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Milpe Bird Sanctuary - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Steve Herrmann (Ecuadorrebel)
Entrance to Milpe Bird Sanctuary

South America, Ecuador


Lat: 0 01' 26" N Lon: 78 53' 39" W

Milpe Bird Sanctuary is part of Mindo Cloudforest Foundation. There are 100 ha (250 acres) of land covering an altitude range of 1020-1150m (3350-3770 ft). It is recognized by Birdlife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA). 255 different species of birds have been identified within the grounds and on a typical day one can expect to see between 30 and 50 different species. There are hummingbird feeders and tanager feeders set up near the main entrance. There is also a Club-winged Manakin lek which can be very entertaining when they do their song and dance.

Although any time is good for birding in this area, you can expect more rain during the months of January - March. However, rains normally occur in the afternoon and you can expect some relatively clear weather in the mornings. The temperatures are comfortable, averaging around 22 - 25 degrees C (72 - 78 degrees F) Long sleeve shirts and long pants (no shorts) are recommended for your comfort due to the biting insects. Rain gear should be carried in case of a sudden shower.

The trails are well maintained and could be rated as easy to moderate for walking. Boots would be recommended in the wetter months.


Notable Species

Choco endemic: Plumbeous Forest Falcon, Dark-backed Wood Quail, Pallid Dove, Purple Quail-Dove, Rose-faced Parrot, Choco Screech Owl (Chocó Screech Owl), Cloud-forest Pygmy Owl, Choco Poorwill, White-whiskered Hermit, Purple-chested Hummingbird, Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Brown Inca, Choco Trogon, Toucan Barbet, Pale-mandibled Aracari, Choco Toucan, Pacific Tuftedcheek, Uniform Treehunter, Esmeraldas Antbird, Pacific Flatbill, Long-wattled Umbrellabird, Club-winged Manakin, Choco Warbler, Yellow-collared Chlorophonia, Glistening-green Tanager, Rufous-throated Tanager, Gray-and-gold Tanager, Moss-backed Tanager, Ochre-breasted Tanager, Dusky Chlorospingus

Tubesian endemic: Red-masked Parakeet, Little Woodstar, Scarlet-backed Woodpecker, Guayaquil Woodpecker, Pacific Hornero, Rufous-winged Tyrannulet, Snowy-throated Kingbird, Ecuadorian Thrush

Austral migrant: Snowy-throated Kingbird

Boreal Migrant: Black-billed Cuckoo, Western Wood Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Cerulean Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Summer Tanager, Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Vurnerable: Plumbeous Forest-Falcon, Dark-backed Wood-Quail, Cloud-forest Pygmy-Owl, Little Woodstar, Long-wattled Umbrellabird, Cerulean Warbler

Rarities: Birds that are either rare, very difficult to see, or both.

Little Tinamou, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Osprey, Hook-billed Kite, Tiny Hawk, Bicolored Hawk, Plumbeous Hawk, Short-tailed Hawk, Black Hawk-Eagle, Plumbeous Forest Falcon, Collared Forest Falcon, Rufous-fronted Wood Quail, Dark-backed Wood Quail, White-throated Crake, Band-tailed Pigeon, Pallid Dove, Purple Quail-Dove, White-throated Quail-Dove, Red-masked Parakeet, Blue-fronted Parrotlet, Rose-faced Parrot, Black-billed Cuckoo, Barn Owl, Choco Screech Owl (Chocó Screech Owl), Rufescent Screech Owl, Crested Owl, Spectacled Owl, Mottled Owl, Common Potoo, Pauraque, Short-tailed Nighthawk, Choco Poorwill, Chimney Swift, Band-rumped Swift, White-tipped Sicklebill, Tooth-billed Hummingbird, Purple-chested Hummingbird, Brown Inca, White-booted Racket-tail, Long-billed Starthroat, Purple-throated Woodstar, Little Woodstar, Western White-tailed Trogon, Choco Black-throated Trogon, White-whiskered Puffbird, Lanceolated Monklet, Scarlet-backed Woodpecker, Crimson-bellied Woodpecker, Striped Woodhaunter (Western Woodhaunter), Uniform Treehunter, Strong-billed Woodcreeper, Brown-billed Scythebill, Great Antshrike, Rufous-rumped Antwren, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Greenish Elaenia, Rufous-winged Tyrannulet, Bronze-olive Pygmy Tyrant, Pacific Flatbill, Fulvous-breasted Flatbill, Orange-crested Flycatcher, Bright-rumped Attila, Rufous Mourner, Snowy-throated Kingbird, Black-tipped Cotinga, Long-wattled Umbrellabird, Black-billed Peppershrike, Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo, Tawny-crowned Greenlet, Speckled Nightingale-Thrush, Dagua Thrush, White-capped Dipper, Gray-mantled Wren, Mountain Wren, Cerulean Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Guira Tanager, Emerald Tanager, Golden-hooded Tanager, Scarlet Tanager, Dusky-faced Tanager, Tawny-crested Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Olive Finch


Birds you can see here include:

Western Cattle Egret, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Gray-headed Kite, Swallow-tailed Kite, Double-toothed Kite, Barred Hawk, Roadside Hawk, Barred Forest-Falcon, Laughing Falcon, Bat Falcon, Ruddy Pigeon, Maroon-tailed Parakeet, Bronze-winged Parrot, Squirrel Cuckoo, Little Cuckoo, Smooth-billed Ani, Striped Cuckoo, Cloud-forest Pygmy-Owl, White-collared Swift, Gray-rumped Swift, Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift, White-whiskered Hermit, Stripe-throated Hermit, Green Thorntail, Green-crowned Woodnymph, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Andean Emerald, Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Green-crowned Brilliant, White-throated Daggerbill, Purple-crowned Fairy, Golden-headed Quetzal, Choco Trogon, Collared Trogon, Broad-billed Motmot, Rufous Motmot, Barred Puffbird, Red-headed Barbet, Toucan Barbet, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Pale-mandibled Aracari, Choco Toucan, Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, Olivaceous Piculet, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Lineated Woodpecker, Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Smoky-brown Woodpecker, Guayaquil Woodpecker, Pacific Hornero, Slaty Spinetail, Red-faced Spinetail, Pacific Tuftedcheek, Spotted Barbtail, Lineated Foliage-gleaner, Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, Plain Xenops, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Spotted Woodcreeper, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Russet Antshrike, Pacific Antwren, Slaty Antwren, Dot-winged Antwren, Zeledon's Antbird, Esmeraldas Antbird, Rufous-breasted Antthrush, Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Sooty-headed Tyrannulet, Ashy-headed Tyrannulet, Golden-faced Tyrannulet, Southern Beardless Tyrannulet, Yellow-bellied Elaenia, Olive-striped Flycatcher, Slaty-capped Flycatcher, Yellow Tyrannulet, Scale-crested Pygmy Tyrant, Common Tody-Flycatcher, Ornate Flycatcher, Tawny-breasted Flycatcher, Bran-colored Flycatcher, Western Wood Pewee, Smoke-colored Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Long-tailed Tyrant, Masked Water Tyrant, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Social Flycatcher, Rusty-margined Flycatcher, Streaked Flycatcher, Piratic Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Cinnamon Becard, Black-and-white Becard, One-colored Becard, Masked Tityra, Black-crowned Tityra, Golden-winged Manakin, White-bearded Manakin, Club-winged Manakin, Red-eyed Vireo, Brown-capped Vireo, Lesser Greenlet, Andean Solitaire, Swainson's Thrush, Pale-vented Thrush, Ecuadorian Thrush, Blue-and-white Swallow, White-thighed Swallow, Southern Rough-winged Swallow, Band-backed Wren, Bay Wren, House Wren, Gray-breasted Wood-Wren, Scaly-breasted Wren (Southern Nightingale-Wren), Tropical Parula, Blackburnian Warbler, Olive-crowned Yellowthroat, Slate-throated Whitestart, Choco Warbler, Three-striped Warbler, Buff-rumped Warbler, Bananaquit, Purple Honeycreeper, Green Honeycreeper, Yellow-tufted Dacnis, Fawn-breasted Tanager, Yellow-collared Chlorophonia, Thick-billed Euphonia, Orange-bellied Euphonia, Glistening-green Tanager, Rufous-throated Tanager, Gray-and-gold Tanager, Golden Tanager, Silver-throated Tanager, Flame-faced Tanager, Blue-necked Tanager, Bay-headed Tanager, Moss-backed Tanager, Swallow Tanager, Blue-gray Tanager, Palm Tanager, Lemon-rumped Tanager, Summer Tanager, White-winged Tanager, Ochre-breasted Tanager, White-lined Tanager, White-shouldered Tanager, Dusky Chlorospingus, Yellow-throated Chlorospingus, Buff-throated Saltator, Black-winged Saltator, Slate-colored Grosbeak, Blue-black Grassquit, Dull-colored Grassquit, Lesser Seed Finch, Variable Seedeater, Yellow-bellied Seedeater, Dusky Brush Finch, Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch, Orange-billed Sparrow, Black-striped Sparrow, Rufous-collared Sparrow, Shiny Cowbird, Scrub Blackbird, Yellow-bellied Siskin

Other Wildlife

Mammals such as the Andean Spectacled Bear, plus many species of reptiles, amphibians and insects.

Site Information

History and Use

The Milpe Bird Sanctuary open to the public in March, 2004 with a total of 2010 ha (155 acres) of land. In August, 2010 MPS finalized the purchase of Mindo Gardens and have incorporated this into their reserve which now boasts 100 ha (250 acres). A trail has been constructed linking the two properties.

Areas of Interest

Mindo: A small town in northwestern Ecuador known worldwide for its great abundance of birds. Mindo has numerous hotels, hosterias and lodges to accommodate the avid birder. There are also various other activities available such as zip-lining across the mountain canyons, butterfly farms, tubing on the Mindo River, horseback riding, and 4-wheeling to name a few. There are an abundance of restaurants that cater to diverse pallets and many gift shops for the traveler. From here you can reach most of the reserves and sanctuaries throughout the area.

Access and Facilities

Milpe Bird Sanctuary is about a 1 1/2 hour drive outside Quito and approximately 20 minutes from the town of Mindo. It can easily be reached from Quito by bus or from Mindo by taxi.

From Quito go north past Mitad del Mundo, the park and monument marking the equator. The road will turn west going up into the mountains past volcano Pululahua and the village of Calacalí. Once past Calacalí the road will start down hill towards the coast. There will be a toll both ($.80 per car) before entering the twists and turns of the decent. The only major town along the route will be Nanegallita where you can pick up some refreshments. At Km 78 you will see the left turn towards the town of Mindo. Continue traveling on the main road until Km 91 and then look closely for the sign designating the Milpe Bird Sanctuary on the right. There will be a bus stop at this corner. Go down the gravel road .7 km to the entrance to the reserve on the right.

Entrance to the area is $6 regardless of nationality. The reserve has clean restrooms, a small restaurant, and a gift shop where you can buy t-shirts, bird books, and other novelties. There is a large parking area. Hummingbird and Tanager feeders are set up near the gift shop and they recently installed lighting to attract butterflies to the area. The paths are well maintained and range from easy to moderate in accessibility. There are two overlooks for viewing the surrounding mountains.

Contact Details

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: (5939) 355-1949, (5936) 260-6227

External Links

Content and images originally posted by Steve Herrmann (Ecuadorrebel)