Birding Areas
(more soon, stay tuned!)
Northern Central Andes
Core of the Central Andes
Eastern Andes
Western Andes of Antioquia
Pacific Chocó Lowlands
Mid Magdalena Valley
Llanos and E Andean slopes
Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta


About Us

COLOMBIA Birding was born from the love of birding throughout Colombia and exploring the outstanding natural habitats of this beautiful country. I have been exploring the rich avifauna of Colombia since 2000, inventorying species, recording bird sounds, and sharing the joy of watching hundreds of cool, rare, and endemic birds with friends as we added to our life lists.


At COLOMBIA Birding we have one simple goal: sharing that same joy and making all of our clients happy! I say simple because we are a small company, carefully operated by few people allowing us to offer totally customized birding trips for every client. We strive to customize the fine details of every aspect of the trip, so we prefer not to offer pre-arranged tours, but rather to tailor each one to our client’s specific requirements, wishes, and budget. We only need your desire to come birding even if you have never been to the Neotropics before, or know nothing about Colombia. You provide us with some basic information: how much time you will have; the areas in which you would like to bird; what kind of accommodation, food and transportation you prefer; and your specific target birds. We will then build several suggested itineraries and work with you to plan out the perfect trip; afterwards, the rest is easy: let’s go to the field for the birds mi amigo!


As noted above, I manage COLOMBIA Birding mostly by myself, which allows us to provide exceptional service for each individual client or group. Of course, I can’t do everything alone, but thankfully I am blessed to have priceless help from many knowledgeable friends and colleagues. This is our criollo Colombian staff at COLOMBIA Birding:


Diego Calderón-Franco (owner, manager, guide, driver, cook… anything else you might need? just let me know!)

I was born in Medellin in 1980, and graduated with a degree in Biology early in 2007. I have been birding since 2000, when I started university and began conducting expeditions and field work throughout Antioquia, serving as both a field assistant and main researcher in a variety of bird and mammal projects. As my passion for birding grew, I began to do my own projects and to record bird sounds, focusing on the Andes, where birding is active year round. I almost never spent a weekend in the city, trying to be in the field as often as possible! Eventually, after so much birding in the Andes, I began to explore the biological riches of other Colombian areas: the Caribbean coast, the Chocó lowlands of the Atlantic, the inter-Andean valleys, and then the verdant jungle of the Amazon basin, the vast plains of the Llanos, and finally the lowlands of the Pacific Chocó. I have seen between 900 to1000 bird species in Colombia, and roughly 1400-1500 in the entire world (I know, I know… I have not taken the time to do my lifelist… I’m working on that!). Besides Colombia, I have thoroughly birded in Ecuador, Venezuela, Honduras, Mexico and Ireland, plus a little bit in northern Peru and Brazil (on the border with Colombia), Chile, and the USA… and just a minute on the German-Polish border! I have been guiding my own COLOMBIA Birding tours, as well as tours for friends, since mid 2007. I am enjoying this stuff too much; I love to be with people in the field, show them the birds and make them smile, and explore more of this great country along with my clients. I belong to several birding and ornithological societies, and keep myself in the academic mood by continuing to research and publish, as well as being editor of the Boletín SAO ornithological journal. You can download a short, hybrid academic/birding CV of me here.

Pablo Flórez (guide)

Pablo is a Forest Engineer born in 1977 in Medellín. He has comprehensive experience leading expeditions and conducting conservation work in several Colombian regions. One of achievements includes the publication of the discovery of Yellow-eared Parrots in Antioquia in 2001. I think that Pablo and Juan David (see below) are very fortunate to have met each other when they were young; they decided long ago to start birding all over the country, and now they know more about Colombian localities and birding hotspots than anyone else. Pablo has also been birding in Ecuador and Venezuela, and is the coauthor of a forthcoming book about “where to go birding in Colombia” that our friend and colleague Jürgen Beckers is preparing.

José Castaño (local guide in the W Andes)

Jose was born in 1976 in Jardín, Antioquia, and he’s an absolutely superb naturalist. Jose and I attended Environmental Engineering studies together in the late 90’s before I started Biology. Fortunately, we both decided to give up and try other stuff that would eventually make us happier, and tie us together again. Jose is yet again carrying out his Biology studies, and he’s also engaged in several conservation and sustainable production projects in the Jardín municipality where he now lives. He has systematically researched, birded, and explored the Western Andes of Colombia, with a focus on searching for endangered Yellow-eared Parrots, and more recently for Dusky Starfrontlets. Jose, more than anyone else, knows exactly where these parrots are feeding, flying, and roosting every day of the year; just wait for him to put his hand to his ears and catch the parrots’ calls, then grab your binoculars and be ready for the action! Jose is also an orchid enthusiast, and will point them out frequently while you are birding with him.

Oswaldo Cortes (local guide in the E Andes)

Oswaldo was born in 1982 in Bogota, and just graduated with a degree in Biology. He has been steadfastly working on the conservation and research of the endangered Colombian endemics of the Eastern Andes. His special focus is in the region of Soatá municipality, where he has helped to jointly establish a reserve with the local community. Oswaldo is always avidly birding all over Colombia, that is, when he is not researching, recording bird sounds, preparing papers about birds’ rediscoveries, or attending scientific meetings (which he of course takes advantage of to do more birding, as he’s done in Brazil, the US, and South Africa). He will be applying to US universities soon to carry out graduate studies in the systematics and evolution of Neotropical birds.

Margarita Nieto (local guide in the C Andes)

Márgara was born in 1980 in Armenia, and graduated with a degree in Environmental Administration in 2005. She has lived in Manizales, Armenia, and Pereira, which are all major cities in the coffee-growing heart of Colombia. Márgara has been birding throughout the coffee-shade regions, montane and premontane forests, and beautiful páramos of the Central Andes. She has a tremendously valuable familiarity with the reserves and birding hotspots of the region, gained from her work on establishing wildlife corridors and conservation initiatives for the local fauna. Márgara is our “La Pesada” (see acknowledgments), beloved birding mate, and she never misses a good trip.

Juan David Ramirez (guide)

Juanda was born in 1977 in Medellin, and he’s now an Electric Engineer running his own business. He started birding many years ago with Pablo, and he knows Colombia like the back of his hand. Juanda hails from “La Pesada”, like Márgara, and never misses a weekend outing to explore the region, bird a little bit more, and digiscope some cool birds (check out his pics at Flickr). I have been birding with Juanda for several years, and we often make specific trips to target endemics and the like, during which I get to enjoy his zeal for birds and Colombia. Juanda is preparing a superb book about digiscoping and Colombian birds, so stay tuned and prepare to admire his first-class shots!

Andrea Morales (local guide in Bogota)

Andrea was born in 1977 in Bogotá, and finished her biology degree in 2001. Nowadays, she’s pursuing her masters, working on biogeography, distribution modeling, and the hybridization of endemic Flame-rumped and Lemon-rumped Tanagers. She has been watching and working with birds since 2002, and has traveled extensively in the northern Caribbean lowlands as well as the Bogotá plains region. Andrea is a must-have guide when we are looking for endemics in the Bogotá humedales and searching out rare species both inside and near the city.

Paulo Pulgarín (guide)

Paulo was born in Medellin in 1981 and graduated with a degree in Biology in 2006. He has been birding and researching since 2000, when we enrolled in biology together and began exploring the Central and Western Andean forests of Antioquia. Paulo has visited many Colombian regions on expeditions to isolated areas to find rare and endemic birds; he has also birded and worked extensively in the Peruvian Amazon, USA and Ireland. Paulo has been ornithology lecturer at Universidad de Antioquia since 2007 keeping a nice and interesting class with several young eager students; he also has done tons of museum/collections-related research in Universidad de Antioquia and is also editor of the Boletín SAO.


I wanted the COLOMBIA Birding logo to express diversity and uniqueness at the same time, so what better choice to accomplish it than bringing together six appealing Colombian birds that we include in our trips: the stunning endemic Multicolored Tanager from the Andes; the enigmatic endemic Baudó Oropendola from the Pacific; the charismatic, Andean near-endemic Yellow-eared Parrot; the beloved, near-endemic Bicolored Antpitta from the Andes; the gorgeous endemic White-mantled Barbet from the Magdalena Valley; and the well-known Andean endemic Red-bellied Grackle.


Colombia has been experiencing a very positive trend towards greater security; currently, it is safe to travel throughout most of the country. We are always extremely well-informed about the current status of every area before and during our trips. Thanks to all this new positive change, Colombia is becoming progressively more tourism-friendly country with each passing day, grabbing the attention of international travelers. Check out our client’s testimonials and some of these links:


I want to acknowledge our birding crew “La Pesada” from Antioquia; all my birding friends; guides and ornithology colleagues, who have shown me Colombian hotspots in the past and are currently birding together with us; and of course my family, who have supported me all these years while I have traveled and birded all over the place. To all COLOMBIA Birding clients - former, present and forthcoming- that keep us happily working and improving every day… GRACIAS! Thanks to Eitan Altman, Juliana Ortiz, Juan F. Díaz, Carlos Delgado, Paulo Pulgarín, and several others for sharing thoughts and comments to make this website better. My dear friend Danny and her company, Ponar Estudios, made this wonderful website. Juan D. Ramirez, Juliana Cardona, Luis G. Olarte, Oswaldo Cortés, Roberto Chavarro, Ben Freeman, Pablo Flórez, Eitan Altman, Jeff Harding, Rodrigo Gaviria, Lisa Deaton, and David Ocampo kindly allowed me to use their grand photographs.
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©2008-2010 COLOMBIA Birding. All pics and contents made by, owned, and copyrighted to, Diego Calderón-F. unless otherwise stated.