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


Pacific Chocó lowlands (El Valle in Bahía Solano)
An exotic jungle dreamland filled with cotingas, manakins, antbirds and puffbirds, plus a neat “lost” endemic!

The Pacific Chocó is the most famous Biodiversity Hotspot in Colombia. This amazing lowland jungle region is not only one of the rainiest places in the world, but it’s also our favorite lowland birding area! You can fly to Bahía Solano airport from any Colombian city, and after a one-hour amusing trip via 4WD we arrive at the small town of El Valle, and then on to the exquisite Ecolodge El Almejal. Once settled in the pleasant lodge facilities, the birding options are vast, and at least three or four complete birding days should be spent in the area.


The trail connecting El Valle with Utría National Park is splendid for spotting the fascinating distinctive Chocó birds; possibilities include Great Curassow, Plumbeous Hawk, Dusky Pigeon, groups of Great Green Macaws, Choco Toucan, Northern Barred Woodcreeper, Black-headed Antthrush, and Streak-chested Antpitta, as well as some more widespread but still very cool species such as Brownish Flycatcher, Sirystes and at least five species of dancing manakins. You will for sure enjoy watching swarms of army ants being followed by crowds of antbirds and a variety of woodcreepers along the path. Best of all, for the true endemic seeker: we located a nesting colony of endemic, long-lost Baudo Oropendolas, which love to feed acrobatically right near the trail!


You can have another fascinating birding morning if you take advantage of the first light of the day and settle at the lodge tree platform that is easily and rapidly climbed, if you enjoy this kind of stuff, and offers you dazzling views of the canopy and the near shore. Rose-faced and Saffron-headed Parrots, Purple-crowned Fairy, Black-breasted and Pied Puffbirds, and loads of canopy tanagers (Blue-whiskered, Golden-hooded, Plain-colored, Rufous-winged, Summer, Lemon-browed, Tawny-crested, Scarlet-browed and Scarlet-and-white to name a few!) can be easily spotted right from the platform. The rest of the day can be spent wandering along the trails in the lodge reserve, becoming familiar with the dance of Red-capped and Blue-crowned Manakins at their leks, whilst a Berlepsch's Tinamou or a Slate-throated Gnatcatcher, both restricted to the Chocó, shows up right in front of your binoculars!


One more prosperous birding day can be spent walking along the road that connects El Valle and Bahía Solano, where you can spot and scope many more interesting and beautiful birds. Grey-chested Dove, White-necked Puffbird, White-fronted Nunbird, Crimson-bellied Woodpecker, Black-tipped and Blue Cotingas, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Scarlet-thighed and Blue Dacnis, and Fulvous-vented Euphonia will be among more than 120 species recorded in a single day! And, for the mammal lovers out there, we also have seen Neotropical Otters, Tairas, and Geoffroy’s Tamarins while birding this road.


While we do know Colombia is not the most prolific country to look for Harpy Eagles, if you are birding in this area, it might be worth spending time in the waters of the rivers Tundó, El Valle and Boroboro, near Utría National Park, getting away from the beach and the human settlements to an area where we have occasionally spotted this massive eagle cruising the skies above. These rivers also harbor many nice egrets, herons, cormorants, pelicans, kingfishers and other water-friendly avifauna, as well as the enthralling Sunbitterns.


You are going to love birding the Chocó lowlands while you lodge in El Almejal; their cuisine, cabins, natural pool, waves, turtle conservation programs, staff, and whale and dolphin watching will certainly steal your heart.






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