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21 July - 17 August 1998 

by Barry Wright


In 1998 as part of a five-month trip to South America, Keith Turner, Neil Bostock and myself visited a few sites in northern Ecuador in search of very specific birds.  Overall the trip was successful, though we did miss a few hoped for key species.

Keith and myself had visited Ecuador a few years before and this time we decided to visit sites difficult to do on a short trip due to lack of flexibility and logistics of reaching the sites.  The trip was reasonably tough requiring good physical fitness and a lot of determination in the often-inhospitable conditions.  Cerro Mongus was the first site visited a bad move due to lack of acclimatisation at high altitude and being generally unfit.  The next site visited, Cerro Golondrinas proved to be excellent despite a hike up to the forest and persistent rain.  Jatun Sacha Bilsa was the key locality for this trip, which we visited once we had become a little fitter, followed by a reasonably relaxing time at Mindo and Bellavista.  These sites were all possible to do in a three-week trip though very little time was spent at Mindo due to lack of new birds for us.


We traveled around to all the sites by public transport, which was cheap and efficient.  In areas, which were not served by a regular public vehicle we jumped on any vehicle, we could hitch a lift off.  The only problem possibly with some of the sites is that you very much have to rely on assuming a vehicle will turn up when moving away from regular routes.  The public buses in Ecuador that we traveled on were very clean, well driven and dropped us exactly where we wanted.  The only problem that one may encounter because we were tourists is the driver asking extra for luggage, despite no one else with huge amounts of baggage being asked.  In all cases we refused to pay the extra and this didn’t cause any problems.


In Quito we stayed in a small but very comfortable hostel owned by Piet Sabbe, the owner of Cerro Golondrinas.  This was ideal for our needs allowing us to store excess luggage, act as a meeting place for the others arriving from the UK later in the trip and not too far from the bus station.  At Cerro Mongus we managed to find a place to stay, the old school building which had no cooking facilities and was incredibly cold at night.  At Cerro Golondrinas we stayed in two excellent basic lodges which were very comfortable and more than adequate for our stay, cooking facilities on hand.  At Quininde we stayed in a small hotel, and at Bilsa the research station is very comfortable, all meals provided.  During our short stay at Mindo we stayed at the Hostal Guadual owned by a family that we met on our visit in 1995, at Bellavista we treated ourselves to the very plush and cosy lodge for few nights run by Richard Parsons.


The unit of currency is the sucre, and $ cash and US traveller cheques are easily changed at the airport into local currency.  Ecuador is a cheap country for food, porter fees, transport, and in most places accommodation.  Very expensive accommodation can be found at many sites in Ecuador whilst there simply is no alternative at Bilsa, Cerro Golondrinas and Cerro Mongus, which have perfectly adequate accommodation and enable you to see some top quality birds.


We found Ecuador to be a safe country where we encountered no security problems whatsoever.  The usual health precautions exist as for most South American countries, with immunisation for Typhoid, Hepatitis A, and Malaria the most important, though Malaria is generally not found in areas of higher altitude and therefore very low risk at the sites visited above.  Quininde is the only exception where Malaria is present, though Bilsa at present is Malaria free.  Cholera vaccination is no longer 'prescribed by doctors in the UK', and up to date immunisation/prophylaxis information is readily available.



July 21st Depart Heathrow, London for Quito

July 22nd Arrival at 0630 at Quito.  Taxi to town to sort out JSB and later to terminal terrestre for bus to Ibarra, arriving at 1420.  1545 Ibarra to Impueran.  Arrival early evening.

July 23rd Cerro Mongus.  0615 walked up to the Páramo birded the area all day.

July 24th Cerro Mongus, upper Páramo.

July 25th Cerro Mongus in the morning.  1430 truck to Rio Chota, bus to Ibarra.  Overnight in Residencial Colón.

July 26th 0730 bus to La Carolina.  In the early afternoon truck to Los Juntas, walked to Santa Rosa, overnight in the hut.

July 27th Santa Rosa to El Corazón, excellent birding all day.

July 28th Cerro Golondrinas

July 29th Cerro Golondrinas

July 30th 0620 started walk back to Los Juntas, birding on route.  Overnight at Los Juntas.

July 31st 0500 bus from Los Juntas to Ibarra.  Bus to Quito, bus to Quininde.  Overnight in Hotel Sans.

Aug 1st 0820 bus to Herrera.  Walked to La Y, and onto Bilsa, arriving at 2000 in the dark.

Aug 2nd Jatun Sacha Bilsa (JSB)

Aug 3rd JSB

Aug 4th JSB

Aug 5th JSB

Aug 6th JSB

Aug 7th JSB

Aug 8th 0710 walked from the HQ at Bilsa to la Y and onto Herrera.  Truck to Quininde, overnight in Hotel Sans.

Aug 9th 0850 bus from Quininde to Santo Domingo, 1330 bus to Mindo, arriving at 1730.  Overnight in Hostal Guadual.

Aug 10th Mindo

Aug 11th Mindo

Aug 12th Mindo

Aug 13th 0530 Mindo to Bellavista stopping on route for Giant Antpitta.

Aug 14th Bellavista

Aug 15th Bellavista

Aug 16th Birding until 1200.  Truck at 1500 to Quito.

Aug 17th Bellavista in the morning.  Overnight bus to Huaquillas in Peru.


I would like to thank my traveling colleagues for their expertise in shopping for provisions for the treks and especially to Neil for having an even shorter and more ridiculous haircut than myself.  In the UK we would like to thank Jon Hornbuckle for gen on the sites visited, to Chris Collins and Alan Lewis for help with recordings and Chris for more specific gen at Bellavista.  At Cerro Golondrinas Piet Sabbe was very helpful and made our visit a success, whereas at Bilsa we thank the Earthwatch volunteers and staff for looking after us, finding spare clothes and cooking superb food.  Karl Berg was a pleasure to bird with and provided very useful on the spot information at Bilsa.  At Mindo the Ramirez family looked after us in there hostal and Vinício helped us locate Giant Antpitta.  Finally at Bellavista, Dustin Becker gave us some red-hot gen that enabled us greatly in seeing Tanager Finch.  Finally the people of Ecuador should be thanked for their hospitality and helpfulness.



This high altitude site is covered in the excellent guide, A Guide to Bird watching in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.  We traveled to the area from Quito on a public bus to Ibarra, journey time a few hours, cost 10000 sucres each.  On arrival at Ibarra we shopped for provisions for our visit to Cerro Mongus and left Ibarra an hour later on another public bus to the Rio Chota, cost 7000 sucres each.  At the river we jumped off the bus and hitched a lift on a truck to Caldera de San Francisco 5 km away.  In the village we caught another truck to Impueran about an hour away for 80000 sucres each.  The only problem with this site was the basic accommodation in the village though there is the possibility of camping which would also do away with the steep uphill walk from the village each morning to access the forest.  If this was the preferred option one would need to take cooking equipment and ensure that the tent was very good as the weather at this site is often appalling with heavy rain, strong winds and very low temperatures.  The area to bird for the specialities is marked on the map in the site guide, though we failed to see Crescent-faced Antpitta (Grallaria lineifrons) and Chestnut-bellied Cotinga (Doliornis remseni).


This excellent site is not covered in the site guide for some reason but is certainly a must on any birding trip to Ecuador if time permits.  The reserve has been previously visited by Jon Hornbuckle and Robin Brace a few years before and yielded some quality birds difficult to see elsewhere in Ecuador (see references).  The key person to contact is Piet Sabbe who runs the Cerro Golondrinas cloud forest project and is able to arrange transport, accommodation and a cook if required for a stay in the basic but very comfortable lodge at El Corazón.

The reserve itself covers the páramo area, cloud forest and sub tropical forest.  The main birding site is at El Corazón where there is a lodge overlooking a superb forested valley.  The first part of the journey involves either walking with mules to the village of Las Juntas or as we did, hire a truck from Piet to Las Juntas, stopping on route to stock up on fresh vegetables at the market.  Once at Las Juntas we used mules to transport the bags and our food whilst we walked with the minimum amount of belongings to the small hut at Santa Rosa one hour away where we spent the night.  The next morning we walked steadily uphill to the lodge at El Corazón which is easily found as it is the only building up here and there appeared to be only one track uphill.  The birding from Las Juntas to Santa Rosa is probably quite good though we spent very little time on this section as we wanted to reach Santa Rosa before nightfall.  The forested track from here to El Corazón would certainly be worth exploring though again we were keen to push on further up the hill and consequently saw very few birds despite the excellent forest.  The main area that we concentrated on was the forested hills above the lodge the main area studied by Hornbuckle and Brace where we encountered several of the key birds hoped for.  (Piet Sabbe E-mail address )


This fantastic site will remain firmly etched in the memory of anyone that visits as the birds here are unforgettable and the birding conditions are to say the least, very demanding.  This site is well covered in the site guide but it doesn’t fully emphasise the amount of mud that is present at this site from the moment you leave the research station to every trail that we visited.  The area is one of the wettest on earth and the local name ‘El Páramo’ describes it well.  To access the forest most people arrive at the town of Quininde, organise a vehicle to the small village of Herrera and once here attempt to take the vehicle further on to La Y (pronounced La Yeh) where the option of walking in or riding in by mule needs to be considered.  We opted to walk in with our day sacks and have our rucksacks brought up later by mule to the lodge at Bilsa where we spent seven nights.

The research station is very comfortable with all meals provided for the cost of $20 per person per day payable at the research station.  We contacted Bilsa in advance from the UK but never received a reply, therefore visited the office in Quito as soon as we arrived to ensure that we would be able to stay at the research station.  Only one member of staff at the office in Quito spoke English and they could find no trace of our letter from the UK.

At Bilsa we were fortunate to meet Karl Berg who had been studying the avifauna at Bilsa for several months and pointed us in the right direction to see some of the specialities.
The area to concentrate on will very much depend on the species one is interested in seeing.  We concentrated on a few trails only, the Piscinas trail, the trail at the back of the HQ accessed from behind the 'weather station', and the Red trail (ask the staff to help you find this trail).  The other areas to bird from are the observation tower in the grounds of the HQ, a good vantage point over the forest with the possibility of seeing Long-wattled Umbrellabird (Cephalopterus penduliger) and the road past the entrance to the red trail.  There are several other trails to bird but some are located further away from the HQ, which according to Karl will probably produce slightly different birds.  (Bilsa E-mail address or Fax 5932441592 plus the country code.)


This well-known area is excellent for birding with a large number of species readily seen within a short distance of the village of Mindo.  This site is well covered in the site guide to Ecuador with a full species list for the area.  Some of the higher altitude birds found only at the refúgio trail are also found at Bellavista and easily accessed from the lodge.  At Mindo we enlisted the help of the local bird guide, Vinício Perez who knows the area well and may be able to show you Club-winged Manakin (Machaeropterus deliciosus), Common Potoo (Nyctibius griseus) in the daytime and Esmeraldas Antbird (Myrmeciza nigricauda).  He also knows where to see Giant Antpitta (Grallaria gigantea), which we studied at close range at a site on route to Bellavista.


This superb birding site is an excellent place to spend a few days, located only a few hours out of Quito.  The site is reached by contacting Richard Parsons who can arrange transport to the lodge from Quito, or from Mindo by finding a local to take you there as we did.  Once at Bellavista there are plenty of trails to bird, as well as the main road past the lodge and the grounds of the lodge itself.  There are numerous hummingbird feeders at the lodge with some situated outside the rooms on your own personal balcony.  The speciality species, Tanager Finch, Swallow-tailed Nightjar, Ocellated Tapaculo, Beautiful Jay, White-faced Nunbird, and Gorgetted Sunangel are all found reasonably near to the lodge, and Richard keeps a logbook of recent birds sightings which may help.  About 1km from the lodge is the research station, where it is also possible to stay for a fraction of the cost, though you have to cook all your own food (details from Richard).  The lodge cost approximately $50 a day for a shared room and three meals a day, mostly vegetarian food, though excellent.  To contact Richard, you may send him E-mail or check out his web site at

Please note that as with all the email addresses given in this report they may well have changed recently.


JSB = Jatun Sacha Bilsa

TORRENT DUCK Merganetta armata

Two at Cerro Golondrinas on the river near to Los Juntas were seen as we walked towards the lodge at Santa Rosa.

CATTLE EGRET Bulbulcus ibis

Five at Cerro Golondrinas were the only ones and probably overlooked elsewhere.

BLACK VULTURE Coragyps atratus

One at Cerro Golondrinas, common at JSB.

TURKEY VULTURE Catharates aura

One at Cerro Golondrinas, common at JSB and Mindo.

SWALLOW-TAILED KITE Elanoides forfacatus

Three along road from JSB to Quininde in the late morning.

PLUMBEOUS HAWK Leucopternis plumbea

One attendant at an ant swarm at JSB and another on the trail at the back of the HQ.  This species was easily approached and appeared to be more intent on looking for prey rather than worry about our presence.  Classed as Near Threatened by Birdlife International.

BARRED HAWK Leucopternis princeps

Three soaring above the HQ at JSB on 5/8, usually two most days, one at Mindo.

GREY-BACKED HAWK Leucopternis occidentalis

One at JSB over the HQ.  Classed as Endangered by Birdlife International

BLACK-CHESTED BUZZARD-EAGLE Geranoaetus melanoleucus

One at Cerro Mongus observed over the páramo.

ROADSIDE HAWK Buteo magnirostris

One at Cerro Golondrinas, up to four at JSB, common at Mindo.

WHITE-RUMPED HAWK Buteo leucorrhous

One at Bellavista near to the lodge.

ZONE-TAILED HAWK Buteo albonotatus

Observed daily at JSB.

LAUGHING FALCON Herpetotheres cachinnans

One along road from JSB to La Y in an area where there were few trees, mostly agricultural.

BARRED FOREST-FALCON Micrastur ruficollis

Two at Cerro Golondrinas above 3000m were initially heard calling, heard daily at JSB.  Easily lured into view by tape playback.

AMERICAN KESTREL Falco sparverius

One near to Impueran, a few at Cerro Golondrinas, one at Mindo.


One at Bellavista soaring overhead.

ANDEAN GUAN Penelope montagnii

Nine at Cerro Mongus were often seen at very close range despite this species presumably being hunted for meat.

SICKLE-WINGED GUAN Chamaepetes goudotii

One at Cerro Golondrinas above 3000m, two at Mindo, six near to Bellavista, often seen clambering around in the canopy and feeding on fruit.

WHITE-THROATED CRAKE Laterallus albigularis

Two at JSB, heard along road between HQ and La Y, heard at Mindo.  This species can be tape lured in and approaches extremely close for excellent views as long as there are gaps in the dense grass to view it.

BROWN WOOD-RAIL Aramides wolfi

One probable at JSB on red trail was seen perched at the base of a tree but unfortunately all the salient features were not observed.  This large dull brown bird with a green bill didn't respond to canned tape of any Wood Rails.

BAND-TAILED PIGEON Columba fasciata

Twenty at Cerro Mongus, three at Bellavista.

PLUMBEOUS PIGEON Columba plumbea

Five at Mindo on one day only.

RUDDY PIGEON Columba subvinacea

Common at Cerro Golondrinas, and JSB.

DUSKY PIGEON Columba goodsoni

Two at JSB perched in the canopy were the only individuals observed despite one week in the area.  Many Columba species were heard calling; though rarely seen.

EARED DOVE Zenaida auriculata

Common at Cerro Mongus around the village.

PALLID DOVE Leptopila pallida

Probably heard at JSB, this species was never seen for certain.


One heard at Mindo and Bellavista.

BRONZE-WINGED PARROT Pionus chalcopterus

Two at Cerro Golondrinas, four at JSB, probably overlooked as most of the time we were in the forest with limited viewpoints.

BARRED PARAKEET Bolborynchus lineola

30 over Bellavista were heard calling and observed flying overhead at great height most mornings and evenings.


Two perched in sub canopy feeding on fruits along the red trail.

BLUE-HEADED PARROT Pionus menstuus

Five at JSB near HQ, five along road past red trail.

ROSE-FACED PARROT Pionopsitta pulchra

This superb Parrot was regularly seen at JSB near the HQ, and was very common along the road past the red trail.

RED-BILLED PARROT Pionus sordidus

Twenty at Mindo were the only ones seen on the trip.

MEALY PARROT Amazona farinosa

Up to three daily at JSB.


Three daily at JSB, three at Mindo, one at Bellavista, commonly heard.

RUFOUS-BANDED OWL Ciccaba albitarsus

One at El Corazón in Cerro Golondrinas was heard calling very early morning and watched by spotlight sitting on a tree stump outside the lodge for ten minutes as it looked for prey on the grass.

CRESTED OWL Lophostrix cristata

One heard one evening at JSB was a long way off and not possible to approach without trekking up into the forest and tempting breaking a few limbs in the process.

MOTTLED OWL Ciccaba virgata

Heard nightly at JSB, two seen early morning on 3/8 in the trees behind the toilet block at the HQ.  The birds responded to tape playback and were easily observed in the sub canopy.

COMMON POTOO Nyctibius griseus

Heard at JSB, one seen at roost at Mindo was shown to us by Vinício, heard at Bellavista on one night only.

RUFOUS-BELLIED NIGHTHAWK Lurocalis rufiventris

Two at Bellavista on the road at dusk about 500m up the road from the lodge.

BAND-WINGED NIGHTJAR Caprimulgus longirostris

One at Bellavista at dusk on the road.
SWALLOW-TAILED NIGHTJAR Uropsalis segmentata

One at Bellavista showed very well briefly early morning near to Neils Krabbes house.  The bird was initially heard calling before flying overhead twice at a time when Neil was otherwise indisposed out of view.


Only one individual seen flying over JSB.

GREY-RUMPED SWIFT Chaetura cinereiventris

Thirty at JSB.  Other unidentified Chaetura species were seen at other sites.

WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT Streptoprocne zonaris

Common at Cerro Golondrinas, twenty at JSB, common at Mindo and Bellavista often in very large flocks.


Fifty at Bellavista flew close to the lodge on the last morning.


Three at JSB along the red trail seen perched up.

WHITE-WHISKERED HERMIT Phaethornis yaruqui

At least ten seen at JSB, up to six some days, one at Mindo.  One of the more regularly seen Hummingbird species at Bilsa often at leks.

TAWNY-BELLIED HERMIT Phaethornis syrmatophorus

Three at Cerro Golondrinas, one at Bellavista.

LITTLE HERMIT Phaethornis longuemareus

Four at JSB.


One at Cerro Golondrinas below El Corazón was seen feeding on flowers at very close range, one at JSB.

TOOTH-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD Androdon aequatorialis

Six at JSB along the red trail favoured one small area observed feeding on epiphytic plants in sub canopy.  Bilsa is evidently a good site for this species that could be observed daily in this particular area during our stay.

BROWN VIOLETEAR Colibri delphinae

One daily at Mindo near to the lodge.

GREEN VIOLETEAR Colibri thalassinus

A few daily at Bellavista at the feeders.

SPARKLING VIOLETEAR Colibri corruscans

One at Bellavista at the feeders.


Three daily at JSB, one at Mindo.


One at JSB on the red trail.


One daily at JSB near HQ, two along red trail at JSB, common at Mindo.

SPECKLED HUMMINGBIRD Adelomyia melanogenys

Reasonably common at Bellavista often seen coming to the feeders.

FAWN-BREASTED BRILLIANT Heliodoxa rubinoides

One at Bellavista was seen daily at the feeders or sitting in the trees nearby.


One at JSB.

MOUNTAIN VELVETBREAST Lafresnaya lafresnayi

Three at Cerro Mongus near to the lodge at El Corazón.
GREAT SAPPHIREWING Pterophanes coeligena

Two at Cerro Mongus.

BROWN INCA Coeligena wilsoni

One at Cerro Golondrinas, one at Mindo.

COLLARED INCA Coeligena torquata

Three at Cerro Golondrinas, six at Bellavista on or near the feeders.


Four daily at Cerro Mongus often in high aerial display.


One at Cerro Mongus seen at close range near to the village the only one seen on the entire trip.

BUFF-TAILED CORONET Boissonneaua flavescens

Twenty at Bellavista, probably the most common Hummingbird species around the lodge.

GORGETED SUNANGEL Heliangelus strophianus

One probable at Mindo and up to two daily at Bellavista.


Two at Cerro Mongus, one of three puffleg species at this site.


One at Cerro Mongus.


Four at Cerro Mongus.

HOARY PUFFLEG Haplophaedia aureliae

One at 3000m above El Corazón in Cerro Golondrinas was observed for five minutes at close range resting close to the trail.  Classed as near threatened by Birdlife International.

PURPLE-BIBBED WHITETIP Urosticte benjamini

Two at Mindo, both females.

BOOTED RACQUET-TAIL Ocreatus underwoodii

Three at Mindo.


One at Cerro Mongus.

PURPLE-BACKED THORNBILL Ramphomicron microrhynchum

Five at Cerro Mongus.

TYRIAN METALTAIL Mettalura tyrianthina

Common at Cerro Mongus.


Four at Cerro Mongus.

LONG-TAILED SYLPH Aglaiocercus kingi

Three at Cerro Mongus.

VIOLET-TAILED SYLPH Aglaiocercus coelistis

One to two daily at Mindo.

PURPLE-CROWNED FAIRY Heliothryx barroti

One at JSB along the red trail.


One at Bellavista was seen daily at the feeders but was often pushed off by the larger Hummingbird species.  The species was easily located as a result of its 'humming' sound almost bee like.


One at Bellavista was seen on the last day only and very similar in plumage to the previous species.

GOLDEN-HEADED QUETZAL Pharomachrus auriceps

One at Cerro Golondrinas, five at Mindo.

WHITE-EYED TROGON Trogon comptus

One at JSB on the trail at the back of the HQ.

COLLARED TROGON Trogon collaris

One daily at JSB.


Two at JSB.

MASKED TROGON Trogon personatus

One at Cerro Mongus, a few at Cerro Golondrinas, four at Bellavista.

VIOLACEOUS TROGON Trogon violaceus

One at JSB.


Two at JSB along the red trail, a rarely seen species at Bilsa.

RUFOUS MOTMOT Baryphthengus martii

One heard daily at JSB.

BROAD-BILLED MOTMOT Electron platyrhynchum

One heard at Mindo was not seen (call identified by Vinício).

WHITE-WHISKERED PUFFBIRD Malacoptila panamensis

One at JSB on the red trail.

WHITE-FACED NUNBIRD Hapaloptila castanea

One seen above El Corazón at Cerro Golondrinas by KT and NB could not be located later despite tape playback and plenty of searching.

LEMON-THROATED BARBET Eubucco richardsoni

One at Cerro Golondrinas was seen near to Santa Rosa on the trail up to El Corazón

RED-HEADED BARBET Eubucco bourcierii

Two daily at JSB, three at Mindo.

TOUCAN BARBET Semnornis ramphastinus

Three at Cerro Golondrinas, four at Mindo one at Bellavista.  Classed as near threatened by Birdlife International.

CRIMSON-RUMPED TOUCANET Aulacorhynchus haematopygus

Two at Cerro Golondrinas, one at JSB, common at Mindo.

PALE-MANDIBLED ARACARI Pteroglossus erythropygius

Regularly seen at JSB with maximum of twelve on 4/8, ten at Mindo from the approach road to the village.


Eight at Cerro Golondrinas, seven on one day, two at Bellavista, an easily seen species at all these sites.  Classed as near threatened by Birdlife International.


Three daily at Cerro Mongus at the edge of the forest on route to the páramo.  Classed as near threatened by Birdlife International.

CHESTNUT-MANDIBLED TOUCAN Rhamphastos swainsonii

Up to two daily at JSB.

CHOCO TOUCAN Rhamphastos brevis

Three at JSB, four at Mindo located by call.

OLIVACEOUS PICULET Picumnus olivaceus

Four at JSB, heard at Mindo.
BLACK-CHEEKED WOODPECKER Melanerpes pulcherani

One at JSB.

SCARLET-BACKED WOODPECKER Veniliornis callonotus

One at JSB.


One at Cerro Golondrinas.

BAR-BELLIED WOODPECKER Veniliornis nigriceps

Two at Cerro Mongus, one at Cerro Golondrinas, one of the few Woodpecker species in range at this altitude.

SMOKY-BROWN WOODPECKER Veniliornis fumigatus

One at Mindo.

RED-RUMPED WOODPECKER Veniliornis kirkii

One at JSB.


One at JSB near HQ, one on red trail.

GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER Piculus chrysochloros

Two at JSB.


Two at Cerro Golondrinas, two at Bellavista, a superb species.

LINEATED WOODPECKER Dryocopus lineatus

One at JSB.

POWERFUL WOODPECKER Campephilus pollens

One at Cerro Golondrinas, one at Bellavista.

TYRANNINE WOODCREEPER Dendocincla tyrannina

One at Cerro Golondrinas near to the lodge at El Corazón.

PLAIN-BROWN WOODCREEPER Dendrocincla fuliginosa

Two daily at JSB, one at Mindo, one at Bellavista.

WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER Glyphorynchus spirurus

Common at JSB, one caught by Karl Berg on the piscinas trail.

STRONG-BILLED WOODCREEPER Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus

Two at Mindo, one at Bellavista.

SPOTTED WOODCREEPER Xiphorhynchus erythropygius

Three at JSB along the red trail.

MONTANE WOODCREEPER Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger

Three at Mindo, two at Bellavista, seven at Cerro Golondrinas.

PACIFIC HORNERO Furnarius leucopus

Two at JSB, common at Mindo in the village.

AZARA'S SPINETAIL Synallaxis azarae

Four at Bellavista, several others heard.

SLATY SPINETAIL Synallaxis brachyura

Two at Cerro Golondrinas, four at Los Juntas, common at Mindo.

RUFOUS SPINETAIL Synallaxis unirufa

Three at Cerro Golondrinas.

RED-FACED SPINETAIL Crinioleuca erythrops

Two at JSB, a few at Mindo.

SPOTTED BARBTAIL Premnoplex brunnescens
Two at JSB along red trail, a new species for the area?  One at Bellavista.

STREAKED TUFTEDCHEEK Pseudocolaptes boissonneautii

Two at Cerro Mongus, three at Bellavista.

SCALY-THROATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER Anabacerthia variegaticeps

Two at JSB on piscinas trail, three on red trail, common at Mindo.


One at Mindo.


Three at Mindo.

STRIPED TREEHUNTER Thripadectes holostictus

One at Cerro Golondrinas, one at Bellavista.

PLAIN XENOPS Xenops minutus

Two along red trail at JSB.

STREAKED XENOPS Xenops rutilans

One at Mindo.

WESTERN SLATY-ANTSHRIKE Thamnophilus atrinucha

Three at JSB.

UNIFORM ANTSHRIKE Thamnophilus unicolor

One located initially by its call at Bellavista.

RUSSET ANTSHRIKE Thamnistes anabatinus

Two at JSB.

IMMACULATE ANTBIRD Myrmeciza immaculata

One seen at JSB heard daily on all trails.
BICOLORED ANTBIRD Gymnopithys rufigula

One at JSB was seen extremely well at an ant swarm.

PLAIN ANTVIREO Dysithamnus stictothorax

One individual of this widespread Neotropical species at JSB.

SPOT-CROWNED ANTVIREO Dysithamnus puncticeps

Up to seven at JSB, a species found as far north as Colombia.

PACIFIC-STREAKED ANTWREN Myrmotherula pacifica

Four at JSB, two with rings possibly ringed by Jon Hornbuckle a few years before according to Karl Berg.

CHECKER-THROATED ANTWREN Myrmotherula fulviventris

One only at JSB.

WHITE-FLANKED ANTWREN Myrmotherula axillaris

Two at JSB.

SLATY ANTWREN Myrmotherula schisticolor

Three at JSB in mixed species feeding flocks.

DOT-WINGED ANTWREN Microrhopias quixensis

One at JSB.

LONG-TAILED ANTBIRD Drymophila caudata

Ten at Cerro Golondrinas, one daily at Bellavista, many others heard.

DUSKY ANTBIRD Cercomacra tyrannina

One at Mindo.


Two seen at JSB, others heard only.

RUFOUS-BREASTED ANTTHRUSH Formicarius rufipectus

Heard at Mindo, we didn't attempt to see the bird.

UNDULATED ANTPITTA Grallaria squamigera

One eventually seen extremely well at Cerro Mongus was difficult to locate due to its habit of remaining well-hidden on cross branches a few metres up behind dense tangles.

GIANT ANTPITTA Grallaria gigantea

One near to Bellavista was tape lured into view.  A superb species but a very difficult bird to see despite vocalising very close.  Once located we were able to observe the species for 30 minutes as it hopped along the forest floor feeding in the moss on a steep slope.  Classed as Vulnerable by Birdlife International.

SCALED ANTPITTA Grallaria guatamelensis

One heard at Mindo was reasonably close but unfortunately not seen.


One seen at Bellavista towards dusk hopping along the main road near to the research hut was reasonably approachable and not bothered by our presence.  Apparently this is a regular site for this species and well worth walking the road at dawn or dusk in the hope of locating this species'.  Others heard daily on the trails were not seen.

YELLOW-BREASTED ANTPITTA Grallaria flavotincta

Two at Cerro Golondrinas, four heard.  This would appear to be an excellent site for this species which given time is not too difficult to find.  The birds were always well hidden in dense tangles often only a metre or so off the ground, but once located remained motionless for long periods of time.  Judging by calling birds the population above and below El Corazón is reasonably healthy.

CRESCENT-FACED ANTPITTA Grallaricula lineifrons

One heard at Cerro Mongus was extremely close but couldn't be seen.  The bird only called once and despite a lot of time given to seeing the species no others were ever heard again in the remaining days.  This fantastic species is only found at a few sites in Ecuador and Colombia, but despite two trips to known sites for this species, it still remains on our wanted list.

NARIÑO TAPACULO Scytalopus vicinior

Two at Cerro Golondrinas, one heard at Mindo and Bellavista.  Easy to see with a recording.

SPILLMANN'S TAPACULO Scytalopus spillmani

Common at Cerro Golondrinas and Bellavista, easily seen with a recording.

ASH-COLOURED TAPACULO Scytalopus senilis

One seen at Bellavista others heard, alike the other scytalopus species easily seen with a tape.

OCELLATED TAPACULO Acropternis orthonyx

One seen at Bellavista, commonly heard usually in very dense bamboo or way off in the valleys and therefore impossible to see or even lure in.

RED-CRESTED COTINGA Ampelion rubrocristatus

Four at Cerro Mongus perched in the canopy of trees above the village where a track entered the valley.

SCALED FRUITEATER Ampelioides tschudii

One along red trail at JSB was only seen briefly in a fruiting tree, whilst two were seen daily at Mindo.  Classed as near threatened by Birdlife International.


Two at Bellavista were the only individuals encountered.

RUFOUS PIHA Lipaugus lanioides

Three at JSB, a species found from Ecuador to Mexico.


Six seen at JSB others heard calling.

BLACK-TIPPED COTINGA Carpodectes hopkei

One at JSB near to HQ, six along road past red trail about 2.5km from HQ.  A fantastic species and well worth visiting Bilsa for.  This species has a restricted range from the border of Panama with Colombia to Ecuador, and certainly the chances of encountering this species appeared to be reasonably high in the area visited.  The birds were easy to locate due to their whiteness and perching on the highest and most prominent branches of trees.  Classed as near threatened by Birdlife International.

LONG-WATTLED UMBRELLABIRD Cephalopterus penduliger
Three sightings at JSB, the main reasons for visiting Bilsa.  According to Karl Berg the species is seen at many different localities with the platform overlooking the canopy at the HQ a reasonably reliable site.  The birds are heard daily as they move across the forest patches, the birds we observed were towards dusk on the piscinas trail and along the road past the red trail in the morning and mid afternoon.  This species should be located if several days are spent in the area.  Classed as Vulnerable by Birdlife International.

ANDEAN COCK OF THE ROCK Rupicola peruviana

Three at Mindo were seen briefly, Vinício knows where this species leks.


Six at JSB, a species also found into southern Mexico.

GOLDEN-WINGED MANAKIN Masius chrysopterus

One at Cerro Golondrinas, two at JSB near HQ, two on red trail, one at Mindo.  All birds reasonably approachable.


Two daily at JSB.

STREAK-NECKED FLYCATCHER Mionectes striaticollis

Common at Cerro Golondrinas, probable at Bellavista.  The birds at Bellavista are either this species or Olive-striped Flycatcher according to Dustin Becker, who has trapped many individuals.


Two daily at JSB.  See above for Bellavista.

SLATY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER Leptopogon superciliaris

One only at JSB.

RUFOUS-HEADED PYGMY-TYRANT Pseudotriccus ruficeps

Up to two daily at Cerro Golondrinas, an excellent little bird.

COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER Todirostrum cinereum

One daily at JSB, one at Mindo.
ASHY-HEADED TYRANNULET Phyllomyias cinereiceps

Two at Mindo.

TAWNY-RUMPED TYRANNULET Phyllomyias uropygialis

Only one seen at Cerro Mongus at the edge of the forest was above the upper altitudinal range of 3100m for this species stated in Ridgely.  The species is recorded in the site guide to the area though, and Cerro Mongus is only a recently visited area.


Two at Cerro Golondrinas, two at JSB.

BROWN-CAPPED TYRANNULET Ornithion brunneicapillum

One at JSB observed on the nest along the road past the red trail.


Two at JSB, one at Mindo of this uninspiring species.

YELLOW TYRANNULET Capsiempis flaveolus

One at Mindo.

YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA Elaenia flavogaster

One bird at Mindo was tentatively identified as this species.


Two Elaenias presumably this species at Bellavista.

WHITE-TAILED TYRANNULET Mecocerculus poecilocercus

Six at Bellavista.

AGILE TIT TYRANT Anairetes agilis

Four of this smart little bird at Cerro Mongus.

MARBLE-FACED BRISTLE-TYRANT Phylloscartes opthalmicus

Three at Mindo.
SPECTACLED BRISTLE-TYRANT Phylloscartes orbitalis

An apparently rare and local species according to Ridgely, with one at Cerro Golondrinas the only individual seen in several days in the area near to El Corazón.

BLACK CAPPED PYGMY-TYRANT Myiornis atricapillus

One daily at JSB, a species found at the southern end of its range here, found as far north as Costa Rica.  A tiny bird seen and heard in the canopy of the trees adjacent to the piscinas trail in an area where Karl regularly encounters the species.

SCALE-CRESTED PYGMY-TYRANT Lophotriccus pileatus

The only individuals seen were two at Mindo.

FULVOUS-BREASTED FLATBILL Rhynchocyclus fulvipectus

Three at Cerro Golondrinas, an uncommon species (according to Ridgely) found only along the Andes discontinuously from Colombia to Bolivia.

ORNATE FLYCATCHER Myiotriccus ornatus

One at Cerro Golondrinas, common at JSB, and Mindo.


One at Mindo.

CINNAMON FLYCATCHER Pyrrhomyias cinnamomea

Eight at Cerro Golondrinas and five at Bellavista, including a pair nesting above our balcony in the lodge.


One at JSB.

CLIFF FLYCATCHER Hirundinea ferruginea

Two at Cerro Mongus.

SMOKE-COLOURED PEWEE Contopus fumigatus

Two at Cerro Golondrinas, one at JSB (the first recorded by Karl Berg?), and two at Bellavista.

BLACK PHOEBE Sayornis nigricans

One at Los Juntas, two at Mindo, all three seen on rocks in the rivers, typical of this species.

CROWNED-CHAT TYRANT Silvicultrix frontalis

One at Cerro Mongus in the stunted forest.


Two at Bellavista usually near to the entrance to the lodge.

RUFOUS-BREASTED CHAT-TYRANT Ochthoeca rufipectoralis

Two at Cerro Mongus.


Two at JSB with others heard, one heard at Mindo.

DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER Myiarchus tuberculifer

One at JSB.

TROPICAL KINGBIRD Tyrannus melancholicus

Two at Cerro Golondrinas, a few at JSB near HQ, common along road past red trail.

SOCIAL FLYCATCHER Myiozetetes similis

Three at JSB, common at Mindo.

GOLDEN-CROWNED FLYCATCHER Myiodynastes chrysocephalus

Two at Cerro Golondrinas, five at Mindo, two at Bellavista, a frequently-heard species.

THRUSH-LIKE MANAKIN Schiffornis turdinus

Two at JSB were very vocal.

BARRED BECARD Pachyramphus versicolor

One male at Cerro Golondrinas.

CINNAMON BECARD Pachyramphus cinnamomeus
Up to six daily at JSB.

BLACK-AND-WHITE BECARD Pachyramphus albogriseus

One at Mindo.

MASKED TITYRA Tityra semifasciata

Three at Mindo.

TURQUOISE JAY Cyanolyca turcosa

Eight at Bellavista were often encountered in small noisy feeding groups.

BEAUTIFUL JAY Cyanolyca pulchra

Two at Cerro Golondrinas below El Corazón, one of the specialities of the area.  Classed as near threatened by Birdlife International.


Two at Cerro Golondrinas.

SLATY-CAPPED SHRIKE-VIREO Vireolanius leucotis

One heard at JSB, a monotonous 'teer' call repeated endlessly.

RED-EYED VIREO Vireo olivaceus

One at JSB common at Mindo.

BROWN-CAPPED VIREO Vireo leucophrys

Three at Cerro Golondrinas common at Mindo, one at Bellavista.

WHITE-CAPPED DIPPER Cinclus leucocephalus

One at Los Juntas, on the river near to the village.

ANDEAN SOLITAIRE Myadestes coloratus

Two at Mindo in the forest above the village near the Club-winged Manakin lek.

GREAT THRUSH Turdus fuscater

Common at Cerro Mongus and Bellavista.


Common and approachable at Bellavista.

ECUADOREAN THRUSH Turdus maculirostris

One at Mindo.

BAND-BACKED WREN Campylorhynchus zonatus

One at JSB.

RUFOUS WREN Cinnycerthia unirufa

Four at Cerro Mongus, in the lower forest.

SEPIA-BROWN WREN Cinnycerthia peruana

Two daily at Bellavista.

PLAIN-TAILED WREN Thryothorus euoprys

Five at Bellavista were usually encountered in bamboo.

WHISKERED WREN Thryothorus mystacalis

Two in scrub along the road past red trail at JSB were incredibly difficult to see at times, as they remained partly hidden in dense vegetation.

BAY WREN Thryothorus nigricapillus

One at Los Juntas, common at JSB and Mindo.

HOUSE WREN Troglodytes aedon

Three at Cerro Golondrinas, two at Los Juntas, common at Mindo.

MOUNTAIN WREN Troglodytes solstitialis

One at Cerro Mongus, one at Mindo.

GREY-BREASTED MOUNTAIN WREN Henicorhina leucophrys

Common at Cerro Golondrinas, Mindo, and Bellavista.

SOUTHERN-NIGHTINGALE WREN Microcerculus marginatus

One seen at JSB, commonly heard, also heard at Mindo.  The bird seen at Bilsa on the red trail was easily taped in and photographed at close range.  Once nearby the bird remained in view for quite a time.

SONG WREN Cyphorhinus phaeocephalus

One seen well at close range at JSB appeared to be sheltering from rain under some overhanging palm leaves.


Two at JSB.

BLUE AND WHITE SWALLOW Notiochelidon cyanoleuca

Common at Cerro Golondrinas and Bellavista.

WHITE-THIGHED SWALLOW Neochelidon tibialis

Five at JSB were perched in a dead tree along the road past the red trail with Rough-winged Swallows.

SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW Stelgidopteryx ruficollis

Common at JSB and Mindo.

ANDEAN SISKIN Carduelis spinescens

Three at Cerro Mongus, at the southern end of its range.

HOODED SISKIN Carduelis magellanica

Five at Cerro Mongus.

YELLOW-BELLIED SISKIN Carduelis xanthogastra

Two at JSB, five at JSB.

TROPICAL PARULA Parula pitiayumi

Five at Cerro Golondrinas common at Mindo.

One at JSB.


Five at Cerro Golondrinas, common at Mindo and Bellavista.

SPECTACLED WHITESTART Myioborus melanocephalus

Ten at Cerro Mongus, one at Bellavista.

GOLDEN-BELLIED (CHOCO) WARBLER Basileuterus chrysogaster

Up to three daily at JSB.

BLACK-CRESTED WARBLER Basileuterus nigrocristatus

Six at Cerro Mongus, two at Bellavista.

RUSSET-CROWNED WARBLER Basileuterus coronatus

Five at Cerro Golondrinas above 3000m.

THREE-STRIPED WARBLER Basileuterus tristriatus

Common at Cerro Golondrinas, Mindo and Bellavista.

BUFF-RUMPED WARBLER Basileuterus fulvicauda

One at Los Juntas, three at JSB.

RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW Zonotrichia capensis

Common at Cerro Mongus, Cerro Golondrinas and Mindo.

ORANGE-BILLED SPARROW Arremon aurantiirostris

One seen daily feeding on the forest floor at JSB.

PALE-NAPED BRUSH-FINCH Atlapetes pallidinucha

A few at Cerro Mongus.

RUFOUS-NAPED BRUSH-FINCH Atlapetes rufinucha
A few Brush Finches at Cerro Mongus were thought to be this species.


Two at Cerro Golondrinas and a Brush finch possibly this species heard at Mindo.

SLATY BRUSH-FINCH Atlapetes schistaceus

Six at Cerro Mongus feeding in the shrubby forest borders adjacent to the track on the walk up to the páramo, often in association with other Brush-Finch species.

CHESTNUT-CAPPED BRUSH-FINCH Atlapetes brunneinucha

Two at Cerro Golondrinas heard at Mindo, one at Bellavista.


Two at Cerro Mongus.

BANANAQUIT Coereba flaveola

Five at JSB common at Mindo.

CAPPED CONEBILL Conirostrum albifrons

Two at Bellavista.

GRASS-GREEN TANAGER Chlorornis riefferii

One at Cerro Golondrinas.

DUSKY-BELLIED BUSH-TANAGER Chlorospingus semifuscus

A few at Cerro Golondrinas, common at Bellavista.

YELLOW-THROATED BUSH TANAGER Chlorospingus flavovirens

Four at Cerro Golondrinas, common at JSB, three at Mindo.

SUPERCILIARED HEMISPINGUS Hemispingus superciliaris

Two at Cerro Mongus.

BLACK-EARED HEMISPINGUS Hemispingus melanotis

One at Bellavista.

DUSKY-FACED TANAGER Mitrospingus cassinii

Five daily at JSB.

OCHRE-BREASTED TANAGER Chlorothraupis stolzmanni

Common heard and a few seen early morning at JSB, when they tend to sit up high in the canopy of the trees adjacent to the road outside the lodge.  Judging by birds calling in the morning this species is very common at Bilsa but difficult to see as the day progresses.  This species is only found from Colombia to southern Ecuador on the Andean west slope.

WHITE-LINED TANAGER Tachyphonus rufus

Two at Mindo, a species that doesn't appear on the Mindo list in the site guide?

WHITE-WINGED TANAGER Piranga leucoptera

One male at Mindo.

FLAME-RUMPED TANAGER Ramphocelus flammigerus (icteronotus)

Ten at Cerro Golondrinas, common at JSB and Mindo.  All birds had bright yellow rump of the race icteronotus.

BLUE-GREY TANAGER Thraupis episcopus

Three at Los Juntas, two daily at JSB, common at Mindo.

PALM TANAGER Thraupis palmarum

Two daily at JSB, common at Mindo.

BLUE-CAPPED TANAGER Thraupis cyanocephala

Two at Bellavista.


Five at Cerro Mongus.


Ten at Cerro Mongus.
BLUE-WINGED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER Anisognathus somptuosus

Common at Cerro Golondrinas, five at Mindo and five at Bellavista.

FAWN-BREASTED TANAGER Pipraeidea melanonota

Five at Cerro Golondrinas common at Mindo.

METALLIC-GREEN TANAGER Tangara labradorides

Two at Mindo were surprisingly the only individuals seen during the trip.

THICK-BILLED EUPHONIA Euphonia laniirostris

Up to two daily at JSB and a few at Mindo.

GOLDEN-RUMPED EUPHONIA Euphonia cyanocephala

One at Mindo.

ORANGE-BELLIED EUPHONIA Euphonia xanthogaster

Eight at Cerro Golondrinas, eight at JSB common at Mindo.

GLISTENING-GREEN TANAGER Chlorochrysa phoenicotis

One at Cerro Golondrinas, Mindo and Bellavista, a species found only in Ecuador and Colombia along the Andean chain.


Three at JSB feeding in a fruiting tree in association with a Black-tipped Cotinga.

EMERALD TANAGER Tangara florida

Five at JSB, an uncommon species in Ecuador and found only in the north.

GOLDEN TANAGER Tangara arthus

Five at Cerro Golondrinas, common at Mindo and a few at Bellavista.

SILVER-THROATED TANAGER Tangara icterocephala

Seven at JSB.

SAFFRON-CROWNED TANAGER Tangara xanthocephala

Common at Cerro Golondrinas.

FLAME-FACED TANAGER Tangara parzudakii

Three at Cerro Golondrinas, common at Mindo and Bellavista.


Three at Cerro Golondrinas two at Mindo, a species restricted to Ecuador and neighbouring Colombia.


Up to four daily at JSB and a few at Mindo.

SCRUB TANAGER Tangara vitriolina

One along the road in roadside scrub at Los Juntas.  This species is only found in Colombia and Ecuador, and although common in scrubby areas birders do not often visit these areas and hence the species is not often reported.

GOLDEN-NAPED TANAGER Tangara ruficervix

Two daily at Cerro Golondrinas three at Mindo, one at Bellavista.

BLUE-NECKED TANAGER Tangara cyanicollis

Two at JSB and Mindo.

BERYL-SPANGLED TANAGER Tangara nigroviridis

Two at Cerro Golondrinas common at Mindo, five at Bellavista.


Three at Bellavista.

GREEN HONEYCREEPER Chlorophanes spiza

Two daily at JSB.

SWALLOW TANAGER Tersina viridis

One at Mindo.

PLUSHCAP Catamblyrhynchus diadema

Three at Cerro Golondrinas one at Bellavista.

TANAGER FINCH Oreothraupis arremonops

Two at Bellavista gave prolonged views on two dates late afternoon as they quietly fed in dense vegetation at the base of a slope adjacent to the road near to the research station.  The only calls heard were a very quiet double 'tsip'.  The birds were very approachable even allowing photographs to be taken as they fed literally a few metres away.  One of the specialities of Bellavista it is worth attempting to find out of any recent visits by other birders as this species appears to remain faithful to a particular area for periods of time.  Classed as Vulnerable by Birdlife International.

SLATY FINCH Haplospiza rustica

Five at Bellavista.  This species has a wide distribution from Mexico to Bolivia, but is rare to locally distributed and the individuals seen at Bellavista were feeding quietly in the bamboo and only in view for less than five minutes.  No others were seen in four months in South America.

VARIABLE SEEDEATER Sporophila americana

Two daily at JSB.

YELLOW-BELLIED SEEDEATER Sporophila nigricollis

Common at La Carolina, a few at Mindo.


Common at Cerro Mongus.


One at Mindo a scarce bird in Ecuador recorded at few sites according to BSA Vol.  1.


Two at Bellavista.

GLOSSY FLOWERPIERCER Diglossa lafresnayii

Two at Cerro Mongus.

Common at Cerro Mongus.

SOUTHERN YELLOW-GROSBEAK Pheucticus chrysogaster

One at Bellavista feeding in the trees overhanging the lodge.


Up to two daily at JSB in the dense forest on the red trail.


Maximum of seven at JSB, two at Mindo, one at Bellavista.

BLACK-WINGED SALTATOR Saltator atripennis

Two at JSB five at Mindo, a species restricted in range to Colombia and Ecuador.

GREYISH SALTATOR Saltator coerulescens

One at La Carolina in roadside scrub.

RUSSET-BACKED OROPENDOLA Psarocolius angustifrons

Common at Mindo.


Up to 40 at JSB, a species with limited distribution in South America.

SCARLET-RUMPED CACIQUE Cacicus uropygialis

Two at JSB.

GIANT COWBIRD Scaphidura oryzivora

50 at Mindo observed coming to roost in agricultural land near to the village.

A total of 317 species recorded.

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