PACIFIC OR CHOCO REGION

The Pacific or Chocó region is one of the most important hotpots for biodiversity on the planet, and also one of the wettest, with some areas averaging up to 300 inches in a year. The Choco region borders the Pacific Ocean to the west and the western Andes to the east. For our purposes, we include sites in the Chocó lowlands along the Pacific coast and sites on the western flank of the western Andes in this section.

Around 650 bird species inhabit this region, and endemics like Baudó Oropendola, Baudó Guan, and Sooty-capped Puffbird are highly sought after species found in the Choco lowlands. Rarities like the near endemic Colombian Crake can be found, while Chocó specialties like Great Curassow, Dusky Pigeon, Blue Cotinga. Other specialties found on the western flamk of the western Andes include Orange-breasted Fruiteater, the endemics Munchique Wood-wren and Alto-pisones Tapaculo, Long-wattled Umbrellabird, Lita Woodpecker and the near endemic Scarlet-and-white Tanager.

Tatama National Park – Cerro Montezuma

The Montezuma Lodge, adjacent to the Tatama National Park, offers unsurpassed hospitality and magnificent feeders and birding right from the lodge. Undoubtedly the best birding destination in Co-lombia, endemics found in the area include Gold-ringed Tanager, Black-and-Gold Tanager, Beautiful Jay, the recently described Munchique Wood-wren, Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer Alto-pisones Ta-paculo, Crested Ant-tanger, and Chestnut Wood-quail. Other specialties include Orange-breasted Fruiteater, White-faced Nunbird, Glistening-green Tanager, Streak-capped Treehunter, Linnetaed Fo-liage-gleaner, Olivaceous Piha, and Indigo Flowerpiercer. River crossing give birders a chance for White-capped Dippper, with pristine forests providing opportunities for Toucan Barbet, Black Soli-taire, Choco Vireo and the beautiful Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia.

The hummingbird feeders attract Violet-tailed Sylph, Empress Brilliant, White-tailed Hillstar, and the near endemic Purple-throated Woodstar. Other targets species include Flame-faced Tanager, Glossy-black Thrush, Tanager Finch, Rufous-throated and Golden-chested Tanagers, Spillman’s Tapa-culo and with good luck Hooded Antpitta.

Anchicaya

Perhaps Colombia’s most famous birding location, the Anchicaya watershed is located in the Farallones National Park. Birding is done along a lightly traveled road, beginning in cloud forests of the western Andes at 1,600 m (5,250 ft) and ending in humid tropical forests at 400m (1,300 ft) in the Pacific Lowlands. The road will surely yield many highly prized species, including the rare Banded Ground-Cuckoo and Long-wattled Umbrellabird. Anchicaya is a one of the best places to find Choco endemics such as Baudo Guan, Blue-whiskered Tanager, Moss-backed Tanager, Rose-faced Parrot, Lita Woodpecker, Streak-chested Anpitta, Scarlet-browed Tanager, Golden-chested Tanager, Choco Toucan, Choco Poorwill, and Yellow-green Bush-Tanager.

Over 300 species have been observed along the road, and it is possible to see 100+ species in a day. Other species of interest include Barred Hawk, Brown Inca, Little Hermit, Ocellated Antbird and Blue-crowned and White-throated Manakin.

San Cipriano

San Cipriano is a small town located approximately 10 minutes inland from the port of Buenaventura. At 600 feet above sea level and with over 100 species of birds, this area is a protected reserve in and the source of the drinking water for the Colombia’s only port on the Pacific, Buenaventura. One of the exhilarating parts of this locality is the means of getting there, which is done in vehicles the locals know as “brujitas”. There are no roads to San Cipriano, so locals have devised a way to use the railway to their advantage. Brujitas are homemade, wood carts powered by a motorcycle. They are used to transport tourists and supplies on the railway, and make for an incredibly fun ride!

Part of the experience includes crossing the picturesque, culturally significant town on foot, where we will birders can observe a nesting colony of Chestnut Oropendolas and the conspicuous Lemon-rumped Tanager. The town gives way to lush forests with Chestnut-mandibled Toucans, Blue-headed Parrots, Rose-faced Parrot, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Golden-collared Manakin, Stripe-billed Araçari, White-tipped and Blue Cotinga, Scarlet-rumped Cacique, Ruffous-tailed Jacamar, Ocellated and Bicolored Antbird, Long-tailed Tyrant and Blue-whiskered, Emerald, Palm, Dusky-faced and Rufous-winged Tanagers amongst many others. Other specialties of the area include Masked Tityra, and Cinnamon and Crimson-bellied Woodpeckers.

Bahia Solano

Bahia Solano lies on the Pacific Coast and can only be reached by plane, but offers access to the infamous Utria National Park. Nice lodges dot the beach, so adding some relaxation on the beach to a birding tirp can be easily accomplished. Target species of the area include the sought after Harpy Eagle, Tawny-faced Quail, Brown Wood-Rail, Choco Tinamou and Berlepsch’s Tinamou, Spot-crowned Antvireo, Ocellated Antbird, Black-faced Antthrush, Thicket Antpitta, Crested Eagle, Great Green Macaw, Red-lored Parrot, Five-coloured Barbet, White-tipped Sicklebill, Sapphire-throated Hummingbird, Yellow-eared Toucanet, Crimson-bellied Woodpecker, Red-capped Manakin, Song Wren, and Stripe-throated Wren.