If you want to explore a birdwatching wonderland, then Ecuador is the place to visit. The South American country has some amazing bird species that either call it home permanently or temporarily. There are over 1,600 bird species found in Ecuador with some being only located within the country.Finding the best bird watching locations can however be somewhat troublesome. This article will highlight our best bird watching locations in Ecuador!
Situated on South America’s Pacific coast, Ecuador has four distinct regions and each offers a unique habitat to birds. The various regions within Ecuador include the Amazon Basin, the Andes, the Pacific Coast, and the Galapagos Islands. According to experts on Ecuadorian nature, there are 600 bird species alone in the Amazon Basin region and up to an astonishing 1,635 species across Ecuador.
Due to Ecuador’s transportation system and the small size of the country, it is easy to get from one region to the next on a birdwatching vacation. Whether you are looking for some rarely seen bird species or just some commonly seen Ecuadorian winged creatures, you are sure to have some success on a trip to the South America nation.
What is the best bird watching location in Ecuador?
1. Yasuni National Park
Yasuni National Park is a subtropical jungle with a variety of bird species to spot. However, birdwatching in the park can be a difficult task and it takes plenty of patience. The bird species of Yasuni National Park are not used to human interaction and can be put off if they sense people in the area. Despite the difficulty in spotting birds, you can be rewarded by seeing species found nowhere else on the planet.
The park has a 36 metre (108 ft) tall observation tower that allows you to cast your view over a large portion of the park. According to the Yasuni National Park, more than 565 bird species have been recorded. Some of the common birds that can be seen within the park are toucans, honeycreepers, tanagers, and flycatchers.
Bird species are not the only animals found in the Yasuni National Park. You will find trails into the Amazonian jungle with wild animals and insects galore. The biodiversity of the park is immense and truly exciting for any nature lover.
2. Podocarpus National Park
Over 600 bird species have been recorded in Podocarpus National Park. The park is remote compared to other birdwatching destinations in Ecuador making it a great place to get away from other birdwatchers and travellers. Compared to the birdwatching regions of the north, the Podocarpus National Park and areas around it are overlooked by visitors to Ecuador.
The park is the natural meeting points of the Northern Andes, Southern Andes, Amazonian, and Pacific ecosystems, making it an incredible region for endemic animal species. Birdwatchers to the area may stop off in Loja as the city is low on international tourism. If you want to birdwatch off the beaten path, then this should be your destination.
Podocarpus National Park contains 40% of the recorded birds in all of Ecuador. It is recommended to hire an agency or birdwatch with a park guide as some of the species within Podocarpus National Park can be elusive. Some of the bird species you can locate in Podocarpus National Park include the White-throated Hawk, Unicolored Tapaculo, and the Masked Flowerpiercer.
3. Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands are an Ecuadorian province rich in animal and plant species. The islands are located in the Pacific Ocean just off of the Ecuadorian coast and nature lovers visit the islands throughout the year. The Galapagos Islands are a popular destination for visitors seeking warm climates and unique animals to view.
Due to bird species flying to the Galapagos Islands over the centuries, there are some that have become endemic to the region. Finches and mockingbirds are common species. You can also find Short-eared Owls, the Galapagos Hawk, and the Smooth-billed Ani on the islands. All of those are “land birds” but there are plenty of “sea birds” to go along with them in the region. Blue-footed Booby, Greater Flamingo, and the Frigatedbird species are also located on the islands.
The most interesting bird species to see are the subtropical penguins that live on the Galapagos Islands. Visitors also come to see the Darwin Finches which there are 13 species living on the islands.
Due to the incredible ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands and sheer beauty of the region, eco-tourism has become a major part of the area. If you visit Ecuador, you simply cannot miss the Galapagos Islands.
Mindo is a village situated in the northern Andes. The area, also known as the Mindo Valley, is home to more than 500 bird species. Birdwatching is an early morning activity in the area as most of the species are active when the sun first rises.
The area is home to several reserves where the best birdwatching occurs. Many of the reserves in the Mindo Valley are privately owned and it does cost money to get inside. But these are still worth your time and money to see the unique bird species of the Mindo region.
Along with reserves, Mindo is home to a number of birdwatching guides that can take you to the best spots. One of the most popular bird species to spot in Mindo is the Andean Cock-of-the-rock. These birds may not be so hard to spot as they are ready to strut their stuff at any time during the day.
Other bird species to keep an eye out for in the Mindo Valley are Choco Toucan, Bronzed-wing Parrot, and the Long-tailed Sylph. In all, Mindo is an extraordinary birdwatching destination thanks to the various bird reserves to explore.
Ecuador is a beautiful country with diverse ecosystems ready to be explored. Thanks to these ecosystems, there are hundreds of bird species waiting to be discovered on a trip to the South American paradise.
We are avid bird-watchers who recently retired, allowing us more time to travel the world. Fortunately, we have managed to visit numerous countries around Europe, Asia, and America. Watching and photographing birds has been a passion for many years and we are making the most of the extra time on our hands!