19th December 2012 - 20th January 2013


Jocotoco Antpitta (Grallaria ridgelyi)

In November 1997, the renowned ornithologist Robert Ridgely and four of his colleagues discovered a new and very distinctive species of Antpitta in an area of especially wet temperate rainforest near Valladolid on the Loja-Zumba road. This precipitated the almost immediate formation of the Jocotoco Foundation and the purchase of the surrounding land to protect this charismatic species. After extensive surveys of the surrounding forests over the last 15 years, it appears the Jocotoco Antpitta has an extremely limited range and more than half of the known population resides within the boundaries of the Tapichalaca reserve.

Jocotoco Antpitta (Grallaria ridgelyi)

Despite its extreme rarity, a visit to Tapichalaca will almost guarantee very close views of the antpitta as you are allowed the opportunity to accompany the reserve warden to a feeding site deep within the forest where the birds have been habituated to receiving a meal of chopped earthworms every morning.

Cloud Forest - the area around the Tapichalaca Reserve is particulary wet, with over 5m of rain falling each year

Amethyst-throated Sunangel (Heliangelus amethysticollis)

The hummingbird feeders around the lodge were constantly busy, with 11 species visiting during the 3 days I stayed there.

Amethyst-throated Sunangel (Heliangelus amethysticollis)

Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Amethyst-throated Sunangel and Flame-throated Sunangels were the most numerous visitors.

Flame-throated Sunangel (Heliangelus micraster)

The colours on the throat of the Flame-throated Sunangel are dependent on the angle of the light. Like all hummingbirds the feathers are largely unpigmented, with the visible colours being generated by structure of the feathers refracting the light as it is reflected off their surface.

Flame-throated Sunangel (Heliangelus micraster)

The Flame-throated Sunangel is also known as Little Sunangel in some books.

Chestnut-breasted Coronet (Boissonneaua matthewsii)

Flame-throated Sunangel (Heliangelus micraster)

Speckled Hummingbird (Adelomyia melanogenys)

Masked Flowerpiercers were also frequent visitors to the nectar feeders.

Masked Flowerpiercer (Diglossopis cyanea)

Rufous-chested Tanager (Thlypopsis ornata)

Numerous species of tanager inhabit the forests in the reserve, but due to a combination of very wet weather and poor light I didn't have much luck in photographing many of them. The photo of the Grass-green Tanager below illustrates well just how wet it was for the majority of my stay in Tapichalaca.

Grass-green Tanager (Chlorornis riefferii)

Copalinga Back to map Jorupe