Birding in Ecuador

With more than half the bird species of South America found in this relatively small country, Ecuador is a great destination for bird-watching. In addition to the the Galapagos, Ecuador’s cloud forests and Amazon Basin provide countless birding opportunities. Below you’ll find a few of the options available.


1. Napo Wildlife Center

Ecuador has a variety of jungle lodges. Napo Wildlife Center is said to be one of the best for wildlife viewing.

Because of its location, hidden in 82 square miles of pristine rainforest, Napo Wildlife Center offers some of the best Ecuadorian Amazon wildlife viewing to be had. And in particular, over 650 species of birds. In first-class accommodations this remote jungle lodge offers great birding with easily accessed parrot clay licks and two canopy towers.

Parrot Clay Lick - Napo Wildlife Center
Parrot Clay Lick – Napo Wildlife Center

In a recent visit, we saw several species of parrots, toucans, woodpeckers and – because I’m not a birder – countless other colorful, bizarre, beautiful species of birds!


2. Tandayapa – Birdwatching

Convenient, one-day tour departing from Quito. Operated by, Metropolitan Touring, a well-known and reputable Ecuadorian tour company.

Tandayapa is a crossroad settlement at 5,248 feet (1,600 meters) on the western slope of the Andes in Pichincha where the old road from Quito to Nono splits, one proceeding to Mindo and beyond and the other to Nanegal. Take the old Nono-Mindo road, a well-known birding road that descends the west slope of the Andes from Quito that leads to the rich Montane and Cloud Forests. These are the habitat of the Black-and-chestnut Eagle, Dark-backedWood-Quail, Purplebibbed, whitetip, Gorgeted Sunangel, Giant Antpitta,Tanager Finch, Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Toucan Barbet, and the Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan. Lunch at Bellavista, surrounded by a surprising amount of hummingbirds around the feeders.

Bellavista is deep in the heart of the cloud forest, where clouds and trees blend in a tapestry of mystery and magic. It’s a place for adventure, relaxation and deep contact with nature, home to hundreds of species of plants, birds and other animals. Return to Quito in the afternoon.

For those with more time plan a stay at Bellavista Lodge. Known for the large variety of hummingbirds in the area.


View from porch of Santa Lucia Eco-Lodge

3 Santa Lucia: Ecuadorian Cloud Forest Ecolodge

A relatively new tourist attraction, though years in the making. This community-based ecolodge is way off the beaten path, perched high on mountain-top with 360 degree views of cloud forest below. Daily birding opportunities with a local, bi-lingual guide, including an at dawn visit to the Andean Cock-of-the -Rock. First-class birding (especially during Sept and Nov) in a cozy mountain lodge, on-site organic garden for tasty local dishes, endless trails and attentive service from local community members (that care) make this visit truly one of a kind.