With over 1600 species, including many endemics, Ecuador is certainly a birders paradise! Many of Ecuador’s lodges have been built specifically for birders and photographers! Color is everywhere… hummingbirds, tanagers, toucans and quetzals are abundant!
Draped across the equator in the northwestern corner of South America, Ecuador shares a border with Peru to the south and east, Colombia to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Quito, the nations capital, sits centered at the northern end of the country, high in an Andean valley only 14 miles south of the equator. The size of Nevada, Ecuador can be divided into three general regions: the western coastal lowlands, the central Andean highlands and the eastern lowland forests of the Amazon basin.
The Andean highlands are composed of two volcanic ranges separated by a central valley in which the bulk of the population lives. They offer an incredible diversity of hummingbirds and tanagers. Color is everywhere in the forest. Above tree line however, colors fade to birds that blend with their surroundings. Shades of gray and brown are the colors of the grasslands, called paramo. Cold and wet, these high mountain ecosystems offer a load of Andean endemics!
The Amazon basin rainforests are a nearly impenetrable tangle known to Ecuadorians as the Oriente (the East). Although the Amazon itself does not flow through Ecuador, all rivers east of the Andes eventually empty into it… the Rio Napo being one of the largest tributaries.
Thanks to its agreeable climate and patchwork of habitats (alpine grasslands, coastal swamps, tropical rainforest), Ecuador is one of the most species-rich nations on earth. It boasts 300 species of mammal (including monkeys, sloths, llamas and alpacas) and over 1600 species of birds!