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ENJOY ECUADORIAN ENDEMICS AND TUMBESIAN BIRDS

This amazing travel leads you to a great variety of habitats and an even greater variety of birds, many of them endemic: The Manglares Churute Ecological Reserve contains approximately 50,000 hectares of mangroves and dry tropical forests and the protected mangrove provides you spectacular bird watching opportunities. The reserve also contains salt flats that are popular with a variety of shorebirds like the roseate spoonbill, osprey, egrets and laughing gulls. It is also one of the areas that you can find and see a feathered horned screamer.

The Buenaventura Reserve combines elements of both the deciduous Tumbesian Forest of southern Ecuador and northwestern Peru with the wet Chocó forest of northwestern More than 330 species of birds have been recorded at Buenaventura, of which at least 12 are classified as globally threatened, and another 34 species are local endemics. An accessible lek of the threatened Long-wattled Umbrellabird, without question one of the world's more bizarre birds, is located here and at least half a dozen pairs of the near-endemic Gray-backed Hawks are resident on the reserve. Jorupe Reserve protects an important and high quality example of Tumbesian dry forest.

This area of Ecuador has some of the highest concentrations of endemic and restricted-range species in the world. Many of these species are highly threatened. To date nearly 190 species of birds have been found in the Jorupe reserve, including almost all of the dry forest endemics of the Tumbesian region within Ecuador, including Pale-browed Tinamou, Grey-cheeked Parakeet, Slaty Becard, Grey-breasted Flycatcher, Elegant Crescentchest, Blackish-headed Spinetail, Rufous-necked Foliage-gleaner, Henna-hooded Foliage-gleaner, White-tailed Jays, Watkins' Antpitta, Black-capped Sparrow, and White-edged Oriole. Of these, there are 15 globally threatened and near-threatened species.

Utuana Reserve was established to protect one of the last remnants of humid highland forest in southwestern Ecuador. It hosts several bird species that have highly restricted ranges. To date, about 110 bird species have been found at Utuana. The reserve is of particular importance for the conservation of certain montane Tumbesian endemics, notably the Rufous-necked Foliage-gleaner, Grey-headed Antbird, Jelski's Chat-Tyrant, Piura Hemispingus, Bay-crowned Brushfinch, and Black-cowled Saltator. Of interest is also the presence of certain typically high Andean bird species such as the Undulated Antpitta, and there are exceptionally high populations of the Rainbow Starfrontlet and Purple-throated Sunangel. Podocarpus National Park is home to 560 registered species of birds which is 6% of all birds registered worldwide and 40% of the birds registered in Ecuador. For this reason it was identified in 1995 by Wedge and Long as one of the important areas for the conservation of neotropic birds.

Tapichalaca reserve was established to protect the type locality of the Jocotoco Antpitta. Tapichalaca, like Podocarpus National Park, lies in a region of exceptional species richness combined with an equally important proportion of endemic species. The forests here are home to a tremendous variety of Andean bird species, with more than 300 occurring regularly on or immediately adjacent to the reserve. Perhaps most notable are the tanagers found here – there is perhaps no place in the world with a higher density of the gaudy, jay-like White-capped Tanager – and the hummingbirds, with dozens of individuals constantly zooming around the feeders that are set out for them. Thirteen bird species considered to be globally threatened or near-threatened are present in the reserve. Threatened species are the Jocotoco Antpitta, Golden-plumed Parakeet, White-breasted Parakeet, Bearded Guan, and Coppery-chested Jacamar.

The near-threatened species are Imperial Snipe, Masked Mountain Tanager, Peruvian Antpitta, Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan, Greater Scythebill, Neblina Metaltail, Orange-banded Flycatcher, and Masked Saltator. Copalinga Lodge is located at an altitude of 950 m.a.s.l. (approx. 3000 feet). Trails exist around the cabins. Along the trails, thatched benches, located at excellent bird viewing spots, provide shelter and allow for convenient bird watching even when it is raining. The entire area provides great opportunities for bird photography including from the balcony of the cabins. The trail loop system, which spans an altitudinal range of 500 m (1500 feet), allows you to get into the interior of the tropical submontane humid forest, a precious world full of forest birds.

The El Cajas National Park is home to a large variety of birds, among the most prominent are the South American Condor, of which only 80 remain throughout all Ecuador; the Curiquinga and the largest hummingbird of the world, the Giant Hummingbird. The Violet-Throated Metaltail is endemic to Cajas and surrounding valleys. The avifauna consists of 157 bird species, making bird watching an alluring activity for visitors.

ITINERARY

Day 01 Arrival in Guayaquil

Arrival in Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city which is also the financial, commercial and industrial centre of the country and the country's biggest harbor. We meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Accommodation in Guayaquil.

Day 2 Manglares Churute Ecological Reserve

After an early breakfast we will drive to Cerro Blanco, where we will visit the Mangroves of Churute Ecological Reserve at Lake El Canclon, an area surrounded by marshes and dry forest. Our target bird here is the prehistoric-looking Horned Screamer (as this is the only place in Ecuador where the bird breeds), but we will also look for Least Bittern, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Least Grebe, Masked and Comb Ducks, Snail Kite, Savannah Hawk, Wattled Jacana, White-throated Crake, Masked Water-Tyrant, Peruvian Meadowlark, and Pacific Pygmy-Owl. After lunch we will embark on a four-hour drive to Santa Isabel. Accommodation at Hotel Agua y Sol in Santa Isabel.

Day 3 Santa Isabel

This morning we will search for one of Ecuador's (and the world's) most threatened species, the Pale-headed Brush-Finch, rediscovered here by Niels Krabbe. This is the only known population of this Ecuadorian endemic. We will also have a chance at locating Purple-collared and Little Woodstars. After lunch we will travel to the Umbrella Bird Lodge, where we will search for the lodge's namesake, the Long-wattled Umbrellabird. Accommodation at the Umbrella Bird Lodge.

Day 4 Umbrella Bird Lodge

We will have a full day at the Umbrella Bird Lodge, where we will walk the trails in search of El Oro Parakeet and El Oro Tapaculo, another two Ecuadorian endemics. We will also have plenty of time to enjoy the lodge's hummingbird feeders; who knows what may show up! Accommodation at Umbrella Bird Lodge.

 

 

 

Day 5 Umbrella Bird Lodge

After an early breakfast we will spend the morning exploring the trails for any species that we may have missed the previous day. After lunch we will travel to Macara, where we will spend the next two nights at the Jorupe Reserve. On the way we will make a special stop to look for Tumbes Swift, White-headed Brush-Finch, and Tumbes Swallow. Accommodation at Jorupe Reserve.

 

Day 6 Jorupe and Utuana Reserve

After breakfast we will explore the reserve's trails in search of Tumbesian specialties such as Watkin's Antpitta. Henna-hooded and Rufous-necked Foliage-Gleaners, and Gray-breasted Flycatcher. After lunch we will drive up to the Utuana Reserve, where at this higher elevation we hope to find Rainbow Starfrontlet, Purple-throated Sunangel, Piura Hemispingus, Black-crested Tit-Tyrant, Chapman's Antshrike, and Gray-headed Antbird. Accommodation at Jorupe Reserve.

 

 

Day 7 Utuana Reserve and Catamayo

After an early breakfast, we will return to the Utuana Reserve to look for any species we may have missed yesterday. Then we will travel to Loja, stopping en route at Catamayo (also known as "Finch Heaven") to look for Tumbes Sparrow and Drab Seedeater. Accommodation in Loja at Hotel Libertador.

Day 8 Podocarpus National Park

After breakfast we will visit the Cajanuma area of Podocarpus National Park, looking for Black-headed Hemispingus, Blue-backed Conebill, Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Plushcap, Golden-crowned Tanager, Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager, and the hard-to-find Masked Mountain-Tanager. After a tasty lunch in the town of Vilcabamba (also known as the "Valley of Longevity"), we will begin the 2.5 hour drive to the Tapichalaca Reserve, where we will spend the next two nights. Upon arrival we will be free to relax and enjoy the hummingbird feeders! Accommodation at Casa Simpsom.

Day 9 Papichalaca Reserve

This morning we will hike the Quebrada Honda Trail to a very special feeder area where "Panchito" the Jocotoco Antpitta comes in for his breakfast! Other tough-to-see targets we will search for include Ocellated, Ash-colored, and Chusquea Tapaculos. After lunch we will road-bird on the way to the town of Valladolid, where we will search for Maranon Thrush. As darkness approaches, we will try for Andean Potoo and Rufous-bellied Nighthawk. Accommodation at Casa Simpsom.

Day 10 Bomboscaro

After an early breakfast we will spend the morning birding the lodge grounds in search of anything we may have missed. After lunch we will drive to Bomboscaro and the Copa Linga Lodge, where we will spend the next two nights. In the afternoon we will have time to search the lodge grounds for Wire-crested Thorntail, Spangled Coquette, and Violet-fronted and Black-throated Brilliants. Accommodation at Copa Linga Lodge.

Day 11 Bomboscaro

We will spend the day birding the Bomboscaro area, where we hope to find such target species as Amazonian Umbrellabird, Coppery-chested Jacamar, Highland Motmot, Andean Cock-of-the-rock (the orange eastern race), and Olive Finch. In addition, there's always the possibility of a tanager flock that will include such gems as Paradise, Green-and-gold, Yellow-bellied and Spotted Magpie, and Fulvous-crested Tanagers. Accommodation at Copa Linga Lodge.

Day 12 Cuenca

After a morning of birding along the trails at Copa Linga, we will head for the beautiful city of Cuenca, which was declared a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1999. Accommodation at Hotel Inca Real.

Day 13 Cajas National Park

After breakfast we will start the hour-long drive to El Cajas National Park, where we will search for Tit-like Dacnis, Violet-throated Metaltail, Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant, Bar-winged and Stout-billed Cinclodes, and Giant Conebill. At Toreadora Lake (12,000 ft) we will have a chance to see Andean Ruddy Duck, Andean Coot, and Andean Teal, and if the day is sunny, Andean Condor as well. We head back to Guayaquil in the afternoon. Accommodation in Guayaquil.


NB
According to your travel plans this tour can also end in Quito.

Day 14 Transfer out or Extension

According to your international flight times we will accompany you in a transfer to Mariscal Sucre airport to take your flight home.

Please note that this tour may be combined with an extension tour to the Amazon Basin, Machalilla National Park or the Galapagos Islands before or after the tour.


Prices 2017 per person (minimum 02 people)
In a double room: US$ 4030,- per person
Single room supplement: US$ 992,-

Please contact us for prices for the tour for 1 traveler or groups.

Tour prices include: all transfers in private transportation, excursions and overland tours as mentioned above accompanied by a specialist bilingual guide (English/Spanish – other languages upon request only), accommodation based on double rooms, meals outside Guayaquil, and entrance fees to all reserves visited.

Tour prices do not include: international airport taxes (Quito ca. US$ 43 per person; ca. Guayaquil US$ 28), personal equipment and items, travel insurance, extra charge for single rooms, tips, personal expenses, beverages, meals in Guayaquil, anything not mentioned in the program.

NB: Please read all itineraries as a guide only. All routes and programs can change without notice due to National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, seasonal changes, safety reasons and the wildlife encountered during the travel. Flexibility is the key to the success of any tour. Nevertheless the safety and the interest of our passengers is always our first priority.


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