The Western Andes is the wettest and smallest of Colombia’s three Andean ranges, and the most biologically diverse as it intersects with the Choco Bioregion to the west. The rainy western slope of the mountains remains largely intact, while the drier eastern slope has been largely deforested. Seven national parks and dozens of Important Bird Areas (IBAs) make this range a must for any birder, especially those in search of colorful tanagers and hummingbirds. Home to almost 20 of Colombia’s endemic birds (9 of which are restricted to the range), the range is also home to many near endemic birds that can only be found in Ecuador and Colombia.
The crown jewel of the range is the awe-inspiring Multicolored Tanager, which can be seen in the mountains near Cali. Other target species include Yellow-eared Parrot, Dusky Starfrontlet, Chestnut-bellied Flower-piercer, Alto-pisones and Paramo Tapaculos, Scaled Fruiteater, Crested Quetzal, the recently described Munchique Wood-Wren, and Colorful and Gorgeted Pufflegs. Visiting all these birding areas involves a bit more effort than in the central or eastern Andes; as several areas require 4-wheel drive vehicles. Yet without a shadow of a doubt, birding in the western Andes is an exciting, joyful experience. Please scroll down to learn about the amazing birding sites the western Andes has to offer.