Ecuador is one of the best places in the world to experience bird watching at its finest. Ecuador boasts of approximately 1,600 migrant and resident species of birds. In fact, Ecuador has a greater diversity of birds than India or China and almost double the amount of species of birds in the United States. For anyone interested in taking the opportunity to go bird watching in Ecuador, they can easily obtain bird guides to ensure a wonderful experience across the four main geographical regions of the Pacific coast and lowlands, Oriente, Sierra, and Galápagos Islands.
You can find many tours in Ecuador allowing you to participate in the extensive bird watching activities throughout the country. Although neighboring countries Colombia and Peru have more species of birds, Ecuador has the greatest diversity of birdlife in the smallest land size area (approximately the size of the state of Colorado encapsulates about one-sixth the world’s bird species). Having more birdlife in a smaller area is significant because it gives the bird watching explorer more opportunities to see more species of birds in a one to two week period.
Best Places for Bird Watching In Ecuador
When you are ready to get out there and start your bird watching adventure, a good place to start is Mindo. It’s considered a must do birding experience and one of the world’s birding hotspots. In terms of travel, Mindo is a simple day trip from Quito to one of the historic birding places called “cock-of-the-rock”, one of the very best places to watch hummingbirds. For the more serious birders, however, they will likely stay much longer than a typical day trip.
Also nearby are Tandayapa and Bellavista which offer much more specialized bird watching adventures with guides who lead walk excursions and show visitors all the different birds around all the hostels and hotels. For those people in your party not interested in birding, there a number of other various non-bird watching activities they can partake in.
The next location is Oriente, located in the Amazon rainforest. Oriente is packed with more birdlife than one can imagine, with species like macaws, quetzals, parrots and toucans. It is highly recommended to take a tour guide for this particular tour primarily for safety and to make sure you see all the birdlife the rainforest has to offer.
West of the mainland, there are the Galapagos Islands which can be reached via a 90-minute flight. The islands offer incredible birding opportunities, such as spotting the world famous Galapagos finches and the amazing number of the birds which literally fly right up and sit on the lens of your camera. For the serious birders, we recommend you pack your own binoculars and camera equipment because the selection on the island is limited and you may have a hard time finding high quality equipment.