- Colombia Birdwatch



- Colombia Birdwatch
Eastern Andes, Santa Marta Mountains Endemics
and Caribbean Coast
Colombia is Magical Realism
Dec 2 - Dec 13, 2014 (12 days)
Jul 15 - Jul 27, 2015 (12 days)
Jan 26 - Feb 6, 2015(12 days)
Jul 15 - Jul 27, 2016 (12 days)
Colombia, with its diverse landscapes, is
tion as we enjoy the culture, gastronomy and fine
home to more bird species than any other country in
people Colombia has to offer.
the world. With almost 2,000 species, be prepared to
be in awe of the spectacular avifauna as we explore
vibrant capital. We will spend our first day of bird-
Colombia’s lush cloud forests, dry forests, wetlands,
ing in the Chicaque Reserve near Bogota, acclimat-
coasts, high mountains this 12-day adventure. Join
ing for our ascent above treeline to the Paramo of
Colombia Birdwatch to this dynamic birding destina-
Chingaza National Park. The surreal Paramo habitat
We will begin our trip in Bogota, Colombia’s
Santa Marta Mountains
Black-fronted Wood-quail
bird, the near endemic Chestnut Piculet, Bicolored
Conebill and Panama Flycatcher.
Blue-naped Chlotophonia
consists of windswept short grasses dotted with the
fuzzy leaved Espeletia. In the Paramo we will look
for the impressive Bearded Helmetcrest, Tawny Antpitta, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Andean-tit
Spinetail, Flame-winged Parakeet and Black-backed
Bush-Tanager. We will then spend the third day visiting some fascinating hummingbird feeders and urban
wetlands before flying to the Caribbean coast.
The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is the high-
est coastal mountain in the world and one of the most
important endemism centers in the world, with 22
species of birds restricted to it. Join us on a search
COST: US$3,695 - £ 2,255 per person, double occupancy, not including airfare, singles extra. See
complete Costs at the end of this itinerary.
Single Supplement: $500 or £ 305
AIRFARE: Approximately $900 from the USA, or
£840 from London, depending on origin.
GROUP SIZE: 8 participants, not including leaders.
NUMBER of DAYS: 12 days total, including estimated travel time.
for many of these endemics including Santa Marta
Screech-owl, Antpitta, Mountain-tanager, Tapaculo,
Foliage-gleaner, Brush-finch, Parakeet, Sabrewing, Bush-tyrant, Seedeater, Warbler, and a plethora
This trip will also take us to Isla Salamanca
and Flamencos National Parks, where birding through
mangroves and coastal wetlands, along the ocean
and in dry scrub forest should yield species such as
the near endemic Buffy Hummingbird, the endemic
Chestnut-winged Chachalaca, Russet-throated Puff-
Scarlet-bellied Mountain-tanager
LEADER: Christopher Calonje, with local guides at
all locations.
ACCOMODATIONS: Our lodging will range from
rustic cabins to nice hotels.
Day 1: Arrive in Bogota. Night in Bogota
Guests will arrive in Bogota and be trans-
ferred to the hotel. Your tour leader will meet you at
the airport and begin talking about the birding adventure you are about to embark on.
Whooping Motmot
Day 2: Chicaque Reserve. Night in Bogota
Only thirty minutes from Bogota, Chicaque
Natural Park is a privately owned reserve that
boasts 19 km (12 miles) of trails that wind through
vast and gorgeous cloud forest habitat. Crystalline
creeks and pristine habitats are impressive considering the reserve’s proximity to one of the busiest
cities in South America. With more than 250 species
of birds, some of the endemic targets of the area
are Black Inca and the beautiful Turquoise Dacnis.
Andean Guan are easy to spot along the trail and
Tanagers abound in the area, including Grassgreen, Flame-faced, and Metallic-green.
Day 3: Chingaza National Park. Night in Bogota
We will rise early and make our way to the high
elevation Chingaza National Park, passing through
the town of La Calera. Birding within the park will
surely yield many endemics and specialties, and this
is our chance to experience the unique Colombian
Paramo. Some of our targets will be the rare Blackheaded Hemispingus, Rufous and Undulated Antpitta, and the near endemic Rufous-browed Conebill. For those that have an affinity for hummingbirds,
there will be chances to view the dazzling Bearded
Helmetcrest, Coppery-bellied and Glowing Puffleg,
Amethyst-throated Sunangel and the near endemic
Blue-throated Starfrontlet.
Two other endemics on our target list include
Silver-throated Spinetail and Pale-bellied Tapaculo.
An encounter with a mixed flock could yield Buffbreasted Mountain-Tanager, Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Pale-naped Brush-Finch, Plushcap and the
noisy Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager. The uncommon and endemic Brown-breasted Parakeet is also a
possibility as next boxes have been set up within the
Green Heron
Day 5: Isla Salamnca and travel to Minca. Night
in Minca
We will rise early and spend the morning bird-
ing at Isla Salamanca National Park, 15 minutes
from Barranquilla, where we will bird the newly rebuilt
walkways through the mangroves in search of the
endemic saphire-bellied hummingbird, the common
brown-throated parakeet, green-and-rufous kingfisher, and yellow-chinned spinetail among many others.
After a morning of birding we will embark on a 2-hour
drive to Minca, a quaint little town with nice lodging
along the river. Located in the foothills of the Sierra
Nevada de Santa Marta, Minca is a great location
to bird for lower elevation species. We will arrive in
town and visit some hummingbird feeders for lunch
Indigo-capped Hummingbird
where Rufous-breasted Hermit, Black-throated Mango, Long-billed starthroat, Santa Marta Woodstar,
Day 4: Jardin Encantado, La Florida Wetlands
Red-billed emerald and violet-crowned woodnymph
and flight to Barranquilla. Night in Barranquilla
can be found. We will also have time to explore
the surroundings in search of birds such as Black-
Enchanted Gardens is a private residence
with an impressive feeder setup. The main target is
the endemic Indigo-capped Hummingbird, as they
visit the feeders regularly. More than 25 species may
use these feeders, some only briefly, others nearly
year-round. Possible species include White-bellied
Woodstar, Green Hermit, Black-throated Mango,
White-necked Jacobin, White-vented Plumeteer, Andean Emerald, and with good luck Gorgeted Woodstar.
After lunch we will head on a mission to find
waterfowl in La Florida Wetlands, including the endemic Bogotá Rail, the rare Noble Snipe, Andean
Teal, Masked and Ruddy Duck and the localized
Spot-flanked Gallinule. We will the take a short drive
to the airport to catch flights to Barranquilla.
Santa Marta Sreech-owl
backed Antshrike, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Keel-billed
Toucan, Masked Tityra, and Whooping Motmot.
Day 6: Minca to El Dorado Lodge. Night at El Dorado Lodge.
This day will have us birding through a big al-
titudinal gradient, starting from the foothills around
the town of Minca, and moving into the intermediate levels around El Dorado Lodge. Birding across
a vast altitudinal gradient will surely yield a large
number of species, including Golden-winged Sparrow, Rosy Thrush-tanager, Rusty-headed Spinetail, Ruddy Foliage-gleaner, the recently described
Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner, Santa Marta Tapaculo,
Black-backed Antshrike, the magnificently colored
Blue-naped Chlorophonia, and the attractive Rufouscapped Warbler. We will have a picnic on the way up
the hill and arrive at the lodge in time for dinner.
Day 7: El Dorado to Cerro Kennedy. Night at El
Dorado Lodge.
We will rise early and head up to higher el-
evations towards Cerro Kennedy, in search of these
endemics: Santa Marta Parakeet, Santa Marta Warbler, Santa Marta Mountain-tanager, Santa Marta
Bush-tyrant and Brown-rumped Tapaculo, among
many others. We will have a picnic at high elevation
Santa Marta Warbler
with great views of the Sierra Nevada, and bird along
the road on our way down, hoping to run into awe
inspiring species such as Swallow Tanager, Grovebilled and Santa Marta Toucanet, Black-chested Jay,
White-bellied Antbird and the near endemic Whitetipped quetzal. After dinner we will certainly scout
for the endemic and recently described Santa Marta
Day 8: Birding in the vicinity of El Dorado. Night
at El Dorado Lodge
After breakfast we will have time to enjoy the
well-maintained feeders at the lodge. Hummingbirds
that visit the feeders include the endemic Whitetailed Starfrontlet, White-vented Plumeteer, and
Long-tailed Hermit. The bananas attract the endemic
Santa Marta Brush-finch and also the endemic Colombian brush-finch, and the many flowers in the
garden attract white-sided and black flowerpiercer.
We will spend some time trying to see Santa Marta
Anptitta, a skullker that will definitely take some work.
A day of birding near the lodge will have its rewards,
a special treat being the near endemic Black-fronted
Wood-quail that visit the lodges compost pile in the
Los Flamencos National Park
ties and surely great birding.
In Colombia, lowlands are certainly not as di-
verse as mountains, but in this case we will be dealing with species that live “isolated” in the dry peninsula, many of them shared only with neighboring
Venezuela. Near-endemics that we will look for include the beautiful white-whiskered Spinetail, Buffy
Hummingbird, the scarce Chestnut Piculet, the rather
Green-rumped Parrotlet
Day 9: El Dorado to Minca. Night in Minca
We will spend the morning birding above the
uncommon Black-billed Flycatcher and the abundant
Slender-billed Inezia.
Most certainly we will enjoy the beautiful ver-
lodge in search of any targets we may have missed,
and will do the same on the road down to Minca. We
will arrive in time to relax at our creek side hotel.
Day 10: Minca to Riohacha. Night in Riohacha
This day we will head northeast along the Ca-
ribbean coast and into La Guajira Peninsula, birding
the foothills of the Santa Marta Mountains, lush forests of Tayrona National Park, and dry forests and
scrubland just before reaching the city of Riohacha
at the end of the day. The Peninsula will surely yield
great species, and is incredibly bird-rich area in spite
of the limited annual precipitation. The many nice
birds, combined with plenty of sunlight and rather open views even within the dense thickets and
shrubs, will provide with excellent photo opportuni-
Chestnut-winged Chachalaca
Day 12: Flights Home
Guests will be taken to the airport to catch
flights home.
Trip Includes:
Internal Flights
Scrub-forest in
La Guajira Penisnula
million cardinal and we will be very attentive for a
good view of the astonishing Ruby-topaz Hummingbird. Also nice to see are Bare-eyed Pigeon and
Pale-legged Hornero.
Day 11: Los Flamencos National Park. Flight to
Bogota. Night in Bogota
We will leave Riohacha with our luggage
packed and head to Los Flamencos, which is approximmately 15 minutes from Riohacha. We will have
an early start in order to be there right after sunrise
to beat the heat. The park has a large wetland with
great variety of aquatic and riparian habitats, so we
will explore these in search of American Famingo,
Bottled Water Throughout the Trip
Snacks Throughout the Trip
All Meals From Breakfast on Day 2 to Breakfast on
Day 12
All Lodging (Double Occupancy)
Entrances to Parks and Reserves
Local Guides
Internal Terrestial Transport From Airport Pickup to
Airport Drop-off
Does not include:
Alcoholic Beverages
Airfaire to Colombia
Reddish Egret, Roseate Spoonbill and the mindboggling Scarlet Ibis. Along the shores we will look for
Capped Heron, Magnificent Frigatebird, Tricolored
Heron and Semipalmated & Wilson’s plover.
We will then bird the most interesting habitat
of the area, our targets being Green-rumped Parrotlet, Vermilion Cardinal, Tocuyo Sparrow, Glaucous
Tanager, White-fringed Antwren, Trinidad Euphonia,
Yellow Oriole and Grayish Saltator among many others. With luck we will get closeup views of Doublestriped Thick-knee and Blue-crowned Parakeets. After a long morning of birding we will drive to Santa
Marta for our flights to Bogota.
Santa Marta Brush-finch

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