This delightful new tour explores the lovely landscapes of the east Andean foothills, the pristine beauty of the Llanos, and the edges of the Colombian Amazon rainforest. Expect a remarkable diversity of habitats, ranging from the high Andean temperate forest at 2500m to the lowland floodplains of the Llanos and Amazon varzea forest at 400m. With the inclusion of open savanna and foothill forest, this tour promises the perfect birding experience in Colombia.
We have meticulously selected the most spectacular birding reserves, dedicated to safeguarding Colombia’s vulnerable biodiversity. These reserves boast well-preserved forests, amenities for photographers, and comfortable lodges. Managed by Colombian NGOs, a portion of the payment is reinvested in local conservation initiatives, supporting efforts such as species and habitat conservation, as well as aiding local communities. Join us for a journey that not only offers exceptional birding opportunities but also contributes to the conservation and well-being of Colombia’s unique ecosystems.
Upon your arrival at El Dorado International Airport, you’ll be transferred will to your hotel within Bogotá. You’ll be met by our exceptional guide, where you’ll be able to discuss the upcoming birding tour that next day.
Where you will be staying: Blue Suites Hotel
The Sumapaz Paramo, situated in the Eastern Andean Mountain Range, stands as the world’s largest páramo habitat, offering stunning landscapes and exceptional birding. We’ll spend the whole day looking for targets such as elusive and endemic species such as the Bearded Helmecrest, Apolinar’s Wren, and the Bogota Rail. Additionally, we’ll seek out the Bronze Tailed Thornbill, near-endemic Rufous-browned Conebill, Chestnut Winged Cinclodes, and Many Striped Canastero, alongside species such as Andean Tit Spinetail, Paramo Seedeater, Plain Coloured Seedater, and the majestic Black Chested Buzzard Eagle.
It will be a fun and exciting day to kick-off the tour!
Established in 1993, Rancho Camana has undergone a remarkable transformation, evolving from former cattle-grazing land into a small private nature reserve. The dedicated team at the ranch strives to coexist harmoniously with nature, sharing their lifestyle with visitors and actively contributing to the region’s development through cultural and environmental conservation initiatives. The reserve hosts a diverse array of species, including the Barred Antshrike, Gilded Barbet, Plain-crowned Spinetail, Little Cuckoo, Chestnut-eared Aracari, Pectoral Sparrow, Rufous-and-white Wren, Turquoise Tanager, Straight-billed Woodcreeper, Plain-brown Woodcreeper, and Plain Thornbird.
In the nearby forested areas, there’s a chance to encounter the Ornate Titi Monkey, an endangered species exclusive to eastern Colombia. Recognized as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List, its population has seen a notable decline. Formerly grouped with the white-tailed titi, it is now officially recognized as a distinct species. Other bird species we’ll be targeting include the Burrowing Owl, Sooty-capped Hermit, Hoatzin, Chestnut-vented Conebill, Speckled Chachalaca, Violaceous Jay, Black-capped Donacobius, and many more.
Today, we’ll set off early, aiming to explore the highland forests near Guayabetal town, specifically in La Herreria. Our main goal is the rare sighting of the Cundinamarca Antpitta, an endemic species made accessible by local families who provide exceptional viewing opportunities via an impressive feeder station! Following this unique experience, we’ll focus on observing mixed flocks known for hosting a diverse array of highland species, including the Black-collared Jay, Northern Mountain Cacique, Grass-green Tanager, and Sulphur-bellied Tyrannulet. Additionally, there are promising chances to encounter the endemic Brown-breasted Parakeet, Muisca Antpitta, and occasionally, the Black-and-chestnut Eagle during our excursion.
In the morning, we will be visiting Bavaria Forest, a small yet highly productive forest patch nestled in the foothills of the Colombian eastern plains. Located northwest of Villavicencio, the capital of the Meta department in Colombia, this area promises high rewards. Our primary targets include the Amazonian Motmot, Gilded Barbet, Grey-chinned Hermit, Yellow-billed Nunbird, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Silver-beaked Tanager, Turquoise Tanager, Black-faced Dacnis, Black-faced Antbird, Black-throated Antbird, and Pectoral Sparrow.
After lunch, we’ll depart from Villavicencio for a 5-hour drive to San Jose del Guaviare. Along the way, we’ll make a few birding stops, aiming to spot more Llanos specialties, we will aim to arrive in Guaviare in time for lunch.
San José del Guaviare, the capital city of the Guaviare department, boasts a landscape primarily characterized by flat terrain. A significant portion of the city is part of the Serranía de la Lindosa, strategically located at the confluence of four of South America’s most important geographic regions. Serving as a transition between the Orinoquia and the Colombian Amazon, it marks the meeting point of the expansive Colombian-Venezuelan plains and the Amazon rainforest. Additionally, it represents the convergence of the Guyana Shield region and the Andean foothills.
The area is dominated by tropical rainforests and gallery forests, complemented by natural savannahs in the northern section. Water bodies, including the Guaviare and Guayabero rivers, intricately irrigate the town, establishing vital connections with neighboring populations. The Inirida River delineates the municipality’s southeastern boundary. Despite a history marked by violence and illicit crop cultivation, concerted efforts have shifted the focus towards more sustainable livelihoods, including agriculture and livestock activities.
In the morning, we’ll be birding around the town as it offers exceptional birdwatching opportunities, aiming to spot species such as the Cream-colored Woodpecker, Long-billed Woodcreeper, Bare-necked Fruitcrow, Yellow-bellied Dacnis, Solitary Cacique, Large-billed Tern, Turquoise Tanager, and Green-backed Trogon.
The next two days takes us into the savanna habitat, with potential sightings including the Russet-crowned and Ashy-throated Crakes, Red-shouldered Tanager, Short-tailed Swift, and Lesser Elaenia. Notable species in this habitat encompass the Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Slender-footed Tyrannulet, Black-tailed Tityra, White-winged Becard, White-throated Toucan, and Masked Cardinal and Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock. We’ll also be going on a walk to explore ancient petroglyphs. These petroglyphs, with profound cultural significance, offer insights into the history, beliefs, and way of life of ancient South American communities. The region’s rock paintings, dating back over ten thousand years, provide a unique glimpse into a rich cultural legacy, with the Serrania recognized for one of the world’s highest concentrations of rock paintings.
On our final day, after bidding farewell and reviewing our extensive checklist, we’ll take a domestic flight back to Bogotá. From there, you can conveniently catch your international flight home.
Medium – enough time has been designated at each destination, but with an aim to keep in compact. Could easily be extended to have more days.
Best time of year to visit
The best time of year to go birding in this region of Colombia is typically during the dry season, which spans from December to March. During these months, the weather is more predictable, and many areas become more accessible for birdwatching activities. The reduced rainfall makes it easier to explore without encountering extensive mud or flooding.
This period coincides with the breeding season for many bird species, leading to increased bird activity and vibrant displays.
A Few Highlighted Bird Species
Many Striped Canastero
Monkey Burrowing Owl
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.