Birding At Tandayapa In Ecuador

Posted On December 1, 2009 

Common Info

Tandayapa Valley is in the northwest of Quito, the capital of Ecuador along the Nono-Mindo Road. It is located in the northeastern slope of Pichincha Volcano and is home to rich avifauna diversity. Its remarkable birding locations are tandayapa valleybased in the Choco Bio region. Tandayapa comprises forested part of the Andes and features some excellent lodging and bird guiding services.


Ecuador is a democratic republic located in the north-western South America and is bordered by Colombia in the north, Peru in south and east and Pacific Ocean in the west. Ecuador also includes the galapagos Islands in the Pacific. The country covers an area of 2,56,370 square kilometres. National capital is Quito.


Tandaypa valley is located at an altitude of 6,000-7,000 feet. The valley is easily accessible and is one of the most popular birding destinations in South America. The San Jorge Tandayapa Hummingbird Sanctuary is one of the foremost birdwatching sites in the world. The valley is dominated by humid cloud forest and has the highest diversity of epiphytes (thanks to its warm and humid climate) that are home to epiphytic orchids, tree ferns, moss covered trees. The valley features 9,000 plant. Heliconians are a major attraction of the valley.

Places of birdwatching

There are two major birding lodges in the valley, the Tandayapa Bird Lodge and the Bellavista Lodge that lodge the bellavista lodge ecuadorbirders and offer beautiful birding sites. Tandaypa Bird Lodge is located at lower elevations at offers the best birding opportunities.  Bellavista, on the other hand, is located at a higher altitude. Tandayapa Bird Lodge is the only lodge bin the world that has been set up by birders, owned by birders and also run by birders.

Birds seen at Tandayapa
  • Humming Birds
  • White-faced Nunbird
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Short-trailed Hawk
  • Barred Hawk
  • Wattled Guan
  • Barred-Forest Falcon
  • Red-faced parrot
  • White-tipped Dove
  • White-tipped Swift
  • Tawny-bellied Hermit
  • Violetear
  • Andean Emerald
  • Collared Inca
  • Toucan Barbet
  • Ringed KingfisherRinged Kingfisher
  • Golden-olive Woodpecker
  • Rusty-winged Barbtail
  • Scaled Fruiteater
  • Golden-winged Manakin
Sites of birdwatching in Tandayapa valley

There are a wide range of birding sites near Tandayapa Bird Lodge where great variety of  birds can be seen.

  • Upper Tandayapa Valley which is located just 25 minutes from the lodge and features upper subtropical forest. Grass-green Tanager, Green-and-black Fruiteater, Western Hemispingus, and sometimes the beautiful Plushcap can be spotted here.  Endemic species like the Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan and Toucan Barbet can also be spotted.  Three Hummingbird species like Collared Inca, Gorgeted Sunangel and Speckled Hummingbird can also be seen.
  • Yanachocha, a wet temperate forest, is located just one and a half hours travel away from Tandayapa Valley. It was set up mainly to protect the endemic Black-breasted Puffleg, one of the rarest hummingbirds in the world. Golden-breasted Pufflegs, Sapphire-vented Pufflegs, Great Sapphirewing and Buff-winged Starfrontlet are some of the other hummingbirds that can be spotted here.
  • Mindo, a place of subtropical forest and open areas is also located close to the Valley. One of the first places to be explored in the West Andean slope, Mindo is famous for the Orange-crowned Euphonia, Pacific Hornero and Ecuadorian Thrush species. White-necked Jacobins and Sunbitterns can also be spotted at times.
  • Paz de las Aves, a subtropical forest and just an hour’s travelling from valley is famous for the antpittas. Moustached, Yellow-Breasted and Giant Antpittas can be seen here besides other species like Scaled Fruiteater, Crimson-rumped Toucanet and Crested Quetzal.
  • Milpe Bird Sanctuary which is covered by foothill forest and open areas is famous for Moss-backed Tanager. One can also spot other tanager types like Ochre-breasted, Lemon-rumped, Rufous-throated, Glistening-green and the Grey-and-gold.  Chocó Toucans and Pale-mandibled Araçaris can be seen in the open areas.
  • Pululahua, calacali, Four Rivers and Rio Silanche are some of the other notable birdwatching sites close the valley.
Contacting Tandayapa Bird Lodge
  • Email: tandayapa _AT_ (replace the _AT_ with @)
    Tandayapa Bird Lodge
  • Telephone: US number: +1-409-515-0514, Ecuador land line and fax: +593-2-244-7520, Ecuador cell phone:+593-9-923-1314
  • Address: Calle El Condor Oe4-145 y Avenida Brasil, Primer Piso, Quito, Ecuador, South America
Bellavista Reserve

Bellavista Reserve is located in the cloud forests of northwestern Ecuador and is one of the most biodiverse areas in the world. The expanding reserve (2,000 acres) is characterised by deeply forested mountains which descend into gorges marked with waterfalls and streams. Bellavista is just two hours journey from Quito and presents diverse flora and fauna. Tanager-finch, Giant Antpitta, Plush-capped Finch, Beautiful Jay, White-faced Nunbird are some of the bird species found here. Among other fauna types Spectacled Bear, puma, Andean coati and tayra can also be seen at Bellavista.

Other fauna in Tandayapa valley

Various other mammals can also be found in tandayapa valley like:

  • Red-tailed Squirrel
  • Andean Coati
  • Tyra
  • Long-tailed Weasel
  • Bats like Vampire Bat, Thomas’ Broad-nosed Bat, Little-Yellow eared Bat
  • White-faced CapuchinWhite-faced Capuchin
  • Nine-banded Armadillo
  • Black Myotis
  • Puma
  • Rats like Mountane fish eating rat and Tome’s rice rat.

Besides the mammals, Tandayapa valley is also home to frogs, lizards and a few snakes. The place is however known for its butterfly and moth population. Flannel moths, hawk-moths, pyralid moths, geometrid moths are to name a few.

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