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.
*2024 Prices are estimated and dates may change*
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
I had a great time on the two Ecuador tours. I have been wanting to bird with Lev Frid since I viewed his webinar on Mexico, and he was every bit as fun and as good a guide as I thought that he would be. Lev's cheerful energy and care for his tour members were always evident, and his bird finding and identifying skills were superb. He worked hard to make sure that everyone was able to see the birds whenever possible, and he dealt with the varying experience levels of the various tour members very well. The list of tour members changed from tour to tour, with a wide range of ages, birding agendas, and personalities. Lev took it all in stride and provided what I considered to be an excellent experience for all. He worked particularly well with the local guides, with whom he shared friendship and respect, and his ability in speaking Spanish was an excellent asset. The local guides were all excellent, and worked hard to give us the best birding experience possible. Our driver kept us safe on the road and got us where we needed to go. The lodges were all great, with comfortable accommodations and excellent food. I picked up several birds that I had missed on an earlier tour through the area, and got a good look at a Mountain Tapir, as a rare bonus mammal. All in all, it was an excellent trip, and I look forward to future trips with Rockjumper.
Dušan was an excellent bird guide and a good tour guide.
An excellent tour with an excellent guide. Dušan's knowledge of all the vocalizations is exceptional and he made sure I saw almost all the birds the group managed to see.
Dušan is an excellent field ornithologist with an encyclopaedic knowledge of bird song, taxonomy, and field identification marks. Ornithology is Dušan’s passion. He is also excellent with the clients – friendly, courteous, patient, and anxious that everyone sees all the birds and enjoys the tour. It was a great tour!
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.