Birding the Americas Trip Report and Planning Repository
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02 – 16 February 2001

by James M. Black

This list covers the following areas birded by James M. Black and Jim Sipiora in the S.E. region of Venezuela and the state of Bolivar.

This was my first visit to Venezuela and Jim’s second. Several years ago, Jim had spent time birding in H. Pittier Nat. Park.

The trip began with my afternoon arrival to Caracas from Quito, Ecuador. I found Jim waiting for me as planned in the airport, we next found our flight to Puerto Ordaz located in the state of Bolivar.

From Puerto Ordaz, Jim and I rented a Fiat Uno from Hertz at the airport. The car was new and in excellent shape. After wheeling and dealing over the price for a 14 day  rental with a shiester of a woman at the counter, we headed south.
I strongly recommend that one deals with the rental car scenario in Venezuela with a Spanish speaker.

We encountered no problems with the car nor any other logistics throughout our trip.

As we embarked on our journey, Jim and I drove south to Cachami falls for a brief visit and then to Upata and the Hotel Andrea for the evening. I was surprised to see so much dry thorn-forest still in tact along our route. The following day, we rose early and birded a road adjacent to the highway going north from Upata for dry forest birds. Upon turning around to head back south, we  visited a marsh along side the highway just north of Upata.

We next continued south on highway Bolivar 1 to Las Claritas. A warm six-hour drive with plenty of birding stops along the way. We would then spend the next 8 nights (6 at Barquilla de Fresa and 2 at Hotel Pilionera) in the environs of Las Claritas. Henry’s (B. de Fresa) was very nice and comfortable, but very over-priced at $80 U.S. per night per person with meals.
The Pilionera was very basic, but clean and sufficient for non-yuppy birders at $14 U.S. for a double with A/C. There is a decent restaurant across the road. We covered the vicinity of Las Claritas including the Cappuchinbird road at Km. 88 (across from the only bank in the area), the Escalera and Km. 67 Guyana trail and environs. After departing Las Claritas, we then headed north to El Palmar exiting right from the main highway to Villa Lola and El Palmar. Along this route were several large ponds with excellent birding en route to El Palmar. Jim and I spent three hours birding the ponds in the heat of the day and the birds never stopped coming. We spent four nights at the Parador Taguapire which we found to be clean, quiet and had good food.

While in the area, our target area was the Imataca preserve which had superb birding.

It is a very interesting area lying on the rift of the dry region and wet lowland rain forest.

For those wishing to visit this spectacular birding area in Venezuela, I recommend avoiding the high costs of the Venezuelan Audubon society and other agencies aiming to book birder’s accommodations - they will over charge you like crazy!

If one were to take a chance and go without reservations, they stand a fairly good chance of finding a room at the above mentioned hotels or others in the vicinity, at a fraction of the price charged by agents.  

Mary Lou Goodwin’s guide came in handy, but one should also download as much current info. as possible from the internet.Blake’s field note repository offered a very useful selection of field trip notes for this area.

U – Upata and environs. Dry thorn forest and arid savannah with occasional ponds at 240ft. This also describes 2/3 of drive south to about El Dorado and the rio Cuyuni where the habitat changes to lowland rainforest.

CH – Cachamai Park – Cachamai falls and park and Puerto Ordaz. 140 ft.

I – Imataca preserve - lowland rain forest (primary and secondary growth) and completely deforested areas and fields now used for agriculture and cattle grazing.  This region is on a rift with dry thorn forest to the west & northwest. 200 - 450ft.

VL –Villa Lola ponds (3). Three separate ponds of significant size i.e. 1.5 to 15 hectares define this area. These are: 1.5 Km. From the Villa Lola exit from Bolivar Highway #1. The largest pond is split by the Villa Lola road. A smaller pond is approx. 1Km. NW from here and is reached by the same road.

C – Cappuchinbird road, Las Claritas and environs. Humid lowland rainforest (pimary & secondary forest) with scattered ponds, creeks and disturbed plots due to mining and agricultural squatters. This road begins directly opposite the bank along the highway.  400 - 500ft.

G – Km 67  The Guyana trail. Mostly primary rainforest with developed plots and disturbed plots of secondary forest (at beginning of trail) due to squatters and mining activity. 200–550 ft. Excellent primary forest habitat but, slow birding & easy to get lost.

E – Escalera from Km. 89 Piedra de la Virgin to Km. 134 at the end of forested habitat and the entrance to the Gran Sabana. Primary and secondary Rain and cloud forest. 500 – 4,200 ft.

S – Gran Sabana.from Km. 134-152. Exspansive & open grasslands and prairie with scattered pockets of trees. 4,200 – 2,000 ft.

A – A species that is abundant in all areas or suitable habitat.

(H) – indicates a species that was heard only.

Highlighted species indicate a life list bird or mammal.


Little Tinamou (H) C G I
Variegated Tinamou (H) C G I
Least Grebe U E VL
Neotropical Cormorant
Anhinga CH U VL
Magnificent Frigatebird in Caracass
Cocoi Heron CH VL
Great Egret CH VL
Snowy Egret A
Cattle Egret A
Striated Heron CH VL
Capped Heron CH El Palmar
Rufescent Tiger-Heron VL I
Limpkin VL
Green Ibis VL
Wood Stork
Horned Screamer VL pair seen @ first pond.
Black-bellied Whisting-Duck VL
King Vulture E G I stunning views of pair at Km. 102 trail
Black Vulture A
Turkey Vuture A
Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture C G
Greater Yellow-headed Vulture C G I
White-tailed Kite C
Pearl Kite U
Swallow-tailed Kite E C
Gray-headed Kite El Palmar
Double-toothed Kite I 1 on final day
Plumbeous Kite G C I common!
Hook-billed Kite Rio Cuyuni
White-tailed Hawk B1 S I
Broad-winged Hawk E
Roadside Hawk A
Short-tailed Hawk C
White Hawk E
Black-collared Hawk I VL
Savanna Hawk B1 I VL
Great Black Hawk I
Harpy Eagle I 1) 9 mo. Old bird on nest
Black Hawk-Eagle I
Crane Hawk CH Las Claritas
Osprey A
Laughing Falcon (H) VL
Barred Forest Falcon E
Lined Forest-Falcon (H) I
Black Caracara I
Red-throated Caracara I
Yellow-headed Carcara A
Crested Caracara B1 I
Barred Forest-Falcon E Km. 105
Lined Forest-Falcon (H) I
Bat Falcon C E I
Little Chachalaca
Spix’s Guan C E
Black Curassow I
Crested Bobwhite fields near Imataca
Wattled Jacana
Common Gallinule VL
Purple Gallinule VL
Gray-necked Wood-rail Rio Cuyuni
Sun Bittern El Palmar
Southern Lapwing B1 VL
Spotted Sandpiper VL
Solitary Sandpiper VL
Large-billed Tern Rio Orinoco in Pto. Ordaz
Scaled Pigeon - north of Las Claritas
Plumbeous Pigeon C G I
Ruddy Pigeon I
Common Ground-Dove U
Ruddy Ground-Dove U Rio Cuyuni
Blue Ground-Dove (H) Rio Cuyuni bridge
Eared Dove VL
White-tipped Dove I
Gray-fronted Dove I
Red-and-Green Macaw E G I great views of 4 birds mobbing Harpy Eaglet
Red-shouldered Macaw El Palmar & VL
Blue-headed Parrot G C E I
Red-fan Parrot G Las Claritas
Orange Winged Amazon A
Yellow-headed Amazon A
Mealy Amazon A
Festive Amazon C
Brown-throated Parakeet VL
White-eyed Parakeet I
Painted Parakeet I
Fiery-shouldered Parakeet E
Green-rumped Parrotlet U
Dusky-billed Parrotlet VL
Golden-winged Parakeet B1 I
Squirrel Cuckoo I
Stiped Cuckoo Rio Cuyuni, I
Smooth-billed Ani A
Rufous-winged Ground-Cuckoo (H) I
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl B. de Fresa
Short-tailed Nighthawk C
Blackish Nightjar C
White-collared Swift A
Gray-rumped Swif G
Gray-rumped Swift Las Claritas
Short-tailed Swift VL El Palmar
Point-tailed Palm-Swift E VL
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift E
Rufous-breasted Hermit B. de Fresa
Pale-tailed Barbthroat G Las Claritas
Long-tailed Hermit G C
Straight-billed Hermit E
Reddish Hermit C G I
Gray-breasted Saberwing B. de Fresa I
White-necked Jacobin E G I
Brown Violet-ear E
Black-throated Mango U
Ruby-Topaz Hummingbird U
Tufted Coquette I
Peacock Coquette E
Blue-tailed Emerald U
Fork-tailed Woodnymph Fresa E G I
White-chinned Sapphire C I
Rufous-throated Sapphire E
Tepui Goldenthroat E S
White-chested Emerald G Rio Cuyuni I
Glittering-throated Emerald CH U C G I
Copper-rumped Hummingbird U
Velvet-browed Brilliant E 1 pair Km. 133
Crimson Topaz Km. 92 near Las Claritas I
Black-eared Fairy E I
Long-billed Starthroat U B. de Fresa C
Amethyst Woodstar S U
White-tailed Trogan B. de Fresa El Palmar
Ringed Kingfisher VL
Amazon Kingfisher VL I
Green Kingfisher Las Claritas VL I
Brown Jacamar U S
Green-tailed Jacamar G I
Paradise Jacamar Las Claritas I
Great Jacamar C G
Blue-crowned Motmot R. Cuyuni
White-necked Puffbird Las Claritas
Collared Puffbird G
Russet-throated Puffbird Rio Cuyuni
Swallow-wing A
Black-spotted Barbet G E I
Chestnut-tipped Toucanet E
Black-necked Aracari C E I
Green Aracari C G
Guianan Toucanet E km 102
Channel-billed Toucan A
Yellow-ridged Toucan G C
Red-billed Toucan E km 117
Golden-spangled Piculet E I – Km. 124
Scaled Woodpecker near G
Waved Woodpecker E – near Km 113
Golden-olive Woodpecker E
Red-rumped Woodpecker E
Red-crowned Woodpecker A
Yellow-tufted Woodpecker A
Lineated Woodpecker C
Red-necked Woodpecker G
Crimson-crested Woodpecker G
Olivacious Woodcreeper E
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper G C
Plain-brown Woodcreeper I
Buff-throated Woodcreeper G I C
Red-billed Woodcreeper  G
Streaked-headed Woodcreeper VL
Pale-legged Hornero VL
Pale-breasted Spinetail E I Km. 134
Tepui Spinetail E Km. 113
Yellow-throated Spinetail VL
Cinnamon-rumped Foliage-Gleanor G
Plain Xenops C E G I
Great Antshrike G Km.67
Black-crested Antshrike Rio Cuyuni bridge VL beautiful pair observed.
Barred Antshrike (H) I
Dusky-throated Antshrike G
Cinerious Antshrike G
Black-throated Antbird G Km. 67
Warbling Antbird C G E
Silvered Antbird I
Gray Antbird (H) G
Rufous-throated Antbird I
White-plumed Antbird I
Pygmy Antwren C
Streaked Antwren I
Slaty Antwren G
Roraiman Antwren E G Km. 132
Gray Antwren I
Scaled Antpitta (H) E
Tepui Antpitta (H) E
Thrushlike Antpitta G I
Rufous-crowned Antthrush (H) I
Purple-throated Fruitcrow G I
Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock E Km. 89, 108 and 113.
Capuchinbird C
Spangled Cotinga Km. 108
Screaming Piha C G K I
Rose-collared Piha E Km. 122 a handsome male seen well in top of tree at highway edge!
Cinerious Mourner G
Red-banded Fruiteater E Km. 132 & 121
White Bellbird E Km. 117 & 108
Sharpbill E Km. 124 & 112
Black-tailed Tiyra  Las Claritas I
Cinnamon Atilla El Palmar
Scarlet-horned Manakin E Km. 113 & 122
White-crowned Manakin C G
Golden-headed Manakin G I
White-fronted Manakin E Km.132, 143
Wing-barred Manakin (H)-E seen-I
White-headed Water-Tyrant U VL, R. Cuyuni
Pied Water-Tyrant VL
Cattle Tyrant VL El Palmar
Fork-tailed Flycatcher VL
Cliff Flycatcher Km. 89 Piedra de Virgin
Smoke-colored Pewee E
Tropical Kingbird A
Social Flycatcher A
Streaked Flycatcher Las Claritas E Rio Cuyuni
Great Kiskadee A
White-ringed Flycatcher C
Boat-billed Flycatcher U
Piratic Flycatcher U Rio Cuyuni
Variegated Flycatcher Rio Cuyuni
Dusky-capped Flycatcher U I E
Long-tailed Tyrant I
Vermillion Flycatcher VL
Common Tody-Flycatcher I
Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant  Rio Cuyuni
Helmeted Pygmy-Tyrant E Km. 112
Pale-eyed Pygmy-Tyrant C
Mouse-colored Tyrannulet El Palmar, Cuyuni
Southern Beardless Tyrannulet U
Forest Elaenia G
Yellow-bellied Tyrannulet Henry’s yard
Yellow Tyrannulet U
Black-fronted Tyrannulet E Km.133
Yellow-breasted Flycatcher U
McConnell’s Flycatcher I
Purple Martin I VL
Gray-breasted Martin Rio Cuyuni
S. Rough-winged Swallow Rio Coroni, VL
Tawny-headed Swallow Km. 145 & Km. 135
White-banded Swallow Rio Cuyuni
White-winged Swallow Rio Cuyuni, Orinoco
Barn Swallow I
Cayenne Jay Near Henry’s, C
Buff-breasted Wren Rio Cuyuni
Coraya Wren E Km. 112
Flutist Wren E Km. 113 & 121
House Wren Henry’s
Musician Wren Henry’s C
Tropical Mockingbird U
Black-billed Thrush E Km. 120
Black-hooded Thrush E Km.122
Cocoa Thrush I attending ant swarm
Pale-breasted Thrush U
Yellow-legged Thrush E Km. 113
Rufous-brown Solitaire E Km. 122
Tropical Gnatcatcher U
Long-billed Gnatwren G
Rufous-browed Peppershrike E Rio Cuyuni VL
Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo (H) E Km.113 & S
Red-eyed Vireo U
Tawny-crowned Greenlet G
Buff-cheeked Greenlet I
Tepui Greenlet E Km.132
Russet-backed Oropendola A
Green Oropendola C I
Yellow Oriole El Palmar
Moriche Oriole Las Claritas
Yellow-rumped Cacique U
Red-rumped Cacique C G
Carib Grackle Caracas & Pto. Ordaz
Golden-tufted Grackle E Km.131
Yellow-hooded Blackbird VL
Red-breasted Blackbird VL
Eastern Meadowlark along hiway in dry region
Giant Cowbird I
Shiny Cowbird VL I
Yellow Warbler Las Claritas E
Blackpoll Warbler Henry’s
Tropical Parula E
American Redstart E
Tepui Redstart E Km. 121
Neotropical River-Warbler Henry’s I
Rose-breasted Chat I Rio Cuyuni
Banannaquit A
Burnished-buff Tanager U E
Yellow-bellied Tanager Henry’s E G
Speckled Tanager E
Spotted Tanager E
Opal-rumped Tanager E I
Bay-headed Tanager E I
Paradise Tanager E
Turquoise Tanager I
Black-headed Tanager E Km. 123
Green Honeycreeper I
Blue Dacnis E
Red-legged Honeycreeper E I
Purple Honeycreeper E I
Violaceous Euphonia U C I
Purple-throated Euphonia U
Orange-bellied Euphonia U
Yellow-backed Tanager C I
Summer Tanager E
Hooded Tanager VL
White-winged Tanager E
Black-faced Tanager U E
Blue-gray Tanager A
Palm Tanager A
Silver-beaked Tanager  near Km. 67 I
White-lined Tanager U Rio Cuyuni
Red-shouldered Tanager E
Fulvous-crested Tanager C
Olive-backed Tanager E Km. 133
Fulvous Shrike-Tanager E
Magpie Tanager Las Claritas I
Buff-throated Saltator U
Yellow-green Grosbeak E I
Slate-colored Grosbeak (H) C
Tepui Brush-Finch E Km.122
Blue-black Grassquit U S El Palmar
Ruddy-breasted Seedeater El Palmar VL
Gray Seedeater El Palmar
Yellow-bellied Seedeater El Palmar
Lesser Seed-Finch C I
Orange-fronted Yellow-Finch VL I
Wedge-tailed Grassfinch S Km. 135
Hooded Siskin S-guard station

Red-rumped Agouti E
Wedge-capped Capuchin CH
Red Howler Monkey Henry’s