Ecuador has an avifauna diversity that is unparalleled throughout the world. Of the 3000 species of birds inhabiting the continent of South America, over half of those species can be encountered in this small and friendly nation. What makes birding in Ecuador even more appealing is that most of these birds are easily accessible by public transportation.
It is the goal of this blog to highlight the avian beauty of this country through photographic images and in-depth descriptions.
I remember the first time I saw the Barred Fruiteater (see
full article here). I was walking the Black-breasted
Puffleg trail at Yanacocha
Reserve when I heard some rustling in the tree above me. It was a female. I
could see some movement but it was the bright orange beak and feet that helped
me recognize that it was something other than the breeze affecting the leaves.
She was about 6 feet over my head, sitting quietly amongst the damp moss. My
position was not the greatest for observation or photography but I was afraid
any sudden movement would send her on her way. So I watched and enjoyed the
moment as the morning dew dripped on my neck and trickled down my back.
I often wonder why some birds will remain in these more
disagreeable climates. They have wings; so why not seek a better location? I
probably ponder about this most when I am fighting the wind and snow flurries
up at Papallacta Pass. (I also debate why I am there.)
Female Barred Fruiteater (Pipreola arcuata)
The Barred Fruiteater prefers the high altitude rainforest
of the Andes Mountains, hiding amid the damp leaves and moss at mid heights. It
is not an exceptionally active bird so it is difficult to spot in its
surroundings. It is one of those species whose habits and environment need to
be studied before you can point it out to someone else. Many times people will
walk past, not noticing this beautiful inhabitant eyeing them from a safe
Although the Barred Fruiteater can be found on both the
eastern and western slopes of the Andes, I do not recall seeing it anywhere
other than at Yanacocha during my explorations. There I have seen it on several
occasions, generally back near the hummingbird feeders prior to the tunnel.
They were not at the feeders themselves but in the heavy foliage along the
paths leading from the area.
I enjoy birding in the company of others, either while
guiding or just out observing with friends. But there are times when it is
advantageous to bird alone. The first time I saw this handsome bird was one of
them. I believe that had I been with someone else I might have missed seeing
this beauty. Since then I have been able to share this experience with others
by know what and where to look for this illusive bird.
Places where you can observe the Barred Fruiteater are Guango
Lodge & Reserve, Huashapamba Forest Reserve, Podocarpus-Cajanuma, San
Isidro Reserve, Tapichalaca Reserve, and Yanacocha Reserve.