20 February - 16 March 2023
by Trevor Ellery
This year’s Classic Colombia tour was once again a huge success. We traversed several mountain ranges and a vast array of habitats, in search of some of the rarest and most mouth-watering of South America’s endemics and specialities. Early starts and stunning scenery were part of our daily routine, as we took in the best that this fantastically diverse country has to offer.
Our first day started well before dawn, as we threaded our way through the southern barrios of Bogota and on across the verdant farmland of this high elevation plateau. We then climbed to the remote and rather wild Sumapaz National Park, which straddles the eastern Andes and consists almost entirely of high elevation Paramos. We had planned to arrive on the cusp of dawn, so as to maximise our chances of two of the key local specialities and we were not to be disappointed. A quick scan from the roadside produced a Noble Snipe (the first of several), busily feeding in a nearby wetland and a short walk allowed us views of a typically furtive and skulking Bogota Rail. We were to spend the whole morning birding in the park and it was very productive. The main prize was a high elevation specialist hummingbird, the Green-bearded Helmetcrest, which only occurs in a limited range within Colombia. We enjoyed the sight of several males dancing and duelling in territorial disputes. A trip highlight, just as the tour had barely begun. We also took in the local form of Tawny Antpitta (sometimes split as Northern Tawny Antpitta), several of which were obliging and easily seen in the open Paramo habitat. The high elevations lakes held Andean Teal (of the Merida Speckled Teal form), Andean Ducks and American Coots (of the non-migratory, colombiana subspecies).
Our second specialist hummingbird was a lovely male Bronze-tailed Thornbill which perched close by. This species is virtually a Colombian endemic, with just a tiny portion of its range nudging into neighbouring Venezuela. A couple of Black-chested Buzzard-Eagles cruised overhead while Chestnut-winged Cinclodes scurried along the roadside. The elfin scrub of the Paramo held several Andean Tit-Spinetails, along with a couple of White-chinned Thistletails. The abundant bamboo patches were home to Apolinar’s Wren’s. This Colombian endemic is classified as ‘Endangered’ but is quite common in the National Park, which must represent one of its strongholds. A couple of near-endemic Pale-bellied Tapaculos were typically furtive but did show well and we also enjoyed another attractive near-endemic, in the form of a small group of Rufous-browed Conebills.
We then dropped out of the park and back down to the Bogota Plateau, where a search of roadside scrub produced another Colombian endemic, the skulking Silvery-throated Spinetail. Other common species seen during the day included Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant, Plumbeous Sierra-Finch, Brown-bellied Swallow and Pale-naped Brushfinch.
Our next morning was once again spent in the mountains high above Bogota but this time we concentrated on the verdant temperate forest, which cloaks the fringes of Chingaza National Park. Our main target was the endemic Brown-breasted Parakeet and once again an early start proved crucial, as we found a small group quietly feeding at a pasture edge just after dawn. This species has a localised and patchy distribution and is classified as ‘Vulnerable’. As is often the case, our morning was busy with birds and even as we were watching the Parakeets, several Black-billed Mountain Toucans and an obliging Golden-headed Quetzal, vied for our attention. Continuing deeper into the forest where we hit our first Andean mixed flock, an almost overwhelming experience. Suddenly birds were everywhere, Black-capped Hemispingus, Rufous Wrens and Pluschap, ranged through the understorey, Pearled Treerunners and Streaked Tuftedcheeks worked the mossy branches at mid-level and Golden-fronted Whitestarts and Blue-and-black Tanagers, flitted about in the canopy overhead. Flycatchers included Black-capped and White-banded Tyrannulets, while pair of Green-and-black Fruiteaters showed briefly.
We also took time to tease out some of the skulkers, with the recently split and near-endemic Muisca Antpittas showing well. A single Black-collared Jay was a handsome sight, while a lone Mountain Avocetbill was a great surprise, a species that the guide had never seen in the eastern Andes, over many years of leading tours in Colombia.
As the morning wore on and the activity waned, we took some time to visit out first hummingbird feeders. Here we enjoyed views of the incomparable Blue-throated Starfrontlet (a near endemic) and the recently split Loungamere’s Sunangel (also a near endemic). Our first Sword-billed Hummingbird, as always impressed and commoner species included Tyrian Metaltail, Glowing Puffleg and White-bellied Woodstar.
A roadside stop on the way back to Bogota produced various wetland species, most notably, several of the isolated, endemic, race of Spot-flanked Gallinule. We also took in a further set of hummingbird feeders, where we added Black-tailed Trainbearer and an obliging Red-crested Cotinga.
The next morning saw us drop to a much lower elevation, on the west slope of the eastern Andes, where we began our birding in remnant subtropical forest patches. Our main target was the endemic Turquoise Dacnis and after a patient wait, we enjoyed fine views of a pair visiting a favoured tree. Now that we had left the highlands the diversity of species started to increase and at times the trees seemed to be alive with a plethora of tanagers, warblers and flycatchers. We found our first Barbets (Red-headed) and our first Toucanets (Crimson-rumped and White-throated). A deep gulley held a Moustached Puffbird, while mixed flocks contained Olivaceous Piculet, Rufous-naped Greenlet and Cerulean Warbler. Montane Foliage-gleaners, a dead leave specialist, showed well as they rummaged through the mid-canopy, while a vocal Lineated Foliage-gleaner, was typically more furtive. The mixed flocks continued to come thick and fast and we added Ash-browed Spinetail, Brown-capped Vireo, Black-and-white, Bay-breasted, Blackburnian and Canada Warblers and Slate-throated Whitestart. We didn’t ignore the understorey, where we managed to find Plain Antvireo and a party of Moustached Brushfinch. Our wait for the aforementioned Dacnis had also been enlivened with a selection of tanagers, including Tooth-billed, Summer, Black-capped, Blue-necked, Bay-headed, Golden and the simply stunning Flame-faced. We also watched as migrant Swainson’s Thrushes joined the resident Black-billed Thrushes in feasting on the abundant fruit.
By late morning it was time to continue our descent into the steamy Magdalena Valley and after a lunch break, we entered the hot but shady dry forests of the lowlands. We had two main endemic targets and we found the first very quickly, as a pair of Apical Flycatchers gave fantastic close-up views. The forest here was very birdy and we picked up Greenish Elaenia, Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant, Grey Pileated Finch and Straight-billed Woodcreeper. A pair of Northern White-fringed Antwrens were very obliging while a pair of White-bellied Antbirds were much more skulking. We eked out a pair of noisy Buff-breasted Wrens and added a surprise Hook-billed Kite.
To see our second endemic, we tried a slightly more open area and were soon enjoying good views of a pair of Velvet-fronted Euphonias. Other species seen here included the recently split and renamed Fulvous-crowned Scrub Tyrant (a scarce bird in Colombia), Groove-billed Ani, Bicoloured Wren, our first diminutive Pearl Kite and Chestnut-capped Warbler. As the day drew to a close, we continued on across the bottom of the valley, crossed the Magdalena River and climbed into the cooler foothills of the central Andes, where we to be based for the next couple of nights.
The next morning, we again left well before dawn and used jeep transport to take us to the remote Giles-Fuertesi reserve, high in the central Andes. Our main target here was the endemic and critically endangered Fuertes’s or Indigo-winged Parrot, which is known from just a few sites in Colombia. It is not just one of the rarest Parrots in the world but arguably one of the rarest birds in the world. Despite the excellent assistance of a local guide and the forest guard, the parrot proved elusive. After a lengthy wait in one of its favoured areas, a change in tactics was called for. We decided to try a slightly lower forest patch and after a short walk, we managed to locate a small group feeding in the canopy. They were typically almost silent and rather elusive but we all enjoyed prolonged views. Our patience had not been without reward, as during the morning we had also managed to find a day roosting Rufous-banded Owl, our first Andean Siskins, Grass Wren, Slaty Brushfinch, Hooded Mountain Tanager, Tourmaline Sunanagel and Rufous-breasted and Crowned Chat-Tyrants, while flocks of Scaly-naped Amazons had cruised overhead.
Our descent back to lower elevation during the afternoon was not without incident. An obliging Masked Trogon warranted a quick stop and then in the late afternoon we were able to visit an areas of Wax Palms, which was alive with Golden-plumed Parakeets and iconic Yellow-eared Parrots. It was a Psittacidae fanatic’s heaven, with squadrons of Yellow-eared Parrots flying in to join noisy squabbling birds which were already occupying the many palms. The Yellow-ears were outnumbered by the noisy but attractive Golden-plumed Parakeets, while small numbers of Bronze-winged Parrots also cruised around the area.
Once we had had our fill of parrots, we managed to squeeze in some general birding, adding Pale-edged Flycatcher, Azara’s Spinetail and White-naped Brushfinch. A last mixed flock, as dusk was approaching, included Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Strong-billed Woodcreeper, Russet-crowned Warbler and Superciliaried Hemispingus.
The next morning, we birded around a coffee finca in the foothills. Despite the disturbed habitat the birding was excellent. Endemic Colombian Chachalacas were seen well as they visited a fruit feeder, which also attracted a selection of tanagers (including Scrub Tanager) and a couple of attractive Andean Motmots. Chestnut-collared and abundant White-collared Swifts wheeled overhead and the hummingbird feeders hosted Fawn-breasted Brilliant, White-vented Plumleteer, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Andean Emerald and the endemic Indigo-capped Hummingbird. Other species that visited the garden included the near-endemic Bar-crested Antshrike, Acorn Woodpecker (of the Colombian endemic subspecies) Golden-bellied and Streaked Flycatchers, a male Mourning Warbler, Streaked Saltator, Saffron-crowned Tanager and a superb pair of Inca Jays. A seed feeder in the garden hosted another endemic, the attractive Tolima Dove, which was previously incredibly difficult to see in Colombia. Patient waiting allowed us to add one more endemic, a dazzling male Tolima Blossomcrown that visited briefly. We then birded a short distance up the road where we found our final endemic of the morning in the form of a pair of showy Yellow-headed Brushfinches.
Having logged just about all the endemics possible, it was time to climb over the central Andes and descend into the upper reaches of the Cauca Valley. First we had to cross La Linea, an infamous, tortuous, twisting road that used to be the scene of constant long traffic jams. Recently however, a tunnel had been opened in one direction and what once used to be a painfully slow journey, took just twenty minutes.
We arrived in the western foothills of the central Andes, with time for a bit of birding and a quick roadside stop added the endemic Parker’s Antbird. Another stop produced several Torrent Ducks and a Torrent Tyrannulet. Our final late afternoon walk quickly produced good views of the endemic Cauca Guan, a species which is actually quite common in this area and we also heard the endemic Chestnut Wood Quail.
After an early dinner, some nocturnal birding added Pauraque and after some effort, Rufescent Screech Owl (of the columbianus form, which was recently lumped). We also heard Mottled Owl.
The next morning was spent largely birding along a dirt road through the extensive subtropical forest. We gradually added a steady selection of species to our burgeoning trip list. A key target was the iconic Red-ruffed Fruitcrow. This species is shy and elusive in much of its range but in this particular area of Colombia it is quite common and often confiding. It took a little while but we enjoyed fine views. We also worked on the skulkers and wheedled out Spotted Barbtail, Three-striped Warbler, Chestnut-breasted Wren, the endemic Stiles’s Tapaculo and a furtive Streak-capped Treehunter. Mixed flocks held Red-faced Spinetail, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Plumbeous-crowned Tyrannulet, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Montane Woodcreeper, Orange-bellied Euphonia, Ashy-throated Bush Tanager and White-winged Becard. Roadside flowers attracted our first Tawny-bellied Hermit and White-booted Racket-tail. A surprisingly obliging male Glossy-black Thrush fed along the roadside, at times in the company of a Chestnut-capped Brushfinch.
For once though the birding paled somewhat into insignificance, when we located a surprisingly confiding Mountain Tapir. Sightings of these mammals are few and far between and always to be savoured. This individual proved especially obliging, as it skulked in the forest right next to the road. The lodge garden also provided us with another endemic, a fine male Flame-rumped Tanager, before we transferred to the city of Manizales for the next couple of nights.
The following day was again spent birding on the west slope of the central Andes but this time in the temperate forest zone. A pre-dawn start was amply rewarded with fantastic views of a couple of obliging White-throated Screech Owls. We then spent much of the morning visiting various antpitta feeders. This was very successful providing us with the near-endemic Bicoloured and the endemic Brown-banded Antpittas, plus excellent views of the more widespread Chestnut-crowned and Slaty-crowned Antpittas.
When not visiting feeders, we were kept busy by a selection of mixed flocks and local specialities. The normally difficult Flammulated Treehunter showed well near its nest hole, a vocal Buff-breasted Mountain Tanager afforded great views and we also added an obliging Ash-coloured Tapaculo. Our first Sickle-winged Guans were much appreciated, as were a family party of the scarce Powerful Woodpecker. Mixed flocks held Streaked Xenops, Cinnamon Flycatcher, Smoky Bush Tyrant, Sepia-brown and Mountain Wrens, Grey-hooded Bush Tanager, Capped Conebill, Beryl-spangled and Metallic-green Tanagers and a couple of Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatchers.
At lunch time, we spent time at the hummer feeders, which held several Long-tailed Sylphs and Collared Incas and abundant Buff-tailed Coronets, while some fruit feeders attracted Blue-winged Mountain Tanager, Blue-capped Tanager and the endemic Andean Squirrel.
In the late afternoon we birded the lower section of the forest where we added Green-fronted Lancebill, Bronzy Inca, Western Emerald and White-capped Dipper. A pair of the scarce and local Masked Saltators were found in the canopy and a Purple-backed Thornbill was seen briefly. Some time spent staking out some flowers, eventually paid off, when a White-throated Daggerbill finally visited. We finished the day with the spectacular sight of three Lyre-tailed Nightjars (including an adult male) chasing and swooping, just over our heads.
The following morning was spent at our highest elevation of the tour, as we climbed to nearly four thousand meters in Los Nevados National Park. We started pre-dawn and were successful in seeing a couple of Band-winged Nightjars. We followed this up with one of our key targets. A group of eight, endemic, Rufous-fronted Parakeets left their roost on the cusp of dawn and spent a short time preening on the cliffs, before heading out into this vast National Park. It was then time for our second endemic helmetcrest, as we climbed to a higher part of the Paramo and enjoyed fantastic views of several Buffy Helmetcrests. We also found an obliging Paramo Tapaculo and some confiding Tyrian Metaltails. Stout-billed Cinclodes were seen roadside, as was a Tawny Antpitta (this time of the nominate form) and we finally added an obliging Many-striped Canastero, which we had only heard previously heard.
We dropped down to our accommodation for lunch, where the hummingbird feeders held Shining Sunbeam and both Black-thighed and Golden-breasted Pufflegs.
In the afternoon some birding in the elfin forest added Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Black-backed Bush Tanager, Paramo Seedeater, Golden-crowned Tanager and most surprisingly, a Masked Mountain Tanager. A short stop on the way back produced an Andean Lapwing, a rather localised species in Colombia. A nearby lake held Andean Teal (this time of the Speckled form) and we finished the day with a White-browed Spinetail near our hotel.
The following morning, we visited a nearby finca, where we once again hoped to see some antpittas and other species visiting feeding stations. Our first target was the recently split Equatorial Antpitta and after quite some waiting, it eventually showed well. We then moved on to the Crescent-faced Antpitta, which was extremely obliging and one of the birds of the trip. Further feeding stations provided truly astounding views of Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan, Andean Guan, Hooded Mountain Tanager and White-throated Quail-Dove.
It was then time to make the fairly long trek across the Cauca Valley, over the Cauca River, up over the western Andes and out to the Pacific slope of Colombia’s western Andes. We arrived at our remote lodge at dusk, having picked up a few common roadside species on the journey.
Our next morning began with a bumpy jeep climb to the top of a remote mountain, on the edge of Tatama National Park. Here we started birding just below a military base, but not before taking in one of the most spectacular views in Colombia. On the way up, a well-timed stop had produced a lovely Beautiful Jay and we followed this with an endemic Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer, which greeted us on arrival with its jaunty song. Our next key endemic was Munchique Wood Wren and we soon enjoyed views of an obliging pair.
We then spent much of the day walking and occasionally driving down this bird-rich mountain, targeting a number of endemics and specialities at different elevations. Highlights were many and included the endemic double of Gold-ringed and Black-and-gold Tanagers. We also found Tanager Finch, Pacific Tuftedcheek, Star-chested Treerunner, Black Solitaire, Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia and Orange-breasted Fruiteater. Hummingbirds were bountiful and included Velvet-purple Coronet, Violet-tailed Sylph and Brown Inca. We also added Yellow-vented Woodpecker, Rusty-winged Barbtail, Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner, Uniform Treehunter, Purplish-mantled Glistening-green and Rufous-throated Tanagers, Black-throated Tody-Tyrant, Ornate Flycatcher and Golden-winged Manakin. We of course worked on the skulkers and enjoyed fine views of Bicoloured Antvireo, Uniform Ansthrike, Narino Tapaculo, Streak-headed Antbird and Bronze-olive Pygmy Tyrant. The mixed flocks held plenty of flycatchers including Flavescent and Handsome, along with Black-throated Tody-Tyrant and Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant.
When we finally arrived back at the lodge we took some time to look at the feeders, which held White-necked Jacobin, Green Thorntail, Greenish Puffleg, Rufous-gaped Hillstar, Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Purple-throated Woodstar, Steely-vented Hummingbird, Crowned Woodnymph (of the Green-crowned form) and both Green-crowned and Empress Brilliants. Flame-rumped, Lemon-rumped and Silver-throated Tanagers and Black-winged Saltator brightened up the fruit feeders, while Western Emeralds foraged in the garden flowers. We also added our first Black-chested Jays.
Our second day in the western Andes was spent birding the same road but this time at lower elevations. Despite plenty of fog and light rain, we managed to bird through the day and continued to add to our list of specialities. The endemic Tatama Tapaculo showed well and we also enjoyed good looks at the scarce and localised Cloud-forest Pygmy Owl. A Yellow-breasted Antpitta was glimpsed as it skittered across the road, an Ashy-headed Tyrannulet ranged through the canopy and we caught up with several obliging Choco Brushfinches. We also found Indigo Flowerpiercer, Black-chinned Mountain Tanager, a party of Toucan Barbets and a couple of Scaled Fruiteaters, our third fruiteater species, just on this one road. The lower slopes produced an obliging Sooty-headed Wren, while other species seen included, Rufous Spinetail, Plumbeous Pigeon, Olive-backed Woodcreeper, Plain Xenops, Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, a female Golden-collared Honeycreeper, Fulvous-breasted Flatbill and a lovely male Golden-winged Warbler.
The next morning, we descended deep into the lowlands of the Colombian Choco. Our main target was the almost mythical Baudo Orpendola and despite mist and rain, we soon managed to locate this Colombian endemic. In fact we found it to be fairly common roadside and enjoyed fantastic looks at a number of individuals. It then rained hard for several hours, not for nothing is the Choco known as one of the wettest places on earth! This scuppered some of our planned birding but we still managed to pick up a few extra species, including Pacific Antwren, Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Slaty Spinetail, Long-tailed Tyrant, Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher and Black-crowned Tityra. A Double-toothed Kite was perched opposite the bakery we took shelter in and we added a few commoner species.
Once the rain cleared, we decided that rather than hike into a probably silent and dripping forest, it would be best to climb back to the vicinity of our lodge, where we were still lacking a few targets. This plan worked to perfection, as we quickly found one of our last endemics, the gaudy Crested Ant Tanager and followed it with an obliging Choco Tapaculo. Further birding produced the much wanted Lanceolated Monklet, a pair of Black-headed Brushfinches and a showy Club-winged Manakin, while White-whiskered Hermit and Long-billed Starthroat were added at the lodge hummingbird feeders.
Our final morning at Montezuma was spent birding the forest above the lodge, in search of a few extra species. We managed to locate a Choco Vireo high in the canopy and also added, Rufous-rumped and Yellow-breasted Antwrens, Rufous-browed Tyrannulet and Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner. A final stop at lower elevation, produced a couple of nest building Lemon-browed Flycatchers and then a truly beautiful male Multicoloured Tanager, yet another Colombian endemic. In the afternoon we made a fairly long drive up the Cauca Valley and once again climbed into the foothills of the western Andes.
Our next day was to spend almost entirely on a remote road that crossed a spur of the western Andes, first though we had another appointment with some antpittas. We left before dawn and climbed high above the Cauca Valley, to a remote finca, where we were served a traditional Colombian breakfast. The views across the Cauca Valley were truly spectacular and we were even able to see the smoking Nevado del Ruiz volcano, way out in the central Andes, where we had been watching Buffy Helmetcrests some days previously. While waiting for breakfast we managed to add a few species, including an obliging Tyrannine Woodcreeper.
Our visit to a nearby feeding station started well when one of the group spotted a tinamou and suddenly there out on the trail was a lovely Tawny-breasted Tinamou. This was a lifer for the leader, who has spent many years birding in the Andes and who has heard this species frequently but never caught a glimpse. We then settled down and after some patient calling, suddenly out popped an endemic Chami Antpitta, quickly followed by a second. The show didn’t end there though, as a short while later emerged a magnificent and ridiculously tame Chestnut-naped Antpitta, which proceeded to put on a bit of a show, taking worms from the hand and showing us just what an antpitta looks like when it is calling (a seldom seen sight).
Other species added here included Spillman’s and Blackish Tapaculos and our best views of White-capped Parrot, with a small group near the finca, where a distant flock of Northern Mountain Caciques, ranged across the hillside.
We continued birding along the road making a few judicious stops. A singing Yellow-bellied Siskin was appreciated, while at our lunch spot the highly prized Chestnut-crested Coting was quickly found and gave fantastic scope views, at eye level. We then spent some time working on Ocellated Tapaculo and managed good views of a calling bird just before the rain set in.
Descending lower we managed to find a single endemic Red-bellied Grackle and a couple of Subtropical Caciques in the remnant forest patches above the beautiful colonial town of Jardin.
It was then time to end the day with one of Colombia’s great spectacles. We visited the now very touristy Andean Cock-of-the-rock lek, on the edge of the town. While it is possible to see this species in various other South American countries, in none of them are they as tame and obliging, as they are at this particular lek. We enjoyed extremely close up views, of multiple displaying males and then had an added bonus, when a small group of Red-bellied Grackles came to visit a fruit feeder in the garden.
The following morning, we plunged into the Cauca Valley where we spent several hours birding the remnant dry forest patches in the foothills. This proved to be very productive as we quickly added two more endemics. Several Antioquia Wrens, a recently described species, showed well and we enjoyed fine looks at a group of three Greyish Piculets. Other species found here included Black-striped Sparrow, a pair of Red-rumped Woodpeckers, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, a pair of Black-crowned Antshrikes, Sooty-headed Tyrannulets, Yellow-olive Flatbill, plentiful Chivi Vireos, a Yellow-throated Vireo, Guira Tanager and several Blue Dacnis. Parrots were represented by Blue-headed Parrot, Spectacled Parrotlet and a couple of Scarlet-fronted Parakeets.
By mid-morning it was time to set off on one of the longer drives of the trip. We crossed the Cauca River and once again ascended into the central Andes before beginning our descent into the Magdalena Valley. En-route we passed through the sprawling metropolis of Medellin and utilised an impressively long, new tunnel, which significantly cut our journey time. By early afternoon it was time for lunch in the foothills, now back on the eastern slope of the central Andes. Our lunch stop proved to be very birdy as we quickly located a pair of the endemic White-mantled Barbet, we also enjoyed fine views of a plethora of other flycatchers, tanager and warblers, including our best looks at Plain-coloured Tanager.
Our planned post-lunch birding was curtailed by very heavy rains and our journey on to our accommodation was slowed by queuing as a landslide was cleared. We managed to get through, though, and arrived at our pleasant country hotel just on dusk.
We set out the next day to look for the endemic Beautiful Woodpecker, a species that we had planned to target the previous afternoon. We were now in the lush and truly super humid, lowland tropical forests of the Magdalena Valley. In the end it took much of the morning to find a Beautiful Woodpecker but our time was not wasted, as we picked up an array of interesting species while searching. A Gartered Trogon perched in a dead tree, Stripe-throated Hermits lekked in the undergrowth, a vocal Rufous Mourner showed well. A singing male Sooty Ant Tanager came in and perched in full view, meaning that we now had the ‘full set’ of Colombian endemic ant tanagers.
Other species seen included Southern Bentbill, a pair of Dusky Antbirds, some brief fly-through Saffron-headed Parrots, Striolated and Golden-headed Manakins, White-thighed Swallow, Orange-crowned Oriole, both Grey and Ruddy-breasted Seedeaters and Thick-billed Seed Finch. We also enjoyed a troop of Silver-brown Bare-faced Tamarins, which are endemic to Colombia.
After lunch we followed a streambed down to an almost fairy grotto-like hidden cave. Once inside the cave we managed to locate several Oilbirds roosting high on the walls. The walk also produced White-tailed Trogon, our best looks at Buff-rumped Warbler, our first Northern Waterthrush and a showy Chestnut-fronted Macaw. The highlight though was a typically furtive Black-faced Antthrush, which was seen slowly scurrying across the forest floor, revealing its rather unique bobbing gait.
Just before dusk a final stop nearby produced yet another endemic, in the form of a couple of Antioquia Bristle Tyrants, that ranged through the canopy above us.
Our final morning in the valley started well before dawn and we managed to hear Choco Screech Owl and then located a wonderfully showy Spectacled Owl. After dawn we added Checker-throated Stipplethroat, Dot-winged Antwren, Fulvous-vented Euphonia and Rufous-breasted Hermit. Unfortunately the rain then set in and despite waiting for a while, we had to cut our losses and begin the trek back to Bogota. We made a few stops for commoner wetland species and arrived in the capital with plenty of time for our evening flight to the Caribbean coast.
Despite a rather late arrival the previous evening, we didn’t want to waste the cool early morning hours, so next day we headed out at dawn, to visit some nearby coastal scrub. We quickly managed to find numerous endemic Chestnut-winged Chachalacas. Other species along the road included our first Ochre-lored Flatbills, Rufous-naped Jacamars and plentiful Brown-throated Parakeets, while a surprise pair of Buff-necked Ibises flew over.
With the heat starting to build, it was time to start working our way up into the Santa Marta foothills. Our first stop in a patch of dry forest produced Whooping Motmot, Black-backed Antshrike, Golden-fronted Greenlet, Pale-eyed Pygmy Tyrant, multiple Lance-tailed Manakins, our first Rufous-and-white Wren and a group of Collared Aracari’s. A male Blue-black Grosbeak showed well and we also added our first Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Trilling Gnatwrens. The biggest surprise though was a pair of Chestnut Piculets, a species that doesn’t normally occur in the Santa Marta foothills.
We then continued to climb with the temperature gradually cooling and the forest becoming lusher and more verdant. Our first Santa Marta endemic was a lovely pair of Santa Marta Antbirds and we followed this with a skulking Santa Marta Tapaculo and somewhat more obliging White-lored Warbler. Other species added included Golden-winged Sparrow, Long-billed Hermit, Scaled Pigeon, Keel-billed Toucan, Plain-brown Woodcreeper, Grey-headed Tanager and a showy pair of Rufous-breasted Wrens. We made a lunch time stop at some hummingbird feeders, which held Lazuline Sabrewing, Brown Violetear and Crowned Woodnymph (of the Violet-crowned form). Several Yellow-legged Thrushes sang in the garden and Black-headed Tanagers and Blue-naped Chlorophonias visited the fruit feeders.
We continued on up the road and visited a side trail where we saw Sierra Nevada Brushfinch and an obliging Grey-throated Leaftosser. A pair of Golden-breasted Fruiteaters were eventually located overhead and the canopy also held Groove-billed Toucanet, Black-hooded Thrush and a family group of Crimson-crested Woodpeckers. We eventually arrived at the lodge in the late afternoon where we found abundant Band-tailed Guans in the garden and also added our first endemic White-tailed Starfrontlets. In the evening we were able to spotlight several Grey-handed Night Monkeys which visit a fruit feeder placed near the lodge balcony.
The following morning we climbed high above the lodge and birded a remote ridge in the Santa Marta Mountains. A pre-dawn start allowed us to locate a fine Santa Marta Screech Owl, as we ascended through the pristine forest. Once dawn broke the endemics came thick and fast and within the first couple of hours of the day, we had logged Yellow-crowned Whitestart, Santa Marta Warbler, Santa Marta Bush Tyrant, Santa Marta Brushfinch and Santa Marta Parakeet. Further searching produced Santa Marta Mountain Tanager and Sierra Nevada Antpitta, while a Santa Marta Antpitta was heard by most but only seen by one. We also managed good looks at a couple of endemic Hermit Wood Wrens, a confiding Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant and a smart Paramo Seedeater. Meanwhile squadrons of Scaly-naped Amazons and Scarlet-fronted Parakeets cruised overhead or squabbled in nearby trees.
A lunch stop at some hummingbird feeders added the endemic Santa Marta Woodstar and better and prolonged looks at a number of White-tailed Starfrontlets. Some further roadside birding produced White-tipped Quetzal and a small group of White-throated Toucanets (of the endemic Santa Marta subspecies) were found near the lodge.
The following morning it was time to descend again to the mid elevations of the mountain to look for a few species that we had missed on the way up. Our first target, the endemic Santa Marta Blossomcrown, was seen well and we also added a brief Coppery Emerald. We then had good looks at an obliging Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush and followed this with a showy Rusty-breasted Antpitta. A family party of Santa Marta Foliage-gleaners skulked in the understorey and other species seen included the endemic race of Red-billed Parrot and three Spectacled Tyrannulets.
We spent the late afternoon above the lodge mainly trying to get better looks at Santa Marta Antpitta, which was unsuccessful but we did add Golden Grosbeak.
Our final morning in the high Sierra was once again spent looking for Santa Marta Antpitta and eventually, after much effort, we found an obliging bird. We then descended to lower elevation, where we picked up Coopman’s Tyrannulet and Scaled Piculet and enjoyed further looks at many of the commoner foothill species. In the late afternoon, a dusk stakeout at a known site was productive, when around thirty Military Macaws wended their way to roost, with some giving great scope views perched in distant trees.
Our final morning in the Santa Marta foothills was spent above Minca. A pre-dawn start allowed us to connect with a spectacular pair of Black-and-white Owls and we also heard a distant Rufous Nightjar. Once dawn broke we tracked down a couple of obliging Rosy-thrush Tanagers. We also found several Black Hawk-Eagles and added Lesser Elaenia and Red-legged Honeycreeper.
We then left the mountains behind and headed out towards the semi-arid Guajira peninsula that lies at the northern tip of South America. This peninsula is home to the Wayu indigenous tribe, who are semi-nomadic goat herders. It is also home to a wealth of near-endemics, which only occur in these remote scrublands, which straddle the Colombia/Venezuela border. En route we made a stop in some dry forest where we added White-necked Puffbird, Brown-capped Tyrannulet, Grey Kingbird, our first Trinidad Euphonias and a Magnolia Warbler, a scarce migrant in Colombia. A final highlight in the gallery forest was a troop of confiding Colombian Red Howler Monkeys, which included a couple of mothers with clearly very recently born babies.
Our birding in the true Guajira started with several Rufous-fronted Chachalacas and a group of Crested Bobwhites. We added some obliging roadside Double-striped Thick-knees and a period spent in the scrub produced White-whiskered Spinetail, Bare-eyed Pigeon and both Pale-tipped and Slender-billed Inezias.
We finished the day at the Camarones Lagoon where we found a mass of waders and terns. Highlights include a single Scarlet Ibis, a a suprise American Golden Plover (a scarce bird in Colombia) a couple of Marbled Godwits and a hunting Aplomado Falcon.
The next morning it was time to return to the scrub to look of a few species that we had not seen the previous day. After a bit of searching we located our main target in the form of a lovely singing Tocuyo Sparrow. We also added Russet-throated Puffbird, Mouse-coloured Tyrannulet, Red-billed Emerald and Northern Scrub and Brown-crested Flycatchers. We then visited some feeders, where we added Buffy Hummingbird, Orinoco Saltator and several Vermilion Cardinals. A couple of Forest Cottontails could be seen feeding under the scrub behind, while further searching produced Green-rumped Parrotlets and a couple of Glaucous Tanagers. By late morning it was time to return slowly to Santa Marta, with a few brief birding stops en-route.
Our final morning in Colombia started with an early drive west along the Caribbean coast. We arrived in the mangroves at Salamanca NP at daybreak and after a short search located males of both Sapphire-throated and Sapphire-bellied Hummingbirds. We then quickly headed out into the marshes as the sun and heat were already beginning to rise. The marshes were as always, bird-filled and among the many common species we found Stripe-backed Wren, an obliging pair of Dwarf Cuckoos, a brief endemic Turquoise-winged Parrotlet and several distant Northern Screamers. We also added our first Black-bellied and White-faced Whistling Ducks, Spot-breasted Woodpecker, plentiful Amazon, Green and Ringed Kingfishers and a few Yellow-chinned Spinetails. By mid-morning the sun and heat were so intense that it was time to beat a retreat, so we retired to a nearby truck stop for cold drinks and more importantly, to connect with the endemic Bronze-brown Cowbird. We then returned to the shade of the mangroves where we added Bicoloured Conebill, Golden-green Woodpecker, Pied Puffbird, Panama Flycatcher, Greater Ani and American Pygmy Kingfisher.
We had a little time left for lunch beside the might Magdalena River but not before adding a couple of more obliging Norther Screamers and a large flock of Large-billed Terns. After lunch we headed for the airport where our great Colombian adventure concluded.
BIRDS OF THE TOUR
1st: Crescent-faced Antpitta
2nd: Black-and-white Owl
3rd: Black-faced Antthrush
4th: Saffron-headed Parrot
5th: Ocellated Tapaculo
SYSTEMATIC LIST OF SPECIES RECORDED
Highland Tinamou Nothocercus bonapartei Heard only. Heard at Montezuma.
Tawny-breasted Tinamou ◊ Nothocercus julius Fantastic views of a single bird near the Antpitta feeders at Finca Las Penas. A lifer for the tour leader!
Little Tinamou Crypturellus soui Heard only.
Northern Screamer Chauna chavaria Several pairs were seen in the vicinity of Barranquilla, including a showy couple near the new malecon.
White-faced Whistling Duck Dendrocygna viduata Twenty were seen on our last morning in the Barranquilla marshes.
Black-bellied Whistling Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis
Torrent Duck Merganetta armata Lovely views of three near Otun Quimbaya.
Blue-winged Teal Spatula discors
Andean Teal ◊ (Merida Speckled T) Anas [andium] altipetens This form was seen at Sumapaz and near Chingaza.
Andean Teal ◊ (A Speckled T) Anas [andium] andium This form was seen at Nevado del Ruiz.
Andean Duck Oxyura ferruginea
Chestnut-winged Chachalaca ◊ Ortalis garrula Endemic. Twenty were seen on our first morning on the Caribbean coast and a couple were seen on the last morning near Barranquilla.
Rufous-vented Chachalaca ◊ Ortalis ruficauda Small numbers seen in the Guajira.
Colombian Chachalaca ◊ Ortalis columbiana Endemic. A couple on the fruit feeders at Cajamarca, a couple in the Cauca Valley at Bolombolo and common in the Magdalena valley near Rio Claro.
Band-tailed Guan ◊ Penelope argyrotis Endemic. Common around the lodge at El Dorado. The subspecies involved is endemic to the Santa Marta Mountains.
Andean Guan ◊ Penelope montagnii Great views at a feeding station at Hacienda del Bosque.
Cauca Guan ◊ Penelope perspicax Endemic. Fairly common along the road at Otun Quimbaya.
Wattled Guan ◊ Aburria aburri Heard only. A single heard distantly pre-dawn, while looking for owls at Montezuma.
Sickle-winged Guan ◊ Chamaepetes goudotii Endemic. The two subspecies that we saw in both the Andes and Santa Marta mountains are endemic to Colombia.
Crested Bobwhite ◊ Colinus cristatus A couple of groups showed well in the Guajira.
Chestnut Wood Quail ◊ Odontophorus hyperythrus Endemic. Heard only. Heard close by at Otun Quimbaya and heard several times at Montezuma but always rather distantly.
Rufous-bellied Nighthawk ◊ Lurocalis rufiventris A single seen by the leader over the Finca near Cajamarca.
Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis
Band-winged Nightjar Systellura longirostris
Lyre-tailed Nightjar Uropsalis lyra Three, including a spectacular male, showed well near Rio Blanco.
Rufous Nightjar Antrostomus rufus Heard at dawn above Minca but not in an area that we could access.
Oilbird Steatornis caripensis Six were seen in a cave near Rio Claro. Always one of the more magical experiences on a Colombia tour.
Chestnut-collared Swift Streptoprocne rutila
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris
Grey-rumped Swift Chaetura cinereiventris
White-necked Jacobin Florisuga mellivora
Rufous-breasted Hermit (Hairy H) Glaucis hirsutus A single at Rio Claro.
Band-tailed Barbthroat Threnetes ruckeri Non-leader.
Stripe-throated Hermit Phaethornis striigularis A couple of lekking birds at Rio Claro.
Pale-bellied Hermit Phaethornis anthophilus A single bird mobbed us at our lunch stop near Cocorna and heard lekking near the Oilbird cave.
White-whiskered Hermit Phaethornis yaruqui A single bird at the feeders at Montezuma.
Green Hermit Phaethornis guy Endemic. On the feeders at Cajamarca. The subspecies involved is endemic to Colombia.
Tawny-bellied Hermit ◊ Phaethornis syrmatophorus A single in the forest at Otun and a couple at the feeders at Montezuma.
Long-billed Hermit (Western Long-tailed H) Phaethornis longirostris Endemic. Seen on a couple of days in the Santa Marta Mountains. The subspecies involved is a Colombian endemic.
Green-fronted Lancebill ◊ Doryfera ludovicae Single birds at Rio Blanco and Montezuma.
White-throated Daggerbill Schistes albogularis A single bird below Rio Blanco.
Brown Violetear Colibri delphinae Common at feeders in the Santa Marta mountains.
Lesser Violetear Colibri cyanotus
Sparkling Violetear Colibri coruscans
Black-throated Mango Anthracothorax nigricollis
Longuemare’s Sunangel ◊ Heliangelus clarisse Seen at feeders at two sites in the vicinity of Chingaza National Park.
Tourmaline Sunangel ◊ Heliangelus exortis Seen at numerous highland sites.
Green Thorntail Discosura conversii Common on the feeders at Montezuma.
Speckled Hummingbird Adelomyia melanogenys
Long-tailed Sylph Aglaiocercus kingie A few on the feeders at Rio Blanco.
Violet-tailed Sylph ◊ Aglaiocercus coelestis Common at Montezuma.
Mountain Avocetbill ◊ Opisthoprora euryptera A single visiting Foxgloves at Bosque Guajira was a real surprise.
Black-tailed Trainbearer Lesbia victoriae Common on feeders near Bogota.
Purple-backed Thornbill ◊ Ramphomicron microrhynchum Singles seen briefly at Chingaza and Rio Blanco.
Buffy Helmetcrest ◊ Oxypogon stuebelii Endemic. A number of individuals in Los Nevados NP.
Green-bearded Helmetcrest ◊ Oxypogon guerinii Endemic. Several seen at Sumapaz on the first morning.
Bronze-tailed Thornbill ◊ Chalcostigma heteropogon A single male seen at Sumapaz on the first morning. This species is near-endemic.
Rainbow-bearded Thornbill ◊ Chalcostigma herrani Several seen at Los Nevados NP.
Tyrian Metaltail Metallura tyrianthina
Viridian Metaltail Metallura williami Endemic. Common at Los Nevados NP. The subspecies involved is a Colombian endemic.
Greenish Puffleg ◊ Haplophaedia aureliae Fairly common at Montezuma.
Glowing Puffleg ◊ Eriocnemis vestita Seen on feeders and in the forest in the vicinity of Chingaza NP
Black-thighed Puffleg ◊ Eriocnemis derbyi Seen on feeders in Los Nevados NP.
Golden-breasted Puffleg ◊ Eriocnemis mosquera Seen on feeders in Los Nevados NP.
Shining Sunbeam ◊ Aglaeactis cupripennis Common at feeders in Los Nevados NP.
Bronzy Inca Coeligena coeligena Endemic. Several were seen at Rio Blanco. The subspecies involved is a Colombian endemic.
Brown Inca ◊ Coeligena wilsoni Endemic. Seen fairly commonly at Montezuma. The subspecies involved is a Colombian endemic.
Collared Inca Coeligena torquata
White-tailed Starfrontlet ◊ Coeligena phalerata Endemic. Seen at a couple of feeding stations in the Santa Marta Mountains.
Buff-winged Starfrontlet Coeligena lutetiae Seen fairly commonly, mainly at feeders, in Los Nevados NP.
Blue-throated Starfrontlet ◊ Coeligena helianthea Endemic. Seen at feeders at two locations near Chingaza NP. The subspecies involved is endemic to Colombia.
Mountain Velvetbreast Lafresnaya lafresnayi Endemic. Seen on feeders at Los Nevados. The subspecies involved is endemic to Colombia.
Sword-billed Hummingbird Ensifera ensifera Seen visiting feeders at several highland sites.
Great Sapphirewing Pterophanes cyanopterus Endemic. Seen in both the eastern and central Andes. Both subspecies involved are endemic to Colombia.
Buff-tailed Coronet ◊ Boissonneaua flavescens
Velvet-purple Coronet ◊ Boissonneaua jardini Common at Montezuma.
White-booted Racket-tail Ocreatus underwoodii Endemic. Seen in the central and western Andes. The subspecies involved is endemic to Colombia.
Rufous-gaped Hillstar ◊ Urochroa bougueri Common at Montezuma.
Purple-bibbed Whitetip ◊ Urosticte benjamini Several on the feeders at Montezuma.
Fawn-breasted Brilliant ◊ Heliodoxa rubinoides
Green-crowned Brilliant Heliodoxa jacula
Empress Brilliant ◊ Heliodoxa imperatrix Common at Montezuma.
Long-billed Starthroat Heliomaster longirostris A single briefly on the feeders at Montezuma.
Purple-throated Woodstar ◊ Philodice mitchellii Common at Montezuma.
White-bellied Woodstar ◊ Chaetocercus mulsant Common at several highland sites.
Santa Marta Woodstar ◊ Chaetocercus astreans Endemic. A couple of females were seen visiting feeders in the Santa Marta mountains.
Western Emerald ◊ Chlorostilbon melanorhynchus A single at Rio Blanco and small numbers in the garden at Montezuma.
Red-billed Emerald ◊ Chlorostilbon gibsoni Endemic. Seen in the Magdalena Valley and the Guajira. The subspecies in the Magdalena valley is endemic to Colombia.
Coppery Emerald ◊ Chlorostilbon russatus A single seen briefly at flowers in the Santa Marta mountains.
Santa Marta Blossomcrown ◊ Anthocephala floriceps Endemic. Two females were seen well in the Santa Marta mountains.
Tolima Blossomcrown ◊ Anthocephala berlepschi Endemic. A single male was seen well above Cajamcarca.
Lazuline Sabrewing ◊ Campylopterus falcatus Good views visiting feeders in the Santa Marta mountains.
White-vented Plumeleteer Chalybura buffonii
Crowned Woodnymph ◊ (Violet-crowned W) Thalurania [colombica] colombica This form was seen commonly in the Santa Marta mountains.
Crowned Woodnymph ◊ (Green-crowned W) Thalurania [colombica] fannyae This form was seen at Montezuma.
Buffy Hummingbird ◊ Leucippus fallax A couple seen in the Guajira, where it now visits feeders.
Steely-vented Hummingbird Saucerottia saucerottei Endemic. Seen at several sites, with those at Montezuma being of an endemic subspecies.
Indigo-capped Hummingbird ◊ Saucerottia cyanifrons Endemic. Seen commonly at feeders above Cajamarca.
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl
Andean Emerald ◊ Uranomitra franciae Endemic. Seen at multiple sites. The subspecies involved is endemic to Colombia.
Sapphire-throated Hummingbird ◊ Chrysuronia coeruleogularis Endemic. A couple seen in the mangroves near Barranquilla on our last morning. The subspecies involved is endemic to Colombia.
Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird ◊ Chrysuronia lilliae Endemic. A single male seen in the mangroves near Barranquilla on our last morning.
Blue-chested Hummingbird Polyerata amabilis
Greater Ani Crotophaga major
Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani
Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris
Striped Cuckoo Tapera naevia Heard only.
Dwarf Cuckoo ◊ Coccycua pumila A pair gave excellent views near Barranquilla on our last morning.
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
Rock Dove (introduced) Columba livia
Scaled Pigeon Patagioenas speciosa
Bare-eyed Pigeon ◊ Patagioenas corensis Seen fairly often in the Guajira.
Band-tailed Pigeon Patagioenas fasciata
Pale-vented Pigeon Patagioenas cayennensis
Plumbeous Pigeon Patagioenas plumbea
Ruddy Pigeon Patagioenas subvinacea
Scaled Dove Columbina squammata
Common Ground Dove Columbina passerina
Ruddy Ground Dove Columbina talpacoti
Blue Ground Dove Claravis pretiosa A lovely male in the Cauca Valley.
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
Tolima Dove ◊ Leptotila conoveri Endemic. An adult and a juvenile gave fantastic views at a feeding station near Cajamarca.
White-throated Quail-Dove ◊ Zentrygon frenata A very obliging individual was seen at a feeding station at Hacienda del Bosque.
Lined Quail-Dove ◊ Zentrygon linearis Heard commonly in the Santa Marta mountains and we eventually managed to see at least three individuals.
Eared Dove Zenaida auriculata
Blackish Rail Pardirallus nigricans Heard only. Heard very close at Montezuma and some saw the grass move.
Grey-cowled Wood Rail Aramides cajaneus
Bogota Rail ◊ Rallus semiplumbeus Endemic. A couple of furtive birds at Chingaza on our first morning.
Spot-flanked Gallinule ◊ Porphyriops melanops A speculative roadside stop at some wetlands near Bogota produced good views of several individuals of this isolated and endemic subspecies.
Sora Porzana carolina
Common Gallinule Gallinula galeata
American Coot Fulica americana
Purple Gallinule (American P G) Porphyrio martinica
Russet-crowned Crake Rufirallus viridis Heard only.
Limpkin Aramus guarauna
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
Double-striped Thick-knee Burhinus bistriatus A group of three roadside in the Guajira, gave exceptionally close views.
American Oystercatcher Haematopus palliates A group of eight at Camarones was a large count for Colombia. The leader has never seen more than one or two at this site previously.
Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus
Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis
Andean Lapwing Vanellus resplendens A single in farmland at Nevado del Ruiz. A scarce and local species in Colombia at the northern limit of its range.
American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica A single bird at Camarones, was only the second individual that the leader has seen in Colombia, where it is a surprisingly scarce migrant.
Grey Plover (Black-bellied P) Pluvialis squatarola
Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus
Wattled Jacana Jacana jacana
Hudsonian Whimbrel Numenius hudsonicus
Marbled Godwit Limosa fedoa A couple at Camarones. This species is generally a scarce migrant in Colombia.
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla
Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla
Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri
Noble Snipe ◊ Gallinago nobilis Several were seen at dawn at Sumapaz on our first day.
Spotted Sandpiper (W) Actitis macularius
Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes
Willet (Eastern W) Tringa [semipalmata] semipalmata
Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
Black Skimmer Rynchops niger
Laughing Gull (W) Leucophaeus atricilla
Franklin’s Gull Leucophaeus pipixcan Non leader.
Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia
Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus
Cabot’s Tern Thalasseus [acuflavidus] acuflavidus
Common Tern Sterna hirundo
Large-billed Tern Phaetusa simplex
Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens
Neotropic Cormorant Nannopterum brasilianum
Buff-necked Ibis Theristicus caudatus A pair were seen in flight on the Caribbean coast.
Bare-faced Ibis (Whispering I) Phimosus infuscatus
American White Ibis Eudocimus albus
Scarlet Ibis Eudocimus ruber A single bird with White Ibis at Camarones was much appreciated.
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja
Yellow-crowned Night Heron Nyctanassa violacea A single in the Barranquilla marshes.
Green Heron Butorides virescens
Striated Heron Butorides striata
Western Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias Non-leader.
Cocoi Heron (White-necked H) Ardea cocoi
Great Egret (American G E) Ardea [alba] egretta
Capped Heron Pilherodius pileatus A single seen briefly in gallery forest on the north coast.
Reddish Egret Egretta rufescens Several at Camarones.
Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
Snowy Egret Egretta thula
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture Cathartes burrovianus
Osprey (W) (American O) Pandion [haliaetus] carolinensis
White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus
Pearl Kite Gampsonyx swainsonii
Hook-billed Kite Chondrohierax uncinatus
Swallow-tailed Kite (American S-t K) Elanoides forficatus
Black Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus tyrannus Three, including a fledged immature, were seen above Minca.
Double-toothed Kite Harpagus bidentatus
Plumbeous Kite Ictinia plumbea
Black-collared Hawk Busarellus nigricollis A couple in the Barranquilla marshes.
Snail Kite Rostrhamus sociabilis Abundant in the Barranquilla marshes.
Crane Hawk Geranospiza caerulescens
Common Black Hawk Buteogallus anthracinus
Roadside Hawk Rupornis magnirostris
White-tailed Hawk Geranoaetus albicaudatus A single perched immature near Jardin.
Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle Geranoaetus melanoleucus
Grey-lined Hawk Buteo nitidus
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus
Short-tailed Hawk Buteo brachyurus
Zone-tailed Hawk Buteo albonotatus
Cloud-forest Pygmy Owl ◊ Glaucidium nubicola Good views of what is often a tricky species at Montezuma.
Andean Pygmy Owl ◊ Glaucidium jardinii Heard only. Heard very distantly at the Giles-Fuertesi reserve.
White-throated Screech Owl ◊ Megascops albogularis Lovely views of a couple at Rio Blanco with at least one more calling nearby.
Tropical Screech Owl Megascops choliba A single bird seen pre-dawn at Montezuma.
Rufescent Screech Owl ◊ (Colombian S O) Megascops [ingens] colombianus A single bird seen after some effort at Otun Quimbaya.
Choco Screech Owl ◊ Megascops centralis An unresponsive bird heard at Rio Claro.
Santa Marta Screech Owl ◊ Megascops gilesi Endemic. Good looks at a single bird in the Santa Marta mountains, with at least one more calling nearby.
Spectacled Owl Pulsatrix perspicillata Good looks at a single bird at Rio Claro.
Mottled Owl Strix virgate Heard only. Heard at several sites.
Black-and-white Owl ◊ Strix nigrolineata A responsive pair were seen above Minca.
Rufous-banded Owl Strix albitarsis A day roosting bird, which was found while we were waiting for Fuertes’s Parrots at the Giles-Fuertesi reserve.
Golden-headed Quetzal Pharomachrus auriceps Seen well near Chingaza on our first day and heard at a couple of other sites.
White-tipped Quetzal ◊ Pharomachrus fulgidus Seen well in the Santa Marta mountains.
White-tailed Trogon (Western W-t T) Trogon chionurus
Gartered Trogon (Northern Violaceous T) Trogon caligatus Seen well near Rio Claro and heard in the Santa Marta Mountains
Collared Trogon Trogon collaris
Masked Trogon Trogon personatus
Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona
American Pygmy Kingfisher Chloroceryle aenea A single seen briefly in the Barranquilla marshes on our last morning.
Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana
Ringed Kingfisher Megaceryle torquata
Whooping Motmot ◊ Momotus subrufescens Heard in the Magdalena valley and seen fairly commonly around the base of the Santa Marta mountains.
Andean Motmot (Highland M) Momotus aequatorialis
Rufous Motmot Baryphthengus martii
Rufous-tailed Jacamar Galbula ruficauda
White-necked Puffbird Notharchus hyperrhynchus A pair showed well in gallery forest on the north coast.
Pied Puffbird Notharchus tectus Seen well in the mangroves on our last morning.
Russet-throated Puffbird ◊ Hypnelus ruficollis Seen commonly in the lowlands along the Caribbean coast.
Moustached Puffbird ◊ Malacoptila mystacalis A single showed well at Pedro Palo.
Lanceolated Monklet Micromonacha lanceolate Great looks at a single bird at Montezuma.
Grey-cheeked Nunlet ◊ Nonnula frontalis Heard only. Heard at Rio Claro on our last morning there, just before the rain set in.
White-mantled Barbet ◊ Capito hypoleucus Endemic. Stunning looks at a couple of birds at our lunch stop near Cocorna.
Red-headed Barbet ◊ Eubucco bourcierii
Toucan Barbet ◊ Semnornis ramphastinus A small group showed well at Montezuma.
White-throated Toucanet ◊ (Santa Marta T) Aulacorhynchus [albivitta] lautus Endemic. Seen on several days in the Santa Marta mountains.
White-throated Toucanet ◊ (Grey-throated T) Aulacorhynchus [albivitta] griseigularis
White-throated Toucanet ◊ Aulacorhynchus [albivitta] albivitta
Groove-billed Toucanet ◊ (Yellow-billed T) Aulacorhynchus [sulcatus] calorhynchus Seen on a couple of days in the Santa Marta mountains.
Crimson-rumped Toucanet ◊ Aulacorhynchus haematopygus
Collared Aracari Pteroglossus torquatus
Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan ◊ Andigena hypoglauca Stunning looks at several individuals at the feeding station at Hacienda del Bosque.
Black-billed Mountain Toucan ◊ Andigena nigrirostris Following multiple individuals on our second day near Chingaza, this species was seen at several other highland sites.
Citron-throated Toucan ◊ Ramphastos citreolaemus Heard only.
Keel-billed Toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus
Scaled Piculet Picumnus squamulatus Seen on a couple of days in the Santa Marta foothills.
Olivaceous Piculet Picumnus olivaceus
Greyish Piculet ◊ Picumnus granadensis Endemic. A group of three were seen roadside in the Cauca valley.
Chestnut Piculet ◊ Picumnus cinnamomeus A pair in dry forest below Minca were a surprise. Also seen in the Guajira.
Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus
Beautiful Woodpecker ◊ Melanerpes pulcher Endemic Good views near Rio Claro after much searching.
Black-cheeked Woodpecker Melanerpes pucherani Several were seen in the Choco lowlands.
Red-crowned Woodpecker Melanerpes rubricapillus
Yellow-vented Woodpecker ◊ Veniliornis dingus A single was seen well at Montezuma.
Red-rumped Woodpecker Veniliornis kirkii
Golden-green Woodpecker Piculus chrysochloros A female showed well in the mangroves on our last morning.
Golden-olive Woodpecker Colaptes rubiginosus
Crimson-mantled Woodpecker Colaptes rivolii
Spot-breasted Woodpecker Colaptes punctigula
Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus
Powerful Woodpecker ◊ Campephilus pollens A party of three were seen well at Rio Blanco.
Crimson-crested Woodpecker Campephilus melanoleucos
Red-throated Caracara Ibycter americanus Heard and seen briefly at Rio Claro.
Crested Caracara (Northern C C) Caracara [plancus] cheriway
Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima
Laughing Falcon Herpetotheres cachinnans
Barred Forest Falcon Micrastur ruficollis Heard only. Heard below El Dorado Lodge.
American Kestrel Falco sparverius
Aplomado Falcon Falco femoralis A single birds showed well at Camarones. It even tried to take the American Golden Plover at one point!
Merlin Falco columbarius
Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis Heard only. Heard in the Santa Marta Mountains, while we were buried in the vegetation looking for Antpittas.
Rufous-fronted Parakeet ◊ Bolborhynchus ferrugineifrons A group of eight were seen at dawn in Los Nevados National Park.
Orange-chinned Parakeet Brotogeris jugularis
Saffron-headed Parrot ◊ Pyrilia pyrilia A couple dashed past near Rio Blanco.
Fuertes’s Parrot ◊ Hapalopsittaca fuertesi At least four gave good views after much searching at the Giles-fuertesi reserve.
Red-billed Parrot Pionus sordidus
White-capped Parrot Pionus seniloides
Blue-headed Parrot Pionus menstruus
Bronze-winged Parrot Pionus chalcopterus
Yellow-crowned Amazon (Y-c Parrot) Amazona ochrocephala
Scaly-naped Amazon (S-n Parrot) Amazona mercenarius
Turquoise-winged Parrotlet ◊ Forpus spengeli Endemic. A single seen briefly near Barranquilla on our last morning.
Green-rumped Parrotlet Forpus passerines Seen well in the Guajira.
Spectacled Parrotlet ◊ Forpus conspicillatus Seen at several lowland sites, most notably around twenty when birding along the road in the Cauca valley.
Santa Marta Parakeet ◊ Pyrrhura viridicata Endemic. A small group seen along the ridge above El Dorado Lodge.
Flame-winged Parakeet ◊ Pyrrhura calliptera Endemic. Eight were seen well on the fringes of Chingaza NP on our second morning.
Brown-throated Parakeet Eupsittula pertinax
Chestnut-fronted Macaw Ara severus
Military Macaw Ara militaris Thirty were seen coming in to roost near Minca, a spectacular site.
Golden-plumed Parakeet ◊ Leptosittaca branickii Twenty five gave excellent views above Cajamarca.
Yellow-eared Parrot ◊ Ognorhynchus icterotis Endemic. Thirty seven were seen above Cajamarca, with several perching close and around fifty were seen in flight above the Yellow-eared Parrot reserve.
Blue-crowned Parakeet Thectocercus acuticaudatus
Scarlet-fronted Parakeet Psittacara wagleri
Grey-throated Leaftosser Sclerurus albigularis Great views of an obliging individual in the Santa Marta mountains.
Tyrannine Woodcreeper Dendrocincla tyrannina
Plain-brown Woodcreeper Dendrocincla fuliginosa
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper Glyphorynchus spirurus
Strong-billed Woodcreeper Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus
Cocoa Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus susurrans
Black-striped Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus Heard only. Heard at Rio Claro.
Spotted Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus erythropygius
Olive-backed Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus triangularis
Straight-billed Woodcreeper Dendroplex picus
Brown-billed Scythebill Campylorhamphus pusillus A single showed well at Montezuma. A trip highlight for some.
Streak-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes souleyetii
Montane Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger
Plain Xenops Xenops minutus
Streaked Xenops Xenops rutilans
Pacific Tuftedcheek ◊ Pseudocolaptes johnsoni Seen on a couple of days at Montezuma.
Streaked Tuftedcheek Pseudocolaptes boissonneautii
Rusty-winged Barbtail ◊ Premnornis guttuliger A couple were seen at Montezuma.
Caribbean Hornero ◊ Furnarius longirostris Seen near Rio Claro and commonly on the Caribbean coast.
Chestnut-winged Cinclodes ◊ Cinclodes albidiventris Four were seen at Sumapaz on our first morning.
Stout-billed Cinclodes ◊ Cinclodes excelsior Four were seen in Los Nevados NP.
Montane Foliage-gleaner Anabacerthia striaticollis
Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner Anabacerthia variegaticeps A couple were seen at Montezuma.
Lineated Foliage-gleaner Syndactyla subalaris Seen well at Pedro Palo.
Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner Dendroma rufa
Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner ◊ Clibanornis rufipectus Endemic. A family party were seen in the Santa Marta mountains.
Uniform Treehunter ◊ Thripadectes ignobilis Seen on several days at Montezuma.
Flammulated Treehunter ◊ Thripadectes flammulatus A single bird showed well at Rio Blanco and another skulked along the ridge at El Dorado. Also heard above Jardin.
Streak-capped Treehunter ◊ Thripadectes virgaticeps Singles were seen at Otun and Montezuma.
Spotted Barbtail Premnoplex brunnescens
Star-chested Treerunner ◊ (Fulvous-dotted T) Margarornis stellatus Three were seen at Montezuma.
Pearled Treerunner Margarornis squamiger
Andean Tit-Spinetail Leptasthenura andicola
White-browed Spinetail ◊ Hellmayrea gularis A single was seen in Los Nevados NP.
Many-striped Canastero ◊ Asthenes flammulata Heard at Sumapaz and seen well at Los Nevados NP.
White-chinned Thistletail ◊ Asthenes fuliginosa Seen Well at both Sumapaz and Los Nevados.
Red-faced Spinetail Cranioleuca erythrops
Streak-capped Spinetail ◊ Cranioleuca hellmayri Endemic. Seen and heard fairly commonly in the Santa Marta mountains.
Ash-browed Spinetail Cranioleuca curtata Seen well at Pedro Palo.
Yellow-chinned Spinetail Certhiaxis cinnamomeus
Slaty Spinetail Synallaxis brachyura
Silvery-throated Spinetail ◊ Synallaxis subpudica Endemic. Four rather skulking individuals below Sumapaz NP.
Pale-breasted Spinetail Synallaxis albescens
Azara’s Spinetail Synallaxis azarae
White-whiskered Spinetail ◊ Synallaxis candei Good looks on both days in the Guajira.
Rusty-headed Spinetail ◊ Synallaxis fuscorufa Endemic. A couple were seen above El Dorado Lodge, where also heard commonly.
Rufous Spinetail Synallaxis unirufa
Rufous-rumped Antwren Euchrepomis callinota Seen at Montezuma.
Dot-winged Antwren Microrhopias quixensis Seen at Rio Claro.
Checker-throated Stipplethroat Epinecrophylla fulviventris A small group at Rio Claro.
Pacific Antwren ◊ (P Streaked A) Myrmotherula pacifica Good looks in the Choco lowlands and heard at Rio Claro.
Slaty Antwren Myrmotherula schisticolor Heard only.
Northern White-fringed Antwren Formicivora intermedia
Yellow-breasted Antwren ◊ Herpsilochmus axillaris Seen at Montezuma.
Plain Antvireo Dysithamnus mentalis
Bicolored Antvireo ◊ (Western Antshrike) Dysithamnus occidentalis A single bird showed well at Montezuma.
Black-backed Antshrike ◊ Thamnophilus melanonotus Four were seen below Minca and a few more were seen in the Guajira.
Barred Antshrike Thamnophilus doliatus
Bar-crested Antshrike ◊ Thamnophilus multistriatus Good looks at the near endemic above Cajamarca.
Uniform Antshrike Thamnophilus unicolor
Black-crowned Antshrike (Western Slaty A) Thamnophilus atrinucha
Black-crested Antshrike Sakesphorus canadensis
Santa Marta Antbird ◊ Drymophila hellmayri Endemic. Seen on a couple of days in the Santa Marta Mountains.
Streak-headed Antbird ◊ Drymophila striaticeps
Parker’s Antbird ◊ Cercomacroides parkeri Endemic. A pair were seen near Otun.
Dusky Antbird Cercomacroides tyrannina A couple were seen near Rio Claro.
Chestnut-backed Antbird Poliocrania exsul Heard only.
White-bellied Antbird Myrmeciza longipes Seen in the dry forest in the Magdalena valley and heard on the north coast.
Black-faced Antthrush Formicarius analis Good looks near the Oilbird cave.
Rufous-breasted Antthrush ◊ Formicarius rufipectus Heard only.
Chestnut-crowned Antpitta Grallaria ruficapilla Fantastic looks at Rio Blanco and heard near Chingaza.
Santa Marta Antpitta ◊ Grallaria bangsi Endemic. One showed well after much effort in the Santa Marta Mountains.
Chestnut-naped Antpitta ◊ Grallaria nuchalis Good looks at a feeding station near Jardin.
Yellow-breasted Antpitta ◊ Grallaria flavotincta Heard and one seen very briefly at Montezuma.
Sierra Nevada Antpitta ◊ Grallaria spatiator Endemic. Good looks at quite a responsive individual in the Santa Marta Mountains.
Muisca Antpitta ◊ Grallaria rufula Good looks on the edge of Chingaza NP.
Bicolored Antpitta ◊ Grallaria rufocinerea A single showed well at a worm feeder at Rio Blanco.
Chami Antpitta ◊ Grallaria alvarezi Endemic. A couple gave good looks at a feeding station near Jardin.
Equatorial Antpitta ◊ Grallaria saturata One came to be fed after quite some wait at Hacienda del Bosque.
Tawny Antpitta ◊ (Northern T A) Grallaria [quitensis] alticola Seen commonly at Sumapaz.
Tawny Antpitta ◊ (Western T A) Grallaria [quitensis] quitensis Seen well in Los Nevados NP.
Brown-banded Antpitta ◊ Grallaria milleri Endemic. One showed well visiting a feeder at Rio Blanco.
Rusty-breasted Antpitta ◊ Grallaricula ferrugineipectus Good looks in the Santa Marta Mountains.
Slaty-crowned Antpitta Grallaricula nana A single showed well at a feeding station at Rio Blanco.
Crescent-faced Antpitta ◊ Grallaricula lineifrons Outstanding views of an obliging individual at a feeding station at Hacienda del Bosque. A trip highlight.
Ocellated Tapaculo ◊ Acropternis orthonyx heard distantly in Los Nevados NP and seen well above Jardin.
Ash-colored Tapaculo ◊ Myornis senilis Good looks at Rio Blanco.
Paramo Tapaculo ◊ Scytalopus opacus A very obliging bird perched in the open at Los Nevados.
White-crowned Tapaculo Scytalopus atratus Heard only. Heard near Otun, the only Tapaculo that we didn’t see.
Santa Marta Tapaculo ◊ Scytalopus sanctaemartae Endemic. A single was seen in the Santa Marta mountains, where heard commonly.
Blackish Tapaculo ◊ Scytalopus latrans A single was seen above Jardin.
Narino Tapaculo ◊ Scytalopus vicinior Seen well at Montezuma.
Choco Tapaculo* ◊ Scytalopus chocoensis Seen well below Montezuma.
Stiles’s Tapaculo* ◊ Scytalopus stilesi Endemic. A single was seen after much searching at Otun.
Tatama Tapaculo ◊ (Alto Pisones T) Scytalopus alvarezlopezi Endemic. Seen well at Montezuma and even photographed.
Pale-bellied Tapaculo ◊ (Mattoral T) Scytalopus griseicollis A couple showed well at Sumapaz.
Brown-rumped Tapaculo ◊ Scytalopus latebricola Endemic. A couple were seen well above El Dorado Lodge, in the Santa Marta mountains.
Spillmann’s Tapaculo ◊ Scytalopus spillmanni A couple were seen well above Jardin.
Sooty-headed Tyrannulet Phyllomyias griseiceps
Plumbeous-crowned Tyrannulet ◊ Phyllomyias plumbeiceps Seen in mixed flocks at Otun.
Black-capped Tyrannulet Phyllomyias nigrocapillus
Ashy-headed Tyrannulet Phyllomyias cinereiceps A single was seen well at Montezuma.
Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet Tyrannulus elatus
Forest Elaenia Myiopagis gaimardii
Greenish Elaenia* Myiopagis viridicata
Yellow-bellied Elaenia Elaenia flavogaster
Lesser Elaenia Elaenia chiriquensis A single vocal bird above Minca.
Mountain Elaenia Elaenia frantzii
Brown-capped Tyrannulet Ornithion brunneicapillus
Southern Beardless Tyrannulet Camptostoma obsoletum
White-throated Tyrannulet Mecocerculus leucophrys
White-tailed Tyrannulet Mecocerculus poecilocercus
White-banded Tyrannulet Mecocerculus stictopterus
Torrent Tyrannulet Serpophaga cinerea
Mouse-colored Tyrannulet Phaeomyias murina A single bird in the Guajira.
Bronze-olive Pygmy Tyrant Pseudotriccus pelzelni Seen well at Montezuma.
Fulvous-crowned Scrub Tyrant ◊ Euscarthmus meloryphus A single bird was seen well in dry forest in the Magdalena valley. This is a scarce bird in Colombia.
Spectacled Tyrannulet ◊ Zimmerius improbus Three were seen well in the Santa Marta foothills.
Golden-faced Tyrannulet ◊ Zimmerius chrysops
Coopmans’s Tyrannulet ◊ Zimmerius minimus Great looks in the Santa Marta foothills, where fairly common.
Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant Pogonotriccus ophthalmicus
Antioquia Bristle Tyrant ◊ Pogonotriccus lanyoni Endemic. A pair were seen well in the canopy at Rio Claro.
Rufous-browed Tyrannulet ◊ Phylloscartes superciliaris A single bird seen well at Montezuma.
Streak-necked Flycatcher Mionectes striaticollis
Olive-striped Flycatcher Mionectes olivaceus
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher Mionectes oleagineus
Sepia-capped Flycatcher Leptopogon amaurocephalus
Slaty-capped Flycatcher Leptopogon superciliaris
Rufous-breasted Flycatcher ◊ Leptopogon rufipectus Good looks at Otun.
Northern Scrub Flycatcher Sublegatus arenarum
Slender-billed Inezia ◊ Inezia tenuirostris Seen on both days in the Guajira.
Pale-tipped Inezia ◊ (P-t Tyrannulet) Inezia caudate Seen on both days in the Guajira.
Flavescent Flycatcher ◊ Myiophobus flavicans A single at Montezuma.
Bran-colored Flycatcher Myiophobus fasciatus Heard only.
Handsome Flycatcher ◊ Nephelomyias pulcher Common in mixed flocKs at Montezuma.
Ornate Flycatcher ◊ Myiotriccus ornatus
Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant Hemitriccus margaritaceiventer
Black-throated Tody-Tyrant ◊ Hemitriccus granadensis Good looks at both Montezuma and above El Dorado Lodge in the Santa Marta mountains.
Southern Bentbill ◊ Oncostoma olivaceum Seen well near Rio Claro.
Scale-crested Pygmy Tyrant Lophotriccus pileatus
Pale-eyed Pygmy Tyrant Atalotriccus pilaris Seen commonly in the Santa Marta foothills.
Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher Poecilotriccus ruficeps
Slaty-headed Tody-Flycatcher* Poecilotriccus sylvia
Common Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum cinereum
Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum nigriceps Seen in the Choco lowlands and at Rio Claro.
Olivaceous Flatbill Rhynchocyclus olivaceus A single bird showed well at Rio Claro.
Fulvous-breasted Flatbill Rhynchocyclus fulvipectus Seen well at Montezuma.
Yellow-olive Flatbill (Y-o Flycatcher) Tolmomyias sulphurescens
Ochre-lored Flatbill (O-l Flycatcher) Tolmomyias flaviventris
Cinnamon Flycatcher Pyrrhomyias cinnamomeus
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
Smoke-colored Pewee Contopus fumigatus
Acadian Flycatcher Empidonax virescens
Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus obscurus
Santa Marta Bush Tyrant ◊ Myiotheretes pernix Endemic. A single bird seen well along the ridge above El Dorado Lodge.
Smoky Bush Tyrant Myiotheretes fumigatus
Pied Water Tyrant Fluvicola pica
White-headed Marsh Tyrant Arundinicola leucocephala
Crowned Chat-Tyrant Silvicultrix frontalis
Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant ◊ Silvicultrix diadema
Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant ◊ Ochthoeca cinnamomeiventris
Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca rufipectoralis
Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca fumicolor
Long-tailed Tyrant Colonia colonus
Cattle Tyrant Machetornis rixosa
Piratic Flycatcher Legatus leucophaius
Rusty-margined Flycatcher Myiozetetes cayanensis
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
Lesser Kiskadee Philohydor lictor
Lemon-browed Flycatcher ◊ Conopias cinchoneti A pair were watched nest building at Montezuma.
Golden-crowned Flycatcher Myiodynastes chrysocephalus
Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
Fork-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus savana
Grey Kingbird Tyrannus dominicensis
Rufous Mourner Rhytipterna holerythra A vocal bird showed well at Rio Claro.
Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer
Panama Flycatcher ◊ Myiarchus panamensis Seen above Minca and in the mangroves near Barranquilla.
Apical Flycatcher ◊ Myiarchus apicalis Endemic. Seen in dry forest in both the Magdalena and Cauca valleys.
Pale-edged Flycatcher Myiarchus cephalotes
Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus
Brown-crested Flycatcher Myiarchus tyrannulus
Bright-rumped Attila ◊ (Flammulated A) Attila spadiceus Heard Only.
Scaled Fruiteater ◊ Ampelioides tschudii A pair showed well at Montezuma.
Orange-breasted Fruiteater ◊ Pipreola jucunda Seen on a couple of days at Montezuma with six seen on our first day.
Golden-breasted Fruiteater ◊ Pipreola aureopectus A pair were seen well in the Santa Marta mountains.
Green-and-black Fruiteater Pipreola riefferii
Andean Cock-of-the-rock Rupicola peruvianus Fifteen dazzling males were seen at the lek in Jardin, the best Cock-of-the-rock lek in South America.
Red-crested Cotinga ◊ Ampelion rubrocristatus A very showy bird was seen near Bogota and another was seen in Los Nevados NP.
Chestnut-crested Cotinga ◊ Ampelion rufaxilla A single bird showed very well above Jardin. A trip highlight.
Red-ruffed Fruitcrow Pyroderus scutatus Several were seen at Otun.
Lance-tailed Manakin Chiroxiphia lanceolate Seen in the Santa Marta foothills and the Caribbean coast, although only one male was seen.
Golden-winged Manakin ◊ Masius chrysopterus A single female was seen at Montezuma.
White-bearded Manakin Manacus manacus
Golden-collared Manakin Manacus vitellinus A single male seen in dry forest in the Cauca valley.
Club-winged Manakin ◊ Machaeropterus deliciosus A lekking bird was seen at Montezuma.
Striolated Manakin ◊ Machaeropterus striolatus A single was seen at Montezuma and several were seen near Rio Claro.
Golden-headed Manakin Ceratopipra erythrocephala Several males gave good views near Rio Claro.
Sulphur-rumped Myiobius (S-r Flycatcher) Myiobius sulphureipygius A single seen at Rio Blanco
Black-crowned Tityra Tityra inquisitor
Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata
Barred Becard Pachyramphus versicolor
Cinereous Becard Pachyramphus rufus
Cinnamon Becard Pachyramphus cinnamomeus
White-winged Becard Pachyramphus polychopterus
One-colored Becard Pachyramphus homochrous
Black-billed Peppershrike ◊ Cyclarhis nigrirostris Heard only.
Scrub Greenlet Hylophilus flavipes
Golden-fronted Greenlet Pachysylvia aurantiifrons
Rufous-naped Greenlet ◊ Pachysylvia semibrunnea
Yellow-green Vireo Vireo flavoviridis
Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus Several were seen in the Santa Marta foothills.
Chivi Vireo Vireo chivi
Brown-capped Vireo Vireo leucophrys
Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons
Choco Vireo ◊ Vireo masteri A single was seen at Montezuma after much searching.
Black-collared Jay ◊ Cyanolyca armillata A single was seen on the edge of Chingaza NP.
Beautiful Jay ◊ Cyanolyca pulchra A single was seen at Montezuma.
Black-chested Jay ◊ Cyanocorax affinis
Inca Jay Cyanocorax yncas
White-winged Swallow Tachycineta albiventer
White-thighed Swallow Atticora tibialis
Blue-and-white Swallow Pygochelidon cyanoleuca
Brown-bellied Swallow Orochelidon murina
Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis
Grey-breasted Martin Progne chalybea
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Stripe-backed Wren ◊ Campylorhynchus nuchalis Seen well in the Barranquilla marshes on our last morning.
Bicolored Wren Campylorhynchus griseus
Rufous Wren Cinnycerthia unirufa
Sepia-brown Wren (Sharpe’s W) Cinnycerthia olivascens
Apolinar’s Wren ◊ (A Marsh W) Cistothorus apolinari Endemic. Seen well at Sumapaz NP on our first morning.
Grass Wren (Grass W) Cistothorus platensis
Sooty-headed Wren ◊ Pheugopedius spadix One showed well at Montezuma.
Black-bellied Wren ◊ Pheugopedius fasciatoventris Heard only.
Whiskered Wren Pheugopedius mystacalis
Rufous-breasted Wren Pheugopedius rutilus
Rufous-and-white Wren Thryophilus rufalbus
Antioquia Wren ◊ Thryophilus sernai Endemic. A couple of birds showed well in the Cauca Valley.
Buff-breasted Wren Cantorchilus leucotis
Bay Wren Cantorchilus nigricapillus
House Wren Troglodytes aedon
Mountain Wren Troglodytes solstitialis
White-breasted Wood Wren Henicorhina leucosticte Heard only.
Grey-breasted Wood Wren Henicorhina leucophrys
Hermit Wood Wren ◊ Henicorhina anachoreta Endemic. Seen well along the ridge above El Dorado Lodge.
Munchique Wood Wren ◊ Henicorhina negreti Endemic. Seen well at the top of the mountain at Montezuma.
Southern Nightingale-Wren Microcerculus marginatus Heard only.
Chestnut-breasted Wren ◊ Cyphorhinus thoracicus Seen well at Otun and briefly at Montezuma.
Trilling Gnatwren Ramphocaenus melanurus Head at Rio Blanco and seen fairly commonly in the Santa Marta foothills.
Tropical Gnatcatcher Polioptila plumbea
Tropical Mockingbird Mimus gilvus
Andean Solitaire Myadestes ralloides Heard only.
Black Solitaire ◊ Entomodestes coracinus This handsome species was seen well at Montezuma.
Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus aurantiirostris An obliging bird was watched singing in the Santa Marta foothills.
Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus fuscater Heard only.
Swainson’s Thrush Catharus ustulatus
Glossy-black Thrush Turdus serranus A single bird feeding along the road at Otun was particularly showy for this canopy loving species.
Black-hooded Thrush ◊ Turdus olivater Seen on several days in the Santa Marta mountains.
Great Thrush Turdus fuscater
Black-billed Thrush Turdus ignobilis
Yellow-legged Thrush Turdus flavipes
White-necked Thrush Turdus albicollis Heard only.
Pale-breasted Thrush Turdus leucomelas
Clay-colored Thrush Turdus grayi
White-capped Dipper Cinclus leucocephalus Seen at Rio Blanco and Jardin.
House Sparrow (introduced) Passer domesticus Still a rare and localised bird in Colombia but quite a few were at our lunch spot in the Guajira.
Lesser Goldfinch Spinus psaltria
Yellow-bellied Siskin Spinus xanthogastrus A singing male showed well above Jardin.
Andean Siskin ◊ Spinus spinescens
Blue-naped Chlorophonia Chlorophonia cyanea
Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia ◊ Chlorophonia pyrrhophrys Several were seen at Montezuma including some gorgeous males.
Velvet-fronted Euphonia ◊ Euphonia concinna Endemic. A pair were seen well in the Magdalena valley.
Trinidad Euphonia ◊ Euphonia trinitatis Seen fairly commonly in the Guajira and gallery forest nearby.
Thick-billed Euphonia Euphonia laniirostris
Fulvous-vented Euphonia ◊ Euphonia fulvicrissa A couple were seen at Rio Claro.
Orange-bellied Euphonia Euphonia xanthogaster
Rosy Thrush-tanager Rhodinocichla rosea Heard above Minca where two birds were eventually seen well.
Tanager Finch ◊ Oreothraupis arremonops A couple showed well at Montezuma.
Yellow-throated Bush Tanager Chlorospingus flavigularis
Ashy-throated Bush Tanager Chlorospingus canigularis
Dusky Bush Tanager (Dusky-bellied B T) Chlorospingus semifuscus
Black-striped Sparrow ◊ Arremonops conirostris Seen well roadside in the Cauca valley and also heard near Rio Claro.
Tocuyo Sparrow ◊ Arremonops tocuyensis It took a bit of searching but we enjoyed superb views of this near-endemic in the Guajira.
Sierra Nevada Brushfinch ◊ Arremon basilicus Endemic. Seen on several days in the Santa Marta Mountains.
Black-headed Brushfinch Arremon atricapillus A pair were seen at Montezuma.
Grey-browed Brushfinch Arremon assimilis
Orange-billed Sparrow Arremon aurantiirostris
Golden-winged Sparrow ◊ Arremon schlegeli Seen well in the Santa Marta foothills.
Chestnut-capped Brushfinch Arremon brunneinucha
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis
White-naped Brushfinch Atlapetes albinucha
Moustached Brushfinch ◊ Atlapetes albofrenatus A family party showed well at Pedro Palo.
Santa Marta Brushfinch ◊ Atlapetes melanocephalus Endemic. Common in the Santa Marta Mountains.
Yellow-headed Brushfinch ◊ Atlapetes flaviceps Endemic. A pair showed well above Cajamarca.
Choco Brushfinch ◊ Atlapetes crassus Seen fairly commonly at Montezuma.
Slaty Brushfinch Atlapetes schistaceus
Pale-naped Brushfinch ◊ Atlapetes pallidinucha
Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna
Red-breasted Blackbird Leistes militaris
Chestnut-headed Oropendola Psarocolius wagleri
Russet-backed Oropendola Psarocolius angustifrons
Crested Oropendola Psarocolius decumanus
Baudo Oropendola Psarocolius cassini Twenty were seen in the Choco lowlands.
Yellow-rumped Cacique Cacicus cela
Subtropical Cacique ◊ Cacicus uropygialis A couple were seen well near Jardin.
Northern Mountain Cacique ◊ Cacicus leucoramphus A flock were seen distantly above Jardin.
Yellow-backed Oriole Icterus chrysater
Yellow Oriole Icterus nigrogularis
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula
Orange-crowned Oriole Icterus auricapillus Seen well at Rio Claro and below Minca.
Giant Cowbird Molothrus oryzivorus
Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonariensis
Bronze-brown Cowbird ◊ Molothrus armenti Several were seen well on the north coast, even posing next to Shiny Cowbirds.
Carib Grackle Quiscalus lugubris
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus
Red-bellied Grackle Hypopyrrhus pyrohypogaster Endemic. A single was seen above Jardin and then a group of three were seen at the Cock-of-the-rock lek
Yellow-hooded Blackbird Chrysomus icterocephalus
Northern Waterthrush Parkesia noveboracensis
Golden-winged Warbler Vermivora chrysoptera A single male at Montezuma.
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia
Prothonotary Warbler Protonotaria citrea
Tennessee Warbler Leiothlypis peregrina
Mourning Warbler Geothlypis philadelphia
American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla
Cerulean Warbler Setophaga cerulean A single male was seen at Pedero Palo.
Tropical Parula Setophaga pitiayumi
Magnolia Warbler Setophaga magnolia A single bird was seen in gallery forest on the north coast. Quite scarce species in Colombia.
Bay-breasted Warbler Setophaga castanea
Blackburnian Warbler Setophaga fusca
American Yellow Warbler Setophaga aestiva
Mangrove Warbler Setophaga petechia A single was seen in the mangroves near Baranquilla.
Blackpoll Warbler Setophaga striata Non-leader.
Santa Marta Warbler ◊ Myiothlypis basilica Endemic. A small group were seen on the ridge above El Dorado Lodge.
Black-crested Warbler Myiothlypis nigrocristata
Buff-rumped Warbler Myiothlypis fulvicauda
Choco Warbler ◊ Myiothlypis chlorophrys
White-lored Warbler ◊ Myiothlypis conspicillata Endemic. Seen and heard fairly often in the Santa Marta mountains.
Russet-crowned Warbler Myiothlypis coronata
Chestnut-capped Warbler ◊ Basileuterus delattrii
Three-striped Warbler Basileuterus tristriatus
Canada Warbler Cardellina canadensis
Slate-throated Whitestart (S-t Redstart) Myioborus miniatus
Yellow-crowned Whitestart ◊ (Y-c Redstart) Myioborus flavivertex
Golden-fronted Whitestart ◊ (Yellow-f W) Myioborus [ornatus] ornatus
Golden-fronted Whitestart ◊ Myioborus [ornatus] chrysops
Dusky-faced Tanager Mitrospingus cassinii
Tooth-billed Tanager (Highland Hepatic T) Piranga lutea
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra
Scarlet Tanager Piranga olivacea A male was seen near Minca.
Sooty Ant Tanager ◊ Habia gutturalis Endemic. A singing male showed well near Rio Claro.
Crested Ant Tanager ◊ Habia cristata Endemic. Heard at Rio Claro and a couple of groups were seen well at Montezuma.
Golden Grosbeak Pheucticus chrysogaster Several were seen in the Santa Marta mountains.
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus
Vermilion Cardinal ◊ Cardinalis phoeniceus Several were seen in the Guajira, where they now visit a feeding station.
Blue-black Grosbeak Cyanoloxia cyanoides A male showed well below Minca and another was heard on the coast.
Plushcap (Plush-capped F) Catamblyrhynchus diadema A single bird showed well with a mixed flock on the edge of Chingaza NP.
White-capped Tanager ◊ Sericossypha albocristata Heard only.
Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza
Golden-collared Honeycreeper ◊ Iridophanes pulcherrimus A female was seen at Montezuma.
Yellow-backed Tanager Hemithraupis flavicollis A female was seen near Rio Claro.
Guira Tanager Hemithraupis guira Seen well roadside in the Cauca valley.
Swallow Tanager Tersina viridis
Red-legged Honeycreeper Cyanerpes cyaneus A few in the Santa Marta foothills and gallery forest on the north coast.
Blue Dacnis Dacnis cayana
Turquoise Dacnis ◊ Dacnis hartlaubi A pair showed well at Pedro Palo.
Orinoco Saltator ◊ Saltator orenocensis Seen well in the Guajira, where it now visits feeders.
Bluish-grey Saltator Saltator coerulescens
Streaked Saltator Saltator striatipectus
Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus
Black-winged Saltator ◊ Saltator atripennis Seen at several sites with the best views on the feeders at Montezuma.
Masked Saltator ◊ Saltator cinctus A pair were seen well after much searching at Rio Blanco.
Bananaquit Coereba flaveola
Yellow-faced Grassquit Tiaris olivaceus
Black-faced Grassquit Melanospiza bicolor Seen visiting feeders in the Guajira.
Dull-colored Grassquit Asemospiza obscura Seen well in the Santa Marta foothills.
Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina
Grey-headed Tanager Eucometis penicillata Seen in the Santa Marta foothills.
White-shouldered Tanager Loriotus luctuosus
Grey Pileated Finch Coryphospingus pileatus Seen in dry forest in the Magdalena valley and in the Guajira.
White-lined Tanager Tachyphonus rufus
Flame-rumped Tanager ◊ Ramphocelus flammigerus Endemic. Seen quite commonly in the western Andes. Some birds at Montezuma were clearly hybrids with the following species.
Lemon-rumped Tanager ◊ Ramphocelus icteronotus
Crimson-backed Tanager ◊ Ramphocelus dimidiatus
Variable Seedeater Sporophila corvina Several were seen in the Choco lowlands.
Grey Seedeater Sporophila intermedia
Yellow-bellied Seedeater Sporophila nigricollis
Thick-billed Seed Finch Sporophila funerea
Ruddy-breasted Seedeater Sporophila minuta
Grey-hooded Bush Tanager Cnemoscopus rubrirostris
Black-capped Hemispingus Kleinothraupis atropileus
Superciliaried Hemispingus Thlypopsis superciliaris
Black-backed Bush Tanage* ◊ Urothraupis stolzmanni A fairly large group were seen in Los Nevados NP.
Bicolored Conebill Conirostrum bicolor
Capped Conebill Conirostrum albifrons
Blue-backed Conebill Conirostrum sitticolor
Rufous-browed Conebill ◊ Conirostrum rufum This near-endemic was seen in Sumapaz NP.
Saffron Finch Sicalis flaveola
Plumbeous Sierra Finch Geospizopsis unicolor
Plain-colored Seedeater Catamenia inornata
Paramo Seedeater Catamenia homochroa Seen at Los Nevados and on the San Lorenzo ridge.
Bluish Flowerpiercer Diglossa caerulescens
Masked Flowerpiercer Diglossa cyanea
Indigo Flowerpiercer ◊ Diglossa indigotica A couple were seen at Montezuma.
Rusty Flowerpiercer Diglossa sittoides
Glossy Flowerpiercer Diglossa lafresnayii
Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer ◊ Diglossa gloriosissima Endemic. A singing bird showed well at Montezuma.
White-sided Flowerpiercer Diglossa albilatera
Black Flowerpiercer Diglossa humeralis
Purplish-mantled Tanager ◊ Iridosornis porphyrocephalus Several were seen well at Montezuma.
Golden-crowned Tanager ◊ Iridosornis rufivertex A single bird showed well at Los Nevados.
Buff-breasted Mountain Tanager Dubusia taeniata Seen well at Rio Blanco.
Hooded Mountain Tanager Buthraupis montana Seen well at several sites, including on the feeders at Hacienda del Bosque.
Blue-capped Tanager Sporathraupis cyanocephala
Masked Mountain Tanager ◊ Tephrophilus wetmorei A single bird was seen briefly at Los Nevados.
Grass-green Tanager Chlorornis riefferii
Blue-winged Mountain Tanager Anisognathus somptuosus
Black-chinned Mountain Tanager ◊ Anisognathus notabilis Seen on several days at Montezuma.
Santa Marta Mountain Tanager ◊ Anisognathus melanogenys Endemic. Seen fairly commonly at higher elevations on the Santa Marta mountains.
Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager Anisognathus igniventris
Lacrimose Mountain Tanager Anisognathus lacrymosus
Glistening-green Tanager ◊ Chlorochrysa phoenicotis Seen on several days at Montezuma.
Multicolored Tanager ◊ Chlorochrysa nitidissima A beautiful male was seen well on our last morning at Montezuma.
Gold-ringed Tanager ◊ Bangsia aureocincta Endemic. Seen fairly commonly at upper elevations at Montezuma.
Black-and-gold Tanager ◊ Bangsia melanochlamys Endemic. Several seen at mid-elevations at Montezuma.
Rufous-throated Tanager Ixothraupis rufigula Seen on several days at Montezuma.
Blue-grey Tanager Thraupis episcopus
Glaucous Tanager ◊ Thraupis glaucocolpa Several were seen in the Guajira.
Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum
Black-headed Tanager ◊ Stilpnia cyanoptera Seen fairly commonly in the Santa Marta foothills.
Black-capped Tanager Stilpnia heinei
Golden-hooded Tanager Stilpnia larvatan Seen fairly commonly in the Choco lowlands and at Rio Claro.
Blue-necked Tanager Stilpnia cyanicollis
Scrub Tanager ◊ Stilpnia vitriolina
Blue-and-black Tanager Tangara vassorii
Beryl-spangled Tanager Tangara nigroviridis
Metallic-green Tanager ◊ Tangara labradorides A couple were seen well at Rio Blanco.
Bay-headed Tanager Tangara gyrola
Saffron-crowned Tanager Tangara xanthocephala
Flame-faced Tanager Tangara parzudakii Seen well at Pedro Palo.
Golden Tanager Tangara arthus
Silver-throated Tanager Tangara icterocephala Great looks on the feeders at Montezuma.
Plain-colored Tanager ◊ Tangara inornata Seen at several sites with superb views at our lunch stop at Cocorna.
Brown-throated Sloth Bradypus variegatus A very distant individual was scoped at the Military Macaw roost near Minca.
Crab-eating Fox Cerdocyon thous Seen at Montezuma and El Dorado.
Silvery-brown Bare-faced Tamarin Saguinus leucopus A couple of troops were seen in the Rio Claro area.
Grey-handed Night Monkey Aotus griseimembra Several, including a mother with a baby, were seen visiting a fruit feeder at El Dorado Lodge.
Colombian Red Howler Monkey Alouatta seniculus Heard frequently in the Santa Marta mountains and a troop with a couple of recently born infants gave great views in gallery forest on the Caribbean coast.
Andean Rabbit (A Tapeti) Sylvilagus andinus A single was seen at Nevado del Ruiz. A couple of Rabbits that showed well in the Guajira would also fall under the current umbrella of Tapeti but probably relate to an undescribed taxon.
Central American Agouti Dasyprocta punctata Several were seen in the vicinity of Montezuma Lodge.
Brazilian Guinea Pig Cavia aperea Fiver were seen at Sumapaz on the first morning.
Western Dwarf Squirrel Microsciurus mimulus The tiny Dwarf Squirrels that occur on the west slope at Montezuma seem to relate to this species.
Red-tailed Squirrel (Tropical Red S) Sciurus granatensis Seen on numerous days in the tour in the lowlands and subtropics.
Mountain Tapir Tapirus pinchaque A single individual gave fantastic views at Otun Quimbaya.
Andean Squirrel Sciurus pucheranii Seen well at Rio Blanco and a couple of other highland sites. A Colombian endemic.
Amazon Dwarf Squirrel Microsciurus flaviventer A Dwarf Squirrel that we saw in the central Andes near Cajamarca probably relates to the Otinus race of Amazon Dwarf Squirrel.