Yellow-crowned Parrot (Amazona ochrocephala)

The Yellow-crowned Amazon or Yellow-crowned Parrot (Amazona ochrocephala), is a species of parrot, native to the tropical South America and Panama.  Subspecies include xantholaema, nattereri and panamensis.

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Sorry they are a bit blurry, I was trying to focus on them as part of a large group at the Napo clay lick.  They have quite a large range in in Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. I saw these guys at the large parrot clay lick near Napo Wildlife Center.  Also try looking for them at clay licks near Tambopata & Manu in Peru.




World Parrot Trust


Neotropical Birds


This wasn’t easy as there are hundreds of videos of these birds as pets but few in the wild.  This pair in swift flight is very typical of how quick you have to be to get a decent shot.

This is in an aviary but at least it’s a nice close-up!




Violaceous Jay (Cyanocorax violaceus)

The Violaceous Jay (Cyanocorax violaceus) is a species of bird in the family Corvidae, the crows and their allies.

DSCN2070a DSCN2071Since my blurry photo doesn’t do justice to this beautiful bird, here’s the wikipedia shot for reference.


They have quite a large range in in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. I saw this one at the Anangu Village near Napo Wildlife Center.





Neotropical Birds


This one looks nervous.

This one’s just hungry!


A Visit To The Anangu Community Near Napo Wildlife Center

One of the best things about the Napo Wildlife Center is that the whole project is run by the local community and all the profits are retained in the local area.  This is the best outcome for eco-tourism as it provides a good income for people who might otherwise be tempted by the wild bird trade.  The village where these people live is right near the parrot clay licks and we had a nice visit there for lunch and a quick visit around the village and the craft market.

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Restaurant where traditional food was served.  My husband had fish and I had the vegetarian option as I don’t eat fish.  The carved tables and chairs are gorgeous!DSCN2052 DSCN2054 DSCN2055 DSCN2056 DSCN2057

The craft shop was awesome!  The carved birds were of excellent quality and very realistic.  Once I found out I could charge my purchases to my room and pay by credit card, I went nuts!  DSCN2058 DSCN2059 DSCN2060

You have to see them in person to appreciate them.  The birds range in price around $10-20 depending on size and detail so were well worth it!DSCN2060a DSCN2061

Of course one of these cute Cobalt-winged parakeets came home with me!DSCN2061a DSCN2062 DSCN2063 DSCN2064

I also bought a Paradise Tanager, Hoatzin, White-throated Toucan, Dusky-headed Parakeet & Black-headed Parrot which are all decorating my bedroom wall.DSCN2065

T-shirts were on the small side.DSCN2066

After being dragged out of the craft shop, we saw some pretty cool birds!  Here’s a Spot-breasted Woodpecker.DSCN2069

My blurry photo doesn’t do justice to this beautiful Violaceous Jay.DSCN2070a DSCN2071

Our guide Vladimir and 2 of his kids.DSCN2072

I think this village also has accommodation so it’s a good option that would be cheaper than staying at Napo Wildlife Center but still a sister property and you could spend more time learning about the culture.


Cobalt-winged Parakeet (Brotogeris cyanoptera)

The Cobalt-winged Parakeet (Brotogeris cyanoptera) is a species of bird in the Psittacidae family.  Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and heavily degraded former forest.

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I took the 1st 2 shots at the small parrot clay lick near Napo Wildlife Center.  The shot below is from Wikipedia since we didn’t get the full spectacle the day we were there.


They have quite a large range in in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. A top spot to see them is the small parrot clay lick near Napo Wildlife Center.  Also try looking for them at clay licks near Tambopata & Manu in Peru.




World Parrot Trust


Neotropical Birds


The clay lick scene can be amazing if you get lucky!  By contrast, I only saw around 6-8 parakeets in the trees.


Here’s a digiscoped clip of a hungry parakeet.





Small Parrot Clay Lick Near Napo Wildlife Center

The smaller parrot clay lick at Napo Wildlife Center is located down a short trail near the Anangu Kichwa Village.  It’s not visible from the river like the large clay lick so you need a guide from one of the lodges.  The visit fee is included if you are staying at  Napo Wildlife Center or by paying $15 if you are at one of the other lodges.


Keep an eye out for river birds such as the Roseate SpoonbillIMG_4384 IMG_4385a IMG_4395a IMG_4398a


Yellow-headed Caracara

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Pied LapwingIMG_4413a

HoatzinDSCN2078 DSCN2077

Green KingfisherDSCN2073

Landing dock for the clay lickIMG_4414

Well-maintained trailIMG_4415 DSCN2043

Crested OwlsIMG_4419 IMG_4421a IMG_4423

Although we began the trip with several tourists and 2 guides, the weather wasn’t looking good for the 2nd clay lick so one guide took us down the trail and the other guide took the other tourists to the village.  This was our only chance to see the 3 parrot species that are known to visit this clay lick – Cobalt-winged Parakeet, Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlet & Orange-cheeked Parrot.  I knew we had to be patient and wait, so wait we did.  There were lots of butterflies but they were hard to photograph.IMG_4424

Finally a few Cobalt-winged Parakeets gathered in the trees but didn’t come down to the clay lick.  In good weather, there can be hundreds of parrots crowding the clay lick so we were disappointed not to see the numbers but at least we saw the birds!IMG_4432 IMG_4432a IMG_4441 DSCN2040 DSCN2040a IMG_4443 IMG_4442a

The Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlets & Orange-cheeked Parrots never showed up.  I didn’t give up easily but finally had to admit defeat when the last Cobalt-winged Parakeet flew off and the surrounding forest grew quiet.

eBird Checklist


Dusky-headed Parakeet (Aratinga weddellii)

The Dusky-headed Parakeet (Aratinga weddellii), also known as Weddell’s Conure or Dusky-headed Conure in aviculture, is a small green Neotropical parrot with dusty grey head found in wooded habitats in the western Amazon Basin of South America.

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They have quite a large range in in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. I saw these guys at the large parrot clay lick near Napo Wildlife Center.  Also try looking for them at clay licks near Tambopata & Manu in Peru.




World Parrot Trust



Neotropical Birds


This hungry little guy is eating acai berries.

And here’s some clay lick action!



Large Parrot Clay Lick – Napo Wildlife Center

For the parrot lover, this is the biggest draw to the Ecuadorian Amazon.  Some people call it the big parrot clay lick, on eBird it’s called Parrot Lick #1.  It’s the larger one you see from the river while seated in a boat.  You do get pretty close but to land would be too close and scare the birds away.  This is a must for anyone staying at Napo Wildlife Center and will be a highlight of your trip!

This isn’t where you get huge life lists.  There are 5 parrot species that visit the clay lick here (though you may get flyovers of other species) – Dusky-billed Parakeet, Blue-headed Parrot, Yellow-crowned Parrot, Mealy Parrot & White-eyed Parakeet.  In the pictorial below, it should be pretty easy to pick them out so I am just going to post the photos in consecutive order to show the waves of parrots that flew in and out over around 40 minutes.  It was a great day as they would land, eat clay, fly off and then perch in trees waiting to come back.  Or the second waves could have been different birds.  Still it was awesome!

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Wire-tailed Manakin (Pipra filicauda)

The Wire-tailed Manakin (Pipra filicauda) is a species of bird in the Pipridae family.  They can put on quite a dance show to attract a mate!

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They are found upriver in the western Amazon Basin and the neighboring countries of northern Peru, eastern Ecuador and Colombia, and southern and western portions of Venezuela.  We saw this little guy while walking back to the boat from the Canopy Tower at Napo Wildlife Center.





Neotropical Birds

BBC Nature


A fairly quiet Manakin.

And this one is showing off his best moves!


Plum-throated Cotinga (Cotinga maynana)

The Plum-throated Cotinga (Cotinga maynana) is a species of bird in the family Cotingidae.  They are stunning birds and stand out in contrast to the green trees you normally see them in.

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They have a very large range throughout Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.  We got lucky in the Canopy Tower of Napo Wildlife Center.





Neotropical Birds


Appreciate the brilliant turquoise beauty of these birds!


An Afternoon On The Lake – Napo Wildlife Center

After an awesome experience at the Canopy Tower in the morning, the afternoon was a more relaxed experience.  While we were at lunch, our guide called us over to one side of the restaurant and pointed out a beautiful Golden-mantled Tamarin sitting on a tree nearby.

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After some time to rest up, we were back in the paddleboats for a short trip around the lake area.  First off the bat were some bats!IMG_4139

White-winged SwallowIMG_3912a

Red-capped CardinalIMG_3910 IMG_3911a

Straited HeronIMG_3919 IMG_3921

Tropical KingbirdIMG_3913

A tiny frogDSCN1890 DSCN1891 DSCN1889


Giant River Otters who clearly weren’t happy to see us!DSCN1880 DSCN1882 DSCN1883 DSCN1886 DSCN1885

And a sunset to finish off the day!