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.
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)
Brown-headed Spider-monkey, Mantled Howler
Chocó tropical lowland forest, Chocó cloud-forest, Tumbesian dry forest, highland lakes
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.
basic to comfortable lodges
Ease of Birding
moderate birding with some tricky species
Number of Species Expected
can be difficult inside humid forest but excellent in other habitats
We really enjoyed the tour and being with Dušan again, as we were in Argentina with him in July of this past year. He was one of the good reasons for taking this tour. He is a great guide and fun to be with.
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.
Dusan was an outstanding tour leader. His knowledge of the birds, their habits, and calls was amazing as was his ability to manage the needs and goals of the tour participants. Both tours completely fulfilled my expectations. Thank you for an excellent experience.
Our tour of the Choco cloud forest and the Eastern Andes paramo and cloud forest was superb. Our guide Dušan Brinkhuizen was amazing in his ability to find birds; he clearly has supernatural hearing and eyesight! He also was superb at making sure that everyone saw the birds. He truly worried about his clients and listened to their requests as to birds, landscapes and need for sleep. We saw spectacular landscapes far off the beaten path and got very good looks at birds in all habitats. An additional plus was our driver Dario who kept us safe on marginal roads. We look forward to our next Rockjumper trip.
Dusan Brinkhuizen our guide was exceptional. He knew all the birds, their calls and where to find them. Dusan had so much patience and went to great lenths to make sure we saw the brids. Allen and I would highly recommend Dusan as a guide to Ecuador.