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COLOMBIA: Bogota, the Magdalena Valley & Santa Marta

White-whiskered Spinetail from the Guajira Peninsula, by guide Richard Webster
Energetic, endemic-oriented (30+) tour connecting reserves up the Magdalena Valley from Bogota to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

There are 1900 species of birds in Colombia. What would it take for you to see only one species? A blindfold in the transit lounge after the first species of swallow or Rufous-collared Sparrow, then right back onto the next plane, window shade drawn down! This is a rich, beautiful, and wonderful country with a truckload of birds -- it is so worth a visit!

And a visit is now practical. For a decade and more, Colombia has been steadily mending from its past political troubles, and in recent years we have returned to this diverse and rich country with varied itineraries that seek many of its range-restricted and threatened species while enjoying all those wonderful tropical birds of more widespread distribution. At the same time, there has been a steady growth in Colombian ornithology and the establishment of many private nature reserves to complement the public ones, all making locating many of the special birds more practical. Colombia has not yet had time to catch up to the ecotourism standards of its neighbors, and so while birding in Colombia is fun and feasible, there are a few more rough edges than on comparable tours in, for instance, Ecuador. All of our trips, however, have local support from our in-country operators and a local guide.

This is an energetic itinerary. We seek some endangered species that are not easy even when they are common. And many are not common -- they are officially Endangered. We will look for these and other tough ones, see some and miss some, and in the process also enjoy a number of endemics and regional specialties that are far easier while accumulating a very sizeable triplist for a sixteen-day period that includes visits to three small ProAves reserves with lodges that make seeing these specialties possible.

Hummingbirds slideshow

And the birds, you ask? Well, be sure to see our complete itinerary and recent triplists for the complete details (available through the links in the right sidebar), but a tiny sampler of the broad range of snazzy and special birds runs the gamut through the following: Northern Screamer, Chestnut-winged Chachalaca, White-tailed Starfrontlet, Blossomcrown, Glowing and Coppery-bellied pufflegs, Bronze-tailed and Black-backed thornbills, Santa Marta Parakeet, White-mantled Barbet, Chestnut Piculet, Beautiful Woodpecker, Antioquia Bristle-Tyrant, White-whiskered Spinetail, Sooty Ant-Tanager, Parker's Antbird, Recurve-billed Bushbird, Gray-throated Warbler, Turquoise Dacnis, and Vermilion Cardinal. And the tour will record hundreds of other species. Join Jesse for a wealth of great birds.

SPECIAL NOTE: This tour will be limited to just SIX participants, which means, of course, that it costs more than tours with larger limits. We realize that the price of a tour always matters, but we maintain the small limit for several reasons. First, lodges have very few rooms, and while we certainly can't promise singles, we would very much like to avoid triples. Second, comfort in the vehicles matters on a trip long in miles and days, and we would like to preserve an open seat or two in our bus and also reduce crowding when we use multiple 4WD vehicles on several segments of the tour. Third, a smaller group makes the birding easier. So when you see similar, less expensive itineraries with tour limits of 8, 9, and 10, please remember that there's a good reason for any price difference.

Download an itinerary, triplist(s), request space, and see more about this tour...

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2020 Departures
Jan 11-26 ($7975)

2021 Departures
Jan 9-24



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Guides for our tours
Mitch Lysinger
Jesse Fagan

What to Expect
Good to simple hotels and lodges; several long drives; steep trails at several locations (horseback helps on one day); high elevation on one day.

Our staff travel agents can assist you with tour information, flight reservations and tour bookings. Contact us at (800) 728-4953
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