The sound of flapping wings and throaty warbles heard in forests, mangroves, mountains and plains are ample reward for ornithologists from all over the world who have found their dream destination in Colombia…

Colombia has 1910 bird species, according to the latest checklist following the South American Checklist Committee, which is more birds than any other country in the world and a number that is growing every year though new discoveries and range extensions.

Colombians are extremely hospitable towards foreigners and they will make certain that your impression of their beautiful country is something different to what is often presented in the international press. Unfortunately, facilities in many reserves and national parks are often rustic owing to the lack of ecotourism in recent decades. However, this is changing as exemplified by the luxury of the scenic El Dorado bird reserve in the endemic rich Santa Marta area, where 17 (at least) endemics can be found, many of them with little difficulty.

The Cerulean Warbler bird reserve in Santander is more interesting for the Gorgeted Wood-Quail, White-mantled Barbet and Black Inca. For lowland species in the Magdalena Valley the Paujíl reserve is recommended for the Blue-billed Curassow as well as less elusive species such as Sooty Ant-Tanager and Beautiful Woodpecker. For the more energetic birder the eponymous Dusky Starfrontlet and Chesnutcapped Piha bird reserves, or the spectacular Mirador reserve where Fuertes’s Parrot was rediscovered in 2002, all involve some good hiking or the use of horses. Many areas in the south of Colombia are still problematical, but the large Pangan bird reserve in Nariño contains many endemics such as Chocó Vireo as well as others such as Long-wattled Umbrellabird and Banded Ground-Cuckoo whose ranges straddle the border with Ecuador.

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