Ecuador bird watching tours aren’t the typical walk in the park or jaunts through the forest armed with binoculars to spot birds in the trees. The four regions of the country open up new doors that give you ample opportunities to spot exotic, endemic, and rare species on fun-filled adventures.
Keep reading for where to go to find many of the 1600 kinds of birds that call the country home. Each of the four regions can be broken down into many more habitat types, often transitioning quickly, which means there is a new experience at every twist with new birds waiting to be discovered everywhere you turn.
The Choco-Andean cloud forest in northwest Ecuador is home to an outstanding variety of winged creatures. Toucans, warblers, the Cock of the Rock, a dizzying number of hummingbirds, and Quetzals are only the beginning.
Each holiday season in Mindo, birders from all over the country and world gather for the Audubon Society’s Annual Christmas Bird Count. The event takes place internationally from December 14 to January 5 with participants joining the festivities from 2,585 locations around the globe.
In the past, Mindo has held the record for four years running over 400 species of birds were recorded in a 24-hour window of searching.
Aracaris, toucans, tanagers, flycatchers, and screech-owls, foliage-gleaners, woodcreepers, spinetails, barbets, guans, potoos, and cuckoos are often among the species recorded-highlighting the diversity of birds found in the region.
Each year’s count takes place in an established 15-mile wide diameter circle for each group of spotters- led by at least one experienced bird watcher from the area.
For more information about visiting Mindo or Cosanga or participating in a Christmas Bird Count in Ecuador, contact a member of our staff. During other times of the year, Happy Gringo Travel offers birding tours with expert guides, offering diverse experiences inundated with quality looks of a variety of birds and other wildlife, including on average over forty different kinds of hummingbirds.
Parque Nacional Machalilla
Parque Nacional Machalilla is the only national park in Ecuador on the coast. It is home to Los Frailes beach and Isla de la Plata-both sanctuaries for birds like the blue-footed booby, frigate birds and other sea birds including pelicans.
Inside the park, there is also a dry forest where other of the 200 kinds of birds of the park are found including owls, parrots, motmots, and parakeets. One of the world’s smallest hummingbirds, the Esmeraldas Woodstar is endemic to Ecuador and almost all sightings occur inside the park. Ask us about it! Happy Gringo Travel offers a tour of the park that includes a visit to the island, hikes in the forest, and a stop at the local community.
The jungle lends itself to active Ecuador bird watching tours. Day trips from lodges nestled on peaceful lagoons take you to observation towers and bridges where hundreds of species of birds ranging from predators like hawks to macaws and toucans fly overhead or are perching nearby trees. Early morning visits to parrot licks bring flocks of the colorful birds in close range in a frenzy of color, sound, and movement that leaves an impression as the tour continues.
The Galapagos Islands
On the top of the list for Ecuador bird watching is the Galapagos Islands. Almost the world’s entire population of Waved Albatross come to mate on Española Island each year and the largest colony of red-footed boobies on the planet is found on Genovesa Island. Endemic species like the Flightless cormorant, the Galapagos penguin, Darwin’s finches-and one of the islands’ only predators-the Galapagos hawk are seen frequently on many cruises and land tours in the archipelago.
There are many options for trips to the islands, including custom made tours where you tell us what you want to see and where you want to go. We do our best to create an itinerary that hits all the right notes (forgoing the seasonal nature of the birdlife in the in the archipelago,) giving you options for both island hopping and cruises with expert guides.
For more information about bird watching in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, contact a member of our team. For help with planning a custom made bird watching tour in the country, use this form to tell us your specifics and one of our experts will get back to you as soon as possible to get the ball rolling.