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Ecuador: Southern Jocotoco Endemics

jocotoco-antpitta Southern Ecuador has only recently become easier to traverse in search of the many (16) endemics that reside here. One of our top targets is the Jocotoco Antpitta which was only discovered by modern science in 1997! Bob Ridgely and John Moore heard a bird they did not recognize as they were exploring the region, when they finally saw they bird they were positive it was something new.

Retrace their discovery and join us on the incredible journey through the series of Jocotoco Reserves in search of birds found nowhere else on Earth. Long-wattled Umbrellabird, El Oro Parakeet, El Oro Tapaculo, Tumbes Swift, White-headed Brush-Finch, and Tumbes Swallow will be sought.

Tumbesian specialties such as Watkin’s Antpitta, Henna-hooded and Rufous-necked Foliage-Gleaners, Gray-breasted Flycatcher, Rainbow Starfrontlet, Purple-throated Sunangel, Piura Hemispingus, Black-crested Tit-Tyrant, Chapman’s Antshrike, and Gray-headed Antbird will all be highlights of this spectacular opportunity.



  • Tour Cost
  • 2019 Cost
    $4950 from Guayaquil, Ecuador
    Prices per person, double occupancy.



    A deposit of $500 is required to reserve your space.


    Final Payment

    Final payment by check required 120 days prior to departure date.


    Single Room

    If a single room is preferred, a single supplement fee of $450 will be assessed.

  • Itinerary
  • 14 Day/13 Night Itinerary


    Day 1 - Arriving in Guayaquil / Gran Hotel
    Upon arrival, our driver will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.


    Day 2 - Santa Isabel / Hotel Augua y Sol
    After an early breakfast we will drive to Cerro Blanco, where we will visit Manglares Churute at Lake El Canclon, an area surrounded by marshes and dry forest. Our target bird here is the prehistoric-looking Horned Screamer (as this is the only place in Ecuador where the bird breeds), but while there we will also look for Least Bittern, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Snail Kite, Savannah Hawk, Wattled Jacana, White-throated Crake, Masked Water-Tyrant, Peruvian Meadowlark, and Pacific Pygmy-Owl. After lunch we will embark on the four-hour drive to Santa Isabel.


    Day 3 - Umbrella Bird Lodge
    This morning we will search for one of Ecuador's (and the world's) most threatened species, the Pale-headed Brush-Finch, rediscovered here by Niels Krabbe. This is the only known population of this Ecuadorian endemic. We will also have a chance at locating Purple-collared and Little Woodstars. After lunch we will travel to the Umbrella Bird Lodge, where we will search for the lodge's namesake, the Long-wattled Umbrellabird


    Day 4 - Umbrella Bird Lodge
    We will have a full day at Umbrella Bird Lodge, where we will walk the trails in search of El Oro Parakeet and El Oro Tapaculo, two more Ecuadorian endemics. We will also have plenty of time to enjoy the lodge's hummingbird feeders; who knows what may show up!


    Day 5 - Jorupe Reserve
    After an early breakfast we will spend the morning combing the trails for any species that we may have missed the previous day. After lunch we will travel to Macara, where we will spend the next two nights at the Jorupe Reserve. On the way we will make a special stop to look for Tumbes Swift, White-headed Brush-Finch, and Tumbes Swallow.


    Day 6 - Jorupe Reserve
    After breakfast we will explore the reserve's trails in search of Tumbesian specialties such as Watkin's Antpitta. Henna-hooded and Rufous-necked Foliage-Gleaners, and Gray-breasted Flycatcher. After lunch we will drive up to the Utuana Reserve, where at this higher elevation we hope to find Rainbow Starfrontlet, Purple-throated Sunangel, Piura Hemispingus, Black-crested Tit-Tyrant, Chapman's Antshrike, and Gray-headed Antbird.


    Day 7 - Loja / Hotel el libertador
    After an early breakfast, we will return to the Utuana Reserve to clean up any species we may have missed yesterday. Then we will travel to Loja, stopping en route at Catamayo (also known as "Finch Heaven") to look for Tumbes Sparrow.


    Day 8 - Casa Simpsom
    After breakfast we will visit the Cajanuma area of Podocarpus National Park, looking for Black-headed Hemispingus, Blue-backed Conebill, Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Plushcap, Golden-crowned Tanager, Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager, and the hard-to-find Masked Mountain-Tanager. After a tasty lunch in the town of Vilcabamba (also known as the "Valley of Longevity"), we will begin the 2.5 hour drive to the Tapichalaca Reserve, where we will spend the next two nights. Upon arrival we will be free to relax and enjoy the hummingbird feeders!


    Day 9 - Casa Simpsom
    This morning we will hike the Quebrada Honda Trail to a very special feeder area where "Panchito" the Jocotoco Antpitta comes in for his breakfast! Other tough-to-see targets we will search for include Ocellated, Ash-colored, and Chusquea Tapaculos. After lunch we will road-bird on the way to the town of Valladolid, where we will search for Maranon Thrush. As darkness approaches, we will try for Andean Potoo and Rufous-bellied Nighthawk.


    Day 10 - Copa Linga Lodge
    After an early breakfast we will spend the morning birding the lodge grounds in search of anything we may have missed. After lunch we will drive to Bomboscaro and the Copa Linga Lodge, where we will spend the next two nights. We will have time this afternoon to search the lodge grounds for Wire-crested Thorntail, Spangled Coquette, and Violet-fronted and Black-throated Brilliants.


    Day 11 - Copa Linga Lodge
    We will spend the day birding the Bomboscaro area, where we hope to find such target species as Amazonian Umbrellabird, Coppery-chested Jacamar, Highland Motmot, Andean Cock-of-the-rock (the orange eastern race), and Olive Finch. In addition, there's always the possibility of a tanager flock that will include such gems as Paradise, Green-and-gold, Yellow-bellied, Spotted, Magpie, and Fulvous-crested Tanagers.


    Day 12 - Inca Real Hotel
    After a morning of clean-up birding along the trails at Copa Linga, we will head for the beautiful city of Cuenca, which was declared a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1999.


    Day 13 - Return to Guayaquil / Gran Hotel Guayaquil
    After breakfast we will start the hour-long drive to El Cajas National Park, where we will search for Tit-like Dacnis, Violet-throated Metaltail, Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant, Bar-winged and Stout-billed Cinclodes, and Giant Conebill. At Toreadora Lake (12,000 ft) we will have a chance to see Andean Ruddy Duck, Andean Coot, and Andean Teal, and if the day is sunny, Andean Condor as well. We head back to Guayaquil in the afternoon.


    Day 14 - Return Home