The Ultimate In Birding Tours

Ecuador Tours

AMAZONIAN ECUADOR – the wonders of Shiripuno, Rio Bigal and famous Sani Lodge

Thursday 19th August – Tuesday 31st August 2021

Leaders: Julien Mazenauer and skilled local bird guides

13 Days Group Size Limit 7
Friday 19th August – Wednesday 31st August 2022

Leaders: Julien Mazenauer and skilled local bird guides

13 Days Group Size Limit 7
Monday 18th September – Saturday 30th September 2023

Leaders: Birdquest Leader to be announced and skilled local bird guides

13 Days Group Size Limit 7

AMAZONIAN ECUADOR: OVERVIEW

Birdquest’s Amazonian Ecuador birding tours clearly stand out among the mass of birding tours to the country. Our Amazonian Ecuador birding tour is a special, comprehensive itinerary that visits some little-visited sites, as well as the famous Sani Lodge, and which regularly records a huge number of Amazonian bird species, while also recording lots of specialities. Relatively short travel distances, excellent accommodation at Sani, great scenery and an extraordinarily rich avifauna make this tour highly enjoyable.

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

Once part of the Inca empire that stretched from Chile to Colombia and later a Spanish colony before it gained its independence during the 19th century, this small country possesses an extraordinary range of environments. Here, in a comparatively limited area, one can travel from towering snow-capped volcanoes to oxbow lakes deep in the Amazonian rainforests and from windswept grasslands to temperate cloud forests. It is thus not surprising that Ecuador has the highest bird species diversity for an area its size in South America. Over 1600 bird species have already been recorded from this beautiful country, twice as many as from the whole of Europe, and yet many areas still remain ornithologically unexplored!

In addition to having many species that are widely distributed in South America, Ecuador has a fine selection of Amazonian lowland and foothill specialities only shared with neighbouring areas in Colombia, Peru and Brazil. This wonderful country offers not only wonderful Neotropical birding in a relatively compact geographical area but also one of the richest birding experiences on earth.

Our Amazonian Ecuador birding tour starts in Quito, but we only pause overnight there before taking a flight over the Andes and down into the immensity of Amazonia.

During the tour, which explores the lowlands of Amazonia, we shall spend some time each at Shiripuno Lodge and at Sani Lodge, two of the best lodges in Amazonian Ecuador from a birding standpoint.

Shiripuno Lodge is a remote research base and visitor lodge on the Shiripuno River, the heartland of the once-fierce Huaorani (or Waorani) people and an area that is rarely visited by birders (who usually go to the more accessible Napo River lodges). This is an area that is still pristine wilderness by Ecuadorean standards, thanks to an enlightened attitude by the local inhabitants who co-operate with the lodge in their own best interests.

At Shiripuno we have good chances for seeing such specialities as the much-sought-after Salvin’s Curassow (Shiripuno is surely the best place for encountering this mega-speciality), Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlet, Rufous and Long-tailed Potoos, the dazzling Fiery Topaz, Rufous-headed Woodpecker, Chestnut-belted Gnateater, Black Bushbird, Yellow-browed and Dot-backed Antbirds, Reddish-winged Bare-eye, Citron-bellied Attila and Purple-throated Cotinga. Less often seen specialities include the near-endemic Yasuni and Rio Suno Antwrens, and Riparian Antbird.

In between our stays at Shiripuno and Sani, we will explore the little-visited Rio Bigal area, a place with a fantastic mix of Amazonian lowland and foothill species. Pride of place here goes to the restricted-range Pink-throated Brilliant, and there is even a chance for the rare Red-winged Wood Rail. Other specialities include Nocturnal Curassow, Marbled Wood Quail, Pavonine Quetzal, Military Macaw, Ecuadorian Piedtail and, with luck, Grey-winged Trumpeter.

Sani Lodge is another very special jungle lodge, owned and operated by the Kichwa indigenous people, but located on the north side of the majestic Napo River, and has earned a reputation as one of the finest places for birding in the whole of Amazonia.

On foot and by canoe we will explore the superb rainforests and oxbow lakes of this extraordinarily rich area, enjoying such impressive species as Hoatzin and Blue-and-yellow Macaw, and specialities such as the near-endemic and little-known Cocha Antshrike, the restricted-range Orange-crested Manakin, the wonderful little Zigzag Heron, Purplish Jacamar, Chestnut-capped Puffbird, Scarlet-crowned Barbet, Orange-fronted Plushcrown, Short-billed Leaftosser, Spot-backed Antbird, Wire-tailed Manakin, Rufous-tailed Flatbill and Ash-throated Gnateater.

We should also find such river island specialists as Olive-spotted Hummingbird, Lesser Hornero, White-bellied Spinetail, Parker’s Spinetail, Castelnau’s Antshrike, Black-and-white Antbird and River Tyrannulet.

Birdquest has operated Ecuador birding tours since 1989.

This tour can be taken together with NORTHERN ECUADOR

Accommodation & Road Transport: Sani Lodge and our Quito hotel are of a good standard. At Shiripuno Lodge the rooms are rather simple and there is no electricity, but all rooms have private bathrooms (tropical temperature water). Rio Bigal is a simple but pleasant research station with rooms for guests. Electricity is available for limited periods and bathroom facilities are shared (tropical temperature water). Road transport is by small coach or minibus/passenger van and roads are variable in quality.

Walking: The walking effort during our Amazonian Ecuador birding tours is mostly easy to moderate. There are a few optional walks on harder trails.

Climate: Many days are hot, dry and sunny, but it is sometimes cooler and overcast. It rains fairly regularly (mostly later in the day) and it can be rather humid.

Bird Photography: Opportunities during our Amazonian Ecuador birding tours are worthwhile.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • A wonderful variety and huge number of Amazonian species, even while focused on the many specialities!
  • Too many highligts to list them all!
  • Seeing the rare Salvin's Curassow at remote Shiripuno lodge and hopefully the rare Rufous Potoo
  • One of the best of all hummers, the fabulous Fiery Topaz!
  • Tracking down the near-endemic Yasuni and Rio Suno Antwrens
  • Finding the beautiful Pink-throated Brilliant at Rio Bigal, and even a chance for the rare Red-winged Wood Rail
  • Seeking the other major specialities of Rio Bigal, including Nocturnal Currasow, Pavonine Quetzal and Ecuadorian Piedtail
  • The rare, near-endemic Cocha Antshrike is almost guaranteed during our stay in Sani Lodge, as is the restricted-range Orange-crested Manakin
  • A good chance to see the incredible Agami Heron
  • A visit to the river islands along the Napo river with their many specialities
  • Enjoying the spectacle of a parrot clay-lick, a real highlight!
  • Spending time in the incredible canopy tower at the luxurious Sani lodge. Watching the sunrise above the forest is an unforgettable experience

OUTLINE ITINERARY

  • Day 1: Evening tour start in Quito area.
  • Day 2: Flight to Coca in Amazonia, then drive and boat to Shiripuno Lodge.
  • Days 3-5: Shiripuno Lodge.
  • Day 6: Boat and drive to Coca. Transfer to Rio Bigal.
  • Days 7-8: Rio Bigal.
  • Day 9: Return to Coca. By boat to Sani Lodge.
  • Days 10-12: Sani Lodge.
  • Day 13: Boat to Coca. Flight to Quito for afternoon tour end.

To see a larger map, click on the square-like ‘enlarge’ icon in the upper right of the map box.

To see (or hide) the ‘map legend’, click on the icon with an arrow in the upper left of the map box.

To change to a satellite view, which is great for seeing the physical terrain (and for seeing really fine details by repetitive use of the + button), click on the square ‘map view’ icon in the lower left corner of the ‘map legend’.

PRICE INFORMATION

Birdquest Inclusions: Our tour prices include surface transportation, accommodations, meals and entrance fees.

We also include all tipping for local guides, drivers and accommodation/restaurant staff.

We also include these flights: Quito-Coca-Quito.

Deposit: 20% of the total tour price. Our office will let you know what deposit amount is due, in order to confirm your booking, following receipt of your online booking form.

TO BOOK THIS TOUR: Click here (you will need the tour dates)


2021: £3490, $4890, €4000, AUD6300. Quito/Quito.
2022: £3710, $5190, €4250, AUD6690. Quito/Quito.
2023: provisional £3780, $5290, €4330, AUD6820. Quito/Quito.

Single Supplement: 2021: £400, $560, €450, AUD720.
Single Supplement: 2022: £420, $590, €480, AUD760.
Single Supplement: 2023: £420, $600, €490, AUD770.

The single supplement will not apply if you indicate on booking that you prefer to share a room and there is a room-mate of the same sex available.

There are only a limited number of rooms at Rio Bigal. There is no single supplement there, but (depending on group size) there may not be enough rooms for everyone wanting a single.

This tour is priced in US Dollars. Amounts shown in other currencies are indicative.

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

AMAZONIAN ECUADOR TOUR: DETAILED ITINERARY

Amazonian Ecuador: Day 1  Our tour begins this evening with an overnight stay near Quito. Airport transfers will be provided.

Amazonian Ecuador: Day 2  This morning a short flight will take us across the high eastern Andes and then down into the vast wilderness of Amazonia. If the weather is clear we will have spectacular views of Cayambe and then verdant lowland forests extending far into the distance. Upon landing at Coca airport, we will travel southwards by road until we reach the Shiripuno River and then travel along the river by large motorized canoe as far as the remote Shiripuno Lodge, where we will spend four nights.

Amazonian boat journeys are always interesting and species we are likely to encounter on the journey today include Cocoi, Great, Snowy and Western Cattle Egrets, Greater Yellow-headed, Black and Turkey Vultures, Roadside Hawk, Yellow-headed Caracara, Pied and Collared Plovers, Large-billed and Yellow-billed Terns, Smooth-billed Ani, Sand-colored Nighthawk, Amazon Kingfisher, Swallow-winged Puffbird, Chestnut-eared Aracari, Drab Water Tyrant, Grey-capped Flycatcher, Great Kiskadee, Tropical Kingbird, Bare-necked Fruitcrow, Grey-breasted Martin, White-banded Swallow, Violaceous Jay, Giant Cowbird and of course Blue-grey and Palm Tanagers.

When we finally reach Shiripuno we are going to be ‘completely away from it all’ in this remote lodge where no sounds of generators overwhelm the sounds of the forest and where there are no urban lights to taint the glory of the night sky. There will just be us and nature. Now, this is true wilderness!

Amazonian Ecuador: Days 3-5  One of the main attractions of Shiripuno Lodge is the superb trail system running through rolling terra firme forest. We will devote most of our time to this exciting, bird-rich Amazonian habitat, which dominates the landscape at Shiripuno.

We will look for fruiting trees which might attract Masked, Opal-rumped and Opal-crowned Tanagers, while canopy flocks may well feature such birds as Chestnut-winged Hookbill, Chestnut-winged Foliage-gleaner, Wedge-billed, Cinnamon-throated, Lineated and Buff-throated Woodcreepers, Dugand’s Antwren, Zimmer’s Flatbill, Pink-throated Becard, Wing-barred Piprites, and Dusky-capped and Lemon-chested Greenlets.

The understorey has a different assembly of birds that makes its rounds, and in roving parties led by the relentlessly-searching Cinereous Antshrike, we may well find Spix’s Woodcreeper, Olive-backed Foliage-gleaner, Fasciated, Plain-winged and Dusky-throated Antshrikes, and Plain-throated, Ornate, Rufous-tailed, White-flanked and Grey Antwrens. More unobtrusive forest dwellers include Brown Nunlet and Double-banded Pygmy Tyrant. The trails also give us a good chance to connect with army ants and their special followers, such as Sooty, White-plumed, White-cheeked and Bicolored Antbirds, and Reddish-winged Bare-eye. Interesting species not usually found at the Napo include Ocellated Woodcreeper and Yellow-browed Antbird.

The dazzling Fiery Topaz is the most special ‘hummer’ here and we should be able to admire this spectacular creature at least once during our visit.

One of the major attractions of Shiripuno is a high chance of encountering Salvin’s Curassow, a species rarely seen in most areas. We will certainly be on the lookout for this special bird and along the banks of the Shiripuno River is probably the best area.

Another major speciality here is the superb Rufous Potoo. Our local guide may have one staked out at a daytime roost, but if not we will make a big effort to locate this enigmatic nightbird after dark.

We should also encounter some of the more uncommon denizens of the area, which include the lovely Dusky-billed Parrotlet, the uncommon Red-shouldered Parrotlet, the splendid Pavonine Quetzal, the striking Collared and Chestnut-capped Puffbirds, the stunning Rufous-headed Woodpecker, Speckled Spinetail, the huge Undulated Antshrike, the near-endemic Yasuni Antwren, the elusive, near-endemic Rio Suno Antwren and the magnificent but very localized Black-necked Red-Cotinga. There is even a chance of coming across a Crested Eagle or a Harpy Eagles,

Amongst the many other birds we may well see during our visit to Shiripuno Lodge, or later at Sani Lodge, are Striated Heron, Rufescent Tiger Heron, the extraordinary Boat-billed Heron, Osprey, Short-tailed and White Hawks, Black Caracara, the raucous Red-throated Caracara, Bat Falcon, Speckled Chachalaca, the extremely shy but vocal Chestnut-headed Crake, Greater Yellowlegs, Pale-vented Pigeon, Grey-fronted Dove, Cobalt-winged Parakeet, Black-headed Parrot, Orange-winged Amazon, Greater Ani, Tropical and Tawny-bellied Screech Owls, the striking Crested, Spectacled and Black-banded Owls, Common, Long-tailed and Great Potoos, White-bearded and Great-billed Hermits, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Grey-breasted Sabrewing, Short-tailed Swift, Neotropical Palm Swift, Black-tailed, Amazonian (or Amazonian White-tailed), Collared, Black-throated and Amazonian Trogons, White-eared, Yellow-billed and Brown Jacamars, Amazonian Motmot, Black-fronted, White-fronted and Yellow-billed Nunbirds, Gilded and Lemon-throated Barbets, Golden-collared Toucanet, Many-banded and Ivory-billed Aracaris, Channel-billed and White-throated Toucans, and Cream-colored, Chestnut, Red-stained and Crimson-crested Woodpeckers.

Passerines include Long-billed, Amazonian Barred and Black-banded Woodcreepers, Ruddy Spinetail, Orange-fronted Plushcrown, Black-tailed Leaftosser, Pygmy and Moustached Antwrens, Grey, White-shouldered, Black-faced, Spot-winged, Common Scale-backed Antbirds, Black-faced and Rufous-capped Antthrushes, White-lored Tyrannulet, White-eyed Tody-Tyrant, Amazonian Scrub Flycatcher, Brownish Twistwing, Lesser Kiskadee, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Blue-crowned and Blue-backed Manakins, Spangled, Plum-throated and Purple-throated Cotingas, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, White-winged Swallow, Lawrence’s Thrush (probably the world’s best mimic), Purple and Green Honeycreepers, Black-faced and Yellow-bellied Dacnises, Masked Crimson, Flame-crested and Fulvous-crested Tanagers, Rufous-bellied and White-lored Euphonias, Red-capped Cardinal, Oriole Blackbird, Casqued Oropendola and Solitary Cacique.

Nearctic migrants, seasonally present, include Eastern Wood Pewee and Blackpoll Warbler.

Whilst mammals are generally inconspicuous in Amazonia we have a good chance of seeing Red Howler, Dusky Titi, Common Squirrel Monkey and both Black-mantled and Golden-mantled Tamarins.

Amazonian Ecuador: Day 6  After some early morning birding at Shiripuno we will head back to the roadhead by boat and then travel to the research station at Rio Bigal biological reserve for a three nights stay.

Amazonian Brazil: Days 7-8  The extensive Rio Bigal Biological Reserve protects an extensive area of lowland rainforest and foothill forest at the base of the Andean foothills of Ecuador. This little-visited place has a superb avifauna and we are going to enjoy seeking out its specialities during our stay.

Major restricted-range specialities here include the rare Salvin’s and Nocturnal Curassows and the attractive Pink-throated Brilliant (all of which we have a good chance of seeing). There are also fair chances for such specialities as Marbled Wood Quail, Grey-winged Trumpeter, Military Macaw and the restricted-range Spectacled Prickletail and Ecuadorian Piedtail. We will also have a second chance for the wonderful Pavonine Quetzal. The restricted-range Red-winged Wood Rail occurs here, but we would have to be extremely lucky to set eyes on one.

Amongst the many other species we may well encounter at Rio Bigal are Little and Undulated Tinamous, Scaled, Band-tailed, Plumbeous and Ruddy Pigeons, Ruddy and Blue Ground Doves, Sapphire and Ruddy Quail-Doves, Smooth-billed Ani,  Squirrel Cuckoo, Blackish Nightjar, White-chested, Chestnut-collared, White-collared and Grey-rumped Swifts, Buff-tailed Sicklebill, Pale-tailed Barbthroat, Tawny-bellied and Grey-chinned Hermits, Blue-fronted Lancebill, Lesser Violetear, Black-eared Fairy, Black-throated Brilliant, Amethyst Woodstar, Glittering-throated Emerald, Golden-tailed Sapphire, Swallow-tailed and Plumbeous Kites, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Great Black and Broad-winged Hawks, Foothill Screech Owl, Green-backed and Blue-crowned Trogons, Rufous Motmot, Great Jacamar, Red-headed Barbet, Yellow-throated Toucan, Rufous-breasted Piculet, Yellow-tufted, Little, Lineated, White-throated and Spot-breasted Woodpeckers, Barred and Lined Forest Falcons, White-eyed Parakeet, Red-billed and Blue-headed Parrots, Southern Mealy Amazon and Chestnut-fronted Macaw.

Amongst a superb range of likely passerine birds are Fulvous, White-shouldered and Russet Antshrikes, Plain Antvireo, Foothill Stipplethroat, Slaty and Plain-winged Antwrens, Black, Blackish, Hairy-crested and Spot-backed Antbirds, Scaled and Thrush-like Antpittas, Striated Antthrush, Olivaceous, Long-tailed, Plain-brown, Olive-backed and Montane Woodcreepers, Red-billed and Brown-billed Scythebills, Plain Xenops, Rufous-rumped, Buff-fronted, Cinnamon-rumped, Montane, Rufous-tailed and Ruddy Foliage-gleaners, Striped Woodhaunter, Dwarf Tyrant-Manakin, Green and White-crowned Manakins, Fiery-throated Fruiteater, Grey-tailed and Screaming Pihas, Black-crowned and Masked Tityras, Golden-faced Tyrannulet, Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant, Black-and-white Tody Flycatcher, Olivaceous and Large-headed Flatbills, Mottle-backed Elaenia, Tawny-breasted, Olive-striped, Ochre-bellied, Slaty-capped, Ornate, Olive-chested, Short-crested, Social and Lemon-browed Flycatchers, Blackish Pewee, Olivaceous, Tawny-crowned and Rufous-naped Greenlets, Turquoise Jay, Blue-and-white, White-thighed and Southern Rough-winged Swallows, Scaly-breasted, Wing-banded, House, Thrush-like, Coraya, White-breasted Wood, Chestnut-breasted and Musician Wrens, White-necked, Lawrence’s and Black-billed Thrushes, Thick-billed, Bronze-greenn and Orange-bellied Euphonias, Yellow-throated Bush Tanager, Yellow-browed and Orange-billed Sparrows, Russet-backed, Green, Crested and Olive Oropendolas, Yellow-billed and Yellow-rumped Caciques, Tropical Parula, Slate-throated Redstart, Carmiol’s, Magpie, Rufous-cresated, Flame-crested, White-lined, Silver-beaked, Orange-eared, Yellow-bellied, Spotted, Masked, Blue-necked, Paradise, Opal-rumped, Opal-crowned, Bay-headed, Green-and-gold, Golden and Yellow-backed Tanagers, Fulvous Shrike-Tanager, Blac-faced and Blue Dacnises, Purple and Green Honeycreepers, Blue-black Grassquit, Chestnut-bellied Seed Finch, Bananaquit, Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak and Buff-throated Saltator.

Nearctic migrants, seasonally present, include Olive-sided Flycatcher, Western Wood Pewee, Red-eyed Vireo, Barn Swallow, Swainson’s Thrush, Canada Warbler, Summer and Scarlet Tanagers, and occasionally Cerulean Warbler.

Amazonian Ecuador: Day 9  After some early morning birding at Rio Bigal our vehicles will bring us to the banks of the Rio Napo, where a motorized canoe will be waiting to take us downstream to the superb Sani Lodge for four nights stay.

The Napo River is already over 330ft (100m) wide in this area and has many islands dominated by Cecropia trees. These are the home of the spectacular Amazonian Umbrellabird, although we shall be fortunate if we come across this retiring bird.

Upon arrival at Sani, which is situated on the shores of an oxbow lake, we shall have our first taste of the area in the clearing around the lodge. Noisy Yellow-rumped Caciques engage in endless displays at their nesting colony, whilst quarrelsome Black-billed Thrushes draw attention to themselves from the bushes and flocks of Chestnut-fronted and Red-bellied Macaws drift overhead. As dusk approaches Pauraques and Ferruginous Pygmy Owls start calling. We will find it hard to go to sleep this evening, excited as we will be by the prospect of dawn and a real chance to explore this wonderful place.

Amazonian Ecuador: Days 10-12  Sani is one of the best Amazonian lodges for birding in the northern Ecuadorian Amazon, with many special birds.

As dawn breaks, the clearing around the lodge echoes to a strange but delightful chorus as Straight-billed Woodcreepers deliver their rising rattles and tremulous whistles emanating from the forest interior reveal the presence of Great and Cinereous Tinamous.

A canoe trip on the oxbow lake will allow us to get close to strange-looking Hoatzins which clamber away in ungainly fashion through the lakeside vegetation to escape the attention of the photographers. Rufous-breasted Hermits often zip between the Heliconia flowers whilst Silvered Antbirds teeter along the water’s edge. All South America’s kingfishers occur at this one lake or on the nearby Napo River: Ringed, Amazon and Green are not difficult to find, but it usually takes low water levels if we are to encounter the secretive Green-and-rufous and especially the diminutive American Pygmy. Lakeside vine tangles provide shelter for the resplendent White-chinned Jacamar, handsome Dot-backed and Plumbeous Antbirds, and the plaintive Cinnamon Attila, whilst high in a clump of Mauritia palms we may see the noisy Sulphury Flycatcher. At dusk or in the pre-dawn we shall also search for the near-mythical Zigzag Heron, and here we have a very good chance of coming across this secretive swamp-dweller.

During our visit to Sani, we will make a special effort to locate the enigmatic and near-endemic Cocha Antshrike, until comparatively recently only known from only a single female specimen.

Another restricted-range speciality is the Orange-crested Manakin and we should see this rather large species in the varzea forest.

We will also be on the lookout for Azure Gallinule, Striped Woodcreeper and Yellow-crowned Elaenia.

Whilst birding is easier in the clearings, around the oxbow lake or along the river, we shall have to devote much of our time to the excellent network of trails that penetrates deep into the forest. Here quietness and patience will reward us with an array of birds found only in the forest interior such as the sluggish Purplish Jacamar, the unobtrusive Short-billed Leaftosser, the gaudy Wire-tailed Manakin, the retiring Chestnut-belted Gnateater and the secretive Rusty-belted Tapaculo. We will surely enjoy a lek of the deafening Screaming Piha, the bird with the most evocative call in Amazonia.

Noisy flocks make their rounds through the canopy and fortunately here at Sani there is a superb canopy tower, providing unequalled opportunities for viewing the birdlife of the treetops at eye-level. As the birds one sees from such towers differ from day to day, it will surely offer us some superb treats during the course of our visit. In addition to enabling us to marvel at the sheer size of the forest giants, a few hours in the ‘roof of the forest’ may well reward us with quite a few species that are otherwise much harder to see well from thirty or forty metres lower down, such as Double-toothed Kite, Slate-colored Hawk, Blue-and-yellow Macaw, Cobalt-winged Parakeet, White-necked Puffbird, Lemon-throated Barbet, Lettered Aracari, Slender-footed Tyrannulet, Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatcher, Eastern Sirystes, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Black-capped Becard, Black-tailed Tityra, Thick-billed and Orange-bellied Euphonias, Yellow-bellied and Green-and-gold Tanagers, Fulvous Shrike-Tanager, Blue Dacnis and Crested Oropendola. If we are lucky we will also see one of the less frequently encountered canopy species such as White-browed Purpletuft or Masked Tanager.

A visit to Sani provides superb opportunities to watch a colourful array of psittacids that come down to eat the salt-rich clay on sunny days. The cacophonous congregations of Southern Mealy and Yellow-crowned Amazons, and Orange-cheeked and Blue-headed Parrots, as well as Dusky-headed Parakeets, provides a spectacle that has to be seen to be believed!

We shall also explore one or more of the ever-shifting river islands that are strewn throughout the Napo River. For many years Amazonian river islands were seldom visited by naturalists and thus ornithologically overlooked. Only in the last decade or so have their highly distinctive bird communities been given greater attention. We will focus our efforts on obligate island species, which include Olive-spotted Hummingbird, Lesser Hornero, White-bellied Spinetail, Parker’s Spinetail, Castelnau’s Antshrike, Black-and-white Antbird, Lesser Wagtail-Tyrant, River Tyrannulet and Fuscous Flycatcher.

In addition, we may well encounter Scarlet-crowned Barbet and Orange-headed Tanager, and if we are very lucky a Grey-breasted Crake. Amongst the many washed-up logs, we will hope to find the cryptic Ladder-tailed Nightjar.

Amazonian Ecuador: Day 13  We shall reluctantly leave this marvellous part of the world behind and return by boat to Coca, from where we will take a flight back to Quito. Our tour ends this afternoon at Quito airport.

(If your flight does not depart from Quito this evening, we will be pleased to arrange an overnight hotel stay and transfers, at extra charge, on request.)

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