SUCRE (Sucre), (ne)

Lat:00o00´S/00o00´W 37,500ha 0-1370m, coastal mountains with xerophytic scrub through to cloud forest 
Protected/registered status 
Best Time for visit (3rd & 5th October, 2006)


Birding Site Guide

Cerro Humo is an excellent site and is fairly easy to reach but may involve some walking or hitching if you don't have your own transport. From the terminal in Carupano, take a 'por puesto' to Irapa on the Paria Peninsular. This takes about an hour and a half and costs 14,000B. Cars leave for Guiria more often (17,000) and you could take one of those and get off at the junction. Irapa has 2 or 3 hotels charging about 30,000 but I found a small posada for just 10,000 2 blocks east from the church. There are plenty of shops to buy food and even 2places for internet although it is slow. If you have your own transport, staying in Irapa is your best bet as it only takes about 45 minutes to get to the forest. 

On public transport it takes longer and you arrive late. Ask people where camionetas leave for Rio Grande Arriba (not Abajo, this is a different place). There are 2 main streets in Irapa, the street in and the street out. Wait on a corner by the farmacia on the way out and ask people which camioneta goes to Rio Grande Arriba. This goes back along the road towards Carupano and then turns right and up into the village. From here, the road continues up to Las Melenas (another 25 minutes’ drive) but few vehicles go along here. I went up 2 days, getting a ride one day but not the other. It's about a 2 hour walk. Alternatively you can ask around in Rio Grande for someone to take you up. I was quoted 30,000B which seemed a bit pricey. 

Las Melenas is a little village on a steep road. There don't seem to be any shops or a place to stay. Towards the end of the road is a school, just after which is a small coffee plantation with many flowering plants on the other side. This was an excellent area for hummers (especially White-tailed Sabrewing) and parakeets (Venezualan and possibly Golden-winged). Right at the end of the road is a white building that is the national park post. There was nobody there when I passed but I looked in the window and saw several beds and a kitchen. It might be worth asking around in town if you can stay here.

From here, there is a trail up into the forest. It starts at about 800m and reaches the peak (not Cerro Humo) at about 1100m. The trail continues down the other side and ends in a stream with a nice waterfall at about 650m. I found the best area was after the peak at about 930m where I found a flowering tree full of Scissor-tailed Hummingbirds in the canopy. Paria Whitestart also seems more common on the other side although I even saw it next to the park building. Listen out for Ornate Hawk-eagle on the way up. Lower down, there was a fork in the trail, the left leading downwards may have been the trail to Cerro Humo mentioned in Wheatley. I followed this along and passed a great area for White-tailed Sabrewings. The trail wasn't too clear though so I turned back. To climb Cerro Humo, it might be a good idea to hire a local guide. I saw 87 species including 6 lifers.

Species seen

  • Little Tinamou Crypturellus soui Heard only Recorded
  • Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens
  • Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
  • Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
  • Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris
  • Ornate Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus ornatus Heard only Recorded
  • Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway
  • Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima
  • Rufous-vented Chachalaca Ortalis ruficauda Heard in Irapa
  • Laughing Gull Larus atricilla Seen along coast from Carupano
  • Ruddy Pigeon Patagioenas subvinacea Heard only
  • Common Ground-Dove Columbina passerina
  • Ruddy Ground-Dove Columbina talpacoti
  • White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi Possibly heard
  • Gray-fronted Dove Leptotila rufaxilla
  • White-eared Parakeet Pyrrhura leucotis
  • Golden-winged Parakeet Brotogeris chrysopterus
  • Blue-headed Parrot Pionus menstruus
  • Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
  • Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani
  • White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris Possibly seen
  • Gray-rumped Swift Chaetura cinereiventris Possibly seen
  • Fork-tailed Palm-Swift Tachornis squamata
  • Rufous-breasted Hermit Glaucis hirsuta
  • Green Hermit Phaethornis guy
  • Little Hermit Phaethornis longuemareus Possibly seen
  • White-tailed Sabrewing Campylopterus ensipennis Near-threatened Recorded
  • Blue-chinned Sapphire Chlorostilbon notatus
  • Fork-tailed Woodnymph Thalurania furcata
  • Copper-rumped Hummingbird Saucerottia tobaci
  • Scissor-tailed Hummingbird Hylonympha macrocerca Endemic Vulnerable Recorded
  • Collared Trogon Trogon collaris Recorded
  • Red-billed Toucan Ramphastos tucanus
  • Red-crowned Woodpecker Melanerpes rubricapillus
  • Golden-olive Woodpecker Piculus rubiginosus
  • Chestnut Woodpecker Celeus elegans
  • Stripe-breasted Spinetail Synallaxis cinnamomea Heard only Recorded
  • Plain-brown Woodcreeper Dendrocincla fuliginosa
  • Olivaceous Woodcreeper Sittasomus griseicapillus
  • Black-banded Woodcreeper Dendrocolaptes picumnus
  • Great Antshrike Taraba major Heard only
  • Barred Antshrike Thamnophilus doliatus Recorded
  • Slaty Antwren Myrmotherula schisticolor
  • White-fringed Antwren Formicivora grisea
  • Black-faced Antthrush Formicarius analis
  • Slate-crowned Antpitta Grallaricula nana
  • Handsome Fruiteater Pipreola formosa Endemic
  • Forest Elaenia Myiopagis gaimardii
  • Yellow-bellied Elaenia Elaenia flavogaster
  • Slaty-capped Flycatcher Leptopogon superciliaris
  • Yellow-olive Flycatcher Tolmomyias sulphurescens
  • Cinnamon Flycatcher Pyrrhomyias cinnamomea
  • Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
  • Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua Heard only
  • Rusty-margined Flycatcher Myiozetetes cayanensis
  • Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis
  • Piratic Flycatcher Legatus leucophaius
  • Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
  • Gray-breasted Martin Progne chalybea
  • Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis
  • Rufous-breasted Wren Thryothorus rutilus Recorded
  • House Wren Troglodytes aedon
  • White-necked Thrush Turdus albicollis
  • Brown-capped Vireo Vireo leucophrys
  • Rufous-browed Peppershrike Cyclarhis gujanensis
  • Tropical Parula Parula pitiayumi
  • Cerulean Warbler Dendroica cerulea Possibly seen
  • Yellow-faced (Paria) Redstart Myioborus pariae Endemic Endangered
  • Three-striped Warbler Basileuterus tristriatus
  • Bananaquit Coereba flaveola
  • Oleaginous Hemispingus Hemispingus frontalis Possibly seen
  • White-lined Tanager Tachyphonus rufus
  • Silver-beaked Tanager Ramphocelus carbo
  • Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus
  • Blue-capped Tanager Thraupis cyanocephala
  • Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum
  • Thick-billed Euphonia Euphonia laniirostris
  • Speckled Tanager Tangara guttata
  • Bay-headed Tanager Tangara gyrola
  • Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina
  • Yellow-bellied Seedeater Sporophila nigricollis
  • Grayish Saltator Saltator coerulescens
  • Blue-black Grosbeak Cyanocompsa cyanoides
  • Carib Grackle Quiscalus lugubris Seen in Irapa
  • Giant Cowbird Molothrus oryzivorus Possibly seen
  • Yellow Oriole Icterus nigrogularis
  • Orange-crowned Oriole Icterus auricapillus

Other Fauna 
A total of -- species of mammals. 

There are -- recorded species of amphibians and reptiles. 


Author: Charles Hesse