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The Choco region in Ecuador is one of those places in the world which are hard to get to but once you reach there, you will be rewarded with splendors of colors all around you. With dazzling sights of the world’s most precious and yet endangered species and one of the best regions for bird watching in Ecuador, Choco bio-region attracts nature enthusiasts from all around the world. Due to the separation of the forests from other regions, the biodiversity that has evolved and grown here is endemic. Especially in the mountains, the fauna is rich in amphibians of all kinds and colors that are not found anywhere else. The forests are tropical in nature and almost all around the year are prone to high precipitation. Such warm and wet conditions make the perfect home for flocks of various species of birds.
In recent years, Choco has been made the highest priority by biodiversity conservationists to protect such a unique gift of nature from deforestation and destruction. Enjoy the colder regions at highlands and wet lowlands as you move from one excursion to another in search of wonders of nature.
Arrive at the city of Quito and check into a hotel for the night.
A few hours from the city of Quito is the Yanacocha Reserve. Begin your Ecuador bird watching experience here. The forests here are dense and the guests will have to walk the trails to catch a sight of the endemic birds that crowd the area. One can easily spot various colorful species of tanagers, hemispingus, Tyrannulet, and various others. If the guests have enough patience and zeal to watch the birds of the beautiful area, they can even spot the rare birds like woodpeckers, Great Sapphirewings, and antpittas.
After lunch, the guests will head for Tandayapa Bird Lodge and along the way, they will make various stops to enjoy the sight of vibrant birds. As one reaches Tandayapa Bird Lodge, they can find various birds at the hummingbirds' feeders such as the beautiful Violet-tailed Sylph, Buff-tailed Coronet, and other wondrous species.
Wake at the wee hours in the morning in search of early birds. Catch the sight of woodpeckers, antpitta, and get bedazzled with their sight against the dark background of the pre-dawn sky. After breakfast at the lodge, the guests will travel to the Upper Tandayapa valley. Breathe in the fresh forest air as one goes around the valley in searches of birds like toucans, hummingbirds, tanagers, and other endemic species. In the evening, be dazzled by a glimpse of rare night birds such as nightjar and owls.
Paz de las Aves
The farmers of this private reserve started feeding the antpittas a decade ago and now the place attracts various species such as Chestnut-crowned, Yellow-breasted, and other unique antpittas. If the guests manage to arrive around dawn, they can be rewarded by the magnificent Cock-of-the-rock. In the afternoon, once the guests have explored the reserve, they can move down to the valley again.
Venturing further from the lodge, the guests will reach Mashpi, one of the hotspots for endemic species of Choco.
The place is flocked with various tanagers, Orange-breasted fruiteater, and even the rare Choco Vireo.
The temperate lowlands of Rio Sallanche are home to species like Orange-fronted Barbet, Gray-and-Gold Tanager, and other magnificent species.
With enough diligence and some assistance from luck, the guests can spot woodpeckers, Dusky Pigeons, antbirds, etc.
Veintitres de Julio Reserve and Milpe
Reach early at the reserve to catch a glimpse of the dark beauty Long-wattled Umbrellabird. Once the guests have had their fill walking around the area, they will move onwards to Milpe.
The place is home to many endemic birds of Choco such as various warblers, toucans, and tanagers.
Mashpi Shungo to San Lorenzo
Tracking back to Mashpi, the guests will go through excursions in the lowlands while searching for the rarest and most beautiful Rufous-crowned Antpilla. Spend the morning chasing the endemic Choco birds.
In the hours before dusk, the guests can go in search of Slaty-tailed Trogon and Brown Wood-Rail.
San Lorenzo to Playa de Oro
From San Lorenzo to the tiny village of Selva Alegre, spend the day walking through the trails in search of rare and endemic birds that crowd the area.
These birds include Black-breasted Puffbird, Tooth-billed Hummingbirds, various species of Owls among other birds.
Playa de Oro
Put on your rubber boots and take on the muddy roads through the forest in search of tanagers, antpitta, woodcreepers, Western Woodhaunter, Golden-crowned Spadebills, and various other vibrant birds.
Playa de Oro to San Lorenzo
Stay at San Lorenzo for another night and trek through the forest in search of the species that one could not find the last time. Exercise your patience to catch the glimpse of the rare Brown Wood-Rail, Balck-breasted Puffbird, and the shock of color that is Five-colored Barbet.
Alto Tambo to Chical
Though the area around this has been excessively deforested, some woods still exist. They are abode to Rose-faced parrots, various colorful species of tanagers, and even the majestic Fulvous-dotted Treerunner and Ruddy-breasted Seedeater, Black Solitaire and Beautiful Jay.
Chical Road to Quito
Spend the drive through the Chical Road keeping an eye out for birds that the guests might have missed during their tour through the magical forests of Choco.
With a small stop at Ecuadorian Rail and Subtropical Doradito, they will reach the city of Quito.
With the end of the Ecuador bird watching experience, the guests will catch the flight in the morning to their next destination.