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Bird Watching Ecuador Tour, Back Roads Bird Roads - 7 Days

Bird Watching Ecuador Tour, Back Roads Bird Roads

Birding Ecuador Tour in Northwestern Region

Our 7-day Back Roads Bird Roads, Bird Watching Ecuador Tour is moderate-paced, available on request and explores in-depth Bellavista´s 460 hectares (1150 acre) Private Protected Area. Beyond Bellavista, we visit highlights of Northwestern Ecuador, different elevations of what is now the UNESCO Choco Andino Biosphere Reserve. Birds are special to each elevation. What a wonderful way to get to understand the diverse environment of a cloud forest and its myriad birds! Expect to see some 588 species of birds on this trip.

This Bird Watching Ecuador Tour will take you to the northwest is the easiest place to find great numbers of Ecuador´s over 1600 birds.. no other country has such a  concentration of species for its size! And we are really close to Quito – only one hour 50 minutes away! Endemics include: Mammals may include the Olinguito, the Kinkajoo, and even elusive species of wild cats.

"Doro and I returned to Bellavista for the second time in two years. As before, we stayed for most of a week, and (as before) we left feeling that we needed more time in this amazing world. Your love of the place, and the people will expand as the days fly by, but more importantly the quiet you want to experience will begin to replace the stress of your hectic life, a bit more every day. It takes a little time. Over our two stays we have spent time with Luis, Nelson, Christina, and Richard as guides. " - Ralph Sherwin

Your guide has many years of experience leading birders in our region and elsewhere in the country. He/she has an official guide license (Ministry of Tourism) and speaks fluent English (and native Spanish). Guides in other languages, or a translator, are available on prior request.  Our guides are passionate about birds, and love looking for elusive wildlife.. mammals and amphibians! Should you be a photographer, we will choose a guide who deeply shares your interest during this Bird Watching Ecuador Tour.

In this Bird Watching Ecuador Tour you will be enjoying, Our 4 star Lodge offers a unique stay in paradise, above the forest canopy, with views to Pichincha Volcano! All surrounded by glittering hummingbirds! Comfortable rooms await you.  You will enjoy our generous servings of gourmet food, the dense forests and majestic mountains, and our extensive network of safe, well-marked trails. Two nights are spent at reserves at lower elevations for quicker access to birding early morning. At the reserves we visit beyond Bellavista, access is moderate on well-maintained trails.

Important Note: This tour includes exclusive full-time private guide service throughout.

If you’d like to try an alternative tour, look at what this Bellavista Birdwatching in Ecuador Tour has to offer.

Alternative Tour Name: Back Roads Bird Roads, Birding Tour in Ecuador
Day 1
Day 1 - Starts in Quito

Early morning (05.30 a.m.) departure from Quito for high elevation reserves: the usual choice is the new Zuroloma Reserve.. those who want to hike and explore further might choose Yanacocha Reserve instead. Many high elevation hummingbird species to look for, including the unbelievable Sword-billed Hummingbird, as well as Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Sapphire-vented Puffleg, and highland species of tanagers, such as the Black-chested Mountain-Tanager, and Scarlet-bellied Mountain-tanager, and also Yellow-breasted Brush-Finch. Antpittas include the Chestnut-naped Antpitta and the Rufous Antpitta. (The endangered Black-breasted Puffleg finds refuge at this elevation .. rather elusive, but always hopeful!) As we drop down the highly scenic Nono Road, Torrent Duck and White-capped Dipper, Black Phoebe and more are attracted by the rushing stream.

Lunch at a hummingbird and tanager garden at a lower elevation (1700 meters) in the Tandayapa Valley. A true hummingbird spectacle, including White-necked Jacobin, White-bellied Woodstar, and Green-crowned Woodnymph. Then Tanagers, Euphonias, Red-headed Barbet, often Crested Quetzal, and more. Late afternoon, we arrive at Bellavista. The hummingbird feeders will be the first attraction – Buff-winged Coronet, Violet-tailed Sylph, Gorgeted Sunangel, Booted Racket-tail and more.


Evening: mammal opportunities right near the Lodge: the delightful Olinguito, the first new species of mammal to be discovered in the Americas in the past 35 years, as of 2013 , might come in, as well as Kinkajoo and more!

Exclusive private transport and exclusive private birding guide. Meals: B(reakfast),L,D

Day 2
Day 2 - Early morning birding

6.15: Early morning birding. Chances for Strong-billed Woodcreeper, White-tailed Tyrannulet, Turquoise Jay, Chestnut-crowned Antpitta, White-sided and Masked Flowerpiercer, Masked Trogon, and many more, all around the lodge. You hardly need to walk any distance to see a great variety of birds!

Some mornings the elusive Tayra (giant weasel) comes into a feeding station right at the Lodge!

8:00h. Breakfast

9.30h. Birding morning to get to know Bellavista´s best: Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, Toucan Barbet, Green and Black Fruiteater and tanagers like the Grass-green Tanager and the Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager- a favourite at this elevation. You will go to see the specific area where the range-restricted Tanager-Finch is found .. a true target bird!

13.00h. Lunch

After lunch, birding explorations along the ridge road, for Rusty-winged Barbtail, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Pearled Treerunner, Black-capped Hemispingus, tanager flocks and more. And in the forest, such birds as Powerful Woodpecker, Golden-headed Quetzal, Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrant, and maybe the Ocellated Tapaculo.

19.00h. Dinner

Night birds? Guides have sometimes located the roost of the strange Common Potoo…, and we can look for owls, which can sometimes be a challenge in the dense forest.

Exclusive private birding guide. Transport*** Overnight: Bellavista Lodge Meals: B,L,D

Day 3
Day 3 - Photographer´s Paradise

This morning we visit a nearby Photographer´s Paradise, within our immediate region, both with species new to us, and above all photography options set up specifically for the avid amateur (or professional) photographer´s joy. For beauty and colour try: Golden-naped Tanager, Golden Tanager; Flame-faced Tanager, Red-headed Barbet and likely some great toucans.

The lower Tandayapa Valley is our target this afternoon, looking for Beautiful Jay, Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia, Scaled Fruiteater, Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant.

The elevation is everything, which explains why there is such an amazing bird diversity in this area of steep-sided mountains….

Exclusive private birding guide. Transport*** Overnight: Bellavista Lodge Meals: B,L,D

Day 4
Day 4 - Birding | Andean Cock-of-the

5.00 a.m., Early start (50-minute drive) down to a reserve where an active Andean Cock-of-the.-Rock lek is a big attraction. A short hike takes us down to the lek, and as the day gradually dawns, the remarkable brightly coloured males squawk, preen and prance! If a female shows up !!!????!!

Photography options and a lightbox breakfast is provided. Then the owner of this reserve takes us into the forest and calls out a variety of normally difficult forest birds: Dark-backed Wood-Quail, the difficult Rufous-breasted Antthrush, but the targets are perhaps the antpittas: Giant Antpitta, Yellow-breasted Antpitta, Moustached Antpitta, Ochre-breasted Antpitta! A hot breakfast, with the local speciality of “bolones”, is served at the house, where birds like Crimson-rumped Toucanet and Toucan Barbet are often seen in the trees.

A short drive takes us to a hummingbird reserve where the greatest beauty is the Velvet-purple Coronet.

Back for a late lunch in Bellavista. An afternoon looking for some of the more elusive, skulking birds found here.

Overnight: Bellavista Lodge Meals: B,L,D

Day 5
Day 5 - Long-wattled Umbrellabird

This morning we visit an area known for the strange Long-wattled Umbrellabird. The male has a swaying beard of feathers, which the female finds most impressive.

We continue to a nice reserve and lodge in Milpe, where there are feeders with yet more species of hummingbirds, Aracari, Rufous Motmot, Choco Toucan, and more. There is an active lek of the Club-winged Manakin here, truly a special bird!

Overnight: Milpe Lodge Meals: B,L,D

Day 6
Day 6 - Silanche Reserve and surrounds

Travel on and visit the Silanche Reserve and surrounds. The birding along the roads and some trails within the reserve often reveals such Chocó endemics such as Rufous-winged Tanager, Blue-whiskered Tanager, Golden-.hooded Tanager, Scarlet-breasted Dacnis, Chocó Trogon and Chocó Warbler ……

Our Lodge for the night, at about 500 meters and near Silanche Reserve, is another good birding spot (perhaps also a swim in a lazy-flowing river?). Also, the owner is actively running a butterfly farm here, well worth a visit.

Overnight: Low elevation Lodge Meals: B, L, D

Day 7
Day 7 - Region of Mashpi

In the region of Mashpi, we visit a small reserve where highlights include Black Solitaire and many tanagers usually seen at a distance, but here at remarkably close quarters: Moss-backed Tanager, Glistening-green Tanager; Rufous-throated Tanager.

We travel on to a cave where a very specialized bird lives: the Oilbird! It feeds on oil-rich seeds of native palms nearby.

A box lunch will be provided, and we will head back to Quito, aiming for arrival around 17.00 p,m.

Wildlife species expected to see:

Great Tinamou, Tawny-breasted Tinamou, Berlepschs Tinamou, Little Tinamou, Curve-billed Tinamou, Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Torrent Duck, Gray-headed Kite, Semiplumbeous Hawk,Plumbeous Hawk, Gray Hawk, Short-tailed Hawk, Black-and-chestnut Eagle, Tiny Hawk, Barred Forest-Falcon, Baudo Guan, Wattled Guan, Rufous-fronted Wood-Quail, Dark-backed Wood-Quail, White-throated Crake, Andean Snipe, Imperial Snipe, Indigo-crowned Quail-Dove, White-throated Quail-Dove, Blue Ground-Dove, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Pacific Parrotlet, Blue-fronted Parrotlet, Rose-faced Parrot, Red-masked Parakeet, White-capped Parrot, Red-Iored Amazon, Scaly-naped Amazon, Groove-billed Ani, Banded Ground-Cuckoo, Rufescent Screech-Owl, White-throated Screech-Owl, Andean Pygmy-Owl, Cloud Forest Pygmy-Owl, Short-eared Owl, Swallow-tailed Nightjar, Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Rufous-billed Nighthawk,Band-winged Nightjar, Bronzy Hermit, Band-tailed Barbthroat, White-tipped Sicklebill, Tooth-billed Hummingbird, Eastern Wedge-billed, Green-fronted Lancebill, Purple-backed Thornbill, Purple-crowned Fairy, Long-billed Starthroat, Blue-chested Hummingbird, Violet-bellied Hummingbird, Western Emerald, Ecuadorian Hillstar, Rufous-gaped Hillstar Hillstar, Green-tailed Trainbearer, Velvet-purple Coronet, Black-breasted Puffleg, Golden-breasted Puffleg, Hoary Puffleg, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Black-throated Trogon,Northern Violaceous Trogon,Crested Quetzal, Broad-billed Motmot, Barred Puffbird, Lanceolated Monklet, White-faced Nunbird, Orange-fronted Barbet, Toucan Barbet, Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, Powerful Woodpecker, Cinnamon Woodpecker, Red-rumped Woodpecker, Uniform Treehunter, Great Antshrike, Esmeraldas Antbird, Bicolored Antbird, Red-billed Scythebill, Brown-billed Scythebill, Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Rufous-crowned Antpitta, Rufous-breasted Antthrush, Undulated Antpitta, Giant Antpitta, Scaled Antpitta, Mustached Antpitta, Chestnut-naped Antpitta, Yellow-breasted Antpitta, Rufous Antpitta, Tawny Antpitta, Ocellated Tapaculo, Nariño Tapaculo, Pacific Flatbill, Black-tipped Cotinga, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Scaled Fruiteater, Long-wattled Umbrellabird, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Club-winged Manakin, Beautiful Jay, Slate-throated Gnatcatcher, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Rufous-brown Solitaire, Black Solitaire, Choco Warbler, Giant Conebill, Indigo Flowerpiercer,Golden-collared Honeycreeper,Scarlet-breasted Dacnis, Chesnut-breasted Chloronhonia, Yellow-collared Chlorophonia, Blue-whiskered Tanager, Golden-hooded Tanager, Gray-and-gold Tanager, Rufous-winged Tanager, Glistening-green Tanager, Rufous-throated Tanager, Metallic-green Tanager, Golden-crowned Tanager, Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager, Moss-backed Tanager, Ochre-breasted Tanager, Scarlet-browed Tanager, Tawny-crested Tanager, Rufous-chested Tanager, Black-capped Hemispingus, Western Hemispingus, Plushcap, Slaty Finch, Tanager Finch

What is included?

  • 20 meals, starting with breakfast Day One, and finishing after lunch Day Five
  • 6 nights accommodation
  • Exclusive birding guide
  • Access to 450 hectare Protected Area
  • Exclusive transport for trips outside Bellavista
  • *** Transport Days Two and Three: included in and around Bellavista Protected Area only
  • Private transport from and back to Quito (airport transfer- moderate extra cost)
  • Entrance fees to reserves outside Bellavista
  • Taxes

What is not included?

  • International flights
  • Drinks, tips, personal items, laundry, other services
  • Anything that is not mentioned in the itinerary and "what is included"
Wildlife Reviews
5 stars
- based on 2  reviews
  1. Two weeks visiting both slopes of the Andes
    Ken & Lys Hall16 Jun 2015







    In June 2015, my wife and I spent just over two weeks on a birding tour organised by Bellavista Lodge. The first few days were at the Lodge itself, then they took us to other reserves further down the western slope, as the range species is completely different even a few hundred metres lower (or higher). During this time we saw olinguitos at Bellavista, cock-of-the-rock and various antpittas at the Angel Paz reserve, and dozens of hummingbirds everywhere. In the second week we were accompanied (again by a driver and a guide throughout) to three well-known reserves on the eastern side of the Andes, as far down as Wildsumaco Lodge, some highlights being spectacled bear, Andean condor and rufous-bellied seedsnipe among many other species. I should add that the original itinerary here had to be rearranged at very short notice due to some massive landslips, but they handled the enforced detours perfectly, and used the opportunity to find us some extra birds at some sites rather more off the beaten track. The bird total was about 400 species in all, although we are not listers as such, preferring rather to spend time getting good views of fewer species rather than amassing a huge total of glimpses. It was our first trip to Ecuador, and we liked it so much that we returned in January 2016 for an equally enjoyable tour, again arranged by Bellavista Lodge, of the southern part of the country.
  2. A Few Days Is NOT Enough
    Ralph Sherwin22 Sep 2017







    Doro and I returned to Bellavista for the second time in two years. As before, we stayed for most of a week, and (as before) we left feeling that we needed more time in this amazing world. Your love of the place, and the people will expand as the days fly by, but more importantly the quiet you want to experience will begin to replace the stress of your hectic life, a bit more every day. It takes a little time. Over our two stays we have spent time with Luis, Nelson, Christina, and Richard as guides. With them we learned much more than how to spot and identify some of the wealth of birds in this part of the cloud forest, we learned more about forest ecology, plants, mammals, amphibians, and the history of the region. We experienced the cloud forest at sunrise, at night, and all times of the day, and in all types of weather. We encountered these experiences with the guides, with other travelers, and quietly by ourselves. The place and the people are dedicated to pointing you to a truly quiet and happy place in yourself. ...but it takes a little time. By all means, bring a checklist of the birds and experiences that you want to tick off, one by one, but don't fail to miss the big message of this place; the world will reward your quiet times with a sense of adventure and wonder that will best be found when you give it time to speak to you. Read all the reviews, and know you'll find everything everyone else has found there, but don't forget to wait for your own adventure. Give it a little time. Ralph and Doro (will be back)

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Why book with Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve?

26 of Experienced running birding and nature tours in North Western Ecuador.

What to bring?

T-shirts or comfortable blouses/shirts, Sweater or fleece for Yanacocha / Zuroloma ,Sunhat and sunscreen, Rain poncho , Camera, Binoculars , Water bottle for hikes, Small daypack for hikes, Plastic bags to protect camera, etc

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

7 Days

Price & Availability

USD1,950 / per person
Based on twin/double room
This tour is operated by: Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge and Reserve
4.94 based on 9 reviews

Quick Enquiry Form

Operator Review Summary

4.94 Based on 9 reviews

Tour Facts

  • Northwestern Ecuador
  • Available Daily
  • Multi-Day Tour
  • Birds
  • 1 pax
  • 10 Days
  • All year
  • +9 years
  • Moderate
  • No
  • English & Spanish (other languages on request)
  • Mariscal Sucre Airport Quito
  • Mariscal Sucre Airport Quito