Eastern Colombia – Where the Llanos Meets the Amazon.
Tour length: 12 days
This exciting new tour takes in the east Andean foothills, the best of the Llanos and the fringes of the Colombian Amazon. Diversity will be impressive as we take in habitats from high Andean temperate forest at 2500m to lowland Llanos floodplains and Amazonian Varzea forests at 400m. Add in open Savannah and foothill forest and you have the recipe for the perfect tour.
Day 1. ARRIVE BOGOTA. – Overnight stay in Hotel Bogota.
Day 2. MONTEREDONDO- Overnight stay in Villacincencio
We will have an early start and head to the highland forests of Monteredondo. Here we will target mixed flocks, which can hold many highland species including Black-collared Jay, Northern Mountain Cacique, Grass-green Tanager and Sulphur-bellied Tyrannulet. The endemic Cundinamarca Antpitta is present but is extremely hard to see – we may however come across a group of the endemic Brown-breasted Parakeet, while Black-and-chestnut Eagle and Rufous Antpitta are also possible.
In the afternoon we will drop down to Villacincencio at the base of the Eastern Andes.
Day 3. VILLAVICENCIO TO SANTA MARIA – Overnight stay in Santa Maria
We will spend the morning birding in forest near Villavicencio where we hope to find Red-stained Woodpecker, Yellow-billed Nunbird, Double-toothed Kite and Amazonian Motmot. In the late morning we will begin the long drive to Santa Maria in the foothills of the Andes. We hope to arrive at Santa Maria in the late afternoon and will have a little time for birding in the environs of the town.
Day 4. SANTA MARIA – Overnight stay in Santa Maria.
We will spend the morning birding in the subtropical forest above Santa Maria. We have an outside chance of the rare Spot-winged Parrotlet while other species we may find include White-browed Antbird, Inca Jay, Western Woodhaunter and Red-headed Barbet.
In the afternoon we will bird some of the more open habitat near the town where we will look for commoner species such as Magpie Tanager, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker and Turquoise Jay.
Day 5. SANTA MARIA – Overnight stay in Santa Maria.
We will spend a second day in the forest hoping to find Bar-crested Antshrike. Rufous-winged Antwren, Speckled Chachalaca and both Rufous-and-white and Rufous-breasted Wren’s.
In the afternoon we will visit a Cock-of-the-Rock lek and check the mountain streams for Fasciated Tiger-heron.
Day 6. SANTA MARIA TO PUERTO GAITAN – Overnight stay in Puerto Gaitán.
We will spend the early morning in some lowland habitat where we may find Dusky Spinetail, Rufous-fronted Thornbird, Gilded Barbet and Chestnut-eared Aracari – we will then make a long drive out into the Llanos where we will spend the night.
Day 7. Llanos – Overnight stay in Mururito Lodge.
We will head to a private reserve in the Llanos making many birding stops on the way. Species we may encounter include Jabiru. Sharp-tailed Ibis and Burrowing Owl.
Day 8. Llanos – Overnight stay in Villavicencio.
We will spend the morning at the Reserve where we hope for species such as Orinoco Goose, White-bearded Flycatcher, Pale-headed Jacamar and a host of commoner wetland species. In the afternoon we will return to Villavicencio.
Day 9. Villavicencio to Guaviare – Overnight stay in San Jose del Guaviare
We head out from Villavicencio for the 5 hour drive to San Jose del Guaviare. We will make a few birding stops on-route and hope to arrive at Guaviare in time for lunch.
In the afternoon we will bird near the town where we may find Horned Screamer, White-eared and Brown Jacamars and Scarlet-crowned Barbet.
Day 10. Guaviare – Overnight stay in San Jose del Guaviare
We will spend the morning birding near the town looking for Cream-coloured Woodpecker, Long-billed Woodcreeper, Solitary Cacique and Large-billed Tern. We will return to the Hotel for lunch and a siesta and may visit some more open areas in the afternoon.
Day 11. Guaviare Overnight stay in San Jose del Guaviare.
We will head out to savanna habitat where we may find Russet-crowned and Ashy-throated Crakes, Red-shouldered Tanager, Short-tailed Swift and Lesser Elaenia. We will also visit a Guianan Cock-of-the-rock Lek and the more energetic may be able to visit some petroglyphs. In the afternoon we will visit another site near the town.
Day 12. Guaviare to Bogota.
We will have a final day birding in the San Jose area and then will catch a flight back to Bogota.