Colombia: Mitu & Magdalena Valley - Detailed Tour Itinerary

Day 1  Arrival in Bogotá - 4th Sept 2020
Today is purely an arrival day in Bogotá, Colombia and no activities are planned. Night in Bogotá. 



Day 2  Laguna del Tabacal – Jardin Encantado – La Florida – La Victoria
We will leave early and spend the morning at Laguna del Tabacal and the dry forest of Jardín Encantado. Targets include Dusky Antbird, Rusty-breasted Antpitta, Red-billed Scythebill, Apical Flycatcher, Stripe-breasted Spinetail, White-bearded Manakin, Rufous-naped Greenlet, Band-backed and Speckle-breasted Wren, Rosy Thrush-Tanager and the endemic Velvet-fronted Euphonia. In the afternoon we will return to Bogotá and visit La Florida wetland, a marsh and lake close to the international airport, searching for three endemics - Bogotá Rail, Apolinar’s Wren and Silvery-throated Spinetail. Other specialities could include Spot-flanked Gallinule, Noble Snipe, Subtropical Doradito and Rufous-browed Conebill. We’ll then drive to the town of La Victoria with a stop to visit a garden with some hummingbird feeders, which attract hundreds of hummers including the endemic Indigo-capped Hummingbird, the widespread Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, White-vented Plumeleteer and localized Gorgeted Woodstar. At the end of the day we will return to our comfortable hotel in Bogotá where we will have our first dinner of the tour. Night in Bogotá.

Days 3 - 7  Bogota – Mitu  
This morning we will take a short flight to Mitú in the Colombian Amazonia, close to the Brazilian border where we will spend the next 5 nights. This is a great base from which to explore the nearby terra firme, varzea and white-sand forests and rivers where the species mix comprises a huge variety of widespread Amazonian species, interspersed with a number of Guianan Shield specialities. Of course there will be many widespread Amazonian species but we will focus our efforts on the area’s special birds such as Festive Amazon, Red-fan Parrot, Guianan Cock-of-the Rock, Dusky-billed Parrotlet, Tawny-tufted Toucanet, Fiery Topaz, Fiery-tailed Awlbill, Gilded Barbet, Orinoco Piculet, Cream-colored Woodpecker, Pavonine Quetzal, Purple-breasted and Pompadour Cotingas, Amazonian Umbrellabird, Rusty-breasted Nunlet, Chestnut-capped, Collared and Spotted Puffbirds, Striated Antthrush, Black Bushbird, Cinereous Antshrike, Black-throated, White-plumed, Bicoloured, Chestnut-crested and Grey-bellied Antbirds, Bar-bellied Woodcreeper, Amazonian Tyrannulet, Azure-naped Jay, White-bellied Dacnis and Plumbeous Euphonia to name just a few. Each day we will head in a different direction and explore each habitat in turn in our search for as many species as possible and it is very hard not to just give a long list of potential species, however initially we will spend time in the nearby Varzea forest where such delights as Streak-throated Hermit, Black-bellied Thorntail, Pearly Antshrike, Imeri Warbling and Black-headed Antbirds, Yellow-throated, Spot-backed and Stipple-throated Antwrens, Purple-breasted and Spangled Cotingas reside. The white-sand forest is home to Yellow-billed and Bronzy Jacamars, Brown-banded Puffbird, Green-tailed Goldenthroat, Blackish-grey Antshrike, Spot-backed and Cherrie’s Antwrens, Point-tailed Palmcreeper, Rufous-crowned Elaenia, Amazonian Inezia, Citron-bellied Attila, Cinnamon-crested Spadebill, Saffron-crested Tyrant-Manakin, Black and Yellow-crowned Manakins, Brown-headed Greenlet and White-naped Seedeater. There’s an astonishing list of potential Amazonian species we could see: Variegated Tinamou, Green Ibis, Sungrebe, Red-throated Caracara, Bicolored Hawk, Band-bellied Nighthawk, Blackish Nightjar, Gould ́s Jewelfront, Versicoloured Emerald, Pale-tailed Barbthroat, White-bearded and Straight-billed Hermits, American Pygmy Kingfisher, Lemon-throated Barbet, Paradise Jacamar, Amazonian Trogon, Many-banded, Ivory-billed and Lettered Aracaris, Plum-throated and Spangled Cotingas, Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlet, Black-headed Parrot, Scarlet and Red-bellied Macaws, Maroon-tailed Parakeet, Yellow-throated, Chestnut, Scale-breasted and Red-necked Woodpeckers, Black-collared Swallow, Thrush-like and Spotted Antpittas, Amazonian, Plain-winged, Mouse-coloured, Spot-winged, Cinereous, Fasciated, Blackish-grey and Dusky-throated Antshrikes, Dusky, Black-faced, Yellow-browed, Black-chinned, Black-headed, Black-throated, Bicoloured, Scale-backed, White-cheeked, Grey and Silvered Antbirds, Amazonian Streaked, Yellow-throated, Long-winged, Rufous-tailed, Stipple-throated and Grey Antwrens, Ruddy Spinetail, Eastern Woodhaunter, Amazonian Barred and White-chinned Woodcreepers, Chestnut-winged Hookbill, Rufous-tailed Xenops, Short-billed Leaftosser, Cinnamon-rumped Foliage-Gleaner, Brown-winged Schiffornis, White-eyed Tody-Tyrant, Crowned Slaty, Yellow-throated and Sulphury Flycatchers, Grey-crowned Flatbill, Slender-footed Tyrannulet, Greyish Mourner, Golden-crowned Spadebill, Amazonian Black Tyrant, Double-banded Pygmy-Tyrant, Spotted Tody-Flycatcher, Coraya and Musician Wrens, White-browed Purpletuft, Ringed Antpipit, Cinnamon Neopipo, Chestnut-belted Gnateater, Dwarf and Saffron-crested Tyrant-Manakins, Golden-headed Manakin, Green and Olive Oropendolas, Paradise, Yellow-bellied, Opal-crowned, Flame, Masked, Green-and-gold, Fulvous-crested, Turquoise and Opal-rumped Tanagers, Short-billed Honeycreeper, Black-faced and Yellow-bellied Dacnis and Rothschild ́s Grosbeak, Chestnut-bellied, Lesson’s and Lined Seedeaters and White-vented Euphonia. And the list could go on…! Nights in Mitú.

Day 8  Mitu - Bogota

Depending on flight times, we may well have a final morning’s birding in this magnificent area before taking the short flight back to Bogotá later in the day. Nigh in Bogotá. 


Day 9  Pedro Pablo’s Preserve - 
 Maná Dulce Preserve – Magdalena Valley
We will pay an early morning visit to Pedro Pablo’s Preserve, which is about a 90 minute drive away from our hotel. Targets here include endemics such as Black Inca, Indigo-capped Hummingbird and Turqoise Dacnis, whilst near-endemics Short-tailed Emerald and Moustached Brush-Finch are also present. Other notable species include Smoky-brown Woodpecker, Plain Antvireo, Ash-browed Spinetail and Flame-faced Tanager. From here we will drive to Maná Dulce Preserve in the lower part of Magdalena Valley and in these dry forests we will search for Spectacled Parrotlet, Dwarf Cuckoo, White-bellied and Jet Antbirds, Lance-tailed Manakin, Apical Flycatcher (endemic), Slaty-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Scrub Greenlet, Grey Seedeater, Orange-billed Sparrow, White-eared Conebill and Velvet-fronted Euphonia (endemic). Night in Ibagué.



Day 10  Conveima River - Victoria
A short drive to Juntas and the Conveima River will see us look for a trio of endemics: Tolima Dove, Andean (Tolima) Blossomcrown and Yellow-headed Brush-finch. Once we are finished here we will set out to Victoria-Caldas and birding here and en-route opens up possibilities of seeing the endemic Colombian Chachalaca, Bronzy Inca, Speckled Hummingbird, Tourmeline Sunangel, Tropical Mockingbird, Southern White-fringed Antwren, Montane Woodcreeper, Tawny-crowned Pygmy-Tyrant, Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant, Whiskered Wren, Yellow Oriole, Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia, White-naped Brush-Finch, Lemon-rumped and Saffron-crowned Tanagers and Black-striped Sparrow. Night in Victoria. 



Day 11  Bella Vista Reserve – El Paujil Preserve

A short drive will take us to Bella Vista Reserve near Victoria and it is here we hope to see yet more endemics such as White-mantled Barbet, Beautiful Woodpecker, Antioquia Bristle-Tyrant and Sooty Ant-Tanager. During our search for this fine quartet of endemics we should come across plenty more quality birds such as Ruddy Quail-Dove, Spectacled Parrotlet, Tody Motmot, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, Golden-headed, White-bibbed and Blue-crowned Manakins and Yellow-browed Shrike-Vireo amongst many others. Then we will drive in the afternoon to El Paujil Preserve some 5 hours away with chances of seeing Northern Screamer and White-throated Crake along the way. Night in El Paujil. 


Day 12  El Paujil Preserve
We will spend all day birding in El Paujil Reserve, which protects a great area of lowland forest where the superb Critically Endangered endemic Blue-billed Curassow resides. Other endemics present here include Colombian Chachalaca, Beautiful Woodpecker, White-mantled Barbet and Sooty Ant-Tanager. Other localised species we will search for include Marbled Woodquail, Saffron-headed Parrot, Citron-throated Toucan, Black-breasted Puffbird, Bare-crowned Antbird, Black Antshrike, Southern Bentbill, Black-billed Flycatcher, Slaty-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Speckled Mourner, Western Striped Manakin and Rufous Piha. Whilst searching for these species we should find a number of other new species for the trip which could include Crested Bobwhite, Great Tinamou, White-throated Crake, Marbled Wood-Quail, White Hawk, Blue-and-yellow and Chestnut-fronted Macaws, Orange-winged Parrot, Yellow-throated and Chestnut-mandibled Toucans, Pale-billed and Long-billed Hermits, Shining-green and Blue-chested Hummingbirds, Gartered Trogon, Whooping Motmot, Olivaceous Piculet, Cinnamon and Red-rumped Woodpeckers, Great Jacamar, Short-tailed Swift, Russet-throated, White-whiskered and Barred Puffbirds, Black, Black-crested and Western Slaty Antshrikes, Checker-throated and Dot-winged Antwrens, Bare-crowned, Bicolored and Jet Antbirds, Tawny-throated Leaftosser, Caribbean Hornero, Pale-breasted Spinetail, Cocoa, Northern Barred and Plain-brown Woodcreepers, Yellow, Brown-capped and Sooty-headed Tyrannulet, Southern Bentbill, Panamanian and Northern Royal Flycatchers, Half-collared Gnatwren, Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant, Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Rufous Mourner, Flammulated Attila, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Golden-headed Manakin, Russet-winged Schiffornis, Cinnamon Becard, Scrub Greenlet, Orange-crowned Oriole, Black-chested Jay, Black-bellied Wren, Yellow-tufted (Black-faced) Dacnis, Tawny-crested, Grey-headed, Plain-coloured and Yellow-backed Tanagers, Slate-coloured Grosbeak and Black-striped Sparrows. Night birding can be pretty good here with Common and Great Potoos, Spectacled, Mottled and Crested Owls, and both Choco and Vermiculated Screech-Owls being present. Night in El Paujil. 



Day 13  El Paujil Preserve – Rio Claro

We will continue our exploration of El Paujil this morning. The birdlist is so long here and we’ll no doubt pick up plenty of new species for our lists. Amongst a multitude of further possibilities we could find Ruddy Quail-Dove, Double-toothed Kite, Spectacled Parrotlet, Rufous-breasted Hermit, White-tipped Sicklebill, Rufous-crested Coquette, Violet-bellied and Blue-chested Hummingbirds, White-vented Plumeleteer, Black-throated Trogon, Rufous Motmot, Cinnamon Woodpecker, Northern Barred, Straight-billed and Black-striped Woodcreepers, Bicolored and Chestnut-backed Antbirds, Mouse-coloured Tyrannulet, Black-tailed Flycatcher, Slate-throated Gnatcatcher, Buff-rumped Warbler, Golden-hooded and Scarlet-browed Tanagers and Fulvous-vented Euphonia. After lunch we will drive 4 hours to Rio Claro where we will spend the night.

Day 14  Rio Claro – 
 La Piñuela – Chestnut-capped Piha Reserve
Our main purpose for visiting Rio Claro is to visit the Oilbird caves, and more importantly there are chances of Black Hawk-Eagle, Pale-tailed Barbthroat, Yellow-throated Toucan, Barred Puffbird, Grey-cheeked Nunlet, the near-endemic Magdalena Antbird, the cool Bare-crowned, Dusky and Chestnut-backed Antbirds, Pacific Antwren, Southern Bentbill, Slaty-winged Foliage-Gleaner, Band-backed Wren, One-coloured Becard, Blue-crowned Manakin, Dusky-faced and Plain-coloured Tanagers, and the endemic Antioquia Bristle Tyrant. After a few hours here we will drive to La Piñuela on the road to Medellín for the endemic Beautiful Woodpecker, the near-endemic Black-headed Brush-finch, and there’s another chance of Western Striped Manakin. And then we will set out on the long drive to the Chestnut-capped Piha Reserve where we will spend the next 2 nights. If we arrive before dark then we can watch the feeders to see if anything new is visiting them.

Day 15  Chestnut-capped Piha Reserve
An exciting day along the trails will see us search the forest canopy for the endemic Chestnut-capped Piha, as well as the extremely localised endemics Chestnut Wood-Quail, the recently-described Parker`s Antbird, Stiles’s Tapaculo, Black-and-gold Tanager, Multicolored Tanager and Red-bellied Grackle. Other great birds at this reserve include Wattled Guan, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Tiny Hawk, Cinnamon and the near-endemic Colombian Screech-Owl, Stygian Owl, Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Blue-fronted Parrotlet, Greenish Puffleg, Green-fronted Lancebill, Pavonine Cuckoo, Red-headed Barbet, Tody Motmot, Golden-breasted and Scaled Fruiteaters, Lanceolated Monklet, Moustached Puffbird, Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Slaty and Rufous-rumped Antwrens, Red-faced Spinetail, Streak-capped Treehunter, Western Woodhaunter, Brown-billed Scythebill, Rufous-browed Tyrannulet, Ornate Flycatcher, Pale-eyed Thrush, Chestnut-crowned Gnateater, the near-endemic Sooty-headed Wren, Yellow-throated Brush-Finch, Golden-winged Manakin, near-endemic White-bibbed Manakin, Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager, Black-winged Saltator, Lemon-rumped, Speckled, Purplish-mantled and Black-faced Tanagers.

Day 16  Chestnut-capped Piha Reserve – Cerulean Warbler Reserve
We can spend the morning in the Chestnut-capped Piha Reserve searching for new species before setting out on the 7 hour drive to the Cerulean Warbler Reserve in Santander. Night in Cerulean Warbler Reserve.

Day 17  Cerulean Warbler Reserve
We will spend the whole day in the Cerulean Warbler Reserve looking for endemics such as Gorgeted Wood-Quail, Chestnut-bellied Hummingbird, White-mantled Barbet, Parker’s Antbird, Niceforo's Wren, Magdalena Tapaculo and Turquoise Dacnis. Other birds here include near-endemic Lined Quail-Dove, Orange-chinned Parakeet, Golden-headed Quetzal, the amazing near-endemic Recurve-billed Bushbird, White-bellied Antpitta, Stripe-breasted Spinetail, White-eared Conebill, Brown-billed Scythebill, Golden-faced and Plumbeous-crowned Tyrannulet, Speckle-breasted Wren, Golden-winged Manakin, Rufous-naped Greenlet, Subtropical Cacique, Black-headed Brush-Finch, Metallic-green Tanager. Night in Cerulean Warbler Reserve.

Day 18 Cerulean Warbler Reserve – Bogota
We can spend the morning in the reserve, with birds right on our doorstep visiting the feeders in the gardens and we should get some good photos of the stunning Lemon-rumped Tanager coming to the fruit, whilst hummers include the endemics Indigo-capped Hummingbird and Black Inca, as well as Green Hermit, Brown Violetear, Violet-crowned Woodnymph, Andean Emerald, White-booted Racket-tail, Buff-tailed Coronet and Green-crowned Brilliant. Birding around the gardens can be rather productive with species such as the endemic Colombian Chachalaca, along with Spectacled Parrotlet, Spot-breasted Woodpecker, Bar-crested Antshrike, Southern White-fringed Antwren, Yellow-legged Thrush, Bicolored Wren, Black-winged Saltator and Yellow-backed Oriole amongst many other possibilities. In the afternoon we will drive to Bucaramanga and fly back to Bogotá where we will spend the last night of a fabulous tour. Night in Bogotá.

Day 19 End of Tour – 22nd Sept 2020
Transfer to airport for our international flights home.