#1 for every birdwatcher’s bucket list

Why do so many avid birders agree that Ecuador is the best spot in the Amazon for birdwatching? Thanks to the geographic positioning of the Andes Mountains, the Amazon Rainforest, and the Equator, a unique variety of habitats support more bird species here per square mile than anywhere else. The Tropical Andes and Amazon are known internationally as having the greatest documented bird richness world-wide, and there is no better place to see them in their natural surroundings than at the Yasuní Biosphere Reserve. A UNESCO designated park spanning the Napo River Basin, this is a bucket list destination you will want to return to time and time again!


There are at least 571 confirmed species of birds who thrive in the Yasuní National Park, of the 1600 species in the country at large. This is no surprise, as the forests here harbour peak global richness for many species of insects and plants among other things. The different layers of the canopy are like high-rise buildings in that they are home to different birds as well as many other creatures. Come spot individuals, pairs, fledglings learning to fly, and whole flocks of winged wonders.


One family of avian marvels is the Throchilidae, more commonly known as Hummingbirds, of which there are 132 species found in Ecuador. The Olive-spotted Hummingbird (leucippus chlorocerus) is regionally endemic to Yasuni as it is not found anywhere else. These tiny creatures, weighing only a few grams, flit from flower to flower to extract nectar and are important pollenizers. They are masters of camouflage so be sure to survey your surroundings thoroughly!


This is not the only species of bird endemic to Ecuador. There are another 18 species of birds found only here, and 7 more that are considered “Vulnerable” or “Near Threatened” according to the IUCN Red List. The Harpy Eagle is the largest and most formidable, sporting talons measuring over 13 cm long which it uses to catch prey like Sloths and Monkeys. The divided crest on the crown of its head creates two distinct tufts. This distinguishing feature acts as an acoustic funnel which allows the Harpy Eagle to efficiently track its quarry. It is one of the most emblematic predators of the skies.


In contrast, the stunning Masked Tanager (Tangara nigrocincta) has been spotted foraging for fruit at observation towers within Yasuní National Park. With so many different variations in colour, Tanagers (Thraupidae) are arguably one of the most colourful families of birds. These neotropic songbirds are sought-after by naturalists and photographers because of their striking plumage. With a lush backdrop of rainforest canopy, images of these individuals are like vivid portraits.


Ecotourism like this is not only enjoyable for nature enthusiasts, but promotes the protection of these and other species in a responsible way. By helping to preserve the natural habitats of these creatures we ensure future generations can appreciate these priceless marvels. Ecuador’s rich biodiversity provides extraordinary opportunities for bird watchers from around the globe, making this the number one destination for your bucket list. Come to Yasuní National Park and see how many unique specimens you can discover!


Diego Escobar is Marketing Director at Napo Wildlife Center. Napo Wildlife Center is an eco-lodge offering unforgettable experiences in the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador, inside Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, which is managed by the Añangu kichwa aboriginal community.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Comments (4)

  1. Elizabeth J says:

    Birds are such beautiful creatures and wow with 571 species this is definitely the place for keen bird watchers. The camouflage bird is just fascinating I bet if you’re not looking carefully you could easily miss them. The colours of the masked tanager are so vibrant and beautiful. With all those different species I bet you can spend days just spotting new ones as well as discovering a few.

    • Miguel Andy says:

      Hello Elizabeth, thank you very much for your comments. Ecuador is actually a great place for bird lovers. Fortunately, there are major places that have been declared National Parks, where not only birds but many different species are protected. There, Yasuní is the crown jewel.

  2. Mary Passmore says:

    I’ve read before about the ecotourism in Ecuador and it’s heartening that efforts are being made to protect the nature and wildlife there. My father would love something like this, to go there to see the landscape and birds. I’d have to get him to learn how to use a digital camera properly before going though! It’s one example of when I think the more expensive, good quality cameras would be a worthwhile investment. You wouldn’t want to come away from there without amazing photos to capture the experience.

    • Miguel Andy says:

      It is actually true!, professional cameras help a lot to have good memories. Telescopes help a lot, specially if you are on a look out tower, for example. The variety and quantity of birds you get to see is just amazing. However, many people use their easy shot mobile’s camera, they get very good pictures too!!

Leave a comment

Your actual name, not your online persona, website name, company name or keywords, otherwise your comment won't be published

Please do not advertise and make sure your comment adds value, otherwise we regret that it won't be published. Comments such as "Nice post. Thanks for sharing." do NOT add value to the discussion! Homepage links (not deep links) are allowed in the 'Website' field only - if you would like to advertise, please contact us for details and we will be happy to help.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.

Our readers also enjoyed these posts…