Our new Chocó Specialities birding tour completes our tour coverage of this incredibly diverse country. Long ignored and historically tricky to reach, the lowland Chocó forests of Northwest Ecuador and the coastal littoral now make for a very appealing tour. The Chocó is an eco-region and biodiversity hotspot that holds the largest number of restricted-range birds of any Endemic Bird Area in the Americas, with 62 species being endemic to the area. Habitats are typically characterised by tropical humid lowland forests and wet cloud-forests. Unfortunately, the Chocó region is also one of the most threatened areas in South America. Deforestation rates are accelerating and habitat destruction has been most severe in the lowlands, especially the coastal plains and foothills. Departing Quito we are introduced to the Andean region of the Chocó with a bevy of normally difficult species including Moss-backed Tanager, the Indigo Flowerpiercer, Beautiful Jay, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Chocó Vireo, Pacific Tuftedcheek, Black Solitaire, Star-chested Treerunner, and Purplish-mantled and Glistening-green Tanagers. We also make a chance to see a few enigmatic antpitta species like Giant Antpitta, Yellow-breasted Antpitta, Ochre-breasted Antpitta and Moustached Antpitta. As we move into the Chocó lowlands, we target Long-wattled Umbrellabird, Brown Wood-Rail, Banded Ground Cuckoo (if it is showing), Ocellated and Stub-tailed Antbirds, Scarlet-breasted Dacnis, and Scarlet-and-white, Blue-whiskered and Lemon-spectacled Tanagers. Five-colored Barbet, Black-tipped Cotinga, Lita and Chocó Woodpeckers, Yellow-green Bush and Golden-chested Tanagers provide the supporting cast to the drab but monotypic Sapayoa and the exceedingly tricky Rufous-crowned Antpitta.

Top Birds

Long-wattled Umbrellabird, Baudo Guan, Brown Wood Rail, Ecuadorian Rail, Dark-backed Wood Quail, Berlepsch's Tinamou, Pinnated Bittern, Roseate Spoonbill, Red-lored Amazon, Rose-faced Parrot, Chocó Trogon, Five-colored, Orange-fronted & Toucan Barbet, Black-breasted & Barred Puffbird, Plate-billed Mountain-toucan, Black-tipped & Blue Cotinga, Red-capped Manakin, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Guayaquil, Lita & Chocó Woodpecker, Ochraceous Attila, Jet, Spotted, Esmeralda’s, Ocellated & Stub-tailed Antbird, Giant Antpitta, Yellow-breasted Antpitta, Moustached Antpitta, Streak-chested Antpitta, Sapayoa, Chocó Poorwill, Chocó Screech-owl, Cloud-forest Pygmy-owl, Beautiful Jay, Chocó Vireo, Short-tailed Woodstar, Humboldt Sapphire, Tooth-billed Hummingbird, Velvet-purple Coronet, Brown Inca, Violet-tailed Sylph, Hoary Puffleg, Empress Brilliant, Pacific Tuftedcheek, Star-chested Treerunner, Black Solitaire, Dagua Thrush, Stripe-throated Wren, Chocó & Nariño Tapaculo, Subtropical Doradito, Pacific Flatbill, Rufous Mourner, Rufous Piha, Scarlet-breasted Dacnis, Moss-backed & Golden-chested Tanager, Yellow-green Bush Tanager, Purplish-mantled, White-winged, Scarlet-and-white, Blue-whiskered, Lemon-spectacled, Glistening-green & Gray-and-gold Tanager, Indigo Flowerpiercer, and chances for Banded Ground Cuckoo & Rufous-crowned Gnatpitta (both very rare)

Top Mammals

Brown-headed Spider-monkey, Mantled Howler

Habitats Covered

Chocó tropical lowland forest, Chocó cloud-forest, Tumbesian dry forest, highland lakes

Expected Climate

warm to hot and humid

Max Group Size

8 with 1 Rockjumper leader & local birding leader

Tour Pace & Walking

This Ecuador tour requires a HIGH level of fitness, and participants should be in VERY GOOD physical and general health as most of the birding will be done on foot, and may require walking for several hours at a time, often on muddy and sometimes steep trails. The tour is not suitable for anyone with physical or mobility limitations. Our Mega tours are very fast-paced birding adventures designed for the dedicated lister and serious birder. The focus of the tour is to see as many of the endemics and area specials as possible in our given time. In order to cover the necessary route to maximise the species list we tend to spend a single night at most sites and travel large distances. There is very little down time aside from that spent driving from one site to the next. These tours are not suitable for dedicated or avid photographers; inexperienced or new birders; as well as anyone with serious mobility or health challenges.

Accommodation

basic to comfortable lodges

Ease of Birding

moderate birding with some tricky species

Number of Species Expected

400+

Photographic Opportunities

can be difficult inside humid forest but excellent in other habitats

What our clients say about us

Tuomas Seimola
LV, Ecuador 2022

Overall the three consecutive tours were very very good. Tuomas was a superb, highly experienced/knowledgeable leader. It is amazing all the songs and calls he has mastered. He was most congenial, patient and always helpful to everyone. Highly recommend him as a leader. Local leaders and staff were all very good and most kind. Accommodations were comfortable and food was very tasty and well prepared.

Dušan Brinkhuizen
JM, Ecuador 2018

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.

Dušan Brinkhuizen
DH, Ecuador 2022

Dusan was an excellent guide. His knowledge of bird calls and ID were extraordinary. He is a gem.

Dušan Brinkhuizen
JR, Ecuador 2022

The tour was excellent in all regards. And just as expected. The lodges excellent. The food as well and abundant. And of course the birds. Diverse and beautiful. And Ecuador has done such a wonderful job in attracting the birds, from hummingbirds to tanagers and even antpittas.

Dušan Brinkhuizen
EL, Ecuador 2022

One reason I did sign up was because of the excellent reputation of Dušan Brinkhuizen. A number of people told me what an excellent guide he was and, If I was ever to go to Ecuador, I should do so on one of his tours. They were not wrong. Dušan is exceptional for knowing the vast numbers of Ecuadorian birds and their calls. He can recognize a small chip or the legs and tail or even a partial description. Dušan is also a wonderful individual, helpful and entertaining. He is obviously very fond of his adopted country and cares much about the inhabitants and their lives.

Ecuador - Western: Chocó Specialities 2026

10 Oct 2026 - 25 Oct 2026 (16 days)

USD6,950 - Spaces Available

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Tour Leader: Lisle Gwynn

Pricing notes : *Prices are estimated and dates may change*

Tour price (Per person): USD6,950 * GBP5,463 * EUR6,500 * AUD10,510

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Route Map

Tour Route Map

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