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Field Guides Tour Report
Southwestern Ecuador Specialties: Jocotoco Foundation Reserves 2016
Mar 5, 2016 to Mar 19, 2016
Mitch Lysinger

We had plenty of great "in your face" looks at the beautiful Amethyst-throated Sunangel at Tapichalaca's feeders. Photo by participant Randy Beaton.

After having guided this wonderful tour for so many years, I'm starting to run out of short ways to say just how much I love guiding it, but I hope it goes without saying how obviously fun it was for the leader! Not only is the set of birds we search for so special in many ways -- rare, strange, endemic, and strikingly beautiful -- but the diverse landscapes, key reserves, and comfortable Jocotoco lodges are all just so dreamy. In the "old" days of this tour, we sometimes had to stay in hotels far from some of the best birding spots, making travel (not to mention earlier wake-ups) a bit of an issue, but, thanks to the advent of the fabulous reserve lodges created by the Jocotoco Foundation, that is a thing of the past... those lodges are a true birding treasure-trove! But best of all, it was great to reunite with many good birding buddies from the past, while also making the acquaintance of some new! So, thanks to all of you for making this trip such a joy to lead; we enjoyed plenty of laughs, and more than our fair share of birding drama over the course of our two weeks in southern Ecuador, for sure!

We had a giant list of birds, and I always try to highlight the ones that I thought helped send the trip over the top, and the ones that got our adrenaline pumping; they aren't always the rarest, the most beautiful, or even the "across the board" favorites, just individual species that for some reason generated a particular moment of excitement. Everybody has their personal picks, but here are mine... bet you'll find some similarities. So here it goes: applause all round for those Pale-browed Tinamous strutting about at the Jorupe feeders; the stunning Gray-backed Hawks at Buenaventura; a hard-fought Gray-capped Cuckoo for scope views near Zapotillo; ominous Spectacled Owls in the spotlight at Jorupe; Black-and-white Owls at Buenaventura by day and night; those White-tipped Sicklebills at the heliconia flower patches; trucks full of dazzling hummers (though for some reason the dull Tumbes Hummingbird stands out, since it is such a specialty for this trip and we worked so hard for it); lots of beautiful trogons, including the fairly recently split Ecuadorian; Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan; that especially tame and cooperative Collared Forest-Falcon at Cerro Blanco; our private performance from a family group of El Oro Parakeets; screaming Golden-plumed Parakeets at nest boxes at Tapichalaca; that last-minute pair of Chapman's Antshrikes; the Esmeralda's Antbird that put up a fight, but relented in the end; those gorgeous views of Elegant Crescentchest; that sneaky Watkin's Antpitta that perched so well for us, and, of course, the pair of Jocotoco Antpittas that accompanied us up the trail to the feeding station. Then there were those handsome Buffy Tuftedcheeks with a mixed flock at Buenaventura; memorable views of Rufous-necked and Henna-hooded foliage-gleaners (both Tumbesian endemics) after chasing them around for a few days; Blackish-headed and Necklaced spinetails (also regional endemics), both without much of a fight, but certainly celebrated; the best experience I've ever had with a pair of Royal Flycatchers as they actively built a nest; the attractive group of Orange-banded Flycatchers at our last possible spot for them; the rare White-tailed Shrike-Tyrant that we scoped; a stubborn Ochraceous Attila that finally had to give it up for us during our last morning at Buenaventura; a spectacular male Barred Fruiteater; Long-wattled Umbrellabird at the lek at Buenaventura for knee-buckling views; mesmerizing male Club-winged Manakins at one of Buenaventura's leks; the odd Black-and-white Tanager up and singing in all of its glory; electric Glistening-green Tanagers with the flocks at Buenaventura; those coral-billed, Black-cowled Saltators; and a fine catch of range-restricted, and very good-looking brushfinches -- White-headed, Pale-headed, and Bay-crowned -- with one, in particular, that happens to be one of the most localized species on the planet!

We had some other interesting critters as well, such as that huge tarantula species along the Umbrellabird trail at Buenaventura, and the common poison dart frog of the reserve (Epipidobates anthonyi). We did see a Boa Constrictor, but, unfortunately, it was a dead individual along the jeep track up above the lodge at Jorupe. A staggering diversity of moths and butterflies also left us in awe!

So now it is time to really get into it, turn some pages, and relive the memories. I hope to see all of you again sometime soon, in some far-flung location!

-- Mitch

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

The Jocotoco Antpitta is certainly one of the stars of the tour -- and the fact that they now trot, puppy-like, along the trail with us as we head to the feeding station is... well... just a little surreal! Photo by participant Randy Beaton.

Tinamidae (Tinamous)
TAWNY-BREASTED TINAMOU (Nothocercus julius) – An exceedingly difficult tinamou to see; I've only ever seen it a few times, just by chance! We heard this one distantly at the Huaschapampa reserve near Saraguro. [*]
LITTLE TINAMOU (Crypturellus soui harterti) – Heard at Buenaventura. [*]
PALE-BROWED TINAMOU (Crypturellus transfasciatus) – This Tumbesian based tinamou has really become a standby at Jorupe's corn feeders, and what a relief, because trying to see almost any tinamou can be next to impossible without serious luck. We had this well marked species prance in and out on numerous occasions.
Anhimidae (Screamers)
HORNED SCREAMER (Anhima cornuta) – Pretty nice scope studies west of Guayaquil at Manglares-Churute reserve where there is a healthy population.
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis) – A handsome duck that occurs in large numbers out in the west, with particularly large concentrations at Manglares-Churute.
FULVOUS WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna bicolor) – Equally common out at Manglares-Churute where groups often take flight giving their distinctive calls.
COMB DUCK (SOUTH AMERICAN) (Sarkidiornis melanotos sylvicola) – A large and odd looking duck whose main stronghold is right along the Peruvian border. They seem to be particularly reliable right around the town of Zapotillo where usually at least a few can be found in some roadside marshes. We had some stunning views of a male perched up on a tall tree, displaying that strange, almost grotesque wattle on top of the bill.
MUSCOVY DUCK (Cairina moschata) – We had the countable ones out at Manglares-Churute!
WHITE-CHEEKED PINTAIL (WHITE-CHEEKED) (Anas bahamensis rubrirostris) – In smaller numbers than usual, but we still had a good spattering of them on the ponds during our drive to Buenaventura.
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
RUFOUS-HEADED CHACHALACA (Ortalis erythroptera) – Fairly common at Buenaventura where they frequently hang around the lodge and raid fruiting trees.
BEARDED GUAN (Penelope barbata) – We just barely pulled this one out of the hat at the last possible spot for it at Huaschapamba reserve when we stumbled upon two individuals at close range for nice studies.

Buenaventura Reserve was initially created to save the El Oro Parakeet, but it serendipitously also happened to contain the best leks of the endangered Long-wattled Umbrellabird -- one of which was only a short bus ride from our lodge. Photo by participant Randy Beaton.

SICKLE-WINGED GUAN (Chamaepetes goudotii fagani) – We never really got to the bottom of the origin of the bird that was hanging around the lodge at Tapichalaca, but according to Doug Weschler, it was a bird that had already been domesticated in a nearby town. At any rate, probably not countable, but I figured I'd include it anyway since we had some fun with it.
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
RUFOUS-FRONTED WOOD-QUAIL (Odontophorus erythrops) [*]
Ciconiidae (Storks)
WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana) – A few along the drive during our trip from Guayaquil to Buenaventura.
Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)
MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD (Fregata magnificens) – Common out along the coast.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus brasilianus) – A common bird near bodies of water in coastal areas.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga anhinga) – Randy had one on our drive to Buenaventura.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
COCOI HERON (Ardea cocoi) – We had fine studies at a nice selection of herons and egrets, mainly on our second day of the trip as we birded the marshes, shrimp ponds, mangroves, and roadside agricultural habitats on our way to Buenaventura.
GREAT EGRET (AMERICAN) (Ardea alba egretta)
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula thula)
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)
CATTLE EGRET (WESTERN) (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) – We found a few of this spectacular wader out at the Puerto Jeli mudflats during our lunch break!
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
PEARL KITE (Gampsonyx swainsonii magnus) – While Jan and I were the only two to get one on our first day, we made up for it later on in the further south around Zapotillo where we had nice views at a perched bird.
SWALLOW-TAILED KITE (Elanoides forficatus) – A daily sight around Buenaventura!
SNAIL KITE (Rostrhamus sociabilis sociabilis) – A very common bird in the roadside marshes along the coast.
PLUMBEOUS KITE (Ictinia plumbea) – Another common sight at Buenaventura, and we enjoyed some exceptionally nice views of them since they frequently perched in the tall trees right over the lodge.
SAVANNA HAWK (Buteogallus meridionalis) – A fairly common hawk of the drier western lowlands. Surprisingly we had our best look at this one in the more humid forest edges around Buenaventura.
GREAT BLACK HAWK (Buteogallus urubitinga urubitinga) [*]
BARRED HAWK (Morphnarchus princeps) – Awesome, close flybys along the old cobblestone road at Buenaventura when one soared by at almost eye level.
ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris) – For such a common hawk, I was surprised that we only had it once; Buenaventura.
HARRIS'S HAWK (HARRIS'S) (Parabuteo unicinctus harrisi) – Common in the drier west. We had plenty of fine studies, and even had a pair mating.
BLACK-CHESTED BUZZARD-EAGLE (Geranoaetus melanoleucus australis) – Fine views at both an adult and young as we made our way through the dry intermontane valleys on our way to Yungilla.
GRAY-BACKED HAWK (Pseudastur occidentalis) – A beautifully marked Tumbesian based hawk that seems to be quite local, but Buenaventura is a super place for it, and we weren't disappointed when we found one for killer views, perched and in flight!

Rufous-headed Chachalacas are fairly common at Buenaventura, where they hang around the lodge and raid fruiting trees. Photo by participant Randy Beaton.

BROAD-WINGED HAWK (NORTHERN) (Buteo platypterus platypterus) – This northern migrant occupies the highlands on its non-breeding grounds here in South America, and is pretty common; we saw them a couple of times in flight. [b]
SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus brachyurus) – We had one in flight near Zapotillo - right where we lucked into that last minute Tumbes hummingbird - as the sun started to bake the dry hillsides.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
RUFOUS-NECKED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides axillaris) [*]
PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinicus) – An immature bird popped up and quickly vanished in a roadside marsh near Puerto Jeli.
Aramidae (Limpkin)
LIMPKIN (BROWN-BACKED) (Aramus guarauna guarauna) – Common in the marshes around Manglares-Churute.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (BLACK-NECKED) (Himantopus mexicanus mexicanus) – This and the next species practically litter the roadside ponds in the west.
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
WATTLED JACANA (CHESTNUT-BACKED) (Jacana jacana scapularis)
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) – More common in the Andes along streams during the northern winter, but we did turn one up in the lowlands on our second day. [b]
WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus) – Out on the mudflats at Puerto Jeli. [b]
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
GRAY-HOODED GULL (Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus cirrocephalus) – Where were they? Not as if this is a major trip target bird, but they are usually more findable. Oh well, at least Carol, Jan, Sid, Randy, and Walt had one when it flew by briefly.
FRANKLIN'S GULL (Leucophaeus pipixcan) – A few out in the shrimp ponds at Puerto Jeli. [b]
GULL-BILLED TERN (Gelochelidon nilotica) – Ditto!
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis) – One flyby in the lowlands during our birding drive to Buenaventura.

Participant Randy Beaton captured this view of the Jocotoco Foundation's Tapichalaca Preserve, which was established to preserve the key range of the fabulous Jocotoco Antpitta.

BAND-TAILED PIGEON (WHITE-NECKED) (Patagioenas fasciata albilinea) – The common pigeon of the highlands.
ECUADORIAN GROUND-DOVE (Columbina buckleyi) – This one was on strike for much of our trip; they are usually pretty common out on the western plains. But like any good birding group, we didn't give up and finally landed splendid scope views at a few individuals that fed about along a jeep track near Jorupe.
CROAKING GROUND-DOVE (Columbina cruziana) – A common ground-dove of more desert type habitats, both in the lowlands and highlands. We had plenty of fine studies of this handsome species; the one with the bright yellow cere.
BLUE GROUND-DOVE (Claravis pretiosa) – Fabulous studies at males when they came to visit the feeders at Jorupe.
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (DECOLOR) (Leptotila verreauxi decolor) – A common roadside dove in the west.
WHITE-THROATED QUAIL-DOVE (Zentrygon frenata) – We all heard them, but Lynn kicked one up along the Jocotoco Antpitta trail at Tapichalaca during here stroll back to the bus.
WEST PERUVIAN DOVE (Zenaida meloda) – Sid had one out on the Santa Elena Peninsula on our first day, but we all did at least end up seeing them fly by out around Zapotillo.
EARED DOVE (Zenaida auriculata hypoleuca) – A common dove in drier areas, being particularly easy to find in cities and towns.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
GRAY-CAPPED CUCKOO (Coccyzus lansbergi) – The key cuckoo species to nab on this tour; we had a few stumbles trying to find it, whether striking out completely in the rain at Cerro Blanco, or not being able to get to the prime areas at Manglares-Churute due to high water levels. But once again, we persevered and found just the right spot out at Zapotillo, where they were vocal and active. I don't think the views could have been much better considering that we had them through the scope... nice!
STRIPED CUCKOO (Tapera naevia naevia) [*]
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani) – Common in the humid foothills down the east slope from Tapichalaca.
GROOVE-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga sulcirostris) – The common ani on the west slope in drier areas.
Strigidae (Owls)
PERUVIAN SCREECH-OWL (PACIFICUS) (Megascops roboratus pacificus) [*]
SPECTACLED OWL (Pulsatrix perspicillata chapmani) – A large and spectacular owl of the neotropics... one that really demands respect with such an imposing appearance... wow! We called in a pair for amazing spotlight studies at Jorupe.
PERUVIAN PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium peruanum) – The pygmy-owl of the west slope in drier zones, and in general, quite a common bird. We had fine views of them on consecutive days in the SW near the Peruvian border, such as around Jorupe.

Peruvian Pygmy-Owls are quite common in the drier zones of the country's southwestern slopes. Photo by participant Randy Beaton.

BLACK-AND-WHITE OWL (Ciccaba nigrolineata) – Our faithful driver, Edgar, isn't just a master behind the wheel of a bus, because he can really spot birds too! I sent him out to look for this species at one of the usual day roosts up above the lodge at Buenaventura while we birded a bit, and he found it, but not at the one of the known perches. Luckily, the bird actually called - during the day! - and gave him a clue as to where it was, but it was still an almost impossible spot... nice going Edgar! We also had some fabulous spotlight when possibly one of the same pair came to feed at the lights around the lodge.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis aequatorialis) – Raven spotted this one for us - nice spotting there, Raven! - out in the scrub forests of the Santa Elena Peninsula, west of Guayaquil, across a dry ravine. I was hopping that it might transform into a Scrub Nightjar, but upon closer inspection, it was undeniably this species.
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis) – Right out in the front yard of Umbrellabird Lodge at Buenaventura.
Apodidae (Swifts)
CHESTNUT-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne rutila brunnitorques) – A common swift of the foothills and highlands.
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris) – The huge swift that seems to be able to turn up in any habitat type.
SHORT-TAILED SWIFT (TUMBES) (Chaetura brachyura ocypetes) – The Tumbesian form of the Short-tailed Swift, that many consider to be a distinct species. We had this stubby, thick-winged species over Jorupe where they zip about daily.
GRAY-RUMPED SWIFT (ASH-RUMPED) (Chaetura cinereiventris occidentalis) – The rather uniform subspecies of the west slope, that some feel needs to be split; we had them a few times around Buenaventura.
LESSER SWALLOW-TAILED SWIFT (Panyptila cayennensis) [*]
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora) – Daily, and very common at Buenaventura's very active hummingbird feeders.
WHITE-TIPPED SICKLEBILL (Eutoxeres aquila heterurus) – We spent some quality time trying to see this phenomenal, and very distinctive hummer at the heliconia flower patches at Jorupe. It took a few passes, but we finally came away triumphant, seeing that crazy bill that allows it to feed in a very specialized way.
BAND-TAILED BARBTHROAT (Threnetes ruckeri ruckeri) – Although not too much of a surprise, I don't think I had seen this species at Buenaventura. We had this one at a heliconia patch along the lower cobblestone road at Buenaventura for pretty nice views.
WHITE-WHISKERED HERMIT (Phaethornis yaruqui) [*]
LONG-BILLED HERMIT (BARON'S) (Phaethornis longirostris baroni) [*]

The handsome Chestnut-breasted Coronet is one of Tapichalaca's feeder hogs. Photo by participant Randy Beaton.

GRAY-CHINNED HERMIT (Phaethornis griseogularis porcullae) – This west slope form of the Gray-chinned Hermit (porcullae) is often considered its own species. We rarely see this one on this tour, but we scored big for nice views in the Jorupe area.
WEDGE-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD (Schistes geoffroyi geoffroyi) – The east slope form with the bluer patch on the sides of the neck which we snagged on the slopes below Tapichalaca.
WEDGE-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD (Schistes geoffroyi albogularis) – The west slope from with more of a purple neck spot that we had buzz in along the lower cobblestone road above the lodge at Buenaventura.
BROWN VIOLETEAR (Colibri delphinae) – Common at the feeders at Buenaventura.
GREEN VIOLETEAR (ANDEAN) (Colibri thalassinus cyanotus) – One of our last hummers of the trip that we had at Yungilla reserve.
SPARKLING VIOLETEAR (Colibri coruscans coruscans) – A common highland hummer that we finally saw on our last two days.
AMETHYST-THROATED SUNANGEL (AMETHYST-THROATED) (Heliangelus amethysticollis laticlavius) – A stunning hummer that inhabits the humid east slope, highland forests. Tapichalaca's feeders are certainly the place for this one, and we raked in plenty of "in your face" studies!
LITTLE SUNANGEL (Heliangelus micraster) – I like the old name, "Flame-throated Sunangel", much better! This is another one that makes perpetual appearances at Tapichalaca's feeders, and that also happens to sport an amazing gorget that colors anywhere from greenish, to flaming orange, depending on the angle!
PURPLE-THROATED SUNANGEL (Heliangelus viola) – We almost missed this intensely colored species of the southern highlands, but a stop in some roadside scrub on our way to Yungilla turned up a couple of this one for quick, but nice studies.
GREEN THORNTAIL (Discosura conversii) – The males, with their long pointy tails look almost unreal! For some reason, all of these tiny hummer species always bring to mind something like a nano-robot, since they are so mechanical in their movements... maybe it is just me. We had clouds of this one at Buenaventura's feeders.
SPECKLED HUMMINGBIRD (Adelomyia melanogenys maculata) – Common at Tapichalaca's feeders.
LONG-TAILED SYLPH (Aglaiocercus kingii mocoa) – Sylphs are simply magical hummingbirds, with the long, sparkly tails! We had this east slope species in the foothills along the roadside down below Tapichalaca.
VIOLET-TAILED SYLPH (Aglaiocercus coelestis aethereus) – The west slope sylph, with the brilliant violet tail, that we had at Buenaventura.
TYRIAN METALTAIL (TYRIAN) (Metallura tyrianthina tyrianthina) – This small, rufousy-tailed, highland hummer was a regular at Tapichalaca's feeders.
GLOWING PUFFLEG (Eriocnemis vestita smaragdinipectus) – A gorgeous puffleg with a glimmering, lime rump! It took us a while, but we finally found just the right spot on our penultimate day of the tour and scored killer views in the high temperate forests near Saraguro as they fed at ericaceae flowers.
BRONZY INCA (Coeligena coeligena) – Quick views in foothills below Tapichalaca.

We had our first good looks at the Red-masked Parakeet --the common parakeet of the Tumbesian zone -- in tall trees right next to our lodge. Photo by participant Randy Beaton.

BROWN INCA (Coeligena wilsoni) – A west slope inca species that we spotted feeding at flowers along the old Buenaventura, cobblestone road. This was the one with the large white patches on the sides of the neck.
COLLARED INCA (COLLARED) (Coeligena torquata fulgidigula) – Does it look to anybody else like this one is wearing a tuxedo? It does to me. At any rate, we saw this pied species well at Tapichalaca's feeders.
RAINBOW STARFRONTLET (Coeligena iris iris) – After a few brushes with this attractive species in the Loja highlands, we finally clinched quality views in the humid forests around Huaschapamba.
BUFF-WINGED STARFRONTLET (Coeligena lutetiae) – One quick flyby at Huaschapamba.
CHESTNUT-BREASTED CORONET (Boissonneaua matthewsii) – A real feeder hog at Tapichalaca.
VELVET-PURPLE CORONET (Boissonneaua jardini) – Arguably one of the most amazingly plumaged hummingbirds of them all; how can you beat the mix of shimmering violet and turquoise tones that this one sports? Being a middle elevation, Choco endemic, this one is right at the extreme southern - and lower - extension of its range, so it was treat to have had one hanging around Buenaventura's feeders.
BOOTED RACKET-TAIL (Ocreatus underwoodii peruanus) – At least from a human standpoint, hummingbirds surpass the outrageous when it comes to wild plumages, and this tiny stunner takes the cake! We had a our first looks at the male of this cosmic species at the vervain flowers around the lodge at Buenaventura.
FAWN-BREASTED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa rubinoides aequatorialis) – A regular at the Tapichalaca feeders; the one with the pink throat.
GREEN-CROWNED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa jacula jamersoni) – The chunky brilliant species that was a common sight at Buenaventura's feeders.
GIANT HUMMINGBIRD (Patagona gigas peruviana) – We pulled this one out of the hat as it fed at the flowering Agave flowers in the dry Ona Valley as we made our way north to Yungilla. The largest of all hummers!
LONG-BILLED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster longirostris albicrissa) – We saw one of this long billed species as it fed at some Coral bean flowers at Buenaventura.
PURPLE-COLLARED WOODSTAR (Myrtis fanny fanny) – Although we had brief views of them a couple of times in the highlands, we finally clinched stunning studies of a male during our last minutes of true birding time at Yungilla as it posed up on a wire for us: our last new bird of the trip, I believe!
WHITE-VENTED PLUMELETEER (ECUADORIAN) (Chalybura buffonii intermedia) – The taxonomy of this south Ecuador plumeleteer is still in a bit of flux, but for now, we'll call it White-vented. This is quite a tough bird to find, but we lucked out and had nice studies of one at a Coral bean tree down below the lodge after a short stake out.
CROWNED WOODNYMPH (EMERALD-BELLIED) (Thalurania colombica hypochlora) – Sometimes considered a species distinct from the Crowned Woodnymph, due to its different plumage and isolated range. We had this one daily at the feeders at Buenaventura.
TUMBES HUMMINGBIRD (Leucippus baeri) – Although rather drab, this hummer does draw some interest in that it is a regional endemic to the dry forests of SW Ecuador and NW Peru. After playing some pygmy-owl sound, we got this one to perk up and put in a miraculous, last minute appearance near Zapotillo!
AMAZILIA HUMMINGBIRD (AMAZILIA) (Amazilia amazilia dumerilii) – The common hummer of the drier western lowlands.
AMAZILIA HUMMINGBIRD (LOJA) (Amazilia amazilia alticola) – A highland form of the Amazilia Hummingbird that inhabits the central valley of southern Loja. Some authorities consider this rufous-tailed, white bellied form to be a full species. Fine by me, but there still seems to be a bit of biogeographical details to work out as there is a bit of muddiness with respect to how the forms really separate out; overlap with respect to plumage is fuzzy. We'll see, but we did see a few of the Loja type well in the valleys between Loja and Tapichalaca.
ANDEAN EMERALD (Amazilia franciae) – The immaculate, white bellied hummer that was a feeder addict at Buenaventura.
BLUE-CHESTED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia amabilis) – A bird of secondary woodlands of the west slope, somewhere between humid and dry habitats. We had one feeding at flowers in the cut-over, pasture-edge areas below the lodge at Buenaventura.
RUFOUS-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia tzacatl) – The reddish-billed hummer that floods the feeders at Buenaventura.
VIOLET-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD (Damophila julie) – I love this hummer since it is such a gem when seen in the proper light. We had plenty of searing studies of this one, from all angles, at Buenaventura's feeders.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
GOLDEN-HEADED QUETZAL (Pharomachrus auriceps auriceps) – well this was a little eye candy for us when we teased a stunning male out from its roadside forest hideout down below Tapichalaca for scope studies!

This spectacular male Barred Fruiteater was an eleventh-hour find at Aracana. Photo by participant Randy Beaton.

ECUADORIAN TROGON (Trogon mesurus) – Common and vocal around Jorupe. This is a fairly recent split from the Black-tailed Trogon, the most notable physical difference being the white eye; they don't overlap since this species is only found in the west.
GARTERED TROGON (Trogon caligatus) – The cis-Andean split from the Violaceous Trogon; birds east of the Andes are now called Amazonian Trogon. Doesn't the name "Gartered" sound a little risqué? Not sure where this comes from, but hey, maybe we could find some random bird and change its name too "Suspendered"! Ok, I'm getting too goofy. We had plenty of fine studies of this colorful species in the forests around Buenaventura.
COLLARED TROGON (COLLARED) (Trogon collaris virginalis) – Nice looks at a male along the upper road at Buenaventura, near the parakeet nest boxes, on our first full day there.
MASKED TROGON (Trogon personatus temperatus) – Similar to the previous species, but with a finer tail pattern; this one also tends to inhabit higher elevations, such as around Cajanuma, where we had them at close range.
Momotidae (Motmots)
WHOOPING MOTMOT (ARGENTICINCTUS) (Momotus subrufescens argenticinctus) – In Ecuador anyway, the Blue-crowned Motmot complex officially went through a three-way split, this being the one on the west slope; the other two are both eastern. This one is well named too, and often gives its "whoop" calls any time of the day. Although common in deciduous forests, they can be tricky to spot, but Raven spotted one for us at Jorupe for nice studies.
ANDEAN MOTMOT (Momotus aequatorialis aequatorialis) – Well, it would appear hat Raven was on fire this trip when it came to motmot spotting, because she made another great find, spotting this one down along the roadside below Tapichalaca... too bad it didn't stick around for all to see, but the angle was tough. This is another of the recent three-way Blue-crowned split, and occupies the east slope from the montane zones down into the foothills.
RUFOUS MOTMOT (Baryphthengus martii) – After a long hike, working our way back down to the lodge at Buenaventura, we stumbled upon a pair of this large motmot as they appeared to be excavating a nest in the side of a clay bank, but they were skittish and hard to keep in view, but I think most folks got at least quick views.
BROAD-BILLED MOTMOT (BROAD-BILLED) (Electron platyrhynchum platyrhynchum) – Similar to the previous species, but smaller, and with less rufous on the breast. We had smashing scope views at a perched bird along the forested jeep track above Umbrellabird Lodge at Buenaventura.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata) – Randy was the only one to spot this one on our first day, but we all caught up with it the following day during our drive through the swampy/agricultural zones on our way to Buenaventura.

Some great spotting by Edgar, our driver, netted us this snoozing Black-and-white Owl on a dayroost at Buenaventura. Photo by participant Randy Beaton.

GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana cabanisii) – Sid spotted this small kingfisher for us in a marshy area near Zapotillo near the Peruvian border.
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
GRAY-BREASTED MOUNTAIN-TOUCAN (Andigena hypoglauca lateralis) – My favorite species of mountain-toucan simply because it is just so full of wild colors... and its habitat is pretty amazing as well! We bombed with them at Cajanuma where they were just not participating very well... and then it got sunny, which kills activity. But no worries, we managed to nab them that very same afternoon at Tapichalaca just up the main horse track when we found two across a small valley as they foraged and called about... nice!
COLLARED ARACARI (PALE-MANDIBLED) (Pteroglossus torquatus erythropygius) – Sid spotted this one for us on our first afternoon at Buenaventura. This form is sometimes split out, and called the Pale-mandibled Aracari.
YELLOW-THROATED TOUCAN (CHESTNUT-MANDIBLED) (Ramphastos ambiguus swainsonii) – Ok, according to the current Clement's (SACC) taxonomy, Chestnut-mandibled (west) and Black-mandibled (east) Toucans are now lumped. This has been under debate for years, but it know seems to have been settled. We had this large and loud toucan daily at Buenaventura, but I was left scratching my head as to where the Choco Toucans took to hiding!
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
ECUADORIAN PICULET (Picumnus sclateri) – We finally got the views we were hoping for of this tiny woodpecker relative down along the Jorupe entrance road during our full morning of birding there.
OLIVACEOUS PICULET (Picumnus olivaceus) – This one had done a fine job of side stepping us at Buenaventura, but our last, and very successful cleanup round of birding there - near the Royal Flycatcher nest - was the silver bullet, landing us great views of this rather drab little guy.
YELLOW-TUFTED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes cruentatus) – We coaxed in a few birds down below the foothill town of Valladolid during some afternoon birding below Tapichalaca. This one was right up at the upper end of its elevational range.
SMOKY-BROWN WOODPECKER (Picoides fumigatus) – A mostly brown woodpecker with red on the crown. We found one at Buenaventura, but only about half of the group got onto it.
RED-RUMPED WOODPECKER (Veniliornis kirkii cecilii) – With a flock along the lower stretches of the old cobblestone road above the lodge at Buenaventura.
SCARLET-BACKED WOODPECKER (Veniliornis callonotus) – A stunning little woodpecker species that we scored big with on our first day at Cerro Blanco when a pair perched up for us in gloomy, but still nice light.
GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (RUBRIPILEUS) (Colaptes rubiginosus rubripileus) – A wide ranging woodpecker that we found a couple of times for nice looks at Buenaventura. The white check patch really stands out on this one.
CRIMSON-MANTLED WOODPECKER (Colaptes rivolii brevirostris) – It took us some time to find this gorgeous, highland woodpecker species, but we finally turned one up for quality views around Tapichalaca.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
COLLARED FOREST-FALCON (Micrastur semitorquatus naso) – We had one of the most incredible experiences at Cerro Blanco with this, or any forest-falcon, that I've ever had. Forest-falcons are always a bear to see well, or even spot, but this one behaved atypically, sitting for a long bout at close range. What sweetened the moment even more was when it proceeded stalk about on the ground like a ground-cuckoo or something... amazing! One of those birding experiences you'll always remember.
CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara cheriway cheriway) – Pretty common out along the drier western plains.
LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans) – Carol spotted this handsome falcon for us on our last morning at Buenaventura! We also heard some nice evening chorusing from one at Jorupe.
AMERICAN KESTREL (SOUTH AMERICAN) (Falco sparverius peruvianus) – Known to us all, and common bird in drier areas in the lowlands and highlands alike.
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
GRAY-CHEEKED PARAKEET (Brotogeris pyrrhoptera) – The Gray-cheeked Parakeet is a threatened bird, whose population lies largely within Ecuador's borders. Surprisingly, this was one that sort of got away from us, because in the right habitat - where we spent plenty of time - one can usually find them without too much trouble, but we never got the shot we needed, having to settle for only seeing them as flybys.
RED-FACED PARROT (Hapalopsittaca pyrrhops) – They were not far away, but just wouldn't materialize. [*]
ROSE-FACED PARROT (Pyrilia pulchra) – A fly over at Buenaventura of three birds.
SPECKLE-FACED PARROT (WHITE-CAPPED) (Pionus tumultuosus seniloides) – Regular around Tapichalaca, but we never caught them perched.

Seeing a male Collared Trogon this well is always a treat -- particularly when you can get a great picture too, like participant Randy Beaton did here.

BRONZE-WINGED PARROT (Pionus chalcopterus) – The parrot group in general gave us a run for our money this trip, and this one was no exception. We had them as flybys, but at least Lynn had good looks!
RED-LORED PARROT (SALVIN'S) (Amazona autumnalis lilacina) – We did, however, have some big parrot moments, and this was one of them. This is an increasingly rare bird due to habitat destruction; it needs intact mangrove and deciduous forests for successful breeding and feeding, so deforestation in either will contribute to the demise of this beautiful parrot. Complicating matters even more, the birds of SW Ecuador might end up being considered a species distinct from those further north, making conservation matters even more urgent. Researchers are on the case, but the clock is ticking! At any rate, we really lucked out on our first day when we connected with a large group - around 40 birds - of this declining species at Cerro Blanco when we surprised them as they fed right in front of us in a favorite fruiting tree. Spectacular!
SCALY-NAPED PARROT (Amazona mercenarius) [*]
PACIFIC PARROTLET (Forpus coelestis) – This tiny parrot species is a common sight in the western dry zones, from the lowlands all the way up to higher areas, and what a looker it is!
EL ORO PARAKEET (Pyrrhura orcesi) – An iconic Ecuadorian bird, and the main reason that the Buenaventura reserve is now in place. Field Guides's own Rose Ann Rowlett was the primary discoverer of this species back in the 80's during some scouting with Paul Greenfield and Bob Ridgely; as she related it to me, standing right at the tree where she found them, she told me that she said something like, "hey guys, come over here and have a look at this parakeet, it looks different from Maroon-tailed"... and the rest is history. Nice going, Rose Ann! Not only did she find a new species, but she helped put in motion a conservation effort that we all hope will stand for generations to come. The Jocotoco foundation blossomed years later and purchased key properties to preserve the forest patches where this localized species still holds on. Today, the species' numbers are increasing, thanks to the help of nest boxes placed where this species needs them most. We visited one of these spots, and celebrated fantastic views soon after arriving, when a large group swooped in and perched for unforgettable scope views.
GOLDEN-PLUMED PARAKEET (Leptosittaca branickii) – We had one of the best turnouts of this raucous, large, and beautiful parakeet species that I've ever had. The nest boxes at Tapichalaca were really pumping and just covered with these guys as they perched for scope studies and flew about, offering up views from all angles... amazing!
RED-MASKED PARAKEET (Psittacara erythrogenys) – A common parakeet of the Tumbesian zone; we had our first good looks at this one when they perched right next to the lodge in some tall trees.
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
GREAT ANTSHRIKE (Taraba major transandeanus) [*]
CHAPMAN'S ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus zarumae zarumae) – Because of an unfortunate landslide we were not able to visit the Jocotoco foundation's Utuana reserve, where a handful if interesting species awaited, this being one of them. So, we had to take the less interesting, main highway to Loja, but I did have a few tricks up my sleeve to try and nab this one. Without any exaggeration at all - thanks to Carol's and Jan's heads up birding - we nailed a pair of this beautiful, montane antshrike at the last possible forest patch I could think of to search for it, and the views were very fine!

The magical Long-tailed Sylph is the only sylph found east of the Andes; we found ours on the road below Tapichalaca. Photo by participant Randy Beaton.

COLLARED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus bernardi) – Randy spotted our first one, a male, during some drippy early morning birding at Cerro Blanco!
BLACK-CROWNED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus atrinucha atrinucha) – This is a member of the slaty-antshrike group, and all of the rest of them are still called "Slaty-Antshrikes", so I'm a bit baffled as to why this was deleted from its English name. At any rate, we had some fine studies at pairs a few times at Buenaventura where they are quite common in the lower areas of the reserve.
RUSSET ANTSHRIKE (TAWNY) (Thamnistes anabatinus intermedius) – A canopy antshrike that runs with mixed flocks; we called in a group of them with an awesome assortment of birds in the upper reaches of the reserve, and even pulled out scope studies.
PLAIN ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus mentalis aequatorialis) – As common a bird as this one can be in the deciduous forests of the Tumbesian zone, it took us some time to finally connect with them, but we did make it happen on our last morning at Jorupe where we found a pair.
CHECKER-THROATED ANTWREN (Epinecrophylla fulviventris) – An understory, flock following antwren that we found along the jeep track just up the road from the lodge at Buenaventura.
SLATY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula schisticolor schisticolor) – Another understory flock antwren of humid forests. We had nice views at an actively foraging pair during our time along the very birdy forests just up from the lodge at Buenaventura.
CHESTNUT-BACKED ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza exsul) – A handsome antbird - with that bluish eye skin - of the west slope, humid forest understory. We ended up with close studies of them right along the forested jeep track just up from the lodge at Buenaventura during some cleanup birding before heading south to Jorupe.
ESMERALDAS ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza nigricauda) – An antbird of the western, humid foothill forests that can really only be found along dark, lush ravines, and there are a couple of great spots at Buenaventura. We hit a cooperative pair at just such a spot, and after some patience - they are shy and furtive - we ended up with some fine studies!
ZELEDON'S ANTBIRD (CHOCO) (Myrmeciza zeledoni macrorhyncha) [*]
Melanopareiidae (Crescentchests)
ELEGANT CRESCENTCHEST (Melanopareia elegans elegans) – The crescentchests were long considered members of the tapaculo family, but were recently elevated to their own family level status, and even reclassified between the antbirds and antpittas in the taxonomic scheme of things, distanced from the tapaculos. Any sighting of a member of this handsome, small family is a thrill since they are so richly colored and strongly patterned. We scored big on our first day out in the dry forests of the Santa Elena Peninsula when we called in, and even scoped them for memorable views!
Grallariidae (Antpittas)
SCALED ANTPITTA (Grallaria guatimalensis regulus) [*]
CHESTNUT-CROWNED ANTPITTA (Grallaria ruficapilla connectens) – Well, we certainly all heard them as they sounded off from secret haunts in a few places in the highlands, but Randy and Sid did catch one on our last day as we birded the Jocotoco, Yungilla reserve.
WATKINS'S ANTPITTA (Grallaria watkinsi) – I have had a really difficult time of late actually seeing this antpitta with groups, but I hope that this year's luck means a tide changer! Sid and I had pretty good views at one as at sang from a hiddy-hole near the lodge at Jorupe, but most others were too short to be able to see it... darn! As luck would have it, Leo, a reserve guard, led us to a spot win the reserve where he thought we might have a decent shot, and what do you know? After some persistence, we got one to pop up and sit not once, but twice for crippling studies! This species had historically been considered conspecific with the Chesnut-crowned, but the obvious habitat, plumage, and vocal differences, realized years ago, left no doubt about how different they are.
JOCOTOCO ANTPITTA (Grallaria ridgelyi) – When this stunning antpitta was discovered in the highland cloud forests of southern Ecuador back in the late 90's, it stunned the birding world. How couldn't it? A large and spectacular bird going undetected for so long is always a shock, but remember that it is an antpitta, and a shy one at that, but nowadays, a pair behaves almost puppy-like, chasing in to gorge on worms at a highly successful feeding station along a very birdy and beautiful trail at the Jocotoco foundation's, Tapichalaca reserve. We had an exceptionally memorable experience with the resident pair along the Jocotoco Antpitta trail, as they seemed to be waiting for us on the outset of our hike, and then continued to trot in ahead of us for much of the walk... wow!
CHESTNUT-NAPED ANTPITTA (Grallaria nuchalis nuchalis) – This one was a bit of a mixed bag, as only about half of the group had it over the course of two days between our birding at Cajanuma and Tapichalaca.
RUFOUS ANTPITTA (RUFOUS) (Grallaria rufula rufula) [*]
CRESCENT-FACED ANTPITTA (Grallaricula lineifrons) [*]
Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)
OCELLATED TAPACULO (Acropternis orthonyx infuscatus) [*]
ASH-COLORED TAPACULO (Myornis senilis) [*]

This is a great tour for hummingbirds, with 40 species seen this year -- including the duo of Violet-bellied Hummingbird and White-necked Jacobin seen here, resting between visits to Buenaventura's feeders. Photo by participant Randy Beaton.

LONG-TAILED TAPACULO (Scytalopus micropterus) [*]
CHUSQUEA TAPACULO (Scytalopus parkeri) – Awesome views of this Scytalopus tapaculo at Cajanuma (Podocarpus National Park) along the trail above the headquarters. This species went undescribed up until the late 80's, and was named by Niels Krabbe - well known Danish ornithologist - after the late Ted Parker.
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (PACIFIC) (Sittasomus griseicapillus aequatorialis) – This small woodcreeper species is a complex that in itself is a very diverse group of birds, with many recognized subspecies that will at some point likely see their way to full species status. We had this west-Andean form on most days in the deciduous forests around Cerro Blanco, Buenaventura, and Jorupe for fine studies.
PLAIN-BROWN WOODCREEPER (PLAIN-BROWN) (Dendrocincla fuliginosa ridgwayi) [*]
WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Glyphorynchus spirurus pectoralis) – The tiniest of woodcreepers, and pretty common bird in humid forests in many areas of the neotropics.
SPOTTED WOODCREEPER (BERLEPSCH'S) (Xiphorhynchus erythropygius aequatorialis) – Common with the flocks at Buenaventura.
RED-BILLED SCYTHEBILL (Campylorhamphus trochilirostris thoracicus) – This was without doubt the perfect finale to our birding at Buenaventura as we birded our way down the road to the "main" highway that would soon lead us south to Jorupe! We heard them vocalizing, and soon had them in our sights as they crept up mossy trunks at close range... what a bill!
STREAK-HEADED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii) – This well marked woodcreeper is common in the west in both dry and humid forest alike. We had them many times for fine studies in the deciduous forests, especially around Jorupe.
MONTANE WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger aequatorialis) [*]
PLAIN XENOPS (Xenops minutus littoralis) – A nuthatch-like furnariid, with the up-turned bill. We had this rather dull species on our first afternoon around Buenaventura down along the trail to see the fabled Umbrellabird!
STREAKED XENOPS (Xenops rutilans guayae) – Much more strongly patterned than the Plain, and more common with the flocks in general on our route.
BUFFY TUFTEDCHEEK (PACIFIC) (Pseudocolaptes lawrencii johnsoni) – Not an easy bird to find as it seems to occur in low densities through a relatively narrow elevational band in the cloud forests of the west slope. After a few years of missing this one around Buenaventura, our luck with this one changed over the last two, and we nailed this one for the second consecutive year for awesome scope studies as a pair foraged with a large canopy flock in the upper reaches of the reserve.
STREAKED TUFTEDCHEEK (Pseudocolaptes boissonneautii orientalis) – More common and wide ranging than the previous species as it occurs throughout the highlands of both slopes, but it did take us up until our penultimate day to find one up in the inter-Andean forests at the Huaschapamba reserve.

We watched two Royal Flycatchers return again and again with fibers to weave into their growing nest. Away from their distinctive hanging nest, this species can be mighty tough to find! Photo by participant Randy Beaton.

PALE-LEGGED HORNERO (PACIFIC) (Furnarius leucopus cinnamomeus) – An abundant bird in drier habitats, both near forest, and even in cities.
SCALY-THROATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (SPOT-BREASTED) (Anabacerthia variegaticeps temporalis) – We had probably the largest showing of this species in any flock that I've ever had... they just kept streaming through at one point during some birding in the upper elevations of the Buenaventura reserve.
MONTANE FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Anabacerthia striaticollis) – Replaces the previous species on the east slope; we had one with a nice mixed flock on the humid slopes below the Tapichalaca reserve.
RUFOUS-NECKED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Syndactyla ruficollis) – We had a really tricky (well, impossible really) time laying eyes on this Tumbesian endemic foliage-gleaner at Jorupe, where they are usually much more findable, but just as with the Chapman's Antshrike - and at the exact same spot - we pulled another hat trick and clinched tremendous studies of one at close range before calling it a day and heading to Loja city to celebrate. This was a fortunate event as we had pretty much run out of time for this special species.
HENNA-HOODED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Clibanornis erythrocephalus) – Another foliage-gleaner that one can usually find without too much trouble at Jorupe, but man, were they sneaky this year! Once again though, we didn't give up, and landed awesome views at a perky pair along the lower stretches of the Jorupe entrance road.
STRIPED WOODHAUNTER (CENTRAL AMERICAN) (Automolus subulatus virgatus) [*]
PEARLED TREERUNNER (Margarornis squamiger perlatus) – Nice looks at this beautiful flock furnariid in the Tapichalaca area.
RUFOUS-FRONTED THORNBIRD (Phacellodomus rufifrons) – Right up at the northern extension of its Ecuadorian range where it sneaks up to around the town of Valladolid. We found them at a trusty spot where there are always a few hanging stick nests, and usually a few cooperative individuals; we did end up with nice scope studies.
MOUSE-COLORED THISTLETAIL (Asthenes griseomurina) – There just seems to be an endless supply of all of these furnariid, brown-jobs, whether streaked or plain, rufous or gray... you name it! Well, this one pretty much lives up to its name, being mostly gray! Thistletails in general inhabit highland country in stunted forests scattered about among the grasslands, and we had nice looks at one in the Acacana area on or second to last day.
ASH-BROWED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca curtata cisandina) – The members of the Cranioleuca genus tend to be quite arboreal, and thus less skulking, but this doesn't mean that they are always easy to see, even if perched right overhead in some mossy tree! We saw this east slope species during a fun and very productive morning of birding along the roadside below Tapichalaca; the flock was just busting with furnariids and flycatchers.
LINE-CHEEKED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca antisiensis antisiensis) – At about this species' lower elevational limits around the Buenaventura reserve. This one seems to be able to persist in highland drier areas, as well as at the edges of foothill humid forests, but only in the south. We had a cooperative pair come blasting in at Buenaventura for killer studies.
AZARA'S SPINETAIL (Synallaxis azarae ochracea) – Now for the understory spinetails! The Azara's Spinetail is the most common species in much of its large range, being found mostly in cutover and roadside shrubbery. We had them well a couple of times in the Buenaventura reserve for nice studies of the rufous crown, wings, and tail.
BLACKISH-HEADED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis tithys) – A range restricted spinetail of the Tumbesian zone deciduous forests, and one that we had cracking views of along the Jorupe entrance road.
NECKLACED SPINETAIL (NECKLACED) (Synallaxis stictothorax stictothorax) – This Tumbesian form of the species is confined to the coastal scrub, such as out along the Santa Elena Peninsula where we called in a pair for very nice studies.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
SOUTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (SOUTHERN) (Camptostoma obsoletum sclateri) – This form is common in coastal and highland habitats, and we had them plenty of times, especially in response to pygmy-owl sound when they'd bolt in with the crest raised high!
WHITE-TAILED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus poecilocercus) – A common tyrannulet of humid, middle elevation forests; we had at least one with the flocks on the east slope below Tapichalaca.
WHITE-BANDED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus stictopterus stictopterus) – Similar to the previous species, but more a bird of temperate elevation humid forests, and much more boldly patterned. We caught up with them in the beautiful, stunted woodlands around Acacana before making our way to Yungilla.
MOUSE-COLORED TYRANNULET (TUMBES) (Phaeomyias murina tumbezana) – A rather dull tyrannulet of the highland, scrubby hillsides. Lynn spotted this one for us as we birded our way through the dry valleys on our way to Loja. Some experts split this form out from the forms on the eastern side of the mountains, calling it Tumbesian Tyrannulet.
YELLOW TYRANNULET (Capsiempis flaveola magnirostris) – Lynn certainly was on a roll for spotting some of these jumpy little tyrannulets, wasn't she? She spotted this bamboo based species for us down along the roadside below the lodge at Buenaventura during some afternoon birding.

More than 4200 species of orchids have been documented in Ecuador! Photo by participant Randy Beaton.

PACIFIC ELAENIA (Myiopagis subplacens) – Seen first at Cerro Blanco when we called one in for nice comparisons to the similar Greenish Elaenia... right next to where the Collared Forest-Falcon was stalking about! They are particularly common though, at Jorupe.
GREENISH ELAENIA (GREENISH) (Myiopagis viridicata implacens) – See above! This one is especially common around Cerro Blanco where they are often detected first by sound.
WHITE-CRESTED ELAENIA (WHITE-CRESTED) (Elaenia albiceps griseigularis) – We had our best group views of this drab, highland species during a quick stop in some roadside scrub right near the Loja-Azuay provincial border.
MOTTLE-BACKED ELAENIA (Elaenia gigas) – Talk about a poorly named species; this one should have been named the "Cotton-topped Elaenia", don't you think? We snagged nice scope studies of them in the foothill, roadside shrubbery during our afternoon of birding below Tapichalaca.
HIGHLAND ELAENIA (Elaenia obscura) – A large and very local elaenia that can only be found in the southern part of the country. This one has a pretty large overall range, out across through Brazil, but watch for splits at some point! We connected with at least a couple of them on the humid slopes down below Tapichalaca as they came in periodically to raid a fruiting tree.
SIERRAN ELAENIA (ANDEAN) (Elaenia pallatangae pallatangae) – A few in the highland forest edges around Cajanuma and Tapichalaca. This one can be very difficult to separate from the White-crested, but its sweeter sounding, whistled calls help the process along.
OLIVE-STRIPED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes olivaceus hederaceus) – A pretty common, but unobtrusive forest bird around Buenaventura; we had looks at one as it fed about silently along the roadside on our last morning there.
SLATY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon superciliaris) – Common with the forest flocks at Buenaventura where they often call loudly.
RUFOUS-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon rufipectus) – Seen well with a large roadside mixed flock in the humid foothill forests a short drive down below Tapichalaca.
VARIEGATED BRISTLE-TYRANT (Phylloscartes poecilotis) – This east slope species can be a tricky bird to see, simply because it spends much of its time in the canopy with mixed flocks, but if you can find them at at edge, you've got a shot! This is exactly what we hit when we called in a pair at eye level for arms length views! This is also an especially good looking little tyrannid, with its peachy mandible, bright yellow underside, rich buffy wing bars, and bluish-slate crown.
SOOTY-HEADED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias griseiceps) – One of the few tyrannulets without wing bars, which happens to be its most distinguishing plumage features. This sprite little species most often occurs in secondary habitats, such as along roadsides, where we had them at Buenaventura.
BLACK-CAPPED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias nigrocapillus nigrocapillus) – A crisply marked, highland tyrannulet that we had some fine studies of at Cajanuma during our morning of birding there.
ASHY-HEADED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias cinereiceps) – A chunky, but very well marked and attractive little tyrannulet of the canopy in humid forests at middle elevations, and we had some nice looks at one below Tapichalaca during our active morning of roadside birding.

We saw (and heard!) the big Yellow-throated (formerly Chestnut-mandibled) Toucan daily at Buenaventura. Photo by participant Randy Beaton.

GOLDEN-FACED TYRANNULET (LOJA) (Zimmerius chrysops flavidifrons) – The more Tumbesian based form of this species found in SW Ecuador and NW Peru, that we had at Buenaventura, near to where we had the El Oro Parakeets. Although many of the Golden-faced Tyrannulet types look very similar, their vocalizations are very different, this one emitting a long, up slurred whistle.
ORNATE FLYCATCHER (Myiotriccus ornatus stellatus) – Brief views at the Buenaventura reserve.
BRONZE-OLIVE PYGMY-TYRANT (Pseudotriccus pelzelni annectens) – If it weren't for this species' frequent vocalizations, this one would go mostly undetected as it is a stealthy and small understory bird that is about as uncolorful as a ball of clay! But hey, we still enjoyed the views we scored along the jeep track above the lodge at Buenaventura during our full morning of birding there.
TAWNY-CROWNED PYGMY-TYRANT (Euscarthmus meloryphus fulviceps) – Common throughout the dry, scrubby zones of the west, from the lowlands up into the highlands. This small, "big-eyed", little tyrannulet is almost constantly heard when in the right habitat, and not hard to draw in, and we had some fine studies at close range a couple of times.
SCALE-CRESTED PYGMY-TYRANT (Lophotriccus pileatus squamaecrista) – Common in the mid story at Buenaventura, and we had some fine studies, even seeing that reddish, scaly crown.
BLACK-THROATED TODY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus granadensis pyrrhops) [*]
COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum sclateri) – An easily found bird in many shrubby areas of the lowlands and foothills.
BROWNISH TWISTWING (Cnipodectes subbrunneus subbrunneus) [*]
FULVOUS-BREASTED FLATBILL (Rhynchocyclus fulvipectus) – A hard one to find as it is very quiet and not very common. One just has to luck into a sighting while picking through a mixed flock, and hope that one pops in. We had this luck and enjoyed nice views in the foothills below Tapichalaca.
YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (EQUATORIAL) (Tolmomyias sulphurescens aequatorialis) – The west slope form that we had our first good looks at while birding at Cerro Blanco as we played some pygmy-owl sound... this often gets them going!
WHITE-THROATED SPADEBILL (Platyrinchus mystaceus albogularis) – A tiny forest tyrannid that darts about between understory branches, calling all the while, just daring you to lock you binoculars onto it! We had just this experience at Buenaventura, but won the challenge and walked away with nice studies at this cute little guy!
ROYAL FLYCATCHER (PACIFIC) (Onychorhynchus coronatus occidentalis) – A peculiar flycatcher of the lowlands and lower foothills throughout many parts of the neotropics. If not found at an active nest though, this one can be a very tough bird to nail down since it spends much of its time quietly feeding in areas not accessible to most birders, such as along streams. As luck would have it, the stars aligned, and we visited the Buenaventura reserve right as an active pair was at the height of nest building right along the roadside on the way up to the lodge, and celebrated sensational views as they hit the nest with fibers to weave the long, hanging nest typical of this oddly shaped species.
CINNAMON FLYCATCHER (Pyrrhomyias cinnamomeus pyrrhopterus) – A richly colored flycatcher that can often be found at middle elevations along forest edges, where they zip out for insects. We had some fine studies of this cuttie at Cajanuma.
ORANGE-BANDED FLYCATCHER (Nephelomyias lintoni) – A regional endemic that inhabits the highland, humid forests of the east slope in SE Ecuador and NE Peru. We had brushes with a group of them at Tapichalaca, but really hit the mother load at Acacana when we ran head first into a family group at eye level!
SULPHUR-RUMPED FLYCATCHER (Myiobius sulphureipygius aureatus) – Nice looks at this butter-butt in the forests at Buenaventura!
OLIVE-CHESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiophobus cryptoxanthus) [*]
BRAN-COLORED FLYCATCHER (BRAN-COLORED) (Myiophobus fasciatus crypterythrus) – A common bird in secondary habitats in the west, and we even had one at a nest at Buenaventura. [N]
GRAY-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Lathrotriccus griseipectus) – One of the key flycatchers to target on a trip to the Tumbesian zone as it can be tricky to find unless in just the right habitat. Jorupe has all of the habitat needed, with thousands of hectares of prime, deciduous forest... just what one needs to find this secretive little guy! We found a cooperative pair along the roadside up to Jorupe for excellent studies.
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Contopus cooperi) – We managed to snag one of this boreal migrant! [b]
TROPICAL PEWEE (TUMBES) (Contopus cinereus punensis) – Some split this one out as the Tumbes Pewee; while it looks quite similar to others in its disjunct, but large range, it does sound different. Until a more detailed study is undertaken, a Tropical Pewee it stays! This is a pretty common bird in the deciduous and other dry forests in the SW, and we had good looks at one at Jorupe.
ACADIAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax virescens) [b*]

The Jorupe Reserve protects an important remnant of dry Tumbesian forest -- with a level of endemism that ranks among the highest in the world! Photo by participant Randy Beaton.

BLACK PHOEBE (WHITE-WINGED) (Sayornis nigricans angustirostris) – Common around Buenaventura where they can often be found along streams and rivers.
VERMILION FLYCATCHER (OBSCURUS GROUP) (Pyrocephalus rubinus piurae) – Nice looks at them during a lunch stop on our way through the dry valleys to Jorupe.
RUFOUS-TAILED TYRANT (Knipolegus poecilurus) – An uncommon east slope tyrant that prefers rocky slopes and roadcuts. We had some really nice views at small group of active birds below Tapichalaca.
WHITE-TAILED SHRIKE-TYRANT (Agriornis albicauda) – A rare and very localized tyrant of the highlands that surprisingly seems to prefer transitional, stunted, and often degraded habitats. We hit one of my favorite spots in the Acacana region with great success for scope studies.
SMOKY BUSH-TYRANT (Myiotheretes fumigatus cajamarcae) [*]
MASKED WATER-TYRANT (Fluvicola nengeta atripennis) – Nice looks at this well-dressed tyrant of west slope ponds and swampy areas.
YELLOW-BELLIED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca diadema gratiosa) [*]
SLATY-BACKED CHAT-TYRANT (SLATY-BACKED) (Ochthoeca cinnamomeiventris cinnamomeiventris) – A chat-tyrant of ravines and streams. We found a sneaky, but cooperative pair on the slopes below Tapichalaca. It took some teasing, but everybody finally had fine studies at this attractive little tyrant.
RUFOUS-BREASTED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca rufipectoralis obfuscata) – Unlike most chat-tyrants, this temperate forest species prefers the canopy. We had this looker a few times at higher elevations at Cajanuma and Tapichalaca.
BROWN-BACKED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca fumicolor brunneifrons) – A bird of paramo edges and stunted forests where the wind often whips over the tortured landscape. We had this mostly rusty colored species in the higher areas around Acacana.
SHORT-TAILED FIELD TYRANT (Muscigralla brevicauda) – A bird of very dry scrub habitats, that is most easily found out on the Santa Elena Peninsula, where they are quite common, and we enjoyed some fine looks at them as they perched up for scope views, and even launched into aerial displays.
OCHRACEOUS ATTILA (Attila torridus) – I'd say that this species became more of an obsession rather than just a quest, didn't it? I'm the one most to blame for the fixation since I just love to find this rare and local attila species. But, I do have to say that the attila itself demanded the challenge, playing hard to get on a couple of occasions, but we were victorious in the end, persevering our way to scope views of a beautiful and difficult species to find along the entrance road to Buenaventura.
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer nigriceps) – This common and wide ranging flycatcher was seen a few times over the course of the trip.
SOOTY-CROWNED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus phaeocephalus phaeocephalus) – The Tumbesian form that we had for nice studies a few times in the deciduous forests at Cerro Blanco and Jorupe; the Maranon subspecies occurs on the east slope further south.

We had plenty of good studies of the Rufous-browed Peppershrike, which is widespread throughout much of the Neotropics. Photo by participant Randy Beaton.

BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (TUMBES) (Megarynchus pitangua chrysogaster) – Known to many who have birded the neotropics! This one is actually a prodigious fruit eater.
SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (TUMBES) (Myiozetetes similis grandis) – Common in the western lowlands.
BAIRD'S FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes bairdii) – A Tumbesian endemic that prefers drier habitats. We had our first views of this striking flycatcher west of Guayaquil out in the scrub forests of the Santa Elena Peninsula.
STREAKED FLYCATCHER (STREAKED) (Myiodynastes maculatus chapmani) – Seen on our first day at Cerro Blanco; a common bird throughout the drier zones of the west.
PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius) – We had one on our first day at Buenaventura.
SNOWY-THROATED KINGBIRD (Tyrannus niveigularis) – Another Tumbesian based flycatcher, and a very cleanly marked kingbird that we had on our first day in the scrub forests west of Guayaquil.
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus melancholicus) – The iconic neotropical flycatcher.
Cotingidae (Cotingas)
GREEN-AND-BLACK FRUITEATER (GREEN-AND-BLACK) (Pipreola riefferii occidentalis) – Quick views at Cajanuma.
BARRED FRUITEATER (Pipreola arcuata arcuata) – Spectacular eleventh hour views at a male near the end of the trip in the high temperate forests at Acacana.
LONG-WATTLED UMBRELLABIRD (Cephalopterus penduliger) – One has to see the male of this species to believe it; no book can quite capture its magnificence when it plunges that amazing wattle down to about a foot long... wow! While the Buenaventura reserve was initially singled out to save the El Oro Parakeet, little did the foundation know that they would stumble upon one the best lek sites for this endangered and amazing cotinga species, and only a short bus ride up from the lodge. We planned the time to go for this one on our first afternoon there, and were nothing less than mesmerized!
Pipridae (Manakins)
WHITE-BEARDED MANAKIN (Manacus manacus) – We had a female on our first afternoon around Buenaventura.
CLUB-WINGED MANAKIN (Machaeropterus deliciosus) – A fabulous little manakin of the west slope, and one that has a special talent: the fastest known mechanical sound - made by wing stridulation - of any known animal... quite a claim to fame, eh? Only a short stroll up the road from the lodge, we found an active lek of several males, strutting their stuff, for killer views.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
SLATY BECARD (Pachyramphus spodiurus) – It took some work, but we finally pieced together looks at this small and rare becard species at Jorupe, once as a family group fed through, and then the following day near a presumably active nest.
BLACK-AND-WHITE BECARD (Pachyramphus albogriseus guayaquilensis) – Sid spotted a beautiful male for us at Jorupe.
ONE-COLORED BECARD (Pachyramphus homochrous homochrous) – A large and vocal becard that is especially common at the Jorupe reserve.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
BROWN-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo leucophrys josephae) – A common flock bird that we encountered a few times.
RED-EYED VIREO (RESIDENT CHIVI) (Vireo olivaceus griseobarbatus) – A very common and vocal species on the west slope.
LESSER GREENLET (GRAY-HEADED) (Pachysylvia decurtata minor) – Nice looks at this flock following, canopy species at Buenaventura.
RUFOUS-BROWED PEPPERSHRIKE (YELLOW-BACKED) (Cyclarhis gujanensis virenticeps) – A species with a large range, occurring in many areas throughout the neotropics. We had many fine views of this chunky and very vocal peppershrike in the deciduous and dry forests, such as around Jorupe.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
TURQUOISE JAY (Cyanolyca turcosa) – A gorgeous jay of the humid highland forests that we say a couple of times.
GREEN JAY (INCA) (Cyanocorax yncas yncas) – A clown-like jay of the east slope; we had some fine views of this active and loud species in the foothills below Tapichalaca.
WHITE-TAILED JAY (Cyanocorax mystacalis) – One of the prize Tumbesian species, not because it is rare or hard to find, but simply because it is so handsome! We enjoyed many fine studies of this large and colorful jay at Jorupe, where they come to gorge at the feeders around the lodge.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (CYANOLEUCA) (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca cyanoleuca) – The common swallow above the lowland plains.
BROWN-BELLIED SWALLOW (Orochelidon murina) – A few of this highland swallow as they drifted about at Cajanuma.
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis uropygialis) – The common swallow around Buenaventura.

"Cotton-topped Elaenia" seems like a much more appropriate name than Mottle-backed Elaenia, don't you think? Regardless of what you want to call it, we had nice views of them in roadside bushes below Tapichalaca. Photo by participant Randy Beaton.

GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea chalybea) – The common martin species in the western lowlands.
BROWN-CHESTED MARTIN (Progne tapera) – A few of this martin species out in the western lowlands.
BARN SWALLOW (AMERICAN) (Hirundo rustica erythrogaster) – A few zooming through out in the western lowlands. [b]
CHESTNUT-COLLARED SWALLOW (Petrochelidon rufocollaris aequatorialis) – The key Tumbesian endemic swallow to get on this trip, and we had fine views of this Cliff Swallow-like species at one of their main nesting sites in the town of Malacatos, where they nest in the cathedral of the central square.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
HOUSE WREN (SOUTHERN) (Troglodytes aedon albicans) – Seen on just about everyday of the trip! Look for some splits in the future with respect to this complex species.
MOUNTAIN WREN (Troglodytes solstitialis solstitialis) – Some got onto this arboreal, highland wren at Tapichalaca before the rain set in.
FASCIATED WREN (Campylorhynchus fasciatus pallescens) – A common and noisy, canopy wren of the Tumbesian zone, often being found in urban areas.
PLAIN-TAILED WREN (Pheugopedius euophrys) – Fabulous studies of this large, highland bamboo dweller at Cajanuma! Their dueted song is explosive and a commonly heard sound while birding humid temperate and subtropical forests.
SPECKLE-BREASTED WREN (SPECKLE-BREASTED) (Pheugopedius sclateri paucimaculatus) – Excellent views in the vine tangles at Cerro Blanco and Jorupe.
BAY WREN (SOUTH AMERICAN) (Cantorchilus nigricapillus nigricapillus) – A handsome understory wren that is commonly heard at Buenaventura, but that can be tricky to see. Most of us did manage decent views though as they sneaked about, doing their best to stay out of sight!
SUPERCILIATED WREN (Cantorchilus superciliaris) – A beautiful Tumbesian species with bold rufous and white patterning. We had fine studies of them in the dry forests around Zapotillo where we got them to pop up out of the thick undergrowth.
RUFOUS WREN (Cinnycerthia unirufa unibrunnea) – As its name implies, this one is all rufous. Always an entertaining species to observe, this one forages about in large family groups, and can be very confiding, allowing observes the opportunity to watch them at very close range. This was exactly our luck at Cajanuma, having them at only a distance of a few feet a couple of times!
GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (ANDEAN) (Henicorhina leucophrys hilaris) – Common in the forests at Buenaventura, but as with understory wrens, often a toughie to get good looks at, but we had one well after some patience.

The Buenaventura Reserve was established primarily to protect the iconic El Oro Parakeet -- a species which was discovered by Field Guides' very own Rose Ann Rowlett! Photo by participant Randy Beaton.

SONG WREN (Cyphorhinus phaeocephalus phaeocephalus) – Buenaventura has to be one of the best spots on the planet for this songster! We enjoyed some outstanding studies a few times of this understory, almost antbird-like wren. This is one of those birds whose song just gets the adrenaline pumping, doesn't it?
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
TROPICAL GNATCATCHER (WHITE-BROWED) (Polioptila plumbea bilineata) – Almost without fault, this is one of the first birds on the scene after playing the sound of the pygmy-owl!
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
ANDEAN SOLITAIRE (Myadestes ralloides) – An all gray and rufous solitaire species with a fairly large range. We had some nice looks at this shy bird one morning down along the road below Tapichalaca.
SLATY-BACKED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (SLATY-BACKED) (Catharus fuscater fuscater) – One of the final new birds of the trip when we called in a cooperative bird at Yungilla for killer studies.
SWAINSON'S THRUSH (OLIVE-BACKED) (Catharus ustulatus swainsoni) – Common in foothill areas on both slopes during the northern winter. [b]
PLUMBEOUS-BACKED THRUSH (Turdus reevei) – A handsome and cleanly marked, Tumbesian thrush that occurs from the lowland deciduous forests all the way up into dry scrub forests of the valley highlands. We had them daily in the Jorupe area where they are one of the more common species.
ECUADORIAN THRUSH (Turdus maculirostris) – Common in secondary forest and along roadsides in the west; we had our first looks at this drab thrush at Cerro Blanco.
MARANON THRUSH (Turdus maranonicus) – A bird of the Maranon drainage that just barely sneaks up in to the Valladolid area here in Ecuador. This attractive thrush sports a speckly breast, different from others of the genus, and we had some nice views of them during some afternoon birding.
CHESTNUT-BELLIED THRUSH (Turdus fulviventris) – A handsome thrush of the east slope - looking much like an American Robin - that some of us had in the foothills below Tapichalaca.
SLATY THRUSH (Turdus nigriceps) – A thrush found in the highland scrub forests of southern Ecuador. This one can be a tricky bird to spot as it hides itself among the thick branches of Acacia trees and delivers its ethereal song throughout the day. We had some fine studies of them a few times, first during a lunch stop along a side road on our way to Jorupe where we enjoyed exceptional scope views.
GREAT THRUSH (Turdus fuscater gigantodes) – Common on the second half of our trip in the humid highlands.
CHIGUANCO THRUSH (CHIGUANCO) (Turdus chiguanco chiguanco) – Similar to the previous species, but slightly smaller, and browner overall in plumage. This one inhabits drier areas of the highlands, and can be found in scrub forests, and even in urban areas. We had good looks at them around the town of Catacocha as we made our way to Jorupe.
GLOSSY-BLACK THRUSH (Turdus serranus fuscobrunneus) [*]
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
LONG-TAILED MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus longicaudatus) – Common in arid habitats of the western lowlands and highlands.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
OLIVE-CROWNED YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis semiflava semiflava) – A bird of the humid west, being most common in cleared areas such as pastures land, where they can frequently be roused up for good looks.
AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla) – We had a female of this uncommon migrant at Buenaventura. [b]
TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi pacifica) – A common bird with flocks in the humid tropics.
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER (Setophaga fusca) – Although we didn't quite experience this species' abundance south of the border during the boreal winter trip, it is certainly a dominant bird with flocks, but we did manage to connect with one around Tapichalaca. [b]
YELLOW WARBLER (MANGROVE) (Setophaga petechia peruviana) – This non-migratory form will likely be split from the northern forms at some point, so watch for this. We had nice views of this resident form at Puerto Jeli next the mangrove forests on our second afternoon.
THREE-STRIPED WARBLER (Basileuterus tristriatus) [*]
THREE-BANDED WARBLER (Basileuterus trifasciatus nitidior) – A Tumbesian endemic that inhabits humid and semi-humid forests, from the foothills all the way up into the highlands; we had our first looks at this active species at Buenaventura.
CITRINE WARBLER (Myiothlypis luteoviridis luteoviridis) – A flock species that prefers healthy forest, and we enjoyed some nice views of them in the Tapichalaca reserve.
BLACK-CRESTED WARBLER (Myiothlypis nigrocristata) – Seen well at Cajanuma, where this species is easily found along the roadsides.
BUFF-RUMPED WARBLER (Myiothlypis fulvicauda) – Prefers areas near water, such as along streams and culverts, and we had plenty of fine studies of them as they trotted along the jeep tracks at Buenaventura.

Ecuador is home to some fabulous butterflies, including the striking Blue Skipper (Paches loxus loxus). Photo by participant Randy Beaton.

GRAY-AND-GOLD WARBLER (Myiothlypis fraseri ochraceicrista) – The northern form with the orange crown stripe that we saw on our first day at Cerro Blanco.
GRAY-AND-GOLD WARBLER (Myiothlypis fraseri fraseri) – The southern form, with the yellow crown stripe, that we had good looks at around Jorupe.
RUSSET-CROWNED WARBLER (Myiothlypis coronata castaneiceps) – Seen by some at Tapichalaca..
SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus) – Common with the mixed flocks at middle elevations.
SPECTACLED REDSTART (Myioborus melanocephalus) – Replaces the previous species at higher elevations, and encountered with the flocks around Tapichalaca.
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
BLACK-AND-WHITE TANAGER (Conothraupis speculigera) – A most enigmatic tanager species that seems to uproot itself from its breeding grounds in Tumbezia, to fly far east out into the Amazon lowlands to spend the rest of its time in the riparian zones. We usually manage to find this one at Jorupe, but they were silent. Not worries though, because we found them in healthy numbers out further west around Zapotillo, where they were up and singing.
WHITE-CAPPED TANAGER (Sericossypha albocristata) [*]
SUPERCILIARIED HEMISPINGUS (SUPERCILIARIED) (Hemispingus superciliaris maculifrons) – A canopy hemispingus of the humid highlands, and one we had good looks at in the Acacana area.
BLACK-HEADED HEMISPINGUS (Hemispingus verticalis) – Seen with the same canopy flock as the previous species. This one really likes the tip tops of the trees where it pokes about in family groups with flocks.
GRAY-HOODED BUSH TANAGER (RUBRIROSTRIS) (Cnemoscopus rubrirostris rubrirostris) – A beautiful species of bush-tanager with its pink bill, gray hood, and yellow underparts; it also has the peculiar habit of constantly pumping its tail. We had this canopy flock follower a couple of times for nice views at Tapichalaca.
RUFOUS-CHESTED TANAGER (Thlypopsis ornata media) – A few folks had quick looks at this one on our way out of the Yungilla reserve on our last day before heading to the airport in Cuenca.
WHITE-SHOULDERED TANAGER (Tachyphonus luctuosus panamensis) – Pretty common with the flocks at Buenaventura. The male of this one is easy to recognize as it is all black with that bold white shoulder, but the female is more obscure, with its grayish head and yellow and green body.
WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus) – We had a pair along the roadside in the foothills below Tapichalaca; the female is all rufous and really stands out!
FLAME-RUMPED TANAGER (LEMON-RUMPED) (Ramphocelus flammigerus icteronotus) – An abundant bird in the more secondary areas at Buenaventura, and a good one to learn well.

The Catamayo Valley is rich and fertile, with patches of scrubby habitat among the agricultural fields. Photo by participant Randy Beaton.

SILVER-BEAKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus carbo carbo) – A common second growth bird in the eastern foothills and lowlands; we had them below Tapichalaca.
HOODED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Buthraupis montana cucullata) – The large and common mountain-tanager with the red eye that we had a few times around Tapichalaca and Acacana.
GRASS-GREEN TANAGER (Chlorornis riefferii riefferii) – Sneaky this trip, but some had brief views during our morning of birding at Cajanuma.
LACRIMOSE MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (PALPEBROSUS GROUP) (Anisognathus lacrymosus caerulescens) – The mountain-tanager with the yellow "tear drop" below the eye; we had them well a couple of times with the high elevation flocks.
SCARLET-BELLIED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Anisognathus igniventris erythronotus) – A stunning red and black mountain-tanager of the highland forests that we snagged at the last possible spot around Acacana!
BLUE-WINGED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Anisognathus somptuosus) – Seen well with the mixed flocks in the subtropical forests along the roadside below Tapichalaca.
BUFF-BREASTED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (BUFF-BREASTED) (Dubusia taeniata taeniata) – We called one up at Acacana for good looks. This was another one that we left for the eleventh hour, but lucked out!
GOLDEN-CROWNED TANAGER (Iridosornis rufivertex rufivertex) – Plenty of fine studies at this beauty in the highland, humid forests, such as around Tapichalaca, where they put on some nice shows!
FAWN-BREASTED TANAGER (Pipraeidea melanonota venezuelensis) – Good looks at this one at Buenaventura.
GLISTENING-GREEN TANAGER (Chlorochrysa phoenicotis) – Absolutely crippling! This is not an easy bird to get at Buenaventura, but it does show up with the mixed canopy flocks at the upper end of the reserve, where the forest is more mossy and often shrouded in mist. We hit a pair with a large flock, and they performed quite well!
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (BLUE-GRAY) (Thraupis episcopus quaesita) – The duller west slope form that we had daily until crossing over into the east.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (WHITE-EDGED) (Thraupis episcopus coelestis) – The east slope form with the white shoulders that we saw in the foothills below Tapichalaca.
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum) – A wide ranging tanager of warmer areas of the neotropics. We had them a few times around Buenaventura.
BLUE-CAPPED TANAGER (Thraupis cyanocephala) – We hit a couple of this one in the forests below Tapichalaca.
SILVERY TANAGER (Tangara viridicollis fulvigula) – This was one that we stood a good chance of missing since we were unable to bird the forests leading up to and around Utuana reserve due to the landslides, but we made up for it later on, finding them along the roadside down below Tapichalaca!
BLUE-NECKED TANAGER (Tangara cyanicollis) – An all blue-headed tanager of foothill areas on both slopes, but we connected with them in the east below Tapichalaca.

Guayaquil Squirrel, photographed by participant Randy Beaton.

RUFOUS-THROATED TANAGER (Tangara rufigula) – A west slope species restricted to the foothills and lower subtropics of the Choco endemic zone, so we had them right near their southern most reaches. We enjoyed some excellent scope studies of a small group as they foraged about near the El Oro Parakeet nesting area.
BLUE-AND-BLACK TANAGER (Tangara vassorii vassorii) – The high elevation Tangara species, and a real looker with its rich blue plumage, highlighted by all black wings and mask. We had them with the flocks a couple of times at Tapichalaca and Acacana.
BERYL-SPANGLED TANAGER (Tangara nigroviridis) – The humid foothills down along the roadside below Tapichalaca were really good to us, producing some fine looks at a stunning batch of colorful tanagers, and this one was no exception! This one popped in to feed at a fruiting melastome at a particularly active spot!
METALLIC-GREEN TANAGER (Tangara labradorides chaupensis) – Not a commonly seen bird on the east slope but we have managed to turn them up on this tour of late in the hills along the roadside down below Tapichalaca, where the tanager show was rocking!
BAY-HEADED TANAGER (BAY-AND-BLUE) (Tangara gyrola nupera) – Common with the mixed canopy flocks at Buenaventura.
SAFFRON-CROWNED TANAGER (Tangara xanthocephala) – Another of the many gaudy tanagers that we saw during our productive morning of birding down below Tapichalaca!
FLAME-FACED TANAGER (Tangara parzudakii parzudakii) – The eastern subspecies that we saw with the tanager flocks in the foothill forests below Tapichalaca. This form shows more distinct yellow and red on the head, and has less green in its overall plumage.
FLAME-FACED TANAGER (Tangara parzudakii lunigera) – Seen well with the flocks at Buenaventura, this form has much more of an orange cast on the head, and is washed overall with more of a greenish tone.
GOLDEN TANAGER (Tangara arthus) – Common and seen daily at Buenaventura where small groups forage about with mixed flocks.
SILVER-THROATED TANAGER (Tangara icterocephala icterocephala) – Similar to the previous species, but brighter yellow, with more of a goggled effect, and a has a silvery-gray throat. We had plenty of fine views of them with the flocks at Buenaventura.
GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza exsul) – A very common bird at Buenaventura, such as at the nectar feeders right at the dining room!
GUIRA TANAGER (Hemithraupis guira) – We saw this one during some afternoon birding down along the road below the lodge at Buenaventura in the more secondary habitats.
BLUE-BACKED CONEBILL (Conirostrum sitticolor sitticolor) – A smashing little conebill with that black head, rusty underside, and blue back, that moves with flocks at higher elevations where they breeze through with regularity.
CAPPED CONEBILL (Conirostrum albifrons atrocyaneum) – A few with the flocks in the hills down below Tapichalaca; this one can often be first recognized by its funny tail pumping behavior.
GLOSSY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa lafresnayii) – A chunky, black flowerpiercer with the bluish-gray shoulder patch that we had good looks at in the Acacana area, where they inhabit the higher temperate forests.
WHITE-SIDED FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa albilatera schistacea) – We had a good showing of this one near the end of our trip along the humid, shrubby roadsides of the highlands; White-sided Flowerpiercer can frequently be found raiding patches of flowers, "robbing" nectar by way of piercing the corolla.
BLUISH FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa caerulescens) – A few with the flocks for nice views at Tapichalaca; this one has a less pronounced hook at the tip of the bill compared to other flowerpiercer species.
MASKED FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa cyanea dispar) – The most commonly seen flowerpiercer in the highlands, and a very attractive species.
ASH-BREASTED SIERRA-FINCH (Phrygilus plebejus ocularis) – A common bird of the scrubby highlands, often where there are few trees; we had a few of this one for good looks during a lunch stop between Buenaventura and Jorupe.
COLLARED WARBLING-FINCH (Poospiza hispaniolensis) – Cracking scope studies of this well marked warbling-finch in the scrub forests out on the Santa Elena Peninsula.
SAFFRON FINCH (SAFFRON) (Sicalis flaveola valida) – Very common in drier habitats in the lowlands and highlands.
BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina peruviensis) – Common in grassy fields in the west where they can often be observed engaging in their comical "jump" display.
PARROT-BILLED SEEDEATER (Sporophila peruviana devronis) – This one has quite the bill, almost looking as if it could clip wire! We had our first looks at this handsome seedeater out on the Santa Elena Peninsula on our first day of birding where they are readily found in low, scrubby woodland.
CHESTNUT-THROATED SEEDEATER (Sporophila telasco) – A common bird in grassy, roadside habitats, and we were treated to plenty of fine studies on our first two days as they flitted about and vocalized.

The gang patiently waits for a bird at Jorupe. Photo by participant Randy Beaton.

DRAB SEEDEATER (Sporophila simplex) – If it weren't for this species' two obvious, white wing bars, this one would be a tricky bird to id, wouldn't it? Drab Seedeaters are most common in the inter-andean, scrub valleys where Acacia trees abound, and we scored with nice views in the Catamayo valley, where this one is quite common, as we made our way to Loja city.
THICK-BILLED SEED-FINCH (Sporophila funerea) – We had one female bird at Buenaventura during our morning of birding up the jeep track above the lodge.
VARIABLE SEEDEATER (BLACK) (Sporophila corvina corvina) – The male of this one is boldly marked, and easy to recognize, with its black-and-white plumage. Variable Seedeaters are common in the western lowlands and foothills, and we had them numerous times for nice views.
BLACK-AND-WHITE SEEDEATER (Sporophila luctuosa) – Some folks had quick views of this cleanly marked seedeater at Buenaventura before it slipped away into the grasses.
YELLOW-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila nigricollis) – Fairly common in the cut over areas of the Buenaventura reserve.
CRIMSON-BREASTED FINCH (Rhodospingus cruentus) – The male of this species is a real stunner. This is a common bird in the scrub and deciduous forests in the west, and we enjoyed some fabulous scope studies of them a few times.
BANANAQUIT (CARIBBEAN) (Coereba flaveola intermedia) – Common throughout the neotropics, and even reaches up into the US on rare occasions. This one is a frequent visitor to the feeders at Buenaventura amongst the swarms of hummingbirds.
DULL-COLORED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris obscurus pauper) – A bird can't get much more drab plumage-wise, but at least it has that bicolored bill to aid in identification! This one is pretty common in the Yungilla reserve, and we had some nice looks at them on our last day of birding.
BUFF-THROATED SALTATOR (Saltator maximus maximus) – Common around Buenaventura, where it is regularly heard vocalizing.
BLACK-WINGED SALTATOR (Saltator atripennis) [*]
GRAYISH SALTATOR (GRAYISH) (Saltator coerulescens azarae) [*]
STREAKED SALTATOR (Saltator striatipectus flavidicollis) – The unstreaked race of this species, that is common in the deciduous forests, such as around Jorupe where they can be heard vocalizing throughout the day.
STREAKED SALTATOR (Saltator striatipectus peruvianus) – During our dip into the Maranon valley below Tapichalaca, we encountered this race - with streaks! - just downhill from the town of Valladolid.
BLACK-COWLED SALTATOR (Saltator nigriceps) – A beautiful, coral-billed saltator species of the Tumbesian highlands that we pulled out at the last second just west of Loja city!
SLATE-COLORED GROSBEAK (Saltator grossus) [*]
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
YELLOW-THROATED CHLOROSPINGUS (YELLOW-THROATED) (Chlorospingus flavigularis marginatus) – This genus has now been officially pulled out of the tanager group, and placed with the new world sparrows; genetics show this clearly. Something even tougher to come to grips with though, is the common name change that erases "bush-tanager", in favor of "chlorospingus". This seems to make sense, and helps ease some of the vernacular confusion... too many unrelated groups have traditionally gone by the common name, "bush-tanager". This conspicuous species was seen well at Buenaventura.

Yellow-breasted Brushfinches were seen daily in the highlands. Photo by participant Randy Beaton.

ASHY-THROATED CHLOROSPINGUS (ASHY-THROATED) (Chlorospingus canigularis paulus) – This gray-throated, chlorospingus species was seen well with the flocks at Buenaventura.
COMMON CHLOROSPINGUS (NORTHERN ANDES) (Chlorospingus flavopectus phaeocephalus) – More common in the higher areas of the Buenaventura reserve.
TUMBES SPARROW (Rhynchospiza stolzmanni) – Tumbezia's endemic Rhynchospiza, occurring in the dry hillsides, from the lowlands, well up into the highlands. We had our first views of them around Zapotillo, where they were vocal and easy to pull in.
BLACK-STRIPED SPARROW (Arremonops conirostris striaticeps) – Raven spotted this one for us after a bit of searching in the grassy areas below the lodge at Buenaventura... nice!
GRAY-BROWED BRUSHFINCH (Arremon assimilis nigrifrons) – A part of the Stripe-headed Brushfinch complex. This one seems to subsist in a variety of habitats, occurring in both cool and warmer habitats. It took us up right until the very end to find this one, but we did at Yungilla, for some nice views as one sneaked through the understory.
ORANGE-BILLED SPARROW (Arremon aurantiirostris santarosae) – Good looks at this striking species at Buenaventura.
BLACK-CAPPED SPARROW (Arremon abeillei abeillei) – We finally scored group views of this good looking, deciduous forest species at Jorupe.
RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis) – An abundant species in cleared habitats.
WHITE-HEADED BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes albiceps) – We worked hard for this special Tumbesian endemic, where it reaches its northern-most reaches in extreme southern Ecuador. It took some work, but we finally chiseled them out in the deciduous forests north of Macara.
PALE-NAPED BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes pallidinucha papallactae) – A striking Brushfinch species, with its bold, pale crown stripe. We had them at close range a couple of times in the humid highland forests.
YELLOW-BREASTED BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes latinuchus) – Seen daily in the highland, humid forests.
PALE-HEADED BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes pallidiceps) – After having gone undetected for many decades, this extremely local species was miraculously rediscovered in a patch of unlikely secondary growth south of Cuenca. Let's hope that someday another population turns up, because its present habitat is all too small, and plagued by cowbird parasitism. After an intensive search at the Jocotoco Foundation's, Yungilla reserve, we were rewarded with some gratifying scope studies of what is certainly one of the planet's most endangered bird species. Raven saved the day when she spotted this one for the group, rounding out the complete success of the trip.
BAY-CROWNED BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes seebohmi simonsi) – After not having been able to bird many of the key spots for this Tumbesian, highland endemic due to landslides, we had to scramble a bit, so the odds weren't in our favor. But hey, there's always a way, and we knocked on the last possible spots, scoring views of a pair in the scrubby hillsides west of Loja for killer views, thanks to Jan's sharp eyes.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
OCHRE-BREASTED TANAGER (Chlorothraupis stolzmanni) – I guess we will all have to get used to this one being classified as a cardinal; genetics don't lie! We had a few of this chunky "tanager" at Buenaventura, where they sing loudly at times.
GOLDEN GROSBEAK (Pheucticus chrysogaster chrysogaster) – Split from the Yellow Grosbeak of more northern climes. This one is a common sight in the drier forests of western Ecuador.
BLUE-BLACK GROSBEAK (Cyanocompsa cyanoides) – After having heard them singing over the course of a few days at Buenaventura, we finally clinched some fabulous views on our last day there when we got a male to creep up into a tall tree for excellent studies.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
PERUVIAN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella bellicosa bellicosa) – A gorgeous meadowlark that graces the west slope in drier areas. We had plenty of fine views, such as on our first day out on the Santa Elena Peninsula.
SCRUB BLACKBIRD (Dives warszewiczi warszewiczi) – All over the place in the west!
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus) – Common out along the coast.
SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis) – A common brood parasite!
GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus oryzivorus) – We had one fly-by at Manglares-Churute.
WHITE-EDGED ORIOLE (Icterus graceannae) – Randy spotted our first one as we approached Jorupe! We enjoyed some nice views of this Tumbesian endemic a few times.
YELLOW-TAILED ORIOLE (Icterus mesomelas taczanowskii) – Common throughout the western lowlands.
YELLOW-BILLED CACIQUE (Amblycercus holosericeus) – We lucked into views of this understory species at Cerro Blanco, where they are seldom seen.
SCARLET-RUMPED CACIQUE (PACIFIC) (Cacicus uropygialis pacificus) – Quick views at a pair at Buenaventura.
YELLOW-RUMPED CACIQUE (WESTERN) (Cacicus cela flavicrissus) – Common in the deciduous forests of the west.
MOUNTAIN CACIQUE (GOLDEN-SHOULDERED) (Cacicus chrysonotus leucoramphus) – A few in the highland temperate forests around Acacana.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
THICK-BILLED EUPHONIA (THICK-BILLED) (Euphonia laniirostris hypoxantha) – The common euphonia of the western lowland, deciduous forests.
GOLDEN-RUMPED EUPHONIA (Euphonia cyanocephala) – A flashy euphonia that seems to subsist in a variety of habitats. We had them in the foothills below Tapichalaca.
ORANGE-BELLIED EUPHONIA (Euphonia xanthogaster) – Common around Buenaventura.
YELLOW-BELLIED SISKIN (Spinus xanthogastrus xanthogastrus) – Nice looks at a male at Buenaventura.
HOODED SISKIN (Spinus magellanicus) – A few nice males in the highland scrubby habitats on our way to Jorupe during a lunch stop.
SAFFRON SISKIN (Spinus siemiradzkii) – We had fly-bys near Zapotillo, but couldn't relocate them for perched views.

MANTLED HOWLER MONKEY (Alouatta palliata) – Buenaventura and Jorupe are great places to see this large and very loud monkey species, and we had them a couple of times at close range for nice views.
RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis) – At Buenaventura where they can be seen scampering about near the lodge.
GUAYAQUIL SQUIRREL (Sciurus stramineus) – A stunning and large squirrel of the west slope deciduous forests. This one is a regular at Jorupe's corn feeders where they can been seen throughout the day at close range.
CENTRAL AMERICAN AGOUTI (Dasyprocta punctata) – Seen scooting about near the lodge at Buenaventura.
WHITE-NOSED COATI (Nasua narica) – Randy and Sid had a mother with a young at Buenaventura. This is the species that occurs all along the west slope.
MOUNTAIN COATI (Nasuella olivacea) – The coati species of the highlands, and we spotted one along the roadside at Tapichalaca for nice looks during some wrap up birding there before heading to Loja


Totals for the tour: 422 bird taxa and 6 mammal taxa