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A TASTE OF ECUADOR

Birdquest’s A Taste of Ecuador is exactly that. This enjoyable tour showcases the very best of Ecuador in a short timeframe, exploring both the western and eastern slopes of the Ecuadorian Andes. It provides a huge variety of birds, including an extraordinary array of hummingbirds and those famous antpittas that come right out into the open to feast on earthworms!

Monday 4th June — Tuesday 12th June 2018
(9 days)


Leaders: Juan Carlos Calvachi and Mike Watson

Group Size Limit: 12

Tour Category: Easy walking and comfortable accommodations

Yellow-breasted Antpittas are nowadays showing well in the Mindo area, where the local naturalist-guides tempt them out of cover with earthworms!  (János Olah)

Yellow-breasted Antpittas are nowadays showing well in the Mindo area, where the local naturalist-guides tempt them out of cover with earthworms! (János Olah)

Ecuador, bisected from north to south by the mighty Andes mountains and from east to west by the equator (after which the country is named), offers wonderful birding amidst magnificent scenery in one of the smallest countries in South America.

Once part of the Inca empire that stretched from Chile to Colombia and later a Spanish colony before it gained its independence during the 19th century, this small country possesses an extraordinary range of environments. It is thus not surprising that Ecuador has the highest bird species diversity for an area its size in South America. Over 1600 bird species have already been recorded from this beautiful country, twice as many as from the whole of Europe, and yet many areas still remain ornithologically unexplored!

During this wonderful short tour in the country, we will experience some of its very best birding, but without having to travel far from Quito. We can promise you an action packed birding experience with almost all your time in Ecuador devoted to admiring its rich and wonderful birdlife.

First we will head for the west slope of the Ecuadorian Andes, where we will explore the bird-rich cloudforests of Yanacocha and the famous Mindo area. This is one of the most exciting areas for birds in Ecuador and amongst a plethora of new birds we will be wanting to see Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Empress and Fawn-breasted Brilliants, Buff-tailed and Velvet-purple Coronets, Great Sapphirewing, Sapphire-vented and Golden-breasted Pufflegs, the extraordinary Sword-billed Hummingbird, the gorgeous Golden-headed Quetzal, the splendid Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, the impressive Toucan Barbet, Streak-capped and Uniform Treehunters, Ocellated, Nariño and Spillmann’s Tapaculos, Club-winged Manakin, Scaled Fruiteater, Olivaceous Piha and Beautiful Jay.

A star attraction in the Mindo region are the Giant, Yellow-breasted, Ochre-breasted and Moustached Antpittas that have been habituated to eat provided earthworms by the phenomenal Angel Paz!

After returning to Quito we will sample the rich birdlife of the high Andean paramo at Antisana National Park and at the Papallacta Pass, looking for such great birds as Carunculated Caracara, Ecuadorian Rail, Noble Snipe, Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe, the endemic Ecuadorian Hillstar, Paramo Tapaculo and Black-backed Bush-Tanager.

Finally we will explore the verdant eastern slope of the Andes. There are so many specialities in this fantastic area that it is hard to know which to pick out, but amongst the many good birds here are Rufous-banded Owl, Swallow-tailed Nightjar, Coppery-chested Jacamar, Black-mandibled Toucan, Yellow-vented Woodpecker, White-bellied and Chestnut-crowned Antpittas (more antpittas that come right out into the open for worms!), Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher, Black-billed Peppershrike and Golden-collared Honeycreeper.

Birdquest has operated tours to Ecuador since 1989.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels and lodges are of good or medium standard. Road transport will be by small coach or minibus and roads are of good to reasonable standard.

Walking: The walking effort is mostly easy, occasionally moderate.

Climate: Predominantly warm, but cool at higher altitudes (even cold at the highest altitudes). Sunny and overcast conditions tend to alternate. Some rain is possible.

Bird & Wildlife Photography: Opportunities are fairly good.

Can be taken together with: THE GALAPAGOS

Tour Price: £2090, €2470, $2740. Single Room Supplement: £240, €283, $314. Deposit: £300, €360, $390.

If taken together with The Galapagos: £1990, €2350, $2610. Single Room Supplement: £200, €236, $262. Deposit: £300, €360, $390. (Participants' arrangements start on the morning of Day 2 as they will already have been in Quito overnight.)

Includes surface transportation, accommodations, meals, water, entrance fees and tips/gratuities.

Base prices for this tour are in US Dollars. The exchange rates applied at the time of costing were: £1 = $1.310 and €1 = $1.110.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency will be pleased to arrange your air travel on request, or you may arrange this yourself if you prefer.

Club-winged Manakins give stunning views at a lek near Mindo  (János Oláh)

Club-winged Manakins give stunning views at a lek near Mindo (János Oláh)

Dark-backed Wood-Quail is another shy and sought-after species being lured into the open by the prospect of free earthworms  (János Oláh)

Dark-backed Wood-Quail is another shy and sought-after species being lured into the open by the prospect of free earthworms (János Oláh)

And of course the star attraction is the Giant Antpitta, once a species most visitors to Ecuador could only dream about seeing  (János Oláh)

And of course the star attraction is the Giant Antpitta, once a species most visitors to Ecuador could only dream about seeing (János Oláh)

The improbable Sword-billed Hummingbird is one of many extraordinary hummers on this wonderful tour  (János Oláh)

The improbable Sword-billed Hummingbird is one of many extraordinary hummers on this wonderful tour (János Oláh)

While another is the beautiful White-tailed Hillstar  (János Oláh)

While another is the beautiful White-tailed Hillstar (János Oláh)

On the east slope of the Andes, we should see the as-yet-undetermined 'San Isidro Owl', which is probably an undescribed form of Black-and-white Owl  (János Oláh)

On the east slope of the Andes, we should see the as-yet-undetermined 'San Isidro Owl', which is probably an undescribed form of Black-and-white Owl (János Oláh)

Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate

Birdquest Ltd is Registered in England, Company No. 01568270. The address of our registered office is Two Jays, Kemple End, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9QY

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