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Sunday 27th January - Sunday 17th February 2008

Mark Van Beirs

578 species were recorded on this extended tour of Western Venezuela, covering several venues in the Andes north of the Táchira gap, the incredible llanos, the semi desert of the northwest and the rich subtropical forests of the Coastal Cordillera. Although Venezuela received some rather negative news because of some bizarre actions and speeches from its current president, it remains a delightful country to travel through and to enjoy its plentiful bird and mammal fauna. The bird of the trip was the stunning Bearded Helmetcrest, a truly outstanding hummingbird that showed so very, very well in its magnificent paramo habitat. Other astonishing highlights include Northern Screamer, Agami Heron, Scarlet Ibis, Northern Helmeted and Yellow-knobbed Curassows, Rusty-flanked Crake, Plain-flanked Rail, Sunbittern, Saffron-headed, Rusty-faced and Yellow-shouldered Parrots, Pavonine Cuckoo, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Pale-headed Jacamar, Schwartz’s Antthrush, Rusty-breasted and Scallop-breasted Antpittas, Maracaibo Tody Flycatcher, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Rosy Thrush-Tanager and Vermilion Cardinal. Noteworthy mammals included Giant Anteater, Crab-eating Raccoon and Pink River Dolphin.