RIO PALENQUE RESERVE
ABOUT THE BIRDING
Rio Palenque Science Center was first protected by the Ecuadorian government in 1971 and was purchased by the Wong Foundation in 1998. It operates as a research facility and offers basic accommodations for visitors. The reserve protects a small 100-hectare tract of remnant lowland forest in northwestern Ecuador where much of the land has been cleared for agriculture. It's essentially a habitat island in a large "sea" of agricultural land. Despite its small size, over 1200 species of plants and 350 species of birds have been identified on the property. It's considered the last remaining tract of wet forest in coastal Ecuador, and it's described by many birders as a very "birdy" place.
The reserve includes a network of trails and observation platforms that allow easy access into the forest and along the river. Trails are generally level and afford easy walking. Some of the many notable birds one can find are Dusky Pigeon, Little Cuckoo, Orange-fronted Barbet, Slaty-winged Foliage-gleaner, Red-billed Scythebill, Pacific Antwren, Sooty-headed Tyrannulet, and Scarlet-browed Tanager. During non-breeding season (Jun-Dec), the reserve is a good place to find the prized Crimson-breasted Finch. Along the river a number of aquatic birds are of particular interest, including Least Grebe, Cocoi Heron, and possibly the secretive Sungrebe. The reserve is the northern limit for several Tumbesian endemics found mainly farther south. Among those are Rufous-headed Chachalaca, Pacific Pygmy-Owl, Guayaquil Woodpecker, Slaty Becard, Ochraceous Attila, and Pacific Royal-Flycatcher.
LOCATION OF SITE
Rio Palenque Reserve is located 47 km. south of Santo Domingo de los Colorados at kilometer 56 of the Quevado-Santo Domingo Highway. It is in the lowlands southwest of Quito.