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Ecuador: Last Birding Frontier deep in the Amazon

Published by Jarol Fernando Vaca (shiripuno2004 AT yahoo.com)

Participants: Marion, Colin, Andres

After a 30 minutes fly to Coca an "Amazonian Cosmopolitan Boom Town"; Marion, Colin, Andres and I we set off to Shiripuno Lodge to bird watch in the Homeland of the Waorani People: the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve—located at the intersection of the Western Amazon, the Andes Mountains, and the Equator— homes an extraordinary biodiversity; Yasuni also holds 20% of Ecuador’s remaining crude oil reserves, generating strong interest in future hydrocarbon development and contains an abundance of valuable timber.

Yasuni has outstanding global conservation significance due to its extraordinary biodiversity and potential to sustain this biodiversity in the long term because of its 1) large size and wilderness character, 2) intact large vertebrate assemblage, 3) IUCN level-II protection status in a region lacking other strict protected areas, and 4) likelihood of maintaining wet, rainforest conditions while anticipated climate change-induced drought intensifies in the eastern Amazon.

All these findings form the scientific basis for policy recommendations, including stopping any new oil activities and road construction in the Yasuni and creating areas offlimits to large-scale development in adjacent northern Peru.

However, numerous major threats (Development Projects) will confront the ecosystems of this region—including hydrocarbon and mining projects, illegal logging, oil palm plantations, and large scale transportation projects under the umbrella of IIRSA (Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America).

Day 1. We travel along the Auca Road which is recently paved for 2h30 and reach the Shiripuno River, load our supplies to the motorized canoe and then continue downstream to reach the Shiripuno Lodge. We witness an unusual Sunbittern behavior; three individuals were on the riverside trees, the first to fly up to 7 meters high and made a high pitch song and right the way folded its wing like a parachute and then land on a dead tree on the river bank, none of us had seen this before...

Day 2. Right after breakfast we head out to the Colibri Trail, in the search of Ash-throated Gnateater, which we found inside a thick bush made of melastomastaceae, We had good looks of White-crowned Manakin, Green-olive Woodpecker and others. We ahd Lunch and then We paddle downstream to marvel ourselves with Macaws ( We had all five already!); if your amazon birding experience doesn't offer you the Icons of the Neotropics, no worries now you know were to find them. After dinner we heard one the Specialty of Shiripuno Lodge: Nocturnal Curassaw and start to walk towards it's roosting site and we nail it!

Day 3. The Mirador Trail offers a view of the forest canopy, here we encounter Brown Jacamar, White-browed Purpletuft, Flame-crested Tanager, Gray Antbird, along the Trail we heard and saw Hairy-crested Antbird, Wing-barred Piprites, Blue-backed Manakin and others. After Lunch and a well deserve siesta we explore the Laguna Trail and got Hoatzin! And drifting had become like the favorite afternoon activity, very pleasant as the nigh was coming we check for some owls and Black-banded perched in the shade.

Day 4. A visit to the Rainforest without rain it wont be a full experience, After the shower we had a great Canoe Drifting on the Shiripuno River, watching Macaws, Toucans,and Monkey until we start walking along the Skutch Trail (named after Alexander Skutch), where we encounter Red-billed Scythbill on a Mixed Flock. After the rain we experience it by crossing a flooded stream to meet Colibri Trail, where we heard Slaty-backed Forest-Falcon. Late in the afternoon we headed to Bates Trail in the search of Rufous Potoo which we heard, but found a roosting site of Marbled Wood-Quail.

Day 5. We had an early shower but we decided to have a full day in the forest, so we drove to the Saladero Trail, were we had Silvered Antbird, Black Antbird, Black Bushbird, Fasciated Antshrike and and top of that we had Undulated Antshrike all this in less of 100 meters! a Pavonine Quetzal was having nuts!

Day 6. After a quick run to the forest we heard Collared Puffbird, Rufous Potoo and then we head upsteam to visit the Waorani People and learn about the way of living. Return to Coca.

Pavonine Quetzal on Youtube

Species Lists

TINAMOUS TINAMIDAE
Great Tinamou (Tinamus major)
White-throated Tinamou (Tinamus guttatus)
Cinereous Tinamou (Crypturellus cinereus)
Undulated Tinamou (Crypturellus undulatus)
Variegated Tinamou (Crypturellus variegatus)
Bartlett’s Tinamou (Crypturellus bartletti)

HERONS, BITTERNS, EGRETS ARDEIDAE
Rufescent Tiger-Heron (Tigrisoma lineatum)
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
Striated Heron (Butorides striatus)

AMERICAN VULTURES CATHARTIDAE
King Vulture (Sarcoramphus papa)
Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)
Greater Yellow-headed Vulture (Cathartes melambrotus)

KITES, EAGLES, HAWKS ACCIPITRIDAE
Pearl Kite (Gampsonyx swainsonii)
Plumbeous Kite (Ictinia plumbea)
Roadside Hawk (Buteo magnirostris)

FALCONS & CARACARAS FALCONIDAE
Black Caracara (Daptrius ater)
Red-throated Caracara (Ibycter americanus)
Barred Forest-Falcon (Micrastur ruficollis)
Slaty-backed Forest-Falcon (Micrastur mirandollei)
Bat Falcon (Falco rufigularis)

CURASSOWS & GUANS CRACIDAE
Speckled Chachalaca (Ortalis guttata)
Spix’s Guan (Penelope jacquacu)
Common Piping-Guan (Pipile pipile)
Nocturnal Curassow (Nothocrax urumutum)

NEW WORLD QUAILS ODONTOPHORIDAE
Marbled Wood-Quail (Odontophorus gujanensis)

RAILS & GALLINULES RALLIDAE
Black-banded Crake (Laterallus fasciatus)
Chestnut-headed Crake (Anurolimnas castaneiceps)
Gray-necked Wood-Rail (Aramides cajanea)

SUNBITTERN EURYPYGIDAE
Sunbittern (Eurypyga helias)

TRUMPETERS PSOPHIIDAE
Gray-winged Trumpeter (Psophia crepitans)

SANDPIPERS & SNIPES SCOLOPACIDAE
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia)

PIGEONS & DOVES COLUMBIDAE
Rock Pigeon (Columba livia)
Ruddy Pigeon (Columba subvinacea)
Plumbeous Pigeon (Columba plumbea)
Ruddy Ground-Dove (Columbina talpacoti)
Blue Ground-Dove (Claravis pretiosa)
Gray-fronted Dove (Leptotila rufaxilla)
Sapphire Quail-Dove (Geotrygon saphirina)

PARROTS & MACAWS PSITTACIDAE
Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna)
Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao)
Red-and-green Macaw (Ara chloroptera)
Chestnut-fronted Macaw (Ara severa)
Red-bellied Macaw (Orthopsittaca manilata)
White-eyed Parakeet (Aratinga leucophthalmus)
Maroon-tailed Parakeet (Pyrrhura melanura)
Blue-winged Parrotlet (Forpus crassirostris)
Dusky-billed Parrotlet (Forpus sclateri)
Cobalt-winged Parakeet (Brotogeris cyanoptera)
Black-headed Parrot (Pionites melanocephala)
Orange-cheeked Parrot (Pionopsitta barrabandi)
Blue-headed Parrot (Pionus menstruus)
Yellow-crowned Amazon (Amazona ochrocephala)
Orange-winged Amazon (Amazona amazonica)
Mealy Amazon (Amazona farinosa)

CUCKOOS & ANIS CUCULIONIDAE
Squirrel Cuckoo (Piaya cayana)
Black-bellied Cuckoo (Piaya melanogaster)
Greater Ani (Crotophaga major)
Smooth-billed Ani (Crotophaga ani)

HOATZIN OPISTHOCOMIDAE
Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin)

TYPICAL OWLS STRIGAIDAE
Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl (Otus watsonii)
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium brasilianum)
Crested Owl (Lophostrix cristata)
Spectacled Owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata)
Black-banded Owl (Strix huhula)

POTOOS NYCTIBIIDAE
Great Potoo (Nyctibius grandis)
Common Potoo (Nyctibius griseus)
Rufous Potoo (Nyctibius bracteatus)

NIGHTJARS & NIGHTHAWKS CAPRIMULGIDAE
Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis)
Ocellated Poorwill (Nyctiphrynus ocellatus)

SWIFTS APODIDAE
White-collared Swift (Streptoprocne zonaris)
Short-tailed Swift Chaetura brachyura
Gray-rumped Swift Chaetura cinereiventris
Neotropical Palm-Swift Tachornis squamata

HUMMINGBIRDS TROCHILIDAE
Pale-tailed Barbthroat (Threnetes leucurus)
Great-billed Hermit (Phaethornis malaris)
White-bearded Hermit (Phaethornis hispidus)
Straight-billed Hermit (Phaethornis bourcieri)
Reddish Hermit (Phaethornis ruber)
Black-throated Hermit (Phaethornis atrimentalis)
Gray-breasted Sabrewing (Campylopterus largipennis)
White-necked Jacobin (Florisuga mellivora)
Fork-tailed Woodnymph (Thalurania furcata)
Gould’s Jewelfront (Heliodoxa aurescens)
Fiery Topaz (Topaza pyra)

TROGONS & QUETZALS TROGONIDAE
Pavonine Quetzal (Pharomachrus pavoninus)
Black-tailed Trogon (Trogon melanurus)
Amazonian White-tailed Trogon (Trogon viridis)
Collared Trogon (Trogon collaris)
Black-throated Trogon (Trogon rufus)
Blue-crowned Trogon (Trogon curucui)
Amazonian Violaceous Trogon (Trogon violaceus)

KINGFISHERS ALCEDINIDAE
Amazon Kingfisher (Chloroceryle amazona)
Green Kingfisher (Chloroceryle americana)

MOTMOTS MOMOTIDAE
Broad-billed Motmot (Electron platyrhynchum)
Rufous Motmot (Baryphthengus martii)

JACAMARS GALBULIDAE
White-eared Jacamar (Galbalcyrhynchus leucotis)
Brown Jacamar (Brachygalba lugubris)
Yellow-billed Jacamar (Galbula albirostris)
Great Jacamar (Jacamerops aurea)

PUFFBIRDS BUCCONIDAE
Collared Puffbird (Bucco capensis)
Brown Nunlet (Nonnula brunnea)
Black-fronted Nunbird (Monasa nigrifrons)
White-fronted Nunbird (Monasa morphoeus)
Swallow-winged Puffbird (Chelidoptera tenebrosa)

NEW WORLD BARBETS CAPITONIDAE
Scarlet-crowned Barbet (Capito aurovirens)
Gilded Barbet (Capito auratus)

TOUCANS RAMPHASTIDAE
Golden-collared Toucanet (Selenidera reinwardtii)
Many-banded Araçari (Pteroglossus pluricinctus)
Ivory-billed Araçari (Pteroglossus azara)
Lettered Araçari (Pteroglossus inscriptus)
Channel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos vitellinus)
White-throated Toucan (Ramphastos tucanus)

WOODPECKERS & PICULETS PICIDAE
Spot-breasted Woodpecker (Chrysoptilus punctigula)
Yellow-throated Woodpecker (Piculus flavigula)
Golden-green Woodpecker (Piculus chrysochloros)
Chestnut Woodpecker (Celeus elegans)
Scale-breasted Woodpecker (Celeus grammicus)
Cream-colored Woodpecker (Celeus flavus)
Yellow-tufted Woodpecker (Melanerpes cruentatus)
Little Woodpecker (Veniliornis passerinus)
Red-stained Woodpecker (Veniliornis affinis)
Crimson-crested Woodpecker (Campephilus melanoleucos)
Red-necked Woodpecker (Campephilus rubricollis)

OVENBIRDS FURNARIIDAE
Point-tailed Palmcreeper (Berlepschia rikeri)
Eastern Woodhaunter (Hyloctistes subulatus)
Chestnut-winged Foliage-gleaner (Philydor erythropterus)
Olive-backed Foliage-gleaner (Automolus infuscatus)
Brown-rumped Foliage-gleaner (Automolus melanopezus)
Ruddy Foliage-gleaner (Automolus rubiginosus)
Plain Xenops (Xenops minutus)

WOODCREEPERS DENDROCOLAPTIDAE
Spot-throated Woodcreeper (Deconychura stictolaema)
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper (Glyphorynchus spirurus)
Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper (Dendrexetastes rufigula)
Strong-billed Woodcreeper (Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus)
Straight-billed Woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus picus)
Ocellated Woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus ocellatus)
Spix’s Woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus spixii)
Buff-throated Woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus guttatus)
Red-billed Scythebill (Campylorhamphus trochilirostris)

TYPICAL ANTBIRDS THAMNOPHILIDAE
Fasciated Antshrike (Cymbilaimus lineatus)
Undulated Antshrike (Frederickena unduligera)
Great Antshrike (Taraba major)
Plain-winged Antshrike (Thamnophilus schistaceus)
Mouse-colored Antshrike (Thamnophilus murinus)
Pearly Antshrike (Megastictus margaritatus)
Spot-winged Antshrike (Pygiptila stellaris)
Dusky-throated Antshrike (Thamnomanes ardesiacus)
Cinereous Antshrike (Thamnomanes caesius)
Pygmy Antwren (Myrmotherula brachyura)
Amazonian Streaked-Antwren (Myrmotherula multostriata)
Plain-throated Antwren (Myrmotherula hauxwelli)
Yasuni Antwren (Myrmotherula fjeldsaai)
Rufous-tailed Antwren (Myrmotherula erythrura)
White-flanked Antwren (Myrmotherula axillaris)
Long-winged Antwren (Myrmotherula longipennis)
Rio Suno Antwren (Myrmotherula sunensis)
Gray Antwren (Myrmotherula menetriesii)
Dot-winged Antwren (Microrhopias quixensis)
Dugand’s Antwren (Herpsilochmus dugandi)
Chestnut-shouldered Antwren (Terenura humeralis)
Gray Antbird (Cercomacra cinerascens)
Blackish Antbird (Cercomacra nigrescens)
Black Antbird (Cercomacra serva)
Black-faced Antbird (Myrmoborus myotherinus)
Warbling Antbird (Hypocnemis cantator)
Yellow-browed Antbird (Hypocnemis hypoxantha)
Spot-backed Antbird (Hylophylax naevia)
Scale-backed Antbird (Hylophylax poecilinota)
Spot-winged Antbird (Schistocichla leucostigma)
Silvered Antbird (Sclateria naevia)
Black Bushbird (Neoctantes niger)
White-shouldered Antbird (Myrmeciza melanoceps)
Sooty Antbird (Myrmeciza fortis)
Lunulated Antbird (Gymnopithys lunulata)
Hairy-crested Antbird (Rhegmatorhina melanosticta)

ANTTHRUSHES & ANTPITTAS FORMICARIIDAE
Rufous-capped Antthrush (Formicarius colma)
Black-faced Antthrush (Formicarius analis)
Thrush-like Antpitta (Myrmothera campanisona)

GNATEATERS CONOPOPHAGIDAE
Ash-throated Gnateater (Conopophaga peruviana)

TAPACULOS RHINOCRYPTIDAE
Rusty-belted Tapaculo (Liosceles thoracicus)

TYRANT FLYCATCHERS TYRANNIDAE
Golden-faced Tyrannulet (Zimmerius chrysops)
White-lored Tyrannulet (Ornithion inerme)
Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet (Tyrannulus elatus)
Ringed Antpipit (Corythopis torquata)
Short-tailed Pygmy-Tyrant (Myiornis ecaudatus)
Double-banded Pygmy-Tyrant (Lophotriccus vitiosus)
White-eyed Tody-Tyrant (Hemitriccus zosterops)
Zimmer’s Tody-Tyrant (Hemitriccus minimus)
Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatcher (Todirostrum chrysocrotaphum)
Rufous-tailed Flatbill (Ramphotrigon ruficauda)
Zimmer’s Flatbill (Tolmomyias assimilis)
Gray-crowned Flatbill (Tolmomyias poliocephalus)
Olive-faced Flatbill (Tolmomyias viridiceps)
Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher (Terenotriccus erythrurus)
Black-tailed Flycatcher (Myiobius atricaudus)
Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens)
Drab Water-Tyrant (Ochthornis littoralis)
Long-tailed Tyrant (Colonia colonus)
Bright-rumped Attila (Attila spadiceus)
Cinnamon Attila (Attila cinnamomeus)
Grayish Mourner (Rhytipterna simplex)
Eastern Sirystes (Sirystes sibilator)
Dusky-capped Flycatcher (Myiarchus tuberculifer)
Short-crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus ferox)
Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus)
Boat-billed Flycatcher (Megarynchus pitangua)
Social Flycatcher (Myiozetetes similis)
Gray-capped Flycatcher (Myiozetetes granadensis)
Dusky-chested Flycatcher (Myiozetetes luteiventris)
Streaked Flycatcher (Myiodynastes maculatus)
Piratic Flycatcher (Legatus leucophaius)
Crowned Slaty Flycatcher (Griseotyrannus aurantioatrocristatus)
Sulphury Flycatcher (Tyrannopsis sulphurea)
Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus)
Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)
Chestnut-crowned Becard (Pachyramphus castaneus)
White-winged Becard (Pachyramphus polychopterus)
Pink-throated Becard (Pachyramphus minor)
Black-tailed Tityra (Tityra cayana)

COTINGAS COTINGIDAE
White-browed Purpletuft (Iodopleura isabellae)
Cinereous Mourner (Laniocera hypopyrra)
Screaming Piha (Lipaugus vociferans)
Plum-throated Cotinga (Cotinga maynana)
Spangled Cotinga (Cotinga cayana)
Bare-necked Fruitcrow (Gymnoderus foetidus)

MANAKINS PIPRIDAE
Golden-headed Manakin (Pipra erythrocephala)
White-crowned Manakin (Dixiphia pipra)
Blue-crowned Manakin (Lepidothrix coronata)
Blue-backed Manakin (Chiroxiphia pareola)
Western Striped Manakin (Machaeropterus regulus)
Green Manakin (Chloropipo holochlora)
Dwarf Tyrant-Manakin (Tyranneutes stolzmanni)
Wing-barred Piprites (Piprites chloris)
Thrush-like Schiffornis (Schiffornis turdinus)

CROWS, JAYS & MAGPIES CORVIDAE
Violaceous Jay (Cyanocorax violaceus)

VIREOS & ALLIES VIREONIDAE
Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus)
Dusky-capped Greenlet (Hylophilus hypoxanthus)
Lemon-chested Greenlet (Hylophilus thoracicus)
Tawny-crowned Greenlet (Hylophilus ochraceiceps)

THRUSHES TURDIDAE
Black-billed Thrush (Turdus ignobilis)
White-necked Thrush (Turdus albicollis)

SWALLOWS & MARTINS HIRUNDINIDAE
Gray-breasted Martin (Progne chalybea)
White-winged Swallow (Tachycineta albiventer)
White-banded Swallow (Atticora fasciata)

WRENS TROGLODYTIDAE
Black-capped Donacobius (Donacobius atricapillus)
Thrush-like Wren (Campylorhynchus turdinus)
Coraya Wren (Thryothorus coraya)
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)
White-breasted Wood-Wren (Henicorhina leucosticta)
Southern Nightingale-Wren (Microcerculus marginatus)

GNATCATCHERS & GNATWRENS POLIOPTILIDAE
Long-billed Gnatwren (Ramphocaenus melanurus)
Tropical Gnatcatcher (Polioptila plumbea)

NEW WORLD WARBLERS PARULIDAE
Buff-rumped Warbler (Basileuterus fulvicauda)

TANAGERS & ALLIES THRAUPIDAE
Purple Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes caeruleus)
Green Honeycreeper (Chlorophanes spiza)
Blue Dacnis (Dacnis cayana)
Yellow-bellied Dacnis (Dacnis flaviventer)
Orange-bellied Euphonia (Euphonia xanthogaster)
White-vented Euphonia (Euphonia minuta)
Rufous-bellied Euphonia (Euphonia rufiventris)
White-lored Euphonia (Euphonia chrysopasta)
Masked Tanager (Tangara nigrocincta)
Opal-rumped Tanager (Tangara velia)
Opal-crowned Tanager (Tangara callophrys)
Green-and-gold Tanager (Tangara schrankii)
Blue-gray Tanager (Thraupis episcopus)
Palm Tanager (Thraupis palmarum)
Silver-beaked Tanager (Ramphocelus carbo)
Masked Crimson Tanager (Ramphocelus nigrogularis)
Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra)
Red-crowned Ant-Tanager (Habia rubica)
Flame-crested Tanager (Tachyphonus cristatus)
Fulvous-crested Tanager (Tachyphonus surinamus)
Magpie Tanager (Cissopis leveriana)

SALTATORS, GROSBEAKS CARDINALIDAE
Buff-throated Saltator (Saltator maximus)
Grayish Saltator (Saltator coerulescens)
Slate-colored Grosbeak (Saltator grossus)
Blue-black Grosbeak (Cyanocompsa cyanoides)

EMBERIZINE FINCHES Emberizidae
Blue-black Grassquit (Volatinia jacarina)
Lesser Seed-Finch (Oryzoborus angolensis)

ORIOLES & BLACKBIRDS ICTERIDAE
Yellow-rumped Cacique (Cacicus cela)
Solitary Cacique (Cacicus solitarius)
Casqued Oropendola (Clypicterus oseryi)
Crested Oropendola (Psarocolius decumanus)
Russet-backed Oropendola (Psarocolius angustifrons)
Olive Oropendola (Psarocolius bifasciatus)
Moriche Oriole (Icterus chrysocephalus)
Orange-backed Troupial (Icterus croconotus)