Birdwatching in Ecuador!

Among the many activities that Ecuador has to offer, birding is one of the most popular. Ecuador’s small size and extreme biodiversity make it the ideal destination for serious birders. The registered number of bird species in Ecuador has now surpassed 1600 with many recent discoveries like that of the Jocotoco Antpitta.

Only a short distance separates the Pacific Rim from the Amazon Basin. If you also consider that these two lush regions are divided by the many elevation changes of the Andean mountain range, you begin to understand why Ecuador has so many different microclimates and such extensive diversity. In addition, Ecuador lies at 0˚ latitude making it hospitable year round for both birds and birdwatchers.

One of Ecuador’s better locations for birding lies only an hour and a half from Quito in the valley of Mindo. The valley lies at 5000 feet (1500 mts) above sea level and is home to numerous species of the famous and fragile region of Chocó. The Chocó region is highly diverse and supports a number of endemic species such as the Empress Brilliant humming bird; the largest in the Mindo Valley. Here we also find distinct birds like the Toucan Barbet, the Choco Toucan and the tiny Purple Throated Woodstart.

The Angel Paz private bird refuge is another remarkable place to visit. The refuge boasts three different Grallarias species like the Giant Antpitta, or the elusive Yellow-breasted and Moustached Antpittas. Without leaving the region we can change ecosystems by simply dropping in elevation thus increasing the list of viewable species.

Crown Woodninfth

Another hot spot for birding is the Rio Napo. Born on the eastern edge of the Andes, this river and its tributaries drain some of Ecuador’s most important biological and protected areas. Within this vast watershed lie the Cosanga and Loreto regions which offer a window into national treasures like Parque Nacional Sumaco, Reserva Ecologica Cayambe-Coca and Reserva Antisana. Ecosystems here begin with high grasslands, or Paramo, and move downward into cloud and rainforests. Bar-winged Cinclodes, Plumbeous Sierra-finch, Puna Hawk, Purple-backed Thornbill are among the prizes to be found at higher reaches. As we drop down into the cloud-forest we move into the territory of the Dusky Piha, White-capped Tanager, Inca Jay, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Shining Sunbeam and the White-capped Parrot.

The success of any birding outing can hinge a great deal on the guide. EcoSport insures a quality experience with guides like Ornithologist Roberto Cedeno. With eighteen years of dedication, Roberto is among the best in his field and with great talent, shares the excitement of learning with the EcoSport birding program.

We work with groups of all ages and all walks of life, and our guides consider it a personal triumph when every member of the group partakes in the discovery of a new bird. Whether using sharp eyes or a telescope, clear descriptions and extensive knowledge make birding with EcoSport fun for everyone.