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Field Guides Tour Report
Jun 8, 2012 to Jun 17, 2012
Mitch Lysinger

For only a week long trip, Montane Ecuador really packs in a whopping number of species, and in only surprisingly short distances from Quito; it is always nice to minimize travel and maximize the birding! With two nights at Tandayapa Bird Lodge, and four at Cabanas San Isidro, we are really able to scour the middle and upper elevations... and this we did!

Tandayapa Lodge, situated in the Tandayapa Valley (along the fabled old Nono-Mindo road), perches atop a picturesque knoll surrounded by lush, lower montane forest. One of the current highlights here is the bird blind that attracts a number of interesting and hard to find understory species, such as White-throated Quail-Dove. The lodge's proximity to other key Choco birding spots makes it an ideal spot as a base for birding the west slope. Cabanas San Isidro surrounds itself by a vast cloud forest reserve, right at middle elevations - about 2,000 meters elevation - on the east slope, which is perfect for reaching the lower montane zones and even paramo/temperate highlands, such as the Antisana Reserve and Cayambe-Coca National Park. The gardens that surround the cabins, the forested roadsides, and trails that radiate out from the cabins are just the beginning of a tremendous birding experience loaded with birds. The antpittas that trot into the worm feeders here are a real thrill

Best birds? Picking highlights is often a very personal affair, but there were some clear runaway favorites, which I'll do my best to cite here... so here it goes: that soaring adult Andean Condor at Yanacocha; a pair of Rufous-bellied Seedsnipes in the high paramo; fantastic views at that long-tailed Lyre-tailed Nightjar; two Andean Potoos at San Isidro; gobs of beautiful hummers, but I think the sylphs really tagged in as favorites; gaudy Toucan Barbets and Plate-billed Mountain-Toucans on the middle elevation slopes of the west; that pair of Powerful Woodpeckers at San Isidro on our penultimate day; an impressive seven antpittas seen, but I'll have to pick the Scaled at Tandayapa's blind, and the White-bellied and Chestnut-crowned at San Isidro's worm feeders as tops; I just have to mention a flycatcher, so I think that Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant on the last day in the paramo is fitting and fancy enough!; two male Black-chested Fruiteaters in the scope on one afternoon at San Isidro; a courting pair of Dusky Pihas in the Guacamayos engaging in some rarely heard wing displays... wow; male Club-winged Manakins at Milpe at the lek; a close pair of rare Beautiful Jays near Tandayapa; wonderful views at a Giant Conebill in the high elevation Polylepis woodlands on our last day; a numbing array of colorful tanagers... but how about White-capped, Vermilion, Orange-eared, Golden-eared, Grass-green, Flame-faced, and Blue-browed!?; but don't forget those stunning mountain-tanagers, like Black-chested and Scarlet-breasted... wow!; and finally, a pair of the rare and range-restricted Tanager Finch up on the Tandayapa Ridge for knock-out studies... simply amazing!

I think this sums up the bird greats pretty well, but there were so many more; if I kept singling out favorites, I'd end up almost re-writing the list that follows! So, read on... and enjoy.

I had a wonderful time enjoying Ecuador's birding wonders with you over our tremendously successful week! Let's get together again sometime on another far-flung trip!


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

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
TORRENT DUCK (Merganetta armata colombiana) – We cut it close on this one, but finally managed to scrounge a female at Guango on our last day!
ANDEAN TEAL (Anas andium) – Fairly common on high Andean lakes.
RUDDY DUCK (ANDEAN) (Oxyura jamaicensis ferruginea) – Distant scope views up on Lake Sucus after a steep, uphill hike!
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
SICKLE-WINGED GUAN (Chamaepetes goudotii) – We ran into a small group along Tandayapa's trail one morning for nice views.
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
DARK-BACKED WOOD-QUAIL (Odontophorus melanonotus) [*]
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
SILVERY GREBE (JUNINENSIS) (Podiceps occipitalis juninensis) – Seen distantly through the scope on Lake Sucus above Papallacta... but we could make out the black in the head!
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
CATTLE EGRET (IBIS) (Bubulcus ibis ibis)
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
ANDEAN CONDOR (Vultur gryphus) – It was a high-flying bird, but the looks weren't bad at all when it came drifting over us at Yanacocha!
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
BLACK-CHESTED BUZZARD-EAGLE (Geranoaetus melanoleucus australis) – Some really nice views at this majestic eagle (an adult) as we made our way up to the Papallacta Pass.
SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (PLAIN-BREASTED) (Accipiter striatus ventralis) – We caught a soaring bird when it hit the thermals at San Isidro. Too bad they re-lumped this South American form with the migratory North American birds!
BARRED HAWK (Leucopternis princeps) – We had a nice hawk show at San Isidro on our first morning, and had pretty good looks at this large hawk when it came up to soar.
ROADSIDE HAWK (Buteo magnirostris magnirostris) – A common hawk of more cleared habitats; we had one on the west slope.
WHITE-RUMPED HAWK (Buteo leucorrhous) – The light was tricky, but we had ok views of one at San Isidro as it soared by. At least we could make out that it was all dark!
WHITE-THROATED HAWK (Buteo albigula) – In small numbers this time of the year when they migrate up from southern South America. [a]
VARIABLE HAWK (VARIABLE) (Buteo polyosoma polyosoma) – A large Buteo of the highlands and paramos. We enjoyed some fine views of them a few times, especially when we found one devouring that rabbit in the paramo.
BLACK-AND-CHESTNUT EAGLE (Spizaetus isidori) – I've had a hard time finding this one of late, but we were lucky to have seen them on two days. Our second sighting was the best when we were able to make out the patches of white in the wings and tail.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
COLLARED FOREST-FALCON (Micrastur semitorquatus semitorquatus) [*]
CARUNCULATED CARACARA (Phalcoboenus carunculatus) – Good looks at this handsome caracara in the paramos above Papallacta.
AMERICAN KESTREL (COLOMBIAN) (Falco sparverius aequatorialis)
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
SLATE-COLORED COOT (Fulica ardesiaca) – A few of this chunky coot out on Lake Sucus.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
SOUTHERN LAPWING (NORTHERN) (Vanellus chilensis cayennensis) – A small population have taken up residence in some wet pastures near San Isidro; previous to this only known to be a lowland bird. We had some nice scope studies of this elegantly plumaged bird.
ANDEAN LAPWING (Vanellus resplendens) – A bit of a bonus, because this is not a common bird on our route. We had one for good looks up in the paramo on our last day when we went up for another go at the seedsnipe.
Thinocoridae (Seedsnipes)
RUFOUS-BELLIED SEEDSNIPE (Attagis gayi latreillii) – I don't think that there is any doubt that this was one of the highlights of the trip! We really worked hard for this high elevation paramo bird, missing it on our first attempt. But hey, persistence paid off, and we clinched really nice views of a pair right up at the antennas on a glorious last afternoon... nice! The intricate, vermiculated plumage pattern of this species reminds me of the feathering of owls.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
PLUMBEOUS PIGEON (Patagioenas plumbea) [*]
RUDDY PIGEON (Patagioenas subvinacea) – Good looks at this red-eyed species on our last day near Baeza.
EARED DOVE (Zenaida auriculata hypoleuca) – Common in the central valley highlands. Eve notice how the birds around Quito are darker, perhaps covered in exhaust soot?
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (DECOLOR) (Leptotila verreauxi decolor) – Fairly commonly seen along trails and roadsides in the west.
WHITE-THROATED QUAIL-DOVE (Geotrygon frenata bourcieri) – Quail-doves are tough bunch to see as they are so adept at sneaking around on the forest floor. The blind at Tandayapa is really a bonanza, and affords great opportunities to see stealthy, deep forest forest species such as this!
Psittacidae (Parrots)
MAROON-TAILED PARAKEET (Pyrrhura melanura pacifica) – Heard at Milpe. [*]
BARRED PARAKEET (Bolborhynchus lineola tigrinus) – Mostly heard, but we did catch quick views at a small group of them on the wing at San Isidro.
RED-BILLED PARROT (Pionus sordidus corallinus) – A common bird of the montane zone, but not always easy to see well as they are often in flight. We did however get good looks a time or two.
SPECKLE-FACED PARROT (WHITE-CAPPED) (Pionus tumultuosus seniloides) – Nice perched views at a large group near San Isidro one afternoon.
BRONZE-WINGED PARROT (Pionus chalcopterus) – Most parrots are green; these guys are a deep royal blue! We had some nice scope views at Milpe.
SCALY-NAPED PARROT (Amazona mercenaria) – Nice in-flight views around San Isidro.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (NIGRICRISSA) (Piaya cayana nigricrissa) – Good looks at Milpe on our afternoon there.
Strigidae (Owls)
GREAT HORNED OWL (GREAT HORNED) (Bubo virginianus nigrescens) [*]
MOTTLED OWL (Ciccaba virgata) [*]
"BLACK-BANDED" OWL TYPE (Ciccaba sp. nov. 1) – Much has been written in previous triplists about this bird, so I won't rehash here! We had them right around the lodge at San Isidro for excellent studies! Whatever it ends up being, it is a gorgeous owl!
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LYRE-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Uropsalis lyra lyra) – Outstanding views at a long-tailed male, in flight, near Tandayapa one evening!
Nyctibiidae (Potoos)
ANDEAN POTOO (Nyctibius maculosus) – Not one, but two birds at dusk along the roadside at San Isidro for superb studies in the spotlight! Always a thrill to see as it is a rare and low density species.
Apodidae (Swifts)
WHITE-CHESTED SWIFT (Cypseloides lemosi) – Long thought to be a Colombian endemic, but as it turns out, this species is actually not really that rare here in Ecuador, such as around San Isidro. We had them zipping overhead for good looks, seeing the white chest-patch.
SPOT-FRONTED SWIFT (Cypseloides cherriei) [*]
CHESTNUT-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne rutila brunnitorques) – Common in the highlands, but seeing the chestnut collar can be a challenge!
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris) – The common and very large swift, found from the lowlands all they way up to the paramos.
WHITE-TIPPED SWIFT (Aeronautes montivagus montivagus) – Seen mid-morning near Tandayapa when the swifts started to soar.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora) – A striking hummer that we had good looks at during our stints at Tandayapa's feeders.
WHITE-WHISKERED HERMIT (Phaethornis yaruqui) – Most common at Milpe's feeders.
TAWNY-BELLIED HERMIT (Phaethornis syrmatophorus) – A few times when they buzzed in.
WEDGE-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD (Schistes geoffroyi albogularis) – Excellent scope views of one at the small lek along Tandayapa's trails.
BROWN VIOLETEAR (Colibri delphinae) – Common in smaller numbers at Tandayapa's feeders.
GREEN VIOLETEAR (ANDEAN) (Colibri thalassinus cyanotus) – It was a treat to have all three violetears present at Tandayapa's feeders for comparison. This was the smaller one that lacks the green in the throat and on the belly.
SPARKLING VIOLETEAR (Colibri coruscans coruscans) – Large than the previous species, and much more glittering.
GORGETED SUNANGEL (Heliangelus strophianus) – Very briefly along the Tandayapa Ridge.
TOURMALINE SUNANGEL (Heliangelus exortis) – Abundant and dominant at Guango's feeders.
GREEN THORNTAIL (Discosura conversii) – A tiny hummer that is common at Milpe's feeders.
SPECKLED HUMMINGBIRD (Adelomyia melanogenys) – Most common at San Isidro's feeders... the runt!
LONG-TAILED SYLPH (Aglaiocercus kingi mocoa) – Male sylphs are a sight to behold; their long, glittering tails are just magnificent! We had some wonderful encounters in the west with this species.
VIOLET-TAILED SYLPH (Aglaiocercus coelestis coelestis) – Replaces the previous species in the east, and equally impressive. We had breath-taking, long-tailed males at Guango and San Isidro.
MOUNTAIN AVOCETBILL (Opisthoprora euryptera) – A rare and local species found in the understory of temperate forests on the east slope. Occasionally they hit the feeders at Guango, and we hit it just right when we spotted one there, sipping away for a bit for nice views.
BLACK-TAILED TRAINBEARER (Lesbia victoriae victoriae) – Satisfying views of a male in the central valley as we headed up to the Papallacta Pass... what a tail!
TYRIAN METALTAIL (Metallura tyrianthina) – A common highland hummer that we saw well at Yanacocha and Guango, at the feeders. This was the one with the purple-rufous tail.
VIRIDIAN METALTAIL (Metallura williami primolinus) – Replaces the previous species at higher elevations on the east slope, such as in the treeline forests around Papallacta. We had some nice views at this deep green species in the Cayambe-Coca National park.
GLOWING PUFFLEG (Eriocnemis vestita smaragdinipectus) – The hummer with the metallic-green rump that we had awesome views of at Guango's feeders.
SAPPHIRE-VENTED PUFFLEG (SAPPHIRE-VENTED) (Eriocnemis luciani luciani) – Common at Yanacocha's feeders. We were able to get good looks at them to see the bluish crown and purple vent.
GOLDEN-BREASTED PUFFLEG (Eriocnemis mosquera) – Present in smaller numbers at Yanacocha's feeders, but we still connected with them for nice views. This one lacks the color in the crown and vent, but has that rich orange in the chest.
SHINING SUNBEAM (Aglaeactis cupripennis cupripennis) – The mostly orange, highland hummer that we saw first at Yanacocha.
BRONZY INCA (Coeligena coeligena obscura) – Common at San Isidro's feeders. Not a real looker, but an east slope specialty!
BROWN INCA (Coeligena wilsoni) – The mostly brown hummer with the white neck patches that we saw at Tandayapa's feeders.
COLLARED INCA (Coeligena torquata) – A hummingbird dressed in a tuxedo!
BUFF-WINGED STARFRONTLET (Coeligena lutetiae) – Most common at Yanacocha's feeders.
MOUNTAIN VELVETBREAST (Lafresnaya lafresnayi saul) – Quick views at Yanacocha's feeders, where it is always wary. The one with the decurved bill and white in the tail.
SWORD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD (Ensifera ensifera) – A true wonder of nature... how could a bird like this possibly have evolved??? Must really like those flowers with long corollas! We had them a few times at Yanacocha's and Guango's feeders.
GREAT SAPPHIREWING (Pterophanes cyanopterus cyanopterus) – Spectacular studies at males and females at Yanacocha's feeders.
BUFF-TAILED CORONET (Boissonneaua flavescens flavescens) – The nominate form of the east slope, with the larger and paler patches in the tail. We had them well at Guango's feeders.
BUFF-TAILED CORONET (Boissonneaua flavescens tinochlora) – A common feeder bird at Tandayapa. This west slope form has a buffier tinge to the tail.
CHESTNUT-BREASTED CORONET (Boissonneaua matthewsii) – Common at the feeders at Guango and San Isidro, where they hog the feeders.
VELVET-PURPLE CORONET (Boissonneaua jardini) – Occurs at a narrow elevational band on the west slope in very humid cloud forest. We enjoyed some time with them for excellent studies at Mindo Loma's feeders.
BOOTED RACKET-TAIL (Ocreatus underwoodii melanantherus) – Tennis anyone? Is this a motmot wanna-be, or what? This is without doubt one of the most incredible, must-see hummers of the Andes. We had them from every possible angle at Tandayapa's feeders.
WHITE-TAILED HILLSTAR (Urochroa bougueri leucura) – We saw the east slope form quite well on the slopes of the Guacamayos.
PURPLE-BIBBED WHITETIP (Urosticte benjamini) – Many of these hummers used to be very hard to find, and then even see well before the advent of the feeders situation, and this is certainly one of them; we used to only catch them at times feeding at the white flowering Inga trees. Ah, how times have changed! We enjoyed some excellent views at this looker at Tandayapa.
FAWN-BREASTED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa rubinoides) – This pink-throated species was seen very well at the feeders on both slopes.
GREEN-CROWNED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa jacula jamesoni) – Common at Milpe's feeders.
EMPRESS BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa imperatrix) – Another one that was rarely seen - at least, anyway - before feeders became popular. We had them for excellent views at Mindo Loma.
GIANT HUMMINGBIRD (Patagona gigas peruviana) – Size-wise, the king of all hummers; they look almost more like swifts in flight! We had our best looks at this "giant" at my house in Tumbaco, where it regularly hits the feeders.
WHITE-BELLIED WOODSTAR (Chaetocercus mulsant) – This pot-bellied little hummer is common in small numbers at Guango's feeders.
PURPLE-THROATED WOODSTAR (Calliphlox mitchellii) – Slimmer than the previous species, and a common bird at Tandayapa's feeders.
WESTERN EMERALD (Chlorostilbon melanorhynchus melanorhynchus) – Nice looks at them in the central valley.
GREEN-CROWNED WOODNYMPH (GREEN-CROWNED) (Thalurania fannyi verticeps) – A richly-colored green and purple hummer that we had at arm's length at Milpe's feeders.
ANDEAN EMERALD (Amazilia franciae viridiceps) – The snowy-bellied hummer, with the aqua crown, that was common at the feeders in the west.
RUFOUS-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (RUFOUS-TAILED) (Amazilia tzacatl jucunda) – The common orange-billed hummer of the west.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
GOLDEN-HEADED QUETZAL (Pharomachrus auriceps auriceps) – An incredible golden-headed male at Tandayapa. Quetzals are always a thrill to see!
MASKED TROGON (Trogon personatus personatus) – The east slope form of middle elevations. This one hangs out around the cabins at San Isidro, where it often perches almost too close to focus.
MASKED TROGON (Trogon personatus assimilis) – The west slope form that we saw at Tandayapa. There has been talk of splitting the various forms, which I why I include them as different taxa here.
Momotidae (Motmots)
ANDEAN MOTMOT (Momotus aequatorialis) – Called "Highland Motmot" in the Birds of Ecuador and now, finally, officially split from the Blue-crowned. We had some nice scope views at this large motmot at San Isidro one afternoon.
Capitonidae (New World Barbets)
RED-HEADED BARBET (Eubucco bourcierii aequatorialis) – A stunning barbet - especially the male - with that red head and yellow bill! We had them a few times with the flocks on the west slope.
Semnornithidae (Toucan-Barbets)
TOUCAN BARBET (Semnornis ramphastinus ramphastinus) – Dressed like a clown! This mid-elevation, Choco endemic is a very special bird on the west slope of both Ecuador and Colombia. We had some memorable encounters a couple of times.
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
EMERALD TOUCANET (ANDEAN) (Aulacorhynchus prasinus albivitta) – Glimpsed at San Isidro.
CRIMSON-RUMPED TOUCANET (Aulacorhynchus haematopygus sexnotatus) – Seen on our first day along the old Nono-Tandayapa road.
PLATE-BILLED MOUNTAIN-TOUCAN (Andigena laminirostris) – Right up at the Tandayapa Ridge, where they usually are! We had a fantastic encounter with this almost emblematic, highland Choco species.
BLACK-BILLED MOUNTAIN-TOUCAN (Andigena nigrirostris spilorhynchus) – Heard them so close , but they just slipped away! [*]
COLLARED ARACARI (STRIPE-BILLED) (Pteroglossus torquatus erythropygius) – Common around Milpe.
CHOCO TOUCAN (Ramphastos brevis) – Quick views of them at Milpe.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
SMOKY-BROWN WOODPECKER (Picoides fumigatus fumigatus) – Good looks at his mostly brown woodpecker at Tandayapa, where they were attending a nest.
YELLOW-VENTED WOODPECKER (Veniliornis dignus) – Joe had the first views at San Isidro, but we all caught up with one in a flock at San Isidro.
GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus) – On our last day in the Baeza area.
CRIMSON-MANTLED WOODPECKER (Colaptes rivolii brevirostris) – A stunning woodpecker of the highlands that we saw wonderfully on both slopes.
LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus) [*]
POWERFUL WOODPECKER (Campephilus pollens pollens) – One of our big target birds, that we tracked down along the trails at San Isidro one afternoon for really nice views when a pair came in!
GUAYAQUIL WOODPECKER (Campephilus gayaquilensis) – A flyby at Milpe.
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
TAWNY-THROATED LEAFTOSSER (Sclerurus mexicanus) – Excellent views at an individual perched and singing along the trails at Tandayapa.
STOUT-BILLED CINCLODES (Cinclodes excelsior excelsior) – The larger of the two cinclodes species here in Ecuador; this one has the longer, more decurved bill. We had good looks up in the paramos.
CHESTNUT-WINGED CINCLODES (Cinclodes albidiventris) – Called "Bar-winged Cinclodes" in the Birds of Ecuador, but now split several different ways; The birds here can now be referred to "Chestnut-winged". This species is smaller than the Stout-billed, with a more petite bill. We had plenty of them scurrying about in the paramo.
ANDEAN TIT-SPINETAIL (Leptasthenura andicola andicola) – A common, streaky bird of the paramo shrubbery, which we saw well.
AZARA'S SPINETAIL (Synallaxis azarae media) – The common highland spinetail here in Ecuador.
DARK-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis albigularis rodolphei) – We had a responsive bird on the slopes of the Guacamayos for good looks.
RUFOUS SPINETAIL (Synallaxis unirufa unirufa) – This all rufous spinetail was seen well in a bamboo thicket at San Isidro.
WHITE-BROWED SPINETAIL (Hellmayrea gularis) – Glimpsed at Yanacocha.
RED-FACED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca erythrops erythrops) – This arboreal spinetail was common with the flocks in the west.
ASH-BROWED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca curtata) – We dug this one out on our last day near Baeza as it moved through the trees above us.
MANY-STRIPED CANASTERO (Asthenes flammulata flammulata) – Furnariids come in many forms, and this is one of them! Canasteros are more diverse further south in South America... we only have two. This species has a nice mix of streaking and and orange hues, and we had some really nice views up in the paramos above Papallacta.
WHITE-CHINNED THISTLETAIL (Asthenes fuliginosa fuliginosa) [*]
RUSTY-WINGED BARBTAIL (Premnornis guttuligera) – A sneaky understory flock bird. We had them well during our trail birding at Tandayapa.
SPOTTED BARBTAIL (Premnoplex brunnescens brunnescens) – For a skulking understory bird, we had some pretty nice views along Tandayapa's trails!
PEARLED TREERUNNER (Margarornis squamiger perlatus) – A very handsome that moves with flocks in the montane zone; we had them for nice views on most days of the trip.
STREAKED TUFTEDCHEEK (Pseudocolaptes boissonneautii) – A gaudy and large furnariid that moves with mixed species flocks in montane zones; its large white cheek patch makes it unmistakable! We had some quality scope views.
SCALY-THROATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (SPOT-BREASTED) (Anabacerthia variegaticeps temporalis) – Fairly common with the flocks in the west..
MONTANE FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Anabacerthia striaticollis montana) – Replaces the previous species in the east, such as on the slopes of the Guacamayos.
LINEATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Syndactyla subalaris) – With the flocks at San Isidro.
BUFF-FRONTED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Philydor rufum) – A canopy foliage-gleaner that moves with the mixed flocks; we had some responsive birds for nice views at Milpe.
UNIFORM TREEHUNTER (Thripadectes ignobilis) – A quick trot up a trail, along the Nono-Mindo rd., scored us some quick but nice views at this rare, west slope Choco endemic!
STRIPED TREEHUNTER (Thripadectes holostictus) [*]
STREAK-CAPPED TREEHUNTER (Thripadectes virgaticeps) – Nicely at Tandayapa.
FLAMMULATED TREEHUNTER (Thripadectes flammulatus flammulatus) – Good looks at this hard-to-find treehunter along the Guacamayos trail.
TYRANNINE WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla tyrannina tyrannina) [*]
PLAIN-BROWN WOODCREEPER (PLAIN-BROWN) (Dendrocincla fuliginosa ridgwayi) [*]
WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Glyphorynchus spirurus) [*]
STRONG-BILLED WOODCREEPER (ANDEAN/NORTHERN) (Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus promeropirhynchus) – A hulk of a woodcreeper, which we saw well on both slopes.
SPOTTED WOODCREEPER (BERLEPSCH'S) (Xiphorhynchus erythropygius aequatorialis) – With the flocks at Tandayapa and Milpe.
OLIVE-BACKED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus triangularis triangularis) – The east slope replacement of the previous species, which we saw with a flock at San Isidro.
MONTANE WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger aequatorialis) – Common with montane mixed flocks.
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
UNIFORM ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus unicolor unicolor) [*]
SLATY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula schisticolor schisticolor) – It took some work, but we all enjoyed some excellent views at this understory antwren as it moved with the flocks at Tandayapa.
LONG-TAILED ANTBIRD (Drymophila caudata caudata) – A bamboo lover, which we called in for nice looks at San Isidro.
IMMACULATE ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza immaculata macrorhyncha) – Seen really well at the Tandayapa bird blind at dawn when a pair came in to glean insects.
Formicariidae (Antthrushes)
RUFOUS-BREASTED ANTTHRUSH (Formicarius rufipectus) [*]
BARRED ANTTHRUSH (Chamaeza mollissima mollissima) [*]
Grallariidae (Antpittas)
SCALED ANTPITTA (Grallaria guatimalensis) – A bird that is far more heard than seen, but the bird blind at Tandayapa came to our rescue once again for stellar views of this sneaky species when it came hopping in for unbelievable views.
CHESTNUT-CROWNED ANTPITTA (Grallaria ruficapilla ruficapilla) – It took a couple of tries, but our strategy of visiting the worm-fed bird a second time really paid off when one popped up onto the platform for killer views; San Isidro.
CHESTNUT-NAPED ANTPITTA (Grallaria nuchalis) [*]
YELLOW-BREASTED ANTPITTA (Grallaria flavotincta) – We sure tried to see it! [*]
WHITE-BELLIED ANTPITTA (Grallaria hypoleuca) – It was only a matter of minutes until this sly species jumped out onto the trail for memorable views at San Isidro. Who would have ever guessed that these shyest of birds could be tamed down to trot in like chickens?! San Isidro.
RUFOUS ANTPITTA (Grallaria rufula rufula) – The staff at the Yanacocha reserve has done a fine job of taming down their own set of antpittas; once again, some of the traditionally hardest birds have been made easy to see! We had unbeatable views of this one behind the far hummingbird feeders at Yanacocha when it ran in only meters away!
TAWNY ANTPITTA (Grallaria quitensis quitensis) – Ditto!!! Go Yanacocha!
OCHRE-BREASTED ANTPITTA (Grallaricula flavirostris mindoensis) – We called in a responsive bird at Tandayapa for nice looks. This tennis ball-sized bird can be a devil to see.
SLATE-CROWNED ANTPITTA (SLATE-CROWNED) (Grallaricula nana nana) – A relative of the previous species, which we saw well in the bamboo tickets of the Guacamayos trail. We saw seven species of antpitta well this trip... not a bad feat!
Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)
OCELLATED TAPACULO (Acropternis orthonyx infuscatus) [*]
BLACKISH TAPACULO (BLACKISH) (Scytalopus latrans latrans) – Responsive and seen well at San Isidro, right near the dining room!
LONG-TAILED TAPACULO (Scytalopus micropterus) – Good looks at this sneaky species at San Isidro when one crept up into a nearby tree.
NARINO TAPACULO (Scytalopus vicinior) [*]
SPILLMANN'S TAPACULO (Scytalopus spillmanni) – Glimpsed along the Guacamayos trail.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
SOUTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (SOUTHERN) (Camptostoma obsoletum sclateri) – Good looks in the central valley at my house.
WHITE-TAILED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus poecilocercus) – Common with montane flocks.
WHITE-BANDED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus stictopterus stictopterus) – Found higher than the previous species, such as around Guango; we had good looks on the last day.
WHITE-THROATED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus leucophrys rufomarginatis) – Common with high elevation flocks in temperate forests.
SULPHUR-BELLIED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus minor) – With the flocks at San Isidro. I don't think that anybody could have better looks than we did when one came in and stared at us along the roadside at San Isidro, at knee-level!
TUFTED TIT-TYRANT (Anairetes parulus aequatorialis) – Good looks in the central valley scrub near Calacali.
WHITE-CRESTED ELAENIA (WHITE-CRESTED) (Elaenia albiceps griseigularis) – In the gardens at San Isidro.
TORRENT TYRANNULET (Serpophaga cinerea cinerea) – A water-loving bird, almost always near rivers.
STREAK-NECKED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes striaticollis) – With a flock on our last day in the west.
OLIVE-STRIPED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes olivaceus) – Milpe.
RUFOUS-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon rufipectus) – Brief looks with a flock at San Isidro. Harder than usual!
VARIEGATED BRISTLE-TYRANT (Phylloscartes poecilotis) – We worked to get good looks at this one at San Isidro; it can be a tough forest bird to see, but we were victorious!
MARBLE-FACED BRISTLE-TYRANT (Phylloscartes ophthalmicus ophthalmicus) – Glimpsed in the same flock as the previous species.
ASHY-HEADED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias cinereiceps) – We called in a responsive bird on the west slope.
CHOCO TYRANNULET (Zimmerius albigularis) – Recently split from the Golden-faced Tyrannulet of the east mainly due to vocal differences. We had good looks at Milpe.
GOLDEN-FACED TYRANNULET (GOLDEN-FACED) (Zimmerius chrysops chrysops) – Common on the slopes in the east.
ORNATE FLYCATCHER (Myiotriccus ornatus) – It lives up to its name! Seen well at Milpe.
BRONZE-OLIVE PYGMY-TYRANT (Pseudotriccus pelzelni) – Some folks got good looks at this nondescript species in the understory at Tandayapa as it moved with a flock.
RUFOUS-HEADED PYGMY-TYRANT (Pseudotriccus ruficeps) – Fabulous studies of this understory species along the Guacamayos trail.
SCALE-CRESTED PYGMY-TYRANT (Lophotriccus pileatus) [*]
RUFOUS-CROWNED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus ruficeps) – Common in the bamboo patches at San Isidro, where we called them up for nice looks.
CINNAMON FLYCATCHER (Pyrrhomyias cinnamomeus pyrrhopterus) – Common at forest edges.
HANDSOME FLYCATCHER (Nephelomyias pulcher) – Common with flocks along the Guacamayos trail.
FLAVESCENT FLYCATCHER (Myiophobus flavicans flavicans) – Quick views at Tandayapa.
SMOKE-COLORED PEWEE (Contopus fumigatus) – The common pointy-crested pewee on both slopes.
BLACK PHOEBE (WHITE-WINGED) (Sayornis nigricans angustirostris)
VERMILION FLYCATCHER (VERMILION) (Pyrocephalus rubinus piurae) – A nice male at my yard in Tumbaco.
RUFOUS-TAILED TYRANT (Knipolegus poecilurus) – Always in low numbers on the slopes of the Andes, but we had one for good looks in the Guacamayos, where we could even see the red eye.
WHITE-BROWED GROUND-TYRANT (Muscisaxicola albilora) – Fairly common this time of the year in plowed fields of the central valley. [a]
PLAIN-CAPPED GROUND-TYRANT (Muscisaxicola alpinus alpinus) – Prefers paramo highlands, where it forages about in the paramo shrubbery.
BLACK-BILLED SHRIKE-TYRANT (Agriornis montanus solitarius) – Good looks at this white-tailed species on our way up to the Papallacta Pass.
SMOKY BUSH-TYRANT (Myiotheretes fumigatus fumigatus) [*]
RED-RUMPED BUSH-TYRANT (Cnemarchus erythropygius erythropygius) – What a thrill it was to catch up with this scarce highland species in the paramos on our last day!
MASKED WATER-TYRANT (Fluvicola nengeta atripennis) – Running about in the pastures, and even on the road, at Milpe.
CROWNED CHAT-TYRANT (CROWNED) (Ochthoeca frontalis frontalis) – Fabulous views at this shy understory species at Yanacocha.
YELLOW-BELLIED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca diadema gratiosa) – Responsive and very visible along the Tandayapa Ridge!
SLATY-BACKED CHAT-TYRANT (SLATY-BACKED) (Ochthoeca cinnamomeiventris cinnamomeiventris) – We had a great run of the chat-tyrants this trip, seeing ll of the possible species. We had this one along a stream during a stop along the old Nono-Tandayapa road.
RUFOUS-BREASTED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca rufipectoralis obfuscata) – This canopy chat-tyrant gave itself up on our last day at Guango.
BROWN-BACKED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca fumicolor brunneifrons) – The high elevation chat-tyrant that we saw well a couple of times in the paramo shrubbery.
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer) – Milpe.
PALE-EDGED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cephalotes cephalotes) – The common east slope Myiarchus.
RUSTY-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes cayanensis hellmayri) – Common around Milpe.
GOLDEN-CROWNED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes chrysocephalus minor) – Common in the montane zone, such as around Tandayapa.
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus melancholicus)
Cotingidae (Cotingas)
GREEN-AND-BLACK FRUITEATER (Pipreola riefferii) – It took up until our penultimate day to get this one, but finally tagged in with some stellar views along the Guacamayos trail.
BLACK-CHESTED FRUITEATER (Pipreola lubomirskii) – We set out to specifically find this one at San Isidro, and did so in flying colors... in more ways than one. We found a couple of males for quality scope studies that I'm sure we will all remember!
SCALED FRUITEATER (Ampelioides tschudii) – We heard one calling in the distance at Tandayapa, so scurried along the trails until we got to the right spot, and called in a male for really nice looks!
RED-CRESTED COTINGA (Ampelion rubrocristatus) – Sen well a couple of times in the highlands; first at Yanacocha.
ANDEAN COCK-OF-THE-ROCK (Rupicola peruvianus sanguinolentus) – A female seen really well on our first day along the old Nono-Tandayapa rd.
DUSKY PIHA (Lipaugus fuscocinereus) – This was one of my highlights of the trip when we came across a pair calling and displaying along the Guacamayos trail; I had never heard that crazy wing display before (much less recorded it!), so it was a thrill.
Pipridae (Manakins)
GOLDEN-WINGED MANAKIN (Masius chrysopterus) – Nice looks at a calling male along the trails at Tandayapa for scope views.
CLUB-WINGED MANAKIN (Machaeropterus deliciosus) – Fabulous views at the males at a lek at Milpe.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
BARRED BECARD (Pachyramphus versicolor versicolor) – With the flocks at San Isidro.
CINNAMON BECARD (Pachyramphus cinnamomeus cinnamomeus) – Common at Milpe.
WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus dorsalis) – A yard bird at Tandayapa.
Vireonidae (Vireos)
BROWN-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo leucophrys) – Common with the montane flocks on both slopes.
RED-EYED VIREO (RESIDENT CHIVI) (Vireo olivaceus griseobarbatus) – Gobs of them at Milpe.
BLACK-BILLED PEPPERSHRIKE (Cyclarhis nigrirostris nigrirostris) – The resident pair at San Isidro.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
BEAUTIFUL JAY (Cyanolyca pulchra) – I just knew that the trip was going to be a great one when we found this rare jay near Tandayapa on our first day. It took some time to call them closer, but when we did, it was well worth the effort. We enjoyed some stunning views of this scarce jay at close range, setting a precedent that would continue for the rest of the trip.
TURQUOISE JAY (Cyanolyca turcosa) – Also seen on our first day... how could we go wrong?
GREEN JAY (INCA) (Cyanocorax yncas yncas) – Common around the cabins at San Isidro.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (CYANOLEUCA) (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca cyanoleuca)
BROWN-BELLIED SWALLOW (Orochelidon murina murina) – The common swallow at high elevations.
WHITE-THIGHED SWALLOW (Atticora tibialis minima) – The small brown swallow that we saw at Milpe.
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis) – Chunkier than the previous species, and with a whiter rump.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
RUFOUS WREN (Cinnycerthia unirufa unirufa) – Good looks at some family groups at Yanacocha.
SHARPE'S WREN (Cinnycerthia olivascens olivascens) – Replaces the previous species at lower elevations. We saw them in family groups for good looks on both slopes.
PLAIN-TAILED WREN (Pheugopedius euophrys) – A loud wren that has a wonderful, dueted song. We called in a pair that circled us for good looks at San Isidro.
HOUSE WREN (SOUTHERN) (Troglodytes aedon albicans)
MOUNTAIN WREN (Troglodytes solstitialis solstitialis) – The more arboreal cousin of the previous species, that we saw at Guango and San Isidro.
SEDGE WREN (POLYGLOTTUS GROUP) (Cistothorus platensis aequatorialis) – One of our first birds of the trip when we called on in out of the paramo grasslands near Yanacocha.
GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucophrys leucophrys) – Heard in humid forest up and and down the Andes on every day, but seen very well a couple of times.
Cinclidae (Dippers)
WHITE-CAPPED DIPPER (Cinclus leucocephalus leuconotus) – We got nice looks at a pair early on when during our trip down from Yanacocha to Tandayapa.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
ANDEAN SOLITAIRE (Myadestes ralloides) – Quick flyby at San Isidro.
PALE-EYED THRUSH (Turdus leucops) [*]
ECUADORIAN THRUSH (Turdus maculirostris) – Tandayapa area where found in more secondary habitats.
CHESTNUT-BELLIED THRUSH (Turdus fulviventris) – We lucked into this east slope thrush - looking much like an American Robin - in the Guacamayos.
GREAT THRUSH (Turdus fuscater quindio)
GLOSSY-BLACK THRUSH (Turdus serranus fuscobrunneus) – Like a small version of the previous species, but more blacker, with more rich orange soft part colors. This one also tends to be more of a forest based species.
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
PARAMO PIPIT (Anthus bogotensis bogotensis) – Nice looks on our first morning in the grasslands on our way up to Yanacocha.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
OLIVE-CROWNED YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis semiflava semiflava) – We pulled this one up out of a pasture at Milpe for quality studies.
TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi) – Common in a wide variety of habitats.
THREE-STRIPED WARBLER (Basileuterus tristriatus) – Seen first with the understory flocks at Tandayapa.
CITRINE WARBLER (Myiothlypis luteoviridis luteoviridis) – A very cooperative pair in the Guacamayos. This is a pretty low density, forest based species that often moves with mixed flocks in the understory.
BLACK-CRESTED WARBLER (Myiothlypis nigrocristatus) – Common in secondary habitats in montane, humid areas.
GOLDEN-BELLIED WARBLER (CHOCO) (Myiothlypis chrysogaster chlorophrys) – Pretty common with the understory flocks at Milpe, where we had some really nice and close studies.
RUSSET-CROWNED WARBLER (Myiothlypis coronatus elatus) – The yellower-bellied west slope form that we saw at Tandayapa. Most curious was the bird that I saw at San Isidro - east slope - that appeared to be a clean west slope bird... wanderer?
RUSSET-CROWNED WARBLER (Myiothlypis coronatus orientalis) – This east slope form is grayer underneath We had them well right in the gardens at San Isidro.
SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus) – A common bird with flocks in the subtropics and foothills on both slopes.
SPECTACLED REDSTART (Myioborus melanocephalus ruficoronatus) – Replaces the previous species at higher elevations, such as in temperate forests and paramo edge habitats, but they do narrowly overlap.
Coerebidae (Bananaquit)
BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola) – Seen at the Milpe feeders.
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
WHITE-CAPPED TANAGER (Sericossypha albocristata) – This seems to be a nomadic species; sometimes they are easily found around San Isidro, while during other periods they seem to be absent. We hit it right and had family groups on two days for excellent views. The heaviest tanager. And yes, it has been proven to be a true tanager indeed; for years there was debate as to whether it might even belong with the jays or even blackbirds.
RUFOUS-CRESTED TANAGER (Creurgops verticalis) – Nicely with the canopy flocks in the Guacamayos.
BLACK-CAPPED HEMISPINGUS (BLACK-CAPPED) (Hemispingus atropileus atropileus) – A chunky understory hemispingus that we had great looks at along the Guacamayos trail and at Guango as it moved with mixed flocks.
OLEAGINOUS HEMISPINGUS (Hemispingus frontalis frontalis) – We spotted this very drab species as a small group foraged with a midstory flock along the roadside in the Guacamayos.
BLACK-EARED HEMISPINGUS (BLACK-EARED) (Hemispingus melanotis melanotis) – The true black-eared form of the east slope that can almost always be found in stands of Chusquea bamboo. We had them well at San Isidro.
BLACK-EARED HEMISPINGUS (WESTERN) (Hemispingus melanotis ochraceus) – The Birds of Ecuador splits out this rather drab form of this group, calling it the "Western Hemispingus". We had nice looks at a calling pair along the old Nono-Mindo rd. one afternoon.
GRAY-HOODED BUSH TANAGER (RUBRIROSTRIS) (Cnemoscopus rubrirostris rubrirostris) – A tail flicker that hangs out with canopy flocks in the temperate zone. We had some nice studies of them with the flocks at Guango.
CINEREOUS CONEBILL (Conirostrum cinereum fraseri) – The conebill with the pale brow and wing-spot, that we saw on our first day at Yanacocha.
BLUE-BACKED CONEBILL (Conirostrum sitticolor sitticolor) – Seen really well with the canopy flocks in the temperate zone on both slopes.
CAPPED CONEBILL (Conirostrum albifrons atrocyaneum) – We had our first good looks at this canopy flock species along the old Nono-Mindo rd. one afternoon.
GIANT CONEBILL (Oreomanes fraseri) – A stunning conebill that we hunted down on our last day up near the Papallacta Pass for very good looks. This species is a specialist in the high elevation Polylepis woodlands, where it pokes about under the flaky bark for arthropods.
PLUSHCAP (Catamblyrhynchus diadema diadema) – Nice looks at this bamboo understory species with a flock along the old Nono-Mindo rd.
BLACK-BACKED BUSH TANAGER (Urothraupis stolzmanni) – Another nice eleventh hour score when we found a foraging group of them in the high elevation paramo-edge shrubbery!
WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus) – On the slopes of the Guacamayos.
SILVER-BEAKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus carbo carbo) – Common in the secondary growth in the lower montane zone of the east slope where it reaches its highest elevations.
FLAME-RUMPED TANAGER (LEMON-RUMPED) (Ramphocelus flammigerus icteronotus) – Abundant in secondary woodlands of the west.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus quaesita) – The duller west slope form.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus coelestis) – This east slope subspecies has the white shoulder bar.
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum) – Common in humid areas on both slopes; mainly restricted to lower elevations.
BLUE-CAPPED TANAGER (Thraupis cyanocephala cyanocephala) – Good looks on the west slope near Bellavista. We could even make out the yellow leggings!
BLUE-AND-YELLOW TANAGER (Thraupis bonariensis darwinii) – Good looks at a male in my yard in Tumbaco; a common central valley bird of drier habitats.
VERMILION TANAGER (Calochaetes coccineus) – Stunning, stunning, and stunning!!! One of my favorite tanagers... can you tell? We tracked down a group of them with a flock in the Guacamayos.
HOODED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Buthraupis montana cucullata) – The mountain-tanager with the red eye that we saw first at Yanacocha.
BLACK-CHESTED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Buthraupis eximia chloronota) – Great looks at this one on our first and last days of the trip. This chunky mountain-tanager can be hard to track down up in the high temperate forests, but we hit it right.
LACRIMOSE MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Anisognathus lacrymosus palpebrosus) – The mountain-tanager with the yellow tear-drop spot below the eye, that we saw in the Guacamayos on a couple of days.
SCARLET-BELLIED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Anisognathus igniventris erythronotus) – A perfect combination of black, red, and blue!
BLUE-WINGED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Anisognathus somptuosus cyanopterus) – We had our best views of this western form at Mindo Loma when they came into the banana feeding station.
BLUE-WINGED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Anisognathus somptuosus baezae) – The east slope form with the greener back; common around San Isidro.
BLACK-CHINNED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Anisognathus notabilis) – A hard west slope mountain-tanager to find much of the time, but we lucked into a group of them when they hit the bananas at Mindo Loma.
GRASS-GREEN TANAGER (Chlorornis riefferii riefferii) – An Andean classic! We had them for awesome views on both slopes.
FAWN-BREASTED TANAGER (Pipraeidea melanonota venezuelensis) – In the gardens at San Isidro.
ORANGE-EARED TANAGER (Chlorochrysa calliparaea bourcieri) – An electrifying green tanager species of the east slope that we saw well with the flocks in the Guacamayos.
GOLDEN TANAGER (Tangara arthus goodsoni) – The more yellow west slope form that was common with the flocks.
GOLDEN TANAGER (Tangara arthus aequatorialis) – This east slope form is more of an orange cast to its plumage; Guacamayos.
SILVER-THROATED TANAGER (Tangara icterocephala) – Common around Milpe. Superficially similar to the Golden Tanager, but a paler yellow, and with a pale gray throat and black-goggled effect.
SAFFRON-CROWNED TANAGER (Tangara xanthocephala venusta) – Should be called the "Saffron-helmeted Tanager"! It is not just the crown that is yellow. A common flock bird around San Isidro.
GOLDEN-EARED TANAGER (Tangara chrysotis) – We called in a very cooperative pair in the Guacamayos for stellar views... another one of my favorite east slope tanagers.
FLAME-FACED TANAGER (Tangara parzudakii parzudakii) – This east slope form has more distinct yellows and reds to the face.
FLAME-FACED TANAGER (Tangara parzudakii lunigera) – ... while these birds of the west have more of a flame-orange face effect to the face, as well as more of a green tinge to the body.
SPOTTED TANAGER (Tangara punctata) – A few for nice studies on the slopes of the Guacamayos.
RUFOUS-THROATED TANAGER (Tangara rufigula) – A foothill Choco species that we found at Milpe.
BAY-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara gyrola) – A few around Milpe... what a looker.
SCRUB TANAGER (Tangara vitriolina) – A dry forest, central valley species that we tracked down in Tumbaco. The name "Scrub Tanager " does not do it justice, as it is really quite a nice looking bird.
GOLDEN-NAPED TANAGER (Tangara ruficervix) – Pretty common in the west.
BLUE-BROWED TANAGER (Tangara cyanotis lutleyi) – We made almost a clean run of the expected east slope tanagers, which is quite a feat! It was an exciting moment when we called up this uncommon species for excellent view in the Guacamayos.
BLUE-NECKED TANAGER (Tangara cyanicollis) – Should be called the "Blue-headed Tanager"! We had good looks in the east.
BERYL-SPANGLED TANAGER (Tangara nigroviridis) – Common with the montane mixed flocks.
BLUE-AND-BLACK TANAGER (Tangara vassorii vassorii) – The high elevation Tangara here in Ecuador, that we saw up on the Tandayapa Ridge.
BLACK-CAPPED TANAGER (Tangara heinei) – Common at middle elevations on both slopes.
BLACK-FACED DACNIS (YELLOW-TUFTED) (Dacnis lineata egregia) – At Milpe one afternoon.
GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza) – A common neotropical species.
BUFF-THROATED SALTATOR (Saltator maximus maximus) – Common around Milpe.
BLACK-WINGED SALTATOR (Saltator atripennis) [*]
Emberizidae (Buntings, Sparrows and Allies)
PLUMBEOUS SIERRA-FINCH (Phrygilus unicolor geospizopsis) – The sierra-finch of the high and treeless paramos, which we saw a couple of times as they fed about in the tundra-like landscape.
VARIABLE SEEDEATER (Sporophila corvina ophthalmica) – In the pastures around Milpe.
YELLOW-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila nigricollis vivida) – Briefly in the central valley.
PLAIN-COLORED SEEDEATER (Catamenia inornata minor) – In the grasslands leading up to Yanacocha.
GLOSSY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa lafresnayii) – The all black flowerpiercer with the bluish shoulder-patch that we saw well at Yanacocha.
WHITE-SIDED FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa albilatera albilatera) – One quick flyby in the San Isidro area.
DEEP-BLUE FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa glauca tyrianthina) – My favorite flowerpiercer, with that bright yellow eye and deep-blue plumage. We had some nice views on the Guacamayos.
BLUISH FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa caerulescens media) – Common around San Isidro.
MASKED FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa cyanea cyanea) – The most wide-ranging flowerpiercer.
TANAGER FINCH (Oreothraupis arremonops) – Another of the great trip highlights! We located a pair up along the Tandayapa Ridge for some spectacular studies as they sang and foraged about in a ravine just below us. This is a very range-restricted species that occurs in only very small numbers at a few sites in Colombia and Ecuador.
CHESTNUT-CAPPED BRUSH-FINCH (CHESTNUT-CAPPED) (Arremon brunneinucha frontalis) – Nice views at Tandayapa's bird blind.
GRAY-BROWED BRUSH-FINCH (Arremon assimilis) – Good looks in the understory at Yanacocha.
PALE-NAPED BRUSH-FINCH (Atlapetes pallidinucha papallactae) – On our last day in the highlands when a pair performed for us at Guango.
TRICOLORED BRUSH-FINCH (CHOCO) (Atlapetes tricolor crassus) – A few in the west in the Tandayapa area.
YELLOW-BREASTED BRUSH-FINCH (Atlapetes latinuchus spodionotus) – Most common around Yanacocha.
SLATY BRUSH-FINCH (Atlapetes schistaceus schistaceus) – A clean-up bird at Guango when we found a few with the flocks.
WHITE-WINGED BRUSH-FINCH (WHITE-WINGED) (Atlapetes leucopterus leucopterus) – Fairly common in the west. We had some nice views at them at meal time at Tandayapa.
YELLOW-BROWED SPARROW (Ammodramus aurifrons aurifrons) – In some cleared habitat near Baeza on our last day.
RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis costaricensis)
COMMON BUSH-TANAGER (NORTHERN ANDES) (Chlorospingus ophthalmicus phaeocephalus) – Common at San Isidro.
DUSKY BUSH-TANAGER (Chlorospingus semifuscus semifuscus) – With the flocks on the west slope.
YELLOW-THROATED BUSH-TANAGER (YELLOW-THROATED) (Chlorospingus flavigularis marginatus) – The west slope form that we saw at Milpe.
YELLOW-THROATED BUSH-TANAGER (YELLOW-THROATED) (Chlorospingus flavigularis flavigularis) – On the slopes of the Guacamayos with flocks.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
OCHRE-BREASTED TANAGER (Chlorothraupis stolzmanni) – Now placed with the cardinal family. Are we soon going to have to call this the "Ochre-breasted Cardinal"? Hope not! We had a vocalizing bird in the scope at Milpe.
GOLDEN-BELLIED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus chrysogaster chrysogaster) – Common in the drier habitats of the central valley, where we had some nice views.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
SCRUB BLACKBIRD (Dives warszewiczi warszewiczi)
YELLOW-BILLED CACIQUE (CHAPMAN'S) (Amblycercus holosericeus australis) – A bamboo specialist that we saw well at San Isidro.
MOUNTAIN CACIQUE (GOLDEN-SHOULDERED) (Cacicus chrysonotus leucoramphus) – The yellow-winged cacique that we saw in the San Isidro area.
SCARLET-RUMPED CACIQUE (Cacicus uropygialis) – Common and vocal at San Isidro, where we saw them around the cabins daily.
RUSSET-BACKED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius angustifrons atrocastaneus) – The orange-billed form of the west. We had three fly by near Tandayapa.
RUSSET-BACKED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius angustifrons angustifrons) – Common in the east.
Fringillidae (Siskins, Crossbills, and Allies)
THICK-BILLED EUPHONIA (Euphonia laniirostris) – Good views at Milpe.
GOLDEN-RUMPED EUPHONIA (Euphonia cyanocephala pelzelni) – Males and females in my yard at Tumbaco, in the central valley.
BRONZE-GREEN EUPHONIA (Euphonia mesochrysa) [*]
ORANGE-BELLIED EUPHONIA (Euphonia xanthogaster)
CHESTNUT-BREASTED CHLOROPHONIA (Chlorophonia pyrrhophrys) – We finally managed to track down a full-blown male along the trails at San Isidro on our penultimate day!
HOODED SISKIN (Spinus magellanicus capitalis) – In the highlands on our last day.
OLIVACEOUS SISKIN (Spinus olivaceus) – Around Baeza on our last day.

RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis) – The common mammal of the trip.
BLACK AGOUTI (Dasyprocta fuliginosa) – Seen at San Isidro where they come to feed on corn near the hummingbird feeders.
MOUNTAIN TAPIR (Tapirus pinchaque) – Of all of the critters that we saw on this trip, this is the rarest. I could not believe our luck when we stalked up on this large mammal along the trail at San Isidro, within sight of the dining room! What a thrill to see it standing there and then gallop away into the wilderness!


Totals for the tour: 345 bird taxa and 3 mammal taxa