Fan-tailed Warbler

Fan-tailed Warbler

Friday, October 5, 2018

Ecuador: The Best of the Rest (Part 2)

Part 2 is also the finale and will be my last post on the birding in Ecuador.  This will cover the remaining photos that I was able to acquire and once again, it covers a wide variety of very colorful and different birds.  These first photos are a couple of flowerpiercers, which technically, probably could have been included on my first post that covered the tanagers.  They are known for using their sharply hooked bills for piercing the corolla of a flower to get at its nectar.

 Masked Flowerpiercer

Glossy Flowerpiercer

 Great Thrush - This is a handsome thrush!

Saffron Finch

Yellow-breasted Brush-Finch

 Pale-naped Brush-Finch

Slaty Brush-Finch

 Dusky Chlorospingus

 Rufous-collared Sparrow - A very common bird and one I have seen a lot in Mexico as well.  This is probably the best photo I have ever gotten of this bird.  Good looking sparrow!

Thick-billed Euphonia

The barbets were a couple of species that were high on our want lists and we really enjoyed watching them feed at the various stations. 

 Red-headed Barbet - Male

Red-headed Barbet - Female

Toucan Barbet

Golden-olive Woodpecker

 Pearled Treerunner

Tyrannine Woodcreeper

 Inca Jay - A subspecies of the Green Jay

  Turquoise Jay

In closing, I would highly recommend Ecuador as a priority birding destination for anyone that wants to get a taste for tropical birds.  It is a small country, but the vast amount of habitats really creates a wide diversity of species.  I only spent about 10 days and most of that was in higher elevations on the west and east sides of the Andes Mountains.  There is so much more to explore.  Some of it is still very remote and difficult to reach, but there are also many very nice eco-lodges that cater to the birders and naturalists that want to see some unique flora and fauna.  

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Ecuador - Best of the Rest (Part 1)

Hummingbirds and tanagers were not the only families of birds that we encountered during our stay in Ecuador.  There were so many more, but numbers in the families were a bit smaller and did not compare to the hummingbirds and tanagers.  So now we move on to the rest of the birds.  There are so many that it will require two posts to cover the rest.  

Going to start off with 4 different birds that all start out with the word 'Andean' as the first part of the name.  While none of them are related, it does suggest that these species are most likely associated with the Andes Mountains and probably not found outside of this remarkable mountain range of South America.

Andean Lapwing

 Andean Guan

 Andean Condor - Not great photos by any means, but seeing 2 of them was quite special!

Andean Condor

This next bird is a bird I have about often dreamed about seeing since I was a child.  After seeing pictures of a Cock-of-the-rock when I was young, I was captivated by its beauty.  And WOW! are they loud and noisy.  Here is a link to a video I made in the dark with them calling.


Andean Cock-of-the-Rock

We also had the pleasure of adding 4 species of antpitta to our list, of which I was able to photograph 3 of them.  These birds can be difficult to spot even if one is calling.  Some of the land owners have discovered that these birds sometimes respond to being given a little incentive to show themselves when fed a few worms from the land owners.  And some of these owners have named their local birds and are pleased to show them to birders that come to Ecuador.  Notice they all have short tails.

 Chestnut-crowned Antpitta

Moustached Antpitta - Listed as 'Threatened' (vulnerable).

White-bellied Antpitta

Now we can move on to a toucan, a toucanet, a trogon, a quetzal, and an araçari.  These birds are quite popular with birders and rightfully so.  They are unique and most are very colorful and a bit mysterious.  

 Choco Toucan

Collared Araçari

 Crimson-rumped Toucanet

Golden-headed Quetzal

Masked Trogon - Male

Masked Trogon - Female

Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan

The last four photos are an eclectic set of photos.  A couple of them are nocturnal birds, one of them is a wood-quail, and one of them is a fruiteater.

Common Potoo - On nest

Common Potoo - There is a chick in front of the bird under all those feathers.

Dark-backed Wood-Quail

Barred Fruiteater

White-throated Screech-Owl

Will have one more blog post to finish off my Ecuador trip coming up in the near future.
Hope you enjoyed the various different birds.  


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Ecuador - The Hummingbirds

Ecuador is also known for its many hummingbird species.  Hummingbirds are a specialty of the tropics and Ecuador alone has recorded at least 130 species.  During my visit to Ecuador, I managed to see 44 species on that list of 130, so there is a lot more to explore in the future. Obviously, I was not able to photograph all of those 44 species.  Some were easier than others, some were species that I had seen before elsewhere, and some just would not cooperate!  Hummingbirds are a fascinating family of birds and they have a plethora of names, some interesting and some rather confusing.

Crowned Woodnymph

Speaking of some of the different names of hummingbirds, there are 3 species of Coronets found in Ecudaor.  We had a trifecta on this group, getting to see all 3 species.  I failed to get any photos of the Velvet-purple Coronet, but the other 2 are shown below. 

 Buff-tailed Coronet

 Chestnut-breasted Coronet

Likewise, there are also 3 species of Violetear found in Ecuador and once again, we hit a trifecta is seeing all 3 species.  And once again, I failed to get a photo of one of them, the Lesser Violetear.  We found that the Sparkling Violetear is pretty aggressive around feeders, but still a stunning bird.  The Brown Violetear had been a bit of a nemesis bird for me, missed finding it in Costa Rica and also Chiapas, Mexico.  And these 2 photos show how they got named 'violet ear'.

 Sparkling Violetear

 Brown Violetear

There are several species of hummingbirds that are known for their long tails.  The next 3 photos cover these species, however the 3rd photo is of a female, which does not have the long tail.  The male Booted Racket-tail has the distinction of the long tail and I was not able to capture a photo of the male.

Black-tailed Trainbearer

Long-tailed Sylph

Booted Racket-tail - Female

Another group of hummingbirds are the Woodstars.  These little jewels are tiny!  None of them exceed 3 inches (7 cm) in length.  And once you see one, you know immediately it is a Woodstar.  They look like midgets compared to the rest of the hummingbird species.  We added 4 species of Woodstar to our lists, and I was able to photograph 3 of them.  

Purple-throated Woodstar

 Gorgeted Woodstar

White-bellied Woodstar

The remainder of  my photos cover an eclectic list of hummingbirds with various different names.  This group of birds is so diverse and each has its own ecological niche in this world.

 Buff-winged Starfrontlet

Golden-breasted Puffleg - note the white puffy legs above the feet.

Great Sapphirewing - This photo does not do justice to this species.

 Rainbow-bearded Thornbill - one of my favorites.

 Sword-billed Hummingbird - Aptly named, bill is longer than the bird.

Tyrian Metaltail

 Andean Emerald

Collared Inca - A very flashy bird when visiting feeders.

 Speckled Hummingbird

 Tourmaline Sunangel

White-necked Jacobin

Shining Sunbeam

What a vast, colorful group of birds.  Would love to spend more time chasing hummingbirds in the tropics, but only time will tell if that happens.  I doubt that I will get as many species on any future trips as I did on this trip to Ecuador.