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

Dušan Brinkhuizen
AW & LW - Ecuador 2022

Dusan was simply amazing! He was the best guide we have ever had. He can identify thousands of birds by sounds. He was very gentle and patient, making the tour very enjoyable. He tried very hard so that everyone in the tour could see the birds. Indeed, we are looking for a next tour where he is the leader.

Dušan Brinkhuizen
AG, Ecuador 2022

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.

Dušan Brinkhuizen
JG - Ecuador 2024

Our tour leader, Dusan Brinkhuizen was top-notch. Very knowledgeable, super pleasant, friendly and attentive. Couldn’t ask for better. Our driver, Hector, was also excellent, getting us around. Knew what he was about and what he was doing. Added to the experiences. They kept us on the move to enhance our Ecuador experience--quite the place—past my expectations. Every day was an outstanding array of experiences and adventure. We all got our exercise, but it was quite manageable. Facilities and meals were very good—enjoyed the Ecuadorian cuisine. The group was also most pleasant. Fun and interesting to be with. Would very highly recommend the tour, Duson and Hector. All smiles.

Dušan Brinkhuizen
TN, Ecuador - Galapagos 2018

I really enjoyed this trip, it's probably the best one I've been on! I loved the knowledge and personalities of both our guides, Andrés Trujillo & Dušan Brinkhuizen, as well as the naturalist guides and the boat crews.

Dušan Brinkhuizen
MW, Ecuador 2023

What a tour! We ended up with nearly 700 species seen and heard, and I ended up with almost twice as many lifers than I had anticipated. Dusan was excellent: Attentive to those having difficulties, enthusiastic, energetic, indefatigable, and a complete whiz at the birds. He was as excited about each new sighting as was the rest of the group, right through to the last day. We saw many very special birds, birds that I have missed over three previous trips to Ecuador as well as quite rare birds that, although specialties for this tour, require great effort and skill to unveil (think Buff-fronted Owl). Climate change affected the tour to a certain extent, but Dusan always had a clever plan or an alternative site to try for the bird again. The tour was a bit more strenuous than the itinerary led me to believe, but all at the participants willingly went the extra mile with Dusan every time. We were fortunate to have a pretty good group, a great driver, and good luck with the weather.

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 * GBP5,470 * EUR6,503 * AUD10,514

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