Overview

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.

Tour Facts Top Birds
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
Tour Route Map Route Map Client Testimonials

"This tour was great and Dusan was fabulous, an incredible birder, guide and person. I don't need to say more because I'm sure you've heard many accolades about him. It was a great tour though harder than I expected but I'm old and age makes a difference. I definitely would go again with Dusan. There was a disparity of physical abilities among the clients and Dusan handled the situation very well, taking care of the one person who could do the least physically and I think keeping her happy under the circumstances. This really speaks to his people skills. The three of us who were the weakest physically were the oldest. I was elated because I saw the oil birds and Sapayoa(s!!) and why I signed up not even considering the difficulty of canopy birding and what hilly jungle trails entailed. I'm so glad I went and would have hated being dissuaded. So thank you..."

Dušan Brinkhuizen is an excellent birder and leader with an excellent temperament to handle diverse personalities. I look forward to birding with him again.

We were so fortunate to be able to experience the top notch birding skills of Dušan. He is very professional but also so personable. It is a tricky thing to manage many different personalities and keep everyone happy but Dusan made our trip so enjoyable.

In the Rockjumper tradition, Dušan Brinkhuizen went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure the serious birders in our group found our birds. This included several later night expeditions into the forest for owls and other nocturnal critters. Dušan managed to handle everyone with great patience and skill. A very kind man, dedicated advocate for the environment, a master birder.

I was particularly impressed by Dušan Brinkhuizen. His knowledge of Ecuadorian birds, both visual and auditory, was amazing. He showed an unflagging energy and was sensitive to the myriad of special interests of our participants.

Dates, Leaders and Pricing
2022 DEPARTURES
2023 DEPARTURES
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