Ecuador and the Galapagos

Birding Information

Birdlife International Bird Links to the World
Their site provides a map and covers number of bird species and endemics plus a checklist, general country information, general web pages, bird pictures, and birding and individual trip reports.

Condor Bioreserve
The bioreserve is home to the largest community of the endangered Andean condor in the world.

Las Palmas Nature Reserve Check List
In the upper reaches of the Yamburara Valley, Las Palmas Nature Reserve is a birders paradise. (See Checklist)

Maquipucuna Reserve
Just 50 miles northwest of Quito exists the unique opportunity of experiencing exotic species of birds, moths and butterflies, and flowers in bloom such as orchids and bromeliads.

Podocarpus National Park
The Park spans across the Andes Mountains and was established in 1982 with the goal of protecting the largest remaining forest of native Andean conifers, of the genus Podocarpus. About 40 percent of Ecuador?s bird species are found in the Park. Endangered species found in the park include the spectacled bear, mountain tapir, puma and jaguar and the Jocotoco Antpitta.

Weather and When to Go

Where Do You Want to Go Birding Today
Tina MacDonald's excellent site contains links to Ecuador birding hotspots, trip reports, checklist and maps, information on endemic and endangered birds, links to rare bird information local events and festivals, and information on tours/guides and accommodations.


Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve Lodge
Located in the northwest, this Lodge provides comfortable lodging with gourmet food and good wines. They also offer the Research Station/Hostel or camping for the budget-minded. English is spoken. Birding in the Tandayapa Valley with 320 species is always, productive from the joy of watching hummingbirds on your private balcony, to explorations to find elusive forest species. Restricted range birds such as the Plate-billed Mountain Toucan, the Toucan Barbet, and the rare Tanager-Finch live here.

Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge
The British-run Bellavista Reserve and lodge just two hours from Quito is located in the spectacular cloud forests of northwestern Ecuador, on the edge of the Choco bio-region, one of the most biodiverse areas in the world. Bellavista and the Tandayapa Valley boasts 320 recorded species of birds...The Tanager-finch, Giant Antpitta, Swallow-tailed Nightjar, Plush-capped Finch, Beautiful Jay, and White-faced Nunbird are all found here.

Cabanas San Isidro
San Isidro has built a reputation for being the spot for avid birders and nature lovers whose interest lie in seeking out the birds and other wonders of the lush subtropical zone of the eastern slope of the Andes. (see

Kapawi Ecolodge and Reserve
Located in the Equadorian Amazon near the Peruvian border, it is an excellent location for seeing 400+ bird species in a week. Luxurious and solar powered. Profits are shared with the Achuar Indians and will eventually be handed over to them.

La Selva Jungle Lodge
At LA SELVA Jungle Lodge is situated high on Lake Garzacocha, deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon region. Winner of the ecotourism award of the World Congress on Tourism and the Environment. With perhaps the highest species list in the neotropics, LA SELVA uses native birding experts Though the guides speak minimal English, they know the names of all the birds, and, more importantly, how to find them. The Lodge also runs a butterfly farm that is well worth a visit.

Los Cedros Biological Reserve
On the edge of the remaining, intact 600,000 acres of virgin cloud forest in Northwestern Ecuador, a new scientific / accommodations center has been completed that can house 20 people. Transportation from Quito can be arranged through the Reserve. A partial bird list of 170 species includes the endangered Cock of the Rock and Toucan Barbet, as well as the magnificent Golden Headed Quetzal. Mammals of the reserve include Puma, Margay, Jaguarundi, Spectacled Bear, Brown Headed Spider Monkey, White Throated Capuchin, Howler Monkey, a small deer and several rodents.

Maquipucuna Lodge
The Thomas H. Davis Ecotourism Centre, located 50 miles northwest of Quito is a small but modern lodge built in accordance with its natural surroundings. The open-air design allows intimate contact with nature and the soothing sounds of the rushing Umachaca River. The Maquipucuna Lodge is surrounded by 35,000 acres of both primary and secondary forest located within the Choco-Andean Bioregion, one of the world's top-ten biodiversity hot spots. Is staffed with guides and service personnel mainly from the local communities. Tropic Ecological Adventures runs 2 to 4 day trips to the Reserve and Lodge from Quito.

Mindo Birdwatchers' House
Central location with easy access to Mindo bus stop and all birding sites, upslope and downslope Comfortable, secure, new, clean single and double rooms with private bathrooms and hot showers--space for 22 guests. Excellent hearty home-cooked meals; vegetarian or other diets available upon request. The town of Mindo, just 84 km northwest of Quito, is one of the best birding sites in South America. Some 370 species have been recorded around Mindo. Mindo was designated South America's first Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International (1997). Can arrange tours to the Galapagos and other parts of Ecuador.

Playa de Oro Lodge
The Playa de Oro Lodge is adjacent to the Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve which is within the Choc— Rainforest. This region, located in Northwestern Ecuador, has a very high level of endemism; and is a birdwatcher paradise. Accommodation consists of 3 bungalows with a total of 5 bedrooms each with a private bath. There is a dining room, bar and reception area for presentations. All buildings are constructed of local materials. The meals are mainly local specialties.

Tandayapa Bird Lodge
The Tandayapa Bird Lodge, is a very comfortable and affordable hotel perfectly situated with the valley for the exploration of this habitat. Lying just 1 & 1/4 hours from Quito and exactly on the Equator, the Tandayapa Valley is the most accessible area of extensive lower to mid-montane cloudforest in Ecuador. The valley extends for 6 km along the old Nono-Mindo Road from 1650m to 2350m elevation and is about 70 percent forest cover with the remainder being pasture, old regrowth, and extensive reforestation projects. Over 320 bird species (click here for checklist), monkeys, bears and other animals.

Tours & Guides

Andean Birding
Andean Birding is a birdwatching tour company based in Ecuador providing top bird guides, customized itineraries and logistics for your visit to the Andes, Amazon and Galapagos in Ecuador, as well as Peru and Bolivia. In addition, they support bird conservation and conduct ornithological research.

Angermeyer's Enchanted Expeditions
Offers many one day birding tours from Quito plus longer tours to various parts of Ecuador.

Aves Travel
(works only in Internet Explorer)
Aves Travel, based in Ecuador, specializes in customized bird and natural history tours for individuals and small groups. All of their programs are available throughout the year and are flexible to accommodate special needs.

Bird Treks
A Pennsylvania company has tours from Amazonia to Andean highlands plus the Galapagos Islands.

The Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris
Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris was founded in 1980. They blend a desire to observe nature with a wish to inspire travelers with the values of conservation and education. They offer a Galapagos trip.

Exotic Birding
We offer spring and summer birding tours to Costa Rica for bird lovers wanting more than a pure listing trip. We spend more time in each place, and our master guides share their knowledge and explain how they identify the birds in addition to simply finding and naming them. All tours limited to 8 participants.

Field Guides
Field Guides has been operating high-quality birding tours since 1985 from its headquarters in Austin, Texas.

Free Living
A list of British birding tour companies and the time of year of their Ecuador bird tours.

Kolibri Expeditons
Kolibri Expeditons based in Lima, Peru has low budget birding trips to all corners of South America. All trips are off the beaten track to search for endemics and specialties of the particular area. There is usually a bias on quality of unique birds rather than overall numbers. The trips are hard-core. You need to be fairly fit as there may be walks for some exclusive endemics involved. You need also be prepared for less comfortable lodging in rural areas and in some cases camping. However, most of the time in these areas instead of putting up tents, they will use roadside restaurants which let us put our mattresses on the floor. Trips not offered on an annual basis.

Mindo Bird Tours
Mindo Tours, based in the renowned birding area of Mino, offers a variety of specialized birding and birding photography tours throughout Ecuador.

Neblina Forest
An Ecuadorian company to promote the country's avafauna has opened an office in Bolivia and is scheduling 4-5 birding tours for that country and is also beginning tours in Peru.

Sawtelle Tours
Specialists in birding and ecotours worldwide, they offer birding tours to the Pantanal and Itatiaia National Park.

Tropical Birding
A new company of professional and enthusiastic leaders based in Ecuador that run birding tours and bird photography workshops. 5% of profit from the Tropical Birding tours goes directly into conservation projects in Important Bird Areas around the world. They have tours to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.

Ultimate Voyages
Ultimate Voyages Birding and Wildlife Tours, based in Ecuador, are focussed on birds but they also take a little time to look at mammals, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies, dragonflies of and plants. In areas with interesting archeology or history they often try to visit sites of interest in the middle of the day when bird activity is low.

Ventures, Inc.
A birdwatching and natural history tour company based in North Carolina offers birdwatching trips from the Andes to Amazonia to the Galapagos Islands.

Victor Emanuel Nature Tours (VENT)
Founded in 1974, it is now the largest company in the world specializing in birding tours.

Wildside Birding Tours
The purpose of Wildside Birding Tours, a division of Adventure Camera, Inc., is to enhance the public's interest, understanding and appreciation of the natural wonders of our planet Earth. They use environmentally friendly facilities that employ indigenous peoples. They contribute to local economies, conservation efforts, and environmental education.

All WINGS leaders have varied interests in natural history and other more or less closely related fields, but the timing and itinerary of our trips are dictated almost entirely by ornithological considerations.


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Updated 07/08/06