The small South American country of Ecuador contains within its borders a patchwork of vastly different landscapes – from the craggy peaks of the Andean Mountains to the Amazon rainforest and the tropical shoreline.
As one of the world’s most ecologically diverse countries, Ecuador is also home to a wide range of colourful creatures. While 1,000 kilometres off the coast, the Galapagos Islands boast some incredible wildlife, the mainland’s cloud forest is a birdwatcher’s paradise.
Set in the heart of the Amazon cloud forest, Mashpi Reserve is subject to cooler temperatures with its higher elevation, and owes its lush appearance to the generous rain. It is a haven for birdlife, with over 500 species estimated to live there. Here are some of the birds to keep an eye (and ear) out for.
Amazingly, there have been 22 hummingbird species discovered in Mashpi. These tiny creatures are so special that the reserve has its own Hummingbird Observation shelter where you can spy the birds hovering in flight.
Black Solitaire (Entomodestes coracinus)
This bird has a jet black body with white patches on the side of its head. A solitary creature, it feeds on fruit and berries.
- Learn more about staying at the world famous Mashpi Lodge
- Read: New species discovered at Mashpi Lodge
Indigo Flowerpiercer (Diglossopis indigotica)
A small bird, the Indigo Flowerpiercer is characterised by its rich blue feathers, mixed with some black, as well as deep red eyes.
Pale-mandibled aracaris (Pteroglossus erythropygius)
Part of the aracari family, this bird has a long, orange and ivory beak with a black stripe along the side. It can be identified by its orange and red chest feathers with a black mark in the centre and another black line like a belt.
Toucan barbet (Semnornis ramphastinus)
This small, vibrant bird can have a variety colours, but is generally discernable by its pale beak, tipped with black, and blue, green, yellow and red plumage. It feeds on fruit, and is a cooperative breeder, meaning offspring are supported not only by their parents, but also other birds in the group.
Yellow-Green Bush Tanager (Chlorospingus flavovirens)
This compact bird unfortunately has a more vulnerable population due to habitat loss. Usually found in altitudes from 450-1200 metres, you can spot it with its olive-green, jewel-toned feathers.