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Amazonas State, Venezuela. As one flies over the largely uninhabited, mountainous terrain from Puerto Ayacucho to Junglaven one is impressed by the sensation of visiting one of the world's last unexplored birding destinations. Indeed, this is part of the planet's largest tropical wilderness area and Junglaven is one of those few places where the ornithologist feels that great discoveries are still waiting to be made at any moment.
Situated on a tributary of the Rio Ventuari in the Upper Orinoco, Junglaven began as a fishing lodge in the early 1980s and birders did not discover it until 1990. Since then, over 400 species have been recorded, even though the prolonged dry season makes this a relatively species-poor area in comparison with other sites in Orinoquia-Amazonia. However, the attraction of Junglaven is not so much its diversity as the relative ease with which its specialist species can be seen.
This is one of the best localities to find the so called Imer endemics like Gray-legged Tinamou, Tawny-tufted Toucanet, Cherrie's Antwren, Yellow-crowned Manakin, Brown-headed Greenlet and Azure-naped Jay. Junglaven's terra firme forest provides your best chance anywhere to track down the elusive Rufous-winged Ground-Cuckoo. Other birds that have been hunted out elsewhere, like Gray-winged Trumpeter and Black Curassow, can be seen along the road.
The enormous extension of primary forest remaining in this area also provides habitat for large eagles like Crested Eagle and Harpy Eagle as well as the smaller Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle, Black Hawk-Eagle and Ornate Hawk-Eagle. Smaller forest inhabitants include Rusty-breasted Nunlet, Furnariids and antbirds such as Rufous-bellied Antwren, Dot-backed Antbird and Spot-backed Antwren, the latter usually in varzea forest. And like any Neotropical lowland forest there are tinamous, trogons, jacamars, parrots and so on.
Birds you can see here include:
Gray-legged Tinamou, Zigzag Heron, Agami Heron, Harpy Eagle, Crested Eagle, Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle, Blue-throated Piping Guan, Crestless Curassow, Gray-winged Trumpeter, Giant Snipe, Tepui Parrotlet, Rufous-winged Ground-Cuckoo, Long-tailed Potoo, Rufous Nightjar, Butterfly Coquette, Black-bellied Thorntail, Racquet-tailed Coquette, Green-tailed Goldenthroat, White-chested Emerald, Brown-banded Puffbird, Spotted Puffbird, Rusty-breasted Nunlet, Tawny-tufted Toucanet, Ivory-billed Aracari, Cinnamon-rumped Foliage-gleaner, Cherrie's Antwren, Rufous-bellied Antwren, Spot-backed Antwren, Dot-backed Antbird, Rufous-crowned Elaenia, Cinnamon-crested Spadebill, Pale-bellied Mourner, White-browed Purpletuft, Spangled Cotinga, Pompadour Cotinga, Amazonian Umbrellabird, Bare-necked Fruitcrow, Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock, Yellow-crested Manakin, Saffron-crested Tyrant-Manakin, Azure-naped Jay, White-bellied Dacnis
Areas of Interest
Boat trips on the 'Big Lagoon' are usually rewarded with Zigzag Heron as well as Agami Heron, Sunbittern and a host of other water birds including Green-and-rufous Kingfisher and American Pygmy Kingfisher and Amazonian Black Tyrant. Crestless Curassow are often drawn to the water at dusk and this is one of the easiest places to see them. Rivers are good places for cotingas such as Cotinga Pompadour and Spangled Cotinga and their larger cousins the Bare-necked Fruitcrow and Amazonian Umbrellabird. Savanna forest mosaic holds Brown-banded Puffbird and Spotted Puffbird, Green-tailed Goldenthroat, Pale-bellied Mourner (still the only site in Venezuela for this species), Rufous-crested Elaenia and groups of Orange-cheeked Parrot and other psittacids, while Moriche Oriole inhabitat the palm swamps. Night trips will usually produce Rufous Nightjar, Northern Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl, Crested Owl and Spectacled Owl as well as commoner species. The relatively poorly known Long-tailed Potoo has been seen regularly too.
Access and Facilities
Junglaven accommodation is typical basic Amazonian standard with a generator at night and simple - but good - food. Visits are generally limited to the dry season as high water levels close access to some parts of the property. Access is by commercial flight to Puerto Ayacucho and light plane to Junglaven Camp or by air charter.
Content and images originally posted by Xenopsaris