Birdwatching in Ecuador

Birdwatching in Ecuador is an exciting adventure not to be missed during your vacations in this South American paradise.


The cloud forests (mountain rain forests) are the perfect place for birdwatching. These forests are located at only one and a half hour from Quito (capital city of Ecuador).

The region of Nono-Tandayapa-Bellavista-Mindo (Northwest of Quito) has been declared the first Area of international importance for Birds in South America.

The area has recently achieved the highest single day bird count during the world-wide Audubon Christmas Count. So for a birder, this region has to be a prime destination.

Birdwatching in Ecuador

birdwatching in ecuador

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Every 656 feet or so drop in altitude means a change in the species of birds that live there.

Each geographic region offers unique opportunities to see endemic, resident, migrant and visiting species.

Consider that Ecuador which only covers 0.02% of the earth's land surface, holds about 10% of all bird species found on the planet. See the Map of Ecuador

And it is not an exaggeration to state that an inordinately high number of Ecuador's 1,600 species of birds are found in the Cloud Forests. Plus 38 more endemic Galapagos Birds

During the last decade, nearly 200 new species of birds have been added to Ecuador's list.

You have Four Different Regions for Birdwatching in Ecuador:

  • the Amazon
  • the Andes highlands
  • the Pacific Coast
  • and the Galapagos Islands

There are habitats and micro habitats that are Islands of well established endemic species.

Avian highlights include many hummingbirds, including the largest and smallest species on Earth, the prehistoric Hoatzin and the famous Darwin's Finches

You can also see the recently discovered Jocotoco Antpitta (grallaria ridgelyi) and the magnificent Andean Condor

Clearly the high diversity of birds is also reflected in the high diversity of orchids, butterflies, frogs, etc. For the scientist, it is a certainty that new species are there to be discovered. And for the naturalist, every hike reveals new surprises.

A nice spot also for birwatching in Ecuador can be found along the Sun's Route in the coastal provinces of Guayas and Manabi.

The Tumbesina region, which extends from Tumbes in the North of Peru to the Northern coast of Ecuador, holds 56 endemic bird species.

Approximately 450 species of birds are found in the Tumbesina region. That represents about 60% of all the birds of Latin America.

Along the Sun's Route, the presence of the Chongon-Colonche mountain range and its proximity to the coast, as well as the water currents that affect the climate are factors that contribute to the uniqueness of the ecosystems and thus the diversity of birds.

Recently, Birdlife International designated the Loma Alta reserve, located East of the town of Valdivia (Guayas province), as a site of international importance for the conservation of birds. The reserve contains 300 species of birds.

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Fundacion Aves Ecuador is currently in charge of a project to develop tours in this international recognized site for birdwatching in Ecuador.

Take a trail with a guide or alone, walk a self-guided educational trail, perhaps find a spot to just relax and absorb the peace, the variety of bird calls, and the remoteness of nature far away from your daily life.

I highly recommend Mindo Village as your first step for birdwatching in Ecuador.

Recommended Reading

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides). Click to order from Amazon

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides)

With 250 photos and tons of great information, this is an essential addition to your pre-Ecuador and -Galapagos reading!

There are better guides if you are only interested in the islands, but for a combination trip taking in Ecuador as well, it's hard to beat.


Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands. Click to order from Amazon

Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands

Small enough to fit into your pocket, yet containing comprehensive information and pictures of all the species you will encounter in the islands, this book is a must-have for nature lovers.

Let's face it, Galapagos is largely about the wildlife. This book will NOT disappoint, and you'll have a great memento of your time with the seals, penguins and tortoises!


Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World. Click to order from Amazon

Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World

Definitely NOT a tourist's guide, but if you're like me, and find the history and geography of the islands irresistible, then this is a title you ought to invest in.

Stunningly illustrated, and painstakingly researched, those of you who have been there will be enchanted again -- and those of you who have not will begin planning your trip!


Moon Spotlight Galapagos. Click to order from Amazon

Moon Spotlight Galapagos Islands

If you're a seasoned Galapagos regular, then you will probably prefer something weightier.

But for first-timers looking for simple, down-to-earth advice on where to go, what to see and the best shopping and eating on the islands, this is the book for you.

Small, well-priced, and reliable!


Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire. Click to order from Amazon

Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire

The 10th anniversary edition of this photographer's tour of the Galapagos Islands is a stunning book, worthy of anybody's coffee table.

This is a perfect post-trip talking point -- a great way to remember what you've seen, and spread the word amongst your envious friends!


See More About Ecuador

The Amazon Tropical Rain Forest

Ecuador Geography

The City of Loja

Bahia de Caraquez Beach

Economic Galapagos Tours

If you have any questions about Birdwatching in Ecuador, You can post them on our Ecuador FAQ Section and if you would like to know more about our recommended Amazon Jungle Tours or from our adventure Galapagos Tours to visit these Islands, You can Contact us here

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