A birdwatching trip to Ecuador in October 2001 - Andes to Amazon! The humming bird here is the Andean Emerald. On the left is a view of  Volcanes Illiniza (5,266m) and on the right is Gorzacocha, an oxbow lake off the Rio Napo, in the Amazon basin. All photos (C) Ruth Traynor.

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Home -> Diary -> West Slope -> Common birds

The garden at Tandayapa Lodge. Photo: Ruth TraynorAndean West Slope Diary
6 - 10 October 2001
5. Common birds

So, what are the common birds that you are likely to see at Tandayapa? This is something we have never found to be easy to sort out on trip lists. People seem to focus on the rarities! Mind you, no birds were "common" as we understand in England. There were no birds as plentiful as House Sparrows and Starlings, for example, are in many parts of the UK.

Commoner birds at the "Deck" feeding station:

  • Andean Emerald - a cocky, white-fronted hummer
  • Purple-throated Woodstar - very, very small, buzzes like a bee
  • Sparkling Violet-ear - big, macho hummer, defends feeders, drives away other hummers
  • Brown Inca - there was a very pale-brown bird whilst we were there, as well as a normally-coloured darker bird. This is a Choco endemic.
  • Collared Inca - very smart black-and-white hummer, wearing a DJ!
  • Booted Racket-tail - male has longish tail streamers. Both sexes have little white puff balls just above their feet.
  • Violet-tailed Sylph - with a gorgeous long purplish streaming tail. We also saw this species from our hotel balcony in Quito. Another Choco endemic.
  • White-sided Flower-piercer - not a hummer, but the male came regularly to the feeders. The female just hung around in the nearby bushes.
  • White-winged Brush-finch - not on the feeders, but in the bushes next to the lodge.

We actually saw 16 species of humming bird on the feeders, plus another 3 species out on the trails - mainly Tawny-bellied Hermit, but we did have single sightings of Wedge-billed Hummingbird and White-bellied Woodstar - both on the old road to Nono, quite close to the lodge.

Common birds we regularly saw or heard on the trails included:

  • Golden-crowned Flycatcher - not very conspicuous, but its call is very clear and distinctive once you get to know it.
  • Russet-crowned Warbler - again, hard to see, but with a distinctive song.
  • Andean Solitaire - this bird's very clear and unusual song is heard all over the valley. It usually sings from near the top of the canopy, but well hidden. We glimpsed one only once.
  • Yellow-bellied Seedeater - these are plentiful in the grassy area close to the lodge on the path up to the Potoo Trail. We also found them in the grass around the car park.
  • White-collared Swift - we saw these regularly, with one flock of about 50 birds.
  • Chestnut-collared Swift - these were regular around the Lodge, sometimes in the company of the much larger White-collared Swift.
  • Red-billed Parrot - often heard and seen flying around in small flocks of 10 to 20 birds. We witnessed an amazing fight in Tandayapa Village between a tame Red-billed Parrot and a domestic hen, trying to defend her chicks from the parrot!
  • Azara's Spinetail - another very distinctive call of short, rapid notes. We saw birds on 2 occasions, and heard one on a third day.
  • Narino Tapaculo - hard to see (we had good views of one of these small dark birds), but there calls were frequently heard.
  • Blue-and-white Swallow - the only swallow species we saw - and that was every day.
  • Rufous-collared Sparrow - not numerous, but very wide-spread. We saw them all over Ecuador, except in the Amazon basin.
   
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