quimbaya, but we got nice views while birding at Montezuma.

SCALE-CRESTED PYGMY-TYRANT (Lophotriccus pileatus)

RUFOUS-CROWNED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus ruficeps)

We struggled to show folks this species, but most folks got enough to form an image. It sticks to the dense bamboo patches.

COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum)

CINNAMON FLYCATCHER (Pyrrhomyias cinnamomeus)

ORNATE FLYCATCHER (Myiotriccus ornatus)

It's easy to spot with its two bright white headlamps.

HANDSOME FLYCATCHER (Nephelomyias pulcher)

We debated whether "Handsome" is the right adjective here. Maybe, "cute?" This species moves in groups of 5-10 individuals and they were common in the forest at Montezuma.


WHITE-TAILED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus poecilocercus)

One was responsive in the canopy at Rio Blanco.

GREENISH ELAENIA (Myiopagis viridicata)

One was seen sub-canopy in the forest at Tinamu Lodge. Probably several species here so pay attention to this one.

YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster)

MOUNTAIN ELAENIA (Elaenia frantzii)

TORRENT TYRANNULET (Serpophaga cinerea)

Seen just a couple of times, but our first was on the Rio Otun.

SOOTY-HEADED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias griseiceps)

BLACK-CAPPED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias nigrocapillus) [*]

Field Guides Birding Tours
What an impossible shot of this singing Scaly-breasted Wren by participant Linnet Tse.

PLUMBEOUS-CROWNED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias plumbeiceps) [*]

GOLDEN-FACED TYRANNULET (GOLDEN-FACED) (Zimmerius chrysops chrysops)

This was common in all the foothill and higher elevation forests that we visited. Seen well, but more often its simple call was heard.

BRAN-COLORED FLYCATCHER (Myiophobus fasciatus)

Several were seen in the thick vegetation at Embalse Cameguadua.

SMOKE-COLORED PEWEE (Contopus fumigatus) [*]

EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus virens) [*]

ACADIAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax virescens)

A fairly common wintering bird in Colombia found in humid forest. Its single call note is often heard, but it can be more difficult to see well.

BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans)

VERMILION FLYCATCHER (Pyrocephalus rubinus)

YELLOW-BELLIED CHAT-TYRANT (Silvicultrix diadema)

Seen nicely at Montezuma.

CHESTNUT-BELLIED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca cinnamomeiventris)

This is the old "Slaty-backed" Chat-Tyrant, which has now been split. A sharp looking bird. We had a couple of encounters at Otun-Quimbaya and Rio Blanco. Usually found near wet ravines or near swift moving streams.

BROWN-BACKED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca fumicolor)

DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer) [*]

APICAL FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus apicalis) [E]

This Myiarchus endemic we managed excellent views of at Araucana Lodge. It is found in both the Cauca and Magdalena Valley, but has a patchy and very local distribution.

PALE-EDGED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cephalotes)

This Myiarchus is found in mid-elevation foothills. We had singles on the pre-tour and in the Sierra de los Nevados.

GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)

RUSTY-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes cayanensis)

Almost an everyday bird.

LEMON-BROWED FLYCATCHER (Conopias cinchoneti)

A couple were seen in the scope calling down below us at our lookout near the Montezuma Lodge.

GOLDEN-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes hemichrysus)

Interestingly enough, this used to be a Central American endemic (split from Golden-crowned Fly), but the two have now been lumped!

STREAKED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes maculatus)

TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)

Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)

BLACK-BILLED PEPPERSHRIKE (Cyclarhis nigrirostris) [*]

RUFOUS-NAPED GREENLET (Pachysylvia semibrunnea)

Seen well at Tinamu Lodge, though they were always moving around in the canopy. Also, seen at Montezuma Lodge in the lower part.

YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons)

A nice surprise was picking up this species along the entrance road at Tinamu Lodge.

CHOCO VIREO (Vireo masteri)

BROWN-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo leucophrys)

CHIVI VIREO (Vireo chivi)

We confirmed the i.d. (as it is very similar to Red-eyed) because several individuals were singing.

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

BEAUTIFUL JAY (Cyanolyca pulchra) [*]

Field Guides Birding Tours
Such a strking bird, the Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager. Lovely capture by Linnet Tse.

BLACK-COLLARED JAY (Cyanolyca armillata)

This is always a good bird to come across. One showed well at Rio Blanco.

BLACK-CHESTED JAY (Cyanocorax affinis)

Do you remember Pollito?

GREEN JAY (Cyanocorax yncas) [*]

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca)

BROWN-BELLIED SWALLOW (Orochelidon murina)

SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis)

Troglodytidae (Wrens)

SCALY-BREASTED WREN (SCALY) (Microcerculus marginatus occidentalis)

We were surprised to hear one at Embalse Cameguadua, but it was eventually seen super well at Finca La Florida.

HOUSE WREN (SOUTHERN) (Troglodytes aedon musculus)

MOUNTAIN WREN (Troglodytes solstitialis)

These small arboreal wrens were seen a few times at Montezuma.

SOOTY-HEADED WREN (Pheugopedius spadix) [*]

WHISKERED WREN (Pheugopedius mystacalis)

Whiskered and Bay wrens always give guides fits. However, we eventually saw both of them, but they are heard WAY more often than seen.

SPECKLE-BREASTED WREN (Pheugopedius sclateri)

This species was seen along the entrance road of Tinamu Lodge. The pair responded super well, but always sticking to the vine tangles (as wrens do!).

BAY WREN (Cantorchilus nigricapillus)

SHARPE'S WREN (Cinnycerthia olivascens)

Several foraging in the viney undergrowth (and fog) at Rio Blanco.

WHITE-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucosticta)

GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucophrys)

MUNCHIQUE WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina negreti) [E]

We caught up with this lovely songster at the highest elevations above Montezuma near the military outpost. Surprisingly, the species was only discovered in 2008 and it is isolated to a few mountain tops in the Western Cordillera of Colombia.

CHESTNUT-BREASTED WREN (Cyphorhinus thoracicus) [*]

Cinclidae (Dippers)

WHITE-CAPPED DIPPER (Cinclus leucocephalus)

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

ANDEAN SOLITAIRE (Myadestes ralloides) [*]

Field Guides Birding Tours
During our last afternoon at Araucana Lodge, we had a very cooperative Red-faced Spinetail that wouldn't go away. It made for good photo oppportunities. Thanks to Linnet Tse for her image.


A tough skulker to see, but we managed views at Araucana Lodge.

SWAINSON'S THRUSH (Catharus ustulatus)

BLACK SOLITAIRE (Entomodestes coracinus)

Seen by a few folks in the forest at Montezuma, but it got away quickly. This is a Choco endemic.


BLACK-BILLED THRUSH (DRAB) (Turdus ignobilis goodfellowi)

GREAT THRUSH (Turdus fuscater)

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

BLUE-NAPED CHLOROPHONIA (Chlorophonia cyanea)

We had a small group that was feeding in mistletoe clumps at Araucana Lodge. There were a couple of males in the mix and one approached for good views.


The next two chlorophonias are Choco endemics and both were seen well in the cloud forest at Montezuma. The Chestnut-breasted was seen multiple times well, which was a bit surprising. There must have been a good mistletoe crop this year b/c by voice they seemed common!

YELLOW-COLLARED CHLOROPHONIA (Chlorophonia flavirostris)

THICK-BILLED EUPHONIA (Euphonia laniirostris)

ORANGE-BELLIED EUPHONIA (Euphonia xanthogaster)

Several were visiting feeders at Finca La Florida and Finca Alejandria. Fairly common in foothill forest, too.

LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria)

HOODED SISKIN (Spinus magellanicus)

A pair were seen at Araucana Lodge.

Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)

TANAGER FINCH (Oreothraupis arremonops)

Great views of a special bird! Always tough, but we worked at it and eventually found a cooperative bird.

COMMON CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus flavopectus)

DUSKY CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus semifuscus)

BLACK-HEADED BRUSHFINCH (Arremon atricapillus)

Eventually one showed up at the Montezuma feeders for everyone to see!

GRAY-BROWED BRUSHFINCH (Arremon assimilis assimilis)

One popped up at the feeders while we were watching the mountain-toucans.

RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis)

WHITE-NAPED BRUSHFINCH (YELLOW-THROATED) (Atlapetes albinucha gutturalis)

We did well on Atlapetes finches this trip. One of my favorite groups.

TRICOLORED BRUSHFINCH (CHOCO) (Atlapetes tricolor crassus)

SLATY BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes schistaceus)

PALE-NAPED BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes pallidinucha)

Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)

YELLOW-BILLED CACIQUE (Amblycercus holosericeus) [*]

YELLOW-BACKED ORIOLE (Icterus chrysater)

Pretty common in most places we visited. Their dawn song is a nice one to hear.

YELLOW ORIOLE (Icterus nigrogularis)

SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis)

CARIB GRACKLE (Quiscalus lugubris)

Parulidae (New World Warblers)

NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis)

Singles at Embalse Cameguadua and Montezuma.


MOURNING WARBLER (Geothlypis philadelphia)

AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla)

TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi)

BAY-BREASTED WARBLER (Setophaga castanea)


The most common North American wintering warbler encountered on this tour.

YELLOW WARBLER (NORTHERN) (Setophaga petechia aestiva)

BLACKPOLL WARBLER (Setophaga striata)

One was seen at Tinamu Lodge.

GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER (Basileuterus culicivorus)

This understory species was seen well at Tinamu Lodge, though they initially gave us fits.

THREE-STRIPED WARBLER (Basileuterus tristriatus)

BLACK-CRESTED WARBLER (Myiothlypis nigrocristata) [*]

BUFF-RUMPED WARBLER (Myiothlypis fulvicauda)

CHOCO WARBLER (Myiothlypis chlorophrys)

We came across this species in the big mixed-species flock birding along the Montezuma Rainforest road. It stayed back from us and stuck to the understory, but a few of us got decent looks. Recently split from Golden-bellied Warbler.

RUSSET-CROWNED WARBLER (Myiothlypis coronata)

CANADA WARBLER (Cardellina canadensis)

SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus)

Very common in most forests we birded.


This highland species was seen in the Sierra de los Nevados and again in the Western Cordillera. This particular subspecies actually have golden forecrowns.

Mitrospingidae (Mitrospingid Tanagers)

DUSKY-FACED TANAGER (Mitrospingus cassinii)

Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)

HEPATIC TANAGER (Piranga flava)

One was seen at the Finca Alejandria feeder.

SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra)

Field Guides Birding Tours
One last parting shot of our group, enjoying every minute of our time together (even in the rain!).

SCARLET TANAGER (Piranga olivacea)

One was seen at the Pereira Botanical Gardens during the pre-tour.

CRESTED ANT-TANAGER (Habia cristata) [E]

Finally caught up with this species at Montezuma, but it took some work and a number of tries. Endemic to Colombia.

OCHRE-BREASTED TANAGER (Chlorothraupis stolzmanni) [*]

ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus ludovicianus)

Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)

WHITE-CAPPED TANAGER (Sericossypha albocristata) [*]

OLEAGINOUS HEMISPINGUS (Sphenopsis frontalis)

The following three hemispingus were seen at Rio Blanco, all in the same mixed-species flock.

BLACK-EARED HEMISPINGUS (Sphenopsis melanotis)

SUPERCILIARIED HEMISPINGUS (Thlypopsis superciliaris)


FLAME-RUMPED TANAGER (FLAME-RUMPED) (Ramphocelus flammigerus flammigerus)

Flame-rumped was seen in the Central Cordillera, but was mostly replaced by the lemon-rumped variety at Montezuma (on the Choco side).

FLAME-RUMPED TANAGER (LEMON-RUMPED) (Ramphocelus flammigerus icteronotus)

CRIMSON-BACKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus dimidiatus)

BLACK-AND-GOLD TANAGER (Bangsia melanochlamys) [E]

This endemic Bangsia tanager is the most difficult at Montezuma, but we managed good views at several individuals.

GOLD-RINGED TANAGER (Bangsia aureocincta) [E]

Fairly common in the higher forest at Montezuma.

HOODED MOUNTAIN TANAGER (Buthraupis montana)

Wow. What a sight was seeing a large group (flock?!) visit the Hacienda El Bosque feeders. I never knew that was possible!

GRASS-GREEN TANAGER (Chlorornis riefferii)

Small numbers at Rio Blanco and Montezuma.

LACRIMOSE MOUNTAIN TANAGER (Anisognathus lacrymosus)


BLUE-WINGED MOUNTAIN TANAGER (Anisognathus somptuosus)

This species is common at the KM 18 feeders, but they are so striking that every time they come in it makes your heart jump.


This Choco endemic, very similar to the previous species, is only found at Montezuma where we saw it pretty well.


PURPLISH-MANTLED TANAGER (Iridosornis porphyrocephalus)

A fairly common Choco endemic seen in the higher forest at Montezuma.

FAWN-BREASTED TANAGER (Pipraeidea melanonota)

GLISTENING-GREEN TANAGER (Chlorochrysa phoenicotis)

Several in flocks at Montezuma.

MULTICOLORED TANAGER (Chlorochrysa nitidissima) [E]

Probably on the most-wanted list of most folks. It thankfully puts on a show at several of the KM 18 feeders.

BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus)

PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum)

RUFOUS-THROATED TANAGER (Ixothraupis rufigula)

Another Choco endemic that we caught up with on our last day at Montezuma.

GOLDEN-NAPED TANAGER (Chalcothraupis ruficervix)

BLACK-CAPPED TANAGER (Stilpnia heinei)

SCRUB TANAGER (Stilpnia vitriolina)

BLUE-NECKED TANAGER (Stilpnia cyanicollis)

BLUE-AND-BLACK TANAGER (Tangara vassorii)

BERYL-SPANGLED TANAGER (Tangara nigroviridis)

Seen well at Rio Blanco and again at Montezuma.

METALLIC-GREEN TANAGER (Tangara labradorides)

BAY-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara gyrola)

SAFFRON-CROWNED TANAGER (Tangara xanthocephala)

GOLDEN TANAGER (Tangara arthus)

SILVER-THROATED TANAGER (Tangara icterocephala)

TURQUOISE DACNIS (Dacnis hartlaubi) [E]

GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza)

GOLDEN-COLLARED HONEYCREEPER (Iridophanes pulcherrimus)

A pair were seen at Montezuma This species is infrequently encountered so always a good find.

GUIRA TANAGER (Hemithraupis guira)

Also, infrequently encountered, but one was attacking the coffee maker at Tinamu Lodge!

CAPPED CONEBILL (Conirostrum albifrons)


We lucked out with having two cooperative individuals putting on a show at the hummingbird feeders way up the mountain at Montezuma. This endemic is only known from five localities in the Western Cordillera.

GLOSSY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa lafresnayii)

BLACK FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa humeralis)


INDIGO FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa indigotica)

RUSTY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa sittoides)

BLUISH FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa caerulescens)


White-sided and Masked were the two most common flowerpiercers found on this tour. Masked frequently visiting hummingbird feeders.

PLUSHCAP (Catamblyrhynchus diadema)

PLUMBEOUS SIERRA FINCH (Geospizopsis unicolor)

GRAY-HOODED BUSH TANAGER (Cnemoscopus rubrirostris)

Good numbers in the Rio Blanco flocks. They like to dip their tails as they forage.

SAFFRON FINCH (Sicalis flaveola)

BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina)


LARGE-BILLED SEED-FINCH (Sporophila crassirostris)

We called up one on the entrance road to Tinamu Lodge.

GRAY SEEDEATER (Sporophila intermedia)

YELLOW-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila nigricollis)

BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola)


BLACK-WINGED SALTATOR (Saltator atripennis)

A striking saltator that is seen at several spots on this tour.

STREAKED SALTATOR (Saltator striatipectus)


NINE-BANDED ARMADILLO (Dasypus novemcinctus)

RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis)

AMAZON DWARF SQUIRREL (Microsciurus flaviventer)

CENTRAL AMERICAN AGOUTI (Dasyprocta punctata)

CRAB-EATING FOX (Cerdocyon thous)

Totals for the tour: 373 bird taxa and 5 mammal taxa