The north-western slopes of Ecuador are home of many Choco Endemics such as Choco Warbler, Stripped-billed Aracari, Black-tipped Cotinga, Emerald Tanager, Scarlet-browed Tanager, Scarlet-and-white-Tanager, Gray-mantled-Wren, and many other. Most of these birds can only be seen in this northern region of Ecuador. One of the truly amazing areas for these endemic birds is a road that leads to remote towns where the AWA indigenous people live.
The AWAS, as well as the Choco Endemics, reside both in Ecuador and Colombia. Currently this AWA territory receive protection from the Ecuadorian and Colombian governments and also receive support from local and foreign organizations. Unfortunately their culture and well being is threaten by the traffic of drugs, mining, and logging interest. These powerful economic woes make this region a bit dangerous to travel so I have not explored much of their amazing territory.
The Road to La Union is a good choice for a half day birding trip if you can deal with a muddy and slippery road full of excellent birds! It begins at the highway about 20 minutes west from the town of Lita. If you are going to this area then it is best to stay overnight at Las Siete Cascadas where you can get a local guide to take you into this territory.
Wow, what an incredible Aracari!
Sounds like a very exciting area for birding, I hope the situation improves for the Awa people. Thanks again for writing about my favorite bioregion!
Hi Wendy: Thanks, I was looking for this guy for quite a while until I saw him on my first visit to this region. It is not very common!
Hi Pat: I have very little hope for them to do well with all the negative pressures and influences. In reality they want to conserve the forest they own in Colombia and Ecuador but the economic pressures and temptations are huge. I wish I could do something but I feel hopeless!