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Record-breaking birding tour in Colombia

Saturday 26 December 2009.

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42 Endemics,7 Antpittas, 8 Tapaculos: Record-breaking Colombian birding tour.

The first ProAves/EcoTurs “40 Endemic Bonanza Tour” that ran from 15th November – 1st December 2009 recorded no less than 42 Endemics in just 17 days birding in Colombia. That’s way over half of all Colombian endemics! This is the most successful birding tour seeking Colombian bird endemics over a two week period.

Lead by the experienced birding guides Trevor Ellery and Juan Carlos Luna the tour began with Flame-winged Parakeets in the high elevation températe forests near Bogota and finished with the recently split Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner in the El Dorado Bird Reserve in the Santa Marta mountains.

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“This was the most ambitious tour we’ve undertaken with the aim of 40 endemics with a money back guaranteed,” noted Trevor, “but we easily outstripped our expectations, scoring many incredible endemics with an outstanding new itinerary.”

EcoTurs Colombia, a for-profit venture by Fundación ProAves to raise funds to protect critical bird habitat, organized the tour that visited some of the most spectacular birding sites in Colombia and produce a mouthwatering list of endemic, near endemic or hard to find species. No less than two-thirds of the endemics were seen within ProAves Reserves! Plus 7 Antpitta and 8 Tapaculo species were recorded!

“We also made a special effortto see near endemic species or those that are potential future splits (especially in the SantaMartamountains) and this further added to the excitement of the tour.”said Trevor.

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All but one of the 17 Santa Marta mountain endemics were seen – all within the El Dorado Bird reserve, including the Santa Marta Screech Owl perched low by the side of the road, while two often difficult-to-see endemic hummingbirds, the Santa Marta Woodstar and White-tailed Starfrontlet, came to feeders at the El Dorado Bird Lodge.

This first “pilot” tour was so successful, EcoTurs will be running further tours in 2010 with Trevor Ellery guiding. Two of the tour participates, Betty and Elaine from the US and Belgium, both in their 70s, had a wonderful time and testified that while the tour was fast paced and involved the odd uphill walk it was more than manageable bybirders from any age group with reasonable fitness. You had best book fast if you want to join the next Endemic Bonanza Tour!!

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Endemics list

· Antioquia Bristle-tyrant — Mariquita

· Apolinar’s Wren — Parque La Florida (Bogotá)

· Beautiful Woodpecker — Mariquita

· Black-and-gold Tanager — Arrerito and Chocó (ProAves Reserve)

· Bogotá Rail — Parque La Florida, Bogotá

· Brown-rumped Tapaculos — El Dorado (ProAves Reserve)

· Brown-banded Antpitta — Rio Blanco

· Brown-breasted Parakeet — Chingaza (ProAves nestbox scheme)

· Cauca Guan — La Suiza

· Chestnut Capped Piha — Arrerito (ProAves Reserve)

· Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer — Colibri del Sol (ProAves Reserve)

· Colombian Chachalaca — Mariquita

· Dusky Starfrontlet — Colibri del Sol (ProAves Reserve)

· Fenwick’s Antpitta — Colibri del Sol (ProAves Reserve)

· Flame-rumped Tanager — Choco

· Gold-ringed Tanager — Choco (ProAves Reserve)

· Multicolored Tanager — La Suissa and Arrerito (ProAves Reserve)

· Munchique Wood-Wren — Choco

· Parkers Antbird — Arrerito (ProAves Reserve)

· Red-bellied Grackle — Jardin (ProAves Reserve)

· Rusty-headed Spinetail — El Dorado (ProAves Reserve

· Santa Marta Antpitta — El Dorado (ProAves Reserve)

· Santa Marta Brush-finch — El Dorado (ProAves Reserve)

· Santa Marta Bush-tyrant — El Dorado (ProAves Reserve)

· Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner — El Dorado (ProAves Reserve)

· Santa Marta Mountain-tanager — El Dorado (ProAves Reserve)

· Santa Marta Parakeet — El Dorado (ProAves Reserve)

· Santa Marta Screech-Owl — El Dorado (ProAves Reserve)

· Santa Marta Stripe-headed Brush-finch — El Dorado (ProAves Reserve)

· Santa Marta Tapaculo — El Dorado (ProAves Reserve)

· Santa Marta Warbler — El Dorado (ProAves Reserve)

· Santa Marta Woodstar — El Dorado (ProAves Reserve)

· Silvery-throated Sinetail — Parque La Florida Bogotá

· Sooty Ant-Tanager — Mariquita

· Tolima Dove — Libano

· Velvet Fronted Euphonia — Mariquita

· White Lored Warbler — El Dorado (ProAves Reserve)

· White-mantled Barbet — Mariquita

· White-tailed Starfrontlet — El Dorado (ProAves Reserve)

· Yellow Crowned Whiestart — El Dorado (ProAves Reserve)

· Yellow Eared Parrot — Jardín (ProAves Reserve)

· Yellow-Headed Brush Finch — Libano

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