Archive for the ‘hummingbirds’ Category


July 21, 2017

PIB has great trips to various habitat zones in Ecuador. And there’s a book you want to take with you. It’s the first-ever, one volume nature guide for anyone headed to Ecuador’s wondrous mountains and rain forest and arid western slopes:
Wildlife of Ecuador:
A Photographic Field Guide to Birds, Mammals, Reptiles, and Amphibians

Andrés Vásquez Noboa. Photography by Pablo Cervantes Daza. Princeton Press. 2017. $29.95.
I wish I’d had a book like this when I was in Ecuador…or even Panama where I got far too close to a pit viper without recognizing it. The bird section is fine but the real value is in all those other critters: face-to-face shots with snakes. It’s the head that matters…look for the heat-sensing pits. You may want to keep your birding guide nearby or back at the ecolodge because only breeding plumage shots are given for most avian species.
Now I know there are two species of agouti in Ecuador and I saw the black in Coca. Not sure even my bird guide knew there were two, certainly didn’t tell us.
Superbly clear range maps. Both English and Latin indices.
My favorite Ecuadoran bird is at the top of page 140…the Collared Inca.
Yellow-tufted Woodpecker:
Yellow-tufted Woodp.Great Ani:Great Ani2Hoatzin at Sani Lodge:Hoatzin pairSquirrel monkey:squirrel monk on limb
Swallow-tailed Kite over Napo River in Amazon Basin:ST Kite over Napo River


July 4, 2016

Here is a great reason to go birding in western Ecuador.  This is the endemic White-tailed Jay:White-tailed_JayAnd now the Princeton University Press has issued a photographic guide to the birds of Western Ecuador.  Living here in the Pacific Northwest I first notice the birds that aren’t found in this part of the Neotropics.  No scoters, no alcids. But then you settle in to thumb through the book and you notice 8 raptors named “kite,”  over 20 members of the dove/pigeon family, three pages of tinamous and guans (think big pheasants in the forest).  Toucans, barbets (my favorite gang of tropical thugs), hummingbirds for page after page, Tanagers, endless tyrant flycatchers, antwrens and antvireos and antbirds,  Finally near the back of the book you get to the euphonias, dressed like a junior high marching band.euphoniaThis is a Thick-billed Euphonia.

The book includes range maps for each species showing its range across Ecuador.  The book does NOT include the Galapagos.   If you go after that White-tailed Jay, take this book along. Partnership for International Birding offers a panoply of birding trips to Ecuador.  Check ’em out.

ecuador cover

Birds of Western Ecuador:
A Photographic Guide
Nick Athanas & Paul J. Greenfield
With special contributions from Iain Campbell, Pablo Cervantes Daza, Andrew Spencer & Sam Woods

Paperback | 2016 | $45.00 |  ISBN: 9780691157801
448 pp. | 6 1/2 x 10 | 1,500 color photos. 946 maps.  It is also available as an ebook.


August 30, 2013

One of our ace guides, Lelis Navarette, regularly leads tours across Peru and into the Amazon Basin. One on of his trips there was an avid blogger, Judy Liddell. Click here for link to her blogs about Peru.
Wait’ll you see her pics of the Masked-crimson Tanager and the Russet-crowned Coquette, a hummer with more attitude than even normal.

We do a number of Peru itineraries and none will disappoint. Click to see what we offer and when the next trip is.

And here is one of Lelis’ fine photos, this a Many-spotted Hummingbird:ManyspottedHummingbirdbyLelisleft


January 31, 2013

Cornell University’s Ornithology Lab is putting together a comprehensive list and description of Neotropical birds online. Here is the link. I am about to get my first look at Panama’s avians so this site has been fun to explore. I’m on one of our PIB trips with a great local guide.
This Neotropical site works very much like the Birds of North America Online which I find to be a valuable resaource when I am writing about our native birds here in the U.S. The Noetropical site already has 4000 species, more than 4 times the total on the older BNA site. Such is the species diversity of Central and South America plus the Caribean Islands. We regularly get four breeding species of tanager in North America, further south there are many dozens. Even more flycatchers in Latin America than any other family, nearly 400 species.


June 15, 2012

This is our partner and guide, Harry Fuller, on the left with Sandy Komito. Mr. Komito is the holder of the Big Year record of 748 species seen in a calendar year in North America. He set that record back in 1998 and nobody’s been able to reach that number since. Now Mr.Komito’s on a new lifelist quest and PIB was happy to help him find some of his target birds in southern Oregon.
This is the Calliope Hummingbird that became #575 on Komito’s Mr. Camera lifelist. That’s the number of North American birds photographed in the past fourteen months on his new digital camera. Komito’s image of the Calliope was far better than this one taken by Fuller.
We also helped him add five more species to the lifelist, so Komito left Oregon with a total of 580 species photographed. The other new ones: Western Wood-Pewee, Vaux’s Swift, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Pacific-slope Flycatcher and Williamson’s Sapsucker.

All these birds were found within a fifty miles radius of Ashland, Oregon.

So if you’re on a personal quest to see a particular bird or group of birds, let PIB’s professional guiding staff help you get your target.  We especially enjoy working with photographers.


April 27, 2012

The National Geographic has just published new images and information on the remarkable courtship ritual of the Club-winged Mannikin.  A little bird with a big performance.  This one of the many wonderful birds you can see if you book an Ecuador birding trip through Partnership for International Birding.  One of our clients just returned from a week-long birding trip with over forty species of hummingbird, and just as many tanagers.  Come along, and see for yourself.

Take a look at this little gem:

A Booted Rackettail, one of the Andean hummers you should see on our Ecuador trip.



November 9, 2011

Paris for art, Himalayas for altitude, Peru for birds.  The biodiversity in Peru is tops in the League.  No other nation has as many bird species.  There are over 1800 species known to have occurred in Peru.  There are over 100 endemics and one-fifth of those are endangered.  From a rainless desert to mountains over 20,000 feet high. From the Pacific littoral to the
Amazon Basin, Peru provided a myriad of habitats, climate zones and hundreds upon hundreds of bird species. With a
few months in the field you would see more Peruvian birds than Owen Wilson’s character in the entire “Bird Year” portrayed in the movie.

Now PIB has a relaxed pace trip next summer that can get you started on your Peruvian life list.  We’ll confine ourselves to the northwestern section of the country.  But your trip list will still includes hundfeds of species and some birds you can see nowhere else.

This trip will move from Chiclayo on the Pacific Coast eastward into the montane forest around Jaen and on to Abra Patricia.  We will bird in the dry coastal forest and the humid Andean forests above 7000’ elevation.  We’ll spend more than a full day birding the Chaparri Reserve where nearly 3 dozen endemics have been recorded.  In the Andes we’ll bird Abra Patricia mountain pass.  Among the birds we’ll seek here is Johnson’sTody-tyrant, first described just ten years ago.

Click here for links to fuller itinerary.

The trip next summer (July, 2012) is organized for the Lucky Birgade, a group of birders who want a good trip list but also espouse an easier pace.  Usually at least two nights in a given location so each morning doesn’t mean packing and moving.

Pictures from top: Parrot-billed Seedeater.  Marvelous Saptuletail. Purple-backed Sunbird.  Now get those reservations and start studying your field guide.  It’s two inches thick.


September 13, 2011

Partnershipfor International Birding now has 80 trips scheduled for 2012 with a score more in the works.  Check out our website for the list.  We can take you to almost every birdable cranny of the planet.  And you’ll be in small groups, not with a busload.

AFRICA:  We now have trips to Gambia, South Africa, Namibia, Malawi, Ghana, Uganda. There are many birds you’ll never see if you don’t get to Africa.

This four-foot high, pedestrian pelican is the Shoebill.  He lives in papyrus swamps around Lake Victoria in Uganda.  Once we’d seen this guy at eye-level from our small canoe the other hundreds of birds, the numerous antelope species, the elephants, the warthogs digging up the lawn…those were all a bonus.  Shoebill is the single best reason to bird Uganda.  He won’t show up as a vagrant at Cape May.

ASIA: India, Phillipines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia.

In all our overseas trips we use only the best local guides.  We stay in local eco-lodges.  And we plan these trips with your lifelist in mind.  And we can get you to six continents and then get you to the birds you want to see.

This colorful character is the Masked Trogon female.  She liked hunting outside our breakfast hall at one Ecaudoran lodge.

LATIN AMERICA; Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Costa Rica, Panama, Argentina,
Guyana.  And our Ecuador trips can include a few days in the amazing world of Darwin’s Galapagos.

OCEANA: New Zealand and Australia, where the endemics are pandemic.  Don’t you want a couple Kiwis and a Kookabura on your life list?

We can put together custom trips for your small group of birding friends so you get the time to find your target birds.

NORTH AMERICA AND EUROPE.  Of course we also provide great trips in the U.S. From Lark Bunting to Hermit Warbler.  From Sprague’s Pipit to Cassin’s Auklet, we have the trip you need to fill out your lifelist.  North Dakota, Colorado, Pacific Northwest for winter specialties from the Arctic, Northern California, Tennessee in spring.  If you hanker after some of Europe’s goodies, we can plan your trip for Great-crested Grebe, Black and Red Kite, Hoopoe or Wallcreeper.  From Spain to the U.K.  Or from Turkey to France, we have your ideal bird trip to the Old World.  Below: a Common Shelduck at the Camargue in southern France.  Then a Pied Wagtail playing the ancient field at Stonehenge.


July 30, 2011

If you’ve been birding east of Sierra most of your life, you’re missing something.  Definitely you’re missing a list of birds that are awaiting your visit to the Pacific Slope.  The Pacific-slope Flycatcher would be one.

Here is one of the Pacific-slope Flycatchers I watched carrying insects to a nest in July.  And there’s the nest on the ledge of a park service building at Pt. Reyes National Seashore.  The large object next to it is my wallet for a size comparison.

Note this bird’s broken eye-ring, short wing extension, moderately heavy beak.  Also a bit of a crest showing.

To see this bird, let PIB plan your spring visit.  At that time of year you’ll also see Allen’s Hummingbird, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Brandt’s Cormorant, Hooded Oriole, Hermit Warbler, California Thrasher.  With some luck, we may find Lawrence’s Goldfinch.

If autumn is a better time for you to travel, try this:  Wandering Tattler, Surfbird and Black Turnstone sharing the same seaside boulders.  Hundreds of Red-throated and Pacific Loons on migration.  All three scoters.  Check out the southbound raptors with Golden Gate Raptor Observatory on Hawk Hill with a stunning view of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.  Heermann’s Gull and Elegant Tern.

Here’s a Heermann’s landing on the beach.

Here’s a Surfbird on his beloved coastal rock.

This is a seaside scene you can find any time of year:  Western Gull loafing, Pelagic Cormorant clearing debris from its water-soaked plumage before the next dive.  Other year round birds in Northern California include White-tailed Kite, western Red-shouldered Hawk, Hutton’s Vireo, Anna’s Hummingbird, California Towhee, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Oak Titmouse and Wrentit:

The Wrentit, on the berry branch here, is the only American species in the large, Old World family of babblers.  They’re all brownish, secretive, forest birds.  Only Wrentit made it across the Siberian land bridge to Oregon and California. It is one of the most sedentary birds in North America.  It will NOT show up at a feeder in Colorado or Minnesota.

And there’s this guy, a California endemic.  Not many states in the U.S. even have an endemic species, right?  This Yellow-billed Magpie is 50% of the endemic species of California.  The other is also a Corvid, the Island Scrub-jay.  An extension to our regular California birding trip can get you BOTH of these endemics.


The tour leader is Harry Fuller who has over two decades of California field trip experience.  In less than 5o0 square miles of San Francisco’s urban habitat he has well over 300 lifetime species.


October 13, 2010

Old Winnie the Pooh was fond of an occasional “hummy kind of day.”  Well, he would’ve loved Ecuador.  Every day hums.  On our recent weeklong trip to the Andes and the Amazon Basin we had nearly forty species of hummingbird.  I’ve long avowed a deep love for the Collared Inca.

Dontcha just dig that purple crown? Anyway, if the Collared Inca throws me over, refuses to show up, just decides to go elsewhere when I’m around…well, I could be seduced by the smaller Golden-tailed Sapphire.  Here are three shots I got while watching this beauts at Wild Sumaco on the eastern slope of the Andes, southeast of Quito.  Elevation about 1800 meters.

Of course, there was a tropical downpour when I first saw these guys.  But later…

But if you’re one of those for whom size matters in matters of the heart, here’s the imposing Swordbill at Guango Lodge:

So go see these hummers for yourself, here’s a link to our 2011 Ecuador trip schedule and details.