SHORT AMAZON BIRDING TOUR
|Duration:||5 days, 4 nights|
|* This tour is available for any dates of your choosing provided guide services and accommodations are available.|
Our Ecuador Amazon Birding Tour is intended as a pre-tour before another of our Ecuador birding tours or as an extension following one of our Ecuador birding tours. If it's a pre-tour, the night of Day 1 is included in the tour price and the night of Day 5 is not. If an extension, then the night of Day 1 is not included in the tour price and the night of Day 5 is included. If you wish to take this tour by itself, then an additional charge will apply for any extra nights in Quito.
DAY 1 - QUITO
International flights arrive by evening. Everyone meets at the San Jose de Puembo Hotel, reached by taxi from the airport. Those arriving a day early have free time to explore the city. Night in Quito.
DAY 2 - QUITO & NAPO RIVER
Short 25-min morning flight from Quito to Coca followed by 2 hour (80km) powerboat ride down the Napo River. Various birds can be spotted along the river including Pied Plover, Southern Lapwing, Yellow-billed Tern, Large-billed Tern, occasional toucans, Swallow-winged Puffbird, and on rare occasions Orange-breasted Falcon. From there walk through varzea (seasonally flooded) forest along a boardwalk with porters carrying your luggage, birding en route. Finally, you'll cross a lagoon in dugout canoes to the lodge, situated in a private 2000 hectare reserve adjacent to Yasuni National Park. There should be some time late this afternoon to bird from the viewing platform near the riverfront finca. Here you may see Scarlet-crowned Barbet, Lafresnaye's Piculet, Orange-fronted Plushcrown, Violaceous Jay, and Red-capped Cardinal. Night at Sacha Lodge.
DAYS 3-4 - SACHA LODGE RESERVE & YASUNI NATIONAL PARK
During your stay at Sacha Lodge you'll spend much of one day going farther down the Napo River to two established parrot clay licks. At the first lick the usual species present are Dusky-headed Parakeet, Blue-headed Parrot, Yellow-crowned Amazon, and Mealy Amazon. The second clay lick is located in a cave entrance at a nearby site. The usual species there are Cobalt-winged Parakeets, the most abundant species, and usually a few Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlets and Orange-winged Parrots. Sometimes Scarlet Macaws appear as well. This same day your guide should visit some sandbar islands in the river where it's likely to find Ladder-tailed Nightjar roosting on the sand and White-bellied Spinetail, Parker's Spinetail, Black-and-white Antbird, and Chestnut-bellied Seedeater in the scrub.
One morning will be devoted to the 135-ft. observation tower and the 94-ft high walkway suspended between three towers in the forest. From these vantage points it's possible to see a variety of canopy birds. Possibilities include Blue-and-Yellow Macaws, Chestnut-fronted Macaws, and Red-bellied Macaws flying above the forest, Black-throated Trogon, Blue-crowned Trogon, and Black-tailed Trogon, Ivory-billed Aracari, Chestnut-bellied Aracari, and Many-banded Aracari, Channel-billed Toucan, and White-throated Toucan. Among the many other canopy birds you may see are Black-bellied Cuckoo, Yellow-billed Nunbird, Gilded Barbet, Scaly-breasted Woodpecker, Spot-winged Antshrike, Spot-backed Antwren, Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatcher, Spangled Cotinga, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, and White-browed Purpletuft. A good variety of raptors live in the forest, none common, and it's possible to see some soaring above the canopy or perching in the treetops.
On boat trips through the waterways, you can expect to find many aquatic and varzea forest birds including possibly Capped Heron, Cocoi Heron, Agami Heron, the very secretive and hence prized Zigzag Heron, Green Ibis, the bizarrely primitive Hoatzin, Sungrebe, Sunbittern, Great Potoo, White-eared Jacamar, Paradise Jacamar, Cinnamon-rumped Foliage-gleaner, Silvered Antbird, Dot-backed Antbird, Orange-crested Manakin, Dwarf Tyrant-Manakin, Black-capped Donacobius, and Masked Crimson Tanager.
You'll bird several trails through both varzea terra firme forest. The variety of habitats supports a good diversity of birds. Many species are uncommon and secretive so every visit produces new surprises. Possibilities include Yellow-billed Jacamar, Collared Puffbird, Black-banded Woodcreeper, Spix's Woodcreeper, Mouse-colored Antshrike, Cinereous Antshrike, White-flanked Antwren, Black-faced Antbird, White-shouldered Antbird, Sooty Antbird, Golden-headed Manakin, Wire-tailed Manakin, and numerous flycatchers and tanagers. Nights at Sacha Lodge.
DAY 5 - NAPO RIVER & QUITO
On this day depart the lodge early, re-tracing our route across the lagoon, boardwalk, and finally up the Napo River to Coca. Then take a late morning flight back to Quito. The flight normally arrives in early afternoon, leaving some free time that afternoon to relax or explore the city. End of tour at hotel. Night at San Jose de Puembo Hotel included if hotel not included at beginning of tour.