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*
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
[To Dušan Brinkhuizen] Truly, it was the very best birding trip I have ever been on, including several other Rockjumper trips which have all been great. As I think back on it, I can only marvel at your amazing ability to hear and identify the "chips" and "tsits" of birds calling or singing from deep in the understorey or high in the canopy of mature cloud forest while walking with a noisy group of folks or, even more unbelievable, from a moving vehicle. And if this wasn't amazing enough, you would then expertly call the desired individual bird into view and, with incredible calm and patience, succeed in making sure that everyone of us on the tour got a crippling look (and maybe even a spectacular photo) of the target bird -- that as often as not -- was not only beautiful but also both rare and furtive. And to further blow our minds, you often would pull out your vegetation clippers and create a setting and stage on which the bird would perform for us -- even sometimes, like some magician, telling us on which perch it would sit!! As a measure of your expertise as a trip leader, let me tell you that on the two back-to-back trips with you I "got" 110 life birds (101 seen and 9 heard) and only missed 1 species that would have been a life bird for me (Blue-mantled Thornbill). Never on any trip before in my life had I experienced such a high rate of success!! But above and beyond all of the uncanny skill and expertise that you exhibited, was the kindness, friendship, and humanity that you showed to each us. For this I am so very grateful. Thank you!!! Moreover, I'm sure everyone on the trip felt this way and I'm sure it created a safe and happy feeling among all of us that made the trip even more enjoyable. I truly hope that I can go with you on another trip sometime. And finally thank you also for the wonderfully detailed and beautifully illustrated trip report you sent. I remain amazed at how you could remember so clearly all the details of the trip.
All the participants were nice and helpful in pointing out birds to others. Dusan was great and worked hard to get everyone on a bird. His expertise makes you realize how much you miss! But it also helps know what to try to find.
A wonderfully tailored tour. This is not something easily done solo. If it was for Dusan, I would not have seen half of the bird species that I saw. Thanks again man, and hope to join you on another tour soon.
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.
It was a well-oiled machine. Dušan Brinkhuizen is an excellent guide. It goes without saying he knows his birds and he kept the whole adventure moving smoothly. I would hope Dušan would be the guide on my next Rockjumper tour.