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Field Guides Tour Report
Jul 26, 2013 to Aug 4, 2013
Mitch Lysinger

The beautiful mystery owl of San Isidro; despite these birds being known for about a dozen years now, no one has yet figured out what species they are. (Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger)

The Field Guides Montane Ecuador trip strikes again, with tons of great birds (and birding moments), beautiful scenery, comfortable lodges, some memorable food, and (of course) plenty of fun and laughs to go around! We managed to pack all of this into a week's worth of birding on both Andean slopes with minimal travel, which is always a plus. Weather in the humid forests of Ecuador can be unpredictable, but we didn't have to battle the elements any more than expected. In fact, I'd say that we had pretty good luck overall with the rain; rare is the group that escapes Ecuador without a downpour or two, but remember that it can be the rain that perks things up, and burning sun is definitely not what we want!

Birding highlights were many, as is almost always the case in such a bird-rich country, so let's have a re-cap of some of the goodies that I think really sent our trip over the top: Torrent Ducks!!!; that oh-so-close Andean Condor near Yanacocha that soared low, right over us (!); the mysterious, and attractive, owl at San Isidro; stunning males of both of the possible long-tailed nightjars: Swallow-tailed and Lyre-tailed; more hummingbirds than many will ever process, but how about that shimmering Glowing Puffleg, spectacular Sword-billed, gorgeous Empress Brilliant, or the "hulking" Giant (?); glorious male quetzals, with males of both species; a pair of the clown-like Toucan Barbet in an unexpected spot; awesome encounters with Plate-billed and Black-billed mountain-toucans; antpittas at worm feeding stations, including Chestnut-crowned, White-bellied, and Tawny, but that pair of Rufous Antpittas on our first day without the aid of worms deserves honorable mention; a cooperative pair of Red-rumped Bush-Tyrants up in the high paramo; the male Scaled Fruiteater that put in an appearance at Tandayapa; crippling scope views of Andean Cock-of-the-Rock on our first afternoon; male Golden-winged Manakins at a fruiting tree at Milpe; a pair of Beautiful Jays at Tandayapa's birding deck; spry White-capped Dippers; and some incredibly gaudy tanagers, with names like Blue-browed, Paradise, Golden-eared, and Black-chested Mountain-Tanager... I'm just about out of breath here, so flip some pages and relive, in more detail, the entire lot that follows; you may have to kick your feet up though.

I have to plug our extraordinary driver, Edgar, who always manages the highways and bumpy roads of Ecuador with extreme skill and patience; with his hat turned backwards, he's always ready to take on any situation behind the wheel! What makes any trip a real success though? The participants! I thank each and every one of you for making this trip such a joy to lead, and hope to bird with you again in that next exotic spot that you may choose; I know that I can't get enough!


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)

The Chestnut-breasted Coronet wasn't always easy to find before feeders came on the scene in Ecuador, but now it is one of the most numerous and pugnacious of the east slope hummers. (Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger)

TORRENT DUCK (Merganetta armata colombiana) – We snagged a pair along the Cosanga River on our way to San Isidro!
YELLOW-BILLED PINTAIL (SOUTH GEORGIA) (Anas georgica georgica) – On the lake edges in the Papallacta area; a tad distant, but the scope views revealed the yellow bills.
ANDEAN TEAL (Anas andium) – A common duck of the highlands, and duller than the previous species.
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
ANDEAN GUAN (Penelope montagnii) – Some excellent studies along the Guacamayos trail.
WATTLED GUAN (Aburria aburri) [*]
SICKLE-WINGED GUAN (Chamaepetes goudotii) – Seen well on both slopes; the one with the blue facial skin.
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
DARK-BACKED WOOD-QUAIL (Odontophorus melanonotus) – Heard only... as usual! [*]
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
CATTLE EGRET (IBIS) (Bubulcus ibis ibis) – Common on the west slope.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus) – This and the next vulture species are common on both slopes, usually in warmer areas.
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
ANDEAN CONDOR (Vultur gryphus) – Shocking encounters with a young bird on our first day on the slopes of Pichincha Volcano, when it came flying to within only meters of us... made to order, and certainly a trip highlight!
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
SWALLOW-TAILED KITE (Elanoides forficatus) – A few on the west slope, where they are common.
SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (PLAIN-BREASTED) (Accipiter striatus ventralis) – I believe that Dede and I were the only ones to see this one on the trip. Currently this form is lumped with the Sharp-shinned Hawk, but further research may re-split it... who knows?
BARRED HAWK (Morphnarchus princeps) [*]
ROADSIDE HAWK (MAINLAND) (Rupornis magnirostris magnirostris) – A few of this wide-ranging hawk on the east slope.
WHITE-RUMPED HAWK (Parabuteo leucorrhous) – Some nice in-flight views of this forest based hawk, especially on the west slope when one came fairly close.
VARIABLE HAWK (VARIABLE) (Geranoaetus polyosoma polyosoma) – Long considered to be a Buteo, this species has now been repositioned into the same genus as the next species, both being striking highland birds. We had nice views of the gray and white morphs.
BLACK-CHESTED BUZZARD-EAGLE (Geranoaetus melanoleucus australis) – Some fantastic views of this eagle up in the Papallacta Pass area as they soared by.
WHITE-THROATED HAWK (Buteo albigula) – An austral migrant that we had good looks at on our first day at Yanacocha.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
SLATE-COLORED COOT (Fulica ardesiaca) – Common on Papallacta Lake, and very similar in overall aspect to the American Coot.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
SOUTHERN LAPWING (NORTHERN) (Vanellus chilensis cayennensis) – A local group of this normally lowland species has taken up residence in the pastures up above San Isidro, where had some nice studies.
ANDEAN LAPWING (Vanellus resplendens) – In small numbers just outside of the Yanacocha reserve.
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
ANDEAN GULL (Chroicocephalus serranus) – Finally, on our last day of the trip, when we found a few on Papallacta Lake.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
BAND-TAILED PIGEON (WHITE-NECKED) (Patagioenas fasciata albilinea) – A wide ranging bird, known to many!
RUDDY PIGEON (Patagioenas subvinacea) [*]
EARED DOVE (Zenaida auriculata hypoleuca) – Common in the central valley where they do well in urban areas.
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (DECOLOR) (Leptotila verreauxi decolor) – Lou and I caught a glimpse of one along the trail at Tandayapa.
WHITE-THROATED QUAIL-DOVE (Geotrygon frenata bourcieri) [*]
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (NIGRICRISSA) (Piaya cayana nigricrissa) [*]
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (AMAZONIAN) (Piaya cayana mesura) – Rick and Dede had looks at this east slope form during some time birding around the San Isidro gardens!
Strigidae (Owls)
"BLACK-BANDED" OWL TYPE (Ciccaba sp. nov. 1) – We discussed the taxonomic history and possibilities of this bird at some length; needless to say, I really want to get this resolved as it is still hanging out there in limbo! Nevertheless, we enjoyed some spectacular views of this beautiful owl at San Isidro on our second night there after dinner.
RUFOUS-BANDED OWL (Ciccaba albitarsis) [*]
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
RUFOUS-BELLIED NIGHTHAWK (Lurocalis rufiventris) – In-flight views at dusk on a couple of evenings around San Isidro.
BAND-WINGED NIGHTJAR (BAND-WINGED) (Caprimulgus longirostris ruficervix) – A male flew right by us near the dining room at San Isidro one evening, and made for a memorable experience!
SWALLOW-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Uropsalis segmentata segmentata) – Long-tailed nightjars (of the male form!) are always a special thrill to see well, and we got both of the possible ones this trip. We had some awesome views of a full-blown male in the Guacamayos, first as it chased a female briefly, and then when it came back and circled over us in the spotlight!
LYRE-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Uropsalis lyra lyra) – Another crippling experience near Tandayapa when we had a male floating about over us with still enough light to see well, without the aid of the spotlight... unforgettable! Makes dinner go down a lot easier too!
Nyctibiidae (Potoos)
ANDEAN POTOO (Nyctibius maculosus) – The nightbirds really came together on the east slope... except we got this one during the day on a newly discovered roost! This can be a toughie to find, day or night, so we were lucky.
Apodidae (Swifts)
WHITE-CHINNED SWIFT (Cypseloides cryptus) – Too much cloud cover to be able to see them well. [*]

When you see one in the sunlight, there's no question as to why the Glossy-black Thrush has got that name! (Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger)

SPOT-FRONTED SWIFT (Cypseloides cherriei) – A high-flying group on the west slope were our only encounters this trip.
CHESTNUT-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne rutila brunnitorques) – A common swift that often flys low enough to see well! We had them on most days in the east.
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris) – A very large swift that we saw stunningly well a few times.
GRAY-RUMPED SWIFT (ASH-RUMPED) (Chaetura cinereiventris occidentalis) – The duller rumped, west slope form that we saw at Milpe.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora) – We had our best looks at this stunner, in beautiful light, at Milpe's feeders.
WHITE-WHISKERED HERMIT (Phaethornis yaruqui) – Point blank studies at Milpe's feeders of this very long billed hummer.
TAWNY-BELLIED HERMIT (Phaethornis syrmatophorus) – A fly by at Tandayapa was seen by a few folks... a blur with some white in the tail is more like!
GREEN-FRONTED LANCEBILL (Doryfera ludovicae ludovicae) – We stumbled into one as it fed on some bright red Ericaceae flowers on our way out of the Guacamayos trail. The long bill and short, rounded tail help id it!
BROWN VIOLETEAR (Colibri delphinae) – A few at Tandayapa's feeders. A rather dull, brownish hummer, but that violet patch stands out!
GREEN VIOLETEAR (ANDEAN) (Colibri thalassinus cyanotus) – Smaller, and duller green than the Sparkling, among other differences. It was nice to see this and the next species shoulder to shoulder at Tandayapa's feeders.
SPARKLING VIOLETEAR (Colibri coruscans coruscans) – Differs from the previous species in being larger and more glittering green, as well as having a blue belly and chinstrap. Seen best at Tandayapa's feeders.
TOURMALINE SUNANGEL (Heliangelus exortis) – Abundant at Guango. The males just shimmer in the proper light!
GREEN THORNTAIL (Discosura conversii) – Healthy numbers of this small species at Milpe's feeders.
SPECKLED HUMMINGBIRD (Adelomyia melanogenys) – Most common around San Isidro where it is indeed one of the most common hummers.
LONG-TAILED SYLPH (Aglaiocercus kingi mocoa) – At both Guango's and San Isidro's feeders where they dazzled us time after time!
VIOLET-TAILED SYLPH (Aglaiocercus coelestis coelestis) – Equally dazzling! This one occurs on the west slope; we had our first looks at Tandayapa's feeders.
BLACK-TAILED TRAINBEARER (Lesbia victoriae victoriae) – A splendid male in my yard in the town of Tumbaco.
GREEN-TAILED TRAINBEARER (Lesbia nuna gracilis) – Seasonal at Yanacocha, but locally common this time of the year when they come to feed on flowers along the main trail.
PURPLE-BACKED THORNBILL (Ramphomicron microrhynchum microrhynchum) – Right at the same spot as the previous species, and seems attracted to the same flowers... awesome!
BLUE-MANTLED THORNBILL (Chalcostigma stanleyi stanleyi) – Nice looks at a male up in the paramo shrubbery.
TYRIAN METALTAIL (Metallura tyrianthina) – Common at Yanacocha's and Guango's feeders.
GLOWING PUFFLEG (Eriocnemis vestita smaragdinipectus) – Some excellent studies at a male a few times at Guango's feeders. The rump patch on this one really lights up when seen from the right angle!
SAPPHIRE-VENTED PUFFLEG (SAPPHIRE-VENTED) (Eriocnemis luciani luciani) – Common at the far feeders at Yanacocha; the one with the blue crown.
GOLDEN-BREASTED PUFFLEG (Eriocnemis mosquera) – Also fairly common at Yanacocha's far feeders; this one lacks the blue in the crown (and purple vent), but has an obvious wash of gold across the chest.
SHINING SUNBEAM (Aglaeactis cupripennis cupripennis) – A mostly rufous hummer of the highlands; we had them on our first and last days.
BRONZY INCA (Coeligena coeligena obscura) – In small numbers at San Isidro's feeders.
BROWN INCA (Coeligena wilsoni) – The one with the white spots on the neck that we saw well at Yanacocha's feeders.
COLLARED INCA (Coeligena torquata) – Always a welcome sight and one that we had many opportunities to see well.
BUFF-WINGED STARFRONTLET (Coeligena lutetiae) – The largish hummer that we saw best at Yanacocha's feeders; the one with the obvious buffy patches on the wings.
MOUNTAIN VELVETBREAST (Lafresnaya lafresnayi saul) – Females at Yanacocha's feeders, and then a male at Guango. This one has the decurved bill and white patches in the tail.
SWORD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD (Ensifera ensifera) – Spectacular!!! Talk about some serious evolutionary forces at work... It just doesn't seem fair though that this is the only hummer that can't manage to feed while sitting; I think I'll have to construct a feeder with a perch that sits 5-6 inches away from the drinking hole, just to give the guy a break!
GREAT SAPPHIREWING (Pterophanes cyanopterus cyanopterus) – The second bulkiest hummer, and one that we had smashing views of at Yanacocha's feeders.
BUFF-TAILED CORONET (Boissonneaua flavescens flavescens) – The east slope race that dominates some of the feeders at Guango; this form has larger, paler patches in the tail.
BUFF-TAILED CORONET (Boissonneaua flavescens tinochlora) – Most common this trip at Tandayapa's feeders. When the correct light hits that head, the colors really come to life!
CHESTNUT-BREASTED CORONET (Boissonneaua matthewsii) – Dominant at Guango's and San Isidro's feeders. Like the other species of coronets, this one almost always holds its wings over its back upon landing.
VELVET-PURPLE CORONET (Boissonneaua jardini) – Stunning, and often considered one of the most striking hummers of them all... those purples, wow!!! Seen on a couple of days on the west slope at Tandayapa's feeders, where it is seasonally absent.
BOOTED RACKET-TAIL (Ocreatus underwoodii melanantherus) – An Andean classic! We enjoyed superb views of them as they swarmed the feeders at Tandayapa.

It may not be the flashiest of hummingbirds, but the Bronzy Inca is still a fine-looking bird. (Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger)

PURPLE-BIBBED WHITETIP (Urosticte benjamini) – Exquisite views at Tandayapa's feeders!
FAWN-BREASTED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa rubinoides) – Common at the feeders on both slopes; Tandayapa and San Isidro.
GREEN-CROWNED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa jacula jamesoni) – In perfect light at Milpe's feeders!
EMPRESS BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa imperatrix) – Seen at a our last stop on the west slope at Mindo Loma, where we finally managed to get some good light on this beauty. This one used to be a toughie before the advent of the feeders.
GIANT HUMMINGBIRD (Patagona gigas peruviana) – A stop at my house in the central valley was good for some nice scrub habitat birding, including this largest of hummers, which came in to feed at the feeders and at the flowers. A hummer you can actually count the wing beats of!
WHITE-BELLIED WOODSTAR (Chaetocercus mulsant) – Common at Guango's feeders where we had nice studies at both males and females.
PURPLE-THROATED WOODSTAR (Calliphlox mitchellii) – The woodstar at Tandayapa's feeders, and there were almost clouds of them at times... especially during hummer power hour!
WESTERN EMERALD (Chlorostilbon melanorhynchus melanorhynchus) – The male of this species is an all shimmering green, and we had good looks of at least one at Tandayapa's feeders on our first afternoon.
GREEN-CROWNED WOODNYMPH (GREEN-CROWNED) (Thalurania fannyi verticeps) – Cripplingly close studies at Milpe's feeders, and what a combination of shining greens and purples!
ANDEAN EMERALD (Amazilia franciae viridiceps) – The one with the aqua crown and clean white belly that we saw best at Tandayapa's feeders.
RUFOUS-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (RUFOUS-TAILED) (Amazilia tzacatl jucunda) – Common at Tandayapa's feeders; the one with the orange bill.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
GOLDEN-HEADED QUETZAL (Pharomachrus auriceps auriceps) – This was one of the best Montane trips for quetzals that I can remember! We saw this species on four days, with some killer males around San Isidro... very memorable!
CRESTED QUETZAL (Pharomachrus antisianus) – And we stumbled into an unbelievable male of this one for scope views right from the house at Mindo Loma... amazing!
MASKED TROGON (Trogon personatus personatus) – The resident pair was performing well for us in the gardens around the cabins at San Isidro.
MASKED TROGON (Trogon personatus assimilis) – The west slope race that we had right around the lodge at Tandayapa.
Momotidae (Motmots)
ANDEAN MOTMOT (Momotus aequatorialis) – Marsha and I were the only two to get onto the one that was hanging around the cabins at San Isidro.
RUFOUS MOTMOT (Baryphthengus martii semirufus) – At the fruit feeders at Milpe; I had never seen them coming to feeders of any kind before, so this was a pleasant surprise.
Galbulidae (Jacamars)
COPPERY-CHESTED JACAMAR (Galbula pastazae) [*]
Capitonidae (New World Barbets)
RED-HEADED BARBET (Eubucco bourcierii aequatorialis) – Tremendous studies of both sexes at Tandayapa's banana feeders. Not bad: eggs and Red-headed Barbets for breakfast!
Semnornithidae (Toucan-Barbets)
TOUCAN BARBET (Semnornis ramphastinus ramphastinus) – That surprise pair at Milpe - where I had never had them before - really saved us, because upslope they were tricky! We had some quality scope views and really soaked them in.
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
EMERALD TOUCANET (ANDEAN) (Aulacorhynchus prasinus albivitta) – Rick and Dede had the first ones soon after arrival to San Isidro. Lucky for the rest of us though, we found them in good numbers, even right around the cabins where they were coming to feed at a fruiting Cecropia tree.
CRIMSON-RUMPED TOUCANET (Aulacorhynchus haematopygus sexnotatus) – A pair was seen nicely on our way back to breakfast from the bird blind on our second morning at Tandayapa.
PLATE-BILLED MOUNTAIN-TOUCAN (Andigena laminirostris) – Birds were a tad quiet on the morning of our last day in the west, but finally exploded at a couple of stops in the afternoon as we made our way down the old Nono-Mindo road. This species was one of the big highlights of that activity when we stumbled across at least three for scope studies.
BLACK-BILLED MOUNTAIN-TOUCAN (Andigena nigrirostris spilorhynchus) – Awesome scope studies of a pair right along the forested roadside at San Isidro!
COLLARED ARACARI (STRIPE-BILLED) (Pteroglossus torquatus erythropygius) – Most common around Milpe. Called Pale-mandibled Aracari in the Birds of Ecuador.
BLACK-MANDIBLED TOUCAN (CHESTNUT-MANDIBLED) (Ramphastos ambiguus swainsonii) – We had scope views of both large, west slope toucan species at Milpe one afternoon, which is always a thrill! This species is often considered by many taxonomists to be conspecific with the true Black-mandibled of the east.
CHOCO TOUCAN (Ramphastos brevis) – In general, where there are two large species of toucans of the genus Ramphastos together, one is a 'yelper' (Black-mandibled) and one is 'croaker' (this one). We had some nice scope views of at least two of this species just before our departure from Milpe.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
SMOKY-BROWN WOODPECKER (Picoides fumigatus fumigatus) – In small numbers on both slopes; not the flashiest of woodpeckers!
BAR-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Veniliornis nigriceps equifasciatus) – Dede spotted a fast moving pair of this one for some of us along a trail at Guango; too bad they didn't stay around a bit more for better looks!
CRIMSON-MANTLED WOODPECKER (Colaptes rivolii brevirostris) – A fairly common, but stunning, woodpecker of the highlands of both slopes. Fabulous studies were had by all!

A view out over the east slope of the Andes, with the smoking cone of Volcan Reventador in the background. (Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger)

POWERFUL WOODPECKER (Campephilus pollens pollens) [*]
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
CARUNCULATED CARACARA (Phalcoboenus carunculatus) – Sort of strange to see the falcon family sandwiched between the woodpeckers and parrots, isn't it? Recent taxonomic research has proven this crazy new shift though, so I guess we'll have to get used to it! We had good looks at this high elevation caracara on our first day near Tandayapa.
AMERICAN KESTREL (SOUTH AMERICAN) (Falco sparverius aequatorialis) – Common in the drier central valley; a resident breeding race.
Psittacidae (Parrots)
MAROON-TAILED PARAKEET (CHOCO) (Pyrrhura melanura pacifica) – Glimpsed as flybys at Milpe.
BARRED PARAKEET (Bolborhynchus lineola tigrinus) [*]
RED-BILLED PARROT (Pionus sordidus corallinus) – I've heard of clipping parrot wings, but not feet... they just wouldn't land for us this trip!!! Oh well, at least we had some nice fly overs in decent light. Common on both slopes.
SPECKLE-FACED PARROT (WHITE-CAPPED) (Pionus tumultuosus seniloides) – As fly overs in small numbers in the San Isidro area.
BRONZE-WINGED PARROT (Pionus chalcopterus) – As fly overs, but the light was good enough to make out the most pertinent features; Milpe.
SCALY-NAPED PARROT (Amazona mercenarius) – Seen flying daily on the east slope, and even quite well on one afternoon.
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
UNIFORM ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus unicolor unicolor) – A sneaky forest bird that some did manage to see pretty well along the trail at Tandayapa.
RUSSET ANTSHRIKE (TAWNY) (Thamnistes anabatinus intermedius) – A canopy flock bird that some got onto during some exciting trail birding at Milpe.
SLATY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula schisticolor schisticolor) [*]
LONG-TAILED ANTBIRD (Drymophila caudata caudata) – This species has just undergone a four-way split; the birds of Ecuador's Andes are now known as Streak-headed Antbird (Drymophila striaticeps occidentalis). The birds of this genus are bamboo specialists, and this species is indeed faithful to Chusquea bamboo.
WHITE-BACKED FIRE-EYE (Pyriglena leuconota castanoptera) [*]
IMMACULATE ANTBIRD (CHOCO) (Myrmeciza immaculata macrorhyncha) – We could not have had better looks! We enjoyed about an hour of a pair performing for us only feet away as we sat quietly in Tandayapa's bird blind.
Grallariidae (Antpittas)
CHESTNUT-CROWNED ANTPITTA (Grallaria ruficapilla ruficapilla) – We had to wait a bit, but the worm fed bird at San Isidro made an appearance for really nice studies on our first morning there. Antpittas, as we all know, can be really difficult to see under normal birding conditions, so the "trained" individuals at different spots around the country are a real treat!
WHITE-BELLIED ANTPITTA (Grallaria hypoleuca) – Wonderful views of not one, but two birds at the feeding spot near San Isidro's dining room... awesome!
RUFOUS ANTPITTA (Grallaria rufula rufula) – We had a pair run right up to us at Yanacocha... looking for worms, maybe? Our first antpitta species of the trip!
TAWNY ANTPITTA (Grallaria quitensis quitensis) – Yet another worm trained bird, this one at Yanacocha. Tawny Antpittas tend to be among the easier of antpittas to see, but hey, we'll take one in our faces, gobbling down piles of worms!
OCHRE-BREASTED ANTPITTA (Grallaricula flavirostris mindoensis) – After being teased by one while seated at Tandayapa's bird blind (which some saw at the moment), we were able to call one in a little later for excellent studies.
SLATE-CROWNED ANTPITTA (SLATE-CROWNED) (Grallaricula nana nana) [*]
Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)
OCELLATED TAPACULO (Acropternis orthonyx infuscatus) [*]
BLACKISH TAPACULO (BLACKISH) (Scytalopus latrans latrans) [*]
LONG-TAILED TAPACULO (Scytalopus micropterus) – This was a tough trip for seen tapaculos, but Rick and Dede saw this one on their day off around San Isidro... nice gong!

The mechanical sounds of Green Jays are a wonderful part of the aural backdrop at San Isidro. (Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger)

NARINO TAPACULO (Scytalopus vicinior) [*]
SPILLMANN'S TAPACULO (Scytalopus spillmanni) [*]
PARAMO TAPACULO (Scytalopus opacus) – Ah, one finally seen by the group! We had this one pop out briefly up in the paramo shrubbery on our last day above Papallacta.
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
TYRANNINE WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla tyrannina tyrannina) [*]
SPOTTED WOODCREEPER (BERLEPSCH'S) (Xiphorhynchus erythropygius aequatorialis) – Some great looks at this west slope woodcreeper with a flock at Milpe.
OLIVE-BACKED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus triangularis triangularis) – Replaces the previous species on the east slope where we had them with the flocks.
MONTANE WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger aequatorialis) – The common woodcreeper of the highlands, and one we got quite familiar with.
STREAKED XENOPS (Xenops rutilans) – John had the first one with a big, inforest flock at Milpe, but the rest of us caught up with one on the slopes of the Guacamayos a few days later.
STREAKED TUFTEDCHEEK (Pseudocolaptes boissonneautii) – This large and flashy furnariid was seen well with the flocks on both slopes.
PALE-LEGGED HORNERO (PACIFIC) (Furnarius leucopus cinnamomeus) – A nice pair up and calling not far from the Mindo turnoff.
CHESTNUT-WINGED CINCLODES (Cinclodes albidiventris) – This species is a result of a three-way split of the Bar-winged Cinclodes. So if you haven't been able to find this exact name in your book yet, now you know why! We had plenty of fine studies of them scurrying around up in the paramos above Papallacta.
STOUT-BILLED CINCLODES (Cinclodes excelsior excelsior) – The larger, and much thicker-billed, of the two Ecuadorian cinclodes species. Fine views were had right with the previous species.
BUFF-FRONTED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Philydor rufum) – Especially nice studies with our large flock at Milpe of this canopy foliage-gleaner.
SCALY-THROATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (SPOT-BREASTED) (Anabacerthia variegaticeps temporalis) [*]
MONTANE FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Anabacerthia striaticollis montana) – Nice looks at this flock bird on the slopes of the Guacamayos.
LINEATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Syndactyla subalaris) – Seen on both slopes, but best with our large flock at Milpe.
STRIPED WOODHAUNTER (CENTRAL AMERICAN) (Hyloctistes subulatus virgatus) – John and I were they only ones to get onto this one with our wild flock at Milpe. Note that some split this species east and west of the Andes.
STREAK-CAPPED TREEHUNTER (Thripadectes virgaticeps) – Right around Tandayapa, where they come to glean insects at the lodge.
SPOTTED BARBTAIL (Premnoplex brunnescens brunnescens) [*]
PEARLED TREERUNNER (Margarornis squamiger perlatus) – A beautiful and common flock bird of the highlands and montane zones on both slopes!
ANDEAN TIT-SPINETAIL (Leptasthenura andicola andicola) – Most folks got onto this one up in the paramo shrubbery when it came by, but it was rather quick.
WHITE-BROWED SPINETAIL (Hellmayrea gularis) – Wonderful studies of this temperate forest spinetail at Yanacocha on our first day. This one can sometimes be tricky to see, but they performed exceptionally well this time!
MANY-STRIPED CANASTERO (Asthenes flammulata flammulata) – An attractive paramo bird that favors bunch grasses. We had one perch up nicely for scope studies above Papallacta.
RED-FACED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca erythrops erythrops) – Common with the canopy flocks in the west.
ASH-BROWED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca curtata) – Replaces the previous species on the east slope. We had a really cooperative bird with a fantastic canopy flock on the slopes of the Guacamayos one morning.
AZARA'S SPINETAIL (Synallaxis azarae media) – Common around the gardens at San Isidro.
DARK-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis albigularis rodolphei) – We had a pair come right in out of the roadside grasses on the slopes of the Guacamayos for excellent studies.
RUFOUS SPINETAIL (Synallaxis unirufa unirufa) – Seen well a couple of times in the San Isidro area.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
SOUTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (SOUTHERN) (Camptostoma obsoletum sclateri) [*]
WHITE-TAILED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus poecilocercus) – A common tyrannulet in the montane zones of both slopes, and especially visible right around the cabins at San Isidro.
WHITE-BANDED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus stictopterus stictopterus) – A well marked tyrannulet of more temperate elevations; we had good looks at them at Yanacocha and Guango as they moved about with mixed flocks.
SULPHUR-BELLIED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus minor) – Mostly a bird of the east slope, and we had a few nice encounters with them around San Isidro, such as right next to the entrance gate when we pulled one into some Alder trees overhead.
TUFTED TIT-TYRANT (Anairetes parulus aequatorialis) – Nice looks at an active pair in the central valley scrub, not far from Quito.
WHITE-CRESTED ELAENIA (WHITE-CRESTED) (Elaenia albiceps griseigularis) – The elaenias around San Isidro still seem to be a bit of a mystery; on one hand, they sound a lot like White-crested, but on the other they look yellower and would seem to be out of range. I have them listed as White-crested for lack of a better answer, but some research is needed.
TORRENT TYRANNULET (Serpophaga cinerea cinerea) – Nice looks at a sprite pair up the road from San Isidro.
STREAK-NECKED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes striaticollis) – A few times on both slopes. This is a pretty common, forest based flycatcher that can often be found at fruiting trees and shrubs.
SLATY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon superciliaris) – We caught one with some flock activity at Tandayapa.
RUFOUS-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon rufipectus) – Fairly common with the flocks around San Isidro. This one is really more rufous-faced and throated... oh well, so much for common names!
MARBLE-FACED BRISTLE-TYRANT (Phylloscartes ophthalmicus ophthalmicus) – Close, eye level studies of one that came right up to us in our large flock in the Guacamayos. This was particularly nice because as a canopy bird, this one can be tricky to see really well!
BLACK-CAPPED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias nigrocapillus nigrocapillus) – Very nice looks at one right over the trail at Yanacocha, and one of the more distinctive in the world of "confusing tyrannulets".
ASHY-HEADED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias cinereiceps) – Another one that we coaxed in during the rapid flurry of activity on the slopes of the Guacamayos; seen very well through the scope.
CHOCO TYRANNULET (Zimmerius albigularis) – This used to be considered the west slope form of the Golden-faced, but a recent split has them now divided; they look pretty similar, but vocal differences are clear. We had this one well during our afternoon of birding at Milpe.
GOLDEN-FACED TYRANNULET (GOLDEN-FACED) (Zimmerius chrysops chrysops) – Pretty common on the slopes of the Guacamayos.
RUFOUS-HEADED PYGMY-TYRANT (Pseudotriccus ruficeps) – Nice looks at a close pair in the thick understory of the Guacamayos trail, and what a fancy little flycatcher!
RUFOUS-CROWNED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus ruficeps) – Common in the Chusquea bamboo around San Isidro, where we enjoyed great views of them a few times. Yet another handsome little tyrannid!
COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum) – Seen right around the car park at Milpe when a pair came blasting in.

In some areas, identification of Myiarchus flycatchers can be difficult, but it's pretty straightforward in Ecuador's subtropics, where only the Pale-edged Flycatcher is present. (Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger)

CINNAMON FLYCATCHER (Pyrrhomyias cinnamomeus pyrrhopterus) – Common at forest edges, but real eye candy!
HANDSOME FLYCATCHER (Nephelomyias pulcher) – Good looks for most in the San Isidro area.
FLAVESCENT FLYCATCHER (Myiophobus flavicans flavicans) – A common forest bird on both slopes, but unobtrusive, so easily missed until you recognize its calls.
SMOKE-COLORED PEWEE (Contopus fumigatus) – Especially numerous around San Isidro where they can frequently be found perched up on tall snags.
BLACK PHOEBE (WHITE-WINGED) (Sayornis nigricans angustirostris) – Common in most open habitats, especially around water. The form we were seeing has much more black underneath than you are used to from in the States.
VERMILION FLYCATCHER (VERMILION) (Pyrocephalus rubinus piurae) – A common garden bird in the drier central valley; we had the usual pair at my house in Tumbaco. This species is a good candidate for a split, and could go three ways. While the birds we saw fall into the same group as those that occur all the way up through North America, watch for Galapagos birds and those from SC South America to go their own ways taxonomically... it could happen!
WHITE-BROWED GROUND-TYRANT (Muscisaxicola albilora) – During this time of the year, a quick scan out over agricultural fields in the hills above the central valley will usually turn up this austral migrant. We had some nice scope views of them on our way up to Yanacocha on the first day. [a]
BLACK-BILLED SHRIKE-TYRANT (Agriornis montanus solitarius) – A striking tyrant, with those white outer tail feathers. We had pretty good views of them as we made our way up to the Papallacta Pass.
SMOKY BUSH-TYRANT (Myiotheretes fumigatus fumigatus) [*]
RED-RUMPED BUSH-TYRANT (Cnemarchus erythropygius erythropygius) – A low density (and flashy) bird at the Papallacta Pass, so always a nice score. I think all of us very much appreciated the quality scope views from all angles!
MASKED WATER-TYRANT (Fluvicola nengeta atripennis) – Seen right at the same spot a the Pale-legged Hornero... right at that cattle corral along the main highway, not far from Mindo. It was great fun to see this cleanly marked tyrant launch into its wing display.
SLATY-BACKED CHAT-TYRANT (SLATY-BACKED) (Ochthoeca cinnamomeiventris cinnamomeiventris) – This one favors streams and waterfalls, such as the spot where we saw it; Guacamayos. As a lover of the understory, this one likes to stay out of sight, but we drew them in for fine scope studies.
RUFOUS-BREASTED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca rufipectoralis obfuscata) – This one, however, is a canopy species, so usually a bit more visible. We had a cooperative pair at Yanacocha.
BROWN-BACKED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca fumicolor brunneifrons) – The high elevation chat-tyrant here in Ecuador; we had good looks at them up near the Papallacta Pass.
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer) – Known to many, and a common bird here in Ecuador. We had a few on the west slope.
PALE-EDGED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cephalotes cephalotes) – The Myiarchus of the montane zones in the east, and a common bird right around the cabins at San Isidro.
SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (SOCIAL) (Myiozetetes similis similis) – A bird of open country that has moved up in elevation, thanks to forest clearance; Guacamayos.
LEMON-BROWED FLYCATCHER (Conopias cinchoneti cinchoneti) – A canopy bird that moves about in pairs or small family groups, and one we saw first around San Isidro.
GOLDEN-CROWNED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes chrysocephalus minor) – A daily sight at Tandayapa Lodge!
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus melancholicus) – This species has a huge range, and seems to prosper in almost any open country habitat, as long as it isn't too cold.
Cotingidae (Cotingas)
GREEN-AND-BLACK FRUITEATER (Pipreola riefferii) – We had our best looks at this relatively common, middle elevation fruiteater in the Guacamayos. Remember that this one has the dark eye.
BARRED FRUITEATER (Pipreola arcuata arcuata) [*]
BLACK-CHESTED FRUITEATER (Pipreola lubomirskii) – One of the sneakiest fruiteaters I've ever met, even when you know it is right there in front of you! Most had looks at either the male of female along the trails at San Isidro one afternoon as they moved through the canopy.
SCALED FRUITEATER (Ampelioides tschudii) – Always a thrill to nail this one around Tandayapa, and we did for superb views. This is a unique species of fruiteater as it is the only only that is largely... well, scaled!
RED-CRESTED COTINGA (Ampelion rubrocristatus) – On our first day just down the road from Yanacocha, where we chased one down for nice scope studies; even got to see the red crest feathers folded down over the nape.
ANDEAN COCK-OF-THE-ROCK (Rupicola peruvianus sanguinolentus) – We had a glorious time watching males at lek on our first afternoon as we birded the middle stretches of the old Nono-Mindo rd.; the effect of that bright orange against a backdrop of forest green was simply breath-taking! One of the must see birds during a visit to the Andes.
ANDEAN COCK-OF-THE-ROCK (Rupicola peruvianus aequatorialis) – We saw the female of this east slope form around San Isidro; she is much duller than the male, but still a thrill to see!
Pipridae (Manakins)
GOLDEN-WINGED MANAKIN (Masius chrysopterus) – After bombing with this one at Tandayapa's lek, we scored big in the afternoon with some superb studies of males at a fruiting tree along Milpe's trails.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
BARRED BECARD (Pachyramphus versicolor versicolor) – We called a male down out of our world-class flock in the Guacamayos.
CINNAMON BECARD (Pachyramphus cinnamomeus cinnamomeus) – Common around Milpe, where we had them right near the hummingbird feeders.
WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus dorsalis) [*]
BLACK-AND-WHITE BECARD (Pachyramphus albogriseus) – Right in the trees around the lodge at Tandayapa for nice views.
ONE-COLORED BECARD (Pachyramphus homochrous) – In large numbers at Milpe, where they seem sometimes absent.
Vireonidae (Vireos)
BROWN-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo leucophrys) – A common bird with the flocks that we saw well around San Isidro.
RED-EYED VIREO (RESIDENT CHIVI) (Vireo olivaceus griseobarbatus) – We saw this west slope form a couple of times.
BLACK-BILLED PEPPERSHRIKE (Cyclarhis nigrirostris nigrirostris) – This one has such a recognizable and lively song, which really helps when trying to find it! We tracked one down at San Isidro for quality scope views.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
BEAUTIFUL JAY (Cyanolyca pulchra) – Always up there with the trip highlights as it is not a common bird, range restricted, and strikingly plumaged (didn't want to say "beautiful"). We brought them right up to the main deck at Tandayapa lodge on our first morning there; what a way to really kick off the morning, eh?
TURQUOISE JAY (Cyanolyca turcosa) – Another fine Cyanolyca jay species. This one occurs up and down the Andes on both slopes in Ecuador, and we had them well at Guango where they frequent the grounds around the lodge.

The sprightly Slate-throated Redstart is a delightful denizen of montane forests on both slopes of the Andes. (Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger)

GREEN JAY (INCA) (Cyanocorax yncas yncas) – The family groups of them around San Isidro weren't just a daily event, but rather a minutely event! The Birds of Ecuador splits the South American forms out as Inca Jay.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (CYANOLEUCA) (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca cyanoleuca) – The common swallow at middle elevations, and in the central valley... and one we saw on every day of the trip!
PALE-FOOTED SWALLOW (Orochelidon flavipes) – A swallow of mature and wet forest. We had a nice encounter with a group of them when they came swirling in overhead near San Isidro (in good light) one afternoon.
BROWN-BELLIED SWALLOW (Orochelidon murina murina) – The high elevation swallow hear in Ecuador, and one we saw well a few times.
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis) – We had good looks at this common swallow at Milpe and on the slopes of the Guacamayos.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
MOUNTAIN WREN (Troglodytes solstitialis solstitialis) – Common around the cabins at San Isidro.
THRUSH-LIKE WREN (Campylorhynchus turdinus hypostictus) [*]
PLAIN-TAILED WREN (Pheugopedius euophrys) – What a dueted song this species has! We had a cooperative pair sneak in along the Guacamayos trail for quick, but good views.
RUFOUS WREN (Cinnycerthia unirufa unirufa) – Wonderful views along the trail at Yanacocha.
SHARPE'S WREN (Cinnycerthia olivascens olivascens) – Very similar to the previous species, but generally occurs at lower elevations, is browner, and has a very different vocal repertoire. We had them well along the Guacamayos trail.
GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucophrys leucophrys) – Heard for many days before we actually saw them, but they finally gave up on the last couple of days for nice studies.
Cinclidae (Dippers)
WHITE-CAPPED DIPPER (Cinclus leucocephalus leuconotus) – After a successful day at Yanacocha straight out of the blocks, we continued the run and birded our way down the old Nono-Mindo rd., which landed us some great birds, such as this great little riverine species!
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
ANDEAN SOLITAIRE (Myadestes ralloides) – Heard on the east slope, but seen well on the east slope. This is a bird that is much more often heard than seen, and one that has a captivating song, so it is nice to see it.
ECUADORIAN THRUSH (Turdus maculirostris) – Fairly common in disturbed areas on the west slope.
CHESTNUT-BELLIED THRUSH (Turdus fulviventris) – More of a forest thrush; we had nice looks at them on the slopes of the Guacamayos.
GREAT THRUSH (Turdus fuscater quindio) – The largest thrush of the genus... but I won't go as far as calling it the "big turd"... I remind you of the genus name! This one is common in many habitats of the highlands.
GLOSSY-BLACK THRUSH (Turdus serranus fuscobrunneus) – Right around the yard at San Isidro. This one has a similar pattern to the Great Thrush, but is more intensely colored, and smaller.
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD (TROPICAL) (Mimus gilvus tolimensis) [*]
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
PARAMO PIPIT (Anthus bogotensis bogotensis) – One of the first goodies of the trip when we scoped one up in the grasslands on our way up to Yanacocha.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi) [*]
THREE-STRIPED WARBLER (Basileuterus tristriatus) – A common understory flock bird; we had them best along the trails at Tandayapa where they came in very close.
BLACK-CRESTED WARBLER (Myiothlypis nigrocristata) – Common at forest edges and secondary habitats. We had them along the roadside at San Isidro for nice views.
GOLDEN-BELLIED WARBLER (CHOCO) (Myiothlypis chrysogaster chlorophrys) – This form found on the west slope is split out, in the Birds of Ecuador, from the nominate form of eastern Peru as Choco Warbler. Milpe is a great place for this one, and we had them well in an active flock there.
RUSSET-CROWNED WARBLER (Myiothlypis coronata elata) – The more yellow-bellied, west slope form that we saw at Tandayapa.
RUSSET-CROWNED WARBLER (Myiothlypis coronata orientalis) – This east slope form has a gray (but yellow-tinged) belly, and is a common and vocal bird right around the lodge at San Isidro.
SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus) – Common with flocks at middle elevations in humid habitats.
SPECTACLED REDSTART (Myioborus melanocephalus ruficoronatus) – Replaces the previous species at higher elevations, such as around Guango, but they do narrowly overlap at San Isidro.
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
WHITE-CAPPED TANAGER (Sericossypha albocristata) [*]
BLACK-EARED HEMISPINGUS (BLACK-EARED) (Hemispingus melanotis melanotis) – Common in Chusquea bamboo stands, especially with understory flocks. This nominate, east slope form, has the blacker face and richer color underneath.
RUFOUS-CHESTED TANAGER (Thlypopsis ornata ornata) – A few at a bit of a distance in the chaparral scrub of the central valley.
WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus) – Fairly common in cleared habitats on both slopes. This is the tanager whose male is mostly black, and female is bright rufous.
SILVER-BEAKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus carbo carbo) – The male is a beautiful, velvety blackish-red, with a bright whitish bill. We had them in good numbers on the slopes of the Guacamayos.
FLAME-RUMPED TANAGER (LEMON-RUMPED) (Ramphocelus flammigerus icteronotus) – The females of this species can be confusing, but those males are pretty easy to id, with that bright yellow lower back and rump! This one is common in the west in secondary habitats, such as the forest edges at Milpe.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus quaesita) – The duller western form.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus coelestis) – The form found in the east, with the bold white shoulder patches.

Once shy and difficult to see, the Black Agoutis at San Isidro have grown comfortable with human presence, thanks no doubt to the daily offering of dry corn! (Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger)

PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum) – A common bird throughout the neotropics, and one we saw a few times on the west slope.
BLUE-CAPPED TANAGER (Thraupis cyanocephala cyanocephala) – Nice looks at them through the scope on our first day along the old Nono-Mindo rd.
BLUE-AND-YELLOW TANAGER (Thraupis bonariensis darwinii) – One female at my house in Tumbaco.
HOODED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Buthraupis montana cucullata) – A large mountain-tanager with a red eye, and one we saw well a few times over the course of the trip.
BLACK-CHESTED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Buthraupis eximia chloronota) – One of the star target birds to get at Yanacocha, and we did so in flying colors... literally and figuratively!
SCARLET-BELLIED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Anisognathus igniventris erythronotus) – We enjoyed many fine studies of this stunner up in the temperate forest zone.
BLUE-WINGED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Anisognathus somptuosus cyanopterus) – We probably had our best looks at this west slope form at Mindo Loma's banana feeders; the closer they are, the better they look!
BLUE-WINGED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Anisognathus somptuosus baezae) – This east slope form has a greenish back, and is a common bird at San Isidro, where they were raiding the Cecropia fruits during our visit.
BLACK-CHINNED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Anisognathus notabilis) – We had some fantastic comparisons of this one right next to the Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager at Mindo Loma's banana feeders. This species has a narrow elevational band, and can be a difficult one to locate in the field (which we did do), so the feeder views were a real treat.
GRASS-GREEN TANAGER (Chlorornis riefferii riefferii) – Tough this trip, but we managed to eke them out along in the Guacamayos one morning. Certainly one of the Andes most distinctive tanagers.
GOLDEN-CROWNED TANAGER (Iridosornis rufivertex) – Stunningly at Yanacocha where a pair worked with a flock through the undergrowth.
ORANGE-EARED TANAGER (Chlorochrysa calliparaea bourcieri) – One of the dazzling east slope tanagers that we had with our awesome canopy flock on the slopes of the Guacamayos; this was the mostly green one!
GOLDEN-NAPED TANAGER (Tangara ruficervix) – Seen best at Mindo Loma's banana feeders for close, eye level studies.
BLACK-CAPPED TANAGER (Tangara heinei) – A common Tangara of middle elevations where it seems to prefer more open habitats.
BLUE-NECKED TANAGER (Tangara cyanicollis) – Gorgeous, but this one really has an all blue head, not just the neck! We had them around San Isidro and in the Guacamayos.
RUFOUS-THROATED TANAGER (Tangara rufigula) – A west slope specialty, and pretty common at Milpe with the canopy flocks. We had nice views at a group right overhead.
BLUE-AND-BLACK TANAGER (Tangara vassorii vassorii) – Surprisingly scarce this trip; we only had them fly by at Guango... not sure what they were up to.
BERYL-SPANGLED TANAGER (Tangara nigroviridis) – A beautifully patterned tanager of middle elevations, and very appropriately named!
METALLIC-GREEN TANAGER (Tangara labradorides labradorides) – Well, this one's name could have been a little better thought out; I still have yet to find much "metallic" about it, and it is really more of a buffy-turquoise! But hey, it is still smashing, and we had good looks in the west along the old Nono-Mindo rd.
BLUE-BROWED TANAGER (Tangara cyanotis lutleyi) – One of the scarcer of the east slope tanager specialties. This was yet another member of the parade of quality tanagers we had in our large canopy flock on the slopes of the Guacamayos.
PARADISE TANAGER (Tangara chilensis) – A perfectly named bird, because this is precisely how you feel when you see it! I was starting to wonder where they were, because they are pretty reliable in the Guacamayos, but we finally tracked down a family group for knee-buckling studies!
GOLDEN-EARED TANAGER (Tangara chrysotis) – Another east slope specialty, star attraction with our large canopy flock in the Guacamayos. This was the one with the multiple shades of yellow and orange in the head, greenish body, and ferruginous belly.
SAFFRON-CROWNED TANAGER (Tangara xanthocephala venusta) – Should be called "Saffron-helmeted Tanager"... it's not just the crown that is yellow! This is a common bird right around the cabins at San Isidro, so we were treated to many fine views.
FLAME-FACED TANAGER (Tangara parzudakii parzudakii) – The east slope form with more distinct yellow and red in the head that we saw in the Guacamayos.
FLAME-FACED TANAGER (Tangara parzudakii lunigera) – This west slope form has more of an intense orange throughout the head; we had them a couple of times with tanager activity.
GOLDEN TANAGER (Tangara arthus goodsoni) – The yellower west slope form.
GOLDEN TANAGER (Tangara arthus aequatorialis) – While this east slope subspecies has more of an orangy cast.
SWALLOW TANAGER (Tersina viridis occidentalis) – Perched up nicely for scope views at Milpe.
GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza) – Wonderful studies of this wide ranging honeycreeper at Milpe.
GOLDEN-COLLARED HONEYCREEPER (Iridophanes pulcherrimus pulcherrimus) – Not always an easy to find bird, but we had them daily in the east, such as around San Isidro. The male of this species really is a looker, and at one point we had a pair right next to the dining room for scope views.
CINEREOUS CONEBILL (Conirostrum cinereum fraseri) – The conebill with the pale brow and wingspot that we saw in the central valley.
BLUE-BACKED CONEBILL (Conirostrum sitticolor sitticolor) – Excellent studies at a singing bird, perched right up in the open, at Yanacocha!
GLOSSY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa lafresnayii) – The black flowerpiercer with the blue-gray shoulder patch that visits the hummingbird feeders at Yanacocha.
BLACK FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa humeralis aterrima) – More a bird of the drier central valley, where they inhabit scrub and semi-humid woodlands, even in quite disturbed areas. We had them well on our way up to Yanacocha.
WHITE-SIDED FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa albilatera albilatera) – Pretty common at forest edges, especially where there are patches of flowers; San Isidro.
DEEP-BLUE FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa glauca tyrianthina) – My favorite flowerpiercer, with that royal blue plumage and bright yellow eyes, and we brought a pair right down to eye level in the Guacamayos.
BLUISH FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa caerulescens media) – A dull blue flowerpiercer that frequents the gardens around San Isidro.
MASKED FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa cyanea cyanea) – Sort of the habitat generalist of the flowerpiercer group, occurring in a wide range of elevations. So, it is no surprise that we saw them every day of the trip.
PLUMBEOUS SIERRA-FINCH (Phrygilus unicolor geospizopsis) – The plump, terrestrial finch of the paramos here in Ecuador. Males are a clean blue-gray, while females are thickly streaked.
VARIABLE SEEDEATER (Sporophila corvina ophthalmica) – A few in the pastures along the old Nono-Mindo rd.
BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola) – Plenty in the west!
BUFF-THROATED SALTATOR (Saltator maximus maximus) – A common saltator in many areas of South America, but it was nice to have had them right at the fruit feeders at Tandayapa for such quality studies.
BLACK-WINGED SALTATOR (Saltator atripennis) – A west slope specialty that we always hope for, especially since it is really a fancy saltator. Tandayapa's feeders proved to be the place, and it was nice to be able to compare this one to the Buff-throated.
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
CHESTNUT-CAPPED BRUSH-FINCH (CHESTNUT-CAPPED) (Arremon brunneinucha frontalis) – A shy brush-finch that we managed to see a couple of times.
GRAY-BROWED BRUSH-FINCH (Arremon assimilis) [*]
PALE-NAPED BRUSH-FINCH (Atlapetes pallidinucha papallactae) – Some folks had them around Guango.
WHITE-WINGED BRUSH-FINCH (WHITE-WINGED) (Atlapetes leucopterus leucopterus) – Tandayapa had a regular pair that came in to the feeders and to glean insects in the mornings around the lodge.
RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis costaricensis) – An abundant bird of the highlands anywhere there isn't thick forest!
COMMON BUSH-TANAGER (NORTHERN ANDES) (Chlorospingus ophthalmicus phaeocephalus) – It lives up to its name, and is one of the most vocal birds at dusk; San Isidro.
DUSKY BUSH-TANAGER (Chlorospingus semifuscus semifuscus) – A few with the flocks in the west.
YELLOW-THROATED BUSH-TANAGER (YELLOW-THROATED) (Chlorospingus flavigularis marginatus) – Most common around Milpe where they run in small groups, often with mixed flocks.
ASHY-THROATED BUSH-TANAGER (Chlorospingus canigularis) – A cooperative group of this canopy bush-tanager with our large mixed flock in the Guacamayos.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
WHITE-WINGED TANAGER (Piranga leucoptera ardens) – We nabbed a pair of this handsome canopy species along the trail at Tandayapa for killer views.
OCHRE-BREASTED TANAGER (Chlorothraupis stolzmanni) – Common (and noisy!) with the flocks at Milpe. Note that this and the previous species have been recently reassigned to the cardinal family due to genetic studies. Can't wait to see if any common name changes are in the cards... talk about confusing!
GOLDEN-BELLIED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus chrysogaster chrysogaster) – Amy had the first one at Tandayapa, where they are not common, but her description of the bird she saw was right on! We saw them as a group the following day at my house in Tumbaco.
BLUE SEEDEATER (BLUE) (Amaurospiza concolor aequatorialis) – We enjoyed some wonderful views of a singing male right from the hummingbird porch at Mindo Loma. This can be a tricky bird to find when there is no seeding bamboo.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
SCRUB BLACKBIRD (Dives warszewiczi warszewiczi) – A few along the roadside in the west, where they have moved in from drier areas further south.
YELLOW-BILLED CACIQUE (CHAPMAN'S) (Amblycercus holosericeus australis) [*]
MOUNTAIN CACIQUE (GOLDEN-SHOULDERED) (Cacicus chrysonotus leucoramphus) – Guango, where the can usually be found moving with jays and mountain-tanagers. The cacique with the bright yellow in the shoulders and rump.
SCARLET-RUMPED CACIQUE (Cacicus uropygialis) – The Birds of Ecuador splits this east slope form out as the Subtropical Cacique mainly based on their very different ranges and vocalizations. We ran into this species numerous times around San Isidro where they come to glean insects.
RUSSET-BACKED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius angustifrons angustifrons) – Seen daily around San Isidro, where they nest right over the parking lot.
Fringillidae (Siskins, Crossbills, and Allies)
THICK-BILLED EUPHONIA (Euphonia laniirostris) – Fabulous studies of both males and females at Tandayapa's fruit feeders; this was the one that had the yellow all the way up to the chin.
GOLDEN-RUMPED EUPHONIA (Euphonia cyanocephala pelzelni) – Stunning views of males and females in my yard in Tumbaco of this particularly gaudy euphonia.
BRONZE-GREEN EUPHONIA (Euphonia mesochrysa) [*]
ORANGE-BELLIED EUPHONIA (Euphonia xanthogaster) – We had nice comparisons of this one right next to the Thick-billeds at Tandayapa's fruit feeders.
BLUE-NAPED CHLOROPHONIA (Chlorophonia cyanea longipennis) – Well, we never managed to see this one, but derived some great pleasure from them nonetheless in the form of a quote from Lou. One word: "Chlorophormia!" [*]
HOODED SISKIN (Spinus magellanicus capitalis) – Yanacocha.

NIGHT MONKEY SP. (Aotus sp.) – We spent some time enjoying the resident San Isidro pair as they frolicked about overhead in the evenings right next to the cabins!
RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis) – The most commonly seen mammal on our tour.
BLACK AGOUTI (Dasyprocta fuliginosa) – These guys hang around the lodge at San Isidro as if they were pets; we feed them dry corn, and they seem to love it!


To round things out, I have to mention that blue-colored caecilian that Ellie found off in the bushes in the Guacamayos, that a few of us got to see... what an amazing and strange creature. While it looks like an earthworm crossed with a snake, this one is actually an amphibian that can sometimes be found under logs, and less often above ground. Nice!

Totals for the tour: 316 bird taxa and 3 mammal taxa