From the Andean highlands to the lush rainforests of the Amazon and the wildlife-rich Galapagos Islands, this comprehensive 14-day birding adventure highlighting Ecuador's incredible avifauna. The tour begins in Quito, before heading into the cloud forests …
With over 1624 different bird species (5th in the world for density) and 42 endemics, Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands provides an unparalleled birdwatching experience
Ecuador, located in northwestern South America, is a country of unparalleled natural beauty and exceptional birdlife. Bordered by Colombia to the north, Peru to the east and south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west, Ecuador’s diverse landscapes include the Amazon Rainforest, the Andes Mountains, and the Galapagos Islands. This geographic variety contributes to its status as one of the world’s most biodiverse countries, making it a prime destination for birdwatchers.
Its unique geography, ranging from the Andes to the sea, allows for a remarkable diversity of landscapes in a single day. Travel from high snowcaps in the morning, through Andean valleys and highland rainforests for lunch, and descend to the tropical forest in the afternoon, crossing rivers in the Amazon basin. With over 1624 different bird species (5th in the world for density) and 42 endemics, Ecuador provides an unparalleled birdwatching experience. Remarkably, despite its modest land surface area, Ecuador hosts a staggering fifteen percent of the world’s bird species, making it a vital habitat for avian diversity. This fact underscores the country’s significance as a birdwatching destination, where enthusiasts have the opportunity to encounter a substantial portion of the planet’s birdlife within Ecuador’s borders.
Ecuador also have well-developed road system that connects the coast, highlands, and eastern Amazonian lands, ensuring a fast, safe, and enjoyable journey between regions. Luxurious lodges catering to various budgets, many specializing in birdwatching, offer great experiences.
And to top if off, Ecuador also has the Galapagos islands – situated approximately 1,000 kilometers off the country’s western coast and made famous by Charles Darwin. These volcanic islands are renowned for their unique and diverse ecosystems, and are treat for birders and nature enthusiasts. The Galapagos host an array of endemic bird species, such as the iconic Blue-footed Booby, Galapagos Penguin, and Waved Albatross. The islands’ isolated location has led to the evolution of distinct bird populations, making it a fascinating destination, where sighings are almost too easy, as many species have lost that natural weariness of humans, due to a lack of predator presence.
The country’s remarkable biodiversity, avifauna, diverse landscapes, and the allure of the Galapagos Islands create an unforgettable birding experience that leaves a lasting impression.
At Sustainable Birding, we don’t offer ready-made, off-the-shelf birding tours. Our approach is deeply personalised—we meticulously craft each of our tours in Ecuador from scratch, ensuring every detail aligns with your unique preferences. From the lush Amazon to the stunning Andes and to the endemic-rich Galapagos Islands, our team of seasoned birding experts use our comprehensive knowledge to tailor your birding holiday, guaranteeing an experience perfectly attuned to your specific requirements.
All our birding tours in Ecuador are expertly guided by our passionate, knowledgeable and experienced Ecuadorean tour leaders. They are some of the best guides on the planet! So, give us a call or drop us an email and let’s talk Ecuador!
Reasons to go on a Tailor-made Birding Tour
• Select the exact dates that suit your schedule.
• Choose the ideal time of year for your birding adventure.
• Travel alongside your preferred companions—be it family, friends, or fellow birders.
• Set your pace—whether fast or brisk.
• Customise within your personal budget, from luxurious to budget accommodations or a mix.
• Craft a tour that matches specific interests—whether intense birding, leisurely exploration, photography, culture, music, wine, botany, butterflies, herpetology, geology, diving, hiking, and beyond.
• Our team is here to cater to your interests and ensure a fulfilling birding holiday.
Explore our selection of Scheduled Group Birding Tours in Ecuador. These groups tours have been designed to fit different birding preference and time restraints. Typically, our group tours are more affordable, and allow people to meet up and make lifelong memories with fellow birders. All our group tours are small and come with an expert Tour Leader, having groups no bigger than 6 individuals, so you still get that intimate feeling and the full attention of the Tour Leader.
Please refer to our Birding Calendar for tour schedules, dates, and fixed prices.
• Galapagos Dove
• Blue-throated Hillstar
• Violet-throated Metaltail
• Black-breasted Puffleg
• Turquoise-throated Puffleg
• Esmeraldas Woodstar
• Galapagos Rail
• Galapagos Penguin
• Galapagos Petrel
• Pink-footed Shearwater
• Galapagos Shearwater
• Flightless Cormorant
• Lava Gull
• Galapagos Hawk
• Lilacine Amazon
• El Oro Parakeet
• Cocha Antshrike
• Ecuadorian Tapaculo
• Little Vermilion Flycatcher
• Galapagos Flycatcher
• Galapagos Martin
• Floreana Mockingbird
• Galapagos Mockingbird
• Espanola Mockingbird
• San Cristobal Mockingbird
• Pale-headed Brush-finch
• Grey Warbler-finch
• Green Warbler-finch
• Vegetarian Finch
• Sharp-beaked Ground-finch
• Large Tree-finch
• Medium Tree-finch
• Small Tree-finch
• Mangrove Finch
• Woodpecker Finch
• Vampire Ground-finch
• Medium Ground-finch
• Genovesa Ground-finch
• Large Ground-finch
• Espanola Cactus-finch
• Common Cactus-finch
• Genovesa Cactus-finch
The best time for birding in Ecuador typically falls within the dry season, which spans from June to September. During these months, the weather is more predictable, and bird activity is heightened. However, birdwatching is a year-round activity in Ecuador, with each season offering unique opportunities. The months between September and November, as well as January to April, are also favourable, though it’s essential to consider specific regions and elevations for the most rewarding birding experience.
For an optimal birding experience in the Galapagos Islands, we recommend visiting between April and December, especially if witnessing the Waved Albatross is a priority. During April and May, these majestic birds engage in courtship rituals, and by August, most of their eggs have hatched. However, it’s crucial to note that by the end of December or the beginning of January, Waved Albatrosses migrate far out to sea. If the albatross is not a particular focus, birding in the Galapagos is rewarding year-round. Our Galapagos nature tours are timed to coincide with the albatrosses’ presence on Española Island, their primary breeding site.
Apart from the Waved Albatross, the Galapagos Islands boast other bird endemics that are a must-see, including Darwin’s finches, Galapagos Hawk, Flightless Cormorant, Nazca Booby, Galapagos Penguin, Lava Gull, and Galapagos Rail.
Ecuador’s diverse geography results in a range of climates across its four main regions. Along the coast, a tropical climate occurs, marked by high temperatures and humidity. The region experiences a wet season from December to May, followed by a dry season from June to November.
Moving to the highlands, including cities like Quito, a cooler climate is present. The highlands generally have a dry season from June to September and a wet season from October to May.
Venturing into the Amazon rainforest reveals a climate characterised by high temperatures and humidity throughout the year. The Amazon experiences a wet season from December to May and a drier season from June to November.
The Galapagos Islands have a unique climate. While the islands maintain a relatively mild temperature year-round, the cool season spans from June to November, and the warmer season lasts from December to May. For optimal birdwatching, visiting the Galapagos between April and December is recommended, especially to witness the captivating courtship rituals of the Waved Albatross on Española Island.
Considering Ecuador’s diverse climates, packing appropriate clothing is crucial. Lightweight and breathable attire is recommended, along with layers to accommodate temperature variations, especially when transitioning between different regions. Additionally, sturdy and comfortable footwear is essential for navigating varied terrains. Other practical items include a hat, sunscreen and insect repellent.
Equipment such as high-quality binoculars tailored for birdwatching is essential and if you have a good working camera and lens, then please bring it with you! A comprehensive field guide specific to the country’s birds, such as Birds of Ecuador (Helm Field Guides) is recommended.
*Remember that when you book a Ecuador birding tour with us for 14 days, we will send you a new complementary field guide!
The Sustainable Birding Company is a subsidiary of Far and Wild Travel, a tailor-made tour company based in Cumbria, UK. Far and Wild Travel offer sustainable, luxury, tailor-made tour itineraries throughout Africa and around the world.