Day 1: Arrival to Quito

Participants will fly to Quito (most flights arrive in the late
evening).  No matter your flight plans, we will have a
representative meet you outside of the customs gate and
take you to the local hotel.

Day 2: Milpe Reserve & Special Spot for Green
Thorntail and More

Morning: An early start for the Milpe reserve will be good
to get to the birding.  Our guide will know a number of
good bird watching stops along the way. These stops will
make the short trip go by even faster, as at each stop will
add a number of life birds for each trip participant.  

The main destination for the morning will be the Milpe Bird
Sanctuary in the Andean Foothills. This sanctuary is
located in a Birdlife International Important Bird Area (IBA),
Los Bancos—Milpe.  The sanctuary has an altitudinal
range from 3350-3770 feet and includes two small rivers
that converge in a steep, forested valley.   Many birders
consider this one of the finest sites in all of Ecuador.

Once in Milpe, we will have all morning and most of the
day to find numerous hummingbirds, beautiful tanagers
and other Ecuadorian birds. The following hummingbirds
should be found:  White-whiskered Hermit, Green-fronted
Lancebill, Green-crowned Woodnymph, Rufous-tailed
Hummingbird, Andean Emerald, and Green-crowned
Brilliant.  Some of the surprises in the past have also
included Purple-crowned Fairy (nesting at times), White-
necked Jacobin and Purple-throated Woodstar.

Many of the most spectacular Choco Endemics occur
here: Plumbeous Forest-Falcon, Moss-backed Tanager,
Choco Trogon, and Club-winged Manakin.  At some point,
we may see Chocó Toucans and Pale-mandibled Araçaris
in the more open areas.  We will have some time to look
for these species.

This sight is long famous for good tanager viewing days.  
The road hosts good mixed flocks, and new trails in the
reserve allow access to the forest.  We can expect a host
of  tanagers, including Ochre-breasted Tanager, Rufous-
throated Tanager, Lemon-rumped Tanager, and we may
get lucky and find the dazzling Grey-and-gold Tanager.  
Over twenty species from this spectacular family are
possible here in a day.

We may have time to cool off at nearby restaurant where
up to a dozen species of tanager come to feed on the
bananas put out for them. Several species which come
here include  Emerald Tanager, Silver-throated Tanager,
Bay-headed Tanager, and several others.  A number of
hummingbird species (including Green Thorntail) can be
seen here.  In addition, we may find Crimson-rumped
Toucanet.  This both leisurely and productive stop is a hit
with all bird watchers.

Once the birding has slowed down in the Milpe area, we
will then head towards Mindo

Mindo is the historic home of birding in northwest Ecuador
and has long been famous.  We may find a few more
excellent species before the day is done includeing Blue-
necked Tanager, Golden Tanager, Beryl-Spangled

On the first day of most trips in Ecuador, the group has
seen more than a dozen tanager species.  Our focus on
hummingbirds should give us a good start at nearly 15 to
20 species.   We may total 80 to 100 species this first day.

The lodging will be at a nice eco-lodge (one of our
customer's favorites) in a nice preserved forested area.
The birding is great at the lodge too. Getting to bed at a
reasonable hour is a good idea to start in the morning

Day 3:  Refugio Paz de las Aves

The day begins just before dark, as we drive to Paz de las
Aves for an early start.  Up arrival, we walk to the Andean
Cock-of-the-Rock lek.  Besides seeing and hearing these
beautiful birds, we will also see several other species,
such as Toucan Barbet and perhaps Crimson-rumped

Hummingbirds seen here include Empress Brilliant, Brown
Violetear, Tawny-bellied Hermit, Collared Inca and several

The Refugio is world famous (and put on many top birders
top 10 spots in the world list) for opportunities to see
Antpitta species.   With some luck, we will be able to see
Giant Antpitta, Yellow-breasted Antpitta, and Moustached
Antpitta.  We may also see Dark-backed Wood Quail,
Golden-headed Quetzal, another six more hummingbird
species, and much more. Fawn-breasted Tanager,
Golden-naped Tanager, Lemon-rumped Tanager, and
more seem fill every new opening with new bird species.

Like many other parts of Ecuador, large flocks of multiple
species can be found.  On the 2007 trip we found a flock
with over 20 different species, proving over one hour of
fantastic bird watching.  We will try a short walk to try to
find several more bird species and hopefully find one of
these large flocks.

After enjoying the Refugio all morning and take a nice
lunch, we will head back towards Bellavista and the
Tandayapa Valley.

We will have a chance to bird around Bellavista, and
perhaps find some of their speciality species, including
Crested Quetzal, Masked Trogon, Grass-green Tanager,
Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, Thick-billed Euphonia and
much more.   

Their feeders usually have 6 to 10 hummingbird species
and several will be new to our trip list, including Sparkling
Violetear, Andean Emerald, Speckled Hummingbird, Fawn-
breasted Brilliant, Collared Inca, and Buff-tailed Coronet.  

We should be nearing 25 hummingbird species and over
150 bird species at the end of our second day of birding.

Day 4 - Bellavista Birding & Tandayapa Valley

On the fourth day, we will start birding early at the areas
surrounding our lodge.   We will try a different direction
than on our first afternoon here, and some of the species
we are more likely to see include Yellow-bellied Chat-
Tyrant, Golden-crowned Flycatcher, Plain-breasted Hawk,
Blue and White Swallow, Plain-tailed Wren, Sickle-winged
Guan, Plumbeous Pigeon, Glossy-black Thrush, Red-
billed Parrot, Turquoise Jay, Spectacled Whitestart, Band-
winged Nightjar (hopefully more than a song), White-
collared Swift, Russet-crowned Warbler, Dusky Bush-
Tanager, Rufous-chested Tanager, Crimson-mantled
Woodpecker, Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager, Powerful
Woodpecker, Strong-billed Woodcreeper, Orange-bellied
Euphonia, Montane Woodcreeper, Golden Tanager,
Azara's Spinetail, Flame-faced Tanager, Red-faced
Spinetail, and Beryl-spangled Tanager, Streaked
Tuftedcheek, Blue-and-black Tanager, Rufous-collared
Sparrow, Spillmann's Tapaculo, Chestnut-capped Brush-
Finch, Green-and-black Fruiteater, White-winged Brush-
Finch, Streak-necked Flycatcher, White-sided
Flowerpiercer, White-tailed Tyrannulet, Masked
Flowerpiercer, Cinnamon Flycatcher, and Smoke-coloured

Several hummingbird feeders in the area can be
accessed, and we are likely to add an additional six to
twelve species to the trip list here, including Velvet-purple
Coronet, Sparkling Violetear, Buff-tailed Coronet,
Gorgeted Sunangel, Purple-bibbed White-tip, Fawn-
breasted Brilliant, Booted Racket-Tail, and Purple-
throated Woodstar, Andean Emerald, Speckled
Hummingbird, Violet-tailed Sylph, and Brown Inca.

Other birds which we may find in the area include
Rufescent Screech-Owl, White-faced Nunbird, Cloud
Forest Pygmy-Owl (likely to hear), Swallow-tailed Nightjar,
and  Ocellated Tapaculo.  We will also look for Crested
Quetzal, Plushcap, Tanager Finch, and the Beautiful Jay.

We will end the evening back at the lodge (and likely find
Common Potoo that night near the lodge).

By the end of three days of birding, we will likely 30
hummingbird species on our trip list (and starting to get
close to 200 species).

Day 5:  Yanacocha High Mountain Hummingbirds

We will start early to reach Yanacocha.  We may take a
few birding breaks on our way up the mountain to briefly
stretch our legs.  The early start will be well worth it for the
very special hummingbirds at the Yanacocha Reserve or
“Inca Ditch”.  

Yanacocha is famous for high elevation hummingbirds
(such as Shining Sunbeam, Great Sapphirewing, Sapphire-
vented Puffleg and Golden-breasted Puffleg), and we will
likely add several more species to our trip list.  This is a 2
kilometre walk.  We will go slow and enjoy the birds and
several hummingbird feeders on the way to the top.

After lunch and during out trip back to Quito, we will also
stop along the way to bird some additional key habitat in
the mountainous and foothills areas above Quito.  Here
we will look for Giant Hummingbird, Black-tailed
Trainbearer, Collared Woodstar and Grassland Yellow-

We will also add several birds to our trip list, including  
White-crested Elaenia, Tufted Tit-Tyrant, Brown-backed
Chat-Tyrant, Brown-bellied Swallow, Black-crested
Warbler, Masked Flower-Piercer, Glossy Flower-Piercer,  
Black Flower-Piercer, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager,
Blue-and-yellow Tanager, Stripe-headed Brush-Finch,
Hooded Siskin, and more.

Day 6:  Papallachta Pass, Guango Reserve and Sani

On the sixth day, we will try to find several high elevation
hummingbird species near the top of Pappallachta Pass
and at several other spots along the way. In the late
morning, we will then enjoy excellent humminbird species
at Guango Lodge (about halfway through the 2/3 hour
drive that day) before heading towards San Isidro Lodge.  
This day will likely add another 8 to 12 hummingbird
species, including Ecuadorian Hillstar, Green Violetear,
Mountain Velvetbreast,  Bronzy Inca, Sword-billed
Hummingbird, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Tourmaline
Sunangel, Black-tailed Trainbearer, Tyrian Metaltail, Long-
tailed Sylph and White-bellied Woodstar.  We may even
find a few special humminbirds like Purple-backed
Thornbill and/or Blue-mantled Thornbill.    We may also
get lucky at Guango with Glowing Puffleg, and/or Mountain

As we travel over Pappallachta Pass, we should find a few
high elevations species that day as we pass through a mix
of elfin forest below and grassland páramo. The former
yields many high elevation cloud-forest and treeline
species such as Pearled Treerunner, White-throated
Tyrannulet, Tufted Tit-tyrant, Unicolored (Blackish)
Tapaculo, Plain-colored Seedeater, Cinereous Conebill
among others. Beyond and above, the páramo proper
yields Bar-winged Cinclodes, Stout-billed Cinclodes, Black-
billed Shrike-Tyrant, Páramo Pipit and Plumbeous Sierra-
Finch. Here we also see Ecuadorian Hillstar feeding on the
orange thistle-shrubs (Chuquiragua) while Many-striped
Canasteros and Andean Tit-Spinetails skulk in the
bushes.  Tawny Antpittas call all around.  We will have
time to find some of these species.

Higher up on the plateau, we may find Páramo Ground-
Tyrant, Black-winged Ground Dove, Carunculated
Caracaras, Variable/Puna Hawks and more. Given good
visibility, we have a good chance of seeing Andean
Condor, one of the largest populations found in Ecuador
as well as Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle. With more luck
we might see the rare Cinereous Harrier and Aplomado
Falcon (subspecies pichinchae).

We may find other species more common on the east
slope of the Andes like Red-crested Cotinga, Spectacled
Whitestart, Brown-bellied Swallow, Cinereous Conebill,
Blue-backed Conebill, Black Flowerpiercer, Plain-collared
Seedeater, Plumbeous Sierra-Finch, and Hooded Siskin.  
We may also get better looks at Pearled Treerunner,
White-crested Elaenia, White-banded Tyrannulet, Tufted
Tit-Tyrant, Turquoise Jay, Mountain Wren, Citrine
Warbler, Mountain Cacique, and Superciliaried

As we travel around and over the pass, we can access
tundra-like páramo and scattered patches of Polylepis
woodland. Lower down, elfin forest and montane
cloudforest occur. These areas support interesting
species, including Blue-and-yellow Tanager, Band-tailed
Seedeater, Ash-breasted Sierra-Finch, Black-billed Shrike-
Tyrant, Caranculated Caracara, Black-chested Eagle,
Puna Hawk,  Plain-breasted Hawk, Rufous-naped Brush-
Finch, Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant, Andean Condor, Giant
Conebill, Black-backed Bush-Tanager, Rufous-bellied
Seedsnipe, Ecuadorian Hillstar, Andean Tit-Spinetail and

We will spend the night at San Isidro Lodge, and we
should find their local Owl species (similar to Black-and-
white Owl, but not yet split as a new species).

By the end of the sixth day, we should likely have 40
hummingbird species on our trip list and close to 300 bird  
species overall.

Day 7:  Guacamayos and/or San Isidro and then
Loretto Road to Wild Sumaco

Guacamayos Trail is near San Isidro and is the ideal start
of the day, if trail conditions are good.  The rocks here
can be slippery and trail conditions can deteriorate for a
variety of reasons.  Though few (if any) hummingbirds will
be found along this trail, we will consider taking this very
birdy trail, filled with a number of nice east Andes

As an alternative, we may bird some of the trails at San

Once it warms up in the morning (and the birding slows
down), we will head towards Wild Sumaco.  A few birding
stops along the way can be productive, including one for
Cliff Flycatcher (a spectacular species).  Another spot has
a nice short walk to a fantastic waterfall, wonderful
butterflies, and often White-tailed Hillstar.  This fast
moving hummingbird comes zooming in to the feeders

My favourite feeders in Ecuador are those at Wild
Sumaco.  Besides the feeders, the grounds of the lodge
have well kept bushes attracting additional hummingbirds,
including Wire-creasted Thorntail (well-dressed), Violet-
headed Hummingbird (beautiful) and Gorgeted Woodstar
(a tiny wonder of a bird).  Some of the hummingbirds we
should find at Wild Sumaco include Brown Violetear, Fork-
tailed Woodnymph, Golden-tailed Sapphire, Many-spotted
Hummingbird, Black-throated Brilliant, Gould's Jewelfront
(spectacular), and Booted Racket-tail (buffy eastern

This will be a great finish to the day (and put the trip list of
hummingbirds nearing or exceeding 50 species).  Our
total trip list should be well above 300 species, as well.

Day 8:  Wild Sumaco Reserve

We will have an early breakfast and get over to a nearby
part of the reserve in the morning.  We will start with a
short birding walk, adding a number of species (and
perhaps Paradise Tanager, Coppery-chested Jacamar,
and much more).  We may even pick up some hard-to-find
humminbird species, like Black-eared Fairy.  In 2010, we
found a flock of over 40 species in the morning here; so,
fantastic birding can just come explode here.

The real joy for hummingbird fans will be the feeders at
the research station here.  Species like Green Hermit,
Napo Sabrewing, Rufous-vented Whitetip, Ecuadorian
Piedtail, Gould's Jewelfront and more can be found here.  
This is a cozy place to enjoy group birding.

We will likely take a break from the feeder here before
coming back to try for anything which we may have
missed.  The Ecuadorian Piedtail can take a second visit.

There are several other trails in the area which will prove
to be worthwhile birding before it gets too hot.

After lunch, we will head towards Coca.  We may have
time for a few birding breaks on our way to the airport

We will take a late afternoon flight (likely 5 PM) back (only
about 30 mintues) back to Quito.

Day 9:  Departure Home

Most trip participants will fly home in the early morning,
getting back to their home that day.

I am sure you will enjoy your flights home, thinking of the
pleasant memories of an excellent and worthwhile birding

Notes and Optional Extension Choices:

This trip is only $2,290 for the 9 days and 8 nights.  You
can easily add another 3 to 5 days of birding in the
Amazon Basin, for  just over $1,000.  Or, Galapagos trips
range from $3,000 to well over $5,000.
Detailed Itinerary
Murray Cooper
Great Sapphirewing by Harry Fuller
Velvet-purple Coronet by Harry Fuller
White-bellied Antpitta
by J. Drummond
Collared Inca (and in nest) by Murray Cooper
Murray Cooper
Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager by J. Drummond
by Harry Fuller
Masked Flowerpiercer by M. Cooper
Fawn-breasted Brilliant
by Murray Cooper
Green-crownded Woodnymph
by J. Drummond
Gould's Jewelfront by Lelis Navarette
Murray Cooper
Swordbilled Hummingbird by J. Drummond
Saffron-crowned Tanager by Murray
Photo by John Drummond
Pacific Hornero by John Drummond
Long-tailed Sylph by Harry Fuller
Orange-breasted Fruiteater
by John Drummond
Green-crowned Woodnymph
by Harry Fuller
Long-wattled Umbrellabird
by Murray Cooper
Photo by Harry Fuller
9 Days in Ecuador:  January and November
Mindo, Milpe, Paz de Las Aves, Bellavista, Tandayapa Valley, Yanacocha
and then Papallachta Pass, Guango, San Isidro and Wild Sumaco and More
Extensions to Galapagos Islands and Amazonian Basin
Ecuador:  Hummingbirds & More
Details for 9 Day Trip
Gorgeted Woodstar
by Lelis Navarrete
Purple-crowned Woodnymph by Murray Cooper
Empress Brilliant by Lelis Navarette
Golden-headed Quetzal by M.  Cooper
Booted Racquet-Tail (female) by Harry Fuller
Golden-eyed Flowerpiercer by Murray Cooper
White-bellied Woodstar by John Drummond
Maroon-tailed Parakeet by John Drummond
Chestnut-breasted Coronet by Harry Fuller
Double-toothed Kite
by J. Drummond
Bay-headed Tanager by John Drummond
Tourquoise Jay by J.  Drummond
For more information or to sign up for one of our trips, call Charles or Alison
at 888-203-7464 or Charles directly at 720-320-1974 or by email at
More Details on This Trip