This classic tour covers all the important birding sites found north-west of the capital city of Quito. This area is part of the Chocó bioregion that hosts a great number of endemics and specialities that are only shared with neighbouring areas of Colombia to the north. We will be based in the Tandayapa and Mindo valleys from where we will set out to bird the various renowned private reserves, affording us an outstanding opportunity to support local conservation projects for long-term habitat protection. A wide array of habitats will be birded, starting with the mystical elfin forest of the temperate zone, followed by bird-rich subtropical cloud forests. We will also venture deeper into tropical foothill forests to reach the mega-diverse lowlands. Iconic species that we will be searching for include Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Giant Antpitta, Plate-billed Mountain and Chocó Toucans, Toucan Barbet, Long-wattled Umbrellabird, Club-winged Manakin, Glistening-green Tanager, Orange-breasted and Scaled Fruiteaters and Velvet-purple Coronet, to mention but a few. In case rarities such as Banded Ground Cuckoo or Rufous-crowned Antpitta show up in the area, we will do our very best to fit in a twitch. A great network of birding reserves together with excellent infrastructure, unsurpassable scenery and friendly people make the Northwest of Ecuador one of the planet’s most delightful birding destinations.
*2024 Prices are estimated and dates may change*
Long-wattled Umbrellabird, Dark-backed Wood Quail, Dusky Pigeon, Pallid Dove, Indigo-crowned Quail-Dove, Pacific Parrotlet, Rose-faced Parrot, Cloud-forest Pygmy Owl, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Golden-breasted Puffleg, Purple-chested Hummingbird, Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Empress Brilliant, Brown Inca, Velvet-purple Coronet, White-booted Racket-tail, Violet-tailed Sylph, Golden-headed Quetzal, Chocó Trogon, Broad-billed Motmot, Rufous Motmot, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Barred Puffbird, White-whiskered Puffbird, White-faced Nunbird, Orange-fronted Barbet, Toucan Barbet, Pale-mandibled Aracari, Plate-billed Mountain Toucan, Chocó Toucan, Olivaceous Piculet, Cinnamon Woodpecker, Guayaquil Woodpecker, Pacific Tuftedcheek, Uniform Treehunter, Strong-billed Woodcreeper, Northern Barred Woodcreeper, Black-striped Woodcreeper, Black-crowned Antshrike, Uniform Antshrike, Checker-throated Antwren, Pacific Antwren, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Black-headed Antthrush, Rufous-breasted Antthrush, Giant Antpitta, Moustached Antpitta, Yellow-breasted Antpitta, Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Nariño Tapaculo, Ocellated Tapaculo, Chocó Tyrannulet, Black-capped Pygmy Tyrant, Tawny-breasted Myiobius, Masked Water Tyrant, One-colored Becard, Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Scaled Fruiteater, Golden-winged Manakin, Club-winged Manakin, White-bearded Manakin, Beautiful Jay, Black Solitaire, Ecuadorian Thrush, White-capped Dipper, Chocó Warbler, Yellow-tufted Dacnis, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, Scarlet-breasted Dacnis, Indigo Flowerpiercer, Yellow-collared Chlorophonia, Glistening-green Tanager, Moss-backed Tanager, Grey-and-gold Tanager, Rufous-throated Tanager, Blue-whiskered Tanager, Black-chinned Mountain Tanager, Scarlet-browed Tanager, Ochre-breasted Tanager Top Mammals
Olingito, Tayra, White-fronted Capuchin, Spectacled Bear (rare) Habitats Covered
temperate tree line forest, subtropical cloud-forest, tropical foothill forest and tropical lowland forest all in the Chocó bioregion Expected Climate
chilly to hot and humid (very pleasant temperatures on most days) Max Group Size
8 with 1 Rockjumper leader & local birding leader Tour Pace & Walking
easy/moderate pace Accommodation
comfortable lodges Ease of Birding
easy birding with some tricky skulkers Number of Species Expected
300 - 350 Photographic Opportunities
excellent at sites with feeders
I have just finished a very successful snipe day with Dusan. I got all three species I was after, which was a result of some excellent guiding by Dušan Brinkhuizen. I cannot commend him highly enough. He can fill you in on the detail but looking for an Andean Snipe in the rain and cold wind at 4300m takes some effort! I will certainly need my rest day tomorrow.
Dušan Brinkhuizen is an awesome guide. Very knowledgeable, patient, never got tired and made sure everyone got the bird. You are fortunate to have a guide like Dušan.
I had a great time on the two Ecuador tours. I have been wanting to bird with Lev Frid since I viewed his webinar on Mexico, and he was every bit as fun and as good a guide as I thought that he would be. Lev's cheerful energy and care for his tour members were always evident, and his bird finding and identifying skills were superb. He worked hard to make sure that everyone was able to see the birds whenever possible, and he dealt with the varying experience levels of the various tour members very well. The list of tour members changed from tour to tour, with a wide range of ages, birding agendas, and personalities. Lev took it all in stride and provided what I considered to be an excellent experience for all. He worked particularly well with the local guides, with whom he shared friendship and respect, and his ability in speaking Spanish was an excellent asset. The local guides were all excellent, and worked hard to give us the best birding experience possible. Our driver kept us safe on the road and got us where we needed to go. The lodges were all great, with comfortable accommodations and excellent food. I picked up several birds that I had missed on an earlier tour through the area, and got a good look at a Mountain Tapir, as a rare bonus mammal. All in all, it was an excellent trip, and I look forward to future trips with Rockjumper.
Our guides, Dušan Brinkhuizen and Andrés Trujillo, are excellent in their jobs. They are very helpful and kind. All our tour members were very happy with them.
The birding was the point and our guide Dusan Brinkhuizen was and is one of the best birds guides we have ever met. Dusan has really amazing people and leadership skills. We had three very sick people on the tour and Dusan managed this and the tour very well. I personally lost a day and a half to illness and Dusan kept me appraised and part of the team as we went.