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


Llanos and E Andean slope (Guayabetal, Bavaria Forest, Puerto López Road, Merecure and Buena Vista)
Endemics on the Andean slopes and exceptional birds and mammals in the plains merge in this birding route.

The Colombian Llanos (Orinoquía) is a swath of vast savanna, extending from the eastern slope of the East Andes all the way to the Orinoco River, which marks the Venezuelan border. The Llanos have their own distinct flora and fauna, and are fascinating both for the birding and unique geography.


Along the drive from Bogotá to Villavicencio, the Llanos capital, our first stop is at Guayabetal. Taking a side road up the hill for an hour, we come upon a terrific spot where bird activity is vigorous and we normally find such endemics as Cundinamarca Antpitta, and Brown-breasted Parakeet, in addition to Black-and-chestnut Eagle, alongside the huge and active mixed flocks which are present throughout the day in this spot.


Once we reach the plains, the Villavicencio region offers many options for birding. If you prefer to keep your activities focused on the kind of Andean birds, the slopes of the cordillera near the city are great for a full birding day; Bavaria Forest is easily accessed and a load of birds that you are not going to find in the plains can be found here, including Little Cuckoo, Black-faced Antbird, and White-bearded, Wire-tailed, and Golden-headed Manakins. Next to Bavaria Forest is Ocarros, an informative and well-kept zoo park, where a short stroll around the grounds will add more flycatchers and warblers to your list while enjoying the anacondas, armadillos, otters, and other animals on high-quality display.


Heading east into the plains will take us to Puerto López, where along the road are many worthwhile stops to watch hundreds of Wood Storks, Roseate Spoonbills, Fulvous and White-faced Whistling-Ducks (as well as several species of egrets, ibises and herons) congregating in small ponds to dine on the plentiful fish. Horned Screamers can also be found here.


Merecure is a huge park reserve, just 40 Km of Villavicencio, which encompasses very good birding habitats. We find there Hoatzins, several ibises, Sunbittern and Great Potoo, and, adding to the bargain, Merecure also offers the possibility of naturally seeing Tapirs and Capybaras amongst much other Llanos fauna living in extensive open areas in semicaptivity.


Continuing to the east, we will reach the only little mountain in the area, Alto Menegua, where we can taste fresh mamona calf meat, deliciously prepared in the best llanero style, while observing the vastness of the Colombian Llanos. Of course, we will also spot many greats birds in this place such as Pied Lapwing, and the seemingly extraterrestrial Hoatzins and Screamers.


On the return trip to Bogotá, we can take the old road and visit Buena Vista peak, walk a very birdie ridge (Burnished-buff, Blue-necked, Speckled, Yellow-bellied and Turquoise Tanagers), and later have a seat in don Jairo’s house to sample the tasty coffee while snapping up-close photographs of the endemic Colombian Chachalacas that come to the banana feeders. The chachalacas will be joined by Gilded Barbets, Bare-eyed and Pale-breasted Thrushes, and Rufous-breasted Wrens, all of which are restricted to the eastern Colombia plains and Andean slopes. Gorgeous rock bird sculptures, made by don Jairo himself, to support his family, can be purchased.



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©2008-2010 COLOMBIA Birding. All pics and contents made by, owned, and copyrighted to, Diego Calderón-F. unless otherwise stated.