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Northwestern Ecuador Birding Tour - 5 Days

Northwestern Ecuador Birding Tour

Ecuador Birdwatching Tour

Our 5-day Northwestern Ecuador Birding 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 497 species of birds on this trip.

This Ecuador birding 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 Kinkajou, and even elusive species of wild cats.

"Bellavista manages to preserve the feeling that the presence of a comfortable bed and good food has not intruded into the wild cloud forest environment in which you are immersed. The birding and wildlife is exceptional; get up before dawn and you will be rewarded with many birds close to the buildings. We arrived from a very hot trip around Galapagos and the cool, wet atmosphere of this cloud forest was the perfect tonic!" - Paul Lister

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 Ecuador birding tour.

In this Ecuador birding 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. One night is spent at a reserve at a lower elevation 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 Back Roads Bird Roads, Bird Watching Ecuador Tour has to offer.

Alternative Tour Name: Northwestern Ecuador Birds Galore
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, Mountain Velvetbreast, then 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(breakfast),L,D

Day 2
Day 2 - 6.15 / 6.30h: Early morning bird hike

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 in to 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 - Early morning bird hike

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 - Departure to to Santa Rosa Bird Garden

5.00 a.m., Early start (50-minute drive) down to a reserve where an active 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 Antbird, 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 Angel´s 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.

A tasty box lunch is provided today.

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 Meals: B,L,D

Day 5
Day 5 - Departure

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.

Then back to Milpe for productive hours of birding, and lunch. Did we see Green Thorntail yesterday?

Departure mid-afternoon for Quito and your hotel.

Arrival: 17.00 – 17.30 p.m.

Wildlife species expected to see:

Tawny-breasted Tinamou, Curve-billed Tinamou, Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Torrent Duck, Short-tailed Hawk, Black-and-chestnut Eagle, Tiny Hawk, Barred Forest-Falcon, Wattled Guan, Dark-backed Wood-Quail, Andean Snipe, Imperial Snipe, Indigo-crowned Quail-Dove, White-throated Quail-Dove, Pacific Parrotlet, Rose-faced Parrot, White-capped Parrot, Scaly-naped Amazon, Groove-billed Ani, Banded Ground-Cuckoo, Rufescent Screech-Owl, White-throated Screech Owl, Andean Pygmy-Owl, Cloud Forest Pymy-Owl, Short-eared Owl, Swallow-tailed Nightjar, Lyre-tailed Niqhtjar, Rufous-billed Nighthawk, Band-winged Nightjar, White-tipped Sicklebill, Eastern Wedge-billed, Green-fronted Lancebill, Purple-backed Thoronbill, Purple-crowned Fairy, Long-billed Starthroat, Violet-bellied Hummingbird, Ecuadorian Hillstar, Rufous-gaped Hillstar Hillstar, Green-tailed Trainbearer, Velvet-purple Coronet, Black-breasted Puffleg, Golden-breasted Puffleg, Hoary Puffleg, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Crested Quetzal, Broad-billed Motmot, Lanceolated Monklet, White-faced Nunbird, Toucan Barbet, Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, Powerful Woodpecker, Red-rumped Woodpecker, Uniform Treehunter, Esmeraldas Antbird, Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Rufous-breasted Antthrush, Undulated Antpitta, Giant Antpitta, Scaled Antpitta, Moustached Antpitta, Chestnut-naped Antpitta, Yellow-breasted Antpitta, Rufous Antpitta, Tawny Antpitta, Ocellated Tapaculo, Nariño Tapaculo, Pacific Flatbill, Scaled Fruiteater, Long-wattled Umbrellabird, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Club-winged Manakin, Beautiful Jay, Choco Warbler, Giant Conebill, Chesnut-breasted Chloronhonia, Yellow-collared Chlorophonia, Rufous-throated Tanager, Metallic-green Tanager, Golden-crowned Tanager, Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager, Ochre-breasted Tanager, Rufous-chested Tanager, Black-capped Hemispingus, Western Hemispingus, Plushcap, Slaty Finch, Tanager Finch

What is included?

  • 12 meals, starting with breakfast Day 1, and finishing with lunch at day 5.
  • 4-night standard accommodation
  • Shared Naturalist Guide Service
  • Access to 700-hectare Reserve
  • Private, round trip transportation.
  • All entrance fees to all visited places

What is not included?

  • Travel insurance
  • Drinks
  • Tips
  • Exclusive guide or transport service
  • Personal items
  • Other services
  • Anything that is not mentioned in the itinerary and "what is included"
Wildlife Reviews
5 stars
- based on 1  reviews
  1. Magical Cloud Forest
    Paul Lister03 Feb 2016







    Bellavista manages to preserve the feeling that the presence of a comfortable bed and good food has not intruded into the wild cloud forest environment in which you are immersed. The birding and wildlife is exceptional; get up before dawn and you will be rewarded with many birds close to the buildings. We arrived from a very hot trip around Galapagos and the cool, wet atmosphere of this cloud forest was the perfect tonic!

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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 the evenings • Quick-drying trousers (blue jeans not recommended) • Lightweight socks • Change of clothes • Sunhat and sunscreen • Rain poncho (a few available if needed) • Camera • Rubber boots are provided – to size 47 (few pairs in large sizes) • Binoculars recommended (available for rent) • Water bottle for hikes • Small daypack for hikes • Flashlight and batteries • Plastic bags to protect the camera, etc.

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

5 Days

Price & Availability

USD1,028 / 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
  • On Request
  • Multi-Day Tour
  • Birds
  • 1 pax
  • 5 Days
  • All year
  • + 9 years
  • Moderate
  • No
  • English & Spanish (other languages on request)
  • Mariscal Sucre Airport Quito
  • Mariscal Sucre Airport Quito