Great Sapphirewing


Glossy Flowerpiercer


Booted Racket-tail


Cloud Forest


Shining Sunbeams


Carunculated Caracara


Sickle-winged Guan


Yellow-breasted Antpitta


Sword-billed Hummingbird


Brown violet-ear


Tyrian Metal-tail


Shining Sunbeam


Purple-bibbed White-tip


Green-crowned Woodnymph


Golden-naped Tanager


Parasol de los Pobres


Velvet Purple Coronet


Andean Gulls


Orange-billed Euphonia


Green-crowned Brilliant


Sparkling Violet-ear


White-bellied Woodstar


White-throated Quail-dove


Purple-throated Woodstar


Mt. Antisana


Green Violet-ear


Sapphire-vented Puffleg


Spotted Woodcreeper


Flame-faced Tanager


Black-tailed Trainbearer


Blue-winged Mountain Tanager


Brown Inca


Chestnut-crowned Antpitta


Sparkling Violet-ear


Giant Antpitta


Sparkling Violet-ear


Otavalo


Shining Sunbeam


White-throated Quail-dove


Andean Coot


Otavalo

Overview Itinerary Cost FAQs Blog

Birds of Ecuador
October 4-15, 2017


Andean Cock-of-the-Rock


  • Ten days of photography
  • Small group – limited to 5 participants
  • Multi-flash hummingbird photography (equipment provided)
  • Instruction and advice based on your needs and experience
  • Seven locations
  • Diversity of species, habitats, and elevations
  • All lodging, meals, guides, and in-country transportation included

With over 1,600 species in an area smaller than the state of Arizona, Ecuador's diversity of birds is among the highest in the world. The country's location on the equator means that migrating birds will visit from both the northern and southern hemispheres, and its range of elevations, from sea level to over 20,000 feet, provides a great variety of habitats. On past trips we have photographed
100 or more species of birds, including up to 30 species of hummingbirds.

For our fifth trip to this beautiful country, I've added a few new locations along with some favorites from past trips. We will visit seven birding locations in Northern Ecuador, sampling habitats on both sides of the Andes for maximum biodiversity. Our elevations will range from about 4,000 to 13,000 feet (1,200 to 4,000 meters), and our target species will include toucans, trogons, antpittas, tanagers, barbets, quetzals, caracaras, and many more. We'll visit a lek to photograph the mating display of the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock. We'll look for Andean Condors on Mt. Antisana. And we'll see an amazing variety of hummingbirds at almost every location.

Our photography will include a variety of techniques, using both existing and artificial light. In many locations we need to rely only on natural light, using high ISO as needed. In other situations, we'll use on-camera fill-flash to soften shadows and balance the natural backlighting. We'll also use multi-flash lighting setups at feeders to capture stunning photos of hummingbirds in flight. Instruction and advice will be provided based on your level of experience.



Masked Trogon


Itinerary
The following itinerary will be updated and adjusted to ensure the maximum variety of photo subjects. For updates, check this page or
get in touch to be informed as soon as more details are availalbe. As with all nature photography, the itinerary is subject to change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

Day 1, Oct. 4: After clearing customs and picking up our bags at Quito International Airport, we will be met by a private car to take us to a nearby hotel for our first night in Ecuador. Most flights from the U.S. arrive in late afternoon or evening; travelers who would like more time to acclimate to the high altitude might want to arrive a day early (see options below).
Meals: Not included (dinner is available at the hotel for early arrivals)
Overnight: Quito



Andean condor


Day 2, Oct. 5: After an early breakfast, we will drive to Mount Antisana for a chance to photograph an Andean Condor, the largest flying bird in the world. Antisana Ecological Reserve is a windswept, treeless plain – the paramo – with the 18,714-foot (5,704 meters) Antisana volcano towering above it (we will drive up to about 13,000 feet or 4,000 meters). We have a pretty good chance of seeing a condor, but even if we don't there are plenty of other species to photograph here, including the Carunculated Caracara, Andean Lapwing, and Black-faced Ibis. We will end our day at a lodge near Papallacta, where the paramo meets the cloud forest.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Papallacta


Days 3 and 4, Oct. 6-7: Our lodge is located on about 450 acres (180 hectares) at an elevation of 8,900 feet (2,700 meters), with a network of birding trails and a river that crosses the property. Hummingbird feeders are placed around the garden, where we will use the multi-flash setup for photos of hummers in flight and feeding on flowers. Hummingbirds commonly seen here are the Mountain Velvetbreast, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Tourmaline Sunangel, Golden-breasted Puffleg, Glowing Puffleg, Mountain Avocetbill, and Gorgeted Woodstar, among others. Along the river, our target species are the Torrent Duck and White-capped Dipper, and forest species include the Andean Guan, Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Turquoise Jay, Masked Trogon, Chestnut-crowned Antpitta, Rufous Antpitta, and Scarlet-bellied, Lacrimose, Buff-breasted, and Hooded Mountain-Tanagers.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Papallacta




Sword-billed hummingbird


Day 5, Oct. 8: One of the best things about photography in Ecuador is that you really don't have to go far to find yourself in a completely different habitat, with new species of birds. After spending the morning at Papallacta, trying for one more shot of our favorite local species, we will head to San Isidro, in the Quijos Valley, the western headwaters of the Amazon basin.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: San Isidro


Day 6, Oct. 9: Elevations at San Isidro range from about 6,200 to 7,800 feet (1,900 to 2,400 meters), from the lower temperate zone to the heart of the subtropical zone. Target species on the trails and around the cabins include the Powerful Woodpecker, Inca Jay, Sickle-winged Guan, Masked Trogon, Andean Motmot, Long-tailed Antbird, Slate-crowned Antpitta, Black-chested Fruiteater, Red-hooded Tanager, and Subtropical Cacique. If we're lucky, we might get to photograph a Highland Tinamou or Peruvian Antpitta. Thirty-two species of hummingbird have been found here, including the White-necked Jacobin, Tawny-bellied Hermit, Brown Violetear, Long-tailed Sylph, Emerald-bellied Puffleg, Bronzy Inca, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Buff-tailed Coronet, Booted Racket-tail, White-tailed Hillstar, Violet-fronted Brilliant, Gorgeted Woodstar, and Lazuline Sabrewing.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: San Isidro




Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager

Day 7, Oct. 10: After some early morning photography at San Isidro, we will drive to Mindo, where the cloud forest meets the rainforest on the Western slopes of the Andes. Mindo is widely known for its biodiversity, with bird species indluding the Toucan Barbet, Pale-mandibled Aracari, Squirrel Cuckoo, Golden-headed Quetzal, Montane Woodcreeper, and at least 7 species of Tanagers. Our lodge is located at 5,600 feet elevation (1,700 meters).
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Mindo



Day 8, Oct. 11: Early in the morning we can look for woodcreepers and other insect-eaters that gather at the lights around the cabins. After breakfast we will set up the flashes to photograph the local hummingbirds, including Booted Racket-tail, Violet-tailed Sylph, Brown Inca, White-necked Jacobin, Empress Brilliant, Purple-throated Woodstar, Sparkling Violet-ear, Buff-tailed Coronet, Purple-bibbed Whitetip, and Andean Emerald. At the same time we'll keep an eye out for toucans, trogons, and parrots.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Mindo




Yellow-breasted Antpitta

Day 9, Oct. 12: This morning we visit Refugio Paz de las Aves to photograph as many as four or five species of antpittas. These birds are normally quite shy and hard to photograph, but Angel Paz has found a way to acclimate them to photographers, using a combination of calls, food, and a deep knowledge of bird behavior. Along with the Chestnut-crowned Antpitta, Giant Antpitta, Moustached Antpitta, Ochre-breasted Antpitta, and Yellow-breasted Anpitta, other target species here include the Rufous-breasted Antthrush, Dark-backed Wood Quail, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, and Toucan Barbet. Photography of most species will use existing light and high ISO, with fill-flash permitted in some areas. The trails here are not long, but they can be steep and slippery – so you'll need good hiking shoes and might want to wear waterproof overshoes as well. Depending on conditions, we might spend all day there, or we might return to Mindo in late morning. Either way, we will be back at Refugio Paz in the afternoon, when our guide will lead us to a lek to photograph the mating display of the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock. If you've never seen these birds (or even if you have) you're in for a real treat.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Mindo




Booted Racket-tail


Day 10, Oct. 13: Today we travel farther up the Tandayapa Valley, an area well-known to serious birders. Hummingbirds here may include the Andean Emerald, Booted Racket-tail, Buff-tailed Coronet, Purple-bibbed White-tip, Purple-throated Woodstar, Sparkling Violet-ear, Green Violet-ear, and Violet-tailed Sylph. Other birds include the Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Red-headed Barbet, Black-capped Tanager, Blue-gray Tanager, Blue-winged Mountain Tanager, Golden Tanager, Orange-bellied Euphonia, and many others.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Mindo




Otavalo


Day 11, Oct. 14: On our last day of photography together, we'll get a taste of local culture at the Otavalo Indian Market, a huge open-air marketplace where we can photograph vendors offering a colorful variety of textiles, jewelry, ceramics, and other hand-made items, as well as pick up a few souvenirs and support the local economy. On the way to Otavalo we will stop at San Pablo Lake to photograph aquatic birds including the Southern Lapwing, Common Gallinule, Andean Coot, and Andean Ruddy Duck. In the evening we return to our Quito hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Quito


Day 12, Oct. 15: After breakfast it's time to say good-bye and leave for the airport. (If you have an early flight, you might miss breakfast. See the FAQs for more information.)
Meals: Breakfast




Crimson-rumped Toucanet


Cost
The cost is $3,995 per person, based on double occupancy. If you'd like a private room, the additional charge is $395. Your cost includes:
  • Lodging for eleven nights
  • Three meals per day, beginning with breakfast on Day 2 through breakfast on Day 12
  • Bottled or filtered drinking water
  • All transportation within Ecuador, using private vehicles
  • Local, English-speaking guides
  • Tips for our driver and guides
  • All entrance fees
  • Use of multi-flash lighting equipment
  • Photography instruction based on your level of experience
Not included: Travel to and from Ecuador, alcoholic beverages, additional meals, additional nights lodging, laundry, phone, additional tips, other personal expenses, or travel insurance. Please ask about any specific dietary requirements.

Other options: If you'd like to arrive early, stay late, or explore Quito - a beautiful city full of history and culture -
just ask and I'll send you the details.

Payment schedule: A deposit of $800 will hold your place on the trip.

Payment in full is due by June 30, 2017.
You can pay the deposit with a credit card, using the "Buy Now" button above. Checks are preferred for the balance. For additional information, including the refund policy, read the FAQs or contact Dan Suzio Photography.



Overview Itinerary Cost FAQs Blog



Sparkling Violet-ear


Rufous Antpitta


Crimson-rumped Toucanets


Blue-winged Tanager


Russett-backed Oropendola


Red-headed Barbet


Masked Flowerpiercer


Golden Tanager


Cinnamon Flycatcher


Booted Racket-tail (female)


Plain-brown Woodcreeper


Palm Tanager


Rufous-fronted Wood Quail


Rufous-naped Brush-finch


Tyrian Metal-tail


Eared Dove


Green-crowned Brilliant


Stout-billed Cinclodes


Purple-throated Woodstar


Blue-gray Tanager


White-whiskered Hermit


Buff-tailed Coronet


Tawny Antpitta


Carunculated Caracara


Andean Ruddy Duck


Blue Morpho


Great Thrush


Red-tailed Squirrel


White-whiskered Hermit


Great Egret


Southern Yellow Grosbeak


Wolf Spider


Rain Frog


White-tailed Deer


Sparkling Violet-ear


Buff-tailed Coronet



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Dan Suzio Photography
P.O. Box 5803
Berkeley, CA 94705
510-548-8157
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