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Colombia: Crown Jewel of the Bird Continent
From Monday, October 01, 2018
To Sunday, October 21, 2018
Collared Trogon. Photo by Rick Taylor. Copyright <strong><strong>Borderland Tours</strong></strong>. All rights reserved.

Sampling almost every major habitat occurring in Colombia, this trip serves up a gourmet’s delight in colorful and endemic birds—and in generous portions! It’s widely known that Colombia hosts the world’s richest avifauna in an area covering less than one percent of the earth’s surface. Aside from a staggering 70 endemic species of birds, more than 1800 additional species are known from an area smaller than Alaska. Our tour of Colombia will be unique. Essentially describing three loops, one in the highlands around the capital, Bogotá, one in the tropical lowlands of the Magdalena Valley, and one along the Caribbean coast and in the Sierra Santa Marta, we will transect a kaleidoscope of bird communities. But, unlike any other commercial birding tour that surveys this much of Colombia, there are simply no frustrating all-day-long drives on winding highways where delays, detours, and truck traffic are the norm. We will fly. Beginning with Flame-winged (Brown-breasted) Parakeets and possible Ocellated Tapaculo in Chingaza National Park, up to 20 species of hummingbirds at private feeders, and the highly localized Bogotá Rail in Parque La Florida, along with other birds such as Subtropical Doradito, Apolinar’s Wren, and Rosy Thrush-Tanager, our first loop in the immediate precincts of Bogotá will only whet our appetites. Next we will criss-cross the upper Magdalena Valley, visiting a series of nature preserves that between them are home to more than 500 species of birds. Among the available Magdalena Valley delicacies are endemic Tolima Dove, Blossomcrown, White-mantled Barbet, Beautiful Woodpecker, Yellow-headed Manakin, and the near endemic Northern Screamer. We may also have the opportunity to savor Pheasant Cuckoo, Tody Motmot, and Oilbird. A short flight to Santa Marta on the Caribbean saves us an aggregate of three travel days. Soaring above are the 19,000’ high, snow-clad summits of the world’s tallest coastal mountain range. Isolated by hundreds of miles from the Andes, the Sierra Santa Marta is globally recognized as a center of endemism. Hence there are birds with names like Santa Marta Parakeet, Santa Marta Screech-Owl, Santa Marta Metaltail, Santa Marta Antpitta, Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner, Santa Marta Bush-Tyrant, Santa Marta Warbler, Santa Marta Mountain-Tanager, and Santa Marta Brush-Finch—among others. The Antpitta and Brush-Finch are actually common on the grounds of our mile-high lodge, where temperatures are perfect for both birding and sleeping. Three nights are planned for this comfortable and birdy location. While visiting the Caribbean we will also wander to Los Flamencos National Park and the adjacent desert. Los Flamencos is dedicated to conserving a population of American Flamingos, but among other birds we hope to see here are Scarlet Ibis and gems of the cactus forest like Vermilion Cardinal. No nation on earth harbors as many birds as Colombia. On this tour you will learn why.

Leaders: Luis Uruena & John Yerger

Cost of Colombia includes all accommodations, all meals, and all internal air and ground transportation beginning in Bogotá and ending in Barranquilla—$7795.  

Photo:  Collared Trogon
Photo by:  Rick Taylor