Overview

Colombia has more species of birds than any other country - a staggering 1930+ species are to be found within the confines of this incredible nation; of which, at least 89 are endemic. This huge diversity of species results from the equally diverse range of habitats: three Andean Cordilleras (Western, Central and Eastern Andes), two inter-Andean valleys (the Cauca and Magdalena Valleys), the lowland forests of the Amazon and Orinoco regions, the isolated snow-capped Santa Marta Mountains, the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, deserts and lakes, and the rich wet forests of the Chocó all help to make it one of the most exciting countries to bird on earth!

Our series of northern Andes tours focus on the bulk of endemics that Colombia has to offer; working our way through the Central and Eastern Andean ranges and both the Magadalena and Cauca Valleys, as well as the dry Guajira desert and the impressive Santa Marta Mountains.

The Medellin and Magdalena Valley tour sets off with a leisurely walk in La Romera park for Stiles's Tapaculo, Red-bellied Grackle and Yellow-headed Manakin before making a quick stop to find the rediscovered Antioquia Brushfinch en route to Rio Claro. The lowland humid forests of the Rio Claro Canyon Park are one of the best birding site sin Colombia and host to an accessible Oilbird cave, Beautiful Woodpecker, White-mantled Barbet, Antioquia Bristle Tyrant and Sooty Ant Tanager. Staying within the lush, lowland forests, we move slightly north to El Paujil - home of the rare Blue-billed Curassow. While by no means guaranteed, we stand an excellent chance of seeing this once mythical species. Our final site of this tour is the endemic rich Reinita Azul near Bucaramanga. The gardens and trails are home to the striking Black Inca, Gorgeted Wood Quail, Chestnut-bellied and Indogo-capped Hummingbirds, Parker's Antbird, Magadalena Tapaculo and Moutached Brushfinch. We will also spend time birding the eastern Andes near Bucaramanga for Turquoise Dacnis and Niceforo's Wren, as well as the montane oak forests towards the Venezuelan border to find Colombian Mountain Grackle and Rusty-faced Parrot.

Tour Facts Top Birds
Stiles’s Tapaculo, Red-bellied Grackle, Antioquia & Moustached Brushfinches, Beautiful Woodpecker, Antioquia Bristle Tyrant, White-mantled Barbet, Sooty Ant Tanager, Blue-billed Curassow, Gorgeted Wood Quail, Black Inca, Chestnut-bellied & Indigo-capped Hummingbirds, Parker’s Antbird, Magdalena Tapaculo, Colombian Mountain Grackle, Turquoise Dacnis, Colombian Chachalaca, Niceforo’s Wren, Apical Flycatcher
Habitats Covered
lowland rainforest, gallery forest, grasslands, humid forest, east Andean cloud forest, coffee plantations, scrub, Oak forest
Expected Climate
cool in highlands, mostly hot and humid in lowlands (especially at Rio Claro and El Paujil)
Max Group Size
8 with 1 Rockjumper leader and 1 local leader
Tour Pace & Walking
brisk pace, some demanding walks
Accommodation
basic to some comfortable hotels
Ease of Birding
moderate with some challenging species
Number of Species Expected
700+ (Andean Endemics combined with Santa Marta Extension)
Other Attractions
spectacular scenery
Photographic Opportunities
average to good
Tour Route Map Route Map Client Testimonials

Stephan Lorenz is an outstanding guide – extremely knowledgeable, extremely diligent in getting target birds, and is full of enthusiasm every day.  A real pleasure.

I have travelled with Forrest before, and still he manages to beat my expectations with his wonderful visual and auditory skills, hard work and preparation, and he is just fun to travel with. Special kudos on this trip for how he continued on despite being very unwell with fever and chills.

Rob did an outstanding job on this tour. He is an excellent birding guide, great personality and provided insights on a variety of diverse subject matters. I was also impressed with the local operator and their quick actions in dealing with unexpected situations like the general strike and road closure to Medellin.

We had a great time with Forrest Rowland in Colombia. A wonderful country. Forrest is a fantastic birder and a great guide.

First of all, Forrest Rowland's profound knowledge of the full range of bird identification traits, songs and calls, habitat preferences and behavioural detail was indispensable to our ability to view, hear, and understand what we were looking for/at. Even more so, his knowledge and ability to effectively convey such information in a timely and readily comprehensible manner was an essential component of our ability to get on birds effectively. Plus his expertise and experience did not stop with the bird life. Secondly, he was an amazing leader in keeping a diverse group of participants focused on tasks at hand and committed to an inclusive "team" dynamic, not an easy feat! His very personable and easy going style kept everyone engaged and appreciating contributions from the whole group... and no one ever appeared isolated. Lastly, and also crucial to an effective journey of this type, Forrest was always on top of tour logistics and management, which are extremely complex and sometimes change with little notice (e.g. flights being cancelled). ln part this was due to his own experience travelling within Colombia, building upon the wonderful network of supporting "staff/contributors", and he was always able to easily provide next step details, rationales, and alternatives to the group.

Dates, Leaders and Pricing
2022 DEPARTURES
2023 DEPARTURES
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