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Field Guides Tour Report
Southwestern Ecuador Specialties: Jocotoco Foundation Reserves 2017
Mar 4, 2017 to Mar 18, 2017
Mitch Lysinger

We were thrilled to find this Gray-backed Hawk at Buenaventura, which is the the best place to find this endangered species! Photo by participant Kathy Brown.

This is still one of my favorite tours to lead: the birds are great, the lodging comfortable with delicious food, and we hit some of the best birding spots in southern Ecuador. Not enough can be said for being able to stay in lodges right in the main birding areas; it is so much more peaceful being right in the habitats, and the travel times are much reduced as well. The Jocotoco Foundation has done a commendable job of piecing together a nationwide network of reserves to protect the birds and habitats most in need of protection. In a way they have helped mold the golden age of Ecuadorian birding, and we got to experience it firsthand!

The diversity on this route is quite overwhelming, and we enjoyed a wonderful cross section of the most important habitats of the southwest, not to mention some breath-taking scenery. Our route took us from the desert scrub and Bombax-dominated deciduous forests of the western lowlands, such as around Jorupe, to the lush tropical and highland forests of Buenaventura and Tapichalaca, and then onto the semi-dry, transitional zone of Yungilla, with many sub-habitats in between!

In our two weeks of birding we compiled a long list of birds, and as usual for this trip, we went over the top with a healthy number of range-restricted and/or rare species. Everybody always has their own picks for favorites of the trip, but here is a short set of some of the exhilarating highlights that I thought made our trip special: the range restricted Gray-backed Hawk perched at close range; Plumbeous Rails running around like chickens; those belated but well-seen Gray-capped Cuckoos; a generous haul of hummingbirds, with sylphs and sunangels, and that beautiful Violet-bellied Hummer, to point out a few; stunning Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucans; those hulking Powerful and Guayaquil Woodpeckers; that small group of the rare and endangered Red-faced Parrot for scope studies; a pair of El Oro Parakeets at a nest box; that spritely pair of Chapman's Antshrikes; an awesome Elegant Crescentchest perched on a hill above us in perfect light; the spectacular Jocotoco Antpitta right at our feet; a Crescent-faced Antpitta that knocked us all out; Chusquea Tapaculo standing out in the open; the Red-billed Scythebill that found the perfect way to insult me; Rufous-necked and Henna-hooded foliage-gleaners at Jorupe for memorable views; a whole slew of interesting flycatchers, but I'd say that the Orange-banded was one of the most important specialties of the zone to nab, and we did; striking males of both Green-and-black and Barred fruiteaters; male Long-wattled Umbrellabirds in all of their glory; Club-winged Manakins displaying at a lek; that loud group of White-tailed Jays on our first day; scope views of the enigmatic Black-and-white Tanager delivering its odd song; that last-minute pair of Black-cowled Saltators; and a couple of special brushfinches: the distinctive White-headed put on a nice show, but the intriguing and extremely localized Pale-headed took the cake.

We also stumbled across -- literally in some cases! -- a few interesting reptiles at Buenaventura reserve. I'd have to say that the most adrenaline-pumped reptile moment came at the El Oro Parakeet spot when a concealed fer de lance snake (Bothrops asper) launched away from me when I stepped to within only a foot of it. Luckily it decided to keep peace and flee; in doing so it offered up some tremendous close studies as it eased up the road cut... oh, and did I mention that it measured 5-6 feet? During our daylong hike down the cobblestone road, we also saw many individuals of the local poison dart frog (Dendrobates anthonyi) as they hopped about along the trail, as well as a White-lipped Mud Turtle (Kinosternon leucostomum)... thanks for figuring this one out, Leslie!

We are also so lucky to have had the person I consider to be the best birding driver in the country -- Edgar -- at the wheel of our large and comfortable bus. He made us feel safe whether on a busy city street or a high mountain road. He also whipped up our best field lunch of the trip in the form of a hearty barbecue on a drippy midday to warm us up. Thanks Edgar! It was also great to share these two weeks with all of you... felt like a reunion tour!

Read on below to rekindle some memories!

Till next time, good birding to all,


One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Tinamidae (Tinamous)
HIGHLAND TINAMOU (SOUTH AMERICAN) (Nothocercus bonapartei plumbeiceps) – Heard distantly just above Valladolid. [*]
LITTLE TINAMOU (Crypturellus soui harterti) [*]
PALE-BROWED TINAMOU (Crypturellus transfasciatus) – For some reason absent at Jorupe's corn feeders this year. [*]
ANDEAN TINAMOU (Nothoprocta pentlandii) [*]
Anhimidae (Screamers)
HORNED SCREAMER (Anhima cornuta) – Scoped out in the marshes at Manglares-Churute on our way to Buenaventura.

Not one, not two, but three Jocotoco Antpittas were another great sighting as they came out to feed on worms. Photo by participant Kathy Brown.

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis) – The common duck out in the marshes at Manglares-Churute.
FULVOUS WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna bicolor) – In small numbers this trip at Manglares-Churute.
COMB DUCK (SOUTH AMERICAN) (Sarkidiornis melanotos sylvicola) – Seen as flybys in the Jorupe area.
WHITE-CHEEKED PINTAIL (WHITE-CHEEKED) (Anas bahamensis rubrirostris) – In the roadside ponds west of Guayaquil on our first day.
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
RUFOUS-HEADED CHACHALACA (Ortalis erythroptera) – We had our best views of this Tumbesian-based chachalaca right around the lodge at Buenaventura where they are quite tame.
BEARDED GUAN (Penelope barbata) – Fabulous studies of this range-restricted guan a couple of times. We had our first views of this highland guan during our wonderful morning of birding at Cajanuma.
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
RUFOUS-FRONTED WOOD-QUAIL (Odontophorus erythrops) [*]
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
LEAST GREBE (Tachybaptus dominicus eisenmanni) – Nice looks at one as it feed and dived about in a roadside pond west of Guayaquil.
Ciconiidae (Storks)
WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana) – We had a small group out along a river near Jorupe during a quick stop.
Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)
MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD (Fregata magnificens) – Seen on our first two days as they drifted about just in from the coast.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus brasilianus) – The common cormorant of the region.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
COCOI HERON (Ardea cocoi) – Plenty of nice studies at the herons and egrets typically seen in the western lowlands of Ecuador on our travel day through the marshes en route 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)

Tumbes Sparrow, as its name suggests, is a specialty of the Tumbesian endemic area of southwestern Ecuador and northwestern Peru. Photo by participant Kathy Brown.

ROSEATE SPOONBILL (Platalea ajaja) – Seen well on our first two days in the western lowlands.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (CAROLINENSIS) (Pandion haliaetus carolinensis) – One on our first day.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
PEARL KITE (Gampsonyx swainsonii magnus) – This small kite can be regularly found in the drier western lowlands where they often perch atop posts and in taller trees. We had fine scope views of one bird west of Guayaquil near the Engunga Hills.
WHITE-TAILED KITE (Elanus leucurus leucurus) – Good looks at one in flight at Manglares-Churute.
HOOK-BILLED KITE (HOOK-BILLED) (Chondrohierax uncinatus uncinatus) – A distinctive species of kite that we had on a couple of days.
SWALLOW-TAILED KITE (Elanoides forficatus) – Always a welcome sight.
SNAIL KITE (Rostrhamus sociabilis sociabilis) – Common in the marshy lowlands of the west.
DOUBLE-TOOTHED KITE (Harpagus bidentatus) [*]
PLUMBEOUS KITE (Ictinia plumbea) – That resident pair around Buenaventura sat up for us daily in the eucalyptus tall trees above the lodge.
SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (PLAIN-BREASTED) (Accipiter striatus ventralis) – Brief looks at one on our travel day to Jorupe. This form might best be considered a species of its own, separate from the migratory birds of the north.
SAVANNA HAWK (Buteogallus meridionalis) – A few of this large, rufous hawk were seen on our travel day to Buenaventura as we made our way through the western lowlands.
BARRED HAWK (Morphnarchus princeps) – A majestic hawk that offered up some nice flyover views at Buenaventura.
ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris) – Long considered a Buteo, this species is now placed in its own genus. We had a few of this common secondary woodland hawk at Buenaventura.
HARRIS'S HAWK (HARRIS'S) (Parabuteo unicinctus harrisi) – Fairly common in the arid zones of the west.
VARIABLE HAWK (Geranoaetus polyosoma) – A large hawk that is now allied with the following species. We saw them in the highlands in the Saraguro area north of Loja.
BLACK-CHESTED BUZZARD-EAGLE (Geranoaetus melanoleucus australis) – Eric spotted this chunky and beautiful eagle species for us as we made our way towards Loja, and we had some fine scope studies during a stop in the dry, Acacia-dominated forests of the Catamayo valley.
GRAY-BACKED HAWK (Pseudastur occidentalis) – A range-restricted and gorgeous hawk species that just blew us away when we found them in the Buenaventura reserve at close range... what a stunner! Buenaventura is the the best place to find this endangered species, demonstrating yet another reason to protect this fragile region.
GRAY-LINED HAWK (Buteo nitidus) – We connected with a juvenile along the Buenaventura entrance road as it perched up at close range.
SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus brachyurus) – Seen in flight at Buenaventura.
ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus) – One flew right over us at Jorupe, doing its best to look like a vulture! [b]
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
WHITE-THROATED CRAKE (RUFOUS-FACED) (Laterallus albigularis albigularis) [*]
PLUMBEOUS RAIL (Pardirallus sanguinolentus) – We had at least two birds running around like chickens in the town of Vilcabamba for killer studies... just after our traditional ice cream break, of course!
Aramidae (Limpkin)
LIMPKIN (BROWN-BACKED) (Aramus guarauna guarauna) – Common out in the marshes at Manglares-Churute.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (BLACK-NECKED) (Himantopus mexicanus mexicanus) – Common in the roadside ponds of the west.
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
WATTLED JACANA (CHESTNUT-BACKED) (Jacana jacana scapularis) – Plenty of these long-toed swamp dwellers in the ponds of the western lowlands.

One of the many spectacular views along our route: Podocarpus National Park. Photo by participant Daphne Gemmill.

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla) – A few on the mudflats in a roadside pond. [*]
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
GRAY-HOODED GULL (Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus cirrocephalus) – We had small numbers of this and the following two species of gulls in the shrimp ponds along the coast near Puerto Jeli.
LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla)
FRANKLIN'S GULL (Leucophaeus pipixcan)
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis) – Seen on our first day around Cerro Blanco.
BAND-TAILED PIGEON (WHITE-NECKED) (Patagioenas fasciata albilinea) – The common pigeon of the highlands, often in large groups.
PLUMBEOUS PIGEON (Patagioenas plumbea chapmani) – Scoped for nice views along the old cobblestone road at Buenaventura as they fed in some nearby fruiting trees.
ECUADORIAN GROUND-DOVE (Columbina buckleyi) – The common ground-dove in the deciduous forests of the west; used to be lumped with Ruddy Ground-Dove a long time ago.
CROAKING GROUND-DOVE (Columbina cruziana) – Prefers drier, more desert habitats. We had scope views on our first day as we chuckled at their comical croaking calls.
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (DECOLOR) (Leptotila verreauxi decolor) – The common Leptotila dove of secondary habitats.
PALLID DOVE (Leptotila pallida) – Frequently heard in the lower parts of the Buenaventura reserve, and Kathy even managed to see one next to the parking lot when it popped out for a stroll.
WEST PERUVIAN DOVE (Zenaida meloda) – Fairly recently split from the White-winged Dove, this one is quite common in the desert habitats along the coast; we had them for nice views near Zapotillo.
EARED DOVE (Zenaida auriculata hypoleuca) – Found in drier habitats in the sierra and out along the coast.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani) – The ani of more humid habitats, such as around Buenaventura and in the foothills below Tapichalaca.
GROOVE-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga sulcirostris) – Common in the western lowlands in dry habitats.
STRIPED CUCKOO (Tapera naevia naevia) – We had heard them a couple of times, but finally caught up with one for scope studies on our last day at Yungilla reserve.
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (NIGRICRISSA) (Piaya cayana nigricrissa) – We caught up with them at Jorupe reserve as it moved through the treetops.
GRAY-CAPPED CUCKOO (Coccyzus lansbergi) – Certainly one of the birds of the trip, and we had to work hard for it, but our persistence paid off when we located a few responsive birds way out at Zapotillo... what a relief when we finally got them going!
Strigidae (Owls)
PERUVIAN SCREECH-OWL (PACIFICUS) (Megascops roboratus pacificus) – We were close at Jorupe, but they just wouldn't come in for the kill... darn. The drippy evening weather there didn't do us any favors either.

The amazing fuzzy camouflage of a Pauraque chick! Photo by participant Leslie Flint.

SPECTACLED OWL (Pulsatrix perspicillata chapmani) – Ditto!
ANDEAN PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium jardinii) – Heard distantly at Tapichalaca. [*]
PERUVIAN PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium peruanum) – Plenty of fine studies at this Tumbesian-based owl.
BLACK-AND-WHITE OWL (Ciccaba nigrolineata) – Heard near the lodge at Buenaventura, but they kept their distance. [*]
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis aequatorialis) – One perched bird taking shade from the hot sun out on the Santa Elena Peninsula.
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis) – We stumbled upon a nest with a tiny chick at Buenaventura; the mother flushed up, feigning and injury, doing its best to distract us... true parenting!
Apodidae (Swifts)
CHESTNUT-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne rutila brunnitorques) – Seen around Jorupe and Tapichalaca with other high-flying swift species.
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris subtropicalis) – The giant swift that we had well a couple of times.
SHORT-TAILED SWIFT (TUMBES) (Chaetura brachyura ocypetes) – Many authorities consider this a good split from the Short-tailed. Aside from some minor physical differences, this one is restricted the Tumbesian zone of the west. We had our best looks at them over Jorupe.
GRAY-RUMPED SWIFT (OCCIDENTALIS) (Chaetura cinereiventris occidentalis) – Flying over at Buenaventura.
WHITE-TIPPED SWIFT (Aeronautes montivagus) – Prefers drier habitats of the highlands; we had quick views of them as they zipped by overhead in the dry central valley.
LESSER SWALLOW-TAILED SWIFT (Panyptila cayennensis) – The dark pointy-tailed swift with the white highlights that we saw with our band of swifts at Jorupe.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora) – One of the many tantalizing hummers at Buenaventura's feeders. Kathy and I even had them at one point landing on us as we tried to photograph them; never had this happen there before!
BAND-TAILED BARBTHROAT (Threnetes ruckeri ruckeri) – Nice looks as one fed a few times at the Heliconia flowers at Buenaventura.
WHITE-WHISKERED HERMIT (Phaethornis yaruqui) – Also seen visiting the Heliconia flowers at Buenaventura... boy do they move fast!
LONG-BILLED HERMIT (BARON'S) (Phaethornis longirostris baroni) – Clouds of them at the hummer feeders at Cerro Blanco; I had never seen any hermit species visit feeders like this! Some split this western form out as Baron's Hermit.
GRAY-CHINNED HERMIT (Phaethornis griseogularis porcullae) – One buzzed in for nice views near the town of Sozoranga as it fed at some roadside flowers. This is the Tumbesian, highland race that just gets into Ecuador over the Peruvian border.
WEDGE-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD (Schistes geoffroyi albogularis) – Some got onto a fast moving individual of this species at Buenaventura. Note that some experts now regard the cis and trans-Andean forms to represent distinct species.
BROWN VIOLETEAR (Colibri delphinae) – This rather dull hummer was common in small numbers at Buenaventura's feeders. Those purple ear patches lit up on a few occasions though.
LESSER VIOLETEAR (ANDEAN) (Colibri cyanotus cyanotus) – The Green Violetear recently underwent a two-way split, demoting all of the subspecies (except for one) to a rather unspectacular name... "Lesser"; the northern form is now a monotypic species, the Mexican Violetear.

No mistaking this profile! We had great looks at Long-wattled Umbrellabird. Photo by participant Kathy Brown.

SPARKLING VIOLETEAR (Colibri coruscans coruscans) – Now this is a name! Seen a few times in the highlands. Similar to the previous species, but larger, more brilliantly plumaged, and with a blue chin and belly.
PURPLE-CROWNED FAIRY (Heliothryx barroti) – Nice looks at this immaculate hummer at Buenaventura.
AMETHYST-THROATED SUNANGEL (AMETHYST-THROATED) (Heliangelus amethysticollis laticlavius) – A stunning sunangel with a glittering magenta throat. We enjoyed fine studies of this beauty at Tapichalaca's feeders.
LITTLE SUNANGEL (Heliangelus micraster) – The old name - "Flame-throated Sunangel" - was a much better name... another linguistic demotion for sure! This one was also a constant companion at the feeders at Tapichalaca.
PURPLE-THROATED SUNANGEL (Heliangelus viola) – Some had brief looks at this one as it fed about on Protea flowers at Acacana.
GREEN THORNTAIL (Discosura conversii) – This delicate little hummer blew us away at Buenaventura's feeders.
SPECKLED HUMMINGBIRD (MACULATA) (Adelomyia melanogenys maculata) – Regular in small numbers at Tapichalaca's feeders.
LONG-TAILED SYLPH (Aglaiocercus kingii mocoa) – A fabulously beautiful hummer with that long, glittering tail.. wow! We had repeated views at Tapichalaca where they hit the feeders every few minutes.
VIOLET-TAILED SYLPH (Aglaiocercus coelestis aethereus) – The hummer feeding station at the upper end of the Buenaventura reserve had a few surprises for us, including this gorgeous gem.
RAINBOW-BEARDED THORNBILL (Chalcostigma herrani) – We lucked into this distinctive hummer at the last possible moment on our way down from Acacana when one came hovering in for nice views, flashing those large white tail spots.
TYRIAN METALTAIL (TYRIAN) (Metallura tyrianthina tyrianthina) – Seen well a few times in the highlands as they fed about in the roadside shrubbery; the one with the purplish-rusty tail.
GLOWING PUFFLEG (Eriocnemis vestita smaragdinipectus) – Pufflegs as a group are a flashy hummers, but this species in particular is especially fancy, with that glittering greenish-yellow rump... incredible! We had fine studies of this high elevation species up at Acacana.
BRONZY INCA (Coeligena coeligena) – A rather dull east slope species that we saw on the slopes below Tapichalaca.
BROWN INCA (Coeligena wilsoni) – A west slope species that we saw well at Buenaventura; the one with the white spots on the neck.
COLLARED INCA (COLLARED) (Coeligena torquata fulgidigula) – Wonderful views at the feeders at Tapichalaca.
RAINBOW STARFRONTLET (Coeligena iris iris) – This one danced around us, offering up only quick views, but some folks did catch quick views of those incredible colors.
BUFF-WINGED STARFRONTLET (Coeligena lutetiae) – Close views at a perched bird along the trails at Cajanuma when one zipped in and sat for quality studies.
MOUNTAIN VELVETBREAST (Lafresnaya lafresnayi saul) – Michael had quick looks at one at Cajanuma, seeing the curved bill and white panels in the tail.
CHESTNUT-BREASTED CORONET (Boissonneaua matthewsii) – A feeder hog at Tapichalaca.
VELVET-PURPLE CORONET (Boissonneaua jardini) – Arguably one of the most stunning hummers of them all, when seen in proper light.
FAWN-BREASTED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa rubinoides aequatorialis) – Great looks at this pink-throated beauty at Tapichalaca's feeders.
GREEN-CROWNED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa jacula jamersoni) – Seen from all angles at Buenaventura's feeders.
LONG-BILLED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster longirostris albicrissa) – Great looks on our first day at the hummer feeders at Cerro Blanco.
PURPLE-COLLARED WOODSTAR (Myrtis fanny fanny) – Female plumaged birds bombed us as we played some pygmy-owl sound near Vilcabamba.
WHITE-BELLIED WOODSTAR (Chaetocercus mulsant) – One female plumaged bird in the Ona Valley.
CROWNED WOODNYMPH (EMERALD-BELLIED) (Thalurania colombica hypochlora) – Common at the feeders at Buenaventura in small numbers. This form of SW Ecuador/NW Peru is sometimes split out as the Emerald-bellied Woodnymph.
TUMBES HUMMINGBIRD (Leucippus baeri) – Not the flashiest of hummers, but certainly of interest due to its restricted range here in Ecuador. We had some fantastic views of this rather drab species in the deciduous woodlands near the town of Celica where they bombed in to attack the sound of the pygmy-owl that we were playing to try and get a reaction out of anything under the sunny conditions.
AMAZILIA HUMMINGBIRD (AMAZILIA) (Amazilia amazilia dumerilii) – The most common hummer in the drier habitats of the western lowlands.
AMAZILIA HUMMINGBIRD (LOJA) (Amazilia amazilia alticola) – This whiter-bellied form - occurring in the central valley of Loja - is split by some experts from other races of the Amazilia Hummingbird due to plumage differences, as well as biogeographical limits, but I am still not sold on it. Whatever the case ends up being, we did have some decent looks at them during a stop between Loja city and Tapichalaca.
ANDEAN EMERALD (Amazilia franciae) – The common hummer at Buenaventura's feeders with the aqua-green, glittering crown, and white belly.
RUFOUS-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia tzacatl) – Common in the humid western lowlands and foothills.

Grass-green Tanager, photographed by participant Kathy Brown.

VIOLET-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD (Damophila julie) – One of the most intensely colored of the hummers at Buenaventura's feeders with that brilliant violet and green iridescence.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
GOLDEN-HEADED QUETZAL (Pharomachrus auriceps auriceps) [*]
ECUADORIAN TROGON (Trogon mesurus) – Excellent scope studies at a male on our first day at Cerro Blanco.
COLLARED TROGON (COLLARED) (Trogon collaris virginalis) – Fairly common at Buenaventura.
Momotidae (Motmots)
WHOOPING MOTMOT (ARGENTICINCTUS) (Momotus subrufescens argenticinctus) – A recent split from the Blue-crowned Motmot, the Whooping Motmot is restricted to the west slope. We enjoyed some fine scope views of them in the deciduous forests around Jorupe.
RUFOUS MOTMOT (Baryphthengus martii) – A few of us had full-frame scope studies of this large motmot at the end of our long, but very birdy, hike at Buenaventura.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata) – Common out on the western lowland plane.
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
EMERALD TOUCANET (BLACK-THROATED) (Aulacorhynchus prasinus cyanolaemus) – We caught up with this mostly green toucanet on the subtropical slopes below Tapichalaca.
GRAY-BREASTED MOUNTAIN-TOUCAN (Andigena hypoglauca lateralis) – We enjoyed a few knockout scope views of this most spectacular toucan species in the highlands... incredible.
COLLARED ARACARI (PALE-MANDIBLED) (Pteroglossus torquatus erythropygius) – Common around Buenaventura.
YELLOW-THROATED TOUCAN (CHESTNUT-MANDIBLED) (Ramphastos ambiguus swainsonii) – Now called Yellow-throated Toucan after the lumping of the Black-mandibled and Chestnut-mandibled Toucans. We had them well a couple of times at Buenaventura.
CHOCO TOUCAN (Ramphastos brevis) – We scoped one at Buenaventura; this one is smaller than the previous species in general, has black on the bill instead of chestnut, and has a very different voice.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
ECUADORIAN PICULET (Picumnus sclateri) – Fairly common in the lowland and foothill deciduous forests, such as around Jorupe, and we enjoyed some exceptionally close studies.
OLIVACEOUS PICULET (Picumnus olivaceus) – We ran into a cooperative pair at Manglares-Churute, which sort of surprised me; I would have expected Ecuadorian there.
SMOKY-BROWN WOODPECKER (Picoides fumigatus) – A small, foothill woodpecker that we saw from the deck at Buenaventura when it perched up on a snag.
RED-RUMPED WOODPECKER (Veniliornis kirkii cecilii) – We located one with a flock during our hike down the old cobblestone road at Buenaventura.
SCARLET-BACKED WOODPECKER (Veniliornis callonotus) – A really handsome woodpecker species that we saw in the deciduous and scrub forests a couple of times, such as on our first day at Cerro Blanco where we saw no less than four individuals.
GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (RUBRIPILEUS) (Colaptes rubiginosus rubripileus) – Good looks at this well marked woodpecker at Cerro Blanco.
CRIMSON-MANTLED WOODPECKER (Colaptes rivolii brevirostris) – Killer eye-level, scope studies at Cajanuma as one fed about and perched up in an emergent tree.
POWERFUL WOODPECKER (Campephilus pollens pollens) – Awesome views at a male right behind the lodge at Tapichalaca upon our arrival, where the afternoon bird activity was hopping.

Our great driver, Edgar, grilling up some lunch for us at Podocarpus! Photo by participant Daphne Gemmill.

CRIMSON-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Campephilus haematogaster) [*]
GUAYAQUIL WOODPECKER (Campephilus gayaquilensis) – A wonderful pair through the scope at the El Oro Parakeet spot; this was a most wanted bird for some!
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara cheriway cheriway) – Fairly common in the west in dry and humid areas alike.
LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans) – Close views at a perched bird along the entrance road in to Buenaventura.
AMERICAN KESTREL (SOUTH AMERICAN) (Falco sparverius peruvianus) – Quite common in open country habitats, usually where it is drier.
APLOMADO FALCON (Falco femoralis pichinchae) – We had one perched, and in flight in the Ona Valley for pretty good views during a quick stop - to stretch our legs - as we made our way to Yungilla.
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – We had one fly by in the Catamayo Valley near Loja.
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
GRAY-CHEEKED PARAKEET (Brotogeris pyrrhoptera) – Scope views of this range-restricted parakeet species a couple of times.
RED-FACED PARROT (Hapalopsittaca pyrrhops) – A rare highland parrot that has suffered population declines due to deforestation; now it finds refuge in the last chunks of remaining humid forest in the highlands of S Ecuador and N Peru. This can be a very shy and hard bird to find; if they aren't active or calling, forget it!, But we found them to be quite cooperative this trip, and at one point, we had at least four individuals right around us for knee-buckling studies!
BRONZE-WINGED PARROT (Pionus chalcopterus) – Flyovers only since we never could catch them perched; Buenaventura.
RED-LORED PARROT (SALVIN'S) (Amazona autumnalis lilacina) – Fair views as flybys at Cerro Blanco; they flew from a favorite fruiting tree just before we were about to get them in our sights! This is an endangered species that really needs protection fast as they rely on both deciduous and mangrove forests for their life cycle.
SCALY-NAPED PARROT (Amazona mercenarius) – Nice views as flybys at Tapichalaca in good light; one of the least marked species of the genus.
PACIFIC PARROTLET (Forpus coelestis) – A common parrotlet found in the western lowlands, right and up into the drier highlands.
EL ORO PARAKEET (Pyrrhura orcesi) – One of the star birds to get on this trip. Before the Jocotoco Foundation purchased the reserve - and set up nest boxes - this one used to be really tricky to track down; one would have to just get lucky with any random group flying in and perching nearby. The heavy rains this year seemed to have pushed the nesting season earlier, and most families had already left the boxes, but there was still one accessible and active nest left for us... whew! Thick fog set in during the pair's visit, but sort of came and went, so allowed good studies at the plumage characteristics.
GOLDEN-PLUMED PARAKEET (Leptosittaca branickii) – This one is usually with chicks in the nesting boxes this time of the year at Tapichalaca, but the season apparently came and went before our arrival, so we had to settle for birds in flight, which wasn't too bad when a large group came flying right over us at one point. We did have them through the scope up on the ridge above the lodge, but the fog was pretty thick when they did decide to perch.
RED-MASKED PARAKEET (Psittacara erythrogenys) – Common around Buenaventura (where they perch right next to the lodge in the tall trees) and Jorupe, where they are capable of really making some serious noise.
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
CHAPMAN'S ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus zarumae zarumae) – We finally tracked down a pair for excellent views in the humid, subtropical hillsides above Sozoranga. This is a regional endemic of the Tumbesian highlands.
COLLARED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus bernardi) – A Tumbesian-based antshrike of warmer, scrub and deciduous forests; we had nice looks at a pair at Jorupe.
BLACK-CROWNED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus atrinucha atrinucha) – Previously known as Western Slaty-Antshrike. This is a common bird in the lowlands and lower foothills of the west where they tend to prefer more humid forest. We had our first pair at Manglares-Churute during a very productive birding stop along a side road.
UNIFORM ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus unicolor unicolor) – We stumbled into some fine looks at a pair - saw the male best - along the upper stretches of the old Buenaventura cobblestone road as they foraged actively right along the trail out in the open.
RUSSET ANTSHRIKE (TAWNY) (Thamnistes anabatinus intermedius) – Nice studies at this very rufous canopy antshrike as it foraged with a flock at Buenaventura.
PLAIN ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus mentalis aequatorialis) – We had a male at Jorupe as it moved with a small understory bird party.
SLATY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula schisticolor schisticolor) – Great looks at a couple of pairs of this antwren with the understory flocks at Buenaventura.
JET ANTBIRD (Cercomacra nigricans) – Restricted to lowland transitional forests in the west, where it can be quite common. We had an active pair for decent views at Manglares-Churute.
WHITE-BACKED FIRE-EYE (PACIFIC) (Pyriglena leuconota pacifica) – Seen fleetingly at the same spot as the previous species.

Amethyst-throated Sunangel was among a terrific variety of hummers we enjoyed. Photo by participant Kathy Brown.

CHESTNUT-BACKED ANTBIRD (Poliocrania exsul) [*]
ESMERALDAS ANTBIRD (Sipia nigricauda) – We worked hard for this west slope species at Buenaventura. This one prefers shaded ravines in the foothills, and although they can be very tricky to tease out, we did score big when we landed a male for scope views along the old cobblestone road.
ZELEDON'S ANTBIRD (CHOCO) (Hafferia zeledoni berlepschi) – A split from the Immaculate Antbird. Despite a few attempts, we never had any luck calling this species in.
Melanopareiidae (Crescentchests)
ELEGANT CRESCENTCHEST (Melanopareia elegans elegans) – An intricately patterned - and beautiful - species that expertly sneaks about in the understory of scrub forest, from the lowlands all the way up into the highlands. After a few failed attempts across the west slope, we finally hit the jackpot in the Catamayo Valley, when we called up a very responsive individual... right on!
Grallariidae (Antpittas)
SCALED ANTPITTA (Grallaria guatimalensis regulus) [*]
CHESTNUT-CROWNED ANTPITTA (Grallaria ruficapilla connectens) – Sometimes a private moment up the trail can really pay off. Bart spotted this one as it stood on the path up away from the group at Yungilla.
WATKINS'S ANTPITTA (Grallaria watkinsi) – Some folks managed to get onto the responsive individual that we had during some afternoon birding at Jorupe; since the viewing was through a tiny window into the brush, the maneuvering was complicated... and antpittas have only so much patience.
JOCOTOCO ANTPITTA (Grallaria ridgelyi) – A large and stunning antpitta that was only discovered in the late 90's. As we discussed on the tour, this discovery was the spark that ignited the creation of the Jocotoco Foundation and a continuing wave of critically important land purchases throughout the country to protect endangered species and habitats. Our time with the antpitta was mesmerizing and certainly one of the highlights of the trip. This one used to be extremely hard to see, but with advent of the worm feeding station, the birds have become unafraid and come to within only a few feet... incredible!
CHESTNUT-NAPED ANTPITTA (Grallaria nuchalis nuchalis) – Half of the group got onto this one when it suddenly popped out onto the trail at Tapichalaca.
RUFOUS ANTPITTA (RUFOUS) (Grallaria rufula rufula) – Really nice looks at a pair behind the lodge at Tapichalaca during some afternoon birding when they crept up to the trail, and even briefly stood right in the open.
OCHRE-BREASTED ANTPITTA (Grallaricula flavirostris zarumae) – Seen by a few folks at Buenaventura as one fed about quietly in the understory, darting about very actively. It got away up the slope much too fast to be able to work properly though.
CRESCENT-FACED ANTPITTA (Grallaricula lineifrons) – Unbelievable! I couldn't believe our good fortune when we landed awesome studies at this rare and very striking antpitta in the highland forests around Acacana. It took some strategizing and patience, and even some forest "Twister" to get all into position, but the end result was unforgettable, with views at one of the most amazing antpittas of them all.
Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)
ASH-COLORED TAPACULO (Myornis senilis) [*]
BLACKISH TAPACULO (PACIFIC) (Scytalopus latrans subcinereus) [*]
LONG-TAILED TAPACULO (Scytalopus micropterus) [*]
CHUSQUEA TAPACULO (Scytalopus parkeri) – We couldn't have seen it better when one actually emerged from the undergrowth at Tapichalaca and sat right out in the open on a low cement wall!
Formicariidae (Antthrushes)
RUFOUS-BREASTED ANTTHRUSH (Formicarius rufipectus carrikeri) [*]
BARRED ANTTHRUSH (Chamaeza mollissima mollissima) [*]
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (PACIFIC) (Sittasomus griseicapillus aequatorialis) – A small woodcreeper that you need to monitor the taxonomy of for future splits. We saw this west slope form around Jorupe where it is pretty common.
PLAIN-BROWN WOODCREEPER (PLAIN-BROWN) (Dendrocincla fuliginosa ridgwayi) – We had one of this drab woodcreeper species at Buenaventura.
WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Glyphorynchus spirurus subrufescens) – A petite woodcreeper that some got onto in the forests at Buenaventura.

Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan is one of the most beautifully patterned toucans. Photo by participant Kathy Brown.

STRONG-BILLED WOODCREEPER (ANDEAN/NORTHERN) (Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus crassirostris) – A monster of a woodcreeper that we saw on the slopes below Tapichalaca. Eric spotted the pair for us as they foraged brusquely about on mossy trees in a pasture.
SPOTTED WOODCREEPER (BERLEPSCH'S) (Xiphorhynchus erythropygius aequatorialis) – A few with the flocks at Buenaventura; the one that sounds like a horse whinnying.
RED-BILLED SCYTHEBILL (Campylorhamphus trochilirostris thoracicus) – Well, the oddest birding moment of the trip had to be when this species pooped in my ear as it flew across the trail at Jorupe; think this has happened to anybody in the history of the world with this species? At least I guess I have to count my stars that it didn't decide to try and ram its bill down my ear canal, because it might have come out my mouth like a fish hook! At any rate, we had some great looks as it hitched up nearby trunks.
STREAK-HEADED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii) – Common in the west, especially in drier forests.
MONTANE WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger aequatorialis) – Replaces the previous species at higher elevations, and we had them with the flocks around Tapichalaca.
PLAIN XENOPS (Xenops minutus littoralis) – We had one with an understory flock at Buenaventura.
STREAKED XENOPS (Xenops rutilans guayae) – We had this west slope race at Buenaventura, but also had the race that occurs in the south of Ecuador - "peruvianus" - on the foothill slopes below Tapichalaca; the races are quite similar, differing mainly in tail patterns.
BUFFY TUFTEDCHEEK (PACIFIC) (Pseudocolaptes lawrencii johnsoni) – I wish this one had stayed around for a few more moments, but it was intent on keeping close to the flock it was traveling with. At least some folks got to the scope in time to see it.
STREAKED TUFTEDCHEEK (Pseudocolaptes boissonneautii orientalis) – Fabulous scope views of one foraging with a mixed canopy flock at Cajanuma.
PALE-LEGGED HORNERO (PACIFIC) (Furnarius leucopus cinnamomeus) – Abundant in dry areas of the coast and highlands.
SCALY-THROATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (SPOT-BREASTED) (Anabacerthia variegaticeps temporalis) – A few of this well marked foliage-gleaner with the flocks at Buenaventura.
MONTANE FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Anabacerthia striaticollis) – The east slope replacement of the previous species that we saw with the flocks on the slopes below Tapichalaca.
BUFF-BROWED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Syndactyla rufosuperciliata cabanisi) [*]
RUFOUS-NECKED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Syndactyla ruficollis) – A bit shy and hard to keep in view, but we found a pair at Jorupe that made a few crucial mistakes in their strategy, offering up some nice views.
HENNA-HOODED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Clibanornis erythrocephalus) – This and the previous species are both special Tumbesian endemics, this one occurring in the understory of lower elevation, deciduous forests, while the Rufous-necked tends to prefer higher elevations at more canopy level. The two do overlap broadly though, such as at Jorupe. We finally managed to tease this one in along the jeep track above the lodge for nice looks.
UNIFORM TREEHUNTER (Thripadectes ignobilis) – A sneaky species that has a talent for foraging in the darkest mossy holes it can find. We connected with one along the upper stretches of the old cobblestone road at Buenaventura, but man was it stealthy!
PEARLED TREERUNNER (Margarornis squamiger perlatus) – Common with highland canopy flocks, and what a looker!
RUFOUS-FRONTED THORNBIRD (Phacellodomus rufifrons) – We saw this species at the northern extent of its Ecuadorian range near the foothill town of Valladolid. Its nest is a large stick structure, and easy to spot from a distance.
MOUSE-COLORED THISTLETAIL (Asthenes griseomurina) – A quick stop at the pass (continental divide) near Tapichalaca produced this high elevation species for excellent studies when it emerged from the undergrowth for nice looks.
ASH-BROWED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca curtata cisandina) – Good looks at a cooperative bird in the eastern foothills around Valladolid.
LINE-CHEEKED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca antisiensis antisiensis) – Seen a few times in the foothill and highland forests of the SW.
AZARA'S SPINETAIL (Synallaxis azarae ochracea) – Common along roadsides around Buenaventura.
RUFOUS SPINETAIL (UNIRUFA) (Synallaxis unirufa unirufa) – Most folks got onto this bamboo species behind the cabins at Tapichalaca when it crept in for a view.
SLATY SPINETAIL (Synallaxis brachyura) – Bart and I got onto the individual that made a quick pass by the group along the old cobblestone road at Buenaventura.

Participant Leslie Flint captured this fine portrait of the widespread Golden-olive Woodpecker.

BLACKISH-HEADED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis tithys) – We had fine studies of this Tumbesian-endemic spinetail along the jeep track above the lodge at Jorupe.
NECKLACED SPINETAIL (NECKLACED) (Synallaxis stictothorax stictothorax) – It took some searching, but we finally connected with a responsive pair in the scrub forests west of Guayaquil; a very distinctive and handsome spinetail species indeed.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
SOUTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (SOUTHERN) (Camptostoma obsoletum sclateri) – Common in dry areas.
WHITE-BANDED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus stictopterus stictopterus) – A well marked tyrannulet of the highlands that we saw well at Cajanuma and Tapichalaca.
WHITE-THROATED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus leucophrys rufomarginatus) – Prefers highland forests right up to treeline, where it forages with mixed species flocks. We had them around Acacana for nice views.
MOUSE-COLORED TYRANNULET (TUMBES) (Phaeomyias murina tumbezana) – We saw the Tumbesian form of this species, that is often split out, but be sure to watch for multiple splits of this species complex in the future. We had our first looks at this rather drab species in the highland forests around the town of Sozoranga.
YELLOW TYRANNULET (Capsiempis flaveola magnirostris) – A responsive pair performed for us at Buenaventura.
PACIFIC ELAENIA (Myiopagis subplacens) – For an elaenia, this one is quite distinct and cleanly marked. Seen well in the western deciduous forests at Cerro Blanco and Jorupe.
GREENISH ELAENIA (GREENISH) (Myiopagis viridicata implacens) – This one, on the other hand, is about as drab as they come! Fairly common in the west.
YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster semipagana) – This one has an obvious, bushy crest; we had one around Valladolid.
WHITE-CRESTED ELAENIA (WHITE-CRESTED) (Elaenia albiceps griseigularis) – Seen in the highland scrub around Acacana.
MOTTLE-BACKED ELAENIA (Elaenia gigas) – This distinctive elaenia is best identified by its spectacular, large, white crown tuft... so its name seems to fall short a bit. But hey, we had good looks at them around Valladolid in the eastern foothills.
HIGHLAND ELAENIA (Elaenia obscura) – A local species in the highlands of southern Ecuador, probably best seen on the slopes below Tapichalaca, where we had a couple come in for some good studies as they bounced around in the roadside shrubbery.
SIERRAN ELAENIA (ANDEAN) (Elaenia pallatangae pallatangae) – A few in the roadside shrubbery at Cajanuma.
SLATY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon superciliaris) – With the flocks at Buenaventura.
VARIEGATED BRISTLE-TYRANT (Phylloscartes poecilotis) – Best found in the eastern subtropics, where it is a tricky bird to find, so one needs to find just the right flock at the right elevation. This we did, calling in a pair for nice views.
SOOTY-HEADED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias griseiceps) – The tyrannulet without any wing bars. We had a responsive pair along the Buenaventura entrance road as they perched and called right above us.
BLACK-CAPPED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias nigrocapillus nigrocapillus) – A clean-cut tyrannulet, with pretty obvious field marks. We had them best around Tapichalaca, where they can be found in most canopy flocks.
ASHY-HEADED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias cinereiceps) – Fine views of this tyrannulet at Buenaventura; the one with the bluish-gray crown, stubby bill, and red eye.
GOLDEN-FACED TYRANNULET (LOJA) (Zimmerius chrysops flavidifrons) – Sometimes split out from the Golden-faced Tyrannulet as a full species, but this is a very complex species group that needs further study to really iron things out. We had this one a few times in the highlands around Sozoranga, above the Jorupe area.

Another wonderful view along our route: Acacana. Photo by participant Daphne Gemmill.

ORNATE FLYCATCHER (Myiotriccus ornatus stellatus) – A stunningly beautiful little flycatcher that we saw at Buenaventura.
BRONZE-OLIVE PYGMY-TYRANT (Pseudotriccus pelzelni annectens) – Quick views along the roadside below Tapichalaca as it darted about in the shrubbery.
RUFOUS-HEADED PYGMY-TYRANT (Pseudotriccus ruficeps) – Fantastic views at a pair of this "snappy" little tyrannid along the trail behind the lodge at Tapichalaca.
TAWNY-CROWNED PYGMY-TYRANT (Euscarthmus meloryphus fulviceps) – Seen right out of the blocks on our first day west of Guayaquil.
SCALE-CRESTED PYGMY-TYRANT (Lophotriccus pileatus squamaecrista) [*]
BLACK-THROATED TODY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus granadensis pyrrhops) – Bart had what must have been this species at Cajanuma; his description was right on. I've only ever heard it at this locality, but at a great distance downslope.
COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum sclateri) – Common in secondary habitats of the western lowlands.
YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (EQUATORIAL) (Tolmomyias sulphurescens aequatorialis) – Actively nesting at Manglares-Churute and at Jorupe. [N]
WHITE-THROATED SPADEBILL (Platyrinchus mystaceus albogularis) – A tiny understory species of the lowlands and foothills; we caught up with an active and responsive individual along the old cobblestone road at Buenaventura.
CINNAMON FLYCATCHER (Pyrrhomyias cinnamomeus pyrrhopterus) – Common around Tapichalaca at forest edges.
ORANGE-BANDED FLYCATCHER (Nephelomyias lintoni) – A special, regional endemic that often roves about in large family groups. We had some fine studies of them at extremely close range along the Jocotoco Antpitta trail, where they perched for us within only a couple of meters.
SULPHUR-RUMPED FLYCATCHER (Myiobius sulphureipygius aureatus) – The butter-butt flycatcher of the understory that we saw at Buenaventura, feeding about rather redstart-like.
BRAN-COLORED FLYCATCHER (BRAN-COLORED) (Myiophobus fasciatus crypterythrus) – Fairly common in secondary habitats.
GRAY-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Lathrotriccus griseipectus) – A Tumbesian-endemic flycatcher that can be found in wet ravines of deciduous forest. We had them for excellent views along the jeep track up above Jorupe lodge.
SMOKE-COLORED PEWEE (Contopus fumigatus zarumae) – Present, but I might have been the only one to see it.
TROPICAL PEWEE (TUMBES) (Contopus cinereus punensis) – The Tumbesian form that is often split out as its own species. Seen well at Jorupe.
BLACK PHOEBE (WHITE-WINGED) (Sayornis nigricans angustirostris)
RUFOUS-TAILED TYRANT (Knipolegus poecilurus) – An eastern foothill tyrant that can often be found at road-cuts. We ran into at least one bird on the slopes below Tapichalaca for scope studies, that magnified that red eye.
BLACK-BILLED SHRIKE-TYRANT (Agriornis montanus solitarius) – We slammed on the brakes for a look at this white-tailed, large tyrant species during our drive to Yungilla.
SMOKY BUSH-TYRANT (Myiotheretes fumigatus cajamarcae) – Glimpsed at Tapichalaca.

One of the highly sought species we saw very well was Red-faced Parrot. Photo by participant Kathy Brown.

MASKED WATER-TYRANT (Fluvicola nengeta atripennis) – This boldly patterned tyrant gave us some nice views out in the marshes of the west.
YELLOW-BELLIED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca diadema gratiosa) [*]
SLATY-BACKED CHAT-TYRANT (SLATY-BACKED) (Ochthoeca cinnamomeiventris cinnamomeiventris) – After having heard this species a few times, we finally caught up with a pair for scope views on the slopes below Tapichalaca during a birding stop.
RUFOUS-BREASTED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca rufipectoralis obfuscata) – A canopy chat-tyrant that we called in at Cajanuma. The one with the bold white brow and orange chest patch.
BROWN-BACKED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca fumicolor brunneifrons) – The high elevation chat-tyrant here in Ecuador; we had fine views of them at Acacana.
OCHRACEOUS ATTILA (Attila torridus) – I have always found this attila species to be quite enigmatic as it seems to occur in spotty, localized patches in the west, ranging from humid lowland forest, to transitional foothill habitats. Buenaventura seems to be one of the best places to find it, and we proved this when we called one in for some exceptional scope studies.
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer nigriceps) – Heard a few times, but we finally got a visual on our last day at Yungilla.
SOOTY-CROWNED FLYCATCHER (PHAEOCEPHALUS) (Myiarchus phaeocephalus phaeocephalus) – We saw this Tumbesian race on our first day at Cerro Blanco.
PALE-EDGED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cephalotes) – We saw this subtropical, east slope species in the hills below Tapichalaca.
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus sulphuratus) – An iconic neotropical species.
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (TUMBES) (Megarynchus pitangua chrysogaster) – The larger cousin of the previous species; seen well at Buenaventura.
RUSTY-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes cayanensis hellmayri) – A few at Buenaventura.
SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (TUMBES) (Myiozetetes similis grandis) – More common in the drier areas of the west.
GOLDEN-CROWNED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes chrysocephalus minor) [*]
BAIRD'S FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes bairdii) – The Tumbesian-endemic Myiodynastes, and quite a good looking bird when seen well. We had our first looks at them on our first day 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, where they are fairly common in the deciduous forests.
PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius)
SNOWY-THROATED KINGBIRD (Tyrannus niveigularis) – A flycatcher that is most common out in the scrub forests of the west, such as out on the Santa elena Peninsula. Although superficially similar to the Tropical Kingbird, this species is more cleanly marked.
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus melancholicus)
Cotingidae (Cotingas)
GREEN-AND-BLACK FRUITEATER (GREEN-AND-BLACK) (Pipreola riefferii occidentalis) – Fabulous looks at a male right around the lodge at Tapichalaca.
BARRED FRUITEATER (Pipreola arcuata arcuata) – Excellent views of a male along the trails at Cajanuma just before the rain set in. But I do have to say that the rain did serve to prod us down quicker for that awesome barbecue lunch!
RED-CRESTED COTINGA (Ampelion rubrocristatus) – Scope views at a couple of birds in the highland temperate forest above Loja city as they perched atop tall trees.
LONG-WATTLED UMBRELLABIRD (Cephalopterus penduliger) – Another one of the mega targets for this trip. Buenaventura has one of the most accessible leks of this incredible cotingid only a short downhill hike into some beautiful, moist forest, not too far from the lodge. What really blew us away though, before even gathering at the dining room to head out for the bird, was when one of the reserve guards came trotting up, saying that there was an Umbrellabird perched right over the the bus in the parking lot! We ran over, and there it was, perched right up in the open for killer scope studies, and it was indeed a male. After this there was the temptation to ditch the trip to the lek, but I think we were all glad we didn't, because we topped our views, seeing a calling male at very close range... wow! That wattle was just unreal.
Pipridae (Manakins)
WHITE-BEARDED MANAKIN (Manacus manacus) – One female near the umbrellabird lek as it fed briefly at a fruiting roadside tree.
CLUB-WINGED MANAKIN (Machaeropterus deliciosus) – A gorgeous little manakin that produces a mechanical sound with its wings during a comical little display. I believe I mentioned this on the trip, but this is apparently the fastest sound, made through stridulating, of any animal.

Our tree full of Red-masked Parakeets. Photo by participant Kathy Brown.

Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
BARRED BECARD (Pachyramphus versicolor versicolor) – A small becard of subtropical and temperate forests; we had scope views of a male right from the main lodge house at Tapichalaca.
SLATY BECARD (Pachyramphus spodiurus) – A small and rare becard of the west. Leo, at Jorupe, had a nest staked out for us nearby, and he led us right up to it, with the pair in attendance.
BLACK-AND-WHITE BECARD (Pachyramphus albogriseus guayaquilensis) – Good looks at a female near the lodge at Jorupe.
ONE-COLORED BECARD (Pachyramphus homochrous homochrous) – A chunky becard that has a very similar plumage to the Slaty Becard, but their proportions and vocalizations are very different. We had numerous birds at Jorupe.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
RUFOUS-BROWED PEPPERSHRIKE (YELLOW-BACKED) (Cyclarhis gujanensis virenticeps) – A distinctive voice of the SW, and we had them for some good looks a couple of times.
LESSER GREENLET (GRAY-HEADED) (Pachysylvia decurtata minor) – A common little flock bird at Buenaventura where pairs forage through the canopy.
BROWN-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo leucophrys josephae) – A common vireo of the highlands where they are almost always found with mixed flocks.
RED-EYED VIREO (RESIDENT CHIVI) (Vireo olivaceus griseobarbatus) – Abundant in the deciduous forests of the SW lowlands.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
TURQUOISE JAY (Cyanolyca turcosa) – Jays are simply a great looking bunch of birds in general, and the species on this trip are no exception. We had this intensely colored species at Cajanuma for fine studies.
GREEN JAY (INCA) (Cyanocorax yncas yncas) – This South American form is sometimes split out as the Inca Jay. This one was seen well in the eastern foothills below Tapichalaca.
WHITE-TAILED JAY (Cyanocorax mystacalis) – A Tumbesian endemic of the lowland deciduous forests, and we had some excellent looks at a family group on our first day at Cerro Blanco. This one is usually a regular at the feeders at Jorupe, but this trip nothing was hitting them for some reason. Maybe the really wet conditions had something to do with an over proliferation of food in the forest.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (CYANOLEUCA) (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca cyanoleuca) – The common swallow of the trip in many habitat types.
PALE-FOOTED SWALLOW (Orochelidon flavipes) – Pretty good looks at this temperate forest based swallow; rarely are they seen far from good quality forest.
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis uropygialis) – Fairly common in humid foothill forest edges.
GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea chalybea) – Especially common in drier areas in the SW.
CHESTNUT-COLLARED SWALLOW (Petrochelidon rufocollaris aequatorialis) – We had our best looks at the main cathedral of Malacatos where they nest by the hundreds. This gave us the opportunity to scope them for really clean views.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
HOUSE WREN (SOUTHERN) (Troglodytes aedon albicans) – Common in a variety of habitats.
MOUNTAIN WREN (Troglodytes solstitialis solstitialis) – A common wren of highland forests.
SEDGE WREN (PARAMO) (Cistothorus platensis aequatorialis) [*]
FASCIATED WREN (Campylorhynchus fasciatus pallescens) – A large, boldly patterned wren of dry and deciduous forests, and even into urban areas.

A couple of male White-necked Jacobins find a sugary treat in participant Kathy Brown's hand.

PLAIN-TAILED WREN (Pheugopedius euophrys) – A large understory wren of Chusquea bamboo stands that we had good views of at Tapichalaca.
SPECKLE-BREASTED WREN (SPECKLE-BREASTED) (Pheugopedius sclateri paucimaculatus) – A cooperative pair performed well for us on our first day at Cerro Blanco as they crept about in the tangles.
BAY WREN (SOUTH AMERICAN) (Cantorchilus nigricapillus nigricapillus) – Seen pretty well at Buenaventura as it sneaked about in the undergrowth.
SUPERCILIATED WREN (Cantorchilus superciliaris) – A bright rufous wren species of scrubby forests in the SW of Ecuador. This one can be a real bear to see well at times, but we found a cooperative pair at Manglares-Churute for excellent studies.
RUFOUS WREN (Cinnycerthia unirufa unibrunnea) – We had our best views of this all rufous wren right behind the cabins at Tapichalaca when we lured them in out of the bamboo.
GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (HILARIS) (Henicorhina leucophrys hilaris) – A really cooperative pair at Buenaventura.
SONG WREN (Cyphorhinus phaeocephalus phaeocephalus) – Most got onto this furtive species at Buenaventura for nice views between it darting back and forth between trees.
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
TROPICAL GNATCATCHER (WHITE-BROWED) (Polioptila plumbea bilineata) – Often the first bird on the scene after playing pygmy-owl song!
Cinclidae (Dippers)
WHITE-CAPPED DIPPER (Cinclus leucocephalus) – Michael got onto one briefly at Cajanuma before it slipped away upslope from us along a roadside stream.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
ANDEAN SOLITAIRE (Myadestes ralloides) – An often heard species, but tricky to spot. We had one for scope views at Buenaventura though, for killer looks.
SLATY-BACKED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (SLATY-BACKED) (Catharus fuscater fuscater) – Glimpsed at Yungilla as it flitted through the understory.
SWAINSON'S THRUSH (OLIVE-BACKED) (Catharus ustulatus swainsoni) – Michael and I were the only ones to get onto this boreal migrant. [b]
PALE-EYED THRUSH (Turdus leucops) [*]
PLUMBEOUS-BACKED THRUSH (Turdus reevei) – The common - and very noisy - thrush of the deciduous forests in the W, such as around Jorupe, where they are almost always sounding off somewhere.
ECUADORIAN THRUSH (Turdus maculirostris) – Common in the lowlands of the west.
MARA–ON THRUSH (Turdus maranonicus) – We hit a nice patch of them on the edges of town at Valladolid, probably this species' extreme northernmost locality.
SLATY THRUSH (Turdus nigriceps) – Pretty common in the highland Acacia forests of southern Ecuador. This one has quite an ethereal song that often aids in locating it. We had some nice scope views of them during a lunch stop on our way to Jorupe.
GREAT THRUSH (Turdus fuscater gigantodes) – The common and large thrush species of the humid highlands.
CHIGUANCO THRUSH (CHIGUANCO) (Turdus chiguanco conradi) – Replaces the previous species in drier habitats of the highlands.

The subtle but lovely Silvery Tanager, photographed by participant Kathy Brown.

GLOSSY-BLACK THRUSH (Turdus serranus fuscobrunneus) – Michael spotted this handsome thrush for us as it sat up and sang during a quick birding stop on our way south to Jorupe.
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
LONG-TAILED MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus longicaudatus) – A very common species in the dry habitats from the coastal lowlands, all the way up to the highlands.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
MASKED YELLOWTHROAT (BLACK-LORED) (Geothlypis aequinoctialis auricularis) – Up close and personal in the roadside shrubbery at Zapotillo where they were particularly vocal.
OLIVE-CROWNED YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis semiflava semiflava) – A yellowthroat of the humid west, and we had some nice views of them at Buenaventura.
TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi pacifica) – A common bird at tropical altitudes throughout.
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER (Setophaga fusca) – Seen at Tapichalaca, and getting ready to head back north! [b]
THREE-STRIPED WARBLER (Basileuterus tristriatus) – Michael and I had one during some roadside birding in the hills below Tapichalaca.
THREE-BANDED WARBLER (Basileuterus trifasciatus nitidior) – A Tumbesian-based warbler of middle elevation forests; we had our first good looks at an active group at Buenaventura.
CITRINE WARBLER (Myiothlypis luteoviridis luteoviridis) – Excellent looks at this flock following warbler as it sang out in the open a few times at Cajanuma. This one can be a hard one to find without a flock.
BLACK-CRESTED WARBLER (Myiothlypis nigrocristata) – A common warbler of secondary growth, such as along roadsides.
BUFF-RUMPED WARBLER (Myiothlypis fulvicauda) – Seen along the jeep track at Buenaventura above the lodge.
GRAY-AND-GOLD WARBLER (Myiothlypis fraseri ochraceicrista) – The northern form with the orange crown stripe that we had in the transitional forests at Manglares-Churute.
GRAY-AND-GOLD WARBLER (Myiothlypis fraseri fraseri) – The nominate race with the yellow crown stripe that we saw in the understory at Jorupe.
RUSSET-CROWNED WARBLER (Myiothlypis coronata castaneiceps) – Common and vocal in the temperate forests at Cajanuma and Tapichalaca. Its dueted song is quite a concert!
SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus) – The common redstart at middle elevations.
SPECTACLED REDSTART (Myioborus melanocephalus) – Replaces the previous species at higher elevations, such as around Tapichalaca.
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
BLACK-AND-WHITE TANAGER (Conothraupis speculigera) – Another one of the special targets for this tour that we had to put in a little more effort to hunt down, but mission accomplished out at Zapotillo where it was hanging out with the Gray-capped Cuckoos. We managed to spot the first one that we heard, and scoped it, but the angle was so tight that we could really only see the head. Some minutes later we got another for the real lifer look. This species has a strange migratory pattern, heading east out to Amazon river islands during the non-breeding season.
WHITE-CAPPED TANAGER (Sericossypha albocristata) – Heard them at Tapichalaca, but couldn't get a rise out of them.
SUPERCILIARIED HEMISPINGUS (SUPERCILIARIED) (Hemispingus superciliaris maculifrons) – A canopy hemispingus that travels about in family groups with mixed flocks. We had them a couple of times for quality studies in the humid, highland temperate forests.
BLACK-HEADED HEMISPINGUS (Hemispingus verticalis) – And what do you know... this one is a canopy hemispingus as well, that forages in the canopy with mixed flocks. It is also a bird of the temperate zone, and can occur in the same flocks as the previous species, but usually found feeding right on the top of the highest leaves out in the open, where they hitch about... a beautiful and cleanly marked species.
GRAY-HOODED BUSH TANAGER (RUBRIROSTRIS) (Cnemoscopus rubrirostris rubrirostris) – A handsomely patterned tanager of temperate forest flocks that has the peculiar habit of constantly pumping its tail as it forages about. We had a sizable family group of them at pretty close range, with a very diverse flock at Cajanuma.
RUFOUS-CHESTED TANAGER (Thlypopsis ornata media) – Numerous at Yungilla where we scored plenty of fine studies. Seems to be more a bird of transitional habitats.
WHITE-SHOULDERED TANAGER (Tachyphonus luctuosus panamensis) – Fairly common around Buenaventura.
WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus) – Males and females in the foothills around Valladolid; the female is totally rufous, hence the scientific name.

Hooded Mountain-Tanager, photographed by participant Kathy Brown.

FLAME-RUMPED TANAGER (LEMON-RUMPED) (Ramphocelus flammigerus icteronotus) – Abundant in secondary, humid woodlands on the west slope. It is common, but that male is just to behold!
SILVER-BEAKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus carbo carbo) – Sort of replaces the previous species in secondary Amazonian habitats; we had them in the hills around Valladolid.
HOODED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Buthraupis montana cucullata) – Cajanuma, where we had this large mountain-tanager a few times right over the road. The one with the red eye!
BLACK-CHESTED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Cnemathraupis eximia cyanocalyptra) – Wish this one had stuck around for a few more seconds, but at least some folks got onto it before it disappeared downslope at Acacana.
GRASS-GREEN TANAGER (Chlorornis riefferii riefferii) – An Andean classic... what a tanager! We ran into this subtropical species at Cajanuma for memorable studies as we birded up the entrance road.
LACRIMOSE MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (PALPEBROSUS GROUP) (Anisognathus lacrymosus caerulescens) – Seen well at Cajanuma and Tapichalaca with the mixed flocks. It took us a few tries to get everybody on it, but we managed to do so in the end... nice! This one is named for its yellow teardrop spot next to the eye.
SCARLET-BELLIED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Anisognathus igniventris erythrotus) – What a blast of color this species is, and we had them for nice looks in the high temperate forests at Acacana.
BLUE-WINGED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Anisognathus somptuosus) – The common mountain-tanager of the humid, subtropical zones, and we had a few come in to feed at a fruiting tree for us on the slopes below Tapichalaca. This east slope race has the greener tinge to the mantle.
GOLDEN-CROWNED TANAGER (Iridosornis rufivertex rufivertex) – This was a wanted bird for some, and we successfully hunted down a pair at Tapichalaca during some afternoon birding for killer views, even getting them to pop up on a snag; this is an understory tanager, so can be hard to pry out as they tend to fed low and under cover.
FAWN-BREASTED TANAGER (Pipraeidea melanonota venezuelensis) – We scoped a singing bird at Buenaventura.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (BLUE-GRAY) (Thraupis episcopus quaesita) – The duller west slope race which is abundant in many habitat types.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (WHITE-EDGED) (Thraupis episcopus coelestis) – This east slope form is also very common, but is a brighter blue, and with a white shoulder patch.
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum) – Daily at Buenaventura.
SILVERY TANAGER (Tangara viridicollis fulvigula) – Previously known as Silver-backed Tanager. We connected with this flashy tanager for the first time in the roadside forests near Celica as we made our way to Loja city.
BLUE-NECKED TANAGER (Tangara cyanicollis) – Some got onto this all blue-headed tanager at Buenaventura before it slipped away.
RUFOUS-THROATED TANAGER (Tangara rufigula) – A west slope foothill species, and Choco based endemic; it reaches its southernmost limits in El Oro province just south of Buenaventura. We stumbled across a small group of this well marked tanager at the beginning of our long hike down the old cobblestone road.
BLUE-AND-BLACK TANAGER (Tangara vassorii vassorii) – The high elevation Tangara species that we had with the flocks at Tapichalaca.
BERYL-SPANGLED TANAGER (Tangara nigroviridis) – Seen well on both slopes.
METALLIC-GREEN TANAGER (Tangara labradorides chaupensis) – Not uncommon on the slopes down below Tapichalaca, and we had good looks at a pair as they visited a fruiting tree.
BLUE-BROWED TANAGER (Tangara cyanotis) – The fog rolled in at just the wrong time and made getting any real details of this eastern foothill species essentially impossible, but we gave it our best shot, and had them zipping around in the trees above us.

Brown Violetear, another of the numerous hummers along the way. Photo by participant Kathy Brown.

BAY-HEADED TANAGER (BAY-AND-BLUE) (Tangara gyrola nupera) – Regular with the mixed canopy flocks at Buenaventura.
SAFFRON-CROWNED TANAGER (Tangara xanthocephala) – Should be called the "Saffron-helmeted Tanager"! This was another flashy tanager that popped in to feed at that fruiting tree that we found on the slopes below Tapichalaca.
FLAME-FACED TANAGER (Tangara parzudakii) – We saw both races. First we had the west slope form at Buenaventura, which is greener overall, and has more of a flaming orange color to the head. On the slopes below Tapichalaca we had the east slope form, which is more opalescent and has more distinct yellow and red on the head.
GOLDEN TANAGER (Tangara arthus) – We had them on both slopes; in the west they are yellower, while in the east they have more of an orange cast.
SILVER-THROATED TANAGER (Tangara icterocephala icterocephala) – Seen a few times at Buenaventura.
SWALLOW TANAGER (Tersina viridis) – We ran into a group of this strange tanager at Buenaventura; this one has, in the past, been placed in its own family.
BLACK-FACED DACNIS (Dacnis lineata) – The west slope form that we saw at Buenaventura - with the more intense turquoise coloration, and yellow flank tufts - is sometimes split out from the birds of Amazonia.
PURPLE HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes caeruleus chocoanus) – I think I might have been the only one to get this one... anybody else?
GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza exsul) – Always a sizzling sight! This one was a regular at the hummingbird feeders at Buenaventura.
GUIRA TANAGER (Hemithraupis guira) – Nice looks at a pair with some flock activity at Buenaventura.
BLUE-BACKED CONEBILL (Conirostrum sitticolor sitticolor) – Common with the highland flocks around Tapichalaca.
GLOSSY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa lafresnayii) – We managed to catch up with this species late in the game at the continental divide near Tapichalaca for some nice studies.
WHITE-SIDED FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa albilatera schistacea) – A few as they fed about in the flower patches at Tapichalaca.
BLUISH FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa caerulescens) – Good looks at this subtropical species at Cajanuma.
MASKED FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa cyanea dispar) – The common highland flowerpiercer that we had many fine studies of around Tapichalaca as they visited the feeders.
ASH-BREASTED SIERRA-FINCH (Phrygilus plebejus ocularis) – A dry habitat species that we found in the Catamayo Valley, near Loja city.
SAFFRON FINCH (SAFFRON) (Sicalis flaveola valida) – The abundant yellow-finch of drier and disturbed areas along the coast, as well as up into the highlands.
BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina peruviensis) – Common in grassy areas, especially in the west where we saw them performing their comical jumping displays.
PARROT-BILLED SEEDEATER (Sporophila peruviana devronis) – This one lives up to its name, with that honker bill! A bird of mostly desert influenced habitats, we had this one on our first day out in the scrub of the Santa Elena Peninsula.
CHESTNUT-THROATED SEEDEATER (Sporophila telasco) – Common in grassy, dry habitats on the west slope in both the lowlands and highlands.
DRAB SEEDEATER (Sporophila simplex) – Well, at least this one redeems itself (name-wise) a bit in that it does sport a couple of well defined wing bars! We made a stop in the Catamayo Valley near Loja city, in the central valley scrub, with the goal of finding this seedeater, that seems to specialize in these habitats and enjoyed some nice scope views.

We saw several elegant small flycatchers on the tour, including this Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant with the white "headlights." Photo by participant Kathy Brown.

THICK-BILLED SEED-FINCH (Sporophila funerea) – We had a singing male at Buenaventura.
VARIABLE SEEDEATER (VARIABLE) (Sporophila corvina ophthalmica) – A common seedeater in the west in grassy areas and at forests edges.
BLACK-AND-WHITE SEEDEATER (Sporophila luctuosa) – We hit a patch of this migratory seedeater at Buenaventura, where they can often be found in the grassy areas right where the parakeets nest. In flight this one is easily identified by its long white speculum that extends as a bar across the wing.
YELLOW-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila nigricollis) – A wide ranging species that we saw a few times; the belly here usually appears more whitish than yellow.
CRIMSON-BREASTED FINCH (Rhodospingus cruentus) – Out in the drier scrub forests of the Santa Elena Peninsula we enjoyed some scope views of those colorful males as they sang up on some prominent perches.
BANANAQUIT (CARIBBEAN) (Coereba flaveola intermedia) – If you are into listing, keep track of where you have seen these guys, because a massive split could take place that just shatters this species. We had this one daily at the feeders at Buenaventura.
BUFF-THROATED SALTATOR (Saltator maximus maximus) – A few of this wide-ranging species at Buenaventura.
BLACK-WINGED SALTATOR (Saltator atripennis) – Particularly skittish this trip at Buenaventura; they just didn't seem to want to stay in view! I think only Daphne, Kathy, and I got on them when one perched up briefly through the scope.
GRAYISH SALTATOR (GRAYISH) (Saltator coerulescens azarae) – A few in the foothills around Valladolid.
STREAKED SALTATOR (Saltator striatipectus flavidicollis) – This unstreaked race of the west was most common around Jorupe.
STREAKED SALTATOR (Saltator striatipectus peruvianus) – We did have the opportunity to see one of the streaked races of this species in the foothills around Valladolid.
BLACK-COWLED SALTATOR (Saltator nigriceps) – We really worked hard for this beautiful highland, Tumbesian endemic, pretty much striking out on all attempts in the prime areas we could get to; we had one around Sozoranga that played us, only to sneak away without much of a visual. At literally the last possible place that I had up my sleeve, above the city of Loja, we fished out a pair that performed wonderfully, and rescued what would have been a soar miss... nice!
SLATE-COLORED GROSBEAK (Saltator grossus) – Scope views of an immature bird at Buenaventura that performed much better than its adult parents!
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
YELLOW-THROATED CHLOROSPINGUS (YELLOW-THROATED) (Chlorospingus flavigularis marginatus) – All of the birds of this genus were traditionally known as "bush-tanagers", but as taxonomy would have it, they got transferred out into the new world sparrows, so a new collective name was needed as they are now no longer allied with "tanagers". So, what better choice than the genus name, "chlorospingus"? I like it, but am still getting used to it! We saw this obtrusive species well at Buenaventura as it fed noisily with the mixed flocks.
ASHY-THROATED CHLOROSPINGUS (ASHY-THROATED) (Chlorospingus canigularis paulus) – A canopy species that follows mixed flocks in the foothills, and we had some fine looks at them at Buenaventura.
COMMON CHLOROSPINGUS (NORTHERN ANDES) (Chlorospingus flavopectus phaeocephalus) – Look for some splits in the future with this very diverse species... the variation throughout its range is overwhelming. We had the isolated form of SW Ecuador at Buenaventura for nice looks.
TUMBES SPARROW (Rhynchospiza stolzmanni) – Scope views of this scrub forest, Tumbesian-based endemic at Zapotillo.
BLACK-STRIPED SPARROW (Arremonops conirostris striaticeps) – We were close to calling this one out of its grassy haunts, but it wanted no part of us. [*]
GRAY-BROWED BRUSHFINCH (Arremon assimilis nigrifrons) – A two-way split left this as the representative species in the northern Andes; the White-browed occurs further south. We called this understory species up out of its dark layers a couple of times for good looks.
ORANGE-BILLED SPARROW (Arremon aurantiirostris santarosae) – We pulled one up out of the undergrowth at Buenaventura. I must say that this is a very striking sparrow.
BLACK-CAPPED SPARROW (Arremon abeillei abeillei) – This one got evolutionarily cheated out of the orange bill, otherwise it would have been able to compete with the previous species for beauty, because it is quite sharp! We had our best looks at this understory species on our travel day to Buenaventura in the deciduous forests at Manglares-Churute.
RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis) – Ranging from Mexico to Argentina, this has to be one of the most successful bird species in the neotropics.
WHITE-HEADED BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes albiceps) – A specialty of the deciduous forests of Tumbezia, and a very handsome brush-finch species that we worked hard for since it can only reliably be found in a few spots. We had to battle the sun a bit, but finally found a responsive bird that launched up into an Acacia tree right over our heads... score!
TRICOLORED BRUSHFINCH (CHOCO) (Atlapetes tricolor crassus) – Most folks got onto this one at Buenaventura before it slipped away during our hike down the old cobblestone road. Some authorities split this Choco form out as a distinct species from the birds of SE Peru.
PALE-NAPED BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes pallidinucha papallactae) – Point blank views at Tapichalaca.
YELLOW-BREASTED BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes latinuchus) – We saw the form of the SE - with the white wing speculum - at Cajanuma and Tapichalaca.
WHITE-WINGED BRUSHFINCH (WHITE-WINGED) (Atlapetes leucopterus dresseri) – A quick flyby near Sozoranga.
PALE-HEADED BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes pallidiceps) – The almost miraculous re-discovery of this lost species (by Neils Krabbe) rocked the birding and scientific world some years back, and put this one back on the map. This find paved the way for yet another Jocotoco reserve now known as Yungilla. It took some searching, but we persevered, and found this extremely localized species for some fine scope views in the only place known for it in the world.
BAY-CROWNED BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes seebohmi simonsi) [*]
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
HEPATIC TANAGER (HIGHLAND) (Piranga flava lutea) – Fairly common in the Jorupe area.
WHITE-WINGED TANAGER (Piranga leucoptera ardens) – Good looks at a female as she foraged, and sang, from a high perch at Buenaventura.
RED-HOODED TANAGER (Piranga rubriceps) – Cajanuma is one of the best spots in the country to find this electrifying tanager species, and we made it happen when we found a family group as they foraged about in the canopy for scope studies.
OCHRE-BREASTED TANAGER (Chlorothraupis stolzmanni) – Great looks at this big-mouthed species as it foraged loudly with a flock at Buenaventura.
GOLDEN GROSBEAK (Pheucticus chrysogaster chrysogaster) – And "golden" it is! We had this brilliant bird numerous times over the course of our trip. Also has been known as Southern Yellow and Golden-bellied Grosbeak.
BLUE SEEDEATER (Amaurospiza concolor) [*]
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
PERUVIAN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella bellicosa bellicosa) – A smart, red-breasted meadowlark of the dry habitats of western Ecuador.
SCRUB BLACKBIRD (Dives warczewiczi warczewiczi) – Found throughout the dry lowlands and highlands of the west; its loud songs would make for a fine alarm-clock!
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus) – Common out along the coast.
SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis) – Always out there in the west, parasitizing passerine nests!
GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus oryzivorus) – Seen flying over in the central valley.
WHITE-EDGED ORIOLE (Icterus graceannae) – A Tumbesian-endemic oriole that we saw well in the Jorupe area.
YELLOW-TAILED ORIOLE (Icterus mesomelas taczanowskii) – Common in the western lowlands.
YELLOW-BILLED CACIQUE (Amblycercus holosericeus) [*]
YELLOW-RUMPED CACIQUE (WESTERN) (Cacicus cela flavicrissus) – The west slope race that carries with it a very distinctive vocal repertoire, and that might even warrant a split one day from the Amazonian birds!
MOUNTAIN CACIQUE (GOLDEN-SHOULDERED) (Cacicus chrysonotus leucoramphus) – Seen well at Cajanuma as they fed about in the treetops down below us, flaunting those yellow rumps and shoulder patches.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
THICK-BILLED EUPHONIA (THICK-BILLED) (Euphonia laniirostris hypoxantha) – The common euphonia of the west.
ORANGE-BELLIED EUPHONIA (Euphonia xanthogaster) – We had them for good looks at Buenaventura a few times.
SAFFRON SISKIN (Spinus siemiradzkii) – A few folks had quick looks at this range-restricted species in the Sozoranga area.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

MANTLED HOWLER MONKEY (Alouatta palliata) [*]
RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis) – Seen by a few as they romped about at Buenaventura.
GUAYAQUIL SQUIRREL (Sciurus stramineus) – An ornate squirrel of the west that we saw well at close range.
CENTRAL AMERICAN AGOUTI (Dasyprocta punctata) – Seen by some around the gardens at Buenaventura.
WHITE-NOSED COATI (Nasua narica) – We counted five as they crossed the trail at Buenaventura.
LONG-TAILED WEASEL (Mustela frenata) – Seen by some as they ran across the road for fleeting views.


Totals for the tour: 433 bird taxa and 6 mammal taxa