FULL DAY BIRDING TOUR FROM QUITO

OVERVIEW

One glorious day to discover birds in Ecuador's imposing Andean valleys and mystical could forests. Be prepared to delve into Ecuador's most biologically-diverse birding reserves and eco-lodges looking for endemic hummingbirds, vivid tanagers, splendid toucans, skulking antbirds, agile warblers, and, many more. 

DETAILED ITINERARY

DAY 1

5:30AM Pick-up from Quito airport or any hotel in Quito area.

Birding San Jorge Eco-lodge Quito, Yanacocha Road, & Old Nono-Mindo Road:
Our journey begins at San Jorge Eco-lodge Quito. We will make a 1 hour-ish stop at this lodge to look for some fantastic bird species. Most of the species at this lodge and elevation will not occur anywhere else. We will begin exploring the trail that loops around the lodge to go after the Tufted Tit-tyrant, Rufous-naped Brush-Finch, Azara's Spinetail, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Blue-and-yellow Tanager, Southern Yellow Grosbeak, Grass Wren, Red-crested Cotinga, and, the Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant. We wil also visit the lodge's hummingbird feeders visited by very unique and iconic hummingbird species including the Black-tailed Trainbearer, Green-tailed Trainbearer, Sparkling Violetear, Tyrian Metaltail, Shining Sunbeam, the tiny White-bellied Woodstar and, the bizarre-looking Sword-billed Hummingbird, 

Black Tailed Trainbearer 2Black-tailed Trainbearer. Photo taken at San Jorge Eco-lodge Quito. © Luis Alcivar

After Quito lodge we drive for 40 minutes to Yanacocha Reserve's road which runs through the Andean slopes of Pichincha Volcano. At this elevation, we will look for several Upper-Andean species like the stunning Golden-crowned Tanager, Pearled Treerunner, Blue-backed Conebill, Black-chested Mountain-Tanager, Rufous Antpitta, Barred Fruiteater, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Sapphire-vented Puffleg, Great Sapphirewing, and many more. Yanachoca is also home to the critically endangered Black-breasted Puffleg which is casually observed.  

Sword billed Hummingbird 2The Sword-billed Hummingbird at San Jorge Eco-lodge Quito. © Luis Alcivar

After Yanacocha we begin our descend down the "Old Nono-Mindo Road" or "Hummingbird Route" which connects the imposing Andean ridges with the lushy Cloud Forest of Tandayapa. Andean Landscape 1 We will slowly descend this road, making strategic stops to look out for a wide variety of birds including the highly sought-after Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, Plushcap, Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant, Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant, Andean Guan, Torrent Duck, White-capped Dipper, Masked Trogon, Beautiful Jay, and the Crested Quetzal. 

Plate billed Mountain ToucanThe multi-colored and endemic Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan can be seen along the "Old Nono-Mindo Road" © Luis Alcivar

At around 1:00 PM, we will arrive to our San Jorge Eco-lodge Tandayapa Hummingbird Sanctuary, located in the heart of Tandayapa Cloud Forest Reserve. After having a delicious lunch at our open-air restaurant, we begin exploring the 4 observation decks overlooking our prime cloud forest reserve and the bird feeders around the lodge which will provide an incredible amount of birds species without having to engage in much walking.

San Jorge Eco lodge Tandayapa Deck The bird feeders in front of the main patio are visited by multicolored bird species like the Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager, Red-headed Barbet, Streak-capped Treehunter, Three-striped Warbler, White-winged Becard, Metallic-green Tanager, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Golden-naped Tanager, Golden Tanager, Flame-faced Tanager, Silver-throated Tanagers and many more. Additionally, the hummingbird feeders in front of the breakfast room will be crowded with hummimbirds including the iconic Booted Racket-tail and the Violet-tailed Sylph.

Booted Racket tailThe exotic Booted Racket-tails are commonly seen at San Jorge Eco-lodge Tandayapa. © Luis Alcivar

After fully exploring the decks, we access the "Toucant Trail" that runs through the center of of cloud forest reserve.  This trail will offer us different variety of birds, just to list some, we will go after the Scaled Antpitta, Toucan Barbet, Rufous-breasted Antthrush, Masked Trogon, White-winged Tanager, Beryl-spangled Tanager, Ringed Kingfisher, Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia, Immaculate Antbird, Plain Antvireo, Uniform Antshrike, Russet-crowned Warbler, Black-and-chestnut Eagle, Bat Falcon, White-throated Quail-Dove, Golden-headed Quetzal, and, with some luck, the enchanted White-faced Nunbird. 

At 4:30PM we drive for 30 minutes up to perhaps the most memorable part of trip, the Andean Cock-of-the-rock LEK (gathering of male birds that engage in competitive display), which is arguably the most iconic and stunning bird species of Ecuador.

Andean Cock of the rock 2The Andean Cock-of-the-rock leks in the the upper valley of Tandayapa © Luis Alcivar

At 5:30PM transfer back to Quito airport or to any hotel in Quito area. Arriving to most hotels in Quito at approximately 7:30PM (Depends on traffic). 

END OF ITINERARY