• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Upper Rio Napo - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 21:10, 10 July 2023 by Njlarsen (talk | contribs) (update link)

Stub.png This article is incomplete.
This article is missing one or more sections. You can help the BirdForum Opus by expanding it.

Photo by Robert Scanlon
Olive-spotted Hummingbird, Location: nr Iquitos, Peru; type specimen collected 1959 at Misahualli, Upper Rio Napo, Ecuador

South America, Ecuador


Possibly the most accessible (at least from Quito) region offering access to eastern (Amazonian) tropical lowlands. Largest populated point of reference is Tena, at about 500 meters in elevation. Some visitor accommodations are found along the Rio Napo at Misahualli, and a few "jungle lodges" can be found a short distance downriver.

The best known Upper Rio Napo birding site is probably Jatun Sacha Biological Station (approximately 400 meters in elevation), owned and operated by Fundacion Jatun Sacha. According to Ridgely & Greenfield (2001) it "encompasses several thousand hectares of primary terra firme forest, with smaller areas of secondary woodland and floodplain habitat". The reserve is positioned between the Rio Napo and the smaller Rio Arajuno, with trails reaching into forested habitats. The adjacent privately-owned Arajuno Jungle Lodge also offers a trail system that connects to that of Jatun Sacha.

This region is just to the west (or on the western fringe) of the Upper Amazonian-Napo Lowlands Endemic Bird Area: [1], or (per Ridgely & Tudor 1989) the Napo (Upper Amazonian) Lowland Endemic Center.

In Tena itself a respectable list reportedly can be compiled at and around Hotel Auca, including trails along Rio Misahualli.

Nearby foothills & subtropical birding sites include Loreto Road, Pacto Sumaco, and Wildsumaco Lodge & Reserve.


Notable Species

A Jatun Sacha checklist (most recently updated 2008) compiled by Bonnie Bochan [2] lists 563 species seen at or near the reserve, though the only status indicator included is for very rare species and for those species with no recent records. Of the 563 species listed, 459 are not coded as rare or recently undocumented. Notably among those are eight tinamou species, Masked Duck, Cocoi Heron, Striated Heron, Gray-headed Kite, Slender-billed Kite, Tiny Hawk, Slate-colored Hawk, Black-faced Hawk, four Forest-Falcons, Nocturnal Curassow, Salvin's Curassow, Marbled Wood-Quail, Sunbittern, Sungrebe, Yellow-billed Tern, Scaled Pigeon, Sapphire Quail-Dove, Blue-and-yellow Macaw, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Red-bellied Macaw, Orange-cheeked Parrot, Hoatzin, Dark-billed Cuckoo, Black-bellied Cuckoo, Little Cuckoo, Pheasant Cuckoo, Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, Black-banded Owl, Oilbird, Long-tailed Potoo, Ocellated Poorwill, Blackish Nightjar, Pale-tailed Barbthroat, Black-throated Hermit, Buff-tailed Sicklebill, Black-bellied Thorntail, Spangled Coquette, Blue-chinned Sapphire, Olive-spotted Hummingbird (type specimens taken at Misahualli in 1959, identified 1972), Fiery Topaz, Pavonine Quetzal, Blue-crowned Trogon, Black-throated Trogon, Broad-billed Motmot, four jacamars, Chestnut-capped Puffbird, Collared Puffbird, White-chested Puffbird, Lanceolated Monklet, Brown Nunlet, Yellow-billed Nunbird, Lemon-throated Barbet, Rufous-breasted Piculet, Red-necked Woodpecker, White-bellied Spinetail, Parker's Spinetail, Speckled Spinetail, Point-tailed Palmcreeper, Eastern Woodhaunter (or Striped Woodhaunter), Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner, Brown-rumped Foliage-gleaner, Chestnut-crowned Foliage-gleaner, Long-tailed Woodcreeper, Ocellated Woodcreeper, Red-billed Scythebill, ten antshrikes, ten antwrens, Blackish Antbird. Black Antbird, White-browed Antbird, Black Bushbird, Reddish-winged Bare-eye, Striated Antthrush, Scaled Antpitta, White-lored Antpitta. Thrush-like Antpitta, Ash-throated Gnateater, Ringed Antpipit, Sepia-capped Flycatcher, White-eyed Tody-Tyrant, Black-and-white Tody-Flycatcher, Golden-winged Tody-Flycatcher, Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher, Brownish Twistwing, Fuscous Flycatcher, Sulphury Flycatcher, Green Manakin, Dusky-capped Greenlet, Tawny-crowned Greenlet, Wing-banded Wren, Fulvous Shrike-Tanager, Slate-colored Grosbeak, Black-and-white Seedeater, Large-billed Seed-Finch, Black-billed Seed-Finch, four oropendolas, Ecuadorian Cacique


Gray Tinamou, Wattled Curassow, Starred Wood-Quail, Jabiru, Scarlet Ibis, Bare-faced Ibis, Crested Eagle, Harpy Eagle, Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle, Snail Kite, Gray-bellied Hawk, Bicolored Hawk, Black-faced Hawk, Red-winged Wood-Rail, Pheasant Cuckoo, Pavonine Cuckoo, Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, Nacunda Nighthawk, Butterfly Coquette, Amethyst Woodstar, Blue-chinned Sapphire, Orange-breasted Falcon, Wing-banded Antbird, Large Elaenia, Cinnamon Manakin-Tyrant


Birders using Hotel Auca (or other Tena lodging) as a starting point or base of operations may see on the Hotel Auca grounds and along nearby riparian trails Little Tinamou, Roadside Hawk, Rufous-sided Crake, Blackish Rail, Smooth-billed Ani, Tropical Screech-Owl, Black-banded Owl, Common Pauraque, White-collared Swift, White-necked Jacobin, Rufous-breasted Hermit, Great-billed Hermit, Black-eared Fairy, Black-throated Mango, Spangled Coquette, Amethyst Woodstar, Long-billed Starthroat, Glittering-throated Emerald, Ringed Kingfisher, Amazon Kingfisher, Gilded Barbet, Lemon-throated Barbet, Little Woodpecker, Spot-breasted Woodpecker, Riparian Parrotlet, Cobalt-winged Parakeet, Lined Antshrike, Great Antshrike, Stripe-chested Antwren, Peruvian Warbling-Antbird, Black Antbird, Blackish Antbird, Orange-fronted Plushcrown, Dark-breasted Spinetail, Point-tailed Palmcreeper (nesting pair observed on Hotel Auca grounds March 1989 & reportedly the species persists), Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, Forest Elaenia, Large Elaenia, Southern Mouse-colored Tyrannulet, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, Golden-winged Tody-Flycatcher, Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher, Common Tody-Flycatcher, Olivaceous Flatbill, Little Ground-Tyrant (a July 1990 record cited by Ridgely & Greenfield as one of only three Ecuadorian records of a species otherwise known from no location closer than Iquitos in northeast Peru), Long-tailed Tyrant, Piratic Flycatcher, Social Flycatcher, Great Kiskadee, Tropical Kingbird, White-bearded Manakin, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue-and-white Swallow, White-banded Swallow, Southern Rough-winged Swallow, Scaly-breasted Wren, House Wren, Black-capped Donacobius, Black-billed Thrush, Magpie Tanager, Orange-headed Tanager, White-shouldered Tanager, Masked Crimson Tanager, Silver-beaked Tanager, Blue-gray Tanager, Palm Tanager, Blue-necked Tanager, Yellow-bellied Tanager, Turquoise Tanager, Paradise Tanager, Swallow Tanager, Yellow-bellied Dacnis, Blue-black Grassquit, Caqueta Seedeater, Black-and-white Seedeater, Chestnut-bellied Seedeater. Chestnut-bellied Seed-Finch, Bananaquit, Bluish-gray Saltator, Yellow-browed Sparrow, Buff-rumped Warbler, Russet-backed Oropendola, Yellow-rumped Cacique, Thick-billed Euphonia, Golden-bellied Euphonia

Observers staying in Misahualli might presumably find many of the same species listed Hotel Auca & environs, but Misahualli is more remote and is situated along the Rio Napo, conditions implicitly at least somewhat more favorable for birding. In addition, Jatun Sacha Biological Station is estimated to be within 15-20 minutes driving distance (compared to the estimated one hour from Tena).

With quality terra firme forest, secondary and riparian habitats and an extensive trail system, Jatun Sacha Biological Station has documented the occurrence of 563 species (per the checklist compiled by Bonnie Bochan, updated 2008). Species not considered rare include White-throated Tinamou, Cinereous Tinamou, Little Tinamou, Undulated Tinamou, Variegated Tinamou, Spix's Guan, Speckled Chachalaca, Nocturnal Curassow, Salvin's Curassow, Marbled Wood-Quail, Cocoi Heron, Striated Heron, Boat-billed Heron, King Vulture, Greater Yellow-headed Vulture, Swallow-tailed Kite, Double-toothed Kite, Gray-headed Kite, Plumbeous Kite, Slender-billed Kite, Tiny Hawk, Short-tailed Hawk, Roadside Hawk, Chestnut-headed Crake, Rufous-sided Crake, Black-banded Crake, Gray-breasted Crake, Blackish Rail, Gray-cowled Wood-Rail, Pied Lapwing, Wattled Jacana, Yellow-billed Tern, Plain-breasted Ground-Dove, Ruddy Ground-Dove, Blue Ground-Dove, Pale-vented Pigeon, Plumbeous Pigeon, Ruddy Pigeon, Gray-fronted Dove, Ruddy Quail-Dove, Hoatzin, Black-bellied Cuckoo, Little Cuckoo, Squirrel Cuckoo, Greater Ani, Smooth-billed Ani, Tropical Screech-Owl, Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl, Crested Owl, Spectacled Owl, Black-banded Owl, Mottled Owl, Great Potoo, Long-tailed Potoo, Common Potoo, Common Pauraque, Ladder-tailed Nightjar, Ocellated Poorwill, Blackish Nightjar, White-collared Swift, Chestnut-collared Swift, gray-rumped Swift, Short-tailed Swift, Fork-tailed Palm-Swift, Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift, White-necked Jacobin, Buff-tailed Sicklebill, Rufous-breasted Hermit, Pale-tailed Barbthroat, White-bearded Hermit, Straight-billed Hermit, Great-billed Hermit, Black-eared Fairy, Long-billed Starthroat, Gray-breasted Sabrewing, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Glittering-throated Emerald, Golden-tailed Sapphire, Pavonine Quetzal, Black-tailed Trogon, Green-backed Trogon, Amazonian Trogon, Blue-crowned Trogon, Black-throated Trogon, Ringed Kingfisher, Amazon Kingfisher, Green Kingfisher, Green-and-rufous Kingfisher, American Pygmy Kingfisher, Broad-billed Motmot, Rufous Motmot, Amazonian Motmot, White-eared Jacamar, Yellow-billed Jacamar, Purplish Jacamar, Great Jacamar, White-necked Puffbird, Chestnut-capped Puffbird, White-chested Puffbird, Black-fronted Nunbird, White-fronted Nunbird, Yellow-billed Nunbird, Swallow-winged Puffbird, Scarlet-crowned Barbet, Gilded Barbet, Lemon-throated Barbet, White-throated Toucan, Channel-billed Toucan, Golden-collared Toucanet, Lettered Aracari, Chestnut-eared Aracari, Many-banded Aracari, Ivory-billed Aracari, Lafresnaye's Piculet, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Little Woodpecker, Red-stained Woodpecker, Spot-breasted Woodpecker, Scale-breasted Woodpecker, Chestnut Woodpecker, Cream-colored Woodpecker, Lineated Woodpecker, Crimson-crested Woodpecker, Laughing Falcon, Red-throated Caracara, Black Caracara, Bat Falcon, Blue-and-yellow Macaw, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Red-bellied Macaw, White-eyed Parakeet, Dusky-headed Parakeet, Maroon-tailed Parakeet, Riparian Parrotlet, Cobalt-winged Parakeet, Black-headed Parrot, Orange-cheeked Parrot, Blue-headed Parrot, Yellow-crowned Parrot, Mealy Parrot, Orange-winged Parrot, Fasciated Antshrike, Great Antshrike, Lined Antshrike, Plain-winged Antshrike, Mouse-colored Antshrike, Castelnau's Antshrike, Dusky-throated Antshrike, Cinereous Antshrike, Plain-throated Antwren, Rufous-tailed Stipplethroat, Pygmy Antwren, Moustached Antwren, Stripe-chested Antwren, White-flanked Antwren, Gray Antwren, Dugand's Antwren, Dot-winged Antwren, Peruvian Warbling-Antbird, Yellow-browed Antbird, Gray Antbird, Blackish Antbird, Black Antbird, Western Fire-eye, White-browed Antbird, Black-faced Antbird, Silvered Antbird, White-shouldered Antbird, Sooty Antbird, White-plumed Antbird, White-cheeked Antbird, Hairy-crested Antbird, Spot-backed Antbird, Scale-backed Antbird, Black-spotted Bare-eye, Ash-throated Gnateater, White-lored Antpitta, Thrush-like Antpitta, Scaled Antpitta, Rufous-capped Antthrush, Black-faced Antthrush, Striated Antthrush, Rusty-belted Tapaculo, Black-tailed Leaftosser, Short-billed Leaftosser, Plain-brown Woodcreeper, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper, Amazonian Barred-Woodcreeper, Black-banded Woodcreeper, Ocellated Woodcreeper, Buff-throated Woodcreeper, Straight-billed Woodcreeper, Plain Xenops, Rufous-rumped Foliage-gleaner, Chestnut-winged Foliage-gleaner, Chestnut-crowned Foliage-gleaner, Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner, Striped Woodhaunter, Olive-backed Foliage-gleaner, Orange-fronted Plushcrown, Parker's Spinetail, Dark-breasted Spinetail, Sooty-headed Tyrannulet, Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, Forest Elaenia, Mottle-backed Elaenia, White-lored Tyrannulet, Ringed Antpipit, Golden-faced Tyrannulet, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, Sepia-capped Flycatcher, Short-tailed Pygmy-Tyrant, Double-banded Pygmy-Tyrant, White-eyed Tody-Tyrant, Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher, Golden-winged Tody-Flycatcher, Common Tody-Flycatcher, Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatcher, Zimmer's Flatbill, Gray-crowned Flycatcher, Olive-faced Flatbill, Golden-crowned Spadebill, Whiskered Flycatcher, Black-tailed Flycatcher, Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher, Fuscous Flycatcher, Black Phoebe, Drab Water Tyrant, Long-tailed Tyrant, Piratic Flycatcher, Social Flycatcher, Gray-capped Flycatcher, Great Kiskadee, Lesser Kiskadee, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Streaked Flycatcher, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Variegated Flycatcher, Crowned Slaty Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Grayish Mourner, Eastern Sirystes, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Short-crested Flycatcher, Bright-rumped Attila, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Spangled Cotinga, Screaming Piha, Dwarf Tyrant-Manakin, Blue-backed Manakin, Green Manakin, Striolated Manakin, Golden-headed Manakin, White-bearded Manakin, Wire-tailed Manakin, Blue-capped Manakin, Black-crowned Tityra, Black-tailed Tityra, Masked Tityra, White-browed Purpletuft, Chestnut-crowned Becard, White-winged Becard, Black-capped Becard, Wing-barred Piprites, Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Yellow-green Vireo, Dusky-capped Greenlet, Tawny-crowned Greenlet, Violaceous Jay, Gray-breasted Martin, Blue-and-white Swallow, White-banded Swallow, White-thighed Swallow, Southern Rough-winged Swallow, White-winged Swallow, Scaly-breasted Wren, Wing-banded Wren, House Wren, Thrush-like Wren, Coraya Wren, White-breasted Wood-Wren, Tawny-faced Gnatwren, Long-billed Gnatwren, Black-capped Donacobius, Lawrence's Thrush, Black-billed Thrush, White-necked Thrush, Magpie Tanager, Orange-headed Tanager, Flame-crested Tanager, Fulvous-crested Tanager, Fulvous Shrike-Tanager, Masked Crimson Tanager, Silver-beaked Tanager, Blue-gray Tanager, Palm Tanager, Masked Tanager, Yellow-bellied Tanager, Turquoise Tanager, Paradise Tanager, Opal-rumped Tanager, Opal-crowned Tanager, Bay-headed Tanager, Green-and-gold Tanager, Swallow Tanager, Black-faced Dacnis, Yellow-bellied Dacnis, Blue Dacnis, Purple Honeycreeper, Green Honeycreeper, Yellow-backed Tanager, Blue-black Grassquit, Black-and-white Seedeater, Yellow-bellied Seedeater, Chestnut-bellied Seedeater, Caqueta Seedeater, Chestnut-bellied Seed-Finch, Large-billed Seed-Finch, Bananaquit, Buff-throated Saltator, Bluish-gray Saltator, Slate-colored Grosbeak, Yellow-browed Sparrow, Orange-billed Sparrow, Red-crowned Ant-Tanager, Amazonian Grosbeak, Buff-rumped Warbler, Russet-backed Oropendola, Green Oropendola, Crested Oropendola, Casqued Oropendola, Solitary Black Cacique, Yellow-rumped Cacique, Orange-backed Troupial, Epaulet Oriole, Giant Cowbird, Shiny Cowbird, Thick-billed Euphonia, Golden-bellied Euphonia, White-vented Euphonia, Orange-bellied Euphonia, Rufous-bellied Euphonia

Other Wildlife

To do

Site Information

History and Use

To do

Areas of Interest

Reserva Jatun Sacha is owned and managed by Fundacion Jatun Sacha [3], reportedly protecting 2500 hectares of tropical lowland forest (70% of which is primary terra firme) [4] . From Tena, drive south on the highway for 3 km, crossing the Rio Napo bridge and immediately turning left. Follow the road eastward along the river for approximately 23 km to the entrance & headquarters of the reserve. Estimated driving time from Tena one hour. According to Ridgely/Greenfield (2001), map coordinates are 1°05' S, 77°40' W

Access and Facilities

Bird-finding guides published in the 1990s frequently cite the Hotel Auca [5] not only for lodging but for birding on the grounds. Apparently no website; phone # reportedly +593 6 886461.

In Misahualli birders are welcome at Banana Lodge [6]

Along Rio Arajuno not far from its confluence with Rio Napo, Arajuno Jungle Lodge has published a bird list with status codes [7] and a birding package that includes professional guide services [8]

Anaconda Lodge [9] (downriver from Misahualli) offers no formal bird list but staff & guests have documented some notable observations. including Anhinga, Roadside Hawk, Black Caracara, Hoatzin, Greater Ani, Cobalt-winged Parakeet, Mealy Parrot, Fork-tailed Palm-Swift, Great-billed Hermit, Ringed Kingfisher, White-throated Toucan, White-eared Jacamar, Black-fronted Nunbird, Crimson-crested Woodpecker, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Violaceous Jay, Black-capped Donacobius, Magpie Tanager, Paradise Tanager, Red-capped Cardinal, Yellow-rumped Cacique

Farther afield is Gareno Lodge [10], perhaps best known for nesting Harpy Eagles (last known nesting 2004)

The whimsically named Hotel Hakuna Matata [11] is 10 Km north of Tena (near Archidona, just west of the Volcan Sumaco area) at 600 meters in elevation; the online bird list [12] documents 248 species reportedly seen on or near the grounds. Birds characterized as reasonably common on or near the grounds include Paradise Tanager, Coraya Wren and Barred Antshrike; a courtship assembly (lek) of White-bearded Manakins is reportedly within a very few meters of the hotel grounds. The hotel can arrange for local guides, and at least one staff member is an enthusiastic birder. An interesting narrative summary [13] notes birding highlights including Tropical Screech-Owl, Greater Yellow-headed Vulture, Red-bellied Macaw, Buff-tailed Sicklebill, Point-tailed Palmcreeper, Golden-winged Tody Flycatcher, Golden-winged Tody-Flycatcher, Amazonian Scrub-Flycatcher, Paradise Tanager, Yellow-bellied Tanager, Black-billed Seed-Finch

Contact Details

To do

External Links

To do