Posted by: atowhee | January 28, 2023


I am not a tropical bird expert. Two trips to Ecuador probably make me a notch above complete novice. I can tell a parrot family member from a motmot, a toucan from a troupial. But then you get to “which tanager is that?” These images are all from John Kloetzel’s recent stay in Cuenca. Using Lelis Navarette’s handbook, here are my best efforts at ID:

Juvenile Fasciated Tiger-heron. Below: Magpie Tanager; Swallow Tanager; Crested Owls; oropendola nest colony:

Green-and-gold Tanager
Turquoise Tanager
Plum-throated Cotinga
Pale-mandibled Aracari
Paradise Tanager

John Kloetzel added this note; “Harry, thanks for the bird ID’s.  Don’t be modest — it takes an expert!  These images were almost all shot at Sacha Lodge in the Amazon, not in Cuenca.  And there are 23 species of just tanagers among the 605 species shown the the Sacha Lodge birdbook that have been seen there!  Most of the photos were taken on my cheap iPhone thru the Fujinon spotting scope that our guide (Fausto Andy) carried with him on all the trips we made into the field from the Lodge.  He was a pro at getting the equipment lined up quickly for photography.”



  1. […] Click here for some Ecuador birds, blogged earlier. […]

  2. Nice pix, John. Think I was around for most of these shots. Thanks Harry for ID’ing them. Fausto was an excellent guide. Sacha Lodge has changed in the 16 years since Bernie, my cousin and wife and I visited there in 2007. The rain forest around Sacha has changed little but the encroachment of oil equipment (docks, ships, villages, etc) has certainly crept closer. The pygmy marmosets have vanished back into the woods from near the lodge where we saw them sucking sap and skittering about in the understory. Birds were plentiful but the cayman seem to have largely gone from the black water lake in front. We somehow missed seeing the Harpy Eagles after watching their nest for few minutes.

    The lodge itself was completely rebuilt sometime in the interim and the prices certainly haven’t gotten any cheaper! We had a single guide and the food program is much different. Coca, the airport and departure for down the Napo, has grown hugely and is a modern city in the Amazon rain forest now, complete with tony shops and tourists. No more little mud streets with seedy herbalist selling bottles of Dragon’s Blood.

    Sacha is still a great place for well-off people to visit but I wouldn’t guess for how long.

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