Overview

Colombia has more bird species than any other country; a staggering 1 900 species occur within the confines of this incredible nation, of which 89 are endemic! Our endemics-laden tour of Northern Colombia takes us to the Santa Marta Mountains and the Guajira Peninsula on the northern coast of Colombia, as well as the recently explored Perija range on the Venezuelan border. The Santa Marta massif is an isolated mountain range and its snow-capped peaks are the highest coastal mountains in the world. It is also one of the most endemic-rich regions of South America, hosting nearly 50 endemics and regional specialities plus numerous endemic subspecies (several of which, upon further taxonomic review, are likely to be elevated to full species status in the future). We spend time at both low and high elevations of the Perija Range, birding near Valledupar before basing ourselves at the Chamicero Reserve. Purchased in 2014 after the discovery of good forest tracts on accessible land for the entire suite of Sierra de Perija endemics, including the yet-to-be-described Perija Tapaculo and another 35 subspecies that need further research. The local forms of Golden-bellied Starfrontlet, Emerald Toucanet, Rufous Spinetail and Rufous Antpitta are all proposed splits that require more conclusive documentation.

Tour Facts Top Birds
Santa Marta Bush Tyrant, Santa Marta Parakeet, Santa Marta Woodstar, Santa Marta Mountain Tanager, White-tailed Starfrontlet, Santa Marta & White-lored Warbler, Yellow-crowned Whitestart, Rusty-headed Spinetail, Santa Marta Blossomcrown, Santa Marta Antpitta, Santa Marta Screech Owl, Santa Marta, Perija & Brown-rumped Tapaculo, Vermilion Cardinal, Glaucous Tanager, Sapphire-bellied, Sapphire-throated, Buffy, Shining-green & Scaly-breasted Hummingbird, Red-billed & Coppery Emerald, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Chestnut Piculet, Rufous-vented & Chestnut-winged Chachalaca, White-tipped & Crested Quetzal, Black-fronted Wood Quail, Turquoise-winged Parrotlet, Trinidad Euphonia, Stripe-backed & Bicolored Wren, Russet-throated, Pied & Double-banded Puffbird, Bicolored Conebill, Golden-winged Sparrow, Black-hooded Thrush, Hermit Wood Wren, Tocuyo Sparrow, Rufous Nightjar, Double-striped Thick-Knee, Military Macaw, White-whiskered & Rufous Spinetail, Venezuelan Flycatcher, Venezuelan Tyrannulet, Golden-bellied Starfrontlet, Perija Metaltail, Perija Thistletail, Perija, Chestnut-capped, Slaty, Black-fronted, Santa Marta & Sierra Nevada Brushfinches, Longuemare's Sunangel, Rufous-shafted Woodstar, Klage's Antbird.
Habitats Covered
rainforest, dry forests, estuarine, xerophytic scrub, paramo grasslands
Expected Climate
temperate to cold in highlands (El Dorado and Perija), hot and dry in the lowlands (Guajira Peninsula). Rain is likely on some days.
Max Group Size
6 with 1 Rockjumper leader and 1 local leader
Tour Pace & Walking
brisk pace, some demanding walks
Accommodation
very good with some basic
Ease of Birding
moderate with some challenging species
Number of Species Expected
300+
Other Attractions
Cartagena, spectacular scenery of the Santa Marta massif, stunning Caribbean ocean
Photographic Opportunities
good to very good
Tour Route Map Route Map Client Testimonials

Rob Williams and the Rockjumper folks were absolutely fantastic in helping me after I lost my passport. They made sure I got back to Bogota for the embassy appointments, changing plans on the fly. Very impressive dedication to help customers.

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.

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.

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.

Tuomas was excellent. He was an excellent birder and group leader, ensuring the everyone saw each bird. He was persistent in pursuing our target birds but knew when enough was enough for the day. Tuomas has an easy going manner, but he (and the local leader) were efficient and effective in dealing with problems in the field or with the accomodation.

Dates, Leaders and Pricing
2022 DEPARTURES
2023 DEPARTURES
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