The Blue-necked Tanager (Tangara cyanicollis) is a species of bird in the Thraupidae family. I’m not sure how it gets its name as the whole head is blue, not just the neck but they sure are beauties!
They have a pretty large range that encompasses a lot of prime reserves in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Brazil so I am not going to say that Podocarpus (where I saw them) is the BEST place, but it’s a good option!
LEARN MORE ABOUT BLUE-NECKED TANAGERS
This is a fantastic mini-doco of a Blue-necked Tanager family raising chicks. There is one sad event but nothing graphic is shown and there is a happy ending!
The Green Jay (Cyanocorax yncas) is a bird species of the New World jays, and is found in both North and South America. The taxonomy is a bit confusing. They are usually lumped with Inca Jay (C. yncas yncas) of South America. Adding to the confusion in classification, the Green Jay is then used as the species name, even though the Inca Jay is the nominate subspecies.
They have a large range extending from the southern tip of Texas down to Bolivia. Depending on which source you read, the Inca Jay subspecies is the South American range. I saw them in southern Ecuador in the Podocarpus National Park near Zamora and further north at Wildsumaco and Cabanas San Isidro.
LEARN MORE ABOUT GREEN/INCA JAYS
Wikipedia Green Jay
Wikipedia Inca Jay
An Inca Jay with something to say.
And here’s a Green Jay with a song of his own!
The White-breasted Parakeet (Pyrrhura albipectus) or White-necked Parakeet, is an exquisite species of parrot in the Psittacidae family. They live in montane tropical forests in southern Ecuador and extreme northern Peru and normally stay within a flock between four and 20 parakeets.
They have a limited range in southern Ecuador and northern Peru. The most reliable place to see them is the Podocarpus National Park near Zamora and Copalinga Lodge nearby where they sometimes visit the garden.
I love seeing the local taxi drivers embracing their native bird in their logo!
LEARN MORE ABOUT WHITE-NECKED (WHITE-BREASTED) PARAKEETS
World Parrot Trust
I couldn’t find any videos of this beautiful little parrot that can be embedded but there are a few clips on IBC.
Whenever we visit the Americas, hummingbirds are always a highlight. They dazzle us with their beauty and brilliance and I could spend hours sitting on lodge verandahs watching them dart to and fro. A world without hummingbirds would be sad indeed. The American Bird Conservancy is trying to save their habitat so any help you can give would be appreciated. And remember that hummingbirds share their habitat with many other birds and mammals so save one, you save them all!
For now, enjoy this compilation clip of some of the most beautiful hummingbirds in the world.
No, I am not talking about pet birds that have flown off, I am talking about entire species that haven’t been seen in the wild in many years.
ABC is mobilizing resources and partners to conduct searches for some of South America’s lost birds. We’re starting with three: the Tachira Antpitta, the Turquoise-throated Puffleg, and the Kinglet Calyptura.
It could be that these species still survive but are simply in locations not frequented by birders because of remote locations or difficult terrain.
I was recently in Ecuador but not in the area where the Turquoise-throated Puffleg was last seen around 70 years ago. They are quite beautiful, the drawing below comes from Wikipedia.
The search is on for these unseen species and several others. Occasionally bird species do resurface when researchers or even normal birders stumble upon them. Wouldn’t it be great to be the one who proves a species is still alive?
Copalinga is a real treat and I highly recommend it for bird-lovers and eco-tourists! It is surrounded by lush tropical gardens with hummingbird feeders in the bar and around the garden.
In the daylight, it is easy to see the entrance but arriving after dark as we did because of the mudslides enroute was another story! It wasn’t until the next day I could fully appreciate the beauty of the grounds.
The entrance leads to the restaurant/reception/bar area. Meals are available but must be booked in advance.
We had a beautiful little cabin with great views over the garden. It really breaks my heart that we had to cut our stay short so we couldn’t enjoy it more.
The room is a good size and quite comfortable with an ensuite bathroom.
The restaurant and bar.
Local artisans provide some really cool handicrafts for sale. I bought some earrings and keychains (which I convert to Christmas tree ornaments).
The bar serves both humans and hummingbirds! I’ll do a separate post just to focus on the many stunning hummingbirds.
You can book Copalinga via their website. Catherine, the extremely helpful owner can arrange anything you want in terms of transportation to/from airport, bus stations and Podocarpus. She can also organize a birding guide for a very reasonable price. In April 2016 it was $80 for a Spanish speaking local guide who knows the birds very well. You can also book an English speaking guide from Loja for a bit more plus his room and board. Copalinga is very concerned with minimizing their ecological footprint.
Catherine goes out of her way to look after her guests. I had booked for 2 nights with the intention of leaving early in the morning to Loja for the bus to Pinas. Because of the landslides, there was no way we would have made it in time so Catherine let us off the 2nd night so we could stay in Loja. I really hated to leave Copalinga as it is so nice there and I could have stayed hours just watching the hummingbirds but the alternative would have been about $170 for a combination of taxis to our next destination.