Hosting a staggering diversity of habitats, Colombia supports more species of birds than any other nation on earth. Over the last few months, we organized two Colombia departures that scoured the length of the country in search of the numerous endemics and regional avian specialties. David Shackelford and Adam Riley guided these tours with the help of excellent local guides, covering remarkable habitats that ranged from the isolated mountains of Santa Marta in the north to remote parts of the Andes in the south above the Magdalena and Cauca Valleys. Unusually heavy rains this season made for some muddy conditions and on several occasions we needed to rearrange our itinerary because of severe landslides. Despite this challenge, we still managed to access every intended birding site plus include a few bonus locations, resulting in a remarkable collection of over 700 species on both of our tours. Highlights included more than 60 species of colorful tanagers, 12 species of furtive antpittas, and over 70 species of dazzling hummingbirds! Some of the top birds included the spectacular high elevation Bearded Helmetcrest, the critically endangered Yellow-eared Parrot and Santa Marta Parakeet, Oilbird at a vast nesting cave, Long-wattled Umbrellabird, Bogota Rail, the endangered Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird, Powerful Woodpecker, Toucan Barbet, Vermilion Cardinal, Northern Screamer, Brown-banded, Santa Marta, Chestnut-crowned and other antpittas coming down to feeders, Tanager Finch, Gold-ringed and Multicoloured Tanager and the most incredible Andean Cock-of-the-rock lek that we know of!
Colombia is now a safe destination and is attracting birders in their thousands and rightly so; Adam Riley rated this tour as one of the birdiest and most enjoyable he has guided in his entire career in the bird tour industry. Rockjumper will be diversifying our upcoming Colombian tour offering and besides our very successful 19-day Andean Endemics tour with Santa Marta extension, we will also offer a shorter Highlights tour and a longer Mega tour, with a target of seeing over 1,000 species in Colombia in one month – stay tuned for more details!