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TAPICHALACA RESERVE

ECUADOR
LOCALE

Area (ha):2,000
Altitude (m):1980-3050
# Species*:314
# Excl Vagrants*:314
# Endemics*:0
# Near Endemics*:16
Species/100 ha*:15.7
*Based on partial or incomplete data.
Habitat: Wet temperate forest

ABOUT THE BIRDING

Tapichalaca Forest Reserve was purchased by the newly formed Jocotoco Foundation in 1997 to preserve the habitat of the newly discovered Jocotoco Antpitta. The reserve encompasses approximately 2000 hectares including Cerro Tapichalaca at an elevation between 6500-10,000 ft. Much of the protected area is covered by wet temperate forest. A lodge in the preserve offers basic accommodations for a limited number of persons and maintains hummingbird feeders that attract a variety of species characteristic of the area. Notable among these are Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Rainbow Starfrontlet, Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Flame-throated Sunangel, Glowing Puffleg, and Rufous-capped Thornbill.

A major trail in the preserve is the Quebrada Honda, which takes several branches through the forest and can be quite steep, muddy, and strenous in places. It's along this trail where the Jocotoco Antpitta is typically seen. The species has been difficult to find after it stopped responding to overused playbacks, but recently a park ranger has conditioned them to come out on the trail for viewing by visitors. Arrangements to see the bird should be made in advance.

A variety of other birds can be found in the forest and open habitats along the Quebrada Honda. Notable species include White-throated Quail-Dove, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Golden-headed Quetzal, the difficult to see Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Ecuadorian Piculet, Bar-bellied Woodpecker, White-browed Spinetail, Tyrannine Woodcreeper, Olive-backed Woodcreeper, Barred Fruiteater, Black-capped Tyrannulet, Black-throated Tody-Tyrant, Orange-banded Flycatcher, Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant, Smoky Bush-Tyrant, Black-capped Hemispingus, Rufous-chested Tanager, Blue-capped Tanager, Silver-crowned Tanager, Plushcap, and Rufous-naped Brush-Finch. More secretive species that are also possible include Barred Antthrush, Rufous Antpitta, Slate-crowned Antpitta, Blackish Tapaculo, Rufous-vented Tapaculo, and Chusquea Tapaculo.

LOCATION OF SITE

Tapichalaca Forest Reserve is located immediately south of Podocarpus National Park along the Quebrada Honda Trail on the east slope of the Andes Mountains below Cerro Tapichalaca in southern Ecuador. It lies approximately 50 km southwest of Vilcabamba and 11 km north of Valladolid. The dirt road from Vilcabamba becomes progressively worse as one travels south but is passable.