The Puluahaua crater is a unique collapsed caldera formed about 2500 years ago.  It is unique in many ways including its bird life an it is part of our national reserves.  I am not a big fan of Owls because they require nocturnal searching and it is very difficult to find them.  In the three years that I have been birding in this crater I have seen five owls which are Rufous-banded Owl, Andean Pigmy Owl, Great-horned Owl, Barn Owl, and Burrowing Owl.   So far I have only been able to photograph three: Great-horned Owl, Burrowing Owl, and Barn Owl.  Here are  only two decent photos.

Great-horned Owl

Burrowing Owl

I saw the Rufous-banded Owl and the Andean Pygmi Owl only once, unfortunately I was not able to get any photos.  I also hear regularly  the Stygian Owl very close (500 ft) away from my lodge but I still have to see it.   This Owl is extremely cautious and as soon I as I start approaching him, he shuts up and flees.

The other three owls found in this crater have been heard and/or seen by other birders that have visited the crater.   The most important of these is the Buff-fronted Owl which is considered very rare in Ecuador and has been spotted by Juan Carlos Calvache a reputable Ecuadorian guide.   Also I received information of sighting a Short-eared Owl and hearing a White-throated Screech Owl.

This amazing collection of Owls is very representative of the highland owls found in Ecuador and confirms the uniqueness of this crater and the reasons for its conservation.

Written by Renato
Renato was born in Quito, Ecuador and quickly flew to the USA to learn all about engineering and climbing company ladders. After getting his engineering degree from the University of Minnesota he worked in the Standard-American-Rat-Race-Company for fifteen years. After climbing the ladder to where he could no longer see the ground, he decided to jump off the ladder and migrate south like all normal birds do. To his surprise home did not look like it did when he left as a young fledgling; the towns were bigger, most of his friends had nests of their own, and the countryside was changed. Shocked by all the change he searched for a new life and a new wife. He stumbled across a vivacious young chick who would accompany him inside a volcanic crater to set up a love nest. So, after eight years of nesting inside the crater a new love for nature and birds has sprung a career in environmental conservation and birding tours. Finally this bird has come home to roost!