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Central Andes

Red-hooded Tanager
Grass-green Tanager
Andean Pygmy Owl
Chestnut-naped Anpitta
Speckled Hummingbird

This region offers a wide array of natural reserves and birding spots covering its rich and highly biodiverse ecosystems from those in the foothills going up to montane and highland forest to the Paramos; the birdwatching options are mainly centered on Medellín city surroundings, north of Central Andes in Antioquia department and the coffee region: Manizales, Pereira plus Ibagué area.



Medellín city

World capital of birds 

Since some years ago the city has been undergoing an important social, educational, architectonic and touristic transformation which has helped to hold many international events, therefore we are considered the most innovative city of the world in 2013. 

Birdwatching in Medellín city area is very easy, funny and worthy; holding safe and easy birding access to some spots in the city itself and its surroundings, it has a pool of birding possibilities, many endemic and near endemic birds are possible to enjoy here without taking long drives; and also a strategic starting point for birdwatching around Colombia regions.

The city has a variety of options for organizing your birding staying here according to your expectations; trusty and easygoing guides, excellent hotels and transportation, delicious food ; warming people and nice weather are here to make you feel better than home.


Some destinations here are:


La Romera reserve: At just 30min from the city, we have the unlike opportunity to enjoy flocks of the sociable Red bellied Grackle (E), Stiles’s Tapaculo (E), the beauty Yellow-headed Manakin (NE), and many classic birds from montane forest.


Santa Fé de Antioquia: A beauty colonial town located in the inter Andean valley of Cauca river, here is the habitat of the recently describe Antioquia’s wren (E), we can also spot others endemic species as: Apical Flycatcher, Grayish Piculet and many more species from dry tropical forest, plus nice aquatic birds at the wetland of La Bramadora.




From Medellín city, we can begin a great birding tour through different Colombia regions


Northern of Central Andes:


Birding in the tip of the Central Andes, where lowland birds ranges into cloud forest !


This zone of central Andes shows forest between 1300-1800 ml, presenting important bird affinities from Chocó-Nechí-Magdalena foothills, which has resulted in new species found in last years and probably others to come.


Piha reserve: This place has a comfortable lodge, a relaxing walking through its trails we can find the endemic and very restricted chestnut capped Piha; some endemics: Stile’s Tapaculo, Parker’s Antbird, Multicolored Tanager, Red-bellied Grackle, Black-and-gold Tanager, Chestnut Wood-Quail and White-mantled Barbet, plus the near endemics: Purplish-mantled Tanager, Indigo Flowerpiercer, Sooty-headed Wren. More specialties: Golden-breasted Fruiteater, Rufous-rumped Antwren, Lanceolated Monklet, Moustached Puffbird, Ornate Hawk Eagle and many other excellent birds.

Manizales city outskirts

Rio Blanco Nature Reserve

Close-up Antpittas and hummingbirds encounter ! 

Imagine yourself feeding some Antpittas, looking for some shy and mysterious Tapaculos, staring in a rare Saltator, walking around and suddenly a dense folk appears loaded with: Tanagers, Treerunners,  Contigas…, yes, it what happens in this highland reverse (2200-3500 asl) which is an IBA (Important Area For Birds) and Hydrographic and Forest Reserve.

Some encounters we will have: the near threatened (NT) Masked Saltator, Golden-fronted Whitestart (NE), long tail sylph, Buff-winged Starfrontled, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Capped Conebill, Plushcap, Black-chested and Buff-breasted Mountain Tanagers, Green-grass Tanager, Dusky Piha, Black-collared Jay, Flammulated Treehunter, Grey-breasted (NT) and Black-billed Mountain Toucan; with lucky Rusty-faced Parrot, Golden-plumed Parakeet.

The reserve offers some very accesible Antpitta feeders where we have a great chance to spot: Brown-banded(E), bicolored(NE), Chestnut-crowned, Chestnut-naped and Slate-crowned Antpittas


Recinto Del Pensamiento: Orchids and Hummingbirds all around.


Páramo Del Ruiz: This National park offers us Montane forest and Páramo between 3200-4000 masl, great views of the Ruiz peak with permanent snow and very special birds fluttering around tree line. In the ecotone: Let's try the Rufous fronted Parakeets, Purple-backed Thorbill, Scarlet-bellied Tanager, Black-backed Bush-tanager, Red crested Cotinga, Green-grass and Buff-brested Tanagers, Black-eared Hemispingus, Plushcap plus many more species.


One of the of key species of this area is the amazing Bearded Helmetcrest (NE), a hummingbird you will never forget! Rufous-fronted Paraket is a bird more elusive but a great one of this area; more: Tawny Antpitta, Stout-billed Sinclodes, Andean Tit-Spinetail, White-chinned Thistletail, Plumbeus Sierra-Finch are another particular species of this important ecosystem. And in the sky: the majestic Andean Condor.



Pereira city outskirts


Otún Quimbaya: This lovely Sanctuary of flora and fauna (IBA) protecting Andean cloud forest, is well recognized for its biological richness. It holds some range restricted species just next to the accommodations as is the case of Cauca Guan(E) whom populations are very low in its range. Once you take a relaxing walking from reserve’s entrance to El Cedral area it promises to find: The spectacular and shy Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Chestnut Wood-quail (E), Multicoloured Tanager(E), Stiles’s Tapaculo(E), Crested Ant-tanager(E), Bar-crested Ant shrike(NE), Wattled Guan, Black-winged Saltator, Metallic-winged Tanager, Variegated Bristle-Tyrant, Green-fronted Lancebill, Rusty-winged Barbtail, Streak-capped Treehunter, Bronze-winged Parrot and so many species. Giving a view at the immaculate Ucumary river, we will meet the gracious Torrent Duck.


Ibague city outskirts


The experience here is around secondary growth and bamboo between 1400-2700 m. we have the opportunity to find the endemics: The (VU) Blossomcrown, the endangered (EN)Tolima Dove and Yellow-headed Brush Finch, the (NT) Masked Saltator. Plus Black-billed MountainToucan, Rufous-crested Tanager and many more species.

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