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Wednesday 22nd October - Saturday 15th November 2014

János Oláh

Ecuador offers unrivalled opportunities to see skulking antpittas and antthrushes (János Oláh)

Ecuador offers unrivalled opportunities to see skulking antpittas and antthrushes (János Oláh)

Ecuador undeniably offers the best of the ’Bird Continent’ with most species of birds per square mile in the World! On our recent tour we had a wide range of special birds amongst a total of 846 species. Out of this amazing total, 776 bird species were seen and 70 birds were heard only. It would be rather long to name all the special birds we managed to see but certainly highlights included such birds as Wattled Guan, Dark-backed Wood-Quail, Zigzag Heron, Bicoloured Hawk, Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe, Dusky Pigeon, Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlet, ‘San Isidro’ Owl, Rufous-, Andean and Long-tailed Potoos, Short-tailed-, Rufous-bellied and Sand-coloured Nighthawks, Swallow-tailed- and Lyre-tailed Nightjars, White-chested Swift, Fiery Topaz, White-tipped Sicklebill, Ecuadorian Piedtail, Emerald-bellied Puffleg, Pavonine Quetzal, Great Jacamar, Collared Puffbird, White-faced Nunbird, Toucan Barbet, Rufous-headed and Ringed Woodpeckers, Short-billed Leaftosser, Uniform Treehunter, Tschudi’s Woodcreeper, Brown-billed Scythebill, Fulvous Antshrike, Castelnau’s Antshrike, Plain-winged and Yellow-breasted Antwrens, Banded-, Yellow-browed-, Dot-backed Antbirds, Giant, Moustached and Plain-backed Antpittas, Chestnut-belted and Chestnut-crowned Gnateaters, Ocellated and Rusty-belted tapaculos, Ringed Antpipit, Ecuadorian Tyrannulet, Buff-throated Tody-Tyrant, Golden-winged Tody-Flycatcher, Pacific Flatbill, Orange-crested, Olive-chested and Grey-breasted Flycatchers, White-tailed Shrike-Tyrant, Dusky-chested and Sulphury Flycatchers, Fiery-throated Fruiteater, Black-necked Red Cotinga, Grey-tailed Piha, Purple-throated and Black-tipped Cotingas, Club-winged, Blue-rumped, Western Striped and Orange-crested Manakins, White-browed Purpletuft, Olivaceous Greenlet, Wing-banded, Grey-mantled and Striped-throated Wrens, Slate-throated Gnatcatcher, Hauxwell’s Thrush, Rufous-crested, Rufous-chested, Fulvous-crested, Moss-backed, Glistening-green, Blue-whiskered and Rufous-winged Tanagers, Bicoloured Conebill, Golden-rumped Euphonia, Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia and Lesson’s Seedeater.

Birdquest has operated a very long series of successful tours to Ecuador over the last 20 years. On our recent visit we travelled through a wide range of habitats and saw an amazing selection of birds. Ecuador is still one of the very best countries to go birding in South America as the growing birding tourism initiated a lot of changes in the last 15 years - many new lodges opened allowing relatively easy access to previously off-the-beaten-track places and also many difficult-to-find birds has been staked-out or even habituated. In the steamy lowland and foothill jungles featuring hundreds of tree species we found an enormous diversity of antpittas, antthrushes, antshrikes, antwrens and antbirds, and recorded a staggering total of 72 species of them. Other ‘family’ totals to highlight this year’s tour were 5 species of kingfishers; 7 species of jacamars including coppery-chested and yellow-billed; 20 species of cotingas with outstanding views of Scaled, Fiery-throated, Scarlet-breasted and Orange-breasted Fruiteaters plus Purple-throtaed Cotinga, Amazonian Umbrellabird and Grey-tailed Piha; 12 species of manikins; and a record count of 111 flycatchers excluding becards nowadays. We also recorded a staggering 31 species of nightbirds, of which we managed to see 22 species which included five potoos, eight nightjars and eights owls. Hummingbirds were amazing and this is probably the best tour in the World for this special family! We visited various elevations and many different habitats and a multitude of hummingbird feeders resulting in an incredible total of 78 species of hummingbirds, which is the highest total for any Birdquest tour! This list included species like the diminutive Wire-crested Thorntail, the amazing Sword-billed Hummingbird, the shiny Velvet-purple Coronet, the lovely Violet-tailed Sylph, the rare Rufous-vented Whitetip, the huge Giant Hummingbird and the heliconia specialist White-tipped Sicklebill.

The superb Rufous Potoo was once again a favourite  (János Oláh)

The superb Rufous Potoo was once again a favourite (János Oláh)