July 1, 2019, 4:07 pm
Much like the many fruits found in this country, Colombia has a variety of colorful birds as well. Whether you’re a novice birder or you have been spotting these feathered creatures for years, Colombia is the place to pick up your binoculars and head outdoors.
This South American country is a paradise for people interested in birding because Colombia is host to more than 1,900 native and migratory species, the most of any other country. Colombia is also considered to be the most biodiverse country in the world. From the cloud forests in the central regions to the tropical coastal cities, a variety of landscapes across the country mean a variety of bird species to spot in their natural environments.
So where should bird enthusiasts go? A good place to start is with a bird tour in IBAs, or Important Bird Areas. The IBA program was developed in 1996 to protect and preserve bird habitats. With more than 110 officially designated IBAs, birders have a plethora of options. In addition to these IBAs, Colombia also has 42 national natural parks.
The Caribbean coast is not only home to a variety of different bird species like the Santa Marta Antpitta (Grallaria bangsi) or the Santa Marta Parakeet (Pyrrhura viridicata), but it also has a vibrant cultural scene that will captivate visitors long after the birds have returned to their nests for the night. El Dorado Bird Reserve is a coastal birding destination located in the village of Minca in the municipality of Santa Marta. The reserve protects more than 1,700 acres of cloud forest. It was created to protect part of an important area of endemism called Cuchilla de San Lorenzo. The area also acts as a buffer zone for the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park.
For the birder who wants to explore different terrain, Chicaque Natural Park is located about an hour outside of the center of Bogotá in a town called Soacha. Visitors are permitted to sleep inside this IBA in tents, or by renting cabins or hostel-like accommodations. The cheerful chirps of birds can be heard while walking through the lush greenery. Visitors are also able to get a unique view above this cloud forest by zip-lining through the trees.
The East and Central Andes offer a variety of bird life and culture. La Florida Regional Park, Rio Blanco Nature Reserve, Otún Quimbaya Flora and Fauna Sanctuary and Chingaza National Park are all excellent locations for birding and bird watching tours. In fact, Chingaza National Park is where visitors are able to spot Colombia’s national bird, the Andean Condor.
Whether birding is your primary reason for visiting Colombia or an interesting way to spend a day, people who are captivated by these feathered creatures will not be disappointed.
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