A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Colombia's Central Andes: The Wild, Wonderful North 2022

July 2-13, 2022 with Jesse Fagan guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
From our lunch spot, Dona Lucia, above the town of Jardin. Somewhere out there you can see Yellow-eared Parrots flying! Photo by guide Jesse Fagan.

Another fabulous trip to Colombia with a fun group. This tour route is centered on the northern end of the Cauca Valley, around the large bustling city of Medellin. It does a really good job focusing on several rare and local Colombian endemics that you can't find on other tours, as well as Choco near-endemics that overlap somewhat with our southern Cauca tour. However, the ones that are special to this tour include (btw, all rare and local) Chestnut-capped Piha (only first described in 1999), Antioquia Brushfinch (described formally in 2007 from 3 specimens, but only rediscovered in 2018), and Antioquia Wren (first detected in 2010!). You might as well add to this list Red-bellied Grackle, which has a slightly larger distribution, though still endemic and not found on our southern Cauca tour, and Munchique Wood-Wren, which is found in isolated highland spots in the Western Cordillera and only discovered in 2008! So, if we throw out all the rare and local, recently discovered endemics, the general Colombian endemics (i.e., Beautiful Woodpecker, White-mantled Barbet, Grayish Piculet, etc.), and the Choco near-endemics (Violet-tailed Sylph, Empress Brilliant, Narino Tapaculo, and Purplish Mantled Tanager), then what are you left with? Well, a lot of birds. We tallied nearly 300 species during this 10-day trip, and our varied group highlights included Golden Tanager, Rufous-fronted Wood-Quail, Spectacled Owl, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Scarlet-fronted Parakeet, White-bearded Manakin, Green-and-black Fruiteater, and Toucan Barbet. Bird of the trip according to y'all? Red-bellied Grackle!

Not only was the birding superb (it's not all about the birds, is it?), but we visited some memorable spots along the way. Our cozy Pro Aves digs at the piha reserve and Las Tangaras with their friendly family staff were nice experiences. We also enjoyed typical Colombian towns at San Pedro de los Milagros and Jardin, both with their characteristic town square and church. Lunch at Dona Lucia's home above Jardin will stand out for some. That was some good fried trout. At least one person loved the pizza on the square in Jardin. Strange, nobody mentioned the bandeja paisa from El Palacio de los Frijoles? We also need to thank our support staff and team: Anderson (our talented local guide) and Hermes (our talented local driver), plus Camilo (in San Pedro de los Milagros) and Paula (in Jardin). And, of course, to you all. Thanks again for being Field Guides supporters and I look forward to the next trip with you.

—Jesse Fagan (a.k.a. Motmot)

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

Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)

COLOMBIAN CHACHALACA (Ortalis columbiana) [E]

This endemic was fairly common around Medellin in the mid-elevation foothills.

SICKLE-WINGED GUAN (Chamaepetes goudotii)

This was a regular visitor to the fruit feeders at Las Tangaras.

Odontophoridae (New World Quail)

RUFOUS-FRONTED WOOD-QUAIL (Odontophorus erythrops)

Incredible experience. We were expecting the endemic Chestnut Wood-Quail to visit, but this species showed up instead. A near-endemic (found just over the border in Ecuador), but somewhat less common and local than Chestnut WQ. We were happy to see any wood-quail, however!

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

Field Guides Birding Tours
Here's a shot of our great group at San Pedro de los Milagros after having seen the rare and local, Antioquia Brushfinch. Local guides Camilo and Anderson are, respectively, in the middle and at far right. Photo by guide Jesse Fagan.

PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis)

Just one on our last day at Concordia at 700 meters above sea-level.

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

Fairly common in the highlands.

PLUMBEOUS PIGEON (Patagioenas plumbea chapmani)

RUDDY GROUND DOVE (Columbina talpacoti)

WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi)

EARED DOVE (Zenaida auriculata)

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani)

STRIPED CUCKOO (Tapera naevia) [*]

LITTLE CUCKOO (Coccycua minuta)

Incredible looks at a responsive bird at El Palacio de los Frijoles. This species is always unpredictable and not frequently encountered.

SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana)

Encountered frequently throughout the tour.

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis) [*]

Apodidae (Swifts)

CHESTNUT-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne rutila)

WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris)

This large swift was seen a few times on the tour, especially around the town of Jardin.

LESSER SWALLOW-TAILED SWIFT (Panyptila cayennensis)

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora)

GREEN HERMIT (Phaethornis guy)

An infrequent visitor to the feeders at Arrierito Antioquero Reserve.

TAWNY-BELLIED HERMIT (Phaethornis syrmatophorus)

Also a visitor to the feeders along with Green Hermit, but much less common. Seen again at Las Tangaras.

SPARKLING VIOLETEAR (Colibri coruscans)

All three violetears were visitors to the hummingbird feeders at Las Tangaras! The most common one during the tour was Brown Violetear.

BROWN VIOLETEAR (Colibri delphinae)

Field Guides Birding Tours
This savory Great Antshrike was seen (obviously) super well at El Palacio de los Frijoles on our first morning out. Wonderful capture by participant Kevin Watson.

LESSER VIOLETEAR (Colibri cyanotus)

BLACK-THROATED MANGO (Anthracothorax nigricollis)

TOURMALINE SUNANGEL (Heliangelus exortis)

Such a sharp and beautiful looking hummingbird of the highlands. Seen above Jardin and again at the forest feeders at Las Tangaras.

SPECKLED HUMMINGBIRD (Adelomyia melanogenys)

LONG-TAILED SYLPH (Aglaiocercus kingii)

VIOLET-TAILED SYLPH (Aglaiocercus coelestis)

This Choco endemic was seen visiting the forest feeders at Las Tangaras.

TYRIAN METALTAIL (Metallura tyrianthina)

GREENISH PUFFLEG (Haplophaedia aureliae)

BRONZY INCA (Coeligena coeligena)

BROWN INCA (Coeligena wilsoni)

Another Choco endemic hummingbird seen at Las Tangaras.

COLLARED INCA (Coeligena torquata)

A flashy black-and-white hummingbird seen above Jardin and again at Las Tangaras.

MOUNTAIN VELVETBREAST (Lafresnaya lafresnayi)

BUFF-TAILED CORONET (Boissonneaua flavescens)

VELVET-PURPLE CORONET (Boissonneaua jardini)

Seen well at the forest feeders at Las Tangaras. When the light catches this one just right, it is pretty spectacular.

BOOTED RACKET-TAIL (Ocreatus underwoodii)

FAWN-BREASTED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa rubinoides)


EMPRESS BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa imperatrix)

This long tailed beauty was seen visiting the Las Tangaras forest feeders. A Choco near-endemic.

WHITE-BELLIED WOODSTAR (Chaetocercus mulsant)

We saw a female at El Palacio de los Frijoles at the low elevation of 1100 meters where not expected.

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of our endemic targets at El Palacio de los Frijoles was this woodpecker, the Beautiful Woodpecker to be exact. We were fortunate to come across this individual captured nicely by participant Jan Wood.

PURPLE-THROATED WOODSTAR (Philodice mitchellii)

Pretty common throughout the tour at various sites.

WESTERN EMERALD (Chlorostilbon melanorhynchus melanorhynchus)


One was seen perched in the understory at El Palacio de los Frijoles on our first day out.

CROWNED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania colombica)

STEELY-VENTED HUMMINGBIRD (Saucerottia saucerottei)

This one was common at several sites.


ANDEAN EMERALD (Uranomitra franciae)

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

RUSSET-CROWNED CRAKE (Anurolimnas viridis) [*]

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis)

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Nannopterum brasilianum)

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

COCOI HERON (Ardea cocoi)

Most of our waterbird species were seen on the big reservoir and in the marshes north of Medellin and en route to the Chestnut-capped Piha Reserve.

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)

STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata)

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

BARE-FACED IBIS (Phimosus infuscatus)

Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)

TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

SWALLOW-TAILED KITE (Elanoides forficatus)

Good looks at this graceful species over the piha reserve.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Smashing photo by Kevin Watson of this Colombia endemic, White-mantled Barbet, seen at El Palacio de los Frijoles.

ORNATE HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus ornatus)

Wow, incredible views and experience with this species as it lazily soared over us at the piha reserve on our first afternoon.

DOUBLE-TOOTHED KITE (Harpagus bidentatus)

A couple soaring over the forest at El Palacio de los Frijoles.

ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris)

Strigidae (Owls)

TROPICAL SCREECH-OWL (Megascops choliba)

One was on a day roost, hidden under the road embankment at the piha reserve. We saw a pair at the cock-of-the-rock spot in Jardin, too.

SPECTACLED OWL (Pulsatrix perspicillata)

Day roosting in the town of Bolivar!

ANDEAN PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium jardinii) [*]

MOTTLED OWL (Ciccaba virgata)

Seen well a couple of evenings at the piha reserve.

Trogonidae (Trogons)

GOLDEN-HEADED QUETZAL (Pharomachrus auriceps)

MASKED TROGON (Trogon personatus assimilis)

Good looks of a pair at Las Tangaras.

Momotidae (Motmots)

TODY MOTMOT (Hylomanes momotula)

Several folks saw this species in the bamboo patch returning from the piha reserve. It is rare and local in Colombia, but has a wide range up through Central America and Mexico. Always difficult to see.

ANDEAN MOTMOT (Momotus aequatorialis)

Any day you see a motmot is a good day. ;-) These were seen in good numbers around Jardin and again at Las Tangaras (where they regularly visited the fruit feeders).

Bucconidae (Puffbirds)

MOUSTACHED PUFFBIRD (Malacoptila mystacalis)

We called up a pair below the Chestnut-capped Piha dining area.

Capitonidae (New World Barbets)

WHITE-MANTLED BARBET (Capito hypoleucus) [E]

This endemic (a pair) was seen super well in a Cecropia tree at El Palacio de los Frijoles.

RED-HEADED BARBET (Eubucco bourcierii)

Semnornithidae (Toucan-Barbets)

TOUCAN BARBET (Semnornis ramphastinus)

Great looks at Las Tangaras. We even had them in the scope for a bit. Will we ever forget that call?!

Ramphastidae (Toucans)

SOUTHERN EMERALD-TOUCANET (Aulacorhynchus albivitta) [*]

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

OLIVACEOUS PICULET (Picumnus olivaceus)

A pair was seen at El Palacio de los Frijoles.

GRAYISH PICULET (Picumnus granadensis) [E]

We caught up with this endemic at a random roadside stop in good habitat as we were leaving Jardin.

ACORN WOODPECKER (ACORN) (Melanerpes formicivorus flavigula) [*]

Field Guides Birding Tours
From the Medellin area, we moved north sticking to the Central Cordillera where we visited the Arrierito Antioquero Pro Aves Reserve a.k.a. the Chestnut-capped Piha Reserve. Photo by guide Jesse Fagan.

BEAUTIFUL WOODPECKER (Melanerpes pulcher) [E]

It IS a pretty looking woodpecker. Seen well in the scope at El Palacio de los Frijoles.

RED-CROWNED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes rubricapillus)

SMOKY-BROWN WOODPECKER (Dryobates fumigatus)

RED-RUMPED WOODPECKER (Dryobates kirkii)

LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus)

GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus)

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara plancus)

YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima chimachima)

AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)

BAT FALCON (Falco rufigularis)

A pair were studied above the Chestnut-capped Piha Reserve. We noted the female was nearly a third again the size of the male, approaching Orange-breasted Falcon in size!

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)

ORANGE-CHINNED PARAKEET (Brotogeris jugularis) [*]

BLUE-HEADED PARROT (Pionus menstruus)

This species was common around El Palacio de los Frijoles.

BRONZE-WINGED PARROT (Pionus chalcopterus)

A little higher up around Jardin is where we found this species. Both Pionus on the tour tend to separate by elevation.

SPECTACLED PARROTLET (Forpus conspicillatus)

YELLOW-EARED PARROT (Ognorhynchus icterotis)

Several good looks in flight above Jardin and again (where rare) at Las Tangaras.


Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)

GREAT ANTSHRIKE (Taraba major)

Awesome looks at a perched bird calling over and over at El Palacio de los Frijoles.

BAR-CRESTED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus multistriatus)

This near-endemic (also found over the border in VZ) was seen well at El Palacio de los Frijoles.

BLACK-CROWNED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus atrinucha)

One responded well during a roadside stop on our way to the Chestnut-capped Piha Reserve.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We were in pursuit of the rare and local Chestnut-capped Piha, which we were fortunate to find and observe very well. Thanks for the shot by participant, Kevin Watson.

UNIFORM ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus unicolor)

A pair responded well at "La M" (Las Tangaras).

PLAIN ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus mentalis)

PACIFIC ANTWREN (Myrmotherula pacifica)

These tiny canopy antbirds were calling and moving around above our heads at El Palacio de los Frijoles.

SLATY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula schisticolor) [*]

YELLOW-BREASTED ANTWREN (Herpsilochmus axillaris)

At higher elevations in the forest at Las Tangaras we saw this canopy antbird. Also, difficult to locate and see well.

STREAK-HEADED ANTBIRD (Drymophila striaticeps)

One was spotted in the bamboo at the Yellow-eared Parrot Reserve near Dona Lucia's place.

PARKER'S ANTBIRD (Cercomacroides parkeri) [E]

This CO endemic, named after the late Ted Parker, was seen well below the lodge at the Chestnut-capped Piha Reserve.

CHESTNUT-BACKED ANTBIRD (Poliocrania exsul) [*]

Grallariidae (Antpittas)

CHESTNUT-CROWNED ANTPITTA (Grallaria ruficapilla) [*]

CHESTNUT-NAPED ANTPITTA (Grallaria nuchalis)

One individual became very friendly with us at the Yellow-eared Parrot Reserve.

YELLOW-BREASTED ANTPITTA (Grallaria flavotincta) [*]

Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)

OCELLATED TAPACULO (Acropternis orthonyx) [*]

WHITE-CROWNED TAPACULO (Scytalopus atratus)

Seen well just below the cabins at the Chestnut-capped Piha Reserve.

NARINO TAPACULO (Scytalopus vicinior)

We did pretty well at seeing tapaculos this trip. We encountered this species, a Choco endemic, at Las Tangaras (1750 m).

STILES'S TAPACULO (Scytalopus stilesi) [E]

A Colombian endemic seen at Arrierito Anitoquero (1550 m).

TATAMA TAPACULO (Scytalopus alvarezlopezi)

SPILLMANN'S TAPACULO (Scytalopus spillmanni)

Seen in the highlands above Jardin (2500 m).

Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)

OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (GRAYISH) (Sittasomus griseicapillus sylvioides)

OLIVE-BACKED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus triangularis)

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of the active members of mixed-species flocks at the reserve was this Yellow-throated Chlorospingus. What a capture by participant Stan Lilley!

STREAK-HEADED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii)

The most common woodcreeper encountered in the trip. Found in the lowlands to mid-elevations in a variety of habitat types.

MONTANE WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger)

PLAIN XENOPS (Xenops minutus)

STREAKED XENOPS (Xenops rutilans)

SCALY-THROATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Anabacerthia variegaticeps)

Both this species and Montane were seen in the humid forest at Las Tangaras. The subspecies in the Choco (temporalis) may eventually be split, so pay attention to this one.

MONTANE FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Anabacerthia striaticollis)


Awesome looks at several responsive individuals at La Curva del Muneco (Las Tangaras).

SPOTTED BARBTAIL (Premnoplex brunnescens) [*]

PEARLED TREERUNNER (Margarornis squamiger)

A few individuals were seen at Las Tangaras.

RED-FACED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca erythrops)

Feeding young near our cabins at Las Tangaras. This species was part of the dawn chorus here.

SLATY SPINETAIL (Synallaxis brachyura)

Seen well at El Palacio de los Frijoles.

PALE-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis albescens)

AZARA'S SPINETAIL (Synallaxis azarae)

RUFOUS SPINETAIL (Synallaxis unirufa)

We called a pair out while walking down below La M (Las Tangaras).

Pipridae (Manakins)


CLUB-WINGED MANAKIN (Machaeropterus deliciosus)

WHITE-CROWNED MANAKIN (Pseudopipra pipra)

Small numbers were in the forest at the Chestnut-capped Piha Reserve.

Cotingidae (Cotingas)


ANDEAN COCK-OF-THE-ROCK (Rupicola peruvianus)

Hard to get any better looks than at the lek platform in Jardin.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Here is a shot of our group (minus Louis Wood who took the photo!) at the Chestnut-capped Piha Reserve. Local guide, Anderson, is at center right and Hermes, our driver, is at the far right. What a great crew.

CHESTNUT-CAPPED PIHA (Lipaugus weberi) [E]

This very rare and local CO endemic was seen well at a couple of spots in the forest at Arrierito Antioqueno Reserve. This was our main reason for visiting this spot. Success! this species was only discovered in 1999 and formally described in 2001. It is only found in an area of 350 square kilometers (135 sq. miles).

Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)

BARRED BECARD (Pachyramphus versicolor)

CINEREOUS BECARD (Pachyramphus rufus)

A good bird to find as it is rare to uncommon in much of its range. We saw one at El Palacio de los Frijoles.

CINNAMON BECARD (Pachyramphus cinnamomeus)

Also very responsive was this species at El Palacio de los Frijoles.

WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus)

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

STREAK-NECKED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes striaticollis)

SLATY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon superciliaris)

MARBLE-FACED BRISTLE-TYRANT (Phylloscartes ophthalmicus)

A good bird to find. It is widespread throughout the Andean foothills, but always low density. Identifying its call is key. We saw a pair at Las Tangaras.

BRONZE-OLIVE PYGMY-TYRANT (Pseudotriccus pelzelni)

Seen in the forest understory at Las Tangaras.

RUFOUS-HEADED PYGMY-TYRANT (Pseudotriccus ruficeps)

Super looks in the moist forest understory at one of our first stops birding above Jardin (Yellow-eared Parrot Reserve).

SCALE-CRESTED PYGMY-TYRANT (Lophotriccus pileatus)

RUFOUS-CROWNED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus ruficeps)

Another understory flycatcher, often associated with bamboo, that showed well in the forest above Jardin.

SLATE-HEADED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus sylvia)

This tiny flycatcher gave us fits as it called from the understory. It eventually showed well for most.

COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum)

CINNAMON FLYCATCHER (Pyrrhomyias cinnamomeus)

ORNATE FLYCATCHER (Myiotriccus ornatus)

HANDSOME FLYCATCHER (Nephelomyias pulcher)

Handsome? Not sure about the name, but we saw them numerous times at Las Tangaras.

WHITE-TAILED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus poecilocercus)


Helpful name. We had a responsive bird at El Palacio de los Frijoles. This is a species of secondary open forest.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Evening shot of the piha reserve with the famous moth light and our trusty van. Photo by guide Jesse Fagan.


YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster)

MOUNTAIN ELAENIA (Elaenia frantzii)

Fairly common (at least by voice) at San Pedro de los Milagros.

TORRENT TYRANNULET (Serpophaga cinerea)

SOOTY-HEADED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias griseiceps)

ASHY-HEADED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias cinereiceps)

A canopy flycatcher seen in the Yellow-eared Parrot Reserve above Jardin.

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

FLAVESCENT FLYCATCHER (Myiophobus flavicans)

One was photographed at Las Tangaras by Brad and identified after the tour!

BRAN-COLORED FLYCATCHER (Myiophobus fasciatus)

SMOKE-COLORED PEWEE (Contopus fumigatus)

BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans)

STREAK-THROATED BUSH-TYRANT (Myiotheretes striaticollis)

SMOKY BUSH-TYRANT (Myiotheretes fumigatus)

One was seen (barely) in the heavy fog at La M.

SLATY-BACKED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca cinnamomeiventris) [*]

CATTLE TYRANT (Machetornis rixosa)

GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)

BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua)

RUSTY-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes cayanensis)

GOLDEN-CROWNED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes chrysocephalus)

Fairly common at the Chestnut-capped Piha Reserve.

Field Guides Birding Tours
After a night in San Pedro de los Milagros, we ventured to Jardin, a picturesque Colombian town in the Western foothills. Photo by participant, Kevin Watson.

STREAKED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes maculatus)

PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius)

TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)

Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)

RUFOUS-BROWED PEPPERSHRIKE (Cyclarhis gujanensis) [*]

BLACK-BILLED PEPPERSHRIKE (Cyclarhis nigrirostris)

One was seen along the big clearing as we birded along the road at La Curva del Muneco (Las Tangaras). Generally replaces Rufous-browed at higher-elevations, though there is some altitudinal overlap.

SCRUB GREENLET (Hylophilus flavipes)

BROWN-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo leucophrys)

We had a very responsive bird at Dona Lucia's place.

CHIVI VIREO (Vireo chivi) [*]

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

BLACK-COLLARED JAY (Cyanolyca armillata)

Always a treat to catch up with this species. We had a group of four during one of our first stops above Jardin in the Yellow-eared Parrot Reserve.

BLACK-CHESTED JAY (Cyanocorax affinis)

GREEN JAY (Cyanocorax yncas)

Very different than North American populations, sometimes called Inca Jay.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca)

SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis)

GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea)

Troglodytidae (Wrens)

SCALY-BREASTED WREN (Microcerculus marginatus) [*]

HOUSE WREN (SOUTHERN) (Troglodytes aedon musculus)

WHITE-HEADED WREN (Campylorhynchus albobrunneus)

A very limited range species, being found from Central Panama to Southwest Colombia. We caught up with a small group in the large clearing at Las Tangaras.

BICOLORED WREN (Campylorhynchus griseus)

One of our last new birds of the trip. Seen at the gas station!

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of the highlights above Jardin was the opportunity to photograph Chestnut-napped Antpitta (Maria?). Another great capture by participant Stan Lilley.

SOOTY-HEADED WREN (Pheugopedius spadix)

A near-endemic to CO. It is also found just over the border in Panama.

BLACK-BELLIED WREN (Pheugopedius fasciatoventris)

Can be difficult to see well, but we managed good looks at El Palacio de los Frijoles.

WHISKERED WREN (Pheugopedius mystacalis)

ANTIOQUIA WREN (Thryophilus sernai) [E]

BAY WREN (Cantorchilus nigricapillus)

Seen at El Palacio de los Frijoles, but it was found again on the grounds of Las Tangaras.

GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucophrys)

Just I-G-N-O-R-E it. Seriously, we did eventually see one.

MUNCHIQUE WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina negreti) [E]

An endemic with a big, beautiful song. Only recently discovered in 2008 with a very small range in the Western Cordillera.

CHESTNUT-BREASTED WREN (Cyphorhinus thoracicus) [*]

Cinclidae (Dippers)

WHITE-CAPPED DIPPER (Cinclus leucocephalus)

Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)


Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

ANDEAN SOLITAIRE (Myadestes ralloides)

PALE-BREASTED THRUSH (Turdus leucomelas)

CLAY-COLORED THRUSH (Turdus grayi casius)

BLACK-BILLED THRUSH (Turdus ignobilis)

GREAT THRUSH (Turdus fuscater)

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

THICK-BILLED EUPHONIA (Euphonia laniirostris)

ORANGE-BELLIED EUPHONIA (Euphonia xanthogaster)

A regular visitor to the fruit feeders at the Chestnut-capped Piha Reserve.

LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria)

Field Guides Birding Tours
Here Brad, Kevin, and Jesse are waiting for some action. We did this a lot! Photo by participant Stan Lilley.

YELLOW-BELLIED SISKIN (Spinus xanthogastrus)

Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)

YELLOW-THROATED CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus flavigularis)

Usually a flock around of this species at the Chestnut-capped Piha Reserve.

COMMON CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus flavopectus)

BLACK-STRIPED SPARROW (Arremonops conirostris)

BLACK-HEADED BRUSHFINCH (Arremon atricapillus)

Seen super well at El Palacio de los Frijoles and again the the piha reserve. A near-endemic, but it gets just over into Panama.

GRAY-BROWED BRUSHFINCH (Arremon assimilis assimilis)

One showed well at La M. This species is widely distributed in the Andean foothills.

ORANGE-BILLED SPARROW (Arremon aurantiirostris)


RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis)

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

YELLOW-HEADED BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes flaviceps) [E*]

TRICOLORED BRUSHFINCH (CHOCO) (Atlapetes tricolor crassus)

The Choco form of this species was seen at Las Tangaras. This subspecies differs in having a fulvous-brown or tawny-gold crownstripe.

SLATY BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes schistaceus)

ANTIOQUIA BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes blancae) [E]


Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)

RUSSET-BACKED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius angustifrons)

SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis)

GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)

A recent invader into the Cauca Valley. This species seems to be doing well and continuing its expansion further south.

Field Guides Birding Tours
It ain't all about the birds. Sometimes the local cousine can be distracting, too. We enjoyed a home cooked meal at Dona Lucia's place above the town of Jardin. Photo by guide Jesse Fagan.

CARIB GRACKLE (Quiscalus lugubris)

RED-BELLIED GRACKLE (Hypopyrrhus pyrohypogaster) [E]

We finally caught up with this spectacular endemic during our last morning at Jardin.

Parulidae (New World Warblers)

TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi)

RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER (Basileuterus rufifrons)

GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER (Basileuterus culicivorus)

THREE-STRIPED WARBLER (Basileuterus tristriatus)

Seen in the understory at the piha reserve and again at Las Tangaras.

CITRINE WARBLER (NORTHERN) (Myiothlypis luteoviridis richardsoni)

Just one in the large mixed-species flock below La M.

BUFF-RUMPED WARBLER (Myiothlypis fulvicauda)

RUSSET-CROWNED WARBLER (Myiothlypis coronata)

SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus)

One of the more common small passerines encountered in the forest on this trip.


A sharp looking warbler with a pleasant song that was first seen at San Pedro de los Milagros and again at La M.

Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)

BLACK-CAPPED HEMISPINGUS (Kleinothraupis atropileus)

WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus)

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

The common form on this tour.

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

Seen at El Palacio de los Frijoles, our only one of the trip.

CRIMSON-BACKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus dimidiatus)

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

This endemic was seen well at Las Tanagaras where it was fairly common usually with mixed-species flocks.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We had our first look at Scarlet-fronted Parakeets in flight above Jardin. We saw them more satisfactorily on our last day at Concordia, where participant Stan Lilley photographed them nicely.

HOODED MOUNTAIN TANAGER (Buthraupis montana)

Always a treat to see this species. We had a vocal flock as we walked down from La M in the fog.

BLUE-CAPPED TANAGER (Sporathraupis cyanocephala)

GRASS-GREEN TANAGER (Chlorornis riefferii)

Another species that was part of the large mixed species flock below La M.

LACRIMOSE MOUNTAIN TANAGER (Anisognathus lacrymosus)

Seen well above Jardin and again at Las Tangaras.

BLUE-WINGED MOUNTAIN TANAGER (Anisognathus somptuosus)


One was seen at La Curva del Muneco at Las Tangaras. Similar to the previous species, but this species is a Choco endemic.


We scoped an individual singing its heart out during one of our early morning stops above Jardin.

PURPLISH-MANTLED TANAGER (Iridosornis porphyrocephalus)

This Choco near-endemic was seen super well at several stops birding at Las Tangaras.

GLISTENING-GREEN TANAGER (Chlorochrysa phoenicotis)

A range-restricted species found mostly in the Western Cordillera and into the west slope of Ecuador. Good numbers were seen at Las Tangaras.

BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus)

PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum)

SPECKLED TANAGER (Ixothraupis guttata)

It was nice to see this species visiting the feeders at the piha reserve. Made for good photo opps!

BLACK-CAPPED TANAGER (Stilpnia heinei)

SCRUB TANAGER (Stilpnia vitriolina)

GOLDEN-HOODED TANAGER (Stilpnia larvata)

BLUE-NECKED TANAGER (Stilpnia cyanicollis)

BLUE-AND-BLACK TANAGER (Tangara vassorii)

Seen in the foothills and at higher elevations were it mixes with the next species.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We worked hard at finding this special endemic, Red-bellied Grackle. With a hot tip, we eventually found a small group of them foraging silently along a river just below the town of Jardin. Thanks to Kevin Watson for the lovely photo.

BERYL-SPANGLED TANAGER (Tangara nigroviridis)

METALLIC-GREEN TANAGER (Tangara labradorides labradorides)

Usually around, but in low numbers so always a treat to see this one.

PLAIN-COLORED TANAGER (Tangara inornata)

BAY-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara gyrola)

One of the more common Tangara tanagers on the tour.

SAFFRON-CROWNED TANAGER (Tangara xanthocephala)

GOLDEN TANAGER (Tangara arthus)

Both this species and the next were common at higher elevations like at the piha reserve, Jardin, and Las Tangaras. All of them are found throughout the Andean foothills.

SILVER-THROATED TANAGER (Tangara icterocephala)

BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana)

GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza)

GUIRA TANAGER (Hemithraupis guira)

Good to catch up with this species at the piha reserve. Widespread in South America but seemingly low density and uncommon in Colombia.

BLUE-BACKED CONEBILL (Conirostrum sitticolor)

A pair were in the big mixed-species flock below La M.

CAPPED CONEBILL (Conirostrum albifrons)

Also in the big mixed-species flock below La M.

BLACK-THROATED FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa brunneiventris)

These were pretty common at San Pedro de Los Milagros. A quick look at the range map will show this species is very local in Colombia, essentially isolated to the Western Cordillera above Medellin.


INDIGO FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa indigotica)

BLUISH FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa caerulescens)

A couple in the fog at La M (Las Tangaras).


PLUSHCAP (Catamblyrhynchus diadema)

Always good to catch up with this species. A pair were seen in the bamboo below Dona Lucia's place.

Field Guides Birding Tours
This was what awaited us at our last stop, Las Tangaras Pro Aves Reserve. How many species of hummingbird do you count in this photo by participant Lois Wood?

GRAY-HOODED BUSH TANAGER (Cnemoscopus rubrirostris)

Good numbers in the flocks around La M.

SAFFRON FINCH (Sicalis flaveola)

BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina)


THICK-BILLED SEED-FINCH (Sporophila funerea)

LARGE-BILLED SEED-FINCH (Sporophila crassirostris)

We pulled one up at our gas station lunch stop on the last day.

YELLOW-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila nigricollis)

BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola)

Seen almost everyday of the tour.



BLACK-WINGED SALTATOR (Saltator atripennis)

Mostly a CO bird, but also in Ecuador. Resident in humid montane forest.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Speaking of hummingbirds at Las Tangaras, we added a bunch of new ones at this spot. Do you remember how the coronets always lifted their wings when they landed? Nice capture of that moment by participant Stan Lilley.

STREAKED SALTATOR (Saltator striatipectus)



It was a real treat having these visit the fruit feeders at the piha reserve.

RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis)

Seen during out time at Jardin.

WESTERN PYGMY SQUIRREL (Microsciurus mimulus)

This is the species of pygmy squirrel seen at the piha feeders.

CENTRAL AMERICAN AGOUTI (Dasyprocta punctata)

Also seen on the piha lodge grounds. It really enjoyed their leftover rice.

Field Guides Birding Tours
What's the next new bird going to be? Here your guides, Jesse and Anderson, try to find something good for you. Thanks for a fun trip. Here's to more good birding in the future. Photo by participant Kevin Watson.

Totals for the tour: 293 bird taxa and 4 mammal taxa