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Field Guides Tour Report
Kania Private Colombia: Bogota, the Magdalena Valley, and Santa Marta 2017
Oct 7, 2017 to Oct 22, 2017
Mitch Lysinger

One of the many local and endemic birds that we saw was this Bay-headed Tanager, seen well at El Dorado. This green type is likely to be split out as a new species one day. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am certainly ready to jet back to Colombia for some serious birding fun as soon as possible! Our two week trip birding down the Magdalena Valley and up to the northern coast, and then into the Santa Marta mountains was just packed with rare and endemic species, and we only scratched the surface of what this mega-diverse country has to offer. Not only did we see more than our fair share of birds, but we enjoyed some hearty dining, and stayed in surprising comfort.

We started our trip with a morning visit to Chingaza National Park in the paramos above Bogota that produced specialties such as Bronze-tailed Thornbill, Pale-bellied Tapaculo, and Rufous-browed Conebill. We then rounded out the day with a stop at a special spot called "Observatorio de Colibries". I think we were all blown away with the variety of hummers at this magical place, with the likes of Glowing and Coppery-bellied Pufflegs, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Great Sapphirewing, Black and Green-tailed Trainbearers, and Blue-throated Starfrontlet.

Leaving the Bogota area, we headed straight for La Florida lake, where we landed fabulous views at Apolinar's Wren and Bogota Rail, not to mention Yellow-hooded Blackbird and Spot-flanked Gallinule. As if yesterday's hummers weren't enough, we bolted down into the Magdalena Valley to Jardin Encantado, where the clouds of hummers overwhelmed us, with Gorgeted Woodstar, Red-billed and Andean Emeralds, and Indigo-capped Hummingbird. We spent the next day and a half surveying some vanishing forest patches in the middle Magdalena Valley for the chance at some range restricted endemics such as Yellow-headed Brush-Finch and Tolima Dove; the latter being tricky, but some folks got onto it! We took the time for more wide-ranging species as well, getting looks at Russet-throated, Moustached, and Barred Puffbirds, Bar-crested Antshrike, White-bellied Antbird and, many others!

A stormy night in Mariquita downed trees along all routes to our next venue at Bellavista, so we cut any losses early on and forged ahead to the Rio Claro area, getting there with time to bird a bit before lunch, but it was in the afternoon when we really hit pay-dirt, turning up White-mantled Barbet and Sooty Ant-Tanager almost immediately, two major endemic targets. Our next couple of days birding around Rio Claro were rewarding and full of birds, and in some nice habitat. Chapman's Swift, Broad-billed Motmot, Cinnamon Woodpecker, Southern Bentbill, Striped Manakin, and Dusky-faced Tanager were all birds we enjoyed nice views of while combing the the area.

The Oilbird cave near Rio Claro that we visited was a real hit and a gorgeous spot, with some impressive rock formations. We also nabbed a few birds here that we had been after, like Orange-crowned Oriole, Black-bellied Wren, and Chestnut-headed Oropendola.

Our next two major venues focused on some key humid highland habitats on the west slope of the eastern cordillera, first at the Proaves Cerulean Warbler reserve adjacent to the larger Yariguies National Park, and then the Recurve-billed Bushbird reserve near the town of Ocana which has been whittled down to a few small remnant patches. We had grand success at both sites. Most importantly though, we got the bushbird for very nice views! Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Black Inca, Beautiful Woodpecker, Klages's and Parker's Antbirds, Turquoise Dacnis, Magdalena Tapaculo, Plumbeous-crowned Tyrannulet, Cinereous Becard, Black-chested Jay, Niceforo's Wren, Black-headed Tanager, and Moustached Brush-Finch all pop to mind as being some of our birding highlights in these areas.

The dry, semi-humid, and mangrove forests of the northern coast around the towns of Santa Marta and Riohacha provided a birding bang with, yet again, an almost completely new set of birds. Some of the highlights in this region were Chestnut-winged Chachalaca, Bare-eyed Pigeon, Ruby Topaz (an unbelievable male!), Sapphire-throated Hummingbird, Pied Puffbird, Chestnut Piculet, White-whiskered Spinetail, Vermilion Cardinal, Tocuyo Sparrow, and of course, those American Flamingos!

The Santa Marta mountains were without doubt the perfect highlight and end to a wonderful trip. El Dorado lodge is a gem, secluded up in the mountains above coastal Santa Marta, with a dreamy view of the lowlands down below. The birds weren't half bad either, with Band-tailed Guans dripping from the trees, and Black-fronted Wood-Quails traipsing about on one occasion. The hummingbird and fruit feeders were alive with goodies such as Lazuline Sabrewing and White-tailed Starfrontlet, and Santa Marta Brush-Finch and Blue-naped Chlorophonia, while the roadsides nearby harbored White-tipped Quetzal, Black-hooded Thrush, and "Bangs'" Wood-Wren. Our bumpy drive up to the lodge was a morning well spent, with Rosy Thrush-Tanager, Santa Marta Antbird, Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner, and Golden-breasted Fruiteater. We couldn't have picked a better morning for our assault on the San Lorenzo Ridge up above the lodge, and spent dawn admiring the two major snow-capped peaks - known as "Colon" and Bolivar - of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta before the likes of Black-cheeked Mountain-Tanagers, Rusty-headed Spinetail, Santa Marta Warbler, and Yellow-crowned Redstarts grabbed our attention. And we topped the whole morning off with awesome views at a worm-fed Santa Marta Antpitta! Also have to plug that wonderful afternoon when we arrived at the base of the Santa Martas for the first time when those Military Macaws cruising by left us mesmerized!

There are simply way too many birds to recount them all in this introduction, but this is what the list that follows is all about, so flip some pages and relive some birding memories! As always, we had a blast birding together - doesn't matter where we go! - and I look forward to the next time, wherever it may be. So until then, good birding!


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) – As with most tinamou encounters, this one was heard only. [*]
Anhimidae (Screamers)
NORTHERN SCREAMER (Chauna chavaria) – A quick roadside stop offered up some excellent scope studies of this chunky swamp dweller.
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
WHITE-FACED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna viduata)
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Anas discors)
RUDDY DUCK (RUDDY) (Oxyura jamaicensis andina) – Scoped at La Florida on the outskirts of Bogota.

Band-tailed Guan is common in the Santa Marta area; we saw many of them at El Dorado. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
CHESTNUT-WINGED CHACHALACA (Ortalis garrula) – A quick afternoon spin out along a side road in the Santa Marta area rewarded us with scope studies of this endemic. [E]
RUFOUS-VENTED CHACHALACA (RUFOUS-VENTED) (Ortalis ruficauda ruficrissa) – Very brief views east of Santa Marta, from the bus.
COLOMBIAN CHACHALACA (Ortalis columbiana) – We had to chase them a bit down the road from the Cerulean Warbler reserve, but we ended up with the looks we were hoping for. [E]
BAND-TAILED GUAN (Penelope argyrotis) – Dripping from the trees around the lodge at El Dorado.
ANDEAN GUAN (Penelope montagnii) – A few folks had them as we strolled down the road below the paramo on the first day near Chingaza National Park.
SICKLE-WINGED GUAN (Chamaepetes goudotii) – This blue-faced guan was common around the lodge at El Dorado lodge.
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
CRESTED BOBWHITE (Colinus cristatus) – An attractive little bobwhite that we had some fine views of in the Magdalena Valley.
BLACK-FRONTED WOOD-QUAIL (Odontophorus atrifrons) – Any seen wood-quail should be counted as a grand success. I could not believe our luck when a covey of about 5-6 birds came traipsing through the gardens at El Dorado lodge almost right at our feet... unbelievable.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
LEAST GREBE (Tachybaptus dominicus)
PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps)
Phoenicopteridae (Flamingos)
AMERICAN FLAMINGO (Phoenicopterus ruber) – Wonderful scope views out on the salt lagoon at Los Flamencos National Park in the Riohacha area.
Ciconiidae (Storks)
WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana)
Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis)
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
BARE-THROATED TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma mexicanum) – Apparently not a common bird in Colombia, but we lucked into one at Salamanca National Park in the mangrove forests during our visit.
COCOI HERON (Ardea cocoi)
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)

We had an amazing experience at Observatorio de Colibries, where we had very close views of such beauties as the Blue-throated Starfrontlet. This female is not as colorful as the male, but she posed nicely on her feeder, and she has a loveliness of her own. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor)
REDDISH EGRET (Egretta rufescens)
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata)
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus) – Denis S. had one!
BARE-FACED IBIS (Phimosus infuscatus)
BUFF-NECKED IBIS (Theristicus caudatus)
ROSEATE SPOONBILL (Platalea ajaja)
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes burrovianus) – Common over savanna land.
KING VULTURE (Sarcoramphus papa) – Nice views of this regal vulture species a few times in the Santa Marta area.
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
PEARL KITE (Gampsonyx swainsonii) – Seen a couple of times perched up, and a fairly common species, especially in drier habitats.
WHITE-TAILED KITE (Elanus leucurus) – Plenty of good studies as they soared and drifted about over open habitats.
SWALLOW-TAILED KITE (Elanoides forficatus)
BLACK HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus tyrannus) – Seen a couple of times, once even with an unidentifiable prey item.
BLACK-COLLARED HAWK (Busarellus nigricollis) – A handsome hawk that we saw in the littoral swampy areas west of Santa Marta.
SNAIL KITE (Rostrhamus sociabilis)
PLUMBEOUS KITE (Ictinia plumbea)
COMMON BLACK HAWK (Buteogallus anthracinus) – One swooped in for us at Salamanca National Park in the mangrove forests.
SAVANNA HAWK (Buteogallus meridionalis) – This large rufousy hawk is common in open areas, often perching up on power lines.
ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris) – Common; the one with the rufous panels in the wings.
GRAY-LINED HAWK (Buteo nitidus) – Joe and Cristian had the best views of one around Rio Claro.
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus) [b]
ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus) – One in flight over the dry forests near Riohacha. [b]
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
BOGOTA RAIL (Rallus semiplumbeus) – A very range restricted rail that we celebrated awesome views of when they finally came in to play at La Florida... we had them swimming across creeks and running across openings! [E]
SPOT-FLANKED GALLINULE (Porphyriops melanops) – Nice scope views out of Bogota at La Florida.
PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinicus) – I think I might have been the only one to catch a glimpse of this one at La Florida.
COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata)
AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana columbiana)

The Yellow-billed Cuckoo is a familiar bird to North Americans, and it was nice to see them in their winter habitat in Colombia. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

Aramidae (Limpkin)
LIMPKIN (Aramus guarauna) – Seen in the roadside marshes on our drive north to Santa Marta.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus) – Common in the saltwater lagoons around Riohacha and Salamanca.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis) – Very common almost anywhere there is cleared habitat!
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus) [b]
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
WATTLED JACANA (BLACK-BACKED) (Jacana jacana hypomelaena) – Common, but always a nice sight to see as it really is an attractive bird.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus) – We had a handful of shorebird migrants on the northern coast, but as we had our sights set on gunning for more of the "endemicy" species, we did not spend too much time weeding through them. [b]
WESTERN SANDPIPER (Calidris mauri) [b]
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) [b]
SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria) [b]
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca) [b]
WILLET (EASTERN) (Tringa semipalmata semipalmata) [b]
LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes) [b]
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla) – The common gull along the coast. [b]
LARGE-BILLED TERN (Phaetusa simplex) – We scoped a large group of this fancy tern species in the Salamanca area.
GULL-BILLED TERN (Gelochelidon nilotica) – Jenny had one! [b]
CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia) – We had this and the other tern species - and skimmers - in a large mixed group out on a flat during a roadside stop near Salamanca. [b]
COMMON TERN (Sterna hirundo) – A healthy number of them feeding about at Los Flamencos. [b]
ROYAL TERN (Thalasseus maximus) [b]
SANDWICH TERN (Thalasseus sandvicensis) [b]
BLACK SKIMMER (Rynchops niger)
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis) – In small numbers near water.
SCALED PIGEON (Patagioenas speciosa) – I'm still not sure what to say about that weird pigeon that we saw fly over in the highlands above Bogota on our first day; I am almost sure that the bird was scaled and had a red bill, but had to let it go as it was so seemingly out of range. At any rate, we caught up with them in more appropriate habitat later on in the trip in the Rio Claro and Minca areas where we enjoyed satisfying scope studies.
BARE-EYED PIGEON (Patagioenas corensis) – Common in the dry forests in the Riohacha area, and a real stunner.
BAND-TAILED PIGEON (WHITE-NECKED) (Patagioenas fasciata albilinea) – In small numbers in the highlands.
RUDDY PIGEON (Patagioenas subvinacea) – A few were seen well in the Cerulean Warbler reserve area a couple of times.
COMMON GROUND-DOVE (Columbina passerina)
RUDDY GROUND-DOVE (Columbina talpacoti) – Common along the roadsides, and around the lodge at the Cerulean Warbler reserve.
SCALED DOVE (Columbina squammata) – Common once we got up to the northern coastal areas where the habitat dries out.
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi) – The common Leptotila along roadsides.
TOLIMA DOVE (Leptotila conoveri) – Well, I sure wish we could have all rejoiced in the scope views that a few of us had at this very shy and beautiful, forest dove, but it didn't seem to be too happy with the big Swarovski lens staring at it, so slinked away all too quickly. [E]
LINED QUAIL-DOVE (Zentrygon linearis) – Most of us got onto the birds that were sneaking in to the corn feeders at El Dorado.
EARED DOVE (Zenaida auriculata) – Common in the highlands.

Ruddy Ground Dove was seen at many locations. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
GREATER ANI (Crotophaga major) – I'm used to seeing this large and colorful ani in swampy areas in Ecuador, but they seem to tolerate a variety of habitats here in Colombia.
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani) – The smaller ani of more humid habitats.
GROOVE-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga sulcirostris) – This one prefers drier biomes.
STRIPED CUCKOO (Tapera naevia) [*]
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana) – Seen well on many occasions.
YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO (Coccyzus americanus) – We had our first good looks at this familiar species at La Florida, out of Bogota. [b]
Strigidae (Owls)
TROPICAL SCREECH-OWL (Megascops choliba) – Heard at the Cerulean Warbler reserve; I had one right on the fruit feeders there during an evening stroll but it flew before I could sound the alarm! [*]
CINNAMON SCREECH-OWL (Megascops petersoni) – We heard them calling quite close at the edge of the Cerulean Warbler reserve, but alas, they kept their distance. [*]
SCREECH-OWL SP. (Megascops sp.) – Now officially known as the Santa Marta Screech-Owl, "Megascops gilesi", named after Robert Giles, who has been an avid supporter of ABC's conservation work in Colombia for years. Well, if the rain ever effected us on this trip, it would have to have been during our attempt to see this endemic at El Dorado behind the lodge. We got a pair calling without too much trouble, but just at the most crucial moment, it started to rain... and nixed the effort.
CRESTED OWL (Lophostrix cristata) [*]
SPECTACLED OWL (Pulsatrix perspicillata) [*]
FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium brasilianum) [*]
MOTTLED OWL (Ciccaba virgata) [*]
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis) – Seen flying over at dusk in the Magdalena Valley.
BAND-WINGED NIGHTJAR (Systellura longirostris) – Seen by a few of us on the way up to the San Lorenzo Ridge pre-dawn.
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis) [*]
LYRE-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Uropsalis lyra) – A few of us diehard souls spotlighted a long-trained male up at the edge of the Cerulean Warbler reserve before we made the almost hour-long descent on foot through the dark.

The handsome Russet-throated Puffbird is common in riparian habitats. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

Apodidae (Swifts)
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris) – The common, large swift that we saw well a few times.
CHAPMAN'S SWIFT (Chaetura chapmani) – We had a fleet of this confusing species come cruising right overhead at Rio Blanco. This is a difficult genus to identify in general, but we had the clues of this one's flight style, as well as its distinctive calls, which are so important. This was actually one of my favorite birds of the trip as I had not seen it yet, and wondered what it would be like in life!
SHORT-TAILED SWIFT (Chaetura brachyura) – A few seen flying over as we made our way to Rio Blanco; this one has a very distinctive shape.
BAND-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura spinicaudus) – Not seen as a group, but some folks had good looks at some birds with distinctive whitish rump bands.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora) – Always a glorious sight!
RUFOUS-BREASTED HERMIT (Glaucis hirsutus) – Seen well along the trails at Rio Claro.
GREEN HERMIT (Phaethornis guy) – Most common at the Cerulean Warbler reserve, where we had them buzzing about.
LONG-BILLED HERMIT (Phaethornis longirostris) – Clean looks at this hermit species, especially the one that hovered right in our faces along the stream at Rio Claro.
PALE-BELLIED HERMIT (Phaethornis anthophilus) – Scoped at a lek right along the roadside at Rio Claro.
STRIPE-THROATED HERMIT (Phaethornis striigularis) – We had this tiny hummer around Rio Claro.
SOOTY-CAPPED HERMIT (Phaethornis augusti) – This one hit the flowers at El Dorado, but I might have been the only one to see it... anybody else?
BROWN VIOLETEAR (Colibri delphinae) – Seen at the feeders at various sites .
LESSER VIOLETEAR (Colibri cyanotus) – The Green Violetear was recently split into two species; Lesser Violetear covers almost all of the two species' range as the Mexican Violetear can only be found in a small area.
SPARKLING VIOLETEAR (Colibri coruscans) – Common in many areas of South America. This one is larger than the previous species, and has a blue chin and belly.
PURPLE-CROWNED FAIRY (Heliothryx barroti) – Some got a look at this immaculate species at Rio Claro.
RUBY-TOPAZ HUMMINGBIRD (Chrysolampis mosquitus) – I think we were all blown away by the looks that we had of this gem of a hummingbird. This is a hummer that has side-stepped me personally for decades! After missing it at Jardin Encantado, we saw it in flying colors near Riohacha, when we found a gleaming male feeding on flowers and perching for scope studies in the Riohacha area. It was also a kick to see it harassing that female, which is what called our attention to it in the first place!
BLACK-THROATED MANGO (Anthracothorax nigricollis) – Several fine studies of this distinctive hummer.
SPECKLED HUMMINGBIRD (Adelomyia melanogenys) – Seen up in the Cerulean Warbler reserve.
BLACK-TAILED TRAINBEARER (Lesbia victoriae) – Compared to the next species, this one has the longer bill, and longer tail.
GREEN-TAILED TRAINBEARER (Lesbia nuna) – The smaller of the two trainbearer species. It was a treat to have had the opportunity to see this one right next to its close cousin, the Black-tailed, at the "Observatorio de Colibries".
BRONZE-TAILED THORNBILL (Chalcostigma heteropogon) – Fantastic scope views up in the paramo above Bogota on our first day.
TYRIAN METALTAIL (Metallura tyrianthina) – The bronzy-tailed form found throughout most of the Andes.
TYRIAN METALTAIL (SANTA MARTA) (Metallura tyrianthina districta) – The blue-tailed form endemic to Santa Marta; this one was quite common higher up around the San Lorenzo Ridge.

Sparkling Violetear is such a good name for this bird! They really do gleam! Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

GLOWING PUFFLEG (Eriocnemis vestita) – Fabulous studies at close range on our first day at Observatorio de Colibries. That glittering green rump really stood out!
COPPERY-BELLIED PUFFLEG (Eriocnemis cupreoventris) – Some nice males at Observatorio de Colibries of this near endemic.
SHINING SUNBEAM (Aglaeactis cupripennis) – Nice views at paramo edge on our first day around Chingaza N.P.
BLACK INCA (Coeligena prunellei) – Point-blank views at the feeders inside the forest at the Cerulean Warbler reserve... a very cleanly marked hummer. [E]
WHITE-TAILED STARFRONTLET (Coeligena phalerata) – After some quality time at El Dorado's feeders, we finally nailed some killer views at a male; interesting how he tended to come in a dusk. [E]
BLUE-THROATED STARFRONTLET (Coeligena helianthea) – Only feet away at the feeders at Observatorio de Colibries. A stunning hummingbird.
SWORD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD (Ensifera ensifera) – ... and Observatorio de Colibries kept producing; they even had this king-of-hummers coming in to the feeders every few minutes!
GREAT SAPPHIREWING (Pterophanes cyanopterus) – Yep, you guessed it: Observatorio de Colibries where we had males and females!
BUFF-TAILED CORONET (Boissonneaua flavescens) – Common at the feeders at the Cerulean Warbler reserve right around the cabins.
BOOTED RACKET-TAIL (Ocreatus underwoodii) – Also right around the lodge at the Cerulean Warbler reserve. Tennis anyone?
GREEN-CROWNED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa jacula) – A chunky hummer; also regular at the feeders at the Cerulean Warbler reserve.
WHITE-BELLIED WOODSTAR (Chaetocercus mulsant) – We had our first views at Observatorio de Colibries of this bumblebee-like hummer.
GORGETED WOODSTAR (Chaetocercus heliodor) – This one was present and seen well amongst the clouds of hummingbirds at Jardin Encantado! This one is really tiny!
SANTA MARTA WOODSTAR (Chaetocercus astreans) – This Santa Marta endemic seems to be fairly common in the hills around and below El Dorado. One of our drivers pointed out a perched male for scope views on our way up to the lodge. [E]
RED-BILLED EMERALD (Chlorostilbon gibsoni) – The common Chlorostilbon emerald in the Magdalena Valley; we had them from all angles at Jardin Encantado.
COPPERY EMERALD (Chlorostilbon russatus) – Denis K. and I had quick looks at one as it fed along the roadside on our way up to El Dorado lodge.
SHORT-TAILED EMERALD (Chlorostilbon poortmani) – Quick looks at one near the Bushbird reserve.
LAZULINE SABREWING (Campylopterus falcatus) – Regular at El Dorado's feeders.
WHITE-VENTED PLUMELETEER (Chalybura buffonii) – Common at various sites throughout the trip.
BRONZE-TAILED PLUMELETEER (Chalybura urochrysia) – Scoped at Rio Claro where we were able to discern those pink feet.
CROWNED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania colombica) – Common throughout the trip.
BUFFY HUMMINGBIRD (Leucippus fallax) – The main hummer out in the scrub forests near Riohacha, where we had some scope studies.
ANDEAN EMERALD (Amazilia franciae) – Seen first at Jardin Encantado; the one with the clean white underside.
BLUE-CHESTED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia amabilis) – Fairly common in the Rio Claro area, where we had some nice looks at males.
STEELY-VENTED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia saucerottei) – Most common in the Santa Marta mountains, where we saw them daily.
INDIGO-CAPPED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia cyanifrons) – That blue cap really stands out when seen well! We had this Colombian endemic well at Jardin Encantado and at the Cerulean Warbler reserve's feeders. [E]
RUFOUS-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia tzacatl) – Throughout!
SAPPHIRE-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Lepidopyga coeruleogularis) – Cristian spotted this mangrove forest dweller for us at the eleventh hour before we pulled out of Salamanca N.P. Many experts now consider this and the Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird to be conspecific, but more study is needed. Our scope views produced all of the color details.
SHINING-GREEN HUMMINGBIRD (Lepidopyga goudoti) – Seen in small numbers, first at Jardin Encantado when one popped in briefly.

The view from San Lorenzo Ridge at dawn. Photo by participant Diann Bilderback.

Trogonidae (Trogons)
WHITE-TIPPED QUETZAL (Pharomachrus fulgidus) – Found only in the Santa Marta and Perija ranges here in Colombia. We made a strong push to find this one up along the road above El Dorado, and scored big-time with scope views of a male!
CRESTED QUETZAL (Pharomachrus antisianus) – Quick but good looks at a female up at the Cerulean Warbler reserve edge.
WHITE-TAILED TROGON (Trogon chionurus) – Common at Rio Claro.
COLLARED TROGON (Trogon collaris) [*]
MASKED TROGON (Trogon personatus sanctaemartae) – We saw the Santa Marta form around El Dorado.
Momotidae (Motmots)
WHOOPING MOTMOT (Momotus subrufescens) – Seen well - scope studies - during an afternoon outing near the city of Santa Marta to look for the Chestnut-winged Chachalaca.
ANDEAN MOTMOT (Momotus aequatorialis) – Scope studies along the Valle Hermosa road above Libano.
BROAD-BILLED MOTMOT (Electron platyrhynchum) – Scope views right from the dining room at Rio Claro!
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata)
AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona) – Seen in the swamplands during our long drive north to Santa Marta.
GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana) – We had one near Hato Lagoon.
AMERICAN PYGMY KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle aenea) – Fabulous scope views of this tiny kingfisher at Salamanca N.P.
Bucconidae (Puffbirds)
PIED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus tectus) – As common as I have ever seen them anywhere; Salamanca N.P.
BARRED PUFFBIRD (Nystalus radiatus) – We had our first views of this boldly patterned puffbird at Hato Lagoon when a pair sat right overhead.
RUSSET-THROATED PUFFBIRD (Hypnelus ruficollis) – Fairly common in more riparian habitats; we had our first views of one along the roadside at Hato Lagoon. To me this one looks like a feathery lizard...
WHITE-WHISKERED PUFFBIRD (Malacoptila panamensis) – Excellent scope views of a pair in the Rio Claro area.
MOUSTACHED PUFFBIRD (Malacoptila mystacalis) – We found one above Libano. It was a bit jumpy, but we persisted, and nailed scope views for all!
Galbulidae (Jacamars)
RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda) – Most common along the northern coast, where we ran into them numerous times.
Capitonidae (New World Barbets)
WHITE-MANTLED BARBET (Capito hypoleucus) – We started one afternoon off with a bang along a side road near Rio Claro when we almost immediately tracked down a calling family group of this endemic barbet for scope views. [E]

This Tropical Mockingbird was part of a gang of these fiesty birds we encountered at Jardin Encantado. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

Ramphastidae (Toucans)
EMERALD TOUCANET (Aulacorhynchus prasinus) [*]
CRIMSON-RUMPED TOUCANET (Aulacorhynchus haematopygus) – Overall fairly common in the Magdalena Valley.
COLLARED ARACARI (Pteroglossus torquatus) – Common in humid tropical zones.
YELLOW-THROATED TOUCAN (CHESTNUT-MANDIBLED) (Ramphastos ambiguus swainsonii) – Rio Claro. Note that there has been a lump of Black-mandibled and Chestnut-mandibled Toucans, producing this new name as result.
KEEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos sulfuratus) – Right over us on the slopes of Santa Marta as we made our way up to El Dorado.
CHANNEL-BILLED TOUCAN (CITRON-THROATED) (Ramphastos vitellinus citreolaemus) – We saw this citron-throated form along a side road near Rio Claro.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
SCALED PICULET (Picumnus squamulatus) – This distinctively patterned piculet was seen well a couple of times up on the northern coast.
OLIVACEOUS PICULET (Picumnus olivaceus) – Denis K. spotted our first one during a lunch stop on our second day around Tabacal.
CHESTNUT PICULET (Picumnus cinnamomeus) – Staggering studies of this dry forest species in the Riohacha area. It took a little work to tease them in for everybody, but we all ended up with memorable studies that just blew us away.
BEAUTIFUL WOODPECKER (Melanerpes pulcher) – I thought we were on track to miss this country endemic - it just wasn't showing at its usual haunts- but Cristian really came through at the last possible chance for it near the Cerulean Warbler reserve when he excitedly pointed out a pair to us. [E]
RED-CROWNED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes rubricapillus) – Common throughout!
RED-RUMPED WOODPECKER (Veniliornis kirkii) – Common in the Rio Claro area, especially with the flocks.
GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus) – A well-marked woodpecker that seems to do well in many habitat types.
SPOT-BREASTED WOODPECKER (Colaptes punctigula) – Fairly common on the lower slops in the Magdalena Valley. Similar to the previous species, but "replaces" the barring underneath with spots.
CINNAMON WOODPECKER (Celeus loricatus) – Fine studies at this beauty of a woodpecker at Rio Claro.
LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus) – In the same genus as the Pileated Woodpecker that we all know from up north. We saw this one well a number of times for good looks.
CRIMSON-CRESTED WOODPECKER (Campephilus melanoleucos) – First seen at Rio Claro; always a welcome sight!
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara cheriway) – Seen on most days along roadsides.
YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima chimachima) – Also common along roadsides and in riparian habitats.
LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans) [*]
AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius) – The resident form that we saw a few times.
MERLIN (Falco columbarius) – A female perched up for us in the dry forests near Riohacha.
APLOMADO FALCON (Falco femoralis) – This long-tailed falcon was seen a couple of times during the trip, but first - and scoped - on the hillsides above our lodge at the Cerulean Warbler reserve.
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – We had one on the northern coast when it came flying by.

Coppery-bellied Puffleg is a near endemic that we saw really well at Observatorio de Colibries. This female shows the puffs well, and you can see a hint of copper on her belly. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
BARRED PARAKEET (Bolborhynchus lineola) [*]
ORANGE-CHINNED PARAKEET (Brotogeris jugularis) – Common throughout the lower slopes of the Magdalena Valley and up into the northern coast.
SAFFRON-HEADED PARROT (Pyrilia pyrilia) – We heard them close by, but never managed to find an angle to see them... should have seen this! [*]
RED-BILLED PARROT (Pionus sordidus saturatus) – Fly overs in the Santa Marta mountains.
BLUE-HEADED PARROT (Pionus menstruus) – Abundant in the Rio Claro and Santa Marta mountain areas.
YELLOW-CROWNED PARROT (Amazona ochrocephala) – Common in the flatter areas of the Magdalena Valley such as around Hato Lagoon where we had them in decent numbers one afternoon. This species' "oh-wow" call makes it readily identifiable.
ORANGE-WINGED PARROT (Amazona amazonica) – Seen well in flight during our drive to Rio Claro.
SCALY-NAPED PARROT (Amazona mercenarius) – Flyovers on our last day as we made our way down from El Dorado.
GREEN-RUMPED PARROTLET (Forpus passerinus) – Flybys in the Riohacha area.
SPECTACLED PARROTLET (Forpus conspicillatus) – An abundant parrotlet that we saw daily in the Magdalena Valley.
SANTA MARTA PARAKEET (Pyrrhura viridicata) – Geez... would have been nice if the driver in the last car had advised us beforehand that he had stakeout roost on the way up to San Lorenzo Ridge! Well, at least the guys bringing up there got it. Otherwise, we only ever just heard birds flying out of sight. [E]
BROWN-THROATED PARAKEET (Eupsittula pertinax) – Common in the drier habitats of the northern coast.
BLUE-AND-YELLOW MACAW (Ara ararauna) – It was quite a nice spectacle when a group of six came flying by on our journey to Rio Claro!
MILITARY MACAW (Ara militaris) – Possibly one of the most enjoyable events of the trip came late one afternoon on our way to Minca when about 40-50 birds made their way up the valleys and into the hills of the Santa Marta mountains to their roosts... big fun!
CHESTNUT-FRONTED MACAW (Ara severus) – Some folks got them perched at a roadside lunch stop.
SCARLET-FRONTED PARAKEET (Psittacara wagleri) – Flyovers in the Libano area.
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
RUFOUS-RUMPED ANTWREN (Euchrepomis callinota) – Fabulous views at this small canopy antwren - rufous rump and all! - with a flock at the Cerulean Warbler reserve.
BLACK-CRESTED ANTSHRIKE (Sakesphorus canadensis) – Joe spotted this one for us - a male - in the mangroves at Salamanca N.P.
BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus) – Similar to the previous species, but paler in general, and tends be more restricted to riparian habitats. We had a cooperative pair at Hato Lagoon.
BAR-CRESTED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus multistriatus) – We enjoyed our first views of this boldly patterned antshrike in the forest patches above Libano.
BLACK-CROWNED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus atrinucha) [*]
UNIFORM ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus unicolor) [*]
BLACK-BACKED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus melanonotus) – Awesome views of a responsive pair in the forest below Minca one afternoon... a really nice looking antshrike.
RECURVE-BILLED BUSHBIRD (Clytoctantes alixii) – Probably the bird of the trip with respect to rarity and suspense! It took us an entire day to to strategize, find a cooperative pair, and reel them in, but it was all worth it when that pair came blasting in as the light started to fade in the forest... what a thrill to see such a range restricted species that was only fairly recently re-discovered after years being lost to science!
PLAIN ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus mentalis) – Most folks saw them along the Lengerke trail above the Cerulean Warbler lodge.
PACIFIC ANTWREN (Myrmotherula pacifica) – Great looks at a pair right along the Rio Claro River.
SLATY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula schisticolor) – We had a pair with an understory flock along the Lengerke trail.
WHITE-FRINGED ANTWREN (NORTHERN) (Formicivora grisea intermedia) – Good looks at a pair along the northern coast near Santa Marta.
KLAGES'S ANTBIRD (Drymophila klagesi) – The Long-tailed Antbird complex went four ways, this form occurring in NE Colombia and W Venezuela. This one prefers bamboo as do many of its relatives, and we had some pretty good views of one as it sneaked through the understory at the Bushbird reserve.
SANTA MARTA ANTBIRD (Drymophila hellmayri) – Another of the Long-tailed Antbird complex, this one is a country endemic restricted to the slopes of the Santa Marta mountains; curiously, this one does not seem to have a predilection for bamboo. [E]
PARKER'S ANTBIRD (Cercomacroides parkeri) – It took us time to dig this endemic out - had to find a second pair as the first ones were really reluctant to show - but we capped the search off with excellent views at a pair as they skulked through the undergrowth at the Cerulean Warbler reserve (along the Lengerke trail). [E]
DUSKY ANTBIRD (Cercomacroides tyrannina) [*]

The Bananaquit is a common inhabitant of the American tropics, but they are still fun to see. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

WHITE-BELLIED ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza longipes) – Scope views of at least one of a pair out at Hato Lagoon helped kick off our antbird list.
CHESTNUT-BACKED ANTBIRD (Poliocrania exsul) – Wonderful studies of them at Rio Claro.
Grallariidae (Antpittas)
SANTA MARTA ANTPITTA (Grallaria bangsi) – Long live the worm-fed antpittas! It took us about a solid hour of waiting for it to emerge out to the feeding site from its dark understory haunts, but it did, and we had sensational views. [E]
WHITE-BELLIED ANTPITTA (Grallaria hypoleuca) [*]
RUFOUS ANTPITTA (Grallaria rufula) [*]
RUFOUS ANTPITTA (SIERRA NEVADA) (Grallaria rufula spatiator) [*]
RUSTY-BREASTED ANTPITTA (RUSTY-BREASTED) (Grallaricula ferrugineipectus ferrugineipectus) – Seen well by some folks during a stop on our way up to El Dorado, but it was jumpy.
Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)
SANTA MARTA TAPACULO (Scytalopus sanctaemartae) – It was so close, but alas I think I might have been the only one to get a glimpse. [E*]
WHITE-CROWNED TAPACULO (Scytalopus atratus nigricans) [*]
MAGDALENA TAPACULO (Scytalopus rodriguezi) – We saw this Colombian endemic tapaculo surprisingly well along the Lengerke trail in the Cerulean Warbler reserve. Luckily, ours was a responsive one and even dared to stand on the edge of the trail at one point. [E]
BROWN-RUMPED TAPACULO (Scytalopus latebricola) – Endemic to the higher elevation, temperate forests in the Santa Marta mountains. Some of us had some reasonably good naked eye views when one crept into only a few feet away! [E]
PALE-BELLIED TAPACULO (Scytalopus griseicollis) – Also known as Matorral tapaculo, this near endemic is found right up at treeline and even into paramo grasses. This was one of our first big scores of the trip when we called one through a couple of openings in the vegetation a few times.
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (Sittasomus griseicapillus) – This small woodcreeper was seen right around the lodge at the Cerulean Warbler reserve.
PLAIN-BROWN WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla fuliginosa) [*]
WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Glyphorynchus spirurus) – Rio Claro area.

We had to wait a while for this Santa Marta Antpitta to make an appearance, but it was well worth it! Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

BLACK-BANDED WOODCREEPER (Dendrocolaptes picumnus) – This large woodcreeper put in an appearance as we made our way up to El Dorado.
STRONG-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus) – Heard from the lodge at El Dorado. [*]
OLIVE-BACKED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus triangularis) – One with a small flock at the Bushbird reserve.
STRAIGHT-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Dendroplex picus) – A very distinctive woodcreeper with a whitish, pointy bill. This is a common bird in riparian, tropical zones.
STREAK-HEADED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii) – Common with the flocks in the Rio Claro area.
MONTANE WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger sanctaemartae) – We had the Santa Marta subspecies with the flocks around El Dorado.
PLAIN XENOPS (Xenops minutus) – A very uniform xenops species; we had them with the flocks at Rio Claro and in the Santa Martas.
STREAKED XENOPS (Xenops rutilans) – Much streakier than the previous, as its name strongly suggests! A pair of these guys were seen running with an insectivorous flock above Libano.
PALE-LEGGED HORNERO (CARIBBEAN) (Furnarius leucopus longirostris) – Most common in the drier forests of the northern coast.
BUFF-FRONTED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Philydor rufum) – One responsive bird with an insectivorous flock along the Lengerke trail at the Cerulean Warbler reserve.
MONTANE FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Anabacerthia striaticollis) – Right in the same flock as the previous species, among other places.
RUDDY FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Clibanornis rubiginosus) – This one sure knew its distance so as not to be seen! [*]
SANTA MARTA FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Clibanornis rufipectus) – Endemic to the lower slopes of the Santa Marta mountains, where they sneak about in the undergrowth of secondary forest. We called one in for some nice passes on our way up to El Dorado. [E]
FLAMMULATED TREEHUNTER (Thripadectes flammulatus) – Glimpsed flying across the track up at the San Lorenzo Ridge.
STREAK-CAPPED TREEHUNTER (Thripadectes virgaticeps) – A new bird for our checklist, which sort of surprised me. We called one in above Libano for good views.
SPOTTED BARBTAIL (Premnoplex brunnescens) – We got one to pop in for decent views in the understory at El Dorado.
WHITE-BROWED SPINETAIL (Hellmayrea gularis) – Excellent views on our first day at Chingaza.
MANY-STRIPED CANASTERO (Asthenes flammulata) [*]
WHITE-CHINNED THISTLETAIL (Asthenes fuliginosa) – Another furnariid that we had in the highlands at Chingaza.
STREAK-CAPPED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca hellmayri) – Another Santa Marta endemic, this arboreal spinetail is common around El Dorado. [E]
YELLOW-CHINNED SPINETAIL (Certhiaxis cinnamomeus) – Good looks at this swamp-dwelling spinetail at Hato Lagoon.
SILVERY-THROATED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis subpudica) – Cristian drove us right up to a pair of this range restricted endemic in the hills above Bogota. [E]

Indigo-capped Hummingbird is a Colombian endemic. We got great views of these beauties at Jardin Encantado and at the Cerulean Warbler Reserve. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

PALE-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis albescens) – Responsive and visible on our side road near Rio Claro.
RUSTY-HEADED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis fuscorufa) – Common up at the San Lorenzo Ridge, but a devil to see well at times. Luckily we found some very responsive birds that dared to peak out of the vegetation. [E]
WHITE-WHISKERED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis candei) – A stunning spinetail of the dry scrub forests around Riohacha, and we had some first rate views.
STRIPE-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis cinnamomea) – Common in the understory at the Bushbird reserve; we had them right at our feet at one point as we waited for the bushbird to do react in our favor.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
BROWN-CAPPED TYRANNULET (Ornithion brunneicapillus) – Common with canopy flocks at Rio Claro.
SOUTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (Camptostoma obsoletum) – Riohacha area.
WHITE-THROATED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus leucophrys) – Seen in the treeline forests of both Chingaza and Santa Marta; this race sports the yellowish wing bars.
YELLOW-CROWNED TYRANNULET (Tyrannulus elatus) – Common at Rio Claro.
FOREST ELAENIA (Myiopagis gaimardii) – Common with the flocks at Rio Claro, especially by voice.
GREENISH ELAENIA (Myiopagis viridicata)
YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster) – The common elaenia overall, and the one with the big bushy crest.
MOUNTAIN ELAENIA (Elaenia frantzii) – We had our best views out of Bogota around La Florida.
STREAK-NECKED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes striaticollis) – We saw this streaky flycatcher on our morning up at the San Lorenzo Ridge.
OLIVE-STRIPED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes olivaceus) – Replaces the previous species at lower elevations such as around the lodge at El Dorado.
OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus) – Common around Rio Claro.
SEPIA-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon amaurocephalus) – In the forest patches above Minca as we made our way to El Dorado.
SLATY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon superciliaris) – Common with the mixed flocks, especially at Rio Claro.
VARIEGATED BRISTLE-TYRANT (Phylloscartes poecilotis) – We hit some nice flycatcher flocks at the Cerulean Warbler reserve with a pair of this one showing well a couple of times after some perseverance; the one with the orangey wing bars and pale mandible.
ANTIOQUIA BRISTLE-TYRANT (Phylloscartes lanyoni) – We heard them around us enough times that I really thought we deserved to have seen them, but they managed to slip away each time; might have been with young, as many other species were. [*]
RUFOUS-BROWED TYRANNULET (Phylloscartes superciliaris) – Pretty good looks at one with a canopy flock along the Lengerke trail.
SOOTY-HEADED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias griseiceps) – Seen very well at Rio Claro when we brought in a pair.
BLACK-CAPPED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias nigrocapillus) – We saw the Santa Marta form up at San Lorenzo Ridge, which is quite different from birds found in the Andes; this one appears less cleanly marked.
PLUMBEOUS-CROWNED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias plumbeiceps) – Very vocal and active with an insectivorous flock along the Lengerke trail at the Cerulean Warbler reserve, and we enjoyed some fine views of them.
GOLDEN-FACED TYRANNULET (COOPMANS'S) (Zimmerius chrysops minimus) – One perched up for scope studies during our ascent to El Dorado; note that this is a recent split from Golden-faced Tyrannulet.
GOLDEN-FACED TYRANNULET (GOLDEN-FACED) (Zimmerius chrysops chrysops) – Common on the slopes of the Andes.

Birding at Chingaza was a bit chilly, but we found some great birds up in the paramos. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

NORTHERN SCRUB-FLYCATCHER (Sublegatus arenarum) – Common in the scrub west of Riohacha.
SLENDER-BILLED TYRANNULET (Inezia tenuirostris) – Plenty of them in the scrub forests near Riohacha.
PALE-TIPPED TYRANNULET (Inezia caudata) – Seems to not tolerate the disturbance of the understory as the previous species, but we managed to find some better preserved habitat at Los Flamencos and dug one of these guys out for nice views.
ORNATE FLYCATCHER (Myiotriccus ornatus) – A beautiful little flycatcher that we had at the Cerulean Warbler reserve along the Lengerke trail.
BLACK-CAPPED PYGMY-TYRANT (Myiornis atricapillus) – Passerines don't get any smaller! We had great looks at a pair along a trail at Rio Claro.
SCALE-CRESTED PYGMY-TYRANT (Lophotriccus pileatus) – Good looks at the Cerulean Warbler reserve.
PALE-EYED PYGMY-TYRANT (Atalotriccus pilaris) – Prefers drier habitats, such as at Hato Lagoon and the Riohacha area.
SOUTHERN BENTBILL (Oncostoma olivaceum) – The bizarre call of this flycatcher is very distinctive and draws attention to this diminutive bird. We had them right at eye level in the Rio Claro area.
PEARLY-VENTED TODY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus margaritaceiventer) – Also in the scrub forests near Riohacha.
BLACK-THROATED TODY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus granadensis) – Seemed to be quite common in the Santa Martas at middle and higher elevations.
SLATE-HEADED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus sylvia) [*]
COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum)

We had simply stunning views of a pair of Golden-fronted Redstarts near Chingaza. Here, one of them sings its heart out! Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

BLACK-HEADED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum nigriceps) – Awesome scope studies at Rio Claro.
YELLOW-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias assimilis) – With the flocks at Rio Claro.
YELLOW-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias flaviventris) – Along our side road for the Chestnut-winged Chachalaca near Santa Marta.
RUDDY-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Terenotriccus erythrurus) [*]
CINNAMON FLYCATCHER (Pyrrhomyias cinnamomeus) – This pretty little flycatcher was seen at the Cerulean Warbler reserve.
BRAN-COLORED FLYCATCHER (Myiophobus fasciatus)
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Contopus cooperi) [b]
WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus sordidulus) [b]
EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus virens) – We had both migrant wood-pewee species, this being the most common by far on our route. [b]
ACADIAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax virescens) – Seen and heard a few times. [b]
WILLOW FLYCATCHER (Empidonax traillii) – One bird below the Cerulean Warbler reserve. [b]
BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans)
VERMILION FLYCATCHER (Pyrocephalus rubinus) – You can't ever go wrong with a good solid splash of red and black!
PIED WATER-TYRANT (Fluvicola pica) – Diane spotted a pair of this one for us at Hato Lagoon as they foraged out over a small lake.
WHITE-HEADED MARSH TYRANT (Arundinicola leucocephala) – Denis S. was the only one to catch this one - a male - as it moved out over a marsh on our drive north to Santa Marta.
YELLOW-BELLIED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca diadema) – Good looks up near the San Lorenzo Ridge at a pair moving about in the understory.
BROWN-BACKED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca fumicolor) – Seen on our first day in the highlands at Chingaza.
LONG-TAILED TYRANT (Colonia colonus) – Quality views at Rio Claro of this peculiar flycatcher species.
CATTLE TYRANT (Machetornis rixosa) – Common and spreading.
BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus) [*]
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer)
VENEZUELAN FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus venezuelensis) – One bird in the lower story of mangrove-edge forest at Salamanca N.P. was a bonus. Myiarchus identification can be dicey, but the calls really give each species in this genus away.
PANAMA FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus panamensis) – Seen (and heard) a few times over the course of the trip.
APICAL FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus apicalis) – This one really gave us the slip out at Hato Lagoon; I thought we had this one in the bag when we heard it, but then it fell silent and never seemed to sneak in. [E]
PALE-EDGED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cephalotes) – A couple of views along the Lengerke trail beefed up our Myiarchus list.
BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus) – We nailed at least one in the scrub forests near Riohacha.
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua)
RUSTY-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes cayanensis)
SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis)
GOLDEN-CROWNED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes chrysocephalus) – Good looks at this large and distinctive flycatcher on our last afternoon around El Dorado lodge.

The widespread Shiny Cowbird is an attractive bird, despite its breeding habits. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

STREAKED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes maculatus)
SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes luteiventris) [b]
PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius)
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)
EASTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus tyrannus) [b]
GRAY KINGBIRD (Tyrannus dominicensis) [b]
FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Tyrannus savana) [a]
Cotingidae (Cotingas)
GOLDEN-BREASTED FRUITEATER (Pipreola aureopectus) – Good looks at females in the El Dorado area, but the males were a bit shyer, although some folks did catch glimpses of them. And hey, any fruiteater is a good fruiteater!
RED-CRESTED COTINGA (Ampelion rubrocristatus) – Al spotted this one for us up at Chingaza.
Pipridae (Manakins)
GOLDEN-WINGED MANAKIN (Masius chrysopterus) – Nice views at a male visiting a fruiting tree along the Lengerke trail. Those flashes of yellow on jet black were striking.
WHITE-BEARDED MANAKIN (Manacus manacus) – Common around Rio Claro.
STRIPED MANAKIN (WESTERN) (Machaeropterus regulus striolatus) – It took some work to pin that active male down - these guys are almost always very active - but we all ended up with scope views at what I think is one of the most beautiful manakin species; Rio Claro area.
GOLDEN-HEADED MANAKIN (Ceratopipra erythrocephala) – Dull female birds on two consecutive days at Rio Claro.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
BLACK-CROWNED TITYRA (Tityra inquisitor) – The one with the all black crown and bill that we spotted perched up on our last morning at Rio Claro.
MASKED TITYRA (Tityra semifasciata) – This one has the pink in the bill; we saw them a couple of times during the trip.
CINEREOUS BECARD (Pachyramphus rufus) – A very cooperative pair right around the cabins at the Cerulean Warbler reserve lodge.
CINNAMON BECARD (Pachyramphus cinnamomeus) – This richly colored becard is common with the flocks at Rio Claro, where its voice is heard throughout the day.
WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus) – Some got onto the pair that foraged with a large mixed flock along the Lengerke trail.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
RUFOUS-BROWED PEPPERSHRIKE (Cyclarhis gujanensis) – Common in humid and dry habitats alike.
SCRUB GREENLET (Hylophilus flavipes) – Common and vocal on the lower and drier slopes of the Magdalena Valley.
YELLOW-BROWED SHRIKE-VIREO (Vireolanius eximius) – Our last real important find in the Cerulean Warbler reserve area. Cristian had a pair of these guys tied down on our way down to San Vicente, and it only took a few minutes to get one to come in right overhead!
GOLDEN-FRONTED GREENLET (Pachysylvia aurantiifrons) [*]
RUFOUS-NAPED GREENLET (Pachysylvia semibrunnea) – A handsome greenlet that we saw exceptionally well with the flocks above Libano.
YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons) – Denis K. had one!
BROWN-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo leucophrys) – Fairly common with the flocks around El Dorado.
RED-EYED VIREO (Vireo olivaceus)
YELLOW-GREEN VIREO (Vireo flavoviridis) – Seen on the lower slopes of the Santa Martas. [b]
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
BLACK-CHESTED JAY (Cyanocorax affinis) – A large, common, and noisy jay that we first around Rio Claro.
GREEN JAY (Cyanocorax yncas) – Common at the bushbird reserve, where they gave us a few entertaining moments!

The Palm Tanager is another common species, and while they are not flashy, they do have a subtle beauty. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca) – The common mid-elevation swallow.
BROWN-BELLIED SWALLOW (Orochelidon murina) – The swallow of the paramo highlands.
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis)
GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea)
BROWN-CHESTED MARTIN (Progne tapera) – One bird, sporting its obvious brown chest band.
WHITE-WINGED SWALLOW (Tachycineta albiventer) – Seen at a crossing of the Magdalena River as they fed about over the water.
BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia) [b]
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) [b]
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
SCALY-BREASTED WREN (Microcerculus marginatus) – Some got quick looks in the Rio Claro area, but they were otherwise uncooperative.
HOUSE WREN (SOUTHERN) (Troglodytes aedon musculus)
SEDGE WREN (VENEZUELAN) (Cistothorus platensis alticola) [*]
APOLINAR'S WREN (Cistothorus apolinari) – Fine looks at this endemic marsh dweller at La Florida. [E]
BAND-BACKED WREN (Campylorhynchus zonatus) – This canopy wren was seen well a couple of times at Rio claro.
STRIPE-BACKED WREN (Campylorhynchus nuchalis) – Replaces the previous species in drier habitats.
BICOLORED WREN (Campylorhynchus griseus) – The common species of the genus along our route, and what an attractive wren species!
SOOTY-HEADED WREN (Pheugopedius spadix) – We had one that was willing to play, but it wouldn't stay in view for more than a second or two. We did well enough with it though, and saw the main plumage characters. Cristian found it on a hunch; he simply thought the habitat looked good, played some song, and got an almost immediate response right next to us! Rio Claro area.

The Blue-naped Chlorophonia, in contrast to the Palm Tanager, is very colorful, indeed! Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

BLACK-BELLIED WREN (Pheugopedius fasciatoventris) – This one gave us a hard time at Rio Claro, but we eventually tracked one down at our Oilbird spot when it popped up for full views.
WHISKERED WREN (Pheugopedius mystacalis) – Seen briefly a couple of times.
RUFOUS-BREASTED WREN (Pheugopedius rutilus) – Good looks at this one on the way up to El Dorado in some secondary growth.
RUFOUS-AND-WHITE WREN (Thryophilus rufalbus) – Right behind Carmito's house during breakfast... and what a gorgeous song!
NICEFORO'S WREN (Thryophilus nicefori) – A very range restricted wren of more disturbed and secondary forest in the Cerulean Warbler reserve area. The regular bird behind the lodge was on hiatus, but we pressed on and found a responsive one down the road in some second-growth mixed with coffee and banana plantations... nice, and another eleventh hour bird! [E]
BAY WREN (Cantorchilus nigricapillus) – Great looks at this fancy wren near our cabins at Rio Claro as a pair foraged pretty much out in the open as we made our way to breakfast.
BUFF-BREASTED WREN (Cantorchilus leucotis) [*]
RUFOUS WREN (Cinnycerthia unirufa) – We saw this pale-orange form up at treeline at Chingaza.
WHITE-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (BLACK-CAPPED) (Henicorhina leucosticta albilateralis) [*]
GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucophrys) – Some got looks above Libano.
GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (BANGSI) (Henicorhina leucophrys bangsi) – A recent split from the Gray-breasted Wood-Wren, and now with full endemic status. This one occurs below the Santa Marta Wood-Wren; the two look very similar, but the songs are very recognizable. We had them for good views at El Dorado lodge.
SANTA MARTA WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina anachoreta) – The other recent split from the Gray-breasted, this one occurs above the range of the Bangs' Wood-Wren, such as up on the San Lorenzo Ridge, where we successfully pulled a pair out along the roadside.
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus) – Good looks in a tangle along a side road below Minca.
TROPICAL GNATCATCHER (WHITE-BROWED) (Polioptila plumbea anteocularis) – The form found in the Magdalena Valley and that we had a couple of times.
TROPICAL GNATCATCHER (TROPICAL) (Polioptila plumbea plumbiceps) – This one inhabits the drier forests of the northern coast.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
ORANGE-BILLED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus aurantiirostris) [*]
SLATY-BACKED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus fuscater) – Al got a look at one in the understory in the Santa Martas.
VEERY (Catharus fuscescens) – Quite a few of them in the hills of the eastern cordillera. [b]
SWAINSON'S THRUSH (Catharus ustulatus) – All over the place at Rio Claro! [b]
YELLOW-LEGGED THRUSH (Turdus flavipes) [*]
PALE-BREASTED THRUSH (Turdus leucomelas) – The common Turdus.
BLACK-BILLED THRUSH (Turdus ignobilis)
CHESTNUT-BELLIED THRUSH (Turdus fulviventris) – Great looks at one at the Bushbird reserve during our first look around there.
BLACK-HOODED THRUSH (Turdus olivater) – This one gave us the runaround a bit at El Dorado, but we finally tracked down a singing male for scope studies.
GREAT THRUSH (Turdus fuscater) – The main Turdus of highland habitats.

Brown Violetear was a common sight at many feeders on our tour. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

WHITE-NECKED THRUSH (Turdus albicollis) – Memorable views at a pair as they fiddled around in a ravine below us in the Santa Martas.
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus gilvus) – In our faces at Jardin Encantado, where a family group came in to raid the fruits.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis) [b]
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (Mniotilta varia) – Great to see them down here! [b]
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER (Protonotaria citrea) – Abundant in the mangrove forests at Salamanca. [b]
AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla) – Fairly common with flocks. [b]
CERULEAN WARBLER (Setophaga cerulea) – Not many, and none in the Cerulean Warbler reserve, but most folks go onto the male we found above Libano.
TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi)
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER (Setophaga fusca) – In some places the most common species with flocks ! [b]
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia) – We saw the migrant form. [b]
BLACKPOLL WARBLER (Setophaga striata) – Numerous along the northern coast. [b]
RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER (CHESTNUT-CAPPED) (Basileuterus rufifrons mesochrysus) – Fairly common in shrubby areas.
GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER (Basileuterus culicivorus) – Good looks at them in the Bushbird reserve.
THREE-STRIPED WARBLER (Basileuterus tristriatus) – With the understory flocks along the Lengerke trail as they flipped around us.
SANTA MARTA WARBLER (Myiothlypis basilica) – A Santa Marta endemic of higher elevations; we had some close and exciting views of this beautiful warbler up along the San Lorenzo Ridge. [E]
BLACK-CRESTED WARBLER (Myiothlypis nigrocristata) – Seen well in some roadside growth on our first day out of Bogota.
BUFF-RUMPED WARBLER (Myiothlypis fulvicauda) – Running along the road right at our feet at Rio Claro.
GRAY-THROATED WARBLER (Myiothlypis cinereicollis) – A shy forest warbler that we worked for, and saw well at the Bushbird reserve.
WHITE-LORED WARBLER (Myiothlypis conspicillata) – Another Santa Marta endemic; this one is common in the forests around El Dorado. [E]
CANADA WARBLER (Cardellina canadensis) – Common in the understory this time of the year. [b]
SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus) – Common at middle elevations with mixed flocks.
YELLOW-CROWNED REDSTART (Myioborus flavivertex) – A higher elevation Santa Marta endemic that we saw up at the San Lorenzo Ridge with the flocks... a real beauty! [E]
GOLDEN-FRONTED REDSTART (Myioborus ornatus) – If the previous one is a beauty, this one is simply stunning! We had close studies at a curious pair up near Chingaza.
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
GRAY-HEADED TANAGER (Eucometis penicillata) – In secondary roadside habitat on our way down from the Cerulean Warbler lodge towards San Vicente.
WHITE-SHOULDERED TANAGER (Tachyphonus luctuosus) – Common with the flocks at Rio Claro.
TAWNY-CRESTED TANAGER (Tachyphonus delatrii) – A hyper group of them came in for close views along the trails at Rio Claro.
WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus) – The males of this one are shining black, while the female is all rufous, hence the scientific name. We had them a couple of times for decent views.
FLAME-RUMPED TANAGER (LEMON-RUMPED) (Ramphocelus flammigerus icteronotus) – Around the lodge at the Cerulean Warbler reserve.
CRIMSON-BACKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus dimidiatus) – This one's plumage has a wonderful blend of velvety blacks and reds. We had them commonly and just about everyday of the trip that we spent birding through the Magdalena Valley.
BLACK-CHEEKED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Anisognathus melanogenys) – Plenty of excellent looks up on the San Lorenzo Ridge. [E]
SCARLET-BELLIED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Anisognathus igniventris) – Several nice views of this stunner around Chingaza.

Participant Diann Bilderback got this beautiful image of a male Vermilion Flycatcher. Always a crowd pleaser!

FAWN-BREASTED TANAGER (Pipraeidea melanonota) – Al, Jenny, and I had this one around the Cerulean Warbler reserve lodge on our first morning there.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus)
GLAUCOUS TANAGER (Thraupis glaucocolpa) – Restricted to the drier forests such as those around Riohacha; we had them a couple of times well.
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum)
BLUE-CAPPED TANAGER (Thraupis cyanocephala) – Finally seen by all up the road from El Dorado lodge during some afternoon birding; after the rain cleared, the light was amazing!
BLACK-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara cyanoptera) – We had our best views at Carmito's feeders. I had not seen this bird in almost 30 years, so had forgotten how pretty it was!
BLACK-CAPPED TANAGER (Tangara heinei) – Shoulder-to-shoulder with the previous species at Carmito's feeders!
BURNISHED-BUFF TANAGER (Tangara cayana) – This one too; Carmito had a pretty good tanager show going there to get us all warmed up for the bushbird search!
SCRUB TANAGER (Tangara vitriolina) – Particularly common in the Magdalena Valley west of Bogota.
GOLDEN-HOODED TANAGER (Tangara larvata) – With most flocks at Rio Claro.
BLUE-NECKED TANAGER (Tangara cyanicollis) – "Blue-headed" would be more appropriate!
SPECKLED TANAGER (Tangara guttata) – Also at Carmito's feeders!
METALLIC-GREEN TANAGER (Tangara labradorides) – With the mixed flocks along the Lengerke trail.
PLAIN-COLORED TANAGER (Tangara inornata) – Common in small groups with the mixed flocks at Rio Claro. An unusually dull bird for the genus it is in!
BAY-HEADED TANAGER (BAY-AND-BLUE) (Tangara gyrola catharinae) – This form is typical of the plumages found in the Andes.
BAY-HEADED TANAGER (BAY-AND-GREEN) (Tangara gyrola viridissima) – This is the Santa Marta endemic form that could be split out on day, so watch for this; this one is green underneath. We had great looks at them on the feeders at El Dorado.

We saw Black-tailed Trainbearer, along with many other wonderful hummingbirds, at the Observatorio de Colibries. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

GOLDEN TANAGER (Tangara arthus) – A few at the Cerulean Warbler reserve.
SWALLOW TANAGER (Tersina viridis) – Daily at Rio Claro where they tend to perch high up for scope views.
TURQUOISE DACNIS (Dacnis hartlaubi) – Used to be called Turquoise Dacnis-Tanager, since it does have a thicker-set aspect to it. This localized endemic put in a morningly appearance right next to the lodge at the Cerulean Warbler reserve for killer scope studies. [E]
BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana) – Common with the flocks at Rio Claro.
PURPLE HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes caeruleus) – Joe spotted this one for us along our productive side road in the Rio Claro area.
GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza) – Cristian might have been the only one to see this one.
GUIRA TANAGER (Hemithraupis guira) – Right in the yard at the Cerulean Warbler reserve, next to the Turquoise Dacnis!
YELLOW-BACKED TANAGER (Hemithraupis flavicollis) – With a canopy flock at Rio Claro.
WHITE-EARED CONEBILL (Conirostrum leucogenys) – Joe and I got onto a pair with only the last photons of light to spare at Hato Lagoon; Denis K. got one the following day right at our final Magdalena River crossing before heading up into the hills to Rio Claro.
BICOLORED CONEBILL (Conirostrum bicolor) – We had plenty of fine studies at the race found in the coastal mangroves at Salamanca.
RUFOUS-BROWED CONEBILL (Conirostrum rufum) – One of the first endemic targets that we nailed for close-range views up at Chingaza... this left us fired up!
GLOSSY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa lafresnayii) – The all black flowerpiercer with the blue-gray shoulder patch that we saw on the first day.
BLACK FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa humeralis nocticolor) – The all black Santa Marta form that we saw up at San Lorenzo Ridge.
BLACK FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa humeralis humeralis) – The form of the main Andean chain (here in Colombia) that almost mimics the Glossy Flowerpiercer with that shoulder patch; we had them in the highland shrubbery around Chingaza.
WHITE-SIDED FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa albilatera) – A regular visitor to the garden flowers at El Dorado.
RUSTY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa sittoides) – We had a male in the second growth on the way up to El Dorado.
MASKED FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa cyanea) – We saw a good number of them in humid forest in the highlands below Chingaza.
PLUSHCAP (Catamblyrhynchus diadema) – One immature bird foraging along the roadside up near the San Lorenzo Ridge threw us for a loop, but we soon got it all ironed out.
PLUMBEOUS SIERRA-FINCH (Phrygilus unicolor) – Common along the roadside up at Chingaza.
SAFFRON FINCH (Sicalis flaveola) – Seen almost daily in the Magdalena Valley, but always a welcome sight!
BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina) – An inhabitant of grassy fields, where males can often be seen engaging in their jumping display.
RUDDY-BREASTED SEEDEATER (Sporophila minuta) – Fairly common in fields in the Magdalena Valley.
THICK-BILLED SEED-FINCH (Sporophila funerea) [*]
GRAY SEEDEATER (Sporophila intermedia)
YELLOW-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila nigricollis)
BAND-TAILED SEEDEATER (Catamenia analis) – Joe and I had one on our second day.
PLAIN-COLORED SEEDEATER (Catamenia inornata) – Up at Chingaza on our first day where they flit about in the roadside grasslands; we enjoyed some scope views of males and females.
PARAMO SEEDEATER (Catamenia homochroa) [*]

El Dorado Lodge was one of the highlights of our trip. Here, we are being treated to a great lunch, after a morning of amazing birding. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

PILEATED FINCH (Coryphospingus pileatus) – The crimson crest of the male really lit the morning up out in the dry scrub around Riohacha.
BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola)
YELLOW-FACED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris olivaceus) – This one has quite the "hip" facial pattern!
DULL-COLORED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris obscurus) – This one, on the other hand, is really dull an needs a makeover... hahaha!
DUSKY-FACED TANAGER (Mitrospingus cassinii) – Almost around every turn at Rio Claro, where noisy groups foraged about in the understory.
ROSY THRUSH-TANAGER (Rhodinocichla rosea) – We put some serious effort into seeing this spectacular tanager, and thanks to Jenny's dead-on spotting, we came away with unforgettable scope studies on the slopes of the Santa Martas! This is one of those species that many folks who thumb through the field guides tend to single out, and say; "now that's a bird I'd like to see!"
BUFF-THROATED SALTATOR (Saltator maximus) – A well known bird in many parts of the neotropics.
BLACK-WINGED SALTATOR (Saltator atripennis) – We had our first encounters with this smart saltator species above Libano.
ORINOCAN SALTATOR (Saltator orenocensis) – Hey, we sure saw a lot of saltator species this trip, but this was probably the coolest; we had them a few times out in the scrub near Riohacha.
GRAYISH SALTATOR (Saltator coerulescens) – Fairly common in the hills of the west slope of the eastern cordillera.
STREAKED SALTATOR (Saltator striatipectus) – First seen around Libano.
SLATE-COLORED GROSBEAK (Saltator grossus) [*]
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
ASHY-THROATED CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus canigularis) – This genus was formerly known as "bush-tanagers", but they were all stripped of this and given a brand new surname: chlorospingus. We ran into a group of this canopy flock follower along the Lengerke trail.
TOCUYO SPARROW (Arremonops tocuyensis) – Cristian led us right to the spot, only a short drive from Riohacha, and soon had a responsive bird dancing around us that finally offered up full body views for all! This is a rather range restricted species that can only be found in the dry forests of NE Colombia and NW Venezuela.

The tower on San Lorenzo Ridge offered spectacular views. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

SIERRA NEVADA BRUSHFINCH (Arremon basilicus) – Also goes by Colombian Brush-Finch. This was our final battle of the trip, and one that we largely won as we worked a responsive, but extremely furtive bird that was working the margins of the lodge at El Dorado. [E]
ORANGE-BILLED SPARROW (Arremon aurantiirostris) – Nice looks in the understory at Rio Claro.
GOLDEN-WINGED SPARROW (Arremon schlegeli) – We coaxed a pair in for fantastic studies near Minca!
CHESTNUT-CAPPED BRUSHFINCH (Arremon brunneinucha) – A pair came in to gorge at the corn feeders at the Cerulean Warbler reserve.
RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis) – Yep! One of the neotropic's most wide-ranging species!
WHITE-NAPED BRUSHFINCH (YELLOW-THROATED) (Atlapetes albinucha gutturalis) – Denis K. and I had one briefly above Libano, but it disappeared all too quickly.
MOUSTACHED BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes albofrenatus) – An attractive brush-finch that we caught up with at the Bushbird reserve right as we started our birding at the head of the trail.
SANTA MARTA BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes melanocephalus) – This Santa Marta endemic was thick around El Dorado! [E]
YELLOW-HEADED BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes flaviceps) – We didn't have much trouble tracking this local endemic in the forest patches above Libano, but were still thrilled to find it! [E]
PALE-NAPED BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes pallidinucha) – Nest building up in the paramo at Chingaza.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra) [b]
SCARLET TANAGER (Piranga olivacea) [b]
SOOTY ANT-TANAGER (Habia gutturalis) – After a striking out in the morning along our promising side road near Rio Claro, we went back in the afternoon and picked just the right spot, and called in a loud and raucous group of this striking endemic. They played a tough game, but as per our collective perseverant spirit would have it, we kept with them, and nabbed some excellent views as they darted about in the understory... wow! [E]
VERMILION CARDINAL (Cardinalis phoeniceus) – A bird of the dry forests of the northern coast. Not too long into our birding there we clinched some nice views of a male up on a perch... sweet!
GOLDEN GROSBEAK (Pheucticus chrysogaster) – Seen up at the San Lorenzo Ridge at dawn; the perfect color for a beautiful morning!
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella magna) – Seen first in the fields below Chingaza.
RED-BREASTED MEADOWLARK (Sturnella militaris) – Common out in the open areas on the plain of the Magdalena Valley.
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus) – Plenty of this large grackle on the northern coast.
CARIB GRACKLE (Quiscalus lugubris)
YELLOW-HOODED BLACKBIRD (Chrysomus icterocephalus) – First seen at La Florida for a splash of color that beat any charge we got from the coffee we had drank earlier!
SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis)
GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus)
YELLOW-BACKED ORIOLE (Icterus chrysater) – It took us the better part of the trip, but we finally connected with a small group of them on our way up to El Dorado in the Santa Martas.
ORANGE-CROWNED ORIOLE (Icterus auricapillus) – This one finally materialized for us during our hike through the pasture down to the stream that leads to the Oilbird cave. The color orange was taken to a new level at this point!
YELLOW ORIOLE (Icterus nigrogularis) – Fairly common at lower elevations throughout the Magdalena Valley and up to the northern coast.
YELLOW-RUMPED CACIQUE (Cacicus cela) – In small numbers around Rio Claro; this western race really does act and sound different from the Amazonian birds.
RUSSET-BACKED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius angustifrons) – Seen by some at the Bushbird reserve; the scarcer western form, with the more orange bill.
CRESTED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius decumanus) – The mostly dark oropendola species with the ivory-colored bill.
CHESTNUT-HEADED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius wagleri) – At a nesting colony that we stumbled upon on our way down to see the Oilbird; one of the most beautiful oropendola species in my opinion!

Denis relaxing at El Dorado. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
TRINIDAD EUPHONIA (Euphonia trinitatis) – Common and vocal out in the dry forests around Riohacha.
VELVET-FRONTED EUPHONIA (Euphonia concinna) – This endemic of the upper and middle Magdalena Valley presented itself to us at Hato Lagoon on a sunny afternoon, so the colors were vibrant! [E]
THICK-BILLED EUPHONIA (Euphonia laniirostris) – The Euphonia with the yellow right up to the chin.
GOLDEN-RUMPED EUPHONIA (Euphonia cyanocephala) – A beautiful euphonia species that we saw at Carmito's house during breakfast.
FULVOUS-VENTED EUPHONIA (Euphonia fulvicrissa) – Fairly common around Rio Claro.
ORANGE-BELLIED EUPHONIA (Euphonia xanthogaster)
BLUE-NAPED CHLOROPHONIA (Chlorophonia cyanea) – The definition of a gorgeous, tanager-like bird! These guys entertained us at the fruit feeders, at close range, at El Dorado.
LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria)
ANDEAN SISKIN (Spinus spinescens) – We ran into a group of them below Chingaza as they perched on barbed-wire fences.
YELLOW-BELLIED SISKIN (Spinus xanthogastrus) – Great looks at a male near the Bushbird reserve.

COTTON-TOP TAMARIN (Saguinus oedipus) – The presumed species of tamarin that we saw at close range at Rio Claro.
RED HOWLER MONKEY (Alouatta seniculus) [*]
WHITE-FRONTED CAPUCHIN (Cebus albifrons) – A few came through quietly at Rio Claro as they foraged about in their menacing fashion.
RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis) – Common in the Andes. The animals in the Santa Martas had the obvious white bellies.
CENTRAL AMERICAN AGOUTI (Dasyprocta punctata) – At the corn feeders at El Dorado.
CRAB-EATING FOX (Cerdocyon thous) – Our most memorable encounter with this mostly nocturnal species came out at Hato Lagoon when they came to life just before dusk in a stream bed.


We also met up with some other interesting critters over the course of the trip that robbed our attention from the birds for more than a few seconds. Those giant millipedes and green iguanas were more than a distraction, and how about those red grasshoppers? Although we really can't put names on many of the reptiles we saw, those "Rainbow" and "Red-headed" Lizards had folks on their hands and knees snapping photos, although Denis' snake photo ended up very probably being a "Machete Couesse".

Totals for the tour: 539 bird taxa and 6 mammal taxa