From Quito I visited the Mindo Cloud Forest. The Mindo Cloud Forest is a forest area located on the pacific side of the western range of the Andes. It is at an altitude of 1,000 m (3,300 ft) to 1,500 m (4,920 ft). It is usually in the clouds that form along the Andes mountains from the moisture coming from the Pacific. I visited a feeding station for hummingbirds in the forest. I took some nice close-up pictures of the feeding hummingbirds. There were hundreds of them from many different species.

Another excursion from Quito was to Cotopaxi, a large volcano. The trip to Cotopaxi showed a completely different fauna than the cloud forest. I didn't see many animals during the visit to Cotopaxi.

The main part of my first trip to Ecuador was to the Galápagos Islands. I visited several of the islands and saw some interesting bird life.

Isla Bartolomé is a fairly young volcano. It has only the very earliest pioneer plants that colonize freshly formed volcanoes. Around Bartolomé you can see the Galápagos Penguins (Spheniscus mendiculus, german: Galápagos-Pinguin, french: Manchot des Galápagos). They are the smallest of the warm weather penguins. They are only about 40 - 45 cm (16 - 18") tall and weigh only 2 kg (4 lb). They are found on several of the Galápagos Islands, but most of them are on Fernandina and Isabela Island. On Isabela Island are the only penguins in the northern hemisphere. These penguins are endangered, there are only about 800 breeding pairs left. Near Isla Bartolomé is Cousins Rock, a small white island. It is white from sea bird guano.

Isla Santa María (mostly called Floreana) is one of the inhabited islands. You can see plenty of birds.

Isla Plazas has nesting sea birds.

Isla Seymore Norte was the most interesting, with a colony of Blue-footed Boobies (Sula nebouxii, german: Blaufußtölpel, french: Fou à pieds bleus), Masked Boobies (Sula dactylatra, german: Maskentölpel, french: Fou masqué), Great Frigatebirds (Fregata minor, german: Bindenfregattvogel, french: Frégate du Pacifique), and Magnificent Frigatebirds (Fregata magnificens, german: Prachtfregattvogel, french: Frégate superbe). The males of the two species of frigatebirds are nearly indistinguishable. The male great frigatebirds have a green iridescent sheen on their black back feathers, while the magnificent frigatebird shines purple. The Blue-footed Boobies and the frigatebirds had mating season, so we could watch the courtship dance of the boobies and the courtship display of the frigatebirds. It was impressive to say the least.

In the Amazon jungle of Ecuador the bird life is absolutely fascinating. The highlight of that were the clay licks. The parrots and parakeets need to eat a special type of clay to be able to digest their diet. This clay is available at the surface only in a few places. This is where the parrots congregate in astounding numbers (see below). These species are represented at the clay licks: Mealy Amazon (Amazona farinosa, german: Mülleramazone, french: Amazone poudrée), Yellow-crowned Amazon (Amazona ochrocephala, german: Gelbscheitelamazone, french: Amazone à front jaune), Blue-headed Parrot (Pionus menstruus, german: Schwarzohrpapagei, french: Pione à tête bleue), White-eyed Parakeet (Psittacara leucophthalmus, french: Conure pavouane), Dusky-headed Parakeet (Aratinga weddellii, german: Braunkopfsittich, french: Conure de Weddell), Cobalt-winged Parakeet (Brotogeris cyanoptera, german: Blauflügelsittich, french: Toui de Deville), Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlet (Touit huetii, french: Toui de Huet), Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao, german: Hellroter Ara, french: Ara rouge), Orange-cheeked Parrot (Pyrilia barrabandi, french: Caïque de Barraband).

The birds of prey of course know that as well, and they come hunting there. While we were watching, an Ornate Hawk Eagle came hunting. The parrots ran as fast as they could. We were in a stand with open sides. The parrots came though that stand like bullets, one of them grazed one of the spectators. The eagle didn't catch anything and moved away. After more than one hour, the parrots started to come back. It was almost two hours before the first ones started to come down to the clay lick. That's when the eagle came back. He came out of nowhere like a bullet and grabbed one of the parrots out of mid-air and flew away with it. It was a wild experience.

One bird species is worth mentioning specifically, the Hoatzins (Opisthocomus hoazin, german: Hoatzin, french: Hoazin huppé). The Hoatzin is a very odd, monotypic species of uncertain affinities which lives in backwater swamps of the Amazon and Orinoco basins of South America. It is often considered one of the most primitive of birds. They are also called stinking turkeys. They are the size of a turkey. Their diet is strictly vegetarian. They are very strange among birds, because they ferment their food in their foregut like cows. Somehow their diet makes them smell and taste very bad. This is a very effective defense. Because of that they can look showy and they are not at all shy. One pair had a nest with two eggs right next to the dining hall at the La Selva Lodge. The Hoatzin chick features a rare anatomical feature: two claws on each budding wing which help it grip branches and clamber about awkwardly. This feature has been compared to Archaeopteryx, the fossil proto-bird, and lend an antediluvian background to what is already a really weird bird.

Nature pictures of Ecuador and other bird pages are linked:

Nature in Ecuador
Nature Page for Ecuador
Bird Pages
Bird Pages

All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn, unless otherwise noted.

Birds in the Mindo Cloud Forest

Ocreatus underwoodii
Booted Racket-tails (Ocreatus underwoodii, german: Flaggensylphe, french: Haut-de-chausses à palettes) at a feeding station. (733k)
Urosticte benjamini
Purple-bibbed Whitetip (Urosticte benjamini, german: Purpurbrustkolibri, french: Colibri de Benjamin). (685k)
Amazilia franciae
Andean Emerald (Amazilia franciae, german: Andenamazilie, french: Ariane de Francia). (654k)
Urosticte ruficrissa
Rufous-vented Whitetip (Urosticte ruficrissa, german: Rotsteißkolibri, french: Colibri à sous-caudales rousses). (474k)
Urosticte benjamini
Purple-bibbed Whitetip (Urosticte benjamini, german: Purpurbrustkolibri, french: Colibri de Benjamin). (509k)
Aglaiocercus coelestis
Violet-tailed Sylph (Aglaiocercus coelestis, german: Langschwanzsylphe, french: Sylphe à queue violette). (686k)
Aglaiocercus kingii
Long-tailed Sylph (Aglaiocercus kingii, german: Himmelssylphe, french: Sylphe à queue d'azur). (605k)
Aglaiocercus kingii
Long-tailed Sylph (Aglaiocercus kingii, german: Himmelssylphe, french: Sylphe à queue d'azur). (695k)
Amazilia franciae
Andean Emerald (Amazilia franciae, german: Andenamazilie, french: Ariane de Francia). (526k)
Heliodoxa rubinoides
Fawn-breasted Brilliant (Heliodoxa rubinoides, german: Braunbauch-Brillantkolibri, french: Brillant rubinoïde). (551k)
Amazilia franciae
Andean Emerald (Amazilia franciae, german: Andenamazilie, french: Ariane de Francia). (667k)
Amazilia tzacatl
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird (Amazilia tzacatl, german: Braunschwanzamazilie, french: Ariane à ventre gris). (545k)
 Unknown Hummingbirds
?? Unknown Hummingbirds. (440k)
 Unknown Hummingbird
?? Unknown Hummingbird. (699k)
Ocreatus underwoodii
Booted Racket-tail (Ocreatus underwoodii, german: Flaggensylphe, french: Haut-de-chausses à palettes). (560k)
Ocreatus underwoodii
Booted Racket-tail (Ocreatus underwoodii, german: Flaggensylphe, french: Haut-de-chausses à palettes). (458k)
Ocreatus underwoodii
Booted Racket-tail (Ocreatus underwoodii, german: Flaggensylphe, french: Haut-de-chausses à palettes). (438k)
Calliphlox mitchellii
Purple-throated Woodstar (Calliphlox mitchellii, german: Purpurkehl-Sternkolibri, french: Colibri de Mitchell). (648k)
Chloropipo unicolor
Jet Manakin (Chloropipo unicolor). (549k)

Cotopaxi

Fulica ardesiaca
Andean Coot (Fulica ardesiaca, german: Blässhühner, french: Foulque ardoisée) on a small lake on the high plain north of Cotopaxi. (577k)
Vanellus resplendens
Andean Lapwing (Vanellus resplendens, german: Kiebitze, french: Vanneau des Andes) on a small lake on the high plain north of Cotopaxi. (607k)

Birds in the Galápagos Islands

Geospiza fortis
Female or immature Medium Ground Finch (Geospiza fortis, german: Mittel-Grundfink, french: Géospize à bec moyen). It is endemic to the Galápagos Islands. (449k)
Mimus parvulus
Galápagos Mockingbird (Mimus parvulus, french: Moqueur des Galápagos). It is endemic to the Galápagos Islands. (624k)
Geospiza fuliginosa
Female or immature Small Ground Finch (Geospiza fuliginosa, french: Géospize fuligineux). It is endemic to the Galápagos Islands. (670k)
Myiarchus magnirostris
Galápagos Flycatcher (Myiarchus magnirostris, french: Tyran des Galápagos). It is endemic to the Galápagos Islands. (401k)
Geospiza fuliginosa
Female or immature Small Ground Finch (Geospiza fuliginosa, french: Géospize fuligineux). It is endemic to the Galápagos Islands. (367k)
Geospiza fuliginosa
Male Small Ground Finch (Geospiza fuliginosa, french: Géospize fuligineux). It is endemic to the Galápagos Islands. (758k)
Certhidea olivacea
Green Warbler Finch (Certhidea olivacea, french: Géospize olive). It is endemic to the Galápagos Islands. (639k)
Spheniscus mendiculus
Galápagos Penguins (Spheniscus mendiculus, german: Galápagos-Pinguin, french: Manchot des Galápagos). They are endemic to the Galápagos Islands. They are the only penguins in the northern hemisphere. (630k)
Galápagos Penguins
Galápagos Penguins. (907k)
Galápagos Penguins
Galápagos penguins. (682k)
Galápagos Penguins
Galápagos penguins. (573k)
Fishing Sea Birds
Fishing sea birds. (622k)
Pelecanus occidentalis
Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis, german: Braunpelikan, french: Pélican brun). (614k)
Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican. (605k)
Pelecanus occidentalis
Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis, german: Braunpelikan, french: Pélican brun). (463k)
Pelecanus occidentalis
Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis, german: Braunpelikan, french: Pélican brun) in slow flight. (324k)
Buteo galapagoensis
Galápagos Hawk (Buteo galapagoensis, german: Galápagosbussard, french: Buse des Galápagos). It is endemic to the Galápagos Islands. (382k)
Creagrus furcatus
Nesting Swallow-tailed Gull (Creagrus furcatus, german: Gabelschwanzmöwe, french: Mouette à queue fourchue). They keep their beaks open to dissipate heat by panting, just like dogs. (456k)
Creagrus furcatus
Swallow-tailed Gull (Creagrus furcatus, german: Gabelschwanzmöwe, french: Mouette à queue fourchue) with chick. (769k)
Arenaria interpres
Ruddy Ternstone (Arenaria interpres, german: Steinwälzer, french: Tournepierre à collier). (570k)
Haematopus palliatus galapagensis
American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus galapagensis, german: Braunmantel-Austernfischer, french: Huîtrier d'Amérique). (717k)
Butorides sundevalli
Lava Heron (Butorides sundevalli, german: Lavareiher, french: Héron des Galápagos). It is endemic to the Galápagos Islands. (827k)
Butorides sundevalli
Lava Heron closeup (Butorides sundevalli, german: Lavareiher, french: Héron des Galápagos). (802k)
Ardea herodias
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias, german: Kanadareiher, french: Grand Héron). (485k)
Great Blue Heron Juvenile
Great Blue Heron (juvenile). (839k)
Ardea herodias
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias, german: Kanadareiher, french: Grand Héron). (496k)
Great Blue Heron Closeup
Great Blue Heron closeup. (494k)
Sula dactylatra
Masked Boobie (Sula dactylatra, german: Maskentölpel, french: Fou masqué). (366k)
Sula nebouxii
Blue-footed Boobies (Sula nebouxii, german: Blaufußtölpel, french: Fou à pieds bleus). (729k)
Sula nebouxii
Blue-footed Boobie (Sula nebouxii, german: Blaufußtölpel, french: Fou à pieds bleus). (451k)
Closeup Blue-footed Boobie
Closeup of a Blue-footed Boobie. (410k)
Closeup Blue-footed Boobie
Closeup of a Blue-footed Boobie. (371k)
Closeup Blue-footed Boobie
Closeup of a Blue-footed Boobie. (420k)
Closeup Blue-footed Boobie
Closeup of a Blue-footed Boobie. (572k)
Really Bright Blue
They are really bright blue. (483k)
Pair Blue-footed Boobies Courtship
Pair of Blue-footed Boobies in courtship. (807k)
Courtship Display
Courtship display. (659k)
Courtship Display
Courtship display. (727k)
Courtship Dance
Courtship dance. (1043k)
Courtship Dance
Courtship dance. (941k)
Sula nebouxii
Courtship dance of Blue-footed Boobie (Sula nebouxii, german: Blaufußtölpel, french: Fou à pieds bleus). (639k)
Group Blue-footed Boobies Displaying
Group of Blue-footed Boobies displaying. (608k)
Group Blue-footed Boobies Displaying
Group of Blue-footed Boobies displaying. (664k)
Courtship Dance Worked
For this one his courtship dance worked. (665k)
Frigatebird Colony
Frigatebird colony. (1082k)
Frigatebird Colony Displaying Males
Frigatebird colony with displaying males. (1059k)
Frigatebirds Colony Males Mating
Frigatebirds colony with males in mating display on Isla Enderby near Floreana. (1077k)
Frigatebird Nest Male Chick
Frigatebird nest with male and chick. (738k)
Male Frigatebird Displaying Throat
Male Frigatebird displaying his throat pouch. (645k)
Fregata minor
Male Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor, german: Bindenfregattvogel, french: Frégate du Pacifique). (843k)
Fregata minor
Male Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor, german: Bindenfregattvogel, french: Frégate du Pacifique) displaying his throat pouch. (652k)
Fregata minor
Male Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor, german: Bindenfregattvogel, french: Frégate du Pacifique) displaying his throat pouch. (565k)
Closeup Male Frigatebird Displaying
Closeup of male Frigatebird displaying his throat pouch. (459k)
Fregata magnificens
Juvenile Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens, german: Prachtfregattvogel, french: Frégate superbe) in flight. (232k)
Male Frigatebird Flight Mating
Male Frigatebird in flight with mating display. (252k)

A fishing Blue-footed Boobie

Composite Following Shots Diving
Composite of the following shots of a diving blue-footed Boobie. (256k)
Diving Blue-footed Boobie
Diving blue-footed Boobie. (434k)
Diving Blue-footed Boobie
Diving blue-footed Boobie. (595k)
Diving Blue-footed Boobie
Diving blue-footed Boobie. (601k)
Diving Blue-footed Boobie
Diving blue-footed Boobie. (497k)
Diving Blue-footed Boobie
Diving blue-footed Boobie. (457k)
Diving Blue-footed Boobie
Diving blue-footed Boobie. (435k)

Birds in the Amazon Jungle in Ecuador

Weaver Bird Nests
Weaver bird nests. (883k)
Cacicus cela
Nests of Yellow-rumped Caciques (Cacicus cela, german: Gelbbürzelkassike, french: Cassique cul-jaune). (774k)
Nest Humming Bird
Nest of a humming bird. (546k)
Lots Birds
There were lots of birds. (460k)
Elanoides forficatus
Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus, german: Schwalbenweih, french: Naucler à queue fourchue). (366k)
Megaceryle torquata
Ringed Kingfisher (Megaceryle torquata, german: Rotbrustfischer, french: Martin-pêcheur à ventre roux). (620k)
Paroaria gularis
Red-capped Cardinal (Paroaria gularis, french: Paroare rougecap). (531k)
Cacicus cela
Yellow-rumped Cacique (Cacicus cela, german: Gelbbürzelkassike, french: Cassique cul-jaune). (598k)
Gymnomystax mexicanus
Oriole Blackbirds (Gymnomystax mexicanus, french: Carouge loriot). (543k)
Pitangus sulphuratus
Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus, german: Schwefeltyrann, french: Tyran quiquivi). (493k)
Psarocolius decumanus
Crested Oropendola (Psarocolius decumanus, german: Krähenstirnvogel, french: Cassique huppé). (576k)
Tachycineta albiventer
White-winged Swallow (Tachycineta albiventer, french: Hirondelle à ailes blanches). (638k)
Vanellus cayanus
Pied Plovers (Vanellus cayanus, german: Kiebitze, french: Hoploxypterus cayanus). (645k)
Porphyrio martinicus
American Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus, german: Zwergsultanshuhn, french: Talève violacée). (1048k)
Jacana jacana
Wattled Jacana (Jacana jacana, french: Jacana noir). (671k)
Ixobrychus exilis
Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis, german: Amerikanische Zwergdommel, french: Petit Blongios). (551k)
Crotophaga major
A colony of Greater Anis (Crotophaga major, german: Riesenani, french: Ani des palétuviers). (838k)
Crotophaga major
Greater Ani (Crotophaga major, german: Riesenani, french: Ani des palétuviers). (670k)
Crotophaga ani
Smooth-billed Ani (Crotophaga ani, german: Glattschnabelani, french: Ani à bec lisse). (487k)
Melanerpes cruentatus
Yellow-tufted Woodpecker (Melanerpes cruentatus, german: Gelbbrauenspecht, french: Pic à chevron d'or). (753k)
Melanerpes cruentatus
Yellow-tufted Woodpecker (Melanerpes cruentatus, german: Gelbbrauenspecht, french: Pic à chevron d'or). (707k)
Campephilus melanoleucos
Crimson-crested Woodpecker (Campephilus melanoleucos, german: Schwarzkehlspecht, french: Pic de Malherbe). (626k)
Ardea cocoi
Cocoi Heron (Ardea cocoi, german: Cocoireiher, french: Héron cocoi). (645k)
Tigrisoma lineatum
Rufescent Tiger Heron (Tigrisoma lineatum, german: Marmorreiher, french: Onoré rayé). (681k)
Butorides striata
Striated Heron (Butorides striata, german: Mangrovereiher, french: Héron strié). He has just caught a fish. I was watching him stalking and finally catching the fish. He was so concentrated on fishing that I got real close. Immediately after he caught the fish, he noticed me and flew away. (814k)
Anhinga anhinga
Anhinga or Snake Bird (Anhinga anhinga, german: Amerikanischer Schlangenhalsvogel, french: Anhinga d'Amérique). (1008k)
Harpagus bidentatus
Double-toothed Kite (Harpagus bidentatus, french: Harpage bidenté). This bird was building a nest right above the top of the canopy tower at the La Selva Lodge. (515k)
Asio stygius
Stygian Owl (Asio stygius, german: Styxeule, french: Hibou maître-bois), well camouflaged, spending the daylight hours in a tree. (715k)
Owl Sat Dining Hall
This owl sat in the dining hall of the La Selva Lodge one morning. (511k)
Cathartes burrovianus
Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture (Cathartes burrovianus, german: Kleiner Gelbkopfgeier, french: Urubu à tête jaune) in flight. (470k)
Coragyps atratus
Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus, german: Rabengeier, french: Urubu noir), posing on the roof of the dining hall at the La Selva Lodge. (552k)
Ramphastos tucanus
White-throated Toucan (Ramphastos tucanus, german: Weißbrusttukan, french: Toucan à bec rouge). (198k)
Ramphastos tucanus
White-throated Toucan (Ramphastos tucanus, german: Weißbrusttukan, french: Toucan à bec rouge). (415k)
Chordeiles rupestris
A flock of Sand-colored Nighthawks (Chordeiles rupestris, german: Flussnachtschwalbe, french: Engoulevent sable), roosting during the day, well camouflaged. (1346k)
Chordeiles rupestris
Sand-colored Nighthawks (Chordeiles rupestris, german: Flussnachtschwalbe, french: Engoulevent sable). (692k)
Sand-colored Nighthawk Close-up
Sand-colored Nighthawk close-up. (686k)
1800 Nighthawks Take Wing
At 18:00 the Nighthawks take wing, gather over the lake, and then fly off to the river to catch prey. Around 6:00 they return to roost at the same tree. (504k)
Opisthocomus hoazin
Hoatzins (Opisthocomus hoazin, german: Hoatzin, french: Hoazin huppé), drinking from the lake. (721k)
Opisthocomus hoazin
Hoatzins (Opisthocomus hoazin, german: Hoatzin, french: Hoazin huppé). (631k)
Hoatzin Nest Two Eggs
Hoatzin nest with two eggs. When the birds are in the nest and you get closer, they make a loud hissing noise. (848k)
Parrot Clay Lick Yasumi
Parrot clay lick in Yasumi National Park. There were hundreds of parrots at the clay licks. (1162k)
Brotogeris cyanoptera
Parrot clay lick in Yasumi National Park with Cobalt-winged Parakeets (Brotogeris cyanoptera, german: Blauflügelsittich, french: Toui de Deville), Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlets (Touit huetii, french: Toui de Huet), and Orange-cheeked Parrots (Pyrilia barrabandi, french: Caïque de Barraband). This was the one where the ornate hawk eagle was hunting. (1076k)
Pionus menstruus
Parrot clay lick with Blue-headed Parrots (Pionus menstruus, german: Schwarzohrpapagei, french: Pione à tête bleue) and White-eyed Parakeets (Psittacara leucophthalmus, french: Conure pavouane). (655k)
Amazona ochrocephala
Parrot clay lick with Yellow-crowned Amazons (Amazona ochrocephala, german: Gelbscheitelamazone, french: Amazone à front jaune) and White-eyed Parakeets (Psittacara leucophthalmus, french: Conure pavouane). (809k)
Pionus menstruus
Parrot clay lick with Blue-headed Parrots (Pionus menstruus, german: Schwarzohrpapagei, french: Pione à tête bleue) and Mealy Amazons (Amazona farinosa, german: Mülleramazone, french: Amazone poudrée). (856k)
Aratinga weddellii
Dusky-headed Parakeets ( (Aratinga weddellii, german: Braunkopfsittich, french: Conure de Weddell), the larger birds) and Dusky-billed Parrotlets (Forpus modestus, german: Sperlingspapageien, french: Toui de Sclater) on the river bank. (692k)
Psittacara leucophthalmus
White-eyed Parakeets (Psittacara leucophthalmus, french: Conure pavouane). (548k)
Pyrilia barrabandi
Orange-cheeked Parrot (Pyrilia barrabandi, french: Caïque de Barraband). (629k)
Ara macao
Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao, german: Hellroter Ara, french: Ara rouge). These birds are big. They were very shy and didn't come down to the clay lick while we were there, they stayed high up in the tree. (688k)
Ara macao
Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao, german: Hellroter Ara, french: Ara rouge). (635k)
Spizaetus ornatus
Ornate Hawk Eagle (Spizaetus ornatus, german: Prachthaubenadler, french: Aigle orné). This beautiful bird was hunting for parrots. He ended up catching one of them. (749k)

This page contains 134 pictures of 67 bird species

Ecuador
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Page last updated on Thu Jan 30 13:00:34 2020 (Mountain Standard Time)


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