Santa Marta Parakeet found in El Dorado Reserve
Santa Marta Reserve
El Dorado Lodge, Colombia

Colombia Birding - 9 nts

Great Intro to Colombia Birding

  • Pace: Humid, warmish conditions. considerable walking, travel over rough roads in 4X4 vehicles
  • 10 Days/9 nights
  • 2015:  Feb 12-21
  • $2995 per person in double (with minimum 6 participants)
  • Download the full itinerary

We are excited to offer this birding tour in Colombia, which boasts the most bird species in the world with over 2,000 recorded! One could travel weeks or more to see all of them, but we have chosen a short trip with a chance to see almost all of the Santa Marta endemics, as well as numerous dry Caribbean specialties. We will begin and end in Barranquilla.
    Our itinerary focuses on the Caribbean and Sierra Nevada regions in the north, known as the crown jewel of Colombian birding.  19 endemic species can be found in El Dorado Bird Reserve, where we will spend 4 nights. The Reserve protects 1800 acres of subtropical and montane forest, and is manages by ProAves, a Colombian NGO with preserves and lodges throughout the country. We'll also bird the coast and the foothills of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.  We are working with local guides from Colombia. 
     The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range is completely cut off from the Andes, and yet has the tallest peaks in Colombia. It is the highest caostal mountain range in the world and due to its isolation and height, it holds the highest density of endemics of any non-island birding site in the world. Over the next days we can explore at leisure these critical habitats and unique species. One day we will travel by jeep to the higher elevations and look for the critically endangered Santa Marta Parakeet, Yellow-crowned Whitestart, Santa Marta Warbler, Santa Marta Bush-Tyrant, Brown-rumped Tapaculo, Rusty-headed Spinetail, and a likely to be split race of Rufous Antpitta.
     Another day we will bird above, near, and below the lodge. We’ll explore these habitats near the lodge looking for White-tailed Starfrontlet, Streak-capped Spinetail, Black-cheeked Mountain-Tanager, Santa Marta Antpitta, Colombian Brushfinch, Santa Marta Brush-Finch and lots of endemic subspecies, including Cinnamon Flycatcher, Black-hooded Thrush, Blue-capped Tanager, and Emerald Toucanet. The same day, we can walk below the lodge where the forest is taller and a little drier and look for some different species like White-lored Warbler, Santa Marta Tapaculo, Santa Marta Woodstar, and Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner. Other attractive species include Blossomcrown, White-tipped Quetzal, Golden-breasted Fruiteater, and Rusty-breasted Antpitta.

  • Accommodations:   Hotels or lodges, private bath, hot water, all very comfortable
  • Included:  9 nights lodging, all transportation, all meals, services of bilingual bird guide, escorted by Jean Warneke of JB Journeys, a donation to Travis Audubon Society
  • Not included: International airfare to Barranquilla, alcoholic beverages, gratuities

Our local guide is Gustavo Bautista. Gustavo was born and raised in Lima but has been living in Cusco since 2010. He is a birder with a passion for nature, with a background as a tour leader, specialized in ecotourism and birding. Gustavo’s interest in birds began at the age of thirteen when he traveled for the first time to the Peruvian Amazon where was amazed by the extraordinary beauty of nature in the Tambopata National Park, Peru. He started birding at the age of nineteen at the Pantanos de Villa Wildlife Refuge in Lima, where he undertook his first research concerning nocturnal bird vocalizations. After finishing his studies he moved to Tampopata, where he started leading bird tours for Rainforest Expeditions. He also began performing volunteer field work for several studies such as Macaw Researching, Bird Census’ in Lima and Cusco and a project about nocturnal bird behavior according to the moon phase, at the Explorer’s Inn Lodge in Tambopata. Gustavo has worked in Colombia for the NGO Proaves, and leads bird tours in Colombia and Peru. He works with agencies as Manu Expeditions and Ecoturs Colombia.