Depart early from Quito to the neighboring valley of Los Chillos, as you head to Píntag. This little village lies at the base of Antisana Ecological Reserve. Suddenly, the landscape changes with volcanic features of a colossal volcano that erupted as recently as 400 years ago (Antisanilla area). Enjoy lunch or a box lunch at Hacienda Antisana.
The Antisana Reserve includes Antisana Volcano, a spectacular high mountain (18,709 feet/5,704 meters above sea level), on the Eastern Andes. It is situated just east of the main ridge of the Andes -- hence with much snow and often enveloped by clouds. High Paramos or pampas around its base are relatively undisturbed and support a good number of Andeans Condors. Laguna Micacocha harbors a population of Silvery Grebes. Also look for Black-faced Ibis, Carunculated Caracara, Andean Lapwings, Variable Hawk, the Black-chested Buzzard Eagle, the tiny Ecuadorian Hillstar and Andean Gulls.
- Round trip land transportation and guide
Level of difficulty: moderate
Altitude: 2800 to 4000 meters (9800 - 12,120 feet above sea level)
Average Temperature Day: 8° to 20° C (46° to 68° F)
What to bring & wear
Your tour itinerary will have specific suggestions about what to bring. In general, bring the things you will need and leave unnecessary items at home. Casual attire is appropriate at all times on our birding tours. Wearing bright or light-colored clothing in the field is strongly discouraged. Waterproof or rubber boots that reach at least halfway to the knee are useful on many of our tours (check specific itineraries). All of our leaders carry a scope0. Bringing one of your own is optional. A water bottle, insect repellent, a hat, alarm clock, and snacks may also be useful.
A modern flexible winter clothing system should be used. Essential items are several fleece layers and a complete wind and waterproof shell, also a warm hat and gloves. Hiking boots or comfortable walking shoes. Sunblock (SPF 40). Camera (wide angle lens). Binoculars. Sunglasses.
Dress is casual or informal throughout the tour. Lightweight field clothing is the norm for most areas visited, with a sweater or jacket for extra warmth. We suggest dark field pants and shirts for forest birding, and lightweight long-sleeved shirts that dry quickly (long sleeves are not essential, but offer additional protection from sun and biting insects). Please wear darker colors, not whites, and avoid startling patterns that frighten the birds. Also important are a hat and sunscreen for sun protection and a rain jacket, poncho, or umbrella. Good footwear is essential, and for this we strongly suggest sturdy mudboots or waterproof hiking boots. In any case, your footgear for the field should at the very least be rated “water-resistant,” as this is a damp climate. Even the dew on the roadside grass will get your feet wet!. At higher elevations the temperatures can be as low as the low 40s on occasion, and you should be prepared to layer for warmth with a warm, long-sleeved shirt, plus a warm jacket or sweater. You can shed layers as the day warms up (or add them as it cools down). Consider bringing gloves and a warm hat if you know that you chill easily. There is a strong likelihood that we will be out in at least some mist or light rain on the east-slope, so a waterproof jacket is needed.
Suggested reading material
Ridgely, Robert S., and Paul Greenfield. The Birds of Ecuador, Vol. II: Field Guide. Cornell University Press, 2001.
Hilty, Steven. Birds of Tropical America: a watcher’s introduction to behavior, breeding and diversity. University of Texas Press. 2005. A watcher’s introduction to behavior, breeding and diversity.
2004. Pearson, D. L. and L. Beletsky. Ecuador and its Galapagos: The Travellers' Wildlife Guide, 2nd edition. Interlink Press, Northampton, MA., 498 pp.
Birdwatching on the slopes of the Andean Ranges
Discover Ecuador’s amazing and unrivaled avifauna at our premier birding sites.
Discover Ecuador’s amazing and unrivaled avifauna at our premier birding sites. About the size of the United Kingdom or the State of Colorado in the U.S., Ecuador houses some 1600 species of birds --over half of the species in all of South America; Ecuador is home to the greatest bird diversity, like no other destination in the world.
Ecuador’s fascinating geography and unique landscapes, with easy and comfortable access to all areas, allows for bird watching in the montane and cloud forests surrounding the volcanoes in the high Andes, home to many endemic and stunning birds.
Exploring the Eastern or Western slopes of the Andes you will find different habitats and the greatest biodiversity known in our planet, guided by the most professional, highly experienced bird watching experts.
Departures are flexible, with carefully designed programs and excursions to provide maximum birding and nature experiences. Choose full day, one, two or more night excursions.