Bird and nature lovers, this is an opportunity to observe birds in one of Ecuador’s most diverse habitats, the cloud forest within the Choco Andino. On this tour, you will visit the best places to observe and photograph birds.
Welcome to Ecuador
The tour starts from your arrival in Ecuador. We will meet you at the Quito International Airport where a private transport will take you directly to the lodge at Refugio Paz de Las Aves. If your flight arrives later than 7pm, we recommend arriving a day prior and staying the night at one of the airports closest to the hotel. We can make those arrangements for you for an additional cost.
Days 2 – 3
2 full days at the Paz de las Aves Refuge
Refugio Paz de Las Aves is a private reserve with 49 hectares dedicated to the conservation of Antpittas and other endemic birds. This reserve is considered one of the best in Ecuador for bird watching.
We will get up very early since at 5:50 am, we start walking to the blind to observe the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock. Here, we often observe 5 – 10 males courting a female for about an hour. We will have plenty of time for photography and observation.
During the day, our specialized birding guide will begin to search and point out the large number of bird species that call the reserve home. Our record for a single day of birdwatching is 155 species, including 5 species of Antpittas: Giant Antpitta, Yellow breasted Antpitta, Moustached Antpitta, Chestnut crowned Antpitta, Ocher breasted Antpitta. In addition, we will look for Dark backed Woodquail, Golden-headed Quetzal and other species.
Mashpi and lowland foothill cloud forests
We have scheduled this day to go to the Mashpi region, one of the most mega-diverse areas in the northwest of Pichincha. Here we will visit another conservation effort run by a local family. Here we will be looking for Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Indigo Flowerpiercer, Moss-backed Tanager, Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager, Glistening-green Tanager, and Buffy (Pacific) Tuftedcheek. After lunch, we will visit their stunning Hummingbird Garden.
Visiting the Bird Tower at Rio Silanche
We will visit Rio Silanche, a 100-hectare reserve created by the Mindo Cloud Forest Foundation. We will spend the morning at the 50-foot tower observing birds like Purple-chested Hummingbird, Chocó Trogon, Double-banded Greytail, Moustached /Griscom’s Antwren, Stub-tailed Antbird, Black-tipped Cotinga, Slate-throated Gnatcatcher, Scarlet-breasted Dacnis, Scarlet-and-white Tanager, Blue-whiskered Tanager.
In the afternoon we will visit Zuamox where we will look for woodpeckers and other birds that live in the lowlands: Golden-olive and Black-cheeked Woodpeckers, Rufous Motmot, Dusky-faced, Flame-rumped, and Silver-throated Tanagers, Ecuadorian Thrush, Buff-throated Saltator, Thick-billed and Orange-bellied Euphonias.
Birds and Chocolate
Today we will visit Mindo, a small town located in the heart of the Choco-Andino that is famous for birdwatching and chocolate production. We will offer these opportunities:
Stop 1: Visit to the ornithology point for bird watching
Stop 2: Visit to the Mindo Nambillo waterfall
Stop 3: Visit to the chocolate factory
Birding the Hummingbird Route
Your last day includes a visit to the upper area of the northwest of Pichincha. We will visit Zuro Loma and Yanacocha Reserves.
In these unique habitats, we will look for some very important bird species including the rare Black-breasted Puffleg hummingbird. We usually observed Tawny Antpitta, Rufous Antpitta, and a great variety of tanagers such as Scarlet- bellied Mountain-Tanager, Hooded Mountain-Tanager. A favorite visitor to both locations is the Sword-billed Hummingbird.
In the late afternoon, we will take you to the Quito International Airport or the hotel of your choice.
If taking another flight, we recommend scheduling it for the evening, since we will be finishing at approximately 5pm.