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Field Guides Tour Report
Holiday at San Isidro, Ecuador 2019
Nov 23, 2019 to Dec 2, 2019
Mitch Lysinger

This gorgeous Coppery-chested Jacamar perched among the verbenas, giving us a great view. He was just one of the many colorful birds that we saw during our week in the Ecuadorian Andes. What a great holiday getaway! Photo by participant Lance Runion.

Ecuador is that magnificent little country whose west side bulges out from South America, doing its best to invade (even if just a little) the Pacific Ocean, and helping give the continent its distinctive shape. This trip focused on the other side though... the more tucked away side, that slopes down gently to the east into the Amazon basin, and that also happens to be one of the most diverse places on earth.

We enjoyed some fabulous birding and "mammal-ing", as well as some unforgettable scenery; snow-capped Antisana had to be a visual highlight. There is no doubt that we kept ourselves plenty busy; what trip nets close to 40 species of hummingbirds, more flycatchers and tanagers than can be digested, and Spectacled Bear and Mountain Tapir? Well, nowhere but Ecuador, of course! Our route was key. After some successful birding right around the gardens at the San Jose de Puembo Garden Hotel for inter-Andean species, we launched up to Antisana's paramos for a full morning where the paramo birds were out and about and in fine form. It was then off to the paramos of the Papallacta Pass and Guango Lodge for a strong day and half of temperate flocks and hummer feeders. We spent the rest of our trip based out of San Isidro, perfectly positioned at middle elevations to take advantage of the immediate surroundings and eastern foothills lower down slope. Overall the weather cooperated and we tagged in with a healthy list of birds that soared to well over 300; not bad for a week's worth of birding, I'd say!

Highlights and fabulous birds? There were many, so here are some that I think stand out and helped make our trip a memorable and unique one: that fabulous male Torrent Duck along the Cosanga River; Silvery Grebes in all of their glory up on Lake Mica, red eyes and all; Black-winged Ground-Doves right on the road at Antisana; a male Swallow-tailed Nightjar on a day roost at close range; hummers, hummers, and more hummers! But how can you beat Sword-billed and Giant Hummers, that male Wire-crested Thorntail, and those dueling Rainbow-bearded and Blue-mantled Thornbills? That Jameson's Snipe sneaking about in the paramo for fine studies; Fasciated Tiger-Heron for scope studies in the foothills; Andean Condor perched, and in flight... incredible! Excellent scope studies of males of both quetzal species at San Isidro; Masked Trogon perched around the gardens at San Isidro; Coppery-chested Jacamar at point-blank range; Red-headed Barbet with a foothill flock; some colorful toucans species, like Chestnut-tipped Toucanet and Chestnut-eared Aracari; Bar-bellied and Crimson-mantled Woodpeckers; Carunculated Caracaras stomping about at close range in the paramos; Orange-breasted Falcon perched high up in the foothills for scope studies; Lined Antshrike calling and "dancing" about; that Chestnut-crowned Antpitta that popped in for fabulous studies at San Isidro's feeder; Slate-crowned Antpitta for amazing views; a Flammulated Treehunter that came in for exceptional studies; those gorgeous Pearled Treerunners; the rare Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant in the paramos of the Papallacta Pass; Andean Cock-of-the-Rock all over the place along the Loreto rd.; nice scope studies of a male Green-backed Becard; Black-billed Peppershrikes feeding and calling around the gardens at San Isidro; White-capped Dipper; Paramo Pipits stalking about at Antisana; and loads of tanagers, like White-capped, Grass-green, Flame-faced, Orange-eared Tanagers, and Black-chested Mountain-Tanager; and last but not least, those fabulous Giant Conebills on our last afternoon in the highland Polylepis woodlands.

It is hard to imagine that on a birding trip with so many awesome birds, that a couple of mammals could vie for favorite moments... but hey, why not? These couple of mammals just happened to be Mountain Tapir and Spectacled Bear, two of the rarest and most sought-after mammal species of the Andes. I can't remember the last time I saw these two mammals on one trip... if ever, so we were extremely lucky! The Mountain Tapirs, yes, two of them, appeared right in front of us one early morning at San Isidro at breakfast as they visited the feeding station within a stones throw from the dining room; one of them even seemed curious and approached us... wow! The Spectacled Bear - a large male - ended up being the grand finale of our trip when we spotted it feeding about, roadside, on our way down into the central valley on our last day. It drew crowds of Ecuadorian onlookers, and we even lent our scope to a particularly curious family of observers that were just thrilled to see it. This was the cherry on top of a fantastic trip, and the ideal way to end it.

Have a read through the list that follows and relive some memories, and I hope to cross paths with all of you some time in the future... good birding!


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

These dueling Chestnut-breasted Coronets were probably fighting about ownership of a feeder! Participant Lance Runion captured this action shot.

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
TORRENT DUCK (Merganetta armata colombiana) – A fabulous male offered up some nice scope views along the banks of the Cosanga River.
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Spatula discors) [b]
YELLOW-BILLED PINTAIL (SOUTH AMERICAN) (Anas georgica spinicauda) – We had great views of the waterfowl up at Antisana, Lake Mica.
ANDEAN TEAL (ANDEAN) (Anas andium andium)
ANDEAN DUCK (Oxyura ferruginea)
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
WATTLED GUAN (Aburria aburri)
SICKLE-WINGED GUAN (Chamaepetes goudotii tschudii) – Fairly common around San Isidro.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
SILVERY GREBE (ANDEAN) (Podiceps occipitalis juninensis) – Common up on Lake Mica, one of their last strongholds in Ecuador.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
SCALED PIGEON (Patagioenas speciosa)
BAND-TAILED PIGEON (WHITE-NECKED) (Patagioenas fasciata albilinea)
PLUMBEOUS PIGEON (Patagioenas plumbea bogotensis) [*]
RUDDY PIGEON (RUDDY) (Patagioenas subvinacea ogilviegranti)
BLACK-WINGED GROUND DOVE (Metriopelia melanoptera) – Awesome studies of this paramo species up at Antisana as they fed about on the road.
WHITE-THROATED QUAIL-DOVE (Zentrygon frenata bourcieri) [*]
EARED DOVE (Zenaida auriculata hypoleuca)
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani)
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (AMAZONIAN) (Piaya cayana mesura)
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
BAND-WINGED NIGHTJAR (RUFOUS-NAPED) (Systellura longirostris ruficervix) – Excellent scope studies of a pair on a day roost!

Participant Lance Runion got this perfect shot of the beautiful Chestnut-crowned Antpitta that came to the worm-feeder at San Isidro.

SWALLOW-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Uropsalis segmentata segmentata) – Wow... that long-tailed male on a day roost knocked us out!
Apodidae (Swifts)
WHITE-CHESTED SWIFT (Cypseloides lemosi)
WHITE-CHINNED SWIFT (Cypseloides cryptus) [*]
CHESTNUT-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne rutila brunnitorques)
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris)
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
TAWNY-BELLIED HERMIT (Phaethornis syrmatophorus columbianus)
GEOFFROY'S DAGGERBILL (Schistes geoffroyi geoffroyi) – Lance had one at San Isidro!
LESSER VIOLETEAR (Colibri cyanotus)
SPARKLING VIOLETEAR (Colibri coruscans coruscans)
TOURMALINE SUNANGEL (Heliangelus exortis) – Common at Guango's feeders.
WIRE-CRESTED THORNTAIL (Discosura popelairii) – Stunning males and females in the eastern foothills.
SPECKLED HUMMINGBIRD (MELANOGENYS GROUP) (Adelomyia melanogenys melanogenys)
LONG-TAILED SYLPH (Aglaiocercus kingii mocoa) – Could that tail be any more colorful?
ECUADORIAN HILLSTAR (Oreotrochilus chimborazo jamesonii) – That blue-headed male at Antisana was a real score.
BLACK-TAILED TRAINBEARER (Lesbia victoriae victoriae) – Fabulous males at feeders on our first day.
PURPLE-BACKED THORNBILL (Ramphomicron microrhynchum microrhynchum) – Tough to come by at times, but we located a killer male in the temperate woodlands above Papallacta.
BLUE-MANTLED THORNBILL (Chalcostigma stanleyi stanleyi) – This and the following species really put on a show on our last day as they chased about in the paramo-edge shrubbery.
RAINBOW-BEARDED THORNBILL (Chalcostigma herrani)
TYRIAN METALTAIL (Metallura tyrianthina)

This Agile Tit-Tyrant was one of a flock that we watched in the forests above Papallacta. Photo by participant Lance Runion.

VIRIDIAN METALTAIL (ECUADORIAN) (Metallura williami primolina)
GLOWING PUFFLEG (Eriocnemis vestita) – A brilliant male was hanging around the feeders at Guango.
SHINING SUNBEAM (Aglaeactis cupripennis cupripennis) – That rump was just stunning!
BRONZY INCA (Coeligena coeligena obscura) – Regular at San Isidro's feeders.
COLLARED INCA (COLLARED) (Coeligena torquata torquata)
MOUNTAIN VELVETBREAST (Lafresnaya lafresnayi saul)
SWORD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD (Ensifera ensifera) – Amazing! These guys were common at Guango's feeders.
GREAT SAPPHIREWING (Pterophanes cyanopterus peruvianus)
BUFF-TAILED CORONET (Boissonneaua flavescens flavescens) – The coronets are big feeder hogs in general!
CHESTNUT-BREASTED CORONET (Boissonneaua matthewsii)
BOOTED RACKET-TAIL (PERUVIAN) (Ocreatus underwoodii peruanus) – Captivating studies of this distinct little hummer of the foothills.
GREEN-BACKED HILLSTAR (Urochroa leucura) – The White-tailed Hillstar complex has been split, and this is the taxon of the east slope. We had fine views of them at feeders in the foothills.
BLACK-THROATED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa schreibersii) – Difficult to find, but the feeders in the eastern foothills were attracting at least one full-blown male!
FAWN-BREASTED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa rubinoides cervinigularis)
VIOLET-FRONTED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa leadbeateri) – Excellent views of them at the feeders near Baeza!
GIANT HUMMINGBIRD (Patagona gigas peruviana) – Perfect studies at the feeders at Antisana on our first day.
WHITE-BELLIED WOODSTAR (Chaetocercus mulsant)
GORGETED WOODSTAR (Chaetocercus heliodor) – At least four individuals in various plumages at the feeders near Baeza as they visited the Verbena flowers.

The Crimson-mantled Woodpecker has to be one of the most beautiful of the group. This one gave us great views at San Isidro. Photo by participant Lance Runion.

VIOLET-HEADED HUMMINGBIRD (Klais guimeti guimeti)
FORK-TAILED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania furcata viridipectus)
MANY-SPOTTED HUMMINGBIRD (Taphrospilus hypostictus)
GLITTERING-THROATED EMERALD (Amazilia fimbriata fluviatilis)
GOLDEN-TAILED SAPPHIRE (Chrysuronia oenone oenone)
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
SLATE-COLORED COOT (Fulica ardesiaca)
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis)
ANDEAN LAPWING (Vanellus resplendens) – Plentiful up in the paramo flatlands.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
JAMESON'S SNIPE (Gallinago jamesoni) – Edgar, our wonderful driver, tracked this paramo species down for us as it fed about quietly at the Papallacta Pass!
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) [b]
LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes) [b]
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
ANDEAN GULL (Chroicocephalus serranus)
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
FASCIATED TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma fasciatum) – Fine scope studies of one, perched un-moving in the eastern foothills along a rushing stream.
GREAT EGRET (AMERICAN) (Ardea alba egretta)
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
ANDEAN CONDOR (Vultur gryphus) – Antisana is the spot for this Andean must-see! We had tremendous studies of them perched and in flight... sights that we will not soon forget!
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)

Seeing this male Swallow-tailed Nightjar with his tail flowing around him on his day-roost was one of the highlights of the tour! Photo by participant Lance Runion.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
SWALLOW-TAILED KITE (Elanoides forficatus)
ROADSIDE HAWK (NORTHERN) (Rupornis magnirostris magnirostris)
WHITE-RUMPED HAWK (Parabuteo leucorrhous) – One flew over at Guango on our last day.
VARIABLE HAWK (Geranoaetus polyosoma)
BLACK-CHESTED BUZZARD-EAGLE (Geranoaetus melanoleucus australis)
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (NORTHERN) (Buteo platypterus platypterus) [b]
Strigidae (Owls)
GREAT HORNED OWL (Bubo virginianus) – Edgar knew where this one was quietly roosting at Antisana.
"BLACK-BANDED" OWL TYPE (Ciccaba sp. nov. 1) – Sitting around the lights at the dining room nightly for spectacular studies!
RUFOUS-BANDED OWL (Ciccaba albitarsis) – We called up a quiet but responsive bird along the roadside at San Isidro for nice spotlight views.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
GOLDEN-HEADED QUETZAL (Pharomachrus auriceps auriceps) – Excellent views of males of both quetzal species at San Isidro were highlights. The combination of emerald greens and brilliant reds were knee-buckling!
CRESTED QUETZAL (Pharomachrus antisianus)
MASKED TROGON (Trogon personatus personatus) – Daily in the gardens at San Isidro.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona)
Bucconidae (Puffbirds)
LANCEOLATED MONKLET (Micromonacha lanceolata) [*]
Galbulidae (Jacamars)
COPPERY-CHESTED JACAMAR (Galbula pastazae) – A jacamar of the eastern foothills that we had wonderful eye level views of as a male perched around the Verbena flowers that were just buzzing with hummers.
Capitonidae (New World Barbets)
RED-HEADED BARBET (Eubucco bourcierii orientalis)
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
SOUTHERN EMERALD-TOUCANET (ANDEAN) (Aulacorhynchus albivitta albivitta) – Jan spotted this one for us near Baeza as a pair foraged about quietly in some fruiting trees.
CHESTNUT-TIPPED TOUCANET (Aulacorhynchus derbianus) – Excellent looks at a group of them in the eastern foothills.
BLACK-BILLED MOUNTAIN-TOUCAN (Andigena nigrirostris spilorhynchus) [*]

Sword-billed Hummingbirds are not among the most colorful, but they are still really impressive! We saw quite a few at the feeders at Guango when we visited there. Photo by participant Lance Runion.

CHESTNUT-EARED ARACARI (Pteroglossus castanotis castanotis)
MANY-BANDED ARACARI (Pteroglossus pluricinctus)
YELLOW-THROATED TOUCAN (Ramphastos ambiguus) [*]
CHANNEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos vitellinus) [*]
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
BAR-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Dryobates nigriceps equifasciatus) – We tracked down a close female with a temperate forest flock above Papallacta.
POWERFUL WOODPECKER (Campephilus pollens pollens) [*]
LINEATED WOODPECKER (LINEATED) (Dryocopus lineatus lineatus)
CRIMSON-MANTLED WOODPECKER (CRIMSON-MANTLED) (Colaptes rivolii brevirostris) – We had our best looks when one popped in at San Isidro.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
BLACK CARACARA (Daptrius ater)
CARUNCULATED CARACARA (Phalcoboenus carunculatus) – Common at Antisana, where they prance about in the grasslands.
YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima)
AMERICAN KESTREL (SOUTH AMERICAN) (Falco sparverius aequatorialis)
ORANGE-BREASTED FALCON (Falco deiroleucus) – Scope views of this local species and genuine rarity, as it perched high up on a ridge in the eastern foothills... nice!
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
BARRED PARAKEET (Bolborhynchus lineola) [*]
RED-BILLED PARROT (Pionus sordidus corallinus)
SPECKLE-FACED PARROT (Pionus tumultuosus)
BLUE-HEADED PARROT (BLUE-HEADED) (Pionus menstruus menstruus)
SCALY-NAPED PARROT (Amazona mercenarius) [*]
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
LINED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus tenuepunctatus) – Nice views of a male as it called above us in some roadside trees in the foothills.
BICOLORED ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus occidentalis punctitectus) [*]

As we were driving back to the central valley, we spotted a Spectacled Bear on a hillside, and stopped to have a look. We were able to share this sighting with a crowd of Ecuadorians; what a cool experience for all! Photo by participant Lance Runion.

YELLOW-BREASTED ANTWREN (Herpsilochmus axillaris) – Brief views of a pair for some before they sneaked away.
STREAK-HEADED ANTBIRD (Drymophila striaticeps)
BLACK ANTBIRD (Cercomacroides serva) [*]
BLACKISH ANTBIRD (Cercomacroides nigrescens aequatorialis) [*]
WHITE-BACKED FIRE-EYE (BLACK-BELLIED) (Pyriglena leuconota castanoptera) – Quick views for some in the understory.
Grallariidae (Antpittas)
MOUSTACHED ANTPITTA (Grallaria alleni andaquiensis) [*]
PLAIN-BACKED ANTPITTA (Grallaria haplonota chaplinae) [*]
CHESTNUT-CROWNED ANTPITTA (Grallaria ruficapilla ruficapilla) – Terrific studies at San Isidro when it popped in at the worm feeder station... what a gorgeous antpitta species.
WHITE-BELLIED ANTPITTA (Grallaria hypoleuca castanea) [*]
RUFOUS ANTPITTA (RUFOUS) (Grallaria rufula rufula) [*]
TAWNY ANTPITTA (WESTERN) (Grallaria quitensis quitensis)
SLATE-CROWNED ANTPITTA (SLATE-CROWNED) (Grallaricula nana nana) – Very nice studies of this small antpitta along the Guacamayos trail when it appeared on some nearby branches.
Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)
ASH-COLORED TAPACULO (Myornis senilis) [*]
BLACKISH TAPACULO (BLACKISH) (Scytalopus latrans latrans) – Seen in the understory on our first day around San Isidro.
LONG-TAILED TAPACULO (Scytalopus micropterus) – Quick views at San Isidro.
SPILLMANN'S TAPACULO (Scytalopus spillmanni) [*]
PARAMO TAPACULO (Scytalopus opacus) [*]
Formicariidae (Antthrushes)
BARRED ANTTHRUSH (Chamaeza mollissima mollissima) [*]
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (AMAZONIAN) (Sittasomus griseicapillus amazonus) [*]

Scarlet-rumped Caciques were regulars at the dining room at San Isidro. This one isn't showing off its scarlet rump, but how about that blue eye? Photo by participant Lance Runion.

OLIVE-BACKED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus triangularis triangularis) – A few with the flocks.
BROWN-BILLED SCYTHEBILL (Campylorhamphus pusillus) – We saw one responsive bird on the slopes of the Guacamayos, but it was certainly sneaky!
MONTANE WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger aequatorialis) – The common woodcreeper at middle elevations.
STREAKED TUFTEDCHEEK (Pseudocolaptes boissonneautii orientalis) – We had them scoped for a moment.
CHESTNUT-WINGED CINCLODES (Cinclodes albidiventris albidiventris) – Great looks at both cinclodes species in the paramo highlands.
STOUT-BILLED CINCLODES (Cinclodes excelsior excelsior)
BUFF-FRONTED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Philydor rufum bolivianum) [*]
MONTANE FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Anabacerthia striaticollis montana)
LINEATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Syndactyla subalaris mentalis)
FLAMMULATED TREEHUNTER (Thripadectes flammulatus flammulatus) – One crept in along the roadside in the Guacamayos for very nice looks; this is often a tricky bird to track down.
STRIPED TREEHUNTER (Thripadectes holostictus holostictus) [*]
SPOTTED BARBTAIL (Premnoplex brunnescens brunnescens)
PEARLED TREERUNNER (Margarornis squamiger perlatus) – Always a real beauty to see!
ANDEAN TIT-SPINETAIL (Leptasthenura andicola andicola)
WHITE-BROWED SPINETAIL (GULARIS) (Hellmayrea gularis gularis) [*]
MANY-STRIPED CANASTERO (Asthenes flammulata flammulata) – We called one up out of its paramo grassland haunts.
WHITE-CHINNED THISTLETAIL (Asthenes fuliginosa fuliginosa) [*]
ASH-BROWED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca curtata cisandina)
DARK-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis albigularis rodolphei) [*]

A Plain-capped Ground-Tyrant posed for participant Lance Runion. This is one of the high-elevation species that we saw.

AZARA'S SPINETAIL (Synallaxis azarae media)
RUFOUS SPINETAIL (UNIRUFA) (Synallaxis unirufa unirufa)
Cotingidae (Cotingas)
GREEN-AND-BLACK FRUITEATER (GREEN-AND-BLACK) (Pipreola riefferii chachapoyas) – Some good looks at males a few times in the subtropical forests.
BLACK-CHESTED FRUITEATER (Pipreola lubomirskii) – Quick views in the treetops at San Isidro; always a very shy species.
RED-CRESTED COTINGA (Ampelion rubrocristatus) – Right near the town of Papallacta.
ANDEAN COCK-OF-THE-ROCK (Rupicola peruvianus aequatorialis) – What a stunning show of this Andean classic we had in the eastern foothills; they seemed to be calling everywhere, and they were as visible as I have ever had them... fantastic!
AMAZONIAN UMBRELLABIRD (Cephalopterus ornatus) – One flew over in the foothills with that distinctive, woodpecker-like flight.
DUSKY PIHA (Lipaugus fuscocinereus) [*]
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
GREEN-BACKED BECARD (YELLOW-CHEEKED) (Pachyramphus viridis xanthogenys) – We scoped a male in the foothills.
BARRED BECARD (Pachyramphus versicolor versicolor)
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
STREAK-NECKED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes striaticollis columbianus)
SLATY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (SUPERCILIARIS) (Leptopogon superciliaris superciliaris)
RUFOUS-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon rufipectus)
VARIEGATED BRISTLE-TYRANT (Phylloscartes poecilotis) – Nice looks at this and the following species with the same mixed flock around San Isidro. We had particularly nice views of them down low, which is always a treat, since they often stay high in the canopy.
MARBLE-FACED BRISTLE-TYRANT (Phylloscartes ophthalmicus ophthalmicus)
BRONZE-OLIVE PYGMY-TYRANT (PELZELNI/PERUVIANUS) (Pseudotriccus pelzelni pelzelni) [*]
RUFOUS-HEADED PYGMY-TYRANT (Pseudotriccus ruficeps)
RUFOUS-CROWNED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus ruficeps) – A cute little beauty of the bamboo stands around San Isidro.
COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (CINEREUM GROUP) (Todirostrum cinereum peruanum)
YELLOW-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (OLIVE-FACED) (Tolmomyias flaviventris viridiceps)

Participant Lance Runion got a nice portrait of this little Mountain Wren.

CINNAMON FLYCATCHER (ANDEAN) (Pyrrhomyias cinnamomeus pyrrhopterus)
CLIFF FLYCATCHER (CLIFF) (Hirundinea ferruginea sclateri) – On the usual cliffs in the foothills.
HANDSOME FLYCATCHER (Nephelomyias pulcher bellus)
SOUTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (SOUTHERN) (Camptostoma obsoletum sclateri)
WHITE-TAILED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus poecilocercus)
WHITE-BANDED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus stictopterus stictopterus)
WHITE-THROATED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus leucophrys rufomarginatus)
TUFTED TIT-TYRANT (Anairetes parulus aequatorialis)
AGILE TIT-TYRANT (Uromyias agilis) – Superb studies of an active group as they foraged with one of our best mixed flocks of the trip in the temperate forests above Papallacta. That orange mouth lining was very evident when they called!
COOPMANS'S ELAENIA (Elaenia brachyptera) – Now split from Lesser Elaenia.
TORRENT TYRANNULET (Serpophaga cinerea cinerea)
ASHY-HEADED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias cinereiceps) [*]
GOLDEN-FACED TYRANNULET (GOLDEN-FACED) (Zimmerius chrysops chrysops)
FLAVESCENT FLYCATCHER (Myiophobus flavicans flavicans)
OLIVE-CHESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiophobus cryptoxanthus)
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Contopus cooperi) [b]
SMOKE-COLORED PEWEE (Contopus fumigatus ardosiacus)
WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus sordidulus) [b]

Masked Trogons were seen regularly around San Isidro; participant Lance Runion got this nice shot of a female looking demure.

BLACK PHOEBE (WHITE-WINGED) (Sayornis nigricans angustirostris)
VERMILION FLYCATCHER (OBSCURUS GROUP) (Pyrocephalus rubinus piurae)
PLAIN-CAPPED GROUND-TYRANT (Muscisaxicola alpinus alpinus)
SMOKY BUSH-TYRANT (Myiotheretes fumigatus fumigatus) – Right up at the Guacamayos Pass, where they often are!
RED-RUMPED BUSH-TYRANT (Cnemarchus erythropygius erythropygius) – Very nicely on our first day during some afternoon paramo birding near the Papallacta Pass. This low density, and beautiful, large tyrannid is always a big slam-dunk!
CROWNED CHAT-TYRANT (CROWNED) (Ochthoeca frontalis frontalis) – Excellent studies of this shy species of the temperate forest understory.
SLATY-BACKED CHAT-TYRANT (SLATY-BACKED) (Ochthoeca cinnamomeiventris cinnamomeiventris) [*]
RUFOUS-BREASTED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca rufipectoralis obfuscata) – Responsive at Guango, and perched right up on a tall tree.
BROWN-BACKED CHAT-TYRANT (BROWN-BACKED) (Ochthoeca fumicolor brunneifrons)
PALE-EDGED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cephalotes cephalotes)
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua)
SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (SOCIAL) (Myiozetetes similis similis)
LEMON-BROWED FLYCATCHER (Conopias cinchoneti cinchoneti)
GOLDEN-CROWNED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes chrysocephalus minor) [*]
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus melancholicus)
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
BLACK-BILLED PEPPERSHRIKE (Cyclarhis nigrirostris nigrirostris) – Common and vocal in the gardens at San Isidro, where we enjoyed some fine scope studies.
BROWN-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo leucophrys leucophrys)
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
TURQUOISE JAY (Cyanolyca turcosa) – This colorful highland jay was seen well at Guango.
GREEN JAY (INCA) (Cyanocorax yncas yncas) – Daily at San Isidro where they often came to feed on insects at the lodge.
VIOLACEOUS JAY (Cyanocorax violaceus)

Green Jays were also quite common at San Isidro. Participant Lance Runion captured this one looking curious and alert.

Donacobiidae (Donacobius)
BLACK-CAPPED DONACOBIUS (Donacobius atricapilla nigrodorsalis) – We coaxed up a pair out of a swamp in the eastern foothills.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (CYANOLEUCA) (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca cyanoleuca)
BROWN-BELLIED SWALLOW (Orochelidon murina murina)
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis ruficollis)
BARN SWALLOW (AMERICAN) (Hirundo rustica erythrogaster)
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
WING-BANDED WREN (Microcerculus bambla albigularis) [*]
HOUSE WREN (SOUTHERN) (Troglodytes aedon musculus)
MOUNTAIN WREN (Troglodytes solstitialis solstitialis)
SEDGE WREN (PARAMO) (Cistothorus platensis aequatorialis)
THRUSH-LIKE WREN (Campylorhynchus turdinus hypostictus) [*]
PLAIN-TAILED WREN (PLAIN-TAILED) (Pheugopedius euophrys longipes) [*]
CORAYA WREN (Pheugopedius coraya) [*]
RUFOUS WREN (Cinnycerthia unirufa unibrunnea)
SHARPE'S WREN (Cinnycerthia olivascens)
WHITE-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (BLACK-CAPPED) (Henicorhina leucosticta hauxwelli) [*]
GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (ANDEAN) (Henicorhina leucophrys leucophrys)
Cinclidae (Dippers)
WHITE-CAPPED DIPPER (WHITE-BELLIED) (Cinclus leucocephalus leuconotus) – We found them along a clear stream near the town of Papallacta. This one does not "dip", like the American Dipper.
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD (TROPICAL) (Mimus gilvus tolimensis) – Right around the gardens at the San Jose Hotel.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
ANDEAN SOLITAIRE (VENEZUELENSIS/CANDELAE) (Myadestes ralloides venezuelensis)

We saw this Giant Hummingbird at Antisana on our first day. Photo by participant Lance Runion.

SWAINSON'S THRUSH (Catharus ustulatus) [b]
PALE-EYED THRUSH (Turdus leucops) [*]
BLACK-BILLED THRUSH (AMAZONIAN) (Turdus ignobilis debilis)
GREAT THRUSH (Turdus fuscater quindio) – The common thrush of the highlands, in many habitats.
GLOSSY-BLACK THRUSH (Turdus serranus fuscobrunneus) – Scoped as they sang from high perches at San Isidro.
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
PARAMO PIPIT (BOGOTENSIS GROUP) (Anthus bogotensis bogotensis) – Seen well stalking about in the high paramo grasslands at Antisana.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
CHESTNUT-BREASTED CHLOROPHONIA (Chlorophonia pyrrhophrys) [*]
GOLDEN-RUMPED EUPHONIA (Euphonia cyanocephala pelzelni)
BRONZE-GREEN EUPHONIA (Euphonia mesochrysa mesochrysa) – Good looks at a male - with its bright yellow frontlet - in the foothills.
ORANGE-BELLIED EUPHONIA (Euphonia xanthogaster brevirostris)
HOODED SISKIN (Spinus magellanicus capitalis)
OLIVACEOUS SISKIN (Spinus olivaceus) [*]
Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)
SHORT-BILLED CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus parvirostris huallagae) – Lance and I had quick views along the Guacamayos trail.
COMMON CHLOROSPINGUS (NORTHERN ANDES) (Chlorospingus flavopectus phaeocephalus)
YELLOW-BROWED SPARROW (Ammodramus aurifrons aurifrons)
GRAY-BROWED BRUSHFINCH (Arremon assimilis assimilis)
RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (RUFOUS-COLLARED) (Zonotrichia capensis costaricensis)
SLATY BRUSHFINCH (SLATY) (Atlapetes schistaceus schistaceus) – We dragged this fancy little brushfinch out with the flocks at Guango for nice views, and that ferruginous cap really stands out!
PALE-NAPED BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes pallidinucha papallactae) – Shoulder-to-shoulder with the previous species!

Blackburnian Warblers were really common, but that was just fine! It's fun to see these colorful northern breeders on their wintering grounds. Photo by participant Lance Runion.

Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
YELLOW-BILLED CACIQUE (CHAPMAN'S) (Amblycercus holosericeus australis) [*]
RUSSET-BACKED OROPENDOLA (RUSSET-BACKED) (Psarocolius angustifrons angustifrons) – The common oropendola around San Isidro.
CRESTED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius decumanus decumanus) – A few in the foothills.
SCARLET-RUMPED CACIQUE (SUBTROPICAL) (Cacicus uropygialis uropygialis) – Seen daily on the dining room railing as they gleaned insects.
YELLOW-RUMPED CACIQUE (AMAZONIAN) (Cacicus cela cela) – Dawn and I caught quick views of this one in the foothills; mainly a bird of lower elevations.
MOUNTAIN CACIQUE (GOLDEN-SHOULDERED) (Cacicus chrysonotus leucoramphus) – Active and nesting around Guango.
SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis)
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER (Setophaga fusca) – Dirt common! [b]
THREE-STRIPED WARBLER (THREE-STRIPED) (Basileuterus tristriatus baezae)
CITRINE WARBLER (NORTHERN) (Myiothlypis luteoviridis luteoviridis) [*]
BLACK-CRESTED WARBLER (Myiothlypis nigrocristata)
RUSSET-CROWNED WARBLER (Myiothlypis coronata orientalis)
CANADA WARBLER (Cardellina canadensis) [b]
SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus ballux)
SPECTACLED REDSTART (Myioborus melanocephalus ruficoronatus)
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra rubra) [b]
SCARLET TANAGER (Piranga olivacea) [b]
GOLDEN GROSBEAK (Pheucticus chrysogaster chrysogaster) [*]
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
MAGPIE TANAGER (Cissopis leverianus leverianus) – The longest tanager, and one we saw well a few times in the foothills.

We found Black-backed Bush Tanagers above Papallacta in the mixed flocks. Photo by participant Lance Runion.

WHITE-CAPPED TANAGER (Sericossypha albocristata) – We called in a loud family group along the Guacamayos trail which was no less than thrilling.
RUFOUS-CRESTED TANAGER (Creurgops verticalis) – Quick looks at one on the S. slope of the Guacamayos.
BLACK-CAPPED HEMISPINGUS (BLACK-CAPPED) (Kleinothraupis atropileus atropileus) – A well-marked hemispingus that we saw well in the Guacamayos.
BLACK-EARED HEMISPINGUS (BLACK-EARED) (Sphenopsis melanotis melanotis) – Common in the bamboo stands around Guango and San Isidro.
SUPERCILIARIED HEMISPINGUS (SUPERCILIARIED) (Thlypopsis superciliaris nigrifrons) – Wonderful encounters with a mixed flock near Papallacta as they called and fed about.
WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus) – Nice looks at a pair in the foothills.
SILVER-BEAKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus carbo carbo)
HOODED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Buthraupis montana cucullata) – A large mountain-tanager; we got our first looks at them around Guango. The one with the red eye.
BLACK-CHESTED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Cnemathraupis eximia chloronota) – One of my favorite mountain-tanagers since it is a real beauty, occurs in beautiful temperate forest habitat, and can be a challenge to find. We found them just as the mid-morning activity was about to wane up above Papallacta.
GRASS-GREEN TANAGER (Chlorornis riefferii riefferii) – Superb views in the Guacamayos right at eye level.
LACRIMOSE MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (PALPEBROSUS GROUP) (Anisognathus lacrymosus palpebrosus) – We had them practically at our feet in the Guacamayos.
SCARLET-BELLIED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (SCARLET-BELLIED) (Anisognathus igniventris erythrotus) – A stunner from any angle!
BLUE-WINGED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (BLUE-WINGED) (Anisognathus somptuosus baezae) – The common MT at middle elevations.
BLUE-AND-YELLOW TANAGER (GREEN-MANTLED) (Pipraeidea bonariensis darwinii) – Common in the gardens of the San Jose.
ORANGE-EARED TANAGER (ORANGE-EARED) (Chlorochrysa calliparaea bourcieri) – Wow! This species just glimmers shining green from all angles.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (WHITE-EDGED) (Thraupis episcopus coelestis)
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum melanoptera)
YELLOW-BELLIED TANAGER (Ixothraupis xanthogastra) – Brief views in the foothills, but they were jumpy.

This Culpeo Fox is wearing a radio-collar; it has a slightly embarrassed expression, like it's unsure about the whole thing! Photo by participant Lance Runion.

SPOTTED TANAGER (Ixothraupis punctata zamorae) – Came right in to some close trees in the foothills. This is a pretty snazzy tanager when seen well.
BLACK-CAPPED TANAGER (Stilpnia heinei)
SCRUB TANAGER (Stilpnia vitriolina) – Common in garden habitats of the central valley.
BLUE-NECKED TANAGER (Stilpnia cyanicollis caeruleocephala) – That blue head is just unreal.
BLUE-AND-BLACK TANAGER (BLUE-AND-BLACK) (Tangara vassorii vassorii)
BERYL-SPANGLED TANAGER (Tangara nigroviridis nigroviridis) – Right from the dining room porch at San Isidro.
PARADISE TANAGER (Tangara chilensis chilensis) – I think that if any more colors were crammed into this species, it might explode!
GOLDEN-EARED TANAGER (Tangara chrysotis) – We had a pair dance around us for nice views in the Guacamayos; this one of the most attractive of the Tangaras in my opinion.
SAFFRON-CROWNED TANAGER (Tangara xanthocephala venusta) – Dripping from the trees at San Isidro!
FLAME-FACED TANAGER (FLAME-FACED) (Tangara parzudakii parzudakii) – A lovely tanager with that red and yellow head pattern.
GOLDEN TANAGER (PULCHRA GROUP) (Tangara arthus aequatorialis)
SWALLOW TANAGER (Tersina viridis occidentalis)
BLACK-FACED DACNIS (Dacnis lineata) [*]
BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana)
GOLDEN-COLLARED HONEYCREEPER (Iridophanes pulcherrimus pulcherrimus) – Lance and I were the only ones to get this one before it slipped away.
GIANT CONEBILL (Conirostrum binghami) – A specialist of the high elevation Polylepis forests that we finally picked-off at the eleventh hour before heading down into the central valley on the last day. Almost nuthatch-like, this species makes a living probing for arthropods that live under the flaky bark of Polylepis trees. It was certainly a thrilling moment when these guys responded, and then came in for point-blank studies!
BLUE-BACKED CONEBILL (Conirostrum sitticolor sitticolor) – A handsome conebill of highland forests that we saw really well with our rocking flock above Papallacta.
CAPPED CONEBILL (BLUE-CAPPED) (Conirostrum albifrons atrocyaneum)
GLOSSY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa lafresnayii) – The all black flowerpiercer with the bluish shoulder patch.

Giant Conebills are specialists of the Polylepis forest. We found them on our last day, almost at the last minute, but had really great views! Photo by participant Lance Runion.

BLACK FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa humeralis aterrima)
WHITE-SIDED FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa albilatera albilatera)
RUSTY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa sittoides decorata) – Nice views of a male in the gardens at the San Jose.
DEEP-BLUE FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa glauca tyrianthina) – A really attractive flowerpiercer with that royal blue plumage and bright yellow eye; we had them for memorable views on the slopes of the Guacamayos.
BLUISH FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa caerulescens media) – Common around San Isidro.
MASKED FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa cyanea cyanea)
PLUSHCAP (Catamblyrhynchus diadema diadema) – We found a pair with our world-class flock above Papallacta, and they responded for a while, allowing some nice views, before they slipped back into the forest understory.
BLACK-BACKED BUSH TANAGER (Urothraupis stolzmanni) – With the flocks in the temperate zone above Papallacta.
PLUMBEOUS SIERRA-FINCH (Geospizopsis unicolor geospizopsis)
GRAY-HOODED BUSH TANAGER (RUBRIROSTRIS) (Cnemoscopus rubrirostris rubrirostris) – At Guango with the flocks, wagging their tails the entire time!
SAFFRON FINCH (Sicalis flaveola)
CHESTNUT-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila castaneiventris)
CHESTNUT-BELLIED SEED-FINCH (Sporophila angolensis torrida)
PLAIN-COLORED SEEDEATER (Catamenia inornata minor)
BANANAQUIT (CONTINENTAL) (Coereba flaveola intermedia)
BUFF-THROATED SALTATOR (Saltator maximus) [*]
GRAYISH SALTATOR (AMAZONIAN) (Saltator coerulescens azarae) [*]

BRAZILIAN RABBIT (Sylvilagus brasiliensis) – Scurrying about in the paramo highlands.
RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis)

This spectacular male Long-tailed Sylph struck just the right pose, and participant Lance Runion was at just the right place to capture this stunning portrait. What a gorgeous bird!

BLACK AGOUTI (Dasyprocta fuliginosa) – A daily sight around the gardens at San Isidro where they gobble up corn at the feeders 24/7!
CULPEO FOX (Lycalopex culpaeus) – We encountered one collared individual; must be part of a monitoring study.
SPECTACLED BEAR (Tremarctos ornatus) – Incredible studies of this rare Andean mammal on our last day as we descended back into the central valley. We located a large male feeding on the hearts of terrestrial bromeliads just off the highway... what a way to end the trip!!!
KINKAJOU (Potos flavus) – Spotted one evening at San Isidro as it worked its way through the overhead trees during some evening birding.
MOUNTAIN TAPIR (Tapirus pinchaque) – The salt feeding station at San Isidro has really been the bomb of late for this large and rare mammal species. I could not believe our luck during breakfast one morning when two individuals came in for spectacular studies!
WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus) – Common in the Antisana area.


Totals for the tour: 324 bird taxa and 8 mammal taxa