Southern Ecuador Hummingbird & Tanager Extravaganza: Aug 26—Sep 06, 2018
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This spectacular complement to our Northern Ecuador Hummingbird and Tanager Extravaganza features the dramatic habitat and elevational diversity of southern Ecuador and the promise of possibly up to 60 hummingbird species and as many as 50 tanagers (and more if we count their dacnis, honeycreeper, and conebill relatives).
Ecuador has long been regarded as the planet’s hummingbird and tanager epicenter, and on this exciting sequel to our Northern Ecuador Extravaganza, we’ll experience many of southern Ecuador’s prime habitats and ecosystems while in pursuit of these spectacular living gems that exemplify the glory of the Neotropics. This trip has been designed specifically for birding enthusiasts and photographers, along with anyone sporting a whim for the joys of Neotropical birding and a special focus on color and glitter! Of the nearly 200 species of hummingbirds and tanagers (including their allies) found in this region, we hope to enjoy well over half of them, including many of the same actors present on our “Northern” tour, along with a whole new cast of superstars!
In the high temperate and páramo-zone elevations of El Cajas National Park, we’ll search for mixed foraging flocks and their attendant tanagers and scan flowering trees and shrubs for an array of hummingbirds with names as angelic as their appearances, including Green-tailed Trainbearer, Shining Sunbeam, Ecuadorian Hillstar, Mountain Velvetbreast, Great Sapphirewing, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Purple-throated Sunangel, and Viridian Metaltail. We will focus especially on locating the Violet-throated Metaltail, one of South America’s most range-restricted hummers. Tanagers could include Hooded and Scarlet-bellied mountain-tanagers, Grass-green and Blue-and-black tanagers, Tit-like Dacnis, and Giant Conebill. A number of other specialties might show up as well, among them, Bearded Guan, Andean Condor, Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan, and Giant Conebill to name just a few.
Rainbow-bearded Thornbill— Photo: Stubblefield Photography/shutterstock
In the Amazonian foothills, a region of exceptional diversity, at the lovely Copalinga Lodge, the many possibilities can be overwhelming, with a list far too extensive to present here, but consider this tiny sample: Orange-eared, Green-and-gold, Yellow-bellied, Turquoise, Blue-necked, Paradise, Golden-eared, Golden, Spotted, and Saffron-crowned tanagers, and Golden-collared Honeycreeper, along with Green and Gray-chinned hermits, Buff-tailed and White-tipped sicklebills, Violet-headed Hummingbird, Wire-crested Thorntail, Spangled Coquette, Peruvian Racket-tail, Black-eared Fairy, Violet-fronted and Black-throated brilliants, Glittering-throated Emerald, and Golden-tailed Sapphire. We could even be distracted by a parade of parakeets, jacamars, umbrellabirds, cocks-of-the-rock, manakins, and more.
At the Jocotoco Foundation’s Tapichalaca Reserve, the nectar feeders and temperate-zone vegetation should be alive with birds, and some of the new hummingbirds we’ll seek include Andean Emerald, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Collared Inca, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Amethyst-throated and Flame-throated sunangels, Glowing Puffleg, Tyrian Metaltail, and Rainbow-bearded and Rufous-capped thornbills; tanagers could include Red-hooded and Grass-green, and Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager. This area is also home to many other specialties—including the recently discovered Jocotoco Antpitta—and we will offer an optional walk in hopes of locating some key species. We will also venture to lower elevations not far from the reserve where we may run into some upper Amazonian and Marañón valley species; Silver-backed, Straw-backed, and Buff-bellied tanagers are possibilities.
At the Jocotoco Foundation-owned Buenaventura Reserve, the nectar feeders and flowers at Umbrellabird Lodge teem with a diversity of hummingbird species that include such beauties as Band-tailed Barbthroat, Stripe-throated and White-whiskered hermits, Green Thorntail, Emerald-bellied Woodnymph, Violet-bellied Hummingbird, White-vented Plumeleteer, Velvet-purple Coronet, Gorgeted Sunangel, Violet-tailed Sylph, and Purple-crowned Fairy. We will also keep our “eyes peeled” for Gray-backed Hawk, El Oro and Red-masked parakeets, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Pale-mandibled Araçari, Long-wattled Umbrellabird, Club-winged Manakin, and Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager.
Good accommodations and good to excellent cuisine; some field lunches; birding is varied with visits to feeding stations mixed with roadside birding and optional forest birding; some long drives between birding sites; optional walking on varied terrain; varied altitudes with visits to two high-elevation sites (maximum 12,500 ft.); midday rest periods most days; climate ranges from cool to mildly warm to hot, humid, and dry (briefly).