Southeast Ecuador: Orange-throated Tanager, Jocotoco Antpitta & Regional Specialities
March 12-24, 2021
Leader: Jan Hansen
Price: $3795 from Quito
The foothills of southeastern Ecuador are some of the least explored areas of the country, primarily due to their remoteness and rugged terrain. Until recently, lack of infrastructure and conflict with neighboring Peru have kept all but the most intrepid birders away. However a peace treaty was signed between the two nations in 1999 and since then an ever expanding network of roads has made visiting the area a much more practical affair.
The tour will visit 3 majors areas: the deep southeast along the western slope of the Cordillera del Condor right along the Peruvian border; the lower eastern slopes of the famous Podocarpus National Park, and areas nearby, including the old Loja-Zamora road and the Tapichalaca Reserve south of the city of Loja. The tour will give participants a chance to see two of the world's most range-restricted species: the Orange-throated Tanager and the Jocotoco Antpitta. The tanager was long considered a Peruvian endemic until a small population was discovered in Ecuador in 1990 and the antpitta was only discovered and described to science in 1999! The tour will take us to the most accessible areas known where both can be seen and thanks to the aforementioned infrastructure improvements we can arrive into the core areas on wheels rather than than undertaking the previously required arduous hikes and lengthy boat rides. Though these two species will be the highlight of the tour for many people, there will be an abundance of other interesting birds along the way that will be new even for experienced and well-traveled birders, and participants can expect a trip list of 350+ species during the tour.
We will base primarily at 3 separate lodges during the tour: 3 nights at Casa Simpson at the Tapichalaca Reserve operated by the Jocotoco Foundation; 3 nights at Copalinga Lodge and 3 nights at Yankuam in the heart of the range of the Orange-throated Tanager. All three are comfortable and well-appointed with Yankuam being a bit more rustic than the others. We will also stay one night in the mountain town of Paquisha to break up the journey between Copalinga and Yankuam. If you're looking for an exciting tour to a relatively unexplored part of Ecuador with a chance to see some very rare birds, consider joining us as we delve into the avian riches of southeastern Ecuador.