Yanacocha Reserve

Yanacocha, is located on the northwest flank of Volcán Pichincha at ca. 3200-3400 m above sea level on the northwestern flank of the volcano remained one of the more reliable remaining locations for the Critically Endangered hummingbird, the Black-breasted Puffleg (Eriocnemis nigrivestis), who has a tiny world range centered on and near Volcán Pichincha, the volcano that towers over Ecuador’s capital city, Quito.

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  • Duration: 7 hrs
  • Available Days: Every day
  • Schedule: 4:30 AM
  • Inquire for Transportation
  • Mobile Ticket Included
  • Offered in English, Spanish

Experience Highlights

Bird Watching

This trip takes place along the first 40 miles of the pioneer birding project Ecoroute called “El paseo del quinde” (The hummingbird promenade). It consists basically on an old secondary road that joins extremely good birding areas and reserves like Yanacocha Reserve, Tandayapa pass, and Bellavista Reserve which are famous for the endemism level and the great diversity of hummingbirds (over 40 possible species). Yanacocha: Leave Quito early to Yanacocha Reserve, birding there for 3 to 4 hours.

In 2005 the puffleg was adopted as the ‘emblematic bird of Quito’ and the reserve declared as a ‘natural patrimonio’ of the city. This forest has provided water for Quito since pre-Columbian times, and today it remains an important source of water to northern Quito and the town of Nono. On the way raptors are regularly seen, and watch for the scarce Curve-billed Tinamou in the pastures – being along a main trail that actually is on top of the aqueduct and therefore is essentially level (a rarity this high in the Andes!). This trail extends for more than two kilometres, with flocks of birds being regularly encountered. Visitors can obtain point-blank views of the extraordinary Sword-billed Hummingbird, Great Saphirewing, Sapphire-vented and Golden-breasted, a couple species of flowerpiercers (e.g., Glossy and Masked). Unfortunately the sought-after Black-breasted Puffleg is not seen regularly, and researchers are continuing to try to figure out why. The Andean flora which provides normal provisioning (nectar) for the hummingbirds is very evident along the trail, with genera such as Bomarea, Centropogon, Fuchsia, Macleania, and Palicouria being especially prominent. Giant Gunnera plants with their huge but prickly leaves are very obvious beside the trail.

What to Bring

Camera, repelent, rain coat and water bottle.

What's included

Native bird guide, breakfast and transport.


Many of our tours and activities offer transportation pick up & drop off options from several locations and destinations. Options vary by tour, see “More Time and Rates” for full details.

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