Colombia Nature

Birding Colombia

Who would not love a country with 1,933 bird species, 94 of which are endemic? This is Colombia, dominated by the High Andes and the Amazon basin, resulting in more bird species than any other nation on earth. Though plagued by high levels of drug-related violence in the past, Colombia has opened up to tourists and birders and is now considered safe for travel (although traveling with a guide is still recommended).

The reason for Colombia's spectacular bird diversity may be attributed to the wide diversity of habitat types. Consider these factors: the High Andes provide varying altitudes and slope directions, generating a wide variety of habitats; the Amazon basin is known to be the richest biome on the planet for birds; parts of Colombia are dominated by Venezuela-like llanos (plains); and, finally, Colombia is unique among South American countries in that it is bordered by both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans – some of it has rather a Caribbean feel.

The most famous of all the endemic bird assemblages within Colombia may be the 22 Santa Marta endemics. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is an isolated range of mountains reaching 18,700 feet near the Caribbean coast and very close to the Venezuelan border. Similar to most endemic bird areas, these mountains are likened to an “island” within a “sea” of different habitat, thus isolating the birdlife and preventing gene flow to areas of similar habitat, allowing unique endemic species to form. The list of Santa Marta endemics includes six localized hummingbirds, and because the names of hummingbirds are as gorgeous as the birds themselves, they are: Blossomcrown, Santa Marta Woodstar, Santa Marta Sabrewing, Coppery Emerald, White-tailed Starfrontlet and Black-backed Thornbill. Again, in typical hummingbird fashion, these six species are very varied and diverse, as indicated by the fact they are each in a separate genus. Contributor: Chris Lotz/Birding Ecotours.


What to See in Colombia

Notable Birds in Colombia (click species name to see related articles)

  • Antioquia Bristle Tyrant
  • Antioquia Brush Finch
  • Antioquia Wren
  • Apical Flycatcher
  • Apolinar's Wren
  • Baudo Oropendola
  • Beautiful Woodpecker
  • Bicolored Antpitta (1)
  • Black Inca
  • Black-and-gold Tanager
  • Black-backed Thornbill
  • Blue-bearded Helmetcrest
  • Blue-billed Curassow
  • Bogota Rail
  • Bogota Sunangel
  • Bronze-brown Cowbird
  • Brown-banded Antpitta
  • Brown-rumped Tapaculo
  • Buffy Helmetcrest
  • Caqueta Seedeater
  • Cauca Guan (1)
  • Chestnut Wood Quail (1)
  • Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer (1)
  • Chestnut-bellied Hummingbird
  • Chestnut-capped Piha
  • Chestnut-winged Chachalaca
  • Chiribiquete Emerald
  • Choco Trogon
  • Choco Woodpecker
  • Colombian Chachalaca
  • Colombian Mountain Grackle
  • Colorful Puffleg
  • Crested Ant Tanager
  • Cundinamarca Antpitta
  • Dusky Starfrontlet (1)
  • Dusky-headed Brush Finch
  • East Andean Antbird
  • Five-colored Barbet
  • Flame-rumped Tanager
  • Flame-winged Parakeet
  • Fuertes's Parrot
  • Gold-ringed Tanager (1)
  • Gorgeted Puffleg
  • Gorgeted Wood Quail
  • Green-bearded Helmetcrest
  • Grey-throated Toucanet
  • Greyish Piculet
  • Indigo-capped Hummingbird
  • Magdalena Tapaculo
  • Multicolored Tanager (1)
  • Munchique Wood Wren
  • Niceforo's Wren
  • Pale-bellied Tapaculo
  • Paramillo Tapaculo (1)
  • Parker's Antbird
  • Recurve-billed Bushbird
  • Red-bellied Grackle
  • Red-billed Emerald
  • Rufous-fronted Parakeet
  • Rusty-headed Spinetail
  • Santa Marta Antbird
  • Santa Marta Antpitta
  • Santa Marta Blossomcrown
  • Santa Marta Brush Finch
  • Santa Marta Bush Tyrant
  • Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner
  • Santa Marta Mountain Tanager
  • Santa Marta Parakeet
  • Santa Marta Sabrewing
  • Santa Marta Tapaculo
  • Santa Marta Toucanet
  • Santa Marta Warbler
  • Santa Marta Woodstar
  • Santa Marta Wren
  • Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird
  • Sierra Nevada Brush Finch
  • Silvery-throated Spinetail
  • Sooty Ant Tanager
  • Sooty-capped Puffbird
  • Stiles's Tapaculo
  • Streak-capped Spinetail
  • Tacarcuna Tapaculo
  • Tolima Blossomcrown
  • Tolima Dove
  • Turquoise Dacnis
  • Turquoise-winged Parrotlet
  • Urrao Antpitta (1)
  • Velvet-fronted Euphonia
  • White-chested Swift
  • White-lored Warbler
  • White-mantled Barbet
  • White-tailed Starfrontlet
  • Yellow-crowned Whitestart
  • Yellow-headed Brush Finch

    Notable Mammals and Other Wildlife

    • White-footed Tamarin
    • Cottontop Tamarin
    • Hershkovitz's Night Monkey
    • Colombian Black-handed Titi
    • Ornate Titi
    • Thaeler's Pocket Gopher

    Other Attractions

    • Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia
    • Historic Centre of Santa Cruz de Mompox
    • Los Katíos National Park
    • Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary
    • National Archeological Park of Tierradentro
    • Qhapaq Ñan (Andean Road System)
    • San Augustín Archeological Park

    Where and When to Go

    Nature & Birding Hotspots in Colombia


    Colombia Ecolodges/Accommodations

    Best Time to Go


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