NORTH-WEST ECUADOR - Specialities of the Chocó Region

This tour is a specialised itinerary designed to concentrate our efforts in finding as many of the endemic and specialty bird species of north-west Ecuador as possible and in particular the Chocó region. Our 2-week itinerary begins in Quito and we start birding amidst the birdrich cloud forests of Yanacocha Reserve, home of the rare Black-breasted Puffleg, as well as many other hummingbirds and typical Andean species. We will be based for the next 4 nights at the wonderful Septimo Paraiso from where we make daily excursions to Mashpi, Angel Paz Reserve, Alambi and other current 'hot spots'. Expect a multitude of great birds from these days including Indigo-crowned (or Purple) Quail-Dove, Pallid Dove, Cloud-forest Pygmy-Owl, Chocó Toucan, Chocó Trogon, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Barred Puffbird, Uniform Antshrike, Esmeraldas Antbird, Rufous-rumped Antwren, Pacific Tuftedcheek, Uniform Treehunter, Club-winged Manakin, Black Solitaire, Chocó Vireo, Chocó Warbler, Chocó Brushfinch and Moss-backed  Tanager. A visit to the famous Angel Paz Reserve is always a must and we can see Moustached, Chestnut-crowned, Giant, Yellow-breasted and Ochre-breasted Antpittas at feeding stations, as well as other species such as Dark-backed Wood-Quail, Rufous-breasted Antthrush and even Ocellated Tapaculo.  There’s also a lek of Andean Cock-of-the-Rocks to view as well, whilst pre-dawn and post-sunset visits could give us Lyre-tailed Nightjar and Colombian Screech-Owl.

Moving on to Kapari Lodge in the tropical foothills along the Rio Blanco we will search for Brown Wood Rail, Rufous-fronted Wood-Quail, Purple Quail-Dove and Chocó Screech-Owl. We will visit the 23 de Junio Community and have the whole day to look for Long-wattled Umbrellabird before heading to Rio Silanche Reserve before setting out on the 90-minute boat ride to Playa de Oro Lodge. What a place this is, with many incredibly rare and range-restricted species! Amongst numerous possibilities we hope to see Berlepsch’s Tinamou, Baudo Guan, Tawny-faced Quail, Uniform Crake, Rose-faced Parrot, Chocó Poorwill, Tooth-billed Hummingbird, Stripe-billed Aracari, Five-coloured Barbet, Chocó and Lita Woodpeckers, Blue Cotinga, Black-tipped Cotinga, Black-breasted Puffbird, Black-headed Antthrush, the Chocó endemic Stub-tailed Antbird, Streak-chested Antpitta, Sapayoa, the Chocó race of Green Manakin, Dagua Thrush (split from White-throated Thrush), Blue-whiskered, Scarlet-browed, Lemon-spectacled, Rufous-winged, Golden-chested, and Grey-and-Gold Tanagers, as well as the delightful Scarlet-breasted Dacnis. Phew! 

Tearing ourselves away from here we will visit Alto Tambo with its Rufous-headed Chachalacas, Five-coloured Barbet, Black-tipped Cotinga and others, before spending a couple of days on the brilliant Chical Road.  No doubt we will bump into yet more exciting, mixed feeding flocks as we search for the impressive Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, Hoary Puffleg, Blue-headed Sapphire, White-tailed Hillstar, Chocó and Yellow-vented Woodpeckers, Toucan Barbet, White-ringed and Tufted Flycatchers, Star-chested Treerunner, Stub-tailed Antbird, Chocó Tapaculo, Beautiful Jay, Yellow-green Bush-Tanager, Rufous-winged, Bluish-mantled, Golden-chested, Saffron-crowned, Glistening-green, Emerald, Rufous-crested, Scarlet-and-white, Purplish-mantled and Scrub Tanagers amongst others. It’s going to be a memorable couple of days here! And we will finish up looking for Ecuadorian Rail at Otavalo before heading to Quito airport and the end of an amazingly bird-filled tour.

Sunday 10th - Saturday 23rd October 2021


Here are just a few of the key species we will be targetting on this tour:

  • Berlepsch's Tinamou
  • Rufous-headed Chachalaca
  • Baudo Guan
  • Uniform Crake
  • Brown Woodrail
  • Purple Quail-Dove
  • Rufous-fronted Wood Quail
  • Dark-backed Wood Quail
  • Tawny-faced Quail
  • Chocó Toucan
  • Black-breasted Puffleg
  • Rainbow-bearded Thornbill
  • Colombian Screech-Owl
  • Chocó Screech-Owl
  • Cloud-forest Pygmy Owl
  • Chocó Poorwill
  • Rose-faced Parrot
  • Lita Woodpecker
  • Chocó Woodpecker
  • Powerful Woodpecker
  • Five-coloured Barbet
  • Chocó Trogon
  • Giant, Yellow-breasted & Ochre-breasted Antpittas
  • Undulated Antpitta
  • Rufous-breasted Antthrush
  • Black-headed Antthrush
  • Stub-tailed Antbird
  • Black-tipped Cotinga
  • Orange-breasted Fruiteater
  • Long-wattled Umbrellabird
  • Barred Puffbird
  • White-faced Nunbird
  • Black Solitaire
  • Brown-billed Scythebill
  • Ocellated Tapaculo
  • Chocó Tapaculo
  • Subtropical Doradito
  • Broad-billed Sapayoa
  • Chocó Tyrannulet
  • Ecuadorian Thrush
  • Yellow-collared Chlorophonia
  • Chocó Vireo
  • Chocó Warbler
  • Chocó Brushfinch
  • Golden-collared Honeycreeper
  • Black-chested Mountain-Tanager
  • Blue-whiskered Tanager
  • Moss-backed Tanager
  • Scarlet-browed Tanager
  • Ochre-breasted Tanager
  • Lemon-spectacled Tanager
  • Golden-chested Tanager
  • Grey-and-gold Tanager
  • Scarlet-and-white Tanager
  • Scarlet-breasted Dacnis
  • Tanager Finch
  • Ecuadorian Seedeater
Long-wattled Umbrellabird

Leader:  Nick Bray and Juan Carlos Calvachi.

Ground Price:  £3550.00 - Quito/Quito

Single supplement: £450.00

Deposit: £500.00

Group size: Maximum of 6.

Included in cost: Accommodations based on two persons sharing a two-bedded room. We select good hotels convenient to our birding destinations, but at times the only convenient accommodations may be rather simple. Expert guide service. All transportation, taxes & local fees, all group admissions and park entry fees are included in the tour price.

Not included: International airfare, laundry, personal tips, drinks, souvenirs, insurance of any kind,

Tour Code:  This is a standard birding tour with all-day birding for those that wish. Expect a variety of weather, from hot in the lowlands to cooler with some drizzle in the cloud forest and higher areas. Rubber boots/wellies may well be needed. Above all, be prepared for all eventualities!

Please note that the exact order of the itinerary may vary due to local rules around Covid-19. We are constantly monitoring the situation and at present you can only join this tour if you are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. WE ARE PRE-EMPTING ECUADOR BEING TAKEN OFF THE RED LIST IN THE NEAR FUTURE. Just make sure you have the NHS App on your phone and have the NHS Covid Pass for Travel which will give you a QR Code. Upon return to UK you will not need to self-isolate as per new regulations from 19th July 2021 and only need to book a Day 2 Covid test - but these rules may change.

All photos copyright Juan Carlos Calvachi

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