FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS: Holiday at San Isidro, Ecuador 2017
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Field Guides Tour Report
Holiday at San Isidro, Ecuador 2017
Nov 18, 2017 to Nov 27, 2017
Mitch Lysinger


Chestnut-breasted Coronet is very common at the feeders of both San Isidro and Guango. We saw them defending their turf and shoving the other hummers out of the way. Participant Lisa Spellman got this lovely portrait of one taking a rest.

The east slope birding, based out of Cabanas San Isidro, is quite simply a hard act to follow: the birds and fascinating habitats are always abundant, and the lodging and food excellent, this all only a relatively short distance from Quito... the perfect weeklong getaway for those looking to see a high diversity and mixture of colorful and rare species without having to drive long distances and change lodging every couple of nights. From the high treeless paramos, through the temperate and subtropical forests of the slopes, and down on into the rolling foothills, we scoured it all, and netted a healthy haul of some spectacular Andean birds that blew us away around every turn. I had a wonderful time sharing all of this with each and every one of you... so thanks for the fun and camaraderie!

The shortlist of bird highlights is always a matter of personal opinion, but here a some that I thought really sent our trip over the top: those male Torrent Ducks along the Cosanga River; both Andean and Wattled Guans for nice views; Andean Condor soaring above us on our first day to set the mood for the trip; that pair of Rufous-bellied Seedsnipes creeping about up in the paramo; spotlight views of Rufous-banded Owl at San Isidro; the mystery, "San Isidro" Owl right around the gardens at close range... wow, what a beauty; Rufous-bellied Nighthawk swirling around us at dusk in the Guacamayos; a long list of shimmering hummers of all shapes and forms, but how can you beat that Sword-billed (?!); crippling males of both Golden-headed and Crested Quetzals; a scoped Andean Motmot; that male Red-headed Barbet foraging with a flock; a Black-billed Mountain-Toucan that surprised us in the Guacamayos; some awesome woodpeckers, including Yellow-vented, Crimson-mantled, and Powerful; Rufous-rumped Antwren flashing that bright rump; a pair of Lined Antshrikes for scope studies; White-bellied Antpitta at our feet, gobbling up worms; an excellent run of four seen tapaculo species; the seldom seen Greater Scythebill foraging at close range; a long list of flycatchers, but I think the Red-rumped Bush-Tyrants up in the paramo was tops for beauty and rarity; those gorgeous Green-and-black Fruiteaters; plenty of wren species, with the likes of Thrush-Like up and duetting; White-capped Dippers frolicking about along the streams and rivers; and some fabulous and colorful tanagers practically dripping from the trees, with names like Paradise, Golden-eared, Blue-browed, Flame-faced, and Saffron-crowned, but that Masked Mountain-Tanager stole the show up in the paramo when we stumbled upon a close family group for scope views!

It wasn't always just about the birds though! The Andes can be a tough place for mammal watching, but we had some miraculous luck: a Mountain Tapir (in our faces!) at Guango, and a Mountain Coati feeding about right in front of us in the Guacamayos; I'd have to say that these two sightings certainly helped add some fun, spice, and texture to the overall experience!

So flip some pages, and relive some memories, and I hope to see all of you soon at another far-flung location!

--Mitch


KEYS FOR THIS LIST
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


BIRDS
Tinamidae (Tinamous)
LITTLE TINAMOU (Crypturellus soui nigriceps) – Heard distantly out in the eastern foothills along the Loreto rd. [*]
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
TORRENT DUCK (Merganetta armata colombiana) – Sue spotted them for us along the Cosanga River in the form of two males; one looked to be a young bird, and got away rather quickly, but the adult basked out in the sun on a rock on the edge of the river for fine scope studies!
YELLOW-BILLED PINTAIL (SOUTH AMERICAN) (Anas georgica spinicauda) – Scoped views as they fed and lounged about up on Papallacta Lake; that yellow bill certainly stands out.
ANDEAN TEAL (ANDEAN) (Anas andium andium) – A drab duck of the Andes that we had our first scope views of on a high paramo lake near the seedsnipe spot.
RUDDY DUCK (ANDEAN) (Oxyura jamaicensis ferruginea) – Often considered a species distinct from the northern migrants that don't even make it down this far south, and have white cheeks (males). Our short hike up to Lake Sucus in the high paramo produced distant, but still fairly decent scope views of this species, blue bill and all!
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
ANDEAN GUAN (Penelope montagnii brooki) – Russ sneaked up on a group of this subtropical species along the Guacamayos trail and alerted us to their presence. They were a bit skittish, but we kept with them and tracked them down for scope studies.
WATTLED GUAN (Aburria aburri) – A large black guan with a blue face and long yellow wattle. We scoped one right from the dining room porch as it called from a high perch at the forest edge. At first it stayed semi-concealed, but them obligingly changed spots for much better views... nice!
SICKLE-WINGED GUAN (Chamaepetes goudotii tschudii) – Point-blank views of a bird right overhead near the cabins.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
SILVERY GREBE (ANDEAN) (Podiceps occipitalis juninensis) – It took some scanning, but we managed to locate a few for distant scope views up on Lake Sucus. This species has declined in Ecuador, but still has a few strongholds in the paramo highlands.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) – A few on Papallacta Lake.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT EGRET (AMERICAN) (Ardea alba egretta) – A couple of them in the central valley on the first day.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus) – Common in the central valley, and also out into the foothills.
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura) – We saw them around San Isidro and down into the lowlands.
ANDEAN CONDOR (Vultur gryphus) – Well, we had no trouble locating this huge vulture species on our first day when we spotted an adult female soaring along a high ridge just as we started our climb up to the paramo. This is always a prime target bird, so it was really thrill to see it so well early on.


Eared Dove is quite common in the highlands. Photo by participant Lisa Spellman.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
ROADSIDE HAWK (MAINLAND) (Rupornis magnirostris magnirostris) – The common hawk of more tropical zones that flashes those rufous wing panels in flight.
WHITE-RUMPED HAWK (Parabuteo leucorrhous) – We all heard it calling, but Bruce managed a look before it got away.
VARIABLE HAWK (Geranoaetus polyosoma) – Fabulous views of this large hawk up in the paramo, including scope views of one perched! Note that this one has been transferred into the same genus as the following species.
BLACK-CHESTED BUZZARD-EAGLE (Geranoaetus melanoleucus australis) – Distant views of one in flight on our first morning, but we could still see that all dark chest.
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (NORTHERN) (Buteo platypterus platypterus) – On its wintering grounds around San Isidro, where it is fairly common. [b]
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
SLATE-COLORED COOT (Fulica ardesiaca) – Scoped up on Sucus and Papallacta Lakes.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis) – A short drive up the road from San Isidro, we had looks at a resident population that colonized the zone about a decade ago.
Thinocoridae (Seedsnipes)
RUFOUS-BELLIED SEEDSNIPE (Attagis gayi latreillii) – Seedsnipes are a peculiar family - looking more like ptarmigans, but actually being related to shorebirds - that can be found all the way down to Tierra del Fuego, almost always in grassy, or alpine-like shrubbery. Here in Ecuador we have one species, which happens to be largest of the four species... sort of football-sized. This trip, we had one of the easiest times I've ever had finding this cryptic species up in the paramo, as it blends in so well with the backdrop on most occasions. Shortly after unloading from the bus, our faithful driver, Edgar, spotted them only a short distance away, and the scope views were amazing!
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) – Seen on our first day at Papallacta Lake. [b]
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca) – Papallacta Lake. [b]
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
ANDEAN GULL (Chroicocephalus serranus) – The gull that we saw at high elevations a couple of times, such as out on Papallacta Lake.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
SCALED PIGEON (Patagioenas speciosa) – We caught one as it flew off along the Loreto rd.
BAND-TAILED PIGEON (WHITE-NECKED) (Patagioenas fasciata albilinea) – A few of this wide-ranging pigeon species in the highlands.
PLUMBEOUS PIGEON (Patagioenas plumbea bogotensis) [*]
RUDDY PIGEON (RUDDY) (Patagioenas subvinacea ogilviegranti) [*]
WHITE-THROATED QUAIL-DOVE (Zentrygon frenata bourcieri) [*]
EARED DOVE (Zenaida auriculata hypoleuca) – Common in the highlands, even in urban areas.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani) – Numerous in the foothills.
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (AMAZONIAN) (Piaya cayana mesura) – We had one for good looks on the S slope of the Guacamayos.
Strigidae (Owls)
WHITE-THROATED SCREECH-OWL (Megascops albogularis albogularis) [*]
RUFOUS-BANDED OWL (Ciccaba albitarsis) – We set out to look for a potoo along the roadside at San Isidro, but ended up scoring some nice spotlight views of this attractive owl instead!
"BLACK-BANDED" OWL TYPE (Ciccaba sp. nov. 1) – Two Ciccaba Owl species in one trip (only within about a few hundred yards from each other) isn't half bad! Much has been said on these Black-banded type owls that are resident breeders around the lodge at San Isidro, but the jury is still out as to their final taxonomic placement; we chatted about the problems with respect to defining specific (or subspecific) affinities due to specimen availability, permits, etc. At any rate, we enjoyed knock-out studies right around the lodge a few times as they sat right in front us in the spotlight.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
RUFOUS-BELLIED NIGHTHAWK (Lurocalis rufiventris) – Quality views in the spotlight of a bird in flight in the Guacamayos. This one has a different flight style from the Chordeiles nightjars that many folks are used to from up north; remember how we spoke of it flying almost more shearwater-like?
Apodidae (Swifts)
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris) – The large swift, with the bold white collar, that we saw a few engaging in its aerial maneuvers.
GRAY-RUMPED SWIFT (ASH-RUMPED) (Chaetura cinereiventris sclateri) – Flying high overhead in the foothills. Not sure where the other swift species were in general on this tour!
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
GREEN HERMIT (Phaethornis guy apicalis) – Flybys in the foothills along the Loreto rd.
TAWNY-BELLIED HERMIT (Phaethornis syrmatophorus columbianus) – Mostly glimpsed, but Bruce had better views.
GRAY-CHINNED HERMIT (GRAY-CHINNED) (Phaethornis griseogularis griseogularis) – Zipped right by us along the Loreto rd., and a little too quick to get any more details than size.
LESSER VIOLETEAR (Colibri cyanotus) – Common at San Isidro's feeders, even if a bit jumpy at times. Green Violetear was recently split into two species leaving this as the form that occupies that vast majority of the complex's range; the other one, the Mexican Violetear, inhabits a much smaller range. Compared to the Sparkling, this one is smaller and duller green, and lacks the blue in the chin and belly.
SPARKLING VIOLETEAR (Colibri coruscans coruscans) – Larger and more brilliantly colored than the previous species. This one was common in the central valley, and at San Isidro's feeders.
TOURMALINE SUNANGEL (Heliangelus exortis) – Abundant at Guango's feeders. Remember that this was the one that always held its wings cocked out to the side when landing.
WIRE-CRESTED THORNTAIL (Discosura popelairii) – Erika and I had looks at a full-blown male at verbena flowers in the foothills.
ECUADORIAN PIEDTAIL (Phlogophilus hemileucurus) – At a random, roadside stop in the foothills along the Loreto rd., I played some sound of this secretive understory species, and "bang", one came in almost immediately and offered up some tremendous studies!
SPECKLED HUMMINGBIRD (MELANOGENYS GROUP) (Adelomyia melanogenys melanogenys) – The runt at the feeders, but this one does well, digging in wherever it can!


This lovely Long-tailed Sylph shows the source of its name really well! Photo by participant Lisa Spellman.

LONG-TAILED SYLPH (Aglaiocercus kingii mocoa) – A stunning, long-tailed hummer that we had the good fortune to enjoy on everyday of the tour is it graced the feeders.
ECUADORIAN HILLSTAR (Oreotrochilus chimborazo jamesonii) – Occurs at higher elevations than any other hummer, so has to undergo some serious torpor to survive the sub-zero nights! We were dazzled by a killer male when we clinched scope studies up in the paramos of the Coca-Cayambe National Park.
BLACK-TAILED TRAINBEARER (Lesbia victoriae victoriae) – Unbelievable looks at a male with its stupendously long trains on full display during our first morning in the central valley was a real hit!
PURPLE-BACKED THORNBILL (Ramphomicron microrhynchum microrhynchum) – A quick flyover at Guango was one the got away by a slim margin!
BLUE-MANTLED THORNBILL (Chalcostigma stanleyi stanleyi) – We had a fabulous run - for great looks, by the way - of high elevation hummers on our first day. This longish-tailed, short-billed species sat up for us in nice light up in the paramo, even flashing that purplish-green throat.
TYRIAN METALTAIL (Metallura tyrianthina) – A common hummer of the highlands; the one with the bronze-purple tail.
VIRIDIAN METALTAIL (ECUADORIAN) (Metallura williami primolina) – The treeline replacement of the previous species, and with a steely-blue tail. We enjoyed plenty of fine views of this one up in the paramos of the Coca-Cayambe N.P.
SHINING SUNBEAM (Aglaeactis cupripennis cupripennis) – An unusual coloration for a hummingbird. This one prefers mistletoe flower patches at treeline, and we had some excellent studies of them in the Coca-Cayambe reserve as they foraged and flitted about.
BRONZY INCA (Coeligena coeligena obscura) – A drab hummer of the east slope that actually does have some pizazz to it, with some glittering greens on the back! We saw them daily at San Isidro's feeders.
COLLARED INCA (COLLARED) (Coeligena torquata torquata) – One of the most well-dressed hummers around... tuxedo anybody?
BUFF-WINGED STARFRONTLET (Coeligena lutetiae) – Russ spotted the first one at Guango, but it took up until the last day - at Guango, again - to get everybody onto this large and distinctive species... those buff wing-patches are unmistakeable.
MOUNTAIN VELVETBREAST (Lafresnaya lafresnayi saul) – This high elevation species danced around us a bit, but we finally managed to tag in with nice views of a male at Guango. Its decurved bill and white tail exclude any other hummer.
SWORD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD (Ensifera ensifera) – No birder could ever tire of seeing this freakish hummer species, with that impossibly long bill! It never ceases to amaze me how surgical it is when aiming into the the tiny holes of the feeders... wow! We enjoyed some memorable moments with them as they hovered around us Guango.
GREAT SAPPHIREWING (Pterophanes cyanopterus peruvianus) – The second largest hummer of them all. We had them very well a few times in the treeline forests of the Coca-Cayambe N.P.
BUFF-TAILED CORONET (Boissonneaua flavescens flavescens) – The eastern subspecies with the larger and paler tale panels. We had this one almost daily at Guango's and San Isidro's feeders where they tend to be well outnumbered by the following species, but they are feisty nonetheless. Surprisingly I have still never really seen away from feeders here in the east; in the west they can be commonly seen along forested roadsides, etc.
CHESTNUT-BREASTED CORONET (Boissonneaua matthewsii) – Abundant at the feeders around Guango and San Isidro, and a real bully, in typical coronet fashion! Just as a behavioral note, remember how we noted that the coronets as a group almost invariably hold their wings extended over their backs upon landing?
WHITE-TAILED HILLSTAR (RUFOUS-GAPED) (Urochroa bougueri bougueri) – Point-blank studies of them at the feeders in the foothills. Apart from that striking white tail, this one has a zesty, metallic blue wash on the breast.
BLACK-THROATED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa schreibersii) – We had a quick look at one along the Loreto rd. during some roadside birding, that some folks missed, but we more than made up for this later on when had them relaxing and feeding with confidence at the feeders.
FAWN-BREASTED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa rubinoides cervinigularis) – Plentiful at San Isidro's feeders, often flashing that bright pink throat!
GIANT HUMMINGBIRD (Patagona gigas peruviana) – This largest of all hummers was one of our great trip starters, that really got our engines running... and the engines didn't cool down on this trip until we checked into our hotel on the final day! It was a real thrill to luck into this spectacular species as it came to feed at a patch of Abutilon - Hibiscus relative - in some dry central valley, garden habitat.
WHITE-BELLIED WOODSTAR (Chaetocercus mulsant) – This tiny, bee-like hummer, was a regular at Guango's feeders; we had females, and full-clad males here.
WESTERN EMERALD (Chlorostilbon melanorhynchus melanorhynchus) – Vibrant and shimmering green might best portray this little hummer of the central valley. We had males and females feeding and chasing about the native shrubbery during our first birding stop of the trip.
VIOLET-HEADED HUMMINGBIRD (Klais guimeti guimeti) – Darting about as they fed at the purple verbena flowers in the foothills... excellent!
FORK-TAILED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania furcata viridipectus) – A stunning green and purple species that dazzled us at the foothill feeders.
MANY-SPOTTED HUMMINGBIRD (Taphrospilus hypostictus) – Not a real shocker plumage-wise, but a rare and imposing species nonetheless. This foothill hummer is very hard to find under normal birding conditions, so the feeders really gave us a big hand!
GOLDEN-TAILED SAPPHIRE (Chrysuronia oenone oenone) – This one blew us away with its intense colors at the feeders in the foothills. Sunglasses anybody?
Trogonidae (Trogons)
GOLDEN-HEADED QUETZAL (Pharomachrus auriceps auriceps) – Gizela spotted the prime male of the trip for us along the trails at San Isidro, which we managed to get in the scope for awesome views! The male of this species, when compared to the Crested, has a black tail, flatter head, dark eye, and golden tinge to the green of the head.
CRESTED QUETZAL (Pharomachrus antisianus) – Shyer than the previous species in general, but we coaxed some staggering males into view a couple of times at San Isidro, red eyes a-blazing, and crests standing! Have to tip our hats to that first female that was hanging around the lodge in the mornings for some great views.
BLUE-CROWNED TROGON (Trogon curucui peruvianus) – This one surprised me in the upper foothills as I have never had it so high. Erika handed this one to us thanks to some expert spotting!
MASKED TROGON (Trogon personatus personatus) – Wonderful males and females in the gardens at San Isidro on our first morning there.


Green Jays visited us daily at San Isidro. Photo by participant Lisa Spellman.

MASKED TROGON (Trogon personatus temperatus) – The highland form of temperate elevations that some authorities have toyed with splitting. Lisa got photos of a female at Guango to prove her sighting!
Momotidae (Motmots)
ANDEAN MOTMOT (Momotus aequatorialis aequatorialis) – Our first day at San Isidro was a true gem, with some real dillies. This large motmot of the eastern highlands materialized for some killer scope studies.
Capitonidae (New World Barbets)
GILDED BARBET (Capito auratus) – We heard them in the foothills, but they were never close enough to see. [*]
RED-HEADED BARBET (Eubucco bourcierii orientalis) – Very nice views of them in the pre-montane and foothills zones with the flocks. That male is really more than the eye can take!
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
SOUTHERN EMERALD-TOUCANET (ANDEAN) (Aulacorhynchus albivitta albivitta) – The Emerald Toucanet complex has been in a state of taxonomic flux for years, with various potential splits, mostly in Central America. Whatever the outcome, we saw them in flying colors around San Isidro.
BLACK-BILLED MOUNTAIN-TOUCAN (Andigena nigrirostris spilorhynchus) – Other groups we had brushes with at San Isidro had missed this one in the Guacamayos, but we struck gold when we tripped upon a quiet bird sneaking about overhead for nice views! This genus of toucan has always seemed to me to be sort of mysterious; they always tend to be found in thick, forested valleys, where the clouds drift through as if trying to mask their presence.
CHESTNUT-EARED ARACARI (Pteroglossus castanotis castanotis) – A sizable group of this species crossed our path in the foothills; this was the one with the red belly-band.
CHANNEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos vitellinus) [*]
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
SMOKY-BROWN WOODPECKER (Picoides fumigatus fumigatus) – A drab mid-elevation woodpecker that we saw well along the trails at San Isidro.
YELLOW-VENTED WOODPECKER (Veniliornis dignus baezae) – An uncommon woodpecker of subtropical forests, but we connected with a couple of pairs along the trails at San Isidro for scope studies.
CRIMSON-MANTLED WOODPECKER (CRIMSON-MANTLED) (Colaptes rivolii brevirostris) – A superb woodpecker species of the Andes that always blows observers away! We had wonderful views of them in the gardens at San Isidro.
POWERFUL WOODPECKER (Campephilus pollens pollens) – Some had quick views at a male of the fabulous woodpecker at Guango on our second day, but it got away all too quickly. Luckily, we turned them up again along the Guacamayos trail for awesome studies when a responsive family group fell into our laps!
CRIMSON-CRESTED WOODPECKER (Campephilus melanoleucos) – Nice looks at a female in the foothills along the Loreto rd.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
COLLARED FOREST-FALCON (Micrastur semitorquatus semitorquatus) [*]
CARUNCULATED CARACARA (Phalcoboenus carunculatus) – Fly-overs on our first day as we made our way up to the paramo.
AMERICAN KESTREL (SOUTH AMERICAN) (Falco sparverius aequatorialis) – Common in the central valley.
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
BARRED PARAKEET (Bolborhynchus lineola) – We saw them blasting by, high overhead, but they really have to go down as heard only! [*]
RED-BILLED PARROT (Pionus sordidus corallinus) – After plenty of fly-bys, etc., we finally caught them perched for scope studies on our last day, of all places, at a gas station stop!
SPECKLE-FACED PARROT (Pionus tumultuosus) – Bruce spotted them for us for our only scope views of the trip along the trails at San Isidro.
BLUE-HEADED PARROT (BLUE-HEADED) (Pionus menstruus menstruus) – All over the place in the foothills along the Loreto rd., where we had some scope studies.
SCALY-NAPED PARROT (Amazona mercenarius) – Pretty good flybys along the Guacamayos trail.
CHESTNUT-FRONTED MACAW (Ara severus) – A distant pair flying by in the foothills.
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
RUFOUS-RUMPED ANTWREN (Euchrepomis callinota callinota) – Nice looks at one with a mixed canopy flock on the slopes of the Guacamayos.
LINED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus tenuepunctatus) – Up and singing in the foothills for scope views! This one looks like it is wearing a jail-bird suit!
STREAK-HEADED ANTBIRD (Drymophila striaticeps) – This is a member of the Long-tailed Antbird complex that was split four ways! The Streak-headed is the only species of the group that shoots across the Colombian border down through Ecuador, and further south through the Andes; the other three species are restricted to Colombia and/or Venezuela. Ay any rate, this one is a bamboo specialist that is quite common around San Isidro, but it took us up until almost the last day to lay eyes on them. It was worth the wait though when we nailed a pair in some roadside bamboo for very nice studies as they skulked about.
BLACK ANTBIRD (Cercomacroides serva) [*]
WHITE-BROWED ANTBIRD (Myrmoborus leucophrys leucophrys) – Most folks got onto the singing male that popped in along the Loreto rd.
Grallariidae (Antpittas)
PLAIN-BACKED ANTPITTA (Grallaria haplonota chaplinae) [*]
CHESTNUT-CROWNED ANTPITTA (Grallaria ruficapilla ruficapilla) [*]
CHESTNUT-NAPED ANTPITTA (Grallaria nuchalis nuchalis) [*]


This White-bellied Antpitta was a real star! Photo by participant Lisa Spellman.

WHITE-BELLIED ANTPITTA (Grallaria hypoleuca castanea) – We were all knocked out by the worm-fed bird at San Isidro; seeing this secretive understory species under normal birding conditions is a real bear, so what a thrill to only have to trot down below the dining room for point-blank studies!
RUFOUS ANTPITTA (RUFOUS) (Grallaria rufula rufula) [*]
TAWNY ANTPITTA (WESTERN) (Grallaria quitensis quitensis) – Seen running around on the roadside in the paramos of the Coca-Cayambe National Park. In general the easiest of the antpittas to see here in Ecuador...but still missable!
Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)
ASH-COLORED TAPACULO (Myornis senilis) – This was a fabulous trip for seen tapaculos, and for some tough ones that we usually don't get to lay eyes on many trips. We worked hard for this sneaky bamboo dweller, and this one really prefers the darker corners, as we can all attest to. A little bit of "gardening" along the roadside at San Isidro set the stage and opened up just the right holes, that allowed this guy to feel comfortable enough to flip into full view a few times... awesome!
BLACKISH TAPACULO (BLACKISH) (Scytalopus latrans latrans) – This one also prefers bamboo as its habitat of choice. We picked just the right spot along the trails at San Isidro when we coaxed one in for some amazing, unobstructed views.
LONG-TAILED TAPACULO (Scytalopus micropterus) – Slightly longer-tailed than its congeners, so not all that noticeable in the field. This one offered up some nice views along San Isidro's trails a couple of times, which is often not the case!
SPILLMANN'S TAPACULO (Scytalopus spillmanni) – Restricted the mid-elevations of the subtropics, and a very tricky bird to lure into view, but we did so, calling one in to within only a few feet along the Guacamayos trail!
PARAMO TAPACULO (Scytalopus opacus) [*]
Formicariidae (Antthrushes)
BARRED ANTTHRUSH (Chamaeza mollissima mollissima) [*]
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER (SPIRURUS GROUP) (Glyphorynchus spirurus castelnaudii) – Good looks at this tiny woodcreeper in the foothills.
STRONG-BILLED WOODCREEPER (ANDEAN/NORTHERN) (Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus promeropirhynchus) – This hefty species materialized wonderfully along the trails at San Isidro, feeding about right overhead.
OLIVE-BACKED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus triangularis triangularis) – This east slope species graced our presence a couple of times with the flocks, such as on our first morning around San Isidro.
GREATER SCYTHEBILL (Drymotoxeres pucheranii) – Wow... a true rarity, and we had one at very close range along the Guacamayos trail for killer views before it slipped away into the thick vegetation. Certainly one of the birds of the trip with respect to it being a very localized and difficult bird to locate.
MONTANE WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger aequatorialis) – Smaller than the Olive-backed, and with a more defined and richly-colored plumage; common with the flocks at San Isidro.
STREAKED XENOPS (Xenops rutilans heterurus) – Great looks at this almost nuthatch-like furnariid on the slopes of the Guacamayos with a flock.
STREAKED TUFTEDCHEEK (Pseudocolaptes boissonneautii orientalis) – Glimpsed with some flock activity at San Isidro.
CHESTNUT-WINGED CINCLODES (Cinclodes albidiventris albidiventris) – The smaller of the two cinclodes species here in Ecuador. Note that the Bar-winged complex has been split into various species throughout it's range, so care needs to be taken with respect to which one should be "ticked" off in any given area. We had this northern Andes form in the paramos of the Coca-Cayambe N.P. for up close and personal studies.
STOUT-BILLED CINCLODES (Cinclodes excelsior excelsior) – The larger of the two cinclodes here in Ecuador; this is the one with the thicker, slightly decurved bill that we saw on our first day in the paramos of Coca-Cayambe N.P.
BUFF-FRONTED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Philydor rufum bolivianum) [*]
MONTANE FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Anabacerthia striaticollis montana) – Fairly common with the mixed flocks on the east slope.
FLAMMULATED TREEHUNTER (Thripadectes flammulatus flammulatus) – Glimpsed along the Guacamayos trail.
SPOTTED BARBTAIL (Premnoplex brunnescens brunnescens) [*]
PEARLED TREERUNNER (Margarornis squamiger perlatus) – Common with the mixed flocks at Guango and San Isidro, and really gorgeous species!
ANDEAN TIT-SPINETAIL (Leptasthenura andicola andicola) – Excellent views of this white-browed, pointy-tailed paramo bird on our first day in the Coca-Cayambe N.P.
WHITE-BROWED SPINETAIL (GULARIS) (Hellmayrea gularis gularis) [*]
MANY-STRIPED CANASTERO (Asthenes flammulata flammulata) – A boldly-patterned species of the paramo grasslands that offered up some memorable scope studies.
WHITE-CHINNED THISTLETAIL (Asthenes fuliginosa fuliginosa) – We had a great run with the high elevation furnariids on this trip, seeing them all well. We pulled this cryptic species up out of the shrubbery for some great views.
ASH-BROWED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca curtata cisandina) [*]
DARK-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis albigularis rodolphei) [*]
AZARA'S SPINETAIL (Synallaxis azarae media) – The common spinetail of the Andean highlands; the one with the rufousy crown, wings, and tail.
RUFOUS SPINETAIL (UNIRUFA) (Synallaxis unirufa unirufa) – Close views of one as it slinked through the bamboo at San Isidro.


Participant Lisa Spellman got this image of a shy Crested Quetzal at San Isidro.

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
SOUTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (SOUTHERN) (Camptostoma obsoletum sclateri) [*]
WHITE-TAILED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus poecilocercus) – Common with the canopy flocks at San Isidro, this one almost always betrays its presence through its distinctive vocalizations.
WHITE-BANDED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus stictopterus stictopterus) – Replaces the previous species in the temperate zone, such as around Guango where they hang out with canopy flocks. This one has a bold plumage highlighted by those strong wing bars.
WHITE-THROATED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus leucophrys rufomarginatus) – We saw this long and erect tyrannulet a few times with the treeline flocks.
SULPHUR-BELLIED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus minor) – Regular with the flocks around San Isidro; those buffy wing bars were a tip-off for id.
TUFTED TIT-TYRANT (Anairetes parulus aequatorialis) – Great views of this sprite little tyrannid in the central valley on our first day; the one with the curly-Q crest!
AGILE TIT-TYRANT (Uromyias agilis) – We eked this one out on the last day during some flock activity around Papallacta, and they dashed in for some fabulous studies of their peachy mouth-linings!
WHITE-CRESTED ELAENIA (WHITE-CRESTED) (Elaenia albiceps griseigularis) – Seen right next to the previous species in the temperate shrubbery.
TORRENT TYRANNULET (Serpophaga cinerea cinerea) – Nice scope studies at a pair along the Papallacta River at Guango.
STREAK-NECKED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes striaticollis columbianus) – Seen briefly around San Isidro.
SLATY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (SUPERCILIARIS) (Leptopogon superciliaris superciliaris) – Some folks got onto this flock follower in the foothills.
RUFOUS-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon rufipectus) – A noisy flock bird around San Isidro, but sometimes hard to get a view of. We connected with them a few times, and even managed some decent scope studies.
VARIEGATED BRISTLE-TYRANT (Phylloscartes poecilotis) – This handsome bristle-tyrant was seen wonderfully with the flocks at San Isidro, and those buffy wing bars really stood out!
MARBLE-FACED BRISTLE-TYRANT (Phylloscartes ophthalmicus ophthalmicus) – Behaves much like the previous species, but less flashy; this one has an all black bill and yellowish wing bars. We had them at close range with the flocks at San Isidro.
ASHY-HEADED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias cinereiceps) – Scope views of this crisp little flycatcher in the foothills.
GOLDEN-FACED TYRANNULET (GOLDEN-FACED) (Zimmerius chrysops chrysops) – Some folks had them in the foothills as they perched around us in tough light.
ORNATE FLYCATCHER (EASTERN) (Myiotriccus ornatus phoenicurus) [*]
BRONZE-OLIVE PYGMY-TYRANT (PELZELNI/PERUVIANUS) (Pseudotriccus pelzelni pelzelni) – Glimpsed in the understory along the trails at San Isidro; I don't think any bird could have flown across a trail any faster than this one did!
RUFOUS-HEADED PYGMY-TYRANT (Pseudotriccus ruficeps) [*]
SCALE-CRESTED PYGMY-TYRANT (Lophotriccus pileatus pileatus) [*]
RUFOUS-CROWNED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus ruficeps) – This tiny bamboo specialist put on a nice show around the cabins at San Isidro, and we even got one in the scope.
COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum peruanum) – Good looks at a pair actively dancing around us in the foothills along the Loreto rd.; a wide-ranging, and common species.
FULVOUS-BREASTED FLATBILL (Rhynchocyclus fulvipectus) – I was surprised to have turned one up in a flock so close to the dining room at San Isidro. Our bird behaved in typical flatbill fashion as it darted out to feed, and then perch briefly before its next insect victim attack. It didn't ever sit for very long, so was hard to get on to, and I think Sue and I were the only ones to really lock onto it.
CINNAMON FLYCATCHER (Pyrrhomyias cinnamomeus pyrrhopterus) – Common at forest edges and clearings, and we had it everyday of the trip, such as in the gardens around San Isidro.
CLIFF FLYCATCHER (CLIFF) (Hirundinea ferruginea sclateri) – Nice scope views of them in the foothills at the usual cliff face!
HANDSOME FLYCATCHER (Nephelomyias pulcher bellus) – Never could get them in for good views, despite them being so close! [*]
FLAVESCENT FLYCATCHER (Myiophobus flavicans flavicans) – Common around the cabins at San Isidro.
OLIVE-CHESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiophobus cryptoxanthus) [*]
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Contopus cooperi) – Scoped a couple of times. [b]


The Sword-billed Hummingbird must have very good aim to get to the feeder! Photo by participant Lisa Spellman.

SMOKE-COLORED PEWEE (Contopus fumigatus ardosiacus) – Around the gardens at San Isidro as they perched on the power lines.
WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus sordidulus) – A common boreal migrant on the east slope; we saw and heard them a few times. [b]
BLACK PHOEBE (WHITE-WINGED) (Sayornis nigricans angustirostris) – Common along rivers and streams.
VERMILION FLYCATCHER (OBSCURUS GROUP) (Pyrocephalus rubinus piurae) – Scope views at males and females on our first day in the central valley as we birded the scrub habitats. Note that a Vermilion Flycatcher complex split is in the cards, if not already done, but unless you have seen the birds on the Galapagos, or the migrant birds from southern South America, you have still only seen the same species!
PLAIN-CAPPED GROUND-TYRANT (Muscisaxicola alpinus alpinus) – Right up at our highest elevational point of the tour, right around where the seedsnipes were stomping around!
RED-RUMPED BUSH-TYRANT (Cnemarchus erythropygius erythropygius) – We lucked into a pair of this scarce, high elevation species above Papallacta for scope studies as they perched up on some wires in full view!
SLATY-BACKED CHAT-TYRANT (SLATY-BACKED) (Ochthoeca cinnamomeiventris cinnamomeiventris) – Sue spotted this attractive highland chat-tyrant along the edges of the Papallacta River at Guango for us!
BROWN-BACKED CHAT-TYRANT (BROWN-BACKED) (Ochthoeca fumicolor brunneifrons) – The high elevation chat-tyrant here in Ecuador that we had some excellent views of in the paramos above Papallacta.
SHORT-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus ferox) – A tricky genus to identify at times, due to the similarities in their plumages, so thank goodness for vocalizations! We had an individual of this mostly lowland species (as high in elevation as I've ever had it) where we found it in the hills of the Guacamayos, but we had it identified before it called... but then it did, confirming our id!
PALE-EDGED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cephalotes cephalotes) – The common Myiarchus around San Isidro, and they came in and perched on the railing of the dining room porch each morning.
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua) – We saw this large flycatcher in the foothills for nice views.
SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (SOCIAL) (Myiozetetes similis similis) – Fairly common in the foothills.
LEMON-BROWED FLYCATCHER (Conopias cinchoneti cinchoneti) – We stumbled onto a family group of three along the forested roadside at San Isidro as they perched up in beautiful afternoon light.
GOLDEN-CROWNED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes chrysocephalus minor) – Seen well in the gardens around San Isidro.
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus melancholicus) – A common flycatcher from Texas to Argentina!
Cotingidae (Cotingas)
GREEN-AND-BLACK FRUITEATER (GREEN-AND-BLACK) (Pipreola riefferii chachapoyas) – We had our best looks - finally! - along the Guacamayos trail where we nabbed memorable views at males and females.
BLACK-CHESTED FRUITEATER (Pipreola lubomirskii) – What a toughie to see! [*]
ANDEAN COCK-OF-THE-ROCK (Rupicola peruvianus aequatorialis) – The lek at San Isidro this year turned out to be a no-show... not sure why, but that's birding. We did sort of salvage things when we spotted a female feeding through along the roadside in the Guacamayos.
OLIVACEOUS PIHA (Snowornis cryptolophus cryptolophus) – Some folks got onto this secretive piha in the Guacamayos when one flitted in quietly - as they usually do - at the park guard station at the edge of the reserve... wish it had sat just a few inches to the right!
DUSKY PIHA (Lipaugus fuscocinereus) – Active and feeding along the Guacamayos trail, but too jumpy to get onto as a group, but Russ had a good look!
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
BARRED BECARD (Pachyramphus versicolor versicolor) – We had a male of this gorgeous becard for scope views in the Guacamayos. The "bars" aren't usually obvious, but they are there, and when seen, a nice highlight.
WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus tenebrosus) – In the foothills along the Loreto rd. where we spotted a pair; that black male, with its strong white wing pattern, really stood out.
BLACK-AND-WHITE BECARD (Pachyramphus albogriseus salvini) – A male surprised us with the flocks at San Isidro, where this species is quite uncommon.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
BLACK-BILLED PEPPERSHRIKE (Cyclarhis nigrirostris nigrirostris) – This species' song sounds off throughout the day at San Isidro, and we had some fabulous studies in the gardens around the cabins.
OLIVACEOUS GREENLET (Hylophilus olivaceus) – Russ, Erika, and I saw this one in the foothills, before it flew.
SLATY-CAPPED SHRIKE-VIREO (SLATY-CAPPED) (Vireolanius leucotis leucotis) [*]
BROWN-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo leucophrys leucophrys) – Common with the flocks in the gardens at San Isidro.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
TURQUOISE JAY (Cyanolyca turcosa) – A snazzy jay species of the highlands that we saw around Guango.
GREEN JAY (INCA) (Cyanocorax yncas yncas) – This flashy jay entertained us throughout the tour, especially on the porch at San Isidro where they came every morning to glean insects.
VIOLACEOUS JAY (Cyanocorax violaceus) – A large jay of the eastern tropics that we saw in the foothills as they screamed about.


The Scrub Tanager may not be as brilliant as some, but it is a very attractive species! Photo by participant Lisa Spellman.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (CYANOLEUCA) (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca cyanoleuca) – The common swallow of the trip.
BROWN-BELLIED SWALLOW (Orochelidon murina murina) – Great looks at them floating about in the paramo and high temperate forest highlands.
WHITE-THIGHED SWALLOW (Atticora tibialis griseiventris) – Perched views of this foothill species as they lined up on a wire along the Loreto rd.
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis ruficollis) – Zipping past along the roadsides along the Loreto rd., and flashing that large pale rump.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
WING-BANDED WREN (Microcerculus bambla albigularis) [*]
HOUSE WREN (SOUTHERN) (Troglodytes aedon musculus) [*]
MOUNTAIN WREN (Troglodytes solstitialis solstitialis) – Common in the gardens around San Isidro where they hunt about in the trees.
SEDGE WREN (PARAMO) (Cistothorus platensis aequatorialis) [*]
THRUSH-LIKE WREN (Campylorhynchus turdinus hypostictus) – Excellent studies at a pair through the scope as they perched up and launched into their excited duet.
PLAIN-TAILED WREN (PLAIN-TAILED) (Pheugopedius euophrys longipes) – It took some work, but we finally managed to pry them out from their bamboo haunt along the roadside at San Isidro.
SHARPE'S WREN (Cinnycerthia olivascens) – Another tricky understory wren to tease into view, but we were triumphant after some patience in the Guacamayos.
WHITE-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (BLACK-CAPPED) (Henicorhina leucosticta hauxwelli) [*]
GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (ANDEAN) (Henicorhina leucophrys leucophrys) – Nicely during our first morning around San Isidro. I think everybody was blown away at this species' song repertoire!
Cinclidae (Dippers)
WHITE-CAPPED DIPPER (WHITE-BELLIED) (Cinclus leucocephalus leuconotus) – Plenty of fine views of this attractive Andean dipper species along the rushing rivers around Guango, and along the Loreto rd. in the foothills. Note that this one doesn't "dive" like the more well-known American Dipper.
Donacobiidae (Donacobius)
BLACK-CAPPED DONACOBIUS (Donacobius atricapilla nigrodorsalis) – An active pair popped up out of a marsh for us along the Loreto rd. for scope studies; this one was right up at about its maximum elevational range, by the way.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
ANDEAN SOLITAIRE (VENEZUELENSIS/CANDELAE) (Myadestes ralloides venezuelensis) – Although this one often sits unobstructed, it does a wonderful job of blending in to its forested backdrop, doesn't it? We had to play with them a time or two, but clinched fine scope views in the end at San Isidro.
SWAINSON'S THRUSH (Catharus ustulatus) – A common migrant from the north; we had them in the foothills and around Baeza. [b]
PALE-EYED THRUSH (Turdus leucops) – We had some good scope views of them at a bit of a distance at San Isidro, but that yellow bill, and pale eyes, were certainly in evidence.
BLACK-BILLED THRUSH (AMAZONIAN) (Turdus ignobilis debilis) – This rather dull thrush species was most common in the foothills along the Loreto rd.
GREAT THRUSH (Turdus fuscater quindio) – The large thrush that is abundant in the highlands down to about 2,000 meters elevation, whether in urban habitats, or primary forest; a successful generalist.
GLOSSY-BLACK THRUSH (Turdus serranus fuscobrunneus) – Fine scope views of males from the dining room porch at San Isidro as they sang their hearts out!
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD (TROPICAL) (Mimus gilvus tolimensis) – A bird that has been pushing its range southward through the Ecuadorian Andes over the last couple of decades, and is now fairly common in the valleys around Quito, where it was once unheard of. We had them in the scrub habitats on our first morning for some nice views.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
CERULEAN WARBLER (Setophaga cerulea) – We had some quick looks at a male along the Loreto rd. as it foraged along the roadside. This declining species finds its stronghold south of the border in the eastern foothills of the Andes. [b]
TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi alarum) – Bruce and I saw the first one on the south slope of the Guacamayos, but we all caught up with this wide-ranging species around San Isidro for nice views the following day.
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER (Setophaga fusca) – Nothing less than abundant in the temperate and subtropical forests of the Andes this time of the year! [b]
THREE-STRIPED WARBLER (THREE-STRIPED) (Basileuterus tristriatus baezae) – Pretty common with the understory flocks along the trails at San Isidro where they can be skittish, but we got them to participate quite well a time or two, seeing that head pattern.
BLACK-CRESTED WARBLER (Myiothlypis nigrocristata) – Common in roadside and secondary growth in the highlands; we had close, cooperative birds around San Isidro.
RUSSET-CROWNED WARBLER (Myiothlypis coronata orientalis) – The warbler with the very distinctive, dueted song that we had flitting around the gardens at San Isidro.
CANADA WARBLER (Cardellina canadensis) – Common in the understory at San Isidro. [b]
SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus ballux) – The common redstart in the subtropical zone, such as around San Isidro; the one with the all dark throat.


Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe can be difficult to see, as they blend in really well with the background, but we found these with little trouble. Photo by participant Lisa Spellman.

SPECTACLED REDSTART (Myioborus melanocephalus ruficoronatus) – Although this and the previous species do narrowly overlap, such as in the gardens around San Isidro, this one replaces the Slate-throated at higher elevations, occurring all the way up to treeline. We had our first looks at this handsome redstart in the Papallacta area, and around Guango where they roam around in mixed flocks.
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
MAGPIE TANAGER (Cissopis leverianus leverianus) – We saw this longest of all tanagers in the foothills for some nice studies.
RUFOUS-CRESTED TANAGER (Creurgops verticalis) – This can be a tricky tanager to track down at times, but we had them on two consecutive days in the Guacamayos for exceptional views.
OLEAGINOUS HEMISPINGUS (Sphenopsis frontalis frontalis) – We had very brief glimpses of them zipping about, but alas, never really managed to lock onto them as a group. [*]
BLACK-EARED HEMISPINGUS (BLACK-EARED) (Sphenopsis melanotis melanotis) – Fairly common with understory flocks in bamboo around San Isidro.
WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus) – We all had fine views of this almost icterid-like tanager in the foothills along the Loreto rd.
SILVER-BEAKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus carbo carbo) – Common in second-growth and edges in the eastern foothills and lowlands.
HOODED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Buthraupis montana cucullata) – The large mountain-tanager with the red eye that finally decided to put in some appearances on our last two days, but it was worth it as the looks were quite nice!
MASKED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Buthraupis wetmorei) – A rare and gorgeous mountain-tanager of the highlands that we had awesome luck with when we turned up a small family group above Papallacta for scope studies... one of the trip highlights for sure!
GRASS-GREEN TANAGER (Chlorornis riefferii riefferii) – A lovely Andean tanager that we saw wonderfully along the Guacamayos trail.
LACRIMOSE MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (PALPEBROSUS GROUP) (Anisognathus lacrymosus palpebrosus) – Wonderful views of this mountain-tanager, with the "tear-drop", up in the temperate zone around Guango.
SCARLET-BELLIED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (SCARLET-BELLIED) (Anisognathus igniventris erythrotus) – A stunning mountain-tanager found from treeline, down through the temperate zone; the combination of black, red, and blue, that this species sports, is just unbelievable!
BLUE-WINGED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (BLUE-WINGED) (Anisognathus somptuosus baezae) – The common mountain-tanager around San Isidro, where they breeze through with flocks in small family groups.
YELLOW-THROATED TANAGER (Iridosornis analis) – Sue, Bruce, and I had looks at this shy species as it crept about in the understory on the slopes of the Guacamayos... what a little devil!
BLUE-AND-YELLOW TANAGER (GREEN-MANTLED) (Pipraeidea bonariensis darwinii) – Fabulous studies at this fancy tanager of the central valley on our first day!
ORANGE-EARED TANAGER (ORANGE-EARED) (Chlorochrysa calliparaea bourcieri) – A glittering eastern foothill tanager species that never disappoints... what a beauty!
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (WHITE-EDGED) (Thraupis episcopus coelestis) – We had this east slope form, with the white shoulder-bar, commonly around San Isidro and into the foothills, but we also saw the western form on our first day in the drier central valley.
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum melanoptera) – Good looks at this wide-ranging tropical species in the foothills.
SPOTTED TANAGER (Ixothraupis punctata zamorae) – Not a flashy tanager, but this eastern foothill species has some plumage pizzaz. We had them for nice views at close range along the Loreto rd.
BLACK-CAPPED TANAGER (Tangara heinei) – Common and vocal around San Isidro; that male, when seen well, is a real looker!
SCRUB TANAGER (Tangara vitriolina) – Much better looking than its name might imply, and we had some fine looks at this central valley species on our first day in the dry forests.
MASKED TANAGER (Tangara nigrocincta) – This one surprised me, as I have never had it so high in elevation in the foothills, so a really nice find.
BLUE-NECKED TANAGER (Tangara cyanicollis caeruleocephala) – The tanager with the all blue head that we saw in the foothills and pre-montane zone.
BLUE-AND-BLACK TANAGER (BLUE-AND-BLACK) (Tangara vassorii vassorii) – The high elevation Tangara here in Ecuador that we saw with the canopy flocks in the Guacamayos.
BERYL-SPANGLED TANAGER (Tangara nigroviridis nigroviridis) – Fairly common with the flocks around San Isidro, but gave some folks a real run for their money by always being behind a leaf.
BLUE-BROWED TANAGER (Tangara cyanotis lutleyi) – A scarce, east-slope tanager that we found with a nice round of activity on the slopes of the Guacamayos. The fog made detail tricky at first, but we did manage to find them in the scope before they got away, which really helped the enjoyment level with this one!
PARADISE TANAGER (Tangara chilensis chilensis) – Wonderful scope studies in the foothills along the Loreto, and it really does live up to its name.
BAY-HEADED TANAGER (BAY-AND-BLUE) (Tangara gyrola catharinae) – This reddish-headed species popped in a few times along the Loreto rd.
GOLDEN-EARED TANAGER (Tangara chrysotis) – Scope views of this east-slope species foraging around during or awesome run of tanager activity on the slopes of the Guacamayos.
SAFFRON-CROWNED TANAGER (Tangara xanthocephala venusta) – One of the common Tangaras around San Isidro around the gardens and along the trails; should be called "Saffron-helmeted Tanager".


Rufous-collared Sparrow was almost a daily tick for us. Photo by participant Lisa Spellman.

FLAME-FACED TANAGER (FLAME-FACED) (Tangara parzudakii parzudakii) – A stunning tanager of middle elevations that we saw a few times.
GREEN-AND-GOLD TANAGER (Tangara schrankii schrankii) – Quick views of them along the Loreto rd. right up at this species' highest elevational reaches.
GOLDEN TANAGER (Tangara arthus aequatorialis) – Always a joy to see; we had them on the slopes of Guacamayos.
SWALLOW TANAGER (Tersina viridis occidentalis) – Quite numerous in the foothills along the Loreto rd. as they perched up high, on prominent snags, as they usually do.
BLACK-FACED DACNIS (Dacnis lineata) – Males and females with the flock activity in the foothills.
BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana) – Susan and I had looks at them in the foothills before they flitted out of sight.
PURPLE HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes caeruleus microrhynchus) – Quick views in the foothills at a male.
GOLDEN-COLLARED HONEYCREEPER (Iridophanes pulcherrimus pulcherrimus) – We had a confusing female plumaged bird in the foothills... that male must have been around somewhere!
GIANT CONEBILL (Conirostrum binghami) – A very handsome conebill species of the high elevation Polylepis forests. We got them calling after a bit of searching through various patches, and I believe it was Erika who came through with the visual find that really drove this one home!
CAPPED CONEBILL (Conirostrum albifrons atrocyaneum) – Fairly common with the flocks around San Isidro; a tail pumper, which helps identify it, even in poor light.
CINEREOUS CONEBILL (OCHRACEOUS) (Conirostrum cinereum fraseri) – Seen well on our first two days in the highlands; the conebill with the white wing check.
GLOSSY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa lafresnayii) – The all black flowerpiercer with the bluish-gray shoulder patch that we saw in the temperate forests above Papallacta.
BLACK FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa humeralis aterrima) – This one is all black; we had them in the central valley in the in the temperate forests on both slope in the Papallacta area.
WHITE-SIDED FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa albilatera albilatera) – Nice looks at a foraging male on our first morning at San Isidro, and those white flanks were visible as it flipped about.
RUSTY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa sittoides decorata) – Scope views of a male in the gardens at the San Jose.
DEEP-BLUE FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa glauca tyrianthina) – The all royal blue flowerpiercer, with the bright yellow eyes, that we turned up in the foothills.
BLUISH FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa caerulescens media) – Seen well in the gardens at San Isidro where they are common. This one is rather dull bluish, but with a burgundy eye.
MASKED FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa cyanea cyanea) – The flowerpiercer that we saw the most of on our trip, and a real stunner, with that all rich, blue plumage, and bright red eye.
BLACK-BACKED BUSH TANAGER (Urothraupis stolzmanni) – We caught up with this high elevation species in the treeline shrubbery above Papallacta when a large family group breezed through for fabulous studies.
PLUMBEOUS SIERRA-FINCH (Geospizopsis unicolor geospizopsis) – A sierra-finch of the treeless paramos that we saw well on our first day as they hopped about amongst the shrubbery.
ASH-BREASTED SIERRA-FINCH (Geospizopsis plebejus) – This sierra-finch inhabits the chaparral and drier forests of the central valley. We had them in fine numbers on our first stop of the trip in some nice habitat overlooking a gorgeous river valley.
GRAY-HOODED BUSH TANAGER (RUBRIROSTRIS) (Cnemoscopus rubrirostris rubrirostris) – A bird of the temperate forest, canopy flocks that never stops bobbing its tail! We had them for close views near the lodge at Guango.
SAFFRON FINCH (Sicalis flaveola) – Now common in the central valley; in the recent past this bird did not occur here... wonder where they came from so quickly?
CHESTNUT-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila castaneiventris) – Common in the second growth in the foothills.
CHESTNUT-BELLIED SEED-FINCH (Sporophila angolensis torrida) – It took us a while to find that singing male, but we finally did for scope studies; Loreto rd.
BLACK-AND-WHITE SEEDEATER (Sporophila luctuosa) – We connected with an immature male out in the foothills along the Loreto rd. along the roadside.
BANANAQUIT (CARIBBEAN) (Coereba flaveola intermedia) – A common bird of the neotropics that we saw in the foothills, and an extremely variable species; splits in the future would not surprise me!
DULL-COLORED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris obscurus pauper) – And it is dull, but that pied bill gives a clue as to its identity. We had this unobtrusive species on our first day in the scrub forests outside of Quito.
GRAYISH SALTATOR (GRAYISH) (Saltator coerulescens azarae) – Scope views of this lower elevation species at the base of the Guacamayos.
Passerellidae (New World Buntings and Sparrows)
YELLOW-THROATED CHLOROSPINGUS (YELLOW-THROATED) (Chlorospingus flavigularis flavigularis) – The Chlorospingus group finally got their own common group name when they were taxonomically pried away from the bush-tanagers, and properly placed with the new world sparrows. We had this foothill species a few times in the foothills where they popped in and out along roadside edges.


The tiny White-bellied Woodstar performed nicely for us at Guango. Photo by participant Lisa Spellman.

ASHY-THROATED CHLOROSPINGUS (ASHY-THROATED) (Chlorospingus canigularis signatus) – With the canopy flocks on the slopes of the Guacamayos, where they are not shy.
COMMON CHLOROSPINGUS (NORTHERN ANDES) (Chlorospingus flavopectus phaeocephalus) – A drab species of the subtropics that can be heard every evening belting out their loud songs, such as right around the cabins at San Isidro.
YELLOW-BROWED SPARROW (Ammodramus aurifrons aurifrons) – Seen on our last day during a quick roadside stop near Baeza.
GRAY-BROWED BRUSHFINCH (Arremon assimilis assimilis) – A member of the "Stripe-headed Brushfinch" complex. [*]
CHESTNUT-CAPPED BRUSHFINCH (CHESTNUT-CAPPED) (Arremon brunneinucha frontalis) – Some folks had looks at them on the grounds around Guango on our last day as they skulked about.
RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis costaricensis) – Almost had a clean run seeing them everyday!
PALE-NAPED BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes pallidinucha papallactae) – Fabulous views at a pair in the treeline shrubbery.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra rubra) – Common this time of the year, such as around San Isidro where they winter. [b]
SCARLET TANAGER (Piranga olivacea) – We ran into a nice patch of them near Baeza on our last where we had plenty of males in winter plumage. [b]
RED-HOODED TANAGER (Piranga rubriceps) – Stunning views at a small group of this lovely tanager as they foraged around Guango near the lodge.
GOLDEN GROSBEAK (Pheucticus chrysogaster chrysogaster) – Now split from the Middle American, Golden Grosbeak. We had some super views on our first birding stop of the trip in the chaparral habitats of the central valley.
ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus ludovicianus) – We had our first views of this migrant when a male appeared in the gardens at San Isidro on our first morning there. [b]
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
RUSSET-BACKED OROPENDOLA (RUSSET-BACKED) (Psarocolius angustifrons angustifrons) – Common, and nesting around the gardens at San Isidro. We all enjoyed its bubbly, liquid song as they displayed from overhead trees. [N]
CRESTED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius decumanus decumanus) – Blacker than the previous species, and with an ivory colored bill. We had a couple of this one stream through in the foothills along the Loreto rd.
SCARLET-RUMPED CACIQUE (SUBTROPICAL) (Cacicus uropygialis uropygialis) – This striking cacique was common around the lodge at San Isidro, where they could often be seen right on the porch hunting insects. We also found an active nest right next to the cabins. [N]
MOUNTAIN CACIQUE (GOLDEN-SHOULDERED) (Cacicus chrysonotus leucoramphus) – Tends to occur higher than the previous species, such as around Guango, where we found some active nests. [N]
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
BLUE-NAPED CHLOROPHONIA (Chlorophonia cyanea longipennis) [*]
CHESTNUT-BREASTED CHLOROPHONIA (Chlorophonia pyrrhophrys) – Fine studies of a pair right along the roadside at San Isidro as they raided the mistletoe patches for fruits... what a stunner!
GOLDEN-RUMPED EUPHONIA (Euphonia cyanocephala pelzelni) – A flashy bird that helped kick off the trip during our first birding stop in the central valley!
BRONZE-GREEN EUPHONIA (Euphonia mesochrysa mesochrysa) – we had a male - displaying its bright yellow forehead patch - on the slopes of the Guacamayos.
ORANGE-BELLIED EUPHONIA (Euphonia xanthogaster brevirostris) – The common, and very distinctive, euphonia around San Isidro and down into the foothills and lowlands.
HOODED SISKIN (Spinus magellanicus capitalis) – Quick views of a female-plumaged bird in the central valley.
OLIVACEOUS SISKIN (Spinus olivaceus) – Very similar to the previous species, but a tad duller, and replacing it in the subtropical and foothill zones; we had them for nice scope studies along the Loreto rd.

MAMMALS
BRAZILIAN RABBIT (Sylvilagus brasiliensis) – Seen scurrying around in the highlands.
RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis) – Daily at San Isidro.
MOUNTAIN COATI (Nasuella olivacea) – We lucked into this infrequently seen species along the Guacamayos trail as it foraged about in some nearby tress... nice to beef up that mammal list!
MOUNTAIN TAPIR (Tapirus pinchaque) – Crippling views of the female that has been hanging around Guango of late. This is a rare and endangered mammal species of the highlands that occurs from Colombia down into extreme N Peru. I could not believe our luck when it came right out into the open to have a look at us before continuing leisurely on its path... wow!
WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus) – Russ had one up in the paramo.


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS


Totals for the tour: 312 bird taxa and 5 mammal taxa