Birding in Paradise

March 18-31, 2018

Imagine lush cloud forests festooned with orchids, flocks of macaws flying overhead, and howler monkeys calling from the rainforest canopy. Do much more than imagine, and join us for an extraordinary 14 day eco-tour of Ecuador! Led by Chip Darmstadt, in conjunction with BirdEcuador, our group will experience the sights and sounds of the tropics. More than 1,500 bird species are found in Ecuador and our route from the highland paramo grasslands to lowland rainforest in the Amazon Basin will give us the opportunity to see hundreds of those species. We will be surrounded by life; sloths hanging in the canopy, a dazzling array of orchids, an unbelievable assortment of brilliant butterflies, and new birds wherever we go.

Highlights of the 2018 trip will include:

  • A visit to an Andean Cock-of-the-Rock lek at Angel de la Paz, where 3 species of secretive antpittas can also be seen.
  • A boat ride to parrot clay lick along the Napo River, where Blue-headed, Orange-winged and Yellow-crowned Parrots come to ingest clay.
  • 134 species of hummingbirds are found in Ecuador, and we’ll likely see several dozen of those – including Sword-billed Hummingbird and, my personal favorite, the Shining Sunbeam!
  • Three nights in the remote Sani Lodge in the Amazon Basin, accessible only by boat. Over 500 species of birds are found at Sani and we’ll have a chance of seeing a Harpy Eagle from the 100 foot high canopy tower.

Chip Darmstadt is the executive director of the North Branch Nature Center and an avid birder and naturalist. Chip has guided trips to Ecuador, Costa Rica and around the US. This will be Chip's third trip to Ecuador. We will also have an in-country guide for the entire trip.
Trip Price
$4,750 plus airfare. $540 single supplement. This price includes all meals and double occupancy accommodations in Ecuador, park admissions, all transportation in Ecuador (including an in-country flight), and experienced guides and leaders. The price does not include meals at airports and other incidentals.

Group Size and Conditions
10 participants, plus 2 guides and a driver. The pace of the trip will be moderate with regular, often muddy trail walking, sometimes at high elevation. Papallacta Pass is at 13,500 feet, but we will spend a limited amount of there. Weather will range from quite cool and wet to very hot and humid. Please call if you have accessibility concerns.

Places We Stay and Visit
Accommodations include beautiful eco-lodges and comfortable hotels. Except two nights in Quito, you’ll be constantly surrounded by nature at all of our accommodations.

  • Tandayapa Bird Lodge
    Located on the western slopes of the Andes, this comfortable lodge caters to birders and nature lovers. Over 30 species of hummingbirds have been recorded here and there’s even an outdoor hot tub! (eBird hotspot)

  • Guango Lodge
    A short distance below Papallacta Pass, Guango Lodge is situated in the temperate zone on the eastern slope of the Andes. Guango features great food, cozy lodging and Sword-billed Hummingbirds are regulars at their feeders! (eBird hotspot)

  • Cabanas San Isidro
    Still lower in elevation are Cabanas San Isidro, another paradise for nature lovers. A great trail system and interesting night birding opportunities will make our stay here another highlight. (eBird hotspot)

  • Sani Lodge
    A boat ride down the Napo River, a short hike and then a paddle across a lagoon will bring us to the remote Sani Lodge. I’m confident you’ll never forget your experience at Sani. (eBird hotspot)

Shining SunbreamOther destinations including:

Trip Itinerary
(subject to change)

  1. International arrival Quito. Transfer to hotel
  2. 7:00 am pick up and bird/drive to Tandayapa.
    Visit to Yanacocha on the way          
    Night Tandayapa Bird Lodge
  3. All day birding Tandayapa and its surroundings
    Night Tandayapa.      
  4. Early morning visit to Paz de las Aves, rest of the day birding the Milpe area.
    Night Tandayapa Bird Lodge
  5. Morning drive to Guango, birding on the way on the Papallacta Pass. Box lunch.
    Night Guango Lodge 
  6. All day birding at Guango. Night Guango Lodge    
  7. Morning at Guango, lunch, afternoon drive to San Isidro. Night San Isidro.           
  8. All day birding at San Isidro. Night San Isidro        
  9. All day birding Guacamayos Ridge and San Isidro trails. Night San Isidro
  10. Transfer to Coca and to lowland lodge.        
  11. Sani Lodge, 3 nights  
    Flight Coca-Quito      
    Transfer national airport/hotel
  12. (see 11)
  13. Night Hotel near airport         
  14. International transfer out

If you have any questions, please contact Chip at the North Branch Nature Center at 802-229-6206 or



Sign-up Today!

How to Register:

Call NBNC at 802-229-6206 or email Chip to sign up. A $500 deposit is due to reserve your space, and the balance will be due by January 18, 2018. Reserve your spot early, as we expect this trip to fill quickly! An additional 2.2% will be added to payments made by credit card or Paypal.

Cummulative Bird List - 389
(from teen conservation Ecuador trip, August 5-20, 2007)

Great Tinamou Wedge-billed Woodcreeper
Little Tinamou Amazonian Barred-Woodcreeper
Cinereous Tinamou Olive-backed Woodcreeper
Pale-browed Tinamou Streak-headed Woodcreeper
Undulated Tinamou Montane Woodcreeper
Waved Albatross Long-billed Woodcreeper
Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrel Azara’s Spinetail
Red-billed Tropicbird Rufous Spinetail
Blue-footed Booby Ruddy Spinetail
Masked Booby Red-faced Spinetail
Brown Pelican Pearled Treerunner
Neotropic Cormorant Spotted Barbtail
Magnificent Frigatebird Scaly-throated Foliage-Gleaner
Striated Heron Henna-hooded Foliage-Gleaner
Capped Heron Pacific Hornero
Least Bittern Streaked Tuftedcheek
Snowy Egret Striped Treehunter
Agami Heron Great Antshrike
Boat-Billed Heron Plain-winged Antshrike
Black-crowned Night Heron Dusty-throated Antshrike
Yellow –crowned Night-Heron Plain Antvireo
Cattle Egret Gray Antwren
Cocoi Heron Amazonian Streaked-Antwren
Great Egret Long-tailed Antbird
Rufescent Tiger-Heron White-backed Fire-Eye
Least Grebe Plumbeous Antbird
Andean Teal White-shouldered Antbird
Muscovy Duck Striated Antthrush
Andean Condor Black-faced Antthrush
King Vulture Rufous-breasted Antthrush
Greater Yellow-headed Vulture Moustached Antpitta
Turkey Vulture Chestnut-crowned Antpitta
Black Vulture Watkins’s Antpitta
Swallow-tailed Kite White-bellied Antpitta
Slender-billed Kite Tawny Antpitta
Double-toothed Kite Elegant Crescentchest
Plumbeous Kite Ocellated Tapaculo
Gray-backed Hawk Ash-colored Tapaculo
Plumbeous Hawk Equatorial Rufous-vented Tapaculo
Variable Hawk Spillmann’s Tapaculo
Roadside Hawk Ashy-headed Tyrannulet
White-rumped Hawk Sooty-headed Tyrannulet
Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet
Black-and-chestnut Eagle Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet
Barred Forest-Falcon Slender-footed Tyrannulet
Collared Forest-Falcon Streak-necked Flycatcher
Black Caracara Gray Elaenia
Yellow-headed Caracara White-crested Elaenia
Laughing Falcon Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatcher
Speckled Chachalaca Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher
Spix’s Guan Tawny-crowned Pygmy-Tyrant
Andean Guan Black-tailed Flycatcher
Common Piping-Guan Cinnamon Flycatcher
Wattled Guan White-throated Tyrannulet
Sickled-winged Guan White-tailed Tyrannulet
Dark-backed Wood-Quail White-banded Tyrannulet
Wattled Jacana Smoke-colored Pewee
Rufous-sided Crake Flavescent Flycatcher
Baird’s Sandpiper Vermilion Flycatcher
Spotted Sandpiper Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant
Yellow-billed Tern Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant
Large-billed Tern Black Phoebe
Black Skimmer Masked Water-Tyrant
Band-tailed Pigeon Drab Water-Tyrant
Plumbeous Pigeon Citron-bellied Attila
Pale-vented Pigeon Cinnamon Attila
White-throated Quail-Dove Dusky Piha
Ruddy Ground-Dove Pale-edged Flycatcher
Eared Dove Tropical Kingbird
Ecuadorian Ground-Dove Piratic Flycatcher
Croaking Ground-Dove Crowned Slaty Flycatcher
Gray-fronted Dove Baird’s Flycatcher
Blue-and-yellow Macaw Golden-crowned Flycatcher
Chestnut-fronted Macaw Boat-billed Flycatcher
Red-bellied Macaw Great Kiskadee
Pacific Parrotlet Lesser Kiskadee
Cobalt-winged Parakeet Social Flycatcher
Maroon-tailed Parakeet Gray-capped Flycatcher
Black-headed Parrot White-winged Flycatcher
Red-billed Parrot Black-tailed Tityra
White-capped Parrot Plum-throated Cotinga
Bronze-winged Parrot Green-and-black Fruiteater
Orange-winged Amazon White-browed Purpletuft
Yellow-crowned Amazon Purple-throated Fruitcrow
Mealy Amazon Andean Cock-of-the-Rock
Squirrel Cuckoo Bare-necked Fruitcrow
Greater Ani Dwarf Tyrant-Manakin
Smooth-billed Ani Brown-chested Martin
Groove-billed Ani Gray-breasted Martin
Striped Cuckoo Brown-bellied Swallow
Hoatzin Blue-and-white Swallow
Tropical Screech-Owl White-winged Swallow
Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl White-banded Swallow
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Southern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Owl Thrushlike Wren
Great Horned Owl Fasciated Wren
Black-and-white Owl Plain-tailed Wren
Mottled Owl Superciliated Wren 
Rufous-banded Owl Mountain Wren
Great Potoo White-breasted Wood-Wren
Common Potoo Gray-breasted Wood-Wren
Lyre-tailed Nightjar Southern Nightingale-Wren
Rufous-bellied Nighthawk Long-tailed Mockingbird
White-collared Swift Black-capped Donacobius
Chestnut-collared Swift Tropical Gnatcatcher
Short-tailed Swift Rufous-browed Peppershrike
Neotropical Palm-Swift Black-billed Peppershrike
White-whiskered Hermit Red-eyed Vireo
Tawny-bellied Hermit Brown-capped Vireo
Great-billed Hermit White-capped Dipper
Speckled Hummingbird Andean Solitaire
Green Thorntail Great Thrush
Booted Racket-Tail Black-billed Thrush
Purple-throated Woodstar Lawrence’s Thrush
White-bellied Woodstar Ecuadorian Thrush
Short-tailed Woodstar Tropical Parula
White-necked Jacobin Slate-throated Whitestart
Brown Violetear Spectacled Whitestart
Green Violetear Black-crested Warbler
Sparkling Violetear Citrine Warbler
 Fawn-breasted Brilliant Russet-crowned Warbler
Green-crowned Brilliant Gray-and-gold Warbler
Empress Brilliant Cinereous Conebill
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Blue-backed Conebill
Amazilia Hummingbird Capped Conebill
Andean Emerald Masked Flowerpiercer
Golden-tailed Sapphire Black Flowerpiercer
Green-crowned Woodnymph Rusty Flowerpiercer
Ecuadorian Hillstar White-sided Flowerpiercer
White-tailed Hilstar Green Honeycreeper
Shining Sunbeam Black-faced Dacnis
Sword-billed Hummingbird Yellow-bellied Dacnis
Bronzy Inca Orange-bellied Euphonia
Brown Inca Thick-billed Euphonia
Collared Inca White-lored Euphonia
Buff-winged Starfrontlet Blue-necked Tanager
Black-tailed Trainbearer Masked Tanager
Long-tailed Sylph Golden-hooded Tanager
Violet-tailed Sylph Turquoise Tanager
Buff-tailed Coronet Bay-headed Tanager
Chestnut-breasted Coronet Fawn-breasted Tanager
Velvet-purple Coronet Rufous-throated Tanager
Mountain Velvetbreast Golden Tanager
Glowing Puffleg Silver-throated Tanager
Viridian Metaltail Saffron-crowned Tanager
Tyrian Metaltail Flame-faced Tanager
Gorgeted Sunangel Golden-naped Tanager
Tourmaline Sunangel Beryl-spangled Tanager
Black-tailed Trogon Black-capped Tanager
Ecuadorian Trogon Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager
Amazonian White-tailed Trogon Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager
Western White-tailed Trogon Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager
Masked Trogon Hooded Mountain-Tanager
Lineated Woodpecker Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager
Crimson-crested Woodpecker Grass-green Tanager
Guayaquil Woodpecker Blue-gray Tanager
Red-necked Woodpecker Palm Tanager
Powerful Woodpecker Blue-capped Tanager
Crimson-mantled Woodpecker Blue-and-yellow Tanager
Chestnut Woodpecker Masked Crimson Tanager
Little Woodpecker Silver-beaked Tanager
Black-cheeked Woodpecker Lemon-rumped Tanager
Yellow-tufted Woodpecker Gray-headed Tanager
Ringed Kingfisher Magpie Tanager
Amazon Kingfisher White-lined Tanager
Green Kingfisher Common Bush-Tanager
Green–and-rufous Kingfisher Dusky Bush-Tanager
American Pygmy Kingfisher Gray-hooded Bush-Tanager
Blue-crowned Motmot Black-backed Bush-Tanager
Highland Motmot Superciliaried Hemispingus
Turquoise Jay Western Hemispingus
Beautiful Jay Buff-throated Saltator
Violaceous Jay Streaked Saltator
Inca Jay Red-capped Cardinal
White-chinned Jacamar Southern Yellow-Grosbeak
Purplish Jacamar Olivaceous Siskin
Scarlet-crowned Barbet Saffron Siskin
Gilded Barbet Band-tailed Seedeater
Red-headed Barbet Ash-breasted Sierra-Finch
Toucan Barbet Tricolored Brush-Finch
Black-fronted Nunbird White-winged Brush-Finch
White-faced Nunbird Slaty Brush-Finch
Crimson-rumped Toucanet Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch
Emerald Toucanet Stripe-headed Brush-Finch
Pale-mandibled Aracari Black-capped Sparrow
Many-banded Aracari Rufous-collared Sparrow
Ivory-billed Aracari Collared Warbling-Finch
Lettered Aracari House Sparrow
Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan Yellow-rumped Cacique
Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan Northern Mountain-Cacique
White-throated Toucan Russet-backed Oropendola
Channel-billed Toucan Yellow-tailed Oriole
Red-billed Scythebill Moriche Oriole
Plain-brown Woodcreeper Scrub Blackbird
Giant Cowbird

*Images are used with permission via creative commons license, originals can be found at: (1) (2) (3)



North Branch Nature Center
713 Elm Street, Montpelier VT 05602
(802) 229-6206

Open Monday - Friday, 9am to 4pm
Trails open every day
Directions to the Nature Center
Contact Us