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Field Guides Tour Report
Mar 17, 2012 to Mar 31, 2012
Mitch Lysinger

A common hummingbird of Ecuador's southwest, the Amazilia Hummingbird comes in two forms here: this lowland form, and a whiter-bellied highland form sometimes split off as Loja Hummingbird, A. alticola. (Photo by tour participant Brian Stech)

This was yet another SW Ecuador trip packed full of spectacular highlights and surprises, the biggest bird surprise being the Buff-browed Foliage-gleaner that we found on the lower slopes of the Tapichalaca reserve, way out of its known range. This is a bird that had previously only been known in Ecuador from a record or two right along the Peruvian border! Many folks sign up for this tour for the chance at seeing the superb Jocotoco Antpitta; believe it or not "Superb Antpitta" was actually one of the name candidates! We indeed had superb views of this beast; seeing it is now not at all the chore it once was. Now? Hike in along the trail, have a seat on the bench, and they come running in to gobble down some jumbo-sized worms. What a show! Before this you had to pray that one would answer in the hopes of even just getting a quick glimpse.

The weather surprises weren't quite as pleasant, causing huge numbers of landslides in the deep SW that prevented us from visiting a few key spots, such as the highland Tumbesian areas around Utuana reserve. The rains came about a month early this year, and they were particularly intense; in hindsight I actually count ourselves lucky because if we had run the trip about a week or two earlier, the road conditions would probably have made passage throughout SW Ecuador a complete nightmare! The countless landslides that we drove by were a testament to this. But we made the best of it, seeing nearly all of the targets anyway; the weather elsewhere (i.e., at Tapichalaca, Buenaventura and Yungilla) was quite accommodating really. Hey, Ecuador (and the rest of the Neotropics) can be a rainy place.

Bird song and responsiveness seemed down in the deciduous forests of the SW, and I chalk it up to the early rains. It was not at all bad, but a few species that are usually more reliable and responsive this time of the year - like Rufous-necked Foliage-gleaner, Watkin's Antpitta, and Pale-headed Brush-Finch - gave us a hard time. Most of the others, on the other hand, were as cooperative as usual!

This tour has evolved quite a bit over the last few years with respect to the quality of the accommodations; I still remember the days when we would have to stay in basic (and noisy) hostels in Macara, or hotels, some quite nice, really, but distant from the dandy birding areas at Buenaventura and Tapichalaca. To have the Jocotoco lodges, like Urraca, Umbrellabird, and Tapichalaca, in place, is really a treat... there is nothing better than staying on-site where it is quiet and the birds are only a step away! So, I really do have to plug the Jocotoco Foundation for doing such an awesome job of setting up these birding paradises, and for creating a conservation movement that any country in the neotropics would be wise to follow.

So now comes my short list of hand-picked highlights that I thought really shone and made the trip particularly special. I already mentioned a few, but I can't help throwing out some more(!): Gray-backed Hawk numerous times at Buenaventura; some sensational psittacids, like Golden-plumed, El Oro, and White-necked Parakeets... and don't forget that Red-faced Parrot; a long list of hummers, but I just have to single out that gorgeous Glowing Puffleg; that comical Chestnut-naped Antpitta at the Tapichalaca worm feeder that kept slipping; our final hour Elegant Crescentchests; that lovely pair of Chestnut-crested Cotingas; two male Long-wattled Umbrellabirds "booming" at the Buenaventura lek at very close range; displaying Club-winged Manakins; those handsome White-tailed Jays feeding young; and a pair of Silvery Tanagers in perfect light. This is only the tip of the iceberg, so read on!

With this, I'll sign off and leave it to the list that follows. But first I have to thank my favorite driver, Edgar, for doing such an incredible job of driving so capably on all of those winding roads, and for always getting us there in a safe and timely fashion. The final "thank you" goes out to all of you for being great companions in the field and for rolling so well with the punches, and for coming down here and appreciating the beauties of Ecuador. Here's to you!


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)
PALE-BROWED TINAMOU (Crypturellus transfasciatus) – We sure tried, and heard them all over the place in the southwest, but tinamous are so hard to call in and require a lot of time... unless you get lucky. [*]
ANDEAN TINAMOU (Nothoprocta pentlandii) – Heard numerous times in the hills of the Catamayo Valley. [*]
Anhimidae (Screamers)
HORNED SCREAMER (Anhima cornuta) – Some decent, if somewhat distant, scope views from the roadside at Manglares-Churute.
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis) – Nice scope views at Manglares-Churute.
FULVOUS WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna bicolor) – Ditto!
COMB DUCK (Sarkidiornis melanotos) – Found in small numbers in Ecuador. We had a few few fly up in nice light for good looks at Manglares-Churute-
MUSCOVY DUCK (Cairina moschata) – Fairly common at Manglares-Churute, during our productive stop there.
WHITE-CHEEKED PINTAIL (WHITE-CHEEKED) (Anas bahamensis rubrirostris) – A few groups at Manglares-Churute.
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
RUFOUS-HEADED CHACHALACA (Ortalis erythroptera) – Brain inadvertently got us onto this one at Cerro Blanco when he was pointing out a different bird! Later on we had wonderful views at Buenaventura where they come to the fruit feeders.
BEARDED GUAN (Penelope barbata) – A fairly range-restricted species of southern Ecuador and northern Peru. We had some quality studies at Cajanuma and Tapichalaca.
CRESTED GUAN (Penelope purpurascens) – Quick views at Buenaventura... they are skittish!
SICKLE-WINGED GUAN (Chamaepetes goudotii fagani) – Nice looks at this wide-ranging guan at Buenaventura.
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
RUFOUS-FRONTED WOOD-QUAIL (Odontophorus erythrops) – We sure tried! [*]
Ciconiidae (Storks)
WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana) – The ole "Woodstock", which we had nice in-flight views of at Manglares-Churute.
Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus brasilianus)
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

Among the smallest of the New World raptors, the dainty Pearl Kite is nonetheless a fierce little predator. Lizards beware! (Photo by tour participant Brian Stech)

COCOI HERON (Ardea cocoi) – Brian and Dorothy had one on our first day, but we all caught up with them on the following day at Manglares-Churute.
GREAT EGRET (AMERICAN) (Ardea alba egretta)
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula thula)
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)
CATTLE EGRET (IBIS) (Bubulcus ibis ibis)
STRIATED HERON (SOUTH AMERICAN) (Butorides striata striata)
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (AMERICAN) (Nycticorax nycticorax hoactli)
YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea)
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus)
ROSEATE SPOONBILL (Platalea ajaja) – Nice scope views of this rosy species at Manglares-Churute!
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
HOOK-BILLED KITE (Chondrohierax uncinatus) – Larry spotted a very distant one that Dorothy and I got onto briefly at Jorupe.
SWALLOW-TAILED KITE (Elanoides forficatus) – Seen seven days running.
PEARL KITE (Gampsonyx swainsonii magnus) – Craig spotted this one for us on the first day out on the Santa Elena Peninsula for some nice views where there ended up being a pair perched on the powerlines.
WHITE-TAILED KITE (Elanus leucurus) – On our second day out over Manglares-Churute.
SNAIL KITE (Rostrhamus sociabilis sociabilis) – Common in marshy areas of the western lowlands.
PLUMBEOUS KITE (Ictinia plumbea) – Daily around Buenaventura.
BLACK-CHESTED BUZZARD-EAGLE (Geranoaetus melanoleucus australis) – Pretty regular in the highlands on the second half of our trip. This chunky eagle can easily be recognized by its thick wings and short tail, that almost seem to meet.
SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (PLAIN-BREASTED) (Accipiter striatus ventralis) – Some got a look at this Accipiter when it came up to soar at Cajanuma.
BICOLORED HAWK (BICOLORED) (Accipiter bicolor bicolor) – Not an easy bird to find, but we ran into one for nice looks near that ugly landslide above Macara for nice perched views.
CRANE HAWK (BLACKISH) (Geranospiza caerulescens balzarensis) – Nice looks on our first day when one flew by at Cerro Blanco.
BARRED HAWK (Leucopternis princeps) – We had a flyby at Buenaventura.
GRAY-BACKED HAWK (Leucopternis occidentalis) – Some fantastic views of this range-restricted, and handsome species at Buenaventura.
GREAT BLACK-HAWK (Buteogallus urubitinga urubitinga) – A soaring bird at Buenaventura was a plus!
SAVANNA HAWK (Buteogallus meridionalis) – Common out in the drier western lowlands.
HARRIS'S HAWK (HARRIS'S) (Parabuteo unicinctus harrisi) – A few times in the west.
ROADSIDE HAWK (Buteo magnirostris)
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (NORTHERN) (Buteo platypterus platypterus) [b]
GRAY HAWK (Buteo nitidus) – A couple of them in the west for decent views.
VARIABLE HAWK (Buteo polyosoma) – Quick views in the highlands north of Loja.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
CARUNCULATED CARACARA (Phalcoboenus carunculatus) – The story as to what is happening with the caracaras in the central Ecuadorian highlands has still yet to be resolved, because it seems that the southern Mountain Caracara and the northern Carunculated Caracara might be interbreeding there, causing a bit of id confusion. I have seen in the past what look to me like clean Mountain Caracaras around Saraguro, but the bird that we saw looked to me like a Carunculated. I have also seen birds that seem to be intermediate! I would seem to me that there might be a zone of contact. At any rate, we had good looks at this bird in the Saraguro area.
CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara cheriway cheriway) – Pretty common in the drier western lowlands, but we only managed to see it once in the Jorupe area.
LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans) – Good looks at a couple of vocalizing birds at Jorupe.
AMERICAN KESTREL (COLOMBIAN) (Falco sparverius peruvianus)
BAT FALCON (Falco rufigularis) – Some got on one at Jorupe.
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – Seen on three days this tour.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
RUFOUS-NECKED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides axillaris) [*]
PLUMBEOUS RAIL (Pardirallus sanguinolentus) [*]
PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinica) – Feeding about along the edges of a roadside pond near Santa Rosa.
Aramidae (Limpkin)
LIMPKIN (Aramus guarauna guarauna) – A few at Manglares-Churute.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
COLLARED PLOVER (Charadrius collaris) – A couple around Manglares-Churute.
KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus peruvianus) – One flew over at Manglares-Churute.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (BLACK-NECKED) (Himantopus mexicanus mexicanus)
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
WATTLED JACANA (Jacana jacana scapularis) – Common along roadside marshes.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) [b]
SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria) [b]
WILLET (Tringa semipalmata) [b]
WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus) [b]
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla) [b]
FRANKLIN'S GULL (Leucophaeus pipixcan) – Not too uncommon on inland lakes during the boreal winter. [b]
GULL-BILLED TERN (Gelochelidon nilotica)
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis) – Fairly common in the western lowlands.
BAND-TAILED PIGEON (WHITE-NECKED) (Patagioenas fasciata albilinea) – The common pigeon of the highlands.
PLUMBEOUS PIGEON (Patagioenas plumbea chapmani) – Good looks at one at Buenaventura.
RUDDY PIGEON (BERLEPSCH'S) (Patagioenas subvinacea berlepschi) [*]
EARED DOVE (Zenaida auriculata hypoleuca)
ECUADORIAN GROUND-DOVE (Columbina buckleyi) – For a bird that is quite common in the western lowlands, it sure took us a while to get good looks at them when we spotted a small group along the roadside not far from Jorupe.
CROAKING GROUND-DOVE (Columbina cruziana) – Prefers drier habitats than the previous species; this was the one with the bright yellow around the bill.
BLUE GROUND-DOVE (Claravis pretiosa) – It was a nice treat to have seen a small group of this often reclusive species during our first morning of birding at Cerro Blanco.
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (DECOLOR) (Leptotila verreauxi decolor) – A common dove in SW Ecuador, where they can often be seen trotting along roadsides.
WHITE-THROATED QUAIL-DOVE (Geotrygon frenata) – Quail-doves are a notoriously difficult group to see well, so it was nice to seen one visiting a feeder at Tapichalaca for such nice looks!
Psittacidae (Parrots)
GOLDEN-PLUMED PARAKEET (Leptosittaca branickii) – A loud and large parakeet of Andean temperate forests, and different enough from any other to deserve being placed in its own genus. Tapichalaca has to be the best spot in the country for this one, and we had some spectacular encounters. This is one of my favorites, maybe because it is such a hallmark species for the mysterious highland woodlands; you always know that if this species is present, other good stuff will be too!
EL ORO PARAKEET (Pyrrhura orcesi) – One of Ecuador's few endemics. While not particularly loaded with multiple colors - it is actually one of the drabber species of its genus - this one is range-restricted, being found only in the very humid cloud forests of SW Ecuador; a habitat that has been severely affected by human activities. Luckily the Jocotoco Foundation stepped in and preserved some critical tracts of land for it to continue breeding successfully. Our local guide marched us right up to an active nest box for some fabulous studies. It took a little bit of waiting, but it was well worth it! Field Guides's very own Rose Ann Rowlett was actually one of the co-discoverers.
WHITE-NECKED PARAKEET (Pyrrhura albipectus) – Up until relatively recently, very little was known about this species, and it was thought for a long time to be an Ecuadorian endemic; not too long ago it was found over the border into Peru... they stole another endemic from us, just like the Jocotoco Antpitta! This species inhabits a small area of the eastern foothills, where it screeches about in small groups and nests in boxes put out for them in the lower elevations of the Tapichalaca reserve. We had some memorable views right along the roadside there!
RED-MASKED PARAKEET (Aratinga erythrogenys) – The common Aratinga of the drier zones of the west slope.
PACIFIC PARROTLET (Forpus coelestis) – The common parrotlet of the SW that we saw well numerous times. The mix of greens, blues and soft grays of this one make it a really handsome species.
GRAY-CHEEKED PARAKEET (Brotogeris pyrrhoptera) – While this one also occurs in extreme NW Peru, the bulk of this species' range lies within the SW of Ecuador, so its conservation here is critical. Luckily, they still seem to be pretty common, even right around Guayaquil city, but parrots can take population dives pretty quickly. We had our first good looks at this one on our first day around Cerro Blanco.
RED-FACED PARROT (Hapalopsittaca pyrrhops) – Wow, this really turned out to be quite a fine trip for special psittacids. In my opinion, this species may be more at risk than any of the others we saw due to the large-scale clearing of its temperate, intermontane forest habitats; you could just see how ravaged these forests are getting when driving from Loja to Cuenca! At least they are still hanging on in some healthy forest patches, such as around Saraguro, where we enjoyed some wonderful views at a spectacular group of this parrot! Aside from small populations, what makes this one particularly hard to find is that they have the habit of staying quiet during the day as they feed about quietly.
RED-BILLED PARROT (Pionus sordidus corallinus) – Fly-overs in the Tapichalaca area.
BRONZE-WINGED PARROT (Pionus chalcopterus) – Fairly common around Buenaventura. This is an usually-plumaged parrot in that its base color is a deep blue, not green.
RED-LORED PARROT (SALVIN'S) (Amazona autumnalis lilacina) – A pair wheeled in and landed for us at Cerro Blanco for scope studies.
SCALY-NAPED PARROT (Amazona mercenaria) – Flybys at Tapichalaca.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
LITTLE CUCKOO (Coccycua minuta gracilis) – A responsive pair not far from the lodge at Buenaventura, where they sneaked about in the undergrowth of some roadside shrubbery.
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (NIGRICRISSA) (Piaya cayana nigricrissa) – Funny that we never actually even caught a glimpse! [*]
STRIPED CUCKOO (Tapera naevia naevia) [*]
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani) – Common in secondary habitats around Buenaventura.
GROOVE-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga sulcirostris) – Since we spent most of our lower elevation birding in drier habitats, this was the common ani of the trip.
Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)
BARN OWL (AMERICAN) (Tyto alba contempta) – We had a quick flyby of one during a pre-dawn drive north from Loja.
Strigidae (Owls)
PERUVIAN SCREECH-OWL (Megascops roboratus pacificus) – This rascal just got away from us! [*]
SPECTACLED OWL (Pulsatrix perspicillata chapmani) – Vocal at Jorupe, but not responsive at all... [*]

This tour features a number of rare and/or local parrot species, including the very local El Oro Parakeet, endemic to a narrow belt of montane forest in SW Ecuador. (Photo by tour participant Brian Stech)

GREAT HORNED OWL (Bubo virginianus) – We jumped off the bus during our drive to Cuenca one hot afternoon for good looks at this chunky owl that we spotted perched from the bus.
ANDEAN PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium jardinii) – Awesome scope studies at a responsive bird in the high temperate forests of Acacana, when it perched right up for us!
PERUVIAN PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium peruanum) – Craig spotted our first one at Cerro Blanco... we were all sorry that Craig had to go home so early in the trip; aside from his great companionship, we just knew that he would have found some great stuff for us!
BLACK-AND-WHITE OWL (Ciccaba nigrolineata) – Responsive at Buenaventura, but wary; all we got visually was one flying away!
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis) – Nesting right along the roadside at Buenaventura. [N]
Apodidae (Swifts)
CHESTNUT-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne rutila brunnitorques) – A common swift found from the foothills all the way up through to the highlands.
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris) – The large swift, found in most habitats.
SHORT-TAILED SWIFT (TUMBES) (Chaetura brachyura ocypetes) – The Birds of Ecuador splits this one out from the Short-tailed Swift... who knows!? We had them in-flight from the porch at Jorupe, where they are pretty regular.
GRAY-RUMPED SWIFT (ASH-RUMPED) (Chaetura cinereiventris occidentalis) – Common around Buenaventura.
LESSER SWALLOW-TAILED SWIFT (Panyptila cayennensis) – This one has a nest right up under the the roof of one of the cabins at Buenaventura... not sure if it was active though. We had some nice in-flight views of them there.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora) – Daily at Buenaventura's feeders, and a common hummer throughout Central and South America.
BAND-TAILED BARBTHROAT (Threnetes ruckeri) – One surprised us at Buenaventura for quick looks.
WHITE-WHISKERED HERMIT (Phaethornis yaruqui) – Common around Buenaventura.
LONG-BILLED HERMIT (BARON'S) (Phaethornis longirostris baroni) – In small numbers at Buenaventura.
WEDGE-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD (Schistes geoffroyi albogularis) – Good looks at Buenaventura.
BROWN VIOLETEAR (Colibri delphinae) – Loud and common at Buenaventura's feeders.
SPARKLING VIOLETEAR (Colibri coruscans coruscans) – A common highland hummer that we saw well on the last three days of the trip.
PURPLE-CROWNED FAIRY (Heliothryx barroti) – A striking hummer that we saw at Buenaventura.
AMETHYST-THROATED SUNANGEL (AMETHYST-THROATED) (Heliangelus amethysticollis laticlavius) – A beautiful little hummer that we saw commonly at Tapichalaca's feeders.
LITTLE SUNANGEL (Heliangelus micraster) – Also known as the Flame-throated Sunangel. We had many fine views at Tapichalaca's feeders.
PURPLE-THROATED SUNANGEL (Heliangelus viola) – Pretty common in the temperate forests around Loja.
GREEN THORNTAIL (Discosura conversii) – Awesome at Buenaventura's feeders!
SPECKLED HUMMINGBIRD (Adelomyia melanogenys maculata) – A few at the Tapichalaca feeders.
LONG-TAILED SYLPH (Aglaiocercus kingi mocoa) – Common in the Tapichalaca area... what a tail!
VIOLET-TAILED SYLPH (Aglaiocercus coelestis aethereus) – Had this one on one day at Buenaventura!
RUFOUS-CAPPED THORNBILL (Chalcostigma ruficeps) – Not much of a feeder bird, but we had good looks at them just down the road from the lodge at Tapichalaca.
RAINBOW-BEARDED THORNBILL (Chalcostigma herrani) – We had one come in briefly in the Saraguro area.
TYRIAN METALTAIL (Metallura tyrianthina tyrianthina) – Common around Tapichalaca.
GLOWING PUFFLEG (Eriocnemis vestita smaragdinipectus) – Just love that glowing rump; Tapichalaca!
SHINING SUNBEAM (Aglaeactis cupripennis) – The orange hummer that we had well in the highlands of the Saraguro area.
BRONZY INCA (Coeligena coeligena) – Seen during our roadside birding in the lower part of the Tapichalaca reserve.
BROWN INCA (Coeligena wilsoni) – Brian spotted this one for us a Buenaventura.
COLLARED INCA (COLLARED) (Coeligena torquata fulgidigula) – Common around Tapichalaca.
BUFF-WINGED STARFRONTLET (Coeligena lutetiae) – I think Brian might have been the only one to get onto this one at Tapichalaca.
RAINBOW STARFRONTLET (Coeligena iris iris) – A stunning hummer of southern Ecuador, that we had wonderful views of a few times.
MOUNTAIN VELVETBREAST (Lafresnaya lafresnayi saul) – Quick views of one in flight near Saraguro when we spotted one at the forest edge one morning.
CHESTNUT-BREASTED CORONET (Boissonneaua matthewsii) – Common and aggressive at Tapichalaca's feeders.
FAWN-BREASTED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa rubinoides aequatorialis) – In small numbers at Tapichalaca's feeders.
GREEN-CROWNED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa jacula jamesoni) – One of the larger hummers at Buenaventura's feeders.
GIANT HUMMINGBIRD (Patagona gigas peruviana) – We lucked into nice views of one in the dry Ona Valley - where it fed on Agave flowers - during our drive from Loja to Yungilla.
LONG-BILLED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster longirostris albicrissa) – A few around Buenaventura.
PURPLE-COLLARED WOODSTAR (Myrtis fanny fanny) – Quick views of a female during our drive from Jorupe to Loja via Catacocha as the Sozoranga route was blocked!!!
WHITE-BELLIED WOODSTAR (Chaetocercus mulsant) – Regular in small numbers at Tapichalaca's feeders. This little guy has a pot-bellied look about it.
LITTLE WOODSTAR (Chaetocercus bombus) – Good looks at female plumaged bird at Yungilla.
GREEN-CROWNED WOODNYMPH (EMERALD-BELLIED) (Thalurania fannyi hypochlora) – Wonderful views at Buenaventura's feeders. Just love those intense greens and purples!
AMAZILIA HUMMINGBIRD (AMAZILIA) (Amazilia amazilia dumerilii) – Common in the dry and deciduous forests of the western lowlands and foothills.
AMAZILIA HUMMINGBIRD (LOJA) (Amazilia amazilia alticola) – Some split this highland form of the Amazilia Hummingbird out as a separate species. Who knows if this is a valid taxon to species as characters seem to overlap a bit sometimes! We had some nice views of this form though in the dry valleys south of Loja city.
ANDEAN EMERALD (Amazilia franciae) – The snowy bellied hummer that was a regular at Buenaventura's feeders.
RUFOUS-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia tzacatl) – Another common bird at Buenaventura.
VIOLET-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD (Damophila julie) – This can be a tricky hummer to nail down, but it has now become regular at Buenaventura's feeders.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
GOLDEN-HEADED QUETZAL (Pharomachrus auriceps auriceps) – Hey, I never met a quetzal I didn't like! We had some nice views at both Buenaventura and Tapichalaca.
ECUADORIAN TROGON (Trogon mesurus) – Common and vocal in the Jorupe area. This one is a mostly accepted split from the Black-tailed Trogon; this one has a pale iris, among other minor differences.
GARTERED TROGON (Trogon caligatus) – A member of the Violaceous Trogon group, this one occurs on the west slope here. We had this on one day at Buenaventura, where it inhabits the humid forests.
COLLARED TROGON (COLLARED) (Trogon collaris virginalis) – Good looks up the road from Umbrellabird lodge at Buenaventura.
MASKED TROGON (Trogon personatus temperatus) – Some got onto this high elevation trogon at Cajanuma before it got away.
Momotidae (Motmots)
WHOOPING MOTMOT (ARGENTICINCTUS) (Momotus subrufescens argenticinctus) – Split from the Blue-crowned Motmot, representing this group on the west slope. We had some nice looks in the deciduous forests at Jorupe.
RUFOUS MOTMOT (Baryphthengus martii) – Nicely at Buenaventura.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata)
Bucconidae (Puffbirds)
BARRED PUFFBIRD (Nystalus radiatus) – It took a couple of tries, but we finally got one to come close enough for quality scope studies at Buenaventura.
WHITE-WHISKERED PUFFBIRD (Malacoptila panamensis) – Good looks in the forest at Buenaventura not far from the lodge.
Capitonidae (New World Barbets)
RED-HEADED BARBET (Eubucco bourcierii) – A flashy barbet that we saw with a flock in the lower stretches of Tapichalaca reserve.
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
EMERALD TOUCANET (BLACK-THROATED) (Aulacorhynchus prasinus cyanolaemus) – We caught them moving through with a flock at Tapichalaca.
GRAY-BREASTED MOUNTAIN-TOUCAN (Andigena hypoglauca lateralis) – Good thing we got them at Cajanuma during our morning there, because there was no sign of them at Tapichalaca this visit!
COLLARED ARACARI (STRIPE-BILLED) (Pteroglossus torquatus erythropygius) – Fairly common around Buenaventura, where they often come right up to the lodge to eat bananas.
BLACK-MANDIBLED TOUCAN (CHESTNUT-MANDIBLED) (Ramphastos ambiguus swainsonii) – Now often lumped with the Black-mandibled Toucan... darn! This large-billed toucan was seen well a couple of times at Buenaventura.
CHOCO TOUCAN (Ramphastos brevis) – Slightly smaller than the previous species, and with more black in the bill; voices differ dramatically as well. We had them well a couple of times at Buenaventura.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
ECUADORIAN PICULET (Picumnus sclateri) – Seen nicely on our first outing of the trip at Cerro Blanco.
OLIVACEOUS PICULET (Picumnus olivaceus) – Nice looks at this tiny woodpecker relative at Buenaventura.
SMOKY-BROWN WOODPECKER (Picoides fumigatus) – On the lower slopes of Tapichalaca.
SCARLET-BACKED WOODPECKER (Veniliornis callonotus) – Fairly common in the dry forests of the west, and a really handsome woodpecker.
GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (RUBRIPILEUS) (Colaptes rubiginosus rubripileus) – We had them once in the Buenaventura area.
CRIMSON-MANTLED WOODPECKER (Colaptes rivolii brevirostris) – One of the most beautiful woodpeckers of them all. We had good looks at Cajanuma.
GUAYAQUIL WOODPECKER (Campephilus gayaquilensis) – Buenaventura.
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
TAWNY-THROATED LEAFTOSSER (Sclerurus mexicanus) – Pretty good looks at Buenaventura up the road from the lodge. This understory species can be a tricky one to see well.
PALE-LEGGED HORNERO (PACIFIC) (Furnarius leucopus cinnamomeus) – Common in drier areas in more open country. Horneros are well known for making mud nests the size of a soccer ball.
AZARA'S SPINETAIL (Synallaxis azarae ochracea) – Seen a couple of times in the highlands; this is the common highland spinetail in Ecuador.

It may be a widespread species in Ecuador, but a Red-billed Scythebill is always a spectacular sight, even more enjoyable when seen from the dinner table! (Photo by tour participant Brian Stech)

RUFOUS SPINETAIL (Synallaxis unirufa unirufa) [*]
SLATY SPINETAIL (Synallaxis brachyura) [*]
BLACKISH-HEADED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis tithys) – Some excellent looks at Jorupe where we even had one right next to its stick nest.
WHITE-BROWED SPINETAIL (Hellmayrea gularis gularis) – Great looks along the trail to the Jocotoco Antpitta at Tapiachalaca.
LINE-CHEEKED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca antisiensis antisiensis) – In the highlands up around Sozoranga during an afternoon foray to higher elevations from Jorupe.
MOUSE-COLORED THISTLETAIL (Asthenes griseomurina) – Super looks right along the roadside on our way back north from Tapichalaca.
RUFOUS-FRONTED THORNBIRD (Phacellodomus rufifrons) – We called in a responsive pair near Valladolid.
SPOTTED BARBTAIL (Premnoplex brunnescens) – Some got onto this one at Buenaventura before it slipped away into the undergrowth.
PEARLED TREERUNNER (Margarornis squamiger perlatus) – Pretty common with the mixed flocks at Tapichalaca.
STREAKED TUFTEDCHEEK (Pseudocolaptes boissonneautii orientalis) – A large flock-following furnariid that we saw well north of Loja near Saraguro.
SCALY-THROATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (SPOT-BREASTED) (Anabacerthia variegaticeps temporalis) – With the flocks at Buenaventura.
MONTANE FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Anabacerthia striaticollis) [*]
BUFF-BROWED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Syndactyla rufosuperciliata) – Maybe not the flashiest bird of the trip, but certainly the biggest surprise. This species was - previous to our sighting - only known from the Cordillera del Condor further east and right on the Peru border, so it was quite a range extension! We had some good looks and even got some nice recordings for proof! Tapichalaca.
RUFOUS-NECKED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Syndactyla ruficollis) – This one took some searching, but we finally found a close foraging birds right up from the cabins along Jorupe's trails.
STRIPED WOODHAUNTER (CENTRAL AMERICAN) (Hyloctistes subulatus virgatus) – On our last morning at Buenaventura during some birding up the road from the lodge.
HENNA-HOODED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Hylocryptus erythrocephalus) – Pretty common around Urraca Lodge at Jorupe reserve where we had some fine views of one on our first morning there.
STREAKED XENOPS (Xenops rutilans guayae) – Common with flocks in the west in both humid and drier forests.
PLAIN-BROWN WOODCREEPER (PLAIN-BROWN) (Dendrocincla fuliginosa ridgwayi) – In small numbers at Buenaventura.
OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (PACIFIC) (Sittasomus griseicapillus aequatorialis) – A small woodcreeper that we saw well at Jorupe. This one will likely be split many ways in the future, so keep an eye on all of the different forms you might have seen throughout the neotropics. This pacific form, for instance, sounds nothing like birds on the other side of the Andes in the Amazon.
WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Glyphorynchus spirurus pectoralis) – The smallest of the woodcreepers. We found them a few times at Buenaventura.
SPOTTED WOODCREEPER (BERLEPSCH'S) (Xiphorhynchus erythropygius aequatorialis) – Common with the flocks at Buenaventura.
STREAK-HEADED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii) – Common in deciduous and transitional woodlands of the west.
MONTANE WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger aequatorialis) – Replaces the previous species at higher elevations on more humid forest.
RED-BILLED SCYTHEBILL (Campylorhamphus trochilirostris thoracicus) – Nice looks at Jorupe right from the dining room... what a bill!
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
GREAT ANTSHRIKE (Taraba major transandeanus) – Excellent views at a male right near the lodge at Buenaventura.
CHAPMAN'S ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus zarumae zarumae) – I thought we were going to miss this one due to all of the landslides that made getting to some of the better spots for this species impossible, but we pulled a pair out of the hat in some roadside montane forest not far from Catacocha as we made our way to Loja.
COLLARED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus bernardi) – Nice looks at this flashy antshrike at Jorupe.
WESTERN SLATY-ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus atrinucha atrinucha) – Seen well on our first afternoon at Buenaventura.
UNIFORM ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus unicolor unicolor) – Sneaky devils that inhabit the understory of humid hilly and montane forest. We had to work them a bird, but finally got some looks at Buenaventura.
RUSSET ANTSHRIKE (TAWNY) (Thamnistes anabatinus intermedius) – A pair with a flock at Buenaventura as they moved through the canopy.
PLAIN ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus mentalis aequatorialis) – I think our best experience with this one was when we stumbled upon a pair attending a tiny fledgling along the trails at Jorupe. I bet you'll never see one of these again soooo close!
CHECKER-THROATED ANTWREN (Epinecrophylla fulviventris) [*]
SLATY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula schisticolor schisticolor) – Common with the understory flocks at Buenaventura.
CHESTNUT-BACKED ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza exsul) – Seen by a few on our last morning at Buenaventura when a pair skulked through the undergrowth.
IMMACULATE ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza immaculata macrorhyncha) – Richard had brief views at Buenaventura.
Grallariidae (Antpittas)
SCALED ANTPITTA (Grallaria guatimalensis regulus) [*]
CHESTNUT-CROWNED ANTPITTA (Grallaria ruficapilla connectens) [*]
WATKINS'S ANTPITTA (Grallaria watkinsi) – Despite some serious looking, and even hearing them quite close, these guys were tough to see this year. Richard was the only member of our party to see one... nice going! Jorupe area.
JOCOTOCO ANTPITTA (Grallaria ridgelyi) – Only first detected in the late 90's, and a find that rocked the birding world! The spin-off effects of the discovery of this antpitta have been amazing, as we saw on this trip, with the creation of numerous reserves throughout Ecuador to protect some of its rarest bird species and other wildlife. Seeing the Jocotoco Antpitta used to be very difficult, but now Franco - one of the park guards at Tapichalaca - has a family group tamed down to come in and gobble up worms only feet away... thrilling!
CHESTNUT-NAPED ANTPITTA (Grallaria nuchalis nuchalis) – We had awesome views of one very nervous bird right at the worm feeding spot for the Jocotoco. As it is smaller than the Jocotoco, it really has to get in and out quick, or it risks a romping from the those big boys! It was so nervous that it even lost its balance and slid a couple of times.
RUFOUS ANTPITTA (Grallaria rufula rufula) – Very nice views of this temperate forest species at Cajanuma one birdy morning.
SLATE-CROWNED ANTPITTA (SLATE-CROWNED) (Grallaricula nana nana) [*]
CRESCENT-FACED ANTPITTA (Grallaricula lineifrons) – Even when in the right spot with a responsive bird, you need some luck to see this little critter! Its window of response is usually pretty narrow, so if you don't see the exact spot where it pops in or jumps through initially, it is already too late; it often responds once and then vanishes. And since you can't move around much (it is cramped in that hole and the bird is wary), it is just a matter of having chosen the correct angle! We were pretty lucky, because at least it did come in for us. Most folks did see it move when it hopped through, but it was Richard, Bryan and Dorothy that got the stellar looks at the right moment!
Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)
OCELLATED TAPACULO (Acropternis orthonyx infuscatus) – We sure tried! [*]
ASH-COLORED TAPACULO (Myornis senilis) – We had one creep through right in front of us at the Crescent-faced Antpitta spot!
BLACKISH TAPACULO (PACIFIC) (Scytalopus latrans subcinereus) [*]
LONG-TAILED TAPACULO (Scytalopus micropterus) [*]
ECUADORIAN TAPACULO (Scytalopus robbinsi) – This is very range-restricted species of SW Ecuador, inhabiting only a narrow belt of foothill cloud forest. In addition to having a small range, it is also brutally difficult to see - or even detect - most of the time. We did manage to glimpse one that popped in for us at Buenaventura a couple of times.
CHUSQUEA TAPACULO (Scytalopus parkeri) – Nice looks at this fairly recently described species at Cajanuma and Tapichalaca.
Melanopareiidae (Crescentchests)
ELEGANT CRESCENTCHEST (Melanopareia elegans elegans) – I was afraid that we were doomed to miss this one after only hearing at some of my best spots, but we pulled another hat trick at our last opportunity at a little patch we know about south of Loja for nice views!
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
SOUTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (SOUTHERN) (Camptostoma obsoletum sclateri)
WHITE-BANDED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus stictopterus stictopterus) – With flocks at Cajanuma.
WHITE-THROATED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus leucophrys rufomarginatis) – Only managed a quick flyby!
TUFTED TIT-TYRANT (Anairetes parulus) – Nice looks at this sprite little tyrannid north of Loja in the Saraguro area.
MOUSE-COLORED TYRANNULET (TUMBES) (Phaeomyias murina tumbezana) – Pretty common in the deciduous forests west of Loja.

With nearly 40 species of hummingbirds seen on the tour, it's a bit tough to choose a favorite, but the sparkling little Violet-bellied Hummingbird has got to be a contender! (Photo by tour participant Brian Stech)

PACIFIC ELAENIA (Myiopagis subplacens) – Most common around Jorupe where they call frequently.
GREENISH ELAENIA (GREENISH) (Myiopagis viridicata implacens) – Nice looks a couple of times on our first day of birding at Cerro Blanco.
YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster semipagana) – Seen first in the disturbed woodlands below Umbrellabird Lodge at Buenaventura.
WHITE-CRESTED ELAENIA (WHITE-CRESTED) (Elaenia albiceps griseigularis) – A common elaenia of the highlands, usually in drier habitats.
HIGHLAND ELAENIA (Elaenia obscura) – A hefty elaenia species, and not a common bird at all in Ecuador. We chased down one bird for nice looks down below Tapichalaca one afternoon.
SIERRAN ELAENIA (ANDEAN) (Elaenia pallatangae pallatangae) – Fairly common the highlands in the Loja area.
OLIVE-STRIPED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes olivaceus hederaceus) – Common in the lower growth at Buenaventura.
OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus) – We had one at Buenaventura.
SLATY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon superciliaris) – Pretty common with the flocks at Buenaventura.
VARIEGATED BRISTLE-TYRANT (Phylloscartes poecilotis) – We caught a few moving through with a roadside mixed flock one afternoon at Tapichalaca. The one with the buffy wingbars.
SOOTY-HEADED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias griseiceps)
BLACK-CAPPED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias nigrocapillus nigrocapillus) – Common with the flocks at Cajanuma.
GOLDEN-FACED TYRANNULET (LOJA) (Zimmerius chrysops flavidifrons) – A couple of times at Buenaventura. The Birds of Ecuador splits this form out, calling it the Loja Tyrannulet.
ORNATE FLYCATCHER (Myiotriccus ornatus stellatus) – A beautiful little flycatcher that we saw many times at Buenaventura.
BRONZE-OLIVE PYGMY-TYRANT (Pseudotriccus pelzelni annectens) [*]
RUFOUS-HEADED PYGMY-TYRANT (Pseudotriccus ruficeps) [*]
TAWNY-CROWNED PYGMY-TYRANT (Euscarthmus meloryphus fulviceps) – In the dry habitats west of Loja, where it is a common bird.
SCALE-CRESTED PYGMY-TYRANT (Lophotriccus pileatus squamaecrista) – Buenaventura.
BLACK-THROATED TODY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus granadensis pyrrhops) – We had one responsive pair for nice looks at Tapichalaca.
COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum sclateri) – Common in secondary habitats around Buenaventura.
YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (EQUATORIAL) (Tolmomyias sulphurescens aequatorialis) – Seen well first at Cerro Blanco.
WHITE-THROATED SPADEBILL (Platyrinchus mystaceus albogularis) – Most folks got onto this one in the understory at Buenaventura.
CINNAMON FLYCATCHER (Pyrrhomyias cinnamomeus pyrrhopterus) – A few at Tapichalaca.
ORANGE-BANDED FLYCATCHER (Nephelomyias lintoni) – Nicely in the inter-Andean forests north of Loja where this species forages in the canopy in large groups.
SULPHUR-RUMPED FLYCATCHER (Myiobius sulphureipygius aureatus) – A few of this yellow-rumped, understory species at Buenaventura.
BRAN-COLORED FLYCATCHER (BRAN-COLORED) (Myiophobus fasciatus crypterythrus)
GRAY-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Lathrotriccus griseipectus) – An inconspicuous bird that can be easily overlooked, but with knowledge of its voice and habitat, it isn't too hard to find; we had good looks at them at both Cerro Blanco and Jorupe.
SMOKE-COLORED PEWEE (Contopus fumigatus zarumae)
TROPICAL PEWEE (TUMBES) (Contopus cinereus punensis) – This bird of Tumbezia is sometimes split from the other forms of Tropical Pewee. We had them well at Jorupe.
BLACK PHOEBE (WHITE-WINGED) (Sayornis nigricans angustirostris)
VERMILION FLYCATCHER (VERMILION) (Pyrocephalus rubinus piurae)
RUFOUS-TAILED TYRANT (Knipolegus poecilurus) – We connected with this uncommon tyrant on the slopes below Tapichalaca one morning right along the roadside.
BLACK-BILLED SHRIKE-TYRANT (Agriornis montanus solitarius) – It was poor light, but the looks weren't bad. What was most interesting was to see this more common species next to the rarer White-tailed for comparison during a dawn stop north of Loja.
WHITE-TAILED SHRIKE-TYRANT (Agriornis albicauda) – A very local species that seems to prefer scrubby and even denuded habitats. We had good looks at dawn north of Loja.
STREAK-THROATED BUSH-TYRANT (Myiotheretes striaticollis striaticollis) – Nearing Cuenca, we jumped off of the bus for scope views of this central valley species.
MASKED WATER-TYRANT (Fluvicola nengeta atripennis) – Fond of wet areas and even pastures in open habitats of the west. We had good looks on our drive from Guayaquil to Buenaventura.
YELLOW-BELLIED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca diadema gratiosa) [*]
RUFOUS-BREASTED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca rufipectoralis obfuscata) – Good looks at this canopy chat-tyrant at Tapichalaca... the one with the big white brow.
BROWN-BACKED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca fumicolor brunneifrons) – The high elevation chat-tyrant here in Ecuador that we saw well in the Saraguro area at the edge of high temperate forest.
LONG-TAILED TYRANT (Colonia colonus) – Valladolid area below Tapichalaca.
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer nigriceps) – The common Myiarchus throughout much of Ecuador.
SOOTY-CROWNED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus phaeocephalus phaeocephalus) – Fairly common in the deciduous Bombax forests of the SW.
PALE-EDGED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cephalotes) – An east slope Myiarchus that we saw in the Tapichalaca area.
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (TUMBES) (Megarynchus pitangua chrysogaster) – Fairly common in the west where found in a variety of habitat types.
SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (TUMBES) (Myiozetetes similis grandis) – Most common in open habits on both slopes.
GOLDEN-CROWNED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes chrysocephalus minor) – Buenaventura.
BAIRD'S FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes bairdii) – Fairly common in dry habitats of the SW. We saw them first west of Guayaquil out on the Santa Elena Peninsula.
STREAKED FLYCATCHER (STREAKED) (Myiodynastes maculatus chapmani) – Seen on our first day out at Cerro Blanco.
PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius) – A lowland and foothill bird of humid areas.
SNOWY-THROATED KINGBIRD (Tyrannus niveigularis) – Plenty of fine studies out on the Santa Elena Peninsula on our first day. This one is much more cleanly marked than the Tropical Kingbird.
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus melancholicus)
Cotingidae (Cotingas)

A handsome male Green-and-black Fruiteater peers out from the canopy of a fruiting tree. (Photo by tour participant Brian Stech)

GREEN-AND-BLACK FRUITEATER (GREEN-AND-BLACK) (Pipreola riefferii occidentalis) – Good looks at Cajanuma and Tapichalaca. This one has the dark eye and orange bill and legs.
BARRED FRUITEATER (Pipreola arcuata arcuata) [*]
SCALED FRUITEATER (Ampelioides tschudii) – Nice looks at a responsive bird at Buenaventura.
CHESTNUT-CRESTED COTINGA (Ampelion rufaxilla) – A very local species in Ecuador, occurring in humid forest on the east slope. I had never seen this one in Ecuador so was thrilled when a pair popped up onto the treetops below eye level for staggering looks. Tapichalaca reserve.
LONG-WATTLED UMBRELLABIRD (Cephalopterus penduliger) – It worked well to get into Umbrellabird Lodge (Buenaventura) early from Guayaquil so that we could go run down the trail and look for the... Long-wattled Umbrellabird! We had fantastic luck, seeing two really close males as they called and perched about at a lek.
Pipridae (Manakins)
GOLDEN-WINGED MANAKIN (Masius chrysopterus coronulatus) [*]
CLUB-WINGED MANAKIN (Machaeropterus deliciosus) – As the scientific name implies, this is indeed one delicious manakin! It was great to have them displaying around us right up the road from Umbrellabird Lodge!
WHITE-BEARDED MANAKIN (Manacus manacus) – Some good looks at Buenaventura as they displayed in the undergrowth.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
MASKED TITYRA (Tityra semifasciata nigriceps) – Fairly common around Buenaventura.
BARRED BECARD (Pachyramphus versicolor versicolor) – We did well on becards this trip. This one we saw with a flock at Tapichalaca.
SLATY BECARD (Pachyramphus spodiurus) – The key becard to get on this trip, and we had them well right next to their thick, ball-like nests at Jorupe.
BLACK-AND-WHITE BECARD (Pachyramphus albogriseus guayaquilensis) – Also seen at a nest; Jorupe.
ONE-COLORED BECARD (Pachyramphus homochrous homochrous) – A large becard that we saw a few times in the Jorupe area.
Vireonidae (Vireos)
BROWN-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo leucophrys josephae) – Fairly common with montane, humid forest flocks.
RED-EYED VIREO (RESIDENT CHIVI) (Vireo olivaceus griseobarbatus)
LESSER GREENLET (GRAY-HEADED) (Hylophilus decurtatus minor) – Pretty common with the flocks at Buenaventura.
RUFOUS-BROWED PEPPERSHRIKE (YELLOW-BACKED) (Cyclarhis gujanensis virenticeps) – Mostly heard, but Richard got a look at one in the Jorupe area.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
TURQUOISE JAY (Cyanolyca turcosa) – This all blue and black jay was seen well at Cajanuma.
WHITE-TAILED JAY (Cyanocorax mystacalis) – While first seen at Cerro Blanco on our first day, we had our best looks at this striking jay at Jorupe where there were adults attending young.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (CYANOLEUCA) (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca cyanoleuca)
PALE-FOOTED SWALLOW (Orochelidon flavipes) – This forest based swallow can be tricky to id, but we had some in decent light right at the Cajanuma headquarters where some could even make out the rusty throat.
BROWN-BELLIED SWALLOW (Orochelidon murina) – The common high elevation swallow.
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis uropygialis) – Regular at Buenaventura.
GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea chalybea)
BROWN-CHESTED MARTIN (Progne tapera) – A few along the roadside near Puerto Jeli.
BARN SWALLOW (AMERICAN) (Hirundo rustica erythrogaster) [b]
CHESTNUT-COLLARED SWALLOW (Petrochelidon rufocollaris aequatorialis) – This species often nests right in the steeples and eaves of the town churches in the SW. We saw this phenomenon at close range one afternoon in the Macara area for nice views..
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
FASCIATED WREN (Campylorhynchus fasciatus pallescens) – The common arboreal wren of the SW deciduous and dry forests. We saw them many times and heard their alarming calls daily in the right habitats.
RUFOUS WREN (Cinnycerthia unirufa unibrunnea) – A common temperate forest wren that we saw well at Tapichalaca, where they roam around in family groups.
PLAIN-TAILED WREN (Pheugopedius euophrys) – An incredible songster which often belts out its loud dueted song. We had some exceptional views at Cajanuma.
WHISKERED WREN (Pheugopedius mystacalis mystacalis) – Most got onto the pair at Buenaventura that sneaked through the bamboo undergrowth.
SPECKLE-BREASTED WREN (SPECKLE-BREASTED) (Pheugopedius sclateri paucimaculatus) – Common around Jorupe.
BAY WREN (SOUTH AMERICAN) (Cantorchilus nigricapillus nigricapillus) – Alan and I got a quick view at Buenaventura.
SUPERCILIATED WREN (Cantorchilus superciliaris) – Not an uncommon bird in the dry and deciduous forests of the SW, but it can be a really chore to see well! We did however get a pair to pop up for nice looks near Jorupe one morning in some roadside habitat.
HOUSE WREN (SOUTHERN) (Troglodytes aedon albicans)
MOUNTAIN WREN (Troglodytes solstitialis solstitialis) – Good looks at the arboreal, forest wren at Cajanuma.
GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucophrys hilaris) – A very loud and vocal wren of the humid forest understory in a wide range of elevations. We had them for good looks a couple of times at Buenaventura.
SONG WREN (Cyphorhinus phaeocephalus phaeocephalus) – And it was so close! [*]
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
TROPICAL GNATCATCHER (WHITE-BROWED) (Polioptila plumbea bilineata) – Almost always the first bird on the scene to mob after playing the pygmy-owl song!
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
ANDEAN SOLITAIRE (Myadestes ralloides) [*]
SPOTTED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus dryas) – Good looks in the understory at Buenaventura.
PALE-EYED THRUSH (Turdus leucops) – We scoped a singing male at Buenaventura.
PLUMBEOUS-BACKED THRUSH (Turdus reevei) – A common forest bird of the SW deciduous forests that was particularly common around Jorupe.
ECUADORIAN THRUSH (Turdus maculirostris) – Common in more open habitats in the SW.
MARANON THRUSH (Turdus maranonicus) – We had one or two in some roadside habitat below Tapichalaca, near the town of Valladolid. This right at the northernmost known range for this species.
GREAT THRUSH (Turdus fuscater gigantodes)
CHIGUANCO THRUSH (Turdus chiguanco chiguanco) [*]
GLOSSY-BLACK THRUSH (Turdus serranus fuscobrunneus) – We had one female plumaged bird at Tapichalaca.
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
LONG-TAILED MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus longicaudatus) – Another common bird of open country in the SW.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
MASKED YELLOWTHROAT (BLACK-LORED) (Geothlypis aequinoctialis auricularis) – We scoped a responsive bird at the Yungilla reserve for good looks.
OLIVE-CROWNED YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis semiflava semiflava) – Pretty common in the pastures at Buenaventura.

A specialty of the Tumbes region, the Chapman's Antshrike is closely allied with the widespread and familiar Barred Antshrike, with which it was once considered conspecific. This is a female. (Photo by tour participant Brian Stech)

TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi pacifica) – Common in both dry and humid habitats in the lowlands and foothills.
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER (Setophaga fusca) – Only saw this on one day! [b]
THREE-STRIPED WARBLER (Basileuterus tristriatus) – With the understory flocks at Buenaventura.
THREE-BANDED WARBLER (Basileuterus trifasciatus nitidior) – The SW representative of the previous species, inhabiting montane wet and semi-humid forests. We had good looks at them on several days as they moved with mixed flocks.
CITRINE WARBLER (Myiothlypis luteoviridis luteoviridis) – Good looks at Tapichalaca.
BLACK-CRESTED WARBLER (Myiothlypis nigrocristatus) – Common in second growth habitats in humid montane areas.
BUFF-RUMPED WARBLER (Myiothlypis fulvicauda) – Most got onto this one at Buenaventura.
GRAY-AND-GOLD WARBLER (Myiothlypis fraseri ochraceicrista) – The form with the more orange coronal streak that we saw at Cerro Blanco.
GRAY-AND-GOLD WARBLER (Myiothlypis fraseri fraseri) – This southern form has the yellow coronal streak, and was the bird that we saw around Jorupe.
RUSSET-CROWNED WARBLER (Myiothlypis coronatus castaneiceps) – A common montane warbler of humid forests that we saw at Tapichalaca.
SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus) – A common flock bird in humid forests of foothill and subtropical zones.
SPECTACLED REDSTART (Myioborus melanocephalus) – Tends to replace the previous species at higher elevations, such as in humid temperate forests. We had this one we a few times at Cajanuma and Tapichalaca.
Coerebidae (Bananaquit)
BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola intermedia) – Abundant at Buenaventura where they hit the feeders all day long!
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
BLACK-FACED TANAGER (Schistochlamys melanopis) – We called this one up near Valladolid for good looks. We were right at the northernmost range for this species.
BLACK-CAPPED HEMISPINGUS (BLACK-CAPPED) (Hemispingus atropileus atropileus) – We hit a cooperative group of this large understory hemispingus for really nice views at Tapichalaca.
BLACK-HEADED HEMISPINGUS (Hemispingus verticalis) – A peculiar (and beautiful) hemispingus that forages with flocks right up in the crowns of stunted trees in temperate forest. We had a couple of groups of them at Tapichalaca where they seem to be particularly numerous.
GRAY-HOODED BUSH TANAGER (RUBRIROSTRIS) (Cnemoscopus rubrirostris rubrirostris) – A mixed flock bird that constantly flicks its tail as it forages about. We had some really nice looks at them at Tapichalaca.
RUFOUS-CHESTED TANAGER (Thlypopsis ornata media) – Some got onto this one at Yungilla.
BLUE-BACKED CONEBILL (Conirostrum sitticolor sitticolor) – With the flocks at Cajanuma.
WHITE-SHOULDERED TANAGER (Tachyphonus luctuosus panamensis) – In the lower part of the Buenaventura reserve.
SILVER-BEAKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus carbo carbo) – In some roadside habitat below Tapichalaca where they are common.
FLAME-RUMPED TANAGER (LEMON-RUMPED) (Ramphocelus flammigerus icteronotus) – Abundant at Tapichalaca.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus quaesita) – We saw both forms: the west duller west slope bird, and the Amazonian form with the large white shoulder patches.
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum) – Daily at Buenaventura.
BLUE-CAPPED TANAGER (Thraupis cyanocephala) – A few popped up for us at Cajanuma.
HOODED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Buthraupis montana cucullata) – The large mountain-tanager with the red eye, that we saw at Cajanuma.
LACRIMOSE MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Anisognathus lacrymosus caerulescens) – Pretty common in subtropical and temperate forests on the east slope. The one with the yellow "teardrop" spot on the face.
SCARLET-BELLIED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Anisognathus igniventris erythronotus) – Seen in the humid, high elevation forests around Saraguro. This is really a stunner!
GRASS-GREEN TANAGER (Chlorornis riefferii riefferii) – An Andean, humid forest classic! We had some outstanding views at this colorful and chunky tanager at Cajanuma and Tapichalaca.
BUFF-BREASTED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Dubusia taeniata taeniata) [*]
GOLDEN-CROWNED TANAGER (Iridosornis rufivertex rufivertex) – Most tanagers tend to inhabit higher strata in the forest, but this one prefers the lower growth, spending much of its time near the ground as it forages along actively with mixed flocks. We lucked into good looks at this one at Cajanuma as we birded our way up the road to the headquarters.
FAWN-BREASTED TANAGER (Pipraeidea melanonota venezuelensis) – Buenaventura.
PARADISE TANAGER (Tangara chilensis) – This one just has to be seen to be truly appreciated! I mean, how could such colors have evolved? We had this one with the canopy flocks down below Tapichalaca as we birded down towards Valladolid.
GOLDEN TANAGER (Tangara arthus) – Most common with the flocks at Buenaventura.
SILVER-THROATED TANAGER (Tangara icterocephala icterocephala) – Craig and I had the first good looks at this at Buenaventura, but everybody else caught up with it the next day.
FLAME-FACED TANAGER (Tangara parzudakii) – A heavy-set Tangara that we saw with the flocks at the lower end of the Tapichalaca reserve. Another real stunner of a tanager!
RUFOUS-THROATED TANAGER (Tangara rufigula) – With the flocks at Buenaventura, and right at the extreme southernmost end of its known range.
BAY-HEADED TANAGER (BAY-AND-BLUE) (Tangara gyrola nupera) – A wide ranging tanager in the humid foothills and lowlands of South and Central America.
GOLDEN-NAPED TANAGER (Tangara ruficervix) – On one day at Buenaventura.
BLUE-NECKED TANAGER (Tangara cyanicollis) – This one should be called "Blue-headed Tanager"... it is not just the neck that is blue! Common around Buenaventura.
BLUE-AND-BLACK TANAGER (Tangara vassorii vassorii) – The high elevation Tangara. The color of this species reminds me of the color of pool chalk. We had them with the flocks at Tapichalaca.
SILVERY TANAGER (Tangara viridicollis fulvigula) – Called "Silver-backed Tanager" in the Birds of Ecuador. We had some nice looks at this handsome tanager a few times, such as in the Sozoranga area one afternoon.
BLACK-FACED DACNIS (Dacnis lineata) – We saw the western bird at Buenaventura that the Birds of Ecuador calls the "Yellow-tufted Dacnis", and splits out as a different species.
GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza exsul) – Regular at the Buenaventura feeders. This is a common and wide ranging bird of the neotropics, but a real looker!
SWALLOW TANAGER (Tersina viridis) – This distinctive tanager was seen on one day at Buenaventura.
STREAKED SALTATOR (Saltator striatipectus flavidicollis) – The unstreaked race found west of the Andes that was common around Jorupe.
STREAKED SALTATOR (Saltator striatipectus peruvianus) [*]
BLACK-COWLED SALTATOR (Saltator nigriceps) – A gorgeous species of saltator with a bright coral-colored bill! We had some nice studies of them in the montane forests around Sozoranga.
BUFF-THROATED SALTATOR (Saltator maximus maximus) – Common at Buenaventura.
BLACK-WINGED SALTATOR (Saltator atripennis) – A west slope species that we encountered at Buenaventura.
Emberizidae (Buntings, Sparrows and Allies)
ASH-BREASTED SIERRA-FINCH (Phrygilus plebejus ocularis) – A mostly gray finch of drier habitats.
BAND-TAILED SIERRA-FINCH (Phrygilus alaudinus) – Nice looks at this yellow-billed species in the Catamayo Valley, west of Loja.
BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina peruviensis)
VARIABLE SEEDEATER (Sporophila corvina corvina)
BLACK-AND-WHITE SEEDEATER (Sporophila luctuosa) – Not always an easy one to find, but we had them in the deciduous forests a few times.
YELLOW-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila nigricollis)
PARROT-BILLED SEEDEATER (Sporophila peruviana devronis) – A bird of the very dry western lowlands that tracked down out on the Santa Elena Peninsula on our first day.
DRAB SEEDEATER (Sporophila simplex) – And it is drab, save for the two whitish wingbars! We had them in the central valley scrub of the Catamayo Valley.
CHESTNUT-THROATED SEEDEATER (Sporophila telasco) – Common in the west in pastures and other cleared habitats.
THICK-BILLED SEED-FINCH (Oryzoborus funereus) – Buenaventura.
DULL-COLORED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris obscurus pauper) – Probably the dullest bird of the trip! Apart from the paler mandible, there isn't much going for this one!
GLOSSY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa lafresnayii) – The all black flowerpiercer with the bluish shoulder patch.
WHITE-SIDED FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa albilatera schistacea) – Foraging about at Tapichalaca.
BLUISH FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa caerulescens) [*]
MASKED FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa cyanea dispar) – The common highland flowerpiercer; the one with the red eye and black mask.
SAFFRON FINCH (SAFFRON) (Sicalis flaveola valida) – A common bird in the SW!
CRIMSON-BREASTED FINCH (Rhodospingus cruentus) – Out in the dry scrub of the Santa Elena Peninsula.
ORANGE-BILLED SPARROW (Arremon aurantiirostris santarosae) – In the undergrowth at Buenaventura.
BLACK-CAPPED SPARROW (Arremon abeillei abeillei) – Common in the undergrowth at Cerro Blanco and Jorupe.
GRAY-BROWED BRUSH-FINCH (Arremon assimilis nigrifrons) – A member of the Stripe-headed Brush-Finch complex; this group was split up recently, leaving the Gray-browed as the representative in Ecuador. We had stellar views at Buenaventura.
BLACK-STRIPED SPARROW (Arremonops conirostris striaticeps) – He pulled one along the roadside at Buenaventura.
PALE-NAPED BRUSH-FINCH (Atlapetes pallidinucha papallactae) – A handsome brush-finch that we saw at Cajanuma and Tapichalaca.
TRICOLORED BRUSH-FINCH (CHOCO) (Atlapetes tricolor crassus) – We hit a group of this west slope species at Buenaventura for nice views.
YELLOW-BREASTED BRUSH-FINCH (Atlapetes latinuchus) – The subspecies with the white patch in the wing found in southern Ecuador.
WHITE-WINGED BRUSH-FINCH (WHITE-WINGED) (Atlapetes leucopterus dresseri) – Up in hills during some roadside birding above Macara. The form that we saw often shows much white in the head often causing confusion with the next species.
WHITE-HEADED BRUSH-FINCH (Atlapetes albiceps) – Pretty common in small numbers around Urraca Lodge at Jorupe. We had some nice looks at this range restricted species.

It might not be the flashiest bird we saw, but the Tumbes Sparrow is one of only 3 species named for the Tumbesian region (along with Tumbes Hummingbird and Tyrant) and the only one of the three to occur quite widely in Ecuador. (Photo by tour participant Brian Stech)

PALE-HEADED BRUSH-FINCH (Atlapetes pallidiceps) – Well, the rains had come earlier (and more violently!) than expected this year, possibly triggering some birds to nest early, causing them to be less vocal after a round of nesting. This species, only fairly recently having been rediscovered (at what is know Yungilla Reserve) after decades of being "lost", gave us a hard time. We ran into one sneaking through the undergrowth that only a few folks managed to get onto. Despite much effort throughout the morning, we just could not get any more to pop into view, which is not our usual experience with this species this time of the year.
TUMBES SPARROW (Rhynchospiza stolzmanni) – Common and vocal in the Acacia scrub of the Catamayo Valley.
RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis)
COMMON BUSH-TANAGER (NORTHERN ANDES) (Chlorospingus ophthalmicus phaeocephalus) – Pretty common at Buenaventura with the mixed flocks.
SHORT-BILLED BUSH-TANAGER (Chlorospingus parvirostris) – A couple of groups along the roadside at the lower end of the Tapichalaca reserve. This one has the more orange sides of the throat.
YELLOW-THROATED BUSH-TANAGER (YELLOW-THROATED) (Chlorospingus flavigularis marginatus) – A few at Buenaventura.
ASHY-THROATED BUSH-TANAGER (ASHY-THROATED) (Chlorospingus canigularis paulus) – A common canopy bush-tanager that we saw well on three days at Buenaventura.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
HEPATIC TANAGER (HIGHLAND) (Piranga flava lutea) – One male at Buenaventura.
WHITE-WINGED TANAGER (Piranga leucoptera ardens) [*]
OCHRE-BREASTED TANAGER (Chlorothraupis stolzmanni) – One of the best identification features of this species is the lack of marks! We got one of this chunky "tanager" to respond quite well at Buenaventura for nice looks; note that this and the birds in the genus Piranga are now placed in the cardinal family.
GOLDEN-BELLIED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus chrysogaster chrysogaster) – Common in the drier habitats.
BLUE SEEDEATER (Amaurospiza concolor) – A bamboo loving species that was quite common and vocal at Yungilla; this has to be one of the best spots I have seen for this one.
BLUE-BLACK GROSBEAK (Cyanocompsa cyanoides) – In the undergrowth at Buenaventura.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
PERUVIAN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella bellicosa bellicosa) – A handsome meadowlark of dry habitats.
SCRUB BLACKBIRD (Dives warszewiczi warszewiczi) – Common and noisy even right in Guayaquil.
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus) – Seen during our travels from Guayaquil to Buenaventura.
SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis)
WHITE-EDGED ORIOLE (Icterus graceannae) – This Tumbesian oriole was a common sight at Jorupe.
YELLOW-TAILED ORIOLE (Icterus mesomelas taczanowskii) – Widely overlaps with the previous species, but also known to occur in more humid habitats further north in Ecuador.
YELLOW-BILLED CACIQUE (Amblycercus holosericeus) – We called in a a cooperative foraging pair along the trail at Tapichalaca. This can be a tricky, bamboo understory species to see well.
MOUNTAIN CACIQUE (GOLDEN-SHOULDERED) (Cacicus chrysonotus leucoramphus) – Nice looks at this loud canopy cacique at Cajanuma.
SCARLET-RUMPED CACIQUE (PACIFIC) (Cacicus uropygialis pacificus) – Once at Buenaventura when we whistled in a responsive group not far from the lodge.
YELLOW-RUMPED CACIQUE (WESTERN) (Cacicus cela flavicrissus) – The form west of the Andes, that sounds very different from Amazonian birds.
Fringillidae (Siskins, Crossbills, and Allies)
ORANGE-CROWNED EUPHONIA (Euphonia saturata) – Good looks at Buenaventura.
THICK-BILLED EUPHONIA (THICK-BILLED) (Euphonia laniirostris hypoxantha) – The most commonly seen euphonia of the trip. The one with the yellow that runs right up to the base of the bill.
BRONZE-GREEN EUPHONIA (Euphonia mesochrysa) – Some got onto this one in the eastern foothills below Tapichalaca as they moved with a flock.
ORANGE-BELLIED EUPHONIA (Euphonia xanthogaster) – Most common around Buenaventura.
YELLOW-BELLIED SISKIN (Spinus xanthogastrus xanthogastrus) – This one has the all black hood and chest; Buenaventura for nice scope views.
HOODED SISKIN (Spinus magellanicus) – A few times in the highlands.
SAFFRON SISKIN (Spinus siemiradzkii) – This one came and went all too quickly when it perched high up in a tree in nice light near Jorupe. Too bad it got away before I could get everybody into position to see it! This Tumbesian siskin can be a really tough bird to find, so even finding one was lucky!
OLIVACEOUS SISKIN (Spinus olivaceus) – Foothill forests below Tapichalaca.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

MANTLED HOWLER MONKEY (Alouatta palliata) – Much more often heard than seen, but we had some nice looks at this monkey species at Buenaventura where they occur in small numbers.
HOFFMANN'S TWO-TOED SLOTH (Choloepus hoffmanni) – Sloths can always be a challenge to see, for obvious reasons, be had some really nice luck with this mostly nocturnal species on two days at Buenaventura... I couldn't believe the amazing spot that our local guide made of this one from the moving bus!
RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis) – Alan had one at Buenaventura.
GUAYAQUIL SQUIRREL (Sciurus stramineus) – Common around Cerro Blanco and Buenaventura. Looks quite similar to a Fox Squirrel.
CENTRAL AMERICAN AGOUTI (Dasyprocta punctata) – Common around the Buenaventura lodge.
SOUTH AMERICAN COATI (Nasua nasua) – Commonly raiding bananas around the lodge at Buenaventura.


Totals for the tour: 440 bird taxa and 6 mammal taxa