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You are here:1.1.4 Biogeographic Bird-Regions of Ecuador

1.1.4 Biogeographic Bird-Regions of Ecuador

The geographic complexity of Ecuador and the diversity of weather patterns across the country are the main reasons for several special habitats that support Ecuadorian bird diversity.  These particular habitats have been placed in Ecoregions that reflect grouping of species according to their biogeography.   Ridgely and Greenfield in the book The Birds of Ecuador (2001) proposed a very rational treatment for all the Endemic Bird Areas in Ecuador.  It is important to note that all of these endemic bird areas are shared either with Colombia and Peru.
Mapa de las areas endemicas Endemic Bird Areas of Ecuador. Chocó Lowlands.

The lowland rain forest occurring in western Colombia and northwestern Ecuador has the greatest concentration of restricted-range endemic species in the world; Ecuador´s Chocó lowlands support 30 of these species which are very much restricted and dependent on pristine or little disturbed forest.

Chocó lowland endemics in Ecuador (30)
Berlepsch's Tinamou            Crypturellus berlepschi
Plumbeous Forest-Falcon        Micrastur plumbeus
Baudó Guan                Penelope ortoni
Brown Wood-Rail            Aramides  wolfi
Dusky Pigeon                Patagioenas goodsoni
Pallid Dove                Leptotila pallida
Rose-faced Parrot            Pyrilia pulchra
Banded Ground-Cuckoo        Neomorphus radiolosus
Chocó Poorwill            Nyctiphrynus rosenbergi
White-whiskered Hermit        Phaethornis yaruqui
Humboldt's Sapphire            Hylocharis humboldti
Purple-chested Hummingbird    Amazilia rosenbergi
Chocó Trogon                Trogon comptus
Orange-fronted Barbet        Capito squamatus
Five-colored Barbet            Capito quinticolor
Pale-mandible Araçari         Pteroglossus erythropygius
Stripe-billed Araçari             Pteroglossus sanguineus
Chocó Toucan             Ramphastos brevis
Lita Woodpecker             Piculus litae
Chocó Woodpecker             Veniliornis chocoensis
Double-banded Graytail         Xenerpestes minlosi
Stub-tailed Antbird             Myrmeciza berlepschi
Rufous-crowned Antpitta            Pittasoma rufopileatus
Pacific Flatbill             Rhynchocyclus pacificus
Long-wattled Umbrellabird         Cephalopterus penduliger
Scarlet-breasted Dacnis         Dacnis berlepschi
Blue-whiskered Tanager         Tangara johannae
Golden-chested Tanager         Bangsia rothschildi
Lemon-spectacled Tanager         Chlorothraupis olivacea
Scarlet-browed Tanager         Heterospingus xanthopygius Northwest Slope of Andes (Montane Chocó)

This group contains the highest concentration of endemic montane birds in the world and are bird species restricted to the foothill and montane forest of western Colombia and northwestern Ecuador. This area could be considered to be the higher elevation extension of the Chocó Lowlands. It extends very narrowly as far south as El Oro Province.

Montane Chocó Endemics in Ecuador (46)

Dark-backed Wood-Quail         Odontophorus melanonotus
Indigo-crowned Quail-Dove          Geotrygon purpurata
El Oro Parakeet            Pyrrhura orcesi
Yellow-eared Parrot                    Ognorhynchus icterotis
Colombian Screech-Owl        Megascops colombianus
Cloud-Forest Pygmy-Owl         Glaucidium nubicola
Emerald-bellied Woodnymph     Thalurania hypochlora
Western Emerald             Chlorostilbon melanorhynchus
Purple-bibbed Whitetip         Urosticte benjamini
Empress Brillant             Heliodoxa imperatrix
Brown Inca                 Coeligena wilsoni
Velvet-purple Coronet         Boissonneaua jardini
Gorgeted Sunangel             Heliangelus strophianus
Hoary Puffleg             Haplophaedia lugens
Violet-tailed Sylph             Aglaiocercus coelestis
Toucan Barbet             Semnornis ramphastinus
Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan     Andigena laminirostris
Pacific Tuftedcheek             Pseudocolaptes johnsoni
Star-chested Treerunner         Margarornis stellatus
Uniform Treehunter             Thripadectes ignobilis
Esmeraldas Antbird             Myrmeciza nigricauda
Yellow-breasted Antpitta         Grallaria flavotincta
Nariño Tapaculo             Scytalopus vicinior
Chocó Tapaculo             Scytalopus chocoensis
El Oro Tapaculo            Scytalopusrobinsoni
Orange-breasted Fruiteater         Pipreola jucunda
Club-winged Manakin         Machaeropterus deliciosus
Beautiful Jay                 Cyanolyca pulchra
Chocó Vireo                 Vireo masteri    
Black Solitaire             Entomodestes coracinus
Chocó Warbler             Basileuterus chlorophrys
Indigo Flowerpiercer             Diglossa indigotica
Scarlet-and-white Tanager         Erythrothlypis salmoni
Yellow-collared Chlorophonia     Chlorophonia flavirostris
Glistening-green Tanager         Chlorochrysa phoenicotis
Rufous-throated Tanager         Tangara rufigula
Gray-and-gold Tanager         Tangara palmeri
Purplish-mantled Tanager         Iridisornis porphyrocephala
Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager     Anisognathus notabilis
Moss-backed Tanager         Bangsia edwardsi
Ochre-breasted Tanager         Chlorothraupis stolzmanni
Dusky Bush-Tanager             Chlorospingus semifuscus
Yellow-green Bush-Tanager         Chlorospingus flavovirens
Western Hemispingus         Hemispingus ochraceus
White-winged Brush-Finch         Atlapetes leucopterus
Tanager Finch             Oreothraupis arremonops Tumbesian Lowlands

This area incorporates the southwestern Ecuadorian lowlands. Some of this habitat also extends to the north, small areas even reach as far north as western Esmeraldas province. This area also includes northern Perú. The habitat is mainly dry scrub or dry deciduous forest. It is under great pressure from human activities and only a few relatively small areas remain.

Tumbesian Lowlands Bird endemics in Ecuador (57)
Pale-browed Tinamou         Crypturellus transfasciatus
Gray-backed Hawk             Leucopternis occidentalis
Rufous-headed Chachalaca         Ortalis erythroptera
Ecuadorian Ground-Dove         Columbina buckleyi
Ochre-bellied Dove             Leptotila ochraceiventris
Red-masked Parakeet         Aratinga erythrogenys
Pacific Parrotlet             Forpus coelestis
Gray-cheeked Parakeet         Brotogeris pyrrhopterus
West Peruvian Screech-Owl         Megascops roboratus
Pacific Pygmy-Owl             Glaucidium peruanum
Anthony's Nightjar             Caprimulgus anthonyi
Baron's Hermit             Phaethornis baroni
Tumbes Hummingbird         Leucippus baeri
Short-tailed Woodstar         Myrmia micrura
Esmeraldas Woodstar                    Chaetocercus berlepschi
Little Woodstar             Chaetocercus bombus
Ecuadorian Trogon             Trogon mesurus
Ecuadorian Piculet             Picumnus sclateri
Scarlet-backed Woodpecker         Veniliornis callonotus
Guayaquil Woodpecker         Campephilus gayaquilensis
Pacific Hornero             Furnarius cinnamomeus
Blackish-headed Spinetail         Synallaxis tithys
Necklaced Spinetail             Synallaxis stictothorax
Henna-hooded Foliage-gleaner     Hylocryptus erythrocephalus
Collared Antshrike             Sakesphorus bernardi
Elegant Crescentchest         Melanopareia elegans
Tumbesian Tyrannulet         Phaeomyias tumbezana
Gray-and-white Tyrannulet         Pseudelaenia leucospodia
Pacific Elaenia             Myiopagis subplacens
Pacific Royal Flycatcher         Onychorhynchus occidentalis
Tumbes Pewee             Contopus punensis
Gray-breasted Flycatcher         Lathrotriccus griseipectus
Ochraceous Attila             Attila torridus
Sooty-crowned Flycatcher         Myiarchus phaeocephalus
Baird's Flycatcher             Myiodynastes bairdii
Snowy-throated Kingbird         Tyrannus niveigularis
Slaty Becard                 Pachyrhamphus spodirus
White-tailed Jay             Cyanocorax mystacalis
Plumbeous-backed Thrush         Turdus reevei
Ecuadorian Thrush             Turdus maculirostris
Tumbes Swallow                        Tachycineta stolzmanni
Chestnut-collared Swallow         Petrochelidon rufocollaris
Fasciated Wren             Campylorhynchus fasciatus
Superciliated Wren             Thryothorus supercilliaris
Black-lored Yellowthroat         Geothlypis auricularis
Gray-and-gold Warbler         Basileuterus fraseri
Crimson-breasted Finch         Rhodospingus cruentus
Parrot-billed Seedeater         Sporophila peruviana
Chestnut-throated Seedeater        Sporophila telasco
Cinereous Finch                        Piezorhina cinerea
Sulphur-throated Finch         Sicalis taczanowskii
White-headed Brush-Finch         Atlapetes albiceps
Black-capped Sparrow         Arremon abeillei
Tumbes Sparrow             Aimophila stolzmanni
Collared Warbling-Finch         Poospiza hispaniolensis
White-edged Oriole             Icterus graceannae
Saffron Siskin             Carduelis siemiradzkii Southwestern Montane and Foothill habitats

A variety of habitats along foothill and montane forests mainly distributed in Loja and adjacent El Oro provinces. Some species reach the highlands of Azuay province.  

Southwestern Highlands, Montane and Foothill bird endemics in Ecuador (17)
Line-cheeked Spinetail         Cranioleuca antisiensis
Rufous-necked Foliage-gleaner     Syndactyla ruficollis
Chapman's Antshrike             Thamnophilus zarumae
Gray-headed Antbird             Myrmeciza griseiceps
Watkins's Antpitta             Grallaria watkinsi
Loja Tyrannulet             Zimmerius flavidifrons
Rufous-winged Tyrannulet         Mecocerculus calopterus
Black-crested Tit-Tyrant         Anairetes nigrocristatus
Jelski’s Chat-Tyrant             Ochthoeca jelskii
Three-banded Warbler         Basileuterus trifasciatus
Speckle-brested Wren        Thryothorus sclateri
Piura Hemispingus             Hemispingus piurae
Black-cowled Saltator         Saltator nigriceps
Drab Seedeater             Sporophila simplex
Bay-crowned Brush-Finch         Atlapetes seebohmi
Pale-headed Brush-Finch         Atlapetes pallidiceps
White-winged Brush-Finch         Atlapetes leucopterus High Andes

This endemic area includes temperate and elfin forest and upper grassland paramo along both sides of the western and eastern mountain ranges and the inner valleys flanked by them.

High Andes bird endemics in Ecuador. (24)
Curve-billed Tinamou         Nothoprocta curvirostris
Carunculated Caracara         Phalcoboenus carunculatus
Bearded Guan             Penelope barbata
Ecuadorian Rail             Rallus aequatorialis
Red-faced Parrot             Hapalopsittaca pyrrhops
Rainbow Starfrontlet             Coeligena iris
Ecuadorian Hillstar             Oreotrochilus chimborazo
Purple-throated Sunangel         Heliangelus viola
Black-breasted Puffleg         Eriocnemis nigriventris
Turquoise-throated Puffleg            Eriocnemis godini
Golden-breasted Puffleg         Eriocnemis mosquera
Black-thighed Puffleg         Eriocnemis derbyi
Violet-throated Metaltail         Metallura baroni
Neblina Metaltail             Metallura odomae
Rainbow-bearded Thornbill         Chalcostigma herrani
Stout-billed Cinclodes         Cinclodes excelsior
Mouse-colored Thistletail         Schizoeaca griseomurina
Leimebamba Antpitta            Grallaricula leimebamba
Crescent-faced Antpitta         Grallaricula lineifrons
Paramo Ground-Tyrant         Muscisaxiola alpina
Chestnut-bellied Cotinga            Doliornis remseni
Tit-like Dacnis             Xenodacnis parina
Masked Mountain-Tanager         Buthraupis wetmorei
Black-backed Bush-Tanager         Urothraupis stolzmanni East Slope of Andes

This area includes the foothills to way up to the upper montane forest along the east side of the Andes. Virtually all these species are restricted to a narrow elevation band.

East Slope of Andes bird endemics in Ecuador (39)
Red-winged Wood-Rail                Aramides calopterus
White-breasted Parakeet         Pyrrhura albipectus
Cinnamon Screech-Owl         Otus petersoni
Subtropical Pygmy-Owl               Glaucidium parkeri
White-chested Swift             Cypseloides lemosi
Napo Sabrewing             Campylopterus villaviscensio
Wire-crested Thorntail         Popelairia popelairii
Rufous-vented Whitetip         Urosticte ruficrissa
Ecuadorian Piedtail             Phlogophilus hemileucurus
Pink-throated Brilliant         Heliodoxa gularis
Flame-throated Sunangel         Heliangelus micraster
Mountain Avocetbill             Opisthoprora euryptera
Coppery-chested Jacamar         Galbula pastazae
Spectacled Prickletail         Siptornis striaticollis
Equatorial Graytail             Xenerpestes singularis
Black-billed Treehunter        Tripadectes melanorhynchus
Jocotoco Antpitta             Grallaria ridgelyi
Bicolored Antpitta            Grallaria rufocinerea
White-bellied Antpitta        Grallaria hypoleuca
Peruvian Antpitta             Grallaricula peruviana
Equatorial Rufous-vented Tapaculo     Scytalopus micropterus
Chusquea Tapaculo             Scytalopus chusqueae
Ecuadorian Tyrannulet         Phylloscartes gualaquizae
Orange-crested Flycatcher         Myiophobus phoenicomitra
Olive-chested Flycatcher         Myiobius cryptoxanthus
Orange-banded Flycatcher         Myiobius lintoni
Yellow-cheeked Becard         Pachyrhamphus xanthogenys
Black-chested Fruiteater         Pipreola lubomirskii
Gray-tailed Piha            Snowornis subalaris
Blue-rumped Manakin         Pipra isidorei
Yellow-headed Manakin            Choloropipo flavicapilla
Jet Manakin                        Choloropipo unicolor
Olivaceous Greenlet             Hylophilus olivaceus
Yellow-throated Brush-Finch    Atlapetes gutturalis
White-rimmed Brush-Finch         Atlapetes leucopis Isolated East-Andean Ridges

Includes the forest along the isolated mountain ranges of Cordillera Galeras, Cordillera de Cutucú and Cordillera del Cóndor all located just off the Andes in the eastern side.

Isolated East-Andean Ridges Bird endemic species in Ecuador (4).
Royal Sunangel            Heliangelus regalis
Cinnamon-breasted Tody-Tyrant        Hemitriccus cinnamomeipectus
Bar-winged Wood-Wren         Henicorhina leucoptera
Orange-throated Tanager         Wetmorethraupis sterrhopteron Marañón River drainage
Very much restricted to the valleys drained by the Chinchipe river and its tributaries on the southeastern Zamora-Chinchipe province.

Marañón river drainage Bird endemic species in Ecuador (11)
Marañón Pigeon             Patagioenas oenops
Spot-throated Humminbird         Leucipus taczanowskii
Marañón Spinetail             Synallaxis maranonica
Eastern Slaty-Antshrike         Thamnophilus punctatus
Gray-breasted Flycatcher         Lathrotriccus griseipectus
Sooty-crowned Flycatcher         Myiarchus phaeocephalus
Marañón Thrush             Turdus maranonicus
Speckle-breasted Wren         Thryothorus sclateri
Black-lored Yellowthroat         Geothlypis auricularis
Buff-bellied Tanager             Thlypopsis inornata
Black-capped Sparrow         Arremon abeillei Amazonian Lowlands

The eastern Amazonian lowlands of Ecuador is one of the places in the world supporting the biggest number of bird species in any given locality but just a tiny fragment of them are endemic to eastern Ecuador and northeastern Peru.

Amazonian Lowlands Bird endemic species in Ecuador (21)
Salvin's Curassow             Mitu salvini
Sapphire Quail-Dove             Geotrygon saphirina
Black-throated Hermit         Phaetornis atrimentalis
Olive-spotted Hummingbird         Leucippus chlorocercus
White-chinned Jacamar         Galbula tombacea
Brown Nunlet             Nonnula brunnea
Dusky Spinetail             Synallaxis moesta
Cocha Antshrike             Thamnophilus praecox
Yasuní Antwren             Epinecrophylla  fieldsaai
Rio Suno Antwren             Myrmotherula sunensis
Ancient Antwren                        Herpsilochmus gentryi
Dugand’s Antwren             Herpsilochmus dugandi
Slate-colored Antbird         Schistocichla schistacea
Lunulated Antbird             Gymnopithys lunulata
Ochre-striped Antpitta         Grallaria dignissima
White-lored Antpitta             Hylopezus fulviventris
Golden-winged Tody-Flycatcher     Todirostrum calopterum
Orange-eyed Flatbill             Tolmomyias traylori
Orange-crested Manakin         Heterocercus aurantiivertex
Ecuadorian Cacique             Cacicus sclateri
Band-tailed  Oropendola            Ocyalus latirostris

Copyright © 2010 by Lelis Navarrete

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Meet the Author

Lelis Navarrete – Birding tour leader. Lelis has 19 years of experience as a birding guide and naturalist in the field. He has led groups of birders throughout most of Latin America, guiding frequently in countries like his native country of Ecuador and in the Galapagos Islands, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Panama. A Biology B.Sc. graduate from Universidad Católica in Quito, Lelis has supported Jocotoco Foundation since its founding in 1998 and was an active Board Member until 2010 supporting Ecuadorian bird and wildlife conservation. Lelis divides his time between his two great passions in life: birding and spending time with his wife Solange and son Fabian with whom he lives in Quito.


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