Andes/Choco Tour – Details

Day 1

Arrival in Medellin. Night in Medellin.

Day 2

In the morning we will bird Alto La Romera, secondary montane forest near Medellin.
Some birds in La Romera include: Red-bellied Grackle, Stiles’ Tapaculo, Colombian Chachalaca, Yellow-headed Manakin, Metallic-green Tanager, Black-billed Peppershrike, Emerald Toucanet, Andean Motmot and Whiskered Wren. After lunch we drive to Rio Claro. Night in Rio Claro.

Day 3 RIO CLARO.

We will bird a full day. This is classic area, visited by many birding tours. You can enjoy the beautiful humid tropical forest and great biodiversity in this reserve. Target species : Little Tinamou, Blue-chested Hummingbird, White-mantled Barbet, Bronze-tailed plumeleteer, Antioquia Bristle-Tyrant, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, Fasciated Antshrike, Pacific Antwren, Slate-coloured Grosbeak, Yellow-backed Tanager, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Magdalena Antbird, Barred Puffbird, Beautiful Woodpecker, Dusky-faced Tanager, Lemon-rumped Tanager, Bicoloured Antbird, Cinnamon Woodpecker, Long-tailed Woodcreeper, Sooty Ant-Tanager, Oilbird, Bat Falcon, Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Olivaceous flatbill, Citron-throated Toucan, Chestnut-headed Oropendola, Black-faced Antthrush, Brownish Twistwing and Black-bellied Wren. Night in Rio Claro.

Day 4 RIO CLARO.

Birding in the morning here, and then transfer to La Victoria. Night in Victoria.

 ​Day 5 Birding in La Victoria, Caldas

We’ll spend our morning in the forest above La Victoria looking for several endemics including Sooty Ant-Tanager, Beautiful Woodpecker, White-mantled Barbet and Colombian Chachalaca. The forest holds many birds and we are sure to encounter a host of commoner species. Manakins are especially well-represented with the possibility of White-bearded, White-bibbed, Striped and Golden-headed. We’ll also keep an eye out for the endemic White-footed Tamarin, a primate which is being studied at this site. We’ll stay until late morning and then drop into the hot Magdalena valley stopping for lunch on the way. We’ll spend the afternoon in dry forest near Laguna del Hato where we hope to see the endemic Velvet-fronted Euphonia, both Jet and White-bellied Antbirds, Barred Puffbird, Rufous-tailed Jacamar and possibly Crested Bobwhite. We’ll spend the night in the foothills of the central Andes. Night in Libano.

Day 6

We’ll drive to the fragmented remnant forest above Libano for some roadside birding. Once more be looking for several endemics most especially Yellow-headed Brush-finch, Tolima Dove and the gaudy Crested Ant-Tanager. Other specialities may include Bar-crested Antshrike, Highland Motmot, Moustached Puffbird and Black-headed Brushfinch. We’ll stay until late morning before driving over Colombia’s central cordillera and dropping down to the city of Manizales. We may make one or two birding stops along the way. Night in Manizales.

Day 7

We’ll climb back out of the city to the high elevation Nevado del Ruiz National Park (13,000 feet). This will be our second chance to bird the paramo zone, but as we are on a different cordillera we hope for a slightly different mix of species including the endemic and very local Rufous-fronted Parakeet. Flowering bushes attract a number of colorful hummingbirds including Viridian Metaltail, Golden-breasted Puffleg and Shining Sunbeam. On occasion, the nomadic Black-thighed Puffleg can be present in some numbers, but at other times it’s absent. In the forest patches we’ll look for Paramo Tapaculo, White-banded Tyrannulet, Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager, and Black-backed Bush-Tanager. Tawny Antpittas are often very tame here and we’ll also search for the dazzling Buffy Helmetcrest. After lunch birding between Los Nevados and Manizales, and then do a spot of owling with targets including Rufous-banded and White-throated Screech-Owls. We’ll then return to our hotel in Manizales for the night.

Day 8

Today we’ll visit the Rio Blanco reserve for birding in the morning. We’ll arrive early and bird around the small lodge where we will look for such species as Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Sickle-winged Guan, Dusky Piha and Black-collared Jay. About an hour after dawn we’ll be led by a local guide to special antpitta feeding stations where we hope to enjoy close up views of the endemic Brown-banded Antpitta and the impressive Chestnut-crowned Antpitta. We also have a good chance of seeing Bicoloured, Chestnut-naped, Undulated and Slate-crowned Antpittas, all of which visit various feeding stations in the forest on and off throughout the year. We will spend much of the remande of the day exploring the excellent network of trails. The mixed flocks at this site are often large and varied and we will hope to connect with several species of hemispingus, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Pearled Treerunner and many tanagers. This site is also rich in skulkers and we will be looking for several tapaculos and the elusive Masked Saltator. We’ll take lunch at the lodge and enjoy the spectacular hummingbird show at the feeders. After lunch we transfer to Otum Quimbaya. Night in Otum Quimbaya.

Day 9

We’ll have the entire morning to look for birds around Quimbaya Otun, following a beautiful track through good forest at 6,500 feet. The endemic Cauca Guan is reasonably common here, and we also have a chance of seeing the endemic Chestnut Wood-Quail and the tricky Wattled Guan. We’ll be on the lookout for the endemic Multicoloured Tanager, as well as exciting mixed-species feeding flocks. Another attraction of this site is Red-ruffed Fruitcrow and we hope to obtain great views of this large and impressive cotinga. After lunch we transfer to Tatama National Park. Night in Montezuma Lodge.

Day 10

The Montezuma Lodge offers unsurpassed hospitality and magnifcent feeders and birding right from the lodge, and boast a 13 km road of pristine forest that covers a 1,400-meter (4,500 ft) altitudinal gradient. A very early start will have us at the top of the hill by sunrise, in hopes of making the best out of a long day of birding. Our targets at he higher elevation are the endemics Munchique Wood-Wren and Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer, which should be easy to see in the open areas of the top of the hill. The long descent will provide opportunities for some nice species, including Flame-faced Tanager, Glossy-black Thrush, Barred Fruiteater, Tanager Finch, and Black-and-gold, Rufous-throated, and Golden-chested Tanagers. We will have a picnic lunch along the way to maximize our birding. Also possible: Yellow-bellied antpitta, Hooded Antpitta, White-faced Nunbird. Night in montezuma lodge.

Day 11

The park never fails to provide, with thrilling Colombian endemics such as Gold-ringed Tanager and Chestnut Wood-Quail. Other species include : Olivaceus Piha, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Choco Vireo, Indigo flowerpiercer, Tricolored/Choco Brushfinch, Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia, Plain-backed Antpitta, Rufous-breasted Antthrush, Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Nariño Tapaculo, Toucan Barbet. We return to the lodge for Purple-throated Woodstar, Green Thorntail, White-tailed Hillstar, Andean Emerald and many others. Night in Montezuma Lodge.

Day 12

Transfer in the morning to Laguna de Sonso. Laguna de Sonso is an ancient oxbow lake of the cauca river near Buga. It is one of the only remaining wetlands. Here we will search the marshes and lagoons that line the Cauca River for Fulvous and Black-bellied Whistling-ducks, Roseate Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Anhinga Little Blue, Cocoi, and Striated herons, Snowy Egret, Black-necked Stilt and Snail Kite. Other interesting species might include the endemics Greyish Piculet or Apical flycatcher, Ruby-topaz Hummingbird, Dwarf Cuckoo, Horned Screamer, Black-billed Cuckoo, Jet Antbird, Spot-breasted Woodpecker and Greater Ani. After lunch we transfer to Cali. Night in Cali.

Day 13

We spend the day birding in the Chicoral Dapa área. The most sought after species in the área are the endemic Multicoloured Tanager, Chestnut Wood-Quail, Metallic-green Tanager, Silver-throated Tanager, Golden Tanager, Blue-headed Sapphire, Crowned Woodnymph, Saffron-crowned Tanager, Beryl-spangled Tanager, and many others. After lunch we will head to the town Queremal to our hotel. Night in queremal.

Day 14

The area around Quemeral is very productive, and most birders come away impressed. Birding is from the road 2 hours from the hotel. Birds that are regulary seen include: Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, Yellow-collared Chlorophonia, Golden-chested tanager, Blue-whiskered Tanager, Spot-crowned Barbet, Striped woodhunter, Barred Hawk, Solitary Eagle, Blue-tailed Trogon, Esmeraldas Antbird, Tooth-billed Hummingbird, Choco Toucan, Rose-faced Parrot, Grey-and-gold Tanager, Black-tipped Cotinga, Lanceolated Monklet, Collared Aracarí, Ocellated Antbird, Pacific Antwren, Lita Woodpecker, Tufted Flycatcher and many others. Night in Queremal.

Day 15

Birding in the morning on the upper Anchicaya. The road will surely yield many highly-prized including: Glistening-green Tanager, Toucan Barbet, Tricolored/Choco Brushfinch, Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo, Spotted Woodcreeper, Red-headed Barbet, Rufous-throated Tanager and Golden Tanager. After lunch we transfer to Cali. End the service. International flight to home from Cali, or Bogota.