ABOUT THE BIRDING
Yunguilla Reserve is a former farm and orchard purchased by the Jocotoco Foundation to preserve the last known habitat of the highly endangered Pale-headed Brush-Finch, a species that was nearly extinct but whose population has now expanded to over 100 breeding pairs. The species is found among the orchards in the valley, which can be visited when accompanied by a park ranger. They are quite reliably seen but difficult to photograph in the thick foliage of the trees.
In addition to the brush-finch, a variety of other southern Ecuador specialties can be found in the orchards and along the dirt access road leading down into the valley from the parking area. Blackish Tapaculo, a recent split from Uniform-colored Tapaculo, can sometimes be seen lurking in the thick underbrush of the orchards. Other interesting possibilities include Rufous-crowned Tody-Tyrant, Speckle-breasted Wren, Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush, Ecuadorian Thrush, and Black-and-white Tanager. Pacific Parrotlets sometimes fly overhead and Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle sometimes soar above the ridgeline.
LOCATION OF SITE
Yunguilla Reserve is located in the Yunguilla Valley of southern Ecuador about 2 hours southwest of Cuenca. It is reached by driving through Giron to the village of Santa Isabel. A side road beyond the village leads up to the reserve. Advance arrangements need to be made for a visit.