Andes and Cloud Forest Birding


On this expertly crafted Ecuador birding tour, we would be covering everything from the windy paramo grasslands and glacial peaks of the high Andes to the sultry and moist rainforests of the Amazon basin. This area has one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world, with over 1000 bird species recorded in the region. Habitats are generally delineated by tall tropical rainforests and seasonally flooded forests. The experiential lodges make your trip and stay in the region more congenial and gratifying.

Trip Highlights
  • Spot over 30 species of hummingbirds in our feeders
  • Spot multiple species of Toucans, Quetzals and Tanagers of Ecuador
  • Glacial Volcanoes at Antisana and Cotopaxi
  • The Papallacta Pass has wet and lush paramo
  • Subtropical Forest at San Isidro holds the Golden-collared Honeycreeper
  • Napo Wildlife Center located at the heart of the biodiversity forest
  • Canopy Towers of the Napo Wildlife Center
  • Forested Channels at the Sani Lodge

Day 1


Usually, flights arrive here in the evening. From the airport, you'll be taken to the hotel for a night’s stay. It is better off to plan your trip a day earlier to adjust yourself to the high altitude and the immense humidity in the region.

The next morning would be the start of our great Ecuador birding tour.

Day 2


Climbing up the eastern Andes, we are leaving behind the densely populated town of Quito, considerably below us. On clear days with bright skies, the views of the glacial volcanoes of Antisana are astonishing to have a glimpse at. Today we bird montane looking for Andean Ibis, Andean Condor, Carunculated Caracara, and many other high Andean species. A lake close by holds a variety of waterfowl, including the Silvery Grebe.

To conclude the day, we drive over Papallacta Pass down to the Guango Lodge for the night. This lodge is an attraction for the Tourmaline Sunangel, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Collared Inca, and the incredible Sword-billed Hummingbird.

Day 3


We commence birding near the Papallacta Pass. If the weather favors us, we may head up to the top. The paramo on top is wet and lush, and we will be sighting species we haven't seen yesterday, like the mesmerizing Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe and the skulking White-chinned Thistletail. If the weather does not cooperate, we may be the first birds in the Elfin Forest, where we have a decent opportunity to sight the tanagers of Ecuador, such as the masked mountain tanager, buff-breasted mountain tanager, and black-backed bush tanager. The Elfin Forest is home to a varied species of tanagers in Ecuador. The tourists later hiked to the Polelepis woodland, looking for the Giant Conebill, before heading towards San Isidro.

San Isidro will be our base for the next two nights, and the hummer feeders here consist of a couple of species that we didn't see at Guango.

Day 4


Today we will be spending our time birding in the subtropical forests, where there is plenty to keep us busy. The tanagers of Ecuador may be seen here too. Lights are kept on during the night, which is a major attraction for insects, resulting in a feeding frenzy in the early morning. Tanagers of Ecuador may be seen at your doorsteps along with various other species like the Green Jay, Andean Motmot, Montane Woodcreeper, Subtropical Cacique, and Pale-edged Flycatcher. The lodge is known for the success it gained in feeding the antpittas, and we may find the chestnut-crowned and white-bellied antpittas eating worms. Roadside birding has its amusement. Large mixed-species roosts roam around the forest and hold flamboyant birds such as the Saffron-crowned Tanager, Black-eared Hemispingus, and Rufous-breasted Flycatcher.

The night will be spent searching for the "mystery" owl that stays near the cabins; this bird is an undisclosed race of Black-banded owls.

Day 5

and San Isidro

A half-hour drive from San Isidro is the prominent Cordillera de Guacamayos, a remote ridge of the Andes with substantial forest and numerous rare and local species. The trail along the ridge holds varied species, and some of those are supremely rare to sight. Some of the species that have the possibility of being sighted may be the Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Slate-crowned Antpitta, Dusky Piha, Barred Antthrush, Ocellated Tapaculo, Chestnut-breasted Wren, and White-faced Nunbird. While driving to Wild Sumaco, we will be halting along the Loreto Road to sight the Cliff Flycatcher, Blackish, and various hummingbirds. Late in the afternoon, we will reach the Wild Sumaco Reserve, located amid the cloud forests at the base of the Sumaco volcanoes.

The next three days will be spent in this meticulous lodge.

Days 6 - 7

San Isidro Area

The Wild Sumaco Forest is located on the east slope of the foothills. Most of our time will be spent birding on dirt roads and trails nearby. There are possibilities of sighting some more tempting birds here, such as the Coppery-chested Jacamar, Golden-collared Toucanet, Blue-rumped Manakin, Rufous-naped and Olivaceous Greenlets, Yellow-breasted Antwren, Lafresnaye's Piculet, Black-billed Treehunter, and Tanagers of Ecuador. After a 20-minute walk down the trail, we can access the antpitta feeder at WildSumaco. At night, we could hear the band-bellied owl sing near the lodge, and there could be chances of sighting the Rufescent Screech-Owls. The hummingbird activity is best seen in the afternoon.

The showstopper would be the Napo Sabrewing, which is extremely hard to see with the supporting roles of the Brown and Sparkling Violetear, Green Hermit, Ecuadorian Piedtail, Wire-crested Thorntail, and Golden-tailed Sapphire.

Days 8 - 10

Guacamayos to Sumaco

The Napo Wildlife Center is located in the heart of the most biodiverse forest on the planet. The Napo Wildlife Center gives easy access to both the hilly Terra forest and the Varzea forest. The terra forest will take an entire day, and with the help of the excellent guides, we will hopefully be able to sight the Black-necked Red Cotinga, several species of Tanagers of Ecuador, and other handsome birds like the Yellow-billed Jacamar and Collared Puffbird. We will be spending the morning at the renowned Yasuni National Park. Some of the most commonly sighted birds at the park include the Dusky-headed Parakeet, Yellow-crowned Amazons, and Blue-headed Parrot, which assemble in staggering numbers.

On the other side of the lake, there are possibilities of sighting rare species like the orange-cheeked parrot, scarlet-shouldered parrotlet, and scarlet macaw among the swarm of cobalt-winged parakeets.

Day 11

WildSumaco Area

We will be spending the morning on top of a canopy tower in the Napo Wildlife Center, which is built around a Kapok tree. From the high branch, we can look down at the gangs of Aracaris, flocks of Tanagers, and plenty of other treetop species. Later in the day, we move to Sani Lodge, located on Oxbow Lake, a little north of the Napo River.

Our target for the afternoon is the Cocha Antshrike, a specialty of the lodge and endemic to Ecuador.

Days 12 - 13

Napo Wildlife Center

The Napo River is a major species barrier, and the species slightly differ on the northern side. The wire-tailed manakin and golden-headed manakin can be seen on the forest trails. Species that are harder to sight on the southern side can be sighted on this side of the Napo River, which includes the Chestnut-crowned Gnateater and Striated Antthrush. The morning will be spent on the canopy tower, which has a wide metal staircase, making it easier to access than other towers. At the top of the tower, we have chances of seeing the harpy eagle with other raptors such as the slate-colored hawk, grey-headed kite, and double-toothed kite. While sighting some breathtaking birds on the Ecuador birding tour, you may also relish sighting some monkeys here as well. Red howlers and white-fronted spider monkeys can be seen from the canopy tower. The lodge offers us the lake and forest channels, which are a much easier way to bird than the trails and are great places for relaxation during the Ecuador birding tours here at the Sani Lodge.

The channels give us a better chance at spotting the shy kingfishers, including the American Pygmy and Agami Heron; the channels are tunnels through the towering forest.

Day 14

Napo Wildlife Center to Sani Lodge

After some morning birding, we are all set to catch a short flight over the glacial volcanoes of the Andes, which provide glorious views of the snow-capped volcanoes. Flight schedules may vary, but we will arrive in Quito by noon.

After some afternoon birding, we spent the night at the hotel, which isn't far from the airport.

Day 15

Sani Lodge

The Ecuador birding tours come to an end, this morning and you will be driven to the airport for your flight.