EL ORO (w)

 Lat:03o33´S/79o59´W w slope premontane and montane forests 1,300ha, c.1000m 
Protected/registered status 
Best Time for visit (27th-28th July, 2006)


Birding Site Guide

This is another Jocotoco Foundation reserve with a number of threatened Tumbesian endemics and other birds of interest. It is easily accessed by public transport and the nearby town of Piñas makes a good base. There is also accommodation in the reserve but it is expensive. Piñas is a medium-sized town with several places to stay, eat and an internet cafe. I stayed at the apartment in Piñas used by biologists working in the reserve and was lucky enough to be accompanied by Mary Elizabeth Juiñes This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. into the field on one day to look for the Endemic El Oro Parakeet (which we only heard). Piñas can be reached by direct buses from Loja or Cuenca. From Piñas, there are half hourly buses that leave to Machala from a place called 'Cinco esquinas' and pass by the reserve. There are several places you can enter. 

The nearest place to Piñas only takes 20 minutes and is called 'La Urna' (the bus costing less than a dollar), a big blue, concrete shrine which all the drivers know. From here, you can walk along a gravel track which starts at about 1000m in altitude and goes down to the Umbrellabird Lodge at about 500m(?). The walk takes several hours but there is excellent birding. I saw several Rufous-headed Chachalacas at the start of the road. About halfway down, there is a trail or to the right called 'Sendero de los Pericos' which can be a good place to look for the El Oro Parakeet in the morning. I only heard them here, but saw Bronze-olive Pygmy-Tyrant, Blue-black Grosbeak and Pale-mandibled Aracari. Before the lodge, there is a trail off to the left to forest with a reliable Long-wattled Umbrellbird lek. You really need to be there first thing in the morning though. Below the lodge is supposedly a reliable site for the Grey-backed Hawk which I also failed to see here. 

Another entrance is at 'Jardin de los Colibries' further down from the Urna. There are many feeders here and you can see many species of hummingbird. There are also feeders around the lodge with most of the same species. By the 'Jardin' there is also a house belonging to a guardaparque named Valdamiro. You might be asked to pay here ($15 for foreigners), and if not you can pay when you get up to the lodge, about 40 minutes’ walk from the road. The 3rd entrance is by a place called Selva Alegre. This is a big swimming pool complex. This is the furthest to the lodge and is better to access in a car. At a curve in the road, just before a big sign reading 'Ben Olewine', is where I saw Ochraceous Attila. My second day, I accompanied Mery Elizabeth to a place on the other side of the main road called Cresta Polo, not normally accessible to the public, which is one of the best spots to see the parakeets. This season is apparently difficult to see the species. In January though, they are apparently guaranteed. I saw 118 species including 12 lifers 


Species seen 

  • Snowy Egret Egretta thula
  • Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
  • Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
  • Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway
  • Laughing Falcon Herpetotheres cachinnans Photographed Recorded
  • Rufous-headed Chachalaca Ortalis erythroptera Vulnerable
  • Band-tailed Pigeon Patagioenas fasciata Seen nearby
  • Plumbeous Pigeon Patagioenas plumbea Heard only
  • Ruddy Pigeon Patagioenas subvinacea
  • White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
  • Red-masked Parakeet Aratinga erythrogenys Near-threatened
  • El Oro Parakeet Pyrrhura orcesi Endemic Endangered Heard
  • Pacific Parrotlet Forpus coelestis
  • Bronze-winged Parrot Pionus chalcopterus Photographed Recorded
  • Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
  • Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani
  • Gray-rumped Swift Chaetura cinereiventris Photographed
  • White-whiskered Hermit Phaethornis yaruqui Photographed
  • (Baron's Hermit) Phaethornis baroni Photographed
  • White-necked Jacobin Florisuga mellivora Photographed
  • Brown Violet-ear Colibri delphinae Photographed Recorded
  • Green Thorntail Discosura conversii Photographed
  • (Emerald-bellied Woodnymph) Thalurania hypochlora Photographed
  • Violet-bellied Hummingbird Damophila julie Photographed
  • Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl Photographed
  • Andean Emerald Agyrtria franciae Photographed
  • Fawn-breasted Brilliant Heliodoxa rubinoides
  • Green-crowned Brilliant Heliodoxa jacula
  • Brown Inca Coeligena wilsoni
  • Gorgeted Sunangel Heliangelus strophianus Possibly seen
  • Booted Racket-tail Ocreatus underwoodii
  • Violet-tailed Sylph Aglaiocercus coelestis
  • Purple-crowned Fairy Heliothryx barroti
  • Collared Trogon Trogon collaris
  • Masked Trogon Trogon personatus
  • Broad-billed Motmot Electron platyrhynchum Heard only. Recorded
  • Crimson-rumped Toucanet Aulacorhynchus haematopygus
  • (Pale-mandibled Aracari) Pteroglossus erythropygius
  • Choco Toucan Ramphastos brevis
  • (Chestnut-mandibled Toucan) Ramphastos swainsonii
  • Olivaceous Piculet Picumnus olivaceus
  • Smoky-brown Woodpecker Veniliornis fumigatus
  • Guayaquil Woodpecker Campephilus gayaquilensis Near-threatened. Photographed
  • (Pacific Hornero) Furnarius leucopus
  • Azara's Spinetail Synallaxis azarae
  • Slaty Spinetail Synallaxis brachyura
  • Spotted Barbtail Premnoplex brunnescens
  • Plain Xenops Xenops minutus Recorded
  • Plain-brown Woodcreeper Dendrocincla fuliginosa
  • Wedge-billed Woodcreeper Glyphorynchus spirurus Photographed
  • Spotted Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus erythropygius Photographed
  • Great Antshrike Taraba major
  • Uniform Antshrike Thamnophilus unicolor
  • Plain Antvireo Dysithamnus mentalis
  • Slaty Antwren Myrmotherula schisticolor
  • Immaculate Antbird Myrmeciza immaculata Recorded
  • Rufous-breasted Antthrush Formicarius rufipectus Heard only
  • Golden-winged Manakin Masius chrysopterus
  • Mouse-colored Tyrannulet Phaeomyias murina
  • Yellow Tyrannulet Capsiempis flaveola
  • Olive-striped Flycatcher Mionectes olivaceus
  • Slaty-capped Flycatcher Leptopogon superciliaris
  • Bronze-olive Pygmy-Tyrant Pseudotriccus pelzelni Recorded
  • Rufous-winged Tyrannulet Mecocerculus calopterus
  • Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant Lophotriccus pileatus
  • Common Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum cinereum
  • Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher Myiobius sulphureipygius
  • Tropical Pewee Contopus cinereus Recorded
  • Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
  • Ochraceous Attila Attila torridus Vulnerable. Photographed
  • Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer
  • Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua
  • Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis
  • Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
  • Black-and-white Becard Pachyramphus albogriseus
  • One-colored Becard Pachyramphus homochrous Photographed
  • Blue-and-white Swallow Notiochelidon cyanoleuca
  • Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis
  • Fasciated Wren Campylorhynchus fasciatus
  • House Wren Troglodytes aedon
  • Gray-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucophrys
  • Song Wren Cyphorhinus phaeocephalus
  • Andean Solitaire Myadestes ralloides
  • Plumbeous-backed Thrush Turdus reevei
  • Ecuadorian Thrush Turdus maculirostris
  • Tropical Parula Parula pitiayumi
  • Masked Yellowthroat Geothlypis aequinoctialis
  • Slate-throated Redstart Myioborus miniatus
  • Gray-and-gold Warbler Basileuterus fraseri
  • Three-banded Warbler Basileuterus trifasciatus
  • Bananaquit Coereba flaveola
  • Common Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus ophthalmicus
  • White-shouldered Tanager Tachyphonus luctuosus
  • Flame-rumped Tanager Ramphocelus flammigerus
  • Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus
  • Fawn-breasted Tanager Pipraeidea melanonota
  • Thick-billed Euphonia Euphonia laniirostris
  • Orange-bellied Euphonia Euphonia xanthogaster
  • Golden Tanager Tangara arthus
  • Silver-throated Tanager Tangara icterocephala
  • Bay-headed Tanager Tangara gyrola
  • Golden-naped Tanager Tangara ruficervix
  • Beryl-spangled Tanager Tangara nigroviridis
  • Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza Photographed
  • Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina
  • Variable Seedeater Sporophila corvina
  • Saffron Finch Sicalis flaveola
  • Tricolored Brush-Finch Atlapetes tricolor
  • Orange-billed Sparrow Arremon aurantiirostris
  • Black-striped Sparrow Arremonops conirostris
  • Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis
  • Streaked Saltator Saltator striatipectus
  • Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus
  • Black-winged Saltator Saltator atripennis
  • Blue-black Grosbeak Cyanocompsa cyanoides
  • Scrub Blackbird Dives warszewiczi
  • Yellow-bellied Siskin Carduelis xanthogastra
  • Lesser Goldfinch Carduelis psaltria

Other Fauna 
A total of -- species of mammals. 

There are -- recorded species of amphibians and reptiles. 

Author: Charles Hesse