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.
- Duration: 7 hrs
- Available Days: Every day
- Schedule: 4:30 AM
- Inquire for Transportation
- Mobile Ticket Included
- Offered in English, Spanish
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.
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.
During this full-day tour, you'll explore the El Pahuma Orchid Reserve and the Mindo-Nambillo Cloud Forest Reserve. In Mindo, you'll visit waterfalls and a butterfly farm, and take a cable car over the forest.
10 hrsFrom $81
The tour starts at 5:30 am, from your hotel in the city of Quito, we go to the reserve of Yanacocha where we develop activities of bird watching and photography, as well as the eco-route Nono-Mindo, for this First part of the tour we took a packed lunch. In the afternoon, we are arriving at Tandayapa Bird Lodge where we visit the famous drinking fountains for hummingbirds, to later return to their Hotel.
11 hrsFrom $206
Our drive to Guango Lodge will initially lead us through the drier central valley before rising up steeply to the high and windswept paramo. Among the many bird possibilities, we will be particularly on the lookout for Andean Condor , Carunculated Caracara, Andean Gull, Black-tailed Trainbearer, Scrub & Blue-and-yellow Tanagers and Southern Yellow-Grosbeak. The Papallacta Pass by birders, is rich in paramo birdlife, and with the proper weather, you can expect to see some of the following: Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe, Ecuadorian Hillstar, Tawny Antpitta, Many-striped Canastero, White-chinned Thistletail, Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant, Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant, Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant, some interesting seedeaters, and even Giant Conebill. At at Guango Lodge will be devoted to birding the trails and spectacular hummingbird feeders. In a matter of minutes it isn’t uncommon to see Bar-bellied Woodpecker, White-banded Tyrannulet, Blue-backed Conebill, Black-capped and Black-eared Hemispingus, Slaty and Pale-naped Brush-Finch, Gray-hooded Bush-Tanager, several species of mountain-tanager and even Plushcap.
12 hrsFrom $500