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Venezuela: Western

A fantastic trip through almost all Western Venezuela endemics, from the mountains of the Costa Cordillera and the Venezuelan Andes to the Llanos and the dry North-West, targeting Plain-flanked Rail, Great, Grey-naped and Scallop-breasted Antpittas, White-bearded Helmetcrest, Handsome Fruiteater, Venezuelan Flowerpiercer, Maracaibo Tody-Tyrant, Pygmy Palm Swift, and megas like Red Siskin !

Next Dates

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Price: $

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Leaders:

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Single Room Supplement: $

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Group Size Limit:

6

Deposit: $

TBD

Add a Title

Price: $

TBD

Leaders:

Add a Title

Single Room Supplement: $

TBD

Group Size Limit:

Deposit: $

TBD

All our Venezuela tours are organised by David Ascanio, the foremost birding expert here and author of the Birds of Venezuela. David is in a unique position with contacts all over the country to make our planned tours very safe, with smooth logistics and reliable access permissions for sites with every accessible endemic. Any birders reading this itinerary and planning their own trip should be aware that travel to Venezuela for birding without David’s professional help is currently not advisable. At this stage, due to his busy schedule, he is exclusively arranging for Ornis. 


Visas for Venezuela are easily obtainable for most citizens of the EU, UK, Australia, etc. Unfortunately at this stage, US citizens will not be able to book this tour.

Accommodation:

Comfortable hotels throughout.

Walking difficulty:

Mostly roadside and relatively easy trail birding, with the occasional steeper hiking for some high elevation species.

Tour cost includes:

All accommodation, main meals, drinking water, internal flights (as stated in itinerary), overland transport, tips to local drivers and guides, travel permits, entrance fees, and guide fees.

Tour cost excludes:

Flights before and after the tour start/end, visa, travel insurance, tips to tour leaders, laundry, drinks, and other items of a personal nature.

Day 1: The tour starts this morning with arrivals at Caracas International Airport (CCS), from where we will transfer to El Ávila National Park. Here, we will target some of the Coastal Cordillera endemics like Venezuelan Wood Quail, Caracas Tapaculo, Scallop-breasted Antpitta, Black-throated Spinetail, Venezuelan Parakeet, Red-eared Parakeet, and Caracas Brushfinch, plus some other goodies like White-tipped Quetzal and Ochre-breasted Brushfinch. There’s always plenty of other action here, with various oropendolas, mixed flocks of tanagers, and the endemic Venezuelan Tyrannulet. Night near El Ávila National Park.


Day 2:  We will have a full day of birding at El Ávila National Park to target species mentionned above plus some more widespread species like Band-tailed Guan, Golden-breasted Fruiteater, Klage’s Antbird, Ochre-breasted Brushfinch, and more. Night near El Ávila National Park.


Day 3: After some final morning birding at El Ávila, we will drive down to Caracas and onwards to Maracay, our base for the next 4 nights. There will be some stops on the way to look for the endemic Rusty-flanked Crake, and we probably will have time for some initial exploration of the legendary Henri Pittier National Park. Night in Maracay.


Day 4-5-6: We will have three full days of birding at Henri Pittier National Park, located right on the endemic-rich Costa Cordillera and where more than 500 species have been recorded! We will visit several locations, targeting all possible endemics and near-endemics like Helmeted Curassow, Venezuelan Wood Quail, Violet-chested Hummingbird, Green-tailed Emerald, Blood-eared Parakeet, Guttulate Foliage-gleaner, Scallop-breasted Antpitta, Venezuelan Bristle-tyrant, Rufous-lored Tyrannulet, Handsome Fruiteater, and Rufous-cheeked Tanager. Among the near-endemics, White-tipped Quetzal, Venezuelan Flycatcher, Crested Spinetail, Ochre-breasted Brushfinch, and others are likely. Nights in Maracay.


Day 7: We will depart early this morning and head west to Tucacas. We will be looking for the endemic Plain-flanked Rail, “Venezuelan” Mangrove Rail, Yellow-shouldered Parrot, Black-backed Antshrike, and some more common species along the way. In the afternoon, we will drive to the town of Coro, where the main targets will be the endemic Maracaibo Tody-Flycatcher and the endangered Red Siskin. More widespread birds include all classic “Guajira peninsula” birds recorded by most in Colombia, like Vermilion Cardinal, Tocuyo Sparrow, Slender-billed Inezia, Buffy Hummingbird, Black-crested Antshrike, and more. We’ll have a second chance at Yellow-shouldered Parrot too. Night in Coro.


Day 8: Today will mostly be a driving day towards Sanare, our base for the next two nights, but we will have time in the morning to complete the set of Coro specialties and spend more time looking for the hardest species, especially Red Siskin. Night in Sanare.


Day 9: We will spend a full day birding the Yacambu National Park, where our prime target will be the endemic Great Antpitta, but where other endemics and specialties occur, like Helmeted Currasow, Lilac-tailed Parrotlet, Rose-headed Parakeet, Merida Tapaculo, and Venezuelan Tyrannulet. Some more widespread species include Grey and Highland Tinamous, Rufous-vented Chachalaca, Blue-lored Antbird, Ochre-breasted Brushfinch, and many more. The scarce Violaceous Quail-Dove is also a species that is sometimes recorded at Yacambu. Night in Sanare.


Day 10: Today, we will be transiting to the western side of the Venezuelan Andes, specifically to La Azulita, our base for the next two nights. There will be some birding by lake Maracaibo along the way too. Night in La Azulita.


Day 11: We have a full day to explore the western foothills of the Andes around La Azulita, where we hope to be finding the poorly-known Pygmy Palm Swift and other specialties like Rose-headed Parakeet, Merida and Orange-throated Sunangels, Green Inca,  Spectacled Tyrannulet, Golden-breasted Fruiteater, Grey-throated Warbler, Merida Brushfinch, and many more. At night, Rufous-banded Owl and Rufescent Screech Owl are possibilities. Night in La Azulita.


Day 12: This morning, we will make our way through La Culata mountain range towards Merida. We will look for some remaining targets on the way, and reach Tabay, our base for the next two nights.


Day 13: A full day of birding will be spent in the fantastic Sierra Nevada National Park, where we hope to be finding more endemics like Grey-naped Antpitta, Slate-crowned Antpitta (the distinctive Venezuelan Andes population could well be split in the near-future), Merida Tapaculo, Ochre-browed Thistletail, White-fronted Whitestart, Merida Flowerpiercer, Grey-capped Hemispingus, Merida Sunangel, Golden-tailed Starfrontlet, Rufous-browed Chat-Tyrant, and more widespread Andean birds. Night in Tabay.


Day 14: We will have time this morning to explore more trails of the Sierra Nevada National Park, before driving to the high Andes in the afternoon.


Day 15: We will spend most of today birding the high páramo of Pico de Aguila, looking for White-bearded Helmetcrest, Venezuelan Flowerpiercer, Merida Wren, Merida Tapaculo, White-fronted Redstart, Rufous-browed and Blackish Chat-Tyrants, Ochre-browed Thistletail, and more high elevation specialties.


Day 16: Today will be spent at the San Isidro, another section of Sierra Nevada National Park. Although no endemics are exclusively found here, it is a great backup site for a number of species, plus lots of other interesting birds only shared with Colombia. Among others, we’ll be looking for Saffron-headed Parrot, Lined Quail-Dove, Black-and-chestnut Eagle, Pavonine Cuckoo, Grey-chinned Hermit, Rufous-shafted Woodstar, Copper-rumped Hummingbird, Orange-throated Sunangel, Rusty-breasted Antpitta, Crested and Stripe-breasted Spinetails, Golden-breasted Fruiteater, Black-collared Jay, Black-hooded Thrush, and more.


Day 17: We will leave early this morning towards the last destination of this trip, the tremendous Hato El Cedral, located deep in the Llanos. But first, we’ll do some birding along the Altamira Road, which is a good place for some foothill species like Marbled Wood Quail or Sooty-capped Hermit, and we have another chance at Red Siskin here. We will get to Hato El Cedral in time for some initial exploring. Night at Hato El Cedral.


Day 18-19: We have two full days at Hato El Cedral, located deep in the Venezuelan Llanos, a unique mosaic of wetland and savanna, home to several range-restricted species. Llanos endemics and specialties we’ll be looking for include White-bearded Flycatcher, Pale-headed Jacamar, and Yellow-knobbed Curassow. But there is much more here, and we’ll spend most of our days here exploring various areas giving us chances for Orinoco Goose, Zigzag and Agami Herons, Jabiru, Todd’s Nightjar, Dwarf Cuckoo, River Tyrannulet, Riverside Tyrant, Orinocan Saltator, Venezuelan Troupial, and many more. We will also spend time at night looking for nightjars and owls, plus many mammals, possibly including Giant Anteater! Nights at Hato El Cedral.


Day 20: Today, we drive back to Barinas, from where we take an afternoon flight to Caracas. Night in Caracas.


Day 21: The tour ends this morning at Caracas.


NOTE: This itinerary is subject to slight adjustments depending on the findings of our local agent, who will be advising us on the most up-to-date birding information all the way until the start of the tour. 

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