Renato Espinosa Photography: Video, Birds and Tours
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NORTH WESTERN TOURS

The western slopes of northern Ecuador are excellent for Choco endemic birds.  This area has a great number of Choco endemics, the best roads, the most reserves, and the best lodging infrastructure in Ecuador and all near Quito.

We offer two birding programs which can be combined into a complete program to cover all of the Choco endemic areas of Ecuador.  The most common tour goes form the highlands to lowlands and is here referred as the Tropical Andes Tour.  The second tour goes to more remote lowland areas of north western Ecuador and includes some coastal sites, it is here referred as the Choco Low Land Tour.

The current list of Choco Endemics from birdlife.org  in my view it is still missing a number of restricted-range species that could be included in the Choco list.  Eight of these species can only be seen in Colombia (crossed out), one is extinct, which leaves us with a total of 53 Choco Endemics for Ecuador!

 

 

Choco Bird List

 

Likely Location

1

Berlepsch's Tinamou

LC

Milpe, Alambi, Canade, Playa de Oro

2

Baudo Guan

EN

Mashpi, Canande, Playa de Oro

3

Dark-backed Wood-quail

VU

Refugio Paz

4

Plumbeous Forest-falcon

VU

La Union, Rio Canande, Rio Silanche, Milpe

5

Dusky Pigeon

LC

23 de Junio, Milpe, Rio Silanche, Mashpi, Mangaloma

6

Rose-faced Parrot

LC

Mashpi, 23 de Junio

7

Banded Ground-cuckoo

EN

Un Poco del Choco, Mangaloma, Canande, Bilsa

8

Colombian Screech-owl

NT

Refugio Paz, Alambi, Bellavista, Septimo, Mindo, Milpe

9

Choco Poorwill

NT

Tundaloma, Playa de oro, Canande, Mashpi, Bilsa

10

Hoary Puffleg

NT

Sanata Lucia, Bellavista, Refugio paz, Milpe, Mindo

11

Purple-chested Hummingbird

LC

Rio Silanche, Milpe, Mashpi, PVM, Mangaloma

12

Empress Brilliant

LC

Refugio Paz, Mashpi, Sachatamia, etc

13

Velvet-purple Coronet

LC

Refugio Paz, Mashpi, Sachatamia, etc

14

Brown Inca

LC

Refugio, Alambi, Mashpi, Sachatamia

15

Gorgeted Sunangel

LC

Bellavista, Alaspungo,  Alambi

16

Turquoise-throated Puffleg

CR

Extint ?

17

Colorful Puffleg

CR

parque nacional Munchiche, Colombia

18

Purple-bibbed Whitetip

LC

Refugio Paz, Sachatamia, Bellavista, Mashpi,

19

Violet-tailed Sylph

LC

Refugio Paz, Sachatamia, Bellavista, Mashpi,

20

Blue-tailed Trogon

LC

Milpe, Mashpi, Silanche, Mindo

21

Plate-billed Mountain-toucan

NT

23 de Junio, Mindo-nono Rd, Bellavista,

22

Choco Toucan

LC

24 de Junio, Mindo, Mashpi, Mangaloma, Rio Silanche

23

Orange-fronted Barbet

NT

Rio Silanche, Canande, La Delicia, Mashpi, Mangaloma

24

Five-colored Barbet

VU

Playa de Oro, Yalare, Tundaloma

25

Toucan Barbet

LC

23 de Junio, Mashpi, Mindo-nono Rd, Bellavista,

26

Choco Woodpecker

NT

La Union, Canande, Rio Silanche

27

Lita Woodpecker

LC

Canande, Bilsa, Playa de Oro, La Union,

28

Sooty-capped Puffbird

NT

Bocas del Atrato, Colombia

29

Club-winged Manakin

LC

Mashpi, Milpe, Mindo, 23 de junio, Santa Lucia

30

Yellow-headed Manakin

NT

Colombia

31

Orange-breasted Fruiteater

LC

Mashpi, Refugio Paz, 23 de Junio, Santa Lucia

32

Long-wattled Umbrellabird

VU

23 de Junio, Mashpi, Sachatamia, Bilsa

33

Bicoloured Antvireo

VU

Cabaņas San Isidro, Yanayacu, Gucamayo Trail

34

Stub-tailed Antbird

LC

PVM, Rio Silanche, Tundaloma, Playa de Oro, La Union

35

Narino Tapaculo

LC

Refugio Paz, Santa Lucia, Mashpi

36

Rufous-crowned Antpitta

NT

Mashpi, Canande, Playa de Oro

37

Yellow-breasted Antpitta

LC

Refugio Paz, Santa Lucia, Bellavista

38

Fulvous-dotted Treerunner

NT

Chical Upper, Finca Don Nelson

39

Uniform Treehunter

LC

Refugio paz, Mashpi, Mino Nono, Bellavista

40

Choco Vireo

EN

Mashpi, La Delicia

41

Beautiful Jay

NT

El Pauma, Alambi, Bellavista

42

Black Solitaire

LC

Mashpi, 23 de Junio, Bellavista, Santa Lucia

43

Red-bellied Grackle

VU

Colombia

44

Tanager Finch

VU

Bellavista, , Ecoruta

45

Black-and-gold Tanager

VU

Colombia

46

Golden-chested Tanager

LC

Canande, Playa de Oro, La Union,

47

Moss-backed Tanager

LC

Mashpi, Milpe

48

Gold-ringed Tanager

EN

Colombia

49

Black-chinned Mountain-tanager

LC

Refugio Paz, Mashpi

50

Purplish-mantled Tanager

NT

Chical Upper, Finca Don Nelson

51

Glistening-green Tanager

LC

Mashpi, Milpe, Santa Lucia, Mindo

52

Multicolored Tanager

VU

Colombia

53

Blue-whiskered Tanager

NT

Rio Silanche, Canande, PVM

54

Turquoise Dacnis

VU

Colombia

55

Scarlet-breasted Dacnis

VU

Rio Silanche, Canande, Playa de Oro, Yalare, La Union

56

Scarlet-and-white Tanager

LC

La Union, Canande, Rio Silanche, Mashpi

57

Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer

EN

Colombia

58

Indigo Flowerpiercer

LC

Mashpi, Chical, La Delicia

59

DuskyChlorospingus

LC

Refugio, Bellavista, Mashpi, , Minodo-Nono

60

Yellow-green Bush-tanager

VU

Milpe, La Delicia

61

Yellow-collared Chlorophonia

LC

Milpe, Mashpi,  Mindo, Refugio Paz, , Bellavista

62

Crested Ant-tanager

LC

Colombia

 

TROPICAL ANDES TOUR

This tour begins in Quito or Pululahua and explores the Tropical Andes slopes all the way to the vicinity of the western low lands.  The western tour begins at the  high altitude reserve of Yanacocha at 3500 masl, where the high altitude elfin forest holds and incredible amount of biodiversity with birds like the Sword-billed Hummingbird,  numerous mountain tanagers, antpitas, tapaculos and others.  As we drop in altitude we continue to find new species in the multiple ecosystems including Choco specialties like Giant Antpitta, Plate-billed Mountain Toucan, Long-wattled Umbrellabird and many others.  The lowest site that we visit in this tour is Rio Silance at 900 masl where we will have the possibility of encountering some of the low land Choco endemics like Purple-chested Hummingbird, Orange-fronted Barbet, Scarlet-breasted Dacnis, and others.

Please note that we offer three types of  tours: Conservation, Standard, and Photography.  The conservation tour is the shortest and we stay with Ecuadorian owned lodges that have made  efforts toward forest conservation.  If you prefer better lodging arrangements then we offer the Standard Tour, and if you are interested in photographing birds I offer a Photography tour where we spend more time “focusing” on getting better photos of birds and we stay in the same places as in the Standard Tour.

Note: Since I only offer private tours we can adjust your tour duration to your needs and your interest.

TROPICAL  ANDES TOUR PRICING

All tours are private with double occupancy and include: transportation, bilingual guide, park entrance fees, lodging, and drinking water, all meals except dinner on the last day, .  Tax included and  tips are optional.

 

Conservation

Standard

Photography

DURATION

7 Day

8 Day

8 Day

1 Person

$2,350

$3400

$ 3,400

2 People

$ 1,400

$ 2,200

$ 2,200

3 People

$ 1,120

$ 1,800

$ 1,800

4-6 People

$ 980

$ 1650

$ 1650

Single supplement

$ 105

$ 360

$ 360

The last night lodging and dinner not included.  Additional services like extra hotel and airport pickup or drop off can be arranged.  Prices are shown for double occupancy add single supplement for single occupancy.

 

Conservation Tour Itinerary:

In the conservation tour we stay with Ecuadorian own business promoting the local conservation efforts.

Day 1: Yanacocha and Pululahua, . Sleep in Puluahua
Day 2: Maquipucuna. Sleep in Pululahua.
Day 3: Bellavista, Tandayapa Valley. Sleep in Alambi Cloud Forest Reserve.
Day 4: Refugio Paz de las Aves, Mindo Nono Road, Mido Nambillo Reserve. Sleep in Yellow House.
Day 5: Mashpi Amagusa Reserve, and Oil Bird Cave.  Sleep in Yellow House
Day 6: Rio Silanche, and 23 de Junio.  Sleep in 23 de Junio.
Day 7: 23 de Junio, Mirador del Rio Blanco, Milpe.  Return to Quito or Pululahua.

 

Typical Standard and Photography Tour Itinerary:

In the Standard Tour we stay with some of the best lodges and extend our stay by two days to have the best opportunities to find more birds.

Day 1: Yanacocha and Pululahua, . Sleep in Puluahua
Day 2: Pululahua and Maquipucuna, Sleep in Maquipucuna.
Day 3: Maquipucuna, Bellavista. Sleep in Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve.
Day 4: Bellavista and Tadayapa Valley.  Sleep at Refugio Paz de las Aves.
Day 5: Refugio Paz de las Aves, Mindo Nono Road.  Sleep in Alambi Clound Forest Reserve..
Day 6: Mashpi Amagusa Reserve, and Oil Bird Cave.  Sleep in Alambi Clound Forest Reserve.
Day 7: Rio Silanche, Mido Nambillo Reserve.  Sleep in Sachatamia.
Day 8: 23 de Junio, Milpe. Return to Quito.
 

EXTREME NORTH CHOCO TOUR

This tour begins in Quito or Pululahua and explores the extreme north west sites and the lower western sites of Ecuador.  We begin with a visit to San Pablo lake to look for Subtropical Doradito and the Ecuadorian (Virginia) Rail and continue our way north to sleep near Ibarra.  From here we will start descending west and visit the Chical area, Lita, and La Union rd in search of those Choco endemics such as Purplish-mantled Tanager, Fulvous-dotted Treeruner, Scarlet-and-white Tanager, Choco Warbler, Lita Woodpecker and others.  After we cover the slopes we will rest for a day comfortable Tundaloma Reserve before we head to some rough country deep in the northern forest inside the Cotacachi-Cayapas National Park.  We will stay at Tigrillo Loge and search for some of the specialties such as Baudu Guan, Stub-tailed Antbird, Five-color Barbet, Bronze-tailed Plumeteer, Broad-Billed Sapayoa,  and if we are lucky the Choco Poorwill.  After spending three days in this diffcult site we will finish the tour with a luxury stay at the renowned Rio Canande Reserve for three  lush days at this elite Choco site where we will have our last chance to clean up on the low-land Choco birds.

 

EXTREME NORTH CHOCO TOUR PRICING

All tours are private with double occupancy and include: transportation, bilingual guide, park entrance fees, lodging, and drinking water, all meals except dinner on the last day, .  Tax included and  tips are optional.

 

Conservation

Standard

Photography

DURATION

9 Day

9 Day

9 Day

1 Person

$2,100

$ 3,060

$ 3,060

2 People

$ 1,400

$ 2,160

$ 2,160

3 People

$ 1,120

$ 1,800

$ 1,800

4-6 People

$ 980

$ 1620

$ 1620

Single supplement

$ 105

$ 360

$ 360

The last night lodging and dinner not included.  Additional services like extra hotel and airport pickup or drop off can be arranged.

Typical Conservation Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: San Pablo Lake, Salinas Valley, . Sleep in Chota Valley
Day 2: El Chical and Lita.  Sleep near Lita.
Day 3: La Union and El Chical.  Sleep near Lita.
Day 4: La Union and Tudaloma.  Sleep at Tundaloma.
Day 5: Tundaloma and Playa de Oro.  Sleep at Playa de Oro.
Day 6: Playa de Oro.  Sleep at Playa de Oro.
Day 7: Playa de Oro.  Sleep at Playa de Oro.
Day 8: Playa de Oro and San Lorenzo.  Sleep at Tundaloma
Day 9: San Lorenzo drive to Quito.

Typical Standard and Photography Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: San Pablo Lake, Salinas Valley, . Sleep in Chota Valley
Day 2: El Chical and Lita.  Sleep near Lita.
Day 3: La Union and El Chical.  Sleep near Lita.
Day 4: La Union and Tudaloma.  Sleep at Tundaloma.
Day 5: Tundaloma and Playa de Oro.  Sleep at Playa de Oro.
Day 6: Playa de Oro.  Sleep at Playa de Oro.
Day 7: Playa de Oro.  Sleep at Playa de Oro.
Day 8: Playa de Oro and San Lorenzo.  Sleep at Tundaloma
Day 9: San Lorenzo to Rio Canande Reserve.  Sleep at Canade.
Day 10: Rio Canande Reserve.  Sleep at Canade.
Day 11: Rio Canande Reserve drive to Quito.

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