Bird Watching in Clouds – Ecuador

Bird watching has always been a low-maintenance-yet-thoroughly enjoyable sport. A pair of binoculars and a field guide and you’re all set! Bird watching is also something you can enjoy to the hilt in Ecuador. The closet thing to bird-watcher Heaven is right here. In Ecuador, you can find over 1,600 different species of birds. In fact, you don’t need to travel to some far off corner of the jungle to reap the benefits of Ecuador bird watching; you can see a large number of our feathered friends just a few hours away from Quito.

The region of Nono-Tandayapa-Bellavista-Mindo — home of the cloud forests of Ecuador — has been declared the first Area of International Importance for Birds in South America. The area is so bird-intensive that every 200 meters-or-so drop in altitude welcomes a change in the resident species of bird that live there. Another interesting fact while you adjust your binoculars: Ecuador covers only 0.02% of the earth’s land surface, yet provides a home for nearly 10% of all bird species found on the planet. And where do more of those species live? In the cloud forests of Ecuador.

Ladies and gentlemen, class is now in session. Please take notes.

Just to mention a few, some of which are endemic (unique) to this region: Tanager-Finch, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, Tanagers of all colors, Manakins, Cotingas, etc. And for hummingbirds, the number of different species in the Tandayapa and Mindo Valleys is perhaps a world record, with various places offering an unforgettable spectacle at very accessible feeders.

Ecuador’s “cloud forests” are conveniently located only one-and-a-half-hours from Quito. This fascinating ecosystem, literally cloaking the steep slopes of both sides of the Andes from about 1000 – 2500 meters, is amongst the most diverse ecosystems in the world.

A trip to the cloud forests makes for a relaxing day trip. But for those seeking more, check out our hotel link at

This is a true jungle in every sense of the word. Who needs a trip to the Amazon when everything you ever needed is right here. Tall trees decorated with a carpet of colorful flowers, deep green moss, and spears of sunlight that dance about you as it filters through the tree-line. And did we mention all the birds?

Steep slopes, bubbling waterfalls, and the only sound you hear is your footsteps along the verdant paths. You’ll feel like you’re the first person ever to set foot here. Who knows, maybe you are. Or maybe it’s just Ecuador’s way of making you feel at home.