• Hooded Mountain-tanager Colombia Birding Trips

COLOMBIA: 21 Days Birding Photogrpahy - Central Andes

With 1958 bird species (89 endemics) Colombia hosts more species than any other country on the planet. With the vast and unique Chocó forests, three Andean Cordilleras, two inter-Andean valleys, the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, the lowland forests of the Amazon and the Orinoco regions, the isolated Santa Marta Mountains as well as deserts and lakes this is literally one of the most exciting countries to go birding in anywhere!

Our exciting photo tour will set you up for incredible photo opportunities including fantastic hummingbird multi-flash workshops. You will be photographing iconic species surrounded by the most exhilarating natural beauty imaginable.

This trip is an extension of the 14 day Central Andes trip but we have added more exciting destinations: San Cipriano, Yotoco Forest Reserve, Montezuma Rainforest, El Cedral and the Giles Fuertesi Reserve.

Itinerary and rates below next to gallery




Arrival in Cali City at Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport where you will be met by your guide in the arrivals hall. Transfer to the Hotel Hampton by Hilton.


We will start early with 1-hour and a half drive to Anchicaya Valley, This place is located in the Chocó Forest between 900-1400 m.a.s.l., it is characterized by being one of the most bio diverse forests in the world and with a high percentage of endemic species.

During the morning we will visit “Doña Dora” an iconic place with bananas and Hummingbird feeders, in this place we are going to take breakfast and hope to see Toucan Barbet, Silver-throated Tanager, Rufous-throated Tanager, Red-Headed Barbet, Tricolored Brushfinch, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Hummingbirds as White-whiskered Hermit, Violet-tailed Sylph, Green Thorntail, Purple-crowned Woodstar.

Later, we will drive towards the lower part of the Anchicacyá valley looking for other specialties that we might spot: the endemics Grayish Piculet (EN) and Crested-ant Tanager (EN), others as Glistening-green Tanager, Chestnut-breasted Wren, White-tipped Sicklebill, Purple-crowned Fairy, Double-toothed Kite, Swallow-tailed Kite, White-whiskered Puffbird, Bright-rumped Attila, Golden-collared Honeycreeper, Long-tailed Tyrant, Spot-crowned Barbet, Choco Toucan, Masked Tityra, Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis.


Today we are going to visit an area known as Km18, this area is famous because it has several places for bird watching and feeders in the cloud forest (1800-2200 m.a.s.l.)

Early In the morning, we will visit La Florida this private property has feeders that attract a great variety of tanagers and Hummingbirds. Some of the species that we will try to photograph are Saffron-crowned Tanager, Golden-naped Tanager, Black-capped Tanager, Golden Tanager, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, and the endemic Multicolored Tanager. Also, there is a blind where they feed the endemic Chestnut-Woodquail, some of the hummingbirds that we spect to see are Booted Racket-tail, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Buff-tailed Coronet, Brown Violetear, White-necked Jacobin.


Today we spend part of the morning enjoying the feeders at Araucana Ecolodge and trying for two endemic species Grayish Piculet and Apical Flycatcher. After breakfast we will drive 2 hours to San Cipriano Reserve.

San Cipriano is a natural reserve created to protect the drainage area that supplies the Buenaventura aqueduct. With more than 8000 ha, it is considered the fourth wettest and rainiest area in the world.

There, we will take typical transportation called “Brujita” A motorcycle that propels a wooden platform over the railroad tracks to go into the village that we are going to stay. After lunch, we are going to walk along the main road that is surrounded by the Rainforest; we hope to see Crested Guan, Scaled Pigeon, Band-tailed Barbthroat, Blue-chested Hummingbird, Semiplumbeous Hawk, Slaty-tailed Trogon, White-tailed Trogon, Rufous and Broad-billed Motmot, White-necked and Pied Puffbirds, Five-colored Barbet, Collared Aracari, White-bearded and Club-winged Manakins, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Black-cheeked Woodpecker.


Full-Day San Cipriano, today we will dedicate it entirely to trying to observe and photograph the largest number of birds of this incredible, some of our main targets are Blue Cotinga, Black-crowned Tityra, Russet-winged Schiffornis, Black-breasted Puffbird, Black-crowned Antshrike, Pacific Antwren, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Zeledon's Antbird, Ocellated Antbird, Black-tipped Cotinga, Black-chested Jay, Sooty-headed Wren, Bay Wren, Orange-crowned Euphonia, Orange-billed Sparrow, Russet-backed and Crested Oropendola, Dusky-faced Tanager, Tawny-crested Tanager, Gray-and-gold Tanager, Golden-hooded Tanager, Rufous-winged Tanager, Blue-whiskered Tanager, Swallow Tanager, Blue Dacnis, Purple Honeycreeper, Red-legged Honeycreeper, Scarlet-browed Tanager, Scarlet-and-white Tanager.


Part of the morning is spent looking for some birds that we have missed the day before. Then we will take a “Brujita” to return to the vehicle to drive 2-hours in search of our next destination: Yotoco Forest Reserve; one of the best-protected cloud forest patches on the eastern slope of the western mountain range; which has become an important refuge for various species of fauna and flora in Valle del Cauca. There, is possible to see the endemics: Colombian Chachalaca and Cauca Guan, other species as Moustached Puffbird, Southern Emerald-Toucanet, Bar-crested Antshrike, Plain Antvireo, Chestnut-crowned Gnateater. We will take our lunch at the Reserve.


Located just 10-minute from Buga, is Sonso Lagoon one of the most representative wetlands in the Cauca Valley, an ideal habitat for many species and a hotspot for birdwatchers. In this place we will search for Anhinga, Comb Duck, Black-bellied and Fulvous Whistling-ducks, Bare-faced Ibis and Buff-necked Ibis, Cocoi Heron, Great Egret, Black-necked Stilt, Jacana, Common Gallinule, Pied-billed and Least Grebe, Purple Gallinule, Oriole Blackbird, Yellow Oriole, Jet Antbird, Pale-breasted and Slaty Spinetail, Common Potoo, Tropical-Screech Owl, Horned Screamer. Lunch is at the hotel and after that, we will go to Parque de la Uva 1-hour 15-minutes driving.


We will take breakfast early with time to prepare for a 3-hours driving to Montezuma Rainforest. This reserve is located in the buffer zone of Tatamá National Natural Park, a stunning place considered one of the most diverse destinations and a hotspot for birds. Montezuma is home of many endemic species including Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer, Munchique Wood-wren, Black-and-gold Tanager, Gold-ringed Tanager, Tatamá Tapaculo, Dusky Starfrontlet. We will take the lunch at Montezuma while we enjoy the feeders around: Empress and Green-crowned Brilliant, Violet-tailed Sylph, Purple-throated Woodstar, Velvet-purple Coronet, Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Western emerald, Rufous-gaped Hillstar, Andean Emerald.


Our journey begins before dawn, we will drive up 1-hour and a half off-road to the highest part of the Montezuma ridge looking for the first endemics birds of the day: Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer, Munchique Wood-wren, and Gold-ringed Tanager. As we go down, we might spot Purplish-mantled Tanager, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Olivaceous Piha, Black-and-gold Tanager, Black Solitaire, Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia, Yellow-collared Chlorophonia, Tanager Finch, Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager, Ochre-breasted, and Yellow-breasted Antpitta, Yellow-vented Woodpecker, White-faced Nunbird, Lanceolated Monklet, Golden-winged Manakin, Buffy Tuftedcheek, Fulvous-dotted Treerunner. Our breakfast and lunch will be packed.


During this morning we will drive 4-hours and a half to the next destination: Cajamarca. There, we will spend part of the afternoon visiting the Cloud forest home of the tallest palm of the world: Quindio’s Wax Palm. This will be our first chance to see de near-endemic Yellow-eared Parrot.


Early in the morning, we will drive to the Giles Fuertesi Reserve. In this place, we have the opportunity to see the endemic Indigo-winged Parrot. Other specialties in the high Andes are Carunculated caracara, Gray-breasted Mountain-toucan, Red-crested Cotinga, Masked Trogon, Noble Snipe, Rufous-breasted Chat-tyrant, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Black-headed Hemispingus, Sedge Wren, Blue-winged Mountain-tanager, Hooded Mountain-tanager, White-tailed Hawk, Montane Woodcreeper. Lunch is at the hotel.

The afternoon is spent searching Yellow-eared Parrots if we missed the day before or visiting a local property with feeders. There, is possible to see hummingbirds as Andean emerald, Western emerald, the endemics: Indigo-capped Hummingbird and Tolima Blossomcrown.


After breakfast, we will drive 3-hours to Otún Quimbaya Sanctuary a protected area of 489 ha characterized by vegetation of humid forest and sub-Andean forest. There we will have good chances to see Cauca Guan, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Torrent Duck, Collared Trogon, Strong-billed Woodcreeper, Handsome Flycatcher, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Blue-necked Tanager, Black-capped Tanager, White-capped Dipper, Torrent Tyrannulet. Our lunch will be at the lodge in Otún Quimbaya.


Before dawn, we will drive 1-hour through the sanctuary to el Cedral; the end of the off-road in the highest part, here we have a chance to see Hooded Antipitta, Moustached Antpitta, Montane-foliage gleaner, Metallic-green Tanager, Beryl-spangled Tanager, Crested-ant Tanager. Lunch will be at the hotel. Then we will drive 2-hours to Manizales city.


On this day we will visit Río Blanco Reserve, a private reserve that works as a biological corridor that connects the Paramo ecosystem in Nevados National Park and its buffer zone; a wide variety of ecosystems that home many species. This place is considered a hotspot for birding in Colombia. Our first target will be the elusive and shy Bicoloured Antpitta, then we will walk into the paths searching other specialties as Blue-and-black Tanager, Masked Saltator, Southern-emerald Toucanet, Gray-hooded Bush-tanager, Black-eared, Black-capped, and Superciliaried Hemispingus, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Powerful Woodpecker, Cinnamon Flycatcher. Other antpittas that come to the feeders are Chestnut-crowned, Slate-crowned, and the endemic Brown-banded Antpittas.


Glamping Color de mi Reves is a nature private reserve located in the high cloud forest of the Central Andes. Here we will search the forest edges for some birds like Andean Guan, Scaly-naped Parrot, Streak-headed Antbird, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Green-and-black Fruiteater, Dusky Piha. They also feed some striking birds like Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Ocellated Tapaculo, Rufous Antpitta, Chestnut-naped Antpitta, Slate-crowned Antpitta, among other specialties.


Located in the high Andes, Hacienda el Bosque is a nature reserve that combines sustainable livestock with the conservation of biodiversity. The reserve houses a lot of amazing birds ranged in the high Andean forests and is one of the best places for bird photography in Colombia because offer good blinds and hummingbird feeders. Our targets are Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Barred Fruiteater, Andean Guan, Hooded Mountain-tanager; other jewels like Crescent-faced and Rufous Antpittas, hummingbirds as Sword-billed Hummingbird, Black-thighed Puffleg, Collared Inca, Tourmaline Sunangel, Viridian, and Tyrian Metaltails, Shining Sunbeam. Our breakfast and lunch will be at Hacienda el Bosque


This morning we will visit Nevados National Park, the highest part of our tour. Here, our main targets will be the endemics Buffy Helmetcrest and Rufous-fronted Parakeet, and other species like Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Many-striped Canastero, Andean-tit Spinetail, White-chinned Thistletail, Stout-billed Cinclodes, Plumbeous Sierra-finch, Paramo and Plain-colored Seedeater, Pale-naped Brushfinch, Tawny Antpitta, Brown-backed Chat-tyrant, Black-chested Buzzard-eagle and we hope to see Andean Condor. Lunch will be at Termales del Ruíz.


We will take breakfast early with time to prepare for  5 hours driving to Ciudad Jardín. Our activity will be in the afternoon visiting Cock-of-the-rock Lek Reserve, located 10 minutes walking from the Hotel. Here we can enjoy photographing this beautiful bird a few meters away, this is by far the best place to photograph this bird in the whole world.


Today we will spend the day around “Alto de Ventanas” a complex of public-private natural areas with high and cloud forest with small areas with wax-palms. In this place exist another well-established Yellow-eared Parrots population. During the morning we will visit a local place known as “Mirador El roble” here is possible to see the recently described “Chami Antpitta” before Rufous Antpitta, Chestnut-naped Antpitta, Green-and-black Fruiteater, Masked Flowerpiercer, White-sided Flowerpiercer, Slaty and Gray-browed Brushfinch, Chestnut-crested Cotinga, Purplish-mantled Tanager, Golden-crowned Tanager, Grass-green Tanager, Andean Motmot. As we descend attitudinally towards Jardín, there is a possibility of finding the endemic Red-bellied Grackle.


After breakfast we will drive 3 hours to Medellín, we are going to have a stop in Bolombolo looking for another endemic species: Antioquia Wren, and if we missed Apical Flycatcher days before we will have a chance to try in this location. Our lunch will be on the route.


Depending on your flight time today, and if you wish, we can go birding in a location near Medellin during the morning before your transport to Jose Maria Cordova International airport.


The best months to do bird photography in Colombia are Feb, May-July or October-December

Please inquire for rates

Included: Accommodation, all meals from day 2 and breakfast on day 14, transport, specialist photography guide and bird guide, equipment provided for multi-flash, activities mentioned, park and entrance fees, bird list, water in vehicle
Excluded: Flights, Travel and medical insurance, alcoholic beverages, tips