The Mojanda region’s biodiversity is one of its most striking features adding to the incredible beauty you can enjoy. The three lakes nested in the perfectly shaped collapsed caldera of this old volcano allow for a very unique high altitude ecosystem in the northern “sierra” (highlands) of Ecuador. A significant number of the species present in the crater and on the outer hills of the mountain are endemic.

For our guests interested in bird watching or studying, we offer the following list of birds that has been compiled at Casa Mojanda over the years by our close collaborators and partners:

The Mojanda Lakes lie in the shadow of Mt. Fuya Fuya which reaches just over 4,279 meters (14,035 feet). This mountainous Andean ecosystem was formed by volcanic activity and the continuous action of wind and water.

The area immediately surrounding the Mojanda lakes is believed to have once been heavily forested. Much of the native forest has been lost to fires set by local farmers (following traditional practices), those seeking a living selling charcoal and firewood, as well as the action of vandals and tourists unaware of the consequences. Unique forest patches still remain in protected gorges and along moist cliff faces. These high Andean forests and grasslands, known as “páramo,”contain a wide variety of wildlife.

Wildlife species historically present in the area,  include: white-tailed deer, pumas, páramo foxes and over 100 species of birds. A wide variety of flowering plants attract 20 species of hummingbirds, including the Giant Hummingbird, largest of the world’s 319 species. Additionally, the endangered Andean Condor, world’s largest raptor, can be seen soaring the crown of Fuya Fuya summit and Cerro Negro in front of it.

A walk toward Otavalo from the lakes, down the cobblestone road, will provide clear views of the remaining original forests. Following the dirt road along the north, west and south side of Lake Mojanda will take you through extraordinarily beautiful paramo grasslands. The largest lake, Laguna Mojanda, is also called Caricocha or Male Lake. The small lake, Little Mojanda, behind the southeast corner of Caricocha is known as Warmicocha, or Woman Lake. On the way to Warmicocha, you will pass on the right side the jagged forested peak known as Cerro Negro, an ideal place to observe a wide range of indigenous birds. The third small lake around the southwest corner of Caricocha is called Yanacocha or the Black Lake. <On a clear day, following the three hour hike to the peak of Fuya Fuya, you will have an excellent view of the lakes, the seasonal lagoons, and a expansive view of the cordillera.

The Birds present in the immediate area, the Mojanda Lakes region and the surrounding hills:

Please refer to the following keys to better understand the status, range, habitat and frequency of the listed birds.

Status Habitat
C = Common (present and should be seen if you look in the right place).
U = Uncommon (present but are not easily seen due to behavior or distribution patterns).
R = Rare (present in low numbers and are not expected to be seen without special effort).
M = Migratory (seen only during migration periods).
A = Accidental (not expected here but have been noted at times).
* = Listed as endangered in the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book.
f = forest
g = generalists are found in many habitats
p = paramo or grassland
t = forest-grassland transition zone
s = shrub
w = water
Common Name Latin Name Habitat
Tinamous Tinamidae
Curve-billed Tinamou Northoprocta curvirostris U,p
Grebes Podicipedidae
Silvery Grebe Podiceps occipitalis A,w
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps R,w
Ducks Anatidae
Speckled Teal Anas flavirostris U,w
Yellow-billed Pintail A. georgica U,w
Andean Duck Oxyura ferruginea C,w
Vultures Cathartidae
Andean Condor Vultur gryphus *,R,p
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura U,p
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus U,p
Hawks Accipitridae
Red-backed Hawk Buteo polyosoma C,p
Black-chested Buzzard Eagle Geranoaetus melanoleucus U,p
Puna Hawk Buteo poecilochrous A,p
Cinereous Harrier Circus cinereous R,p
Falcons Falconidae
American Kestrel Falco sparverius C,t
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus A,p
Carunculated Caracara Phalcoboenus carunculatus U,p
Guans Cracidae
Andean Guan Penelope montagnii U,f
Coots Rallidae
American Coot Fulica americana C,w
Purple Gallinule Porphyrula martinica U,w
Lapwings & Snipes Charadriidae
Andean Lapwing Vanellus resplendens A,p
Noble Snipe Gallinago nobilis U,p
Andean Snipe G. jamesoni U,p
Baird’s Sandpiper Calidris bairdii M,w
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia M,w
Gulls Laridae
Andean Gull Larus serranus U,p
Pigeons Columbidae
Rock Dove Colombia livia C,g
Band-tailed Pigeon C. fasciata C,f
Common Ground-Dove Columbina passerina U,g
Eared Dove Zenaida auriculata C,g
Maroon-chested Ground-Dove Claravis mondetoura R,f
Parrots Psitacidae
White-capped Parrot Pionus seniloides R,f
Owls Tytonidae & Strigidae
Barn Owl Tyto alb R,f
Great-horned Owl Bubo virginianus R,f
Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus R,f
Nighthawks Caprimulgidae
Bandwinged Nightjar Caprimulgis longirostris C,p
Swifts Apodidae
Chestnut-collared Swift Cypseloides rutilus U,p
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris U,p
Hummingbirds Trochilidae
Black-tailed Trainbearer Lesbia victoriae C,p
Green-tailed Trainbearer L. nuna U,s
Sparkling Violetear Colibri coruscans C,s
Green Violetear C. thalassinus N,s
Giant Hummingbird Patagona gigas C,p
Ecuadorian Hillstar Oreotrochilus chimborazo C,p
Purple-backed Thornbill Ramphomicron microrhynchum U,t
Blue-mantled Thornbill Chalcostigma stanleyi R,t
Rainbow-bearded Thornbill C. herrani R,t
Shining Sunbeam Aglaeactis cupripennis C,p
White-bellied Woodstar Acestrura mulsant U,t
Tyrian Metaltail Metallura tyrianthina C,s
Blue-tailed Emerald Chlorostilbon mellisugus U,p
Speckled Hummingbird Adelomyia melanogenys U,t
Booted Racket-tail Ocreatus underwoodii U,t
Sword-billed Hummingbird Ensifera ensifera R,t
Great Sapphirewing Pterophanes cyanopterus U,f
Golden-breasted Puffleg Eriocnemis mosquera U,f
Sapphire-vented Puffleg E. luciani U,f
Buff-winged Starfrontlet Coeligena lutetiae C,f
Mountain Avocetbill Opisthoprora euryptera R,f
Toucans Ramphastidae
Gray-breasted Mt. Toucan Andigena hypoglauca R,f
Woodpeckers Picidae
Crimson-mantled Woodpecker Piculus rivolii R,f
Horneros Furnariidae
Azara’s Spinetail Synallaxis azarae U,s
Andean Tit- Spinetail Leptasthenura andicola U,p
Streak-backed Canastero Asthenes wyatti R,p
ManCanasteroy-striped A. flammulata C,p
Pearled Treerunner Margarornis squamiger R,f
Antbirds Formicariidae
Giant Antpitta Grallaria gigantea *,R,f
Tawny Antpitta G. quitensis C,p
Foliage Gleaners Furnaridae
Stoutbilled Cinclodes Cinclodes excelsior R,p
Barwinged Cinclodes C. fuscus C,p
Tapaculos Rhinocryptidae
Pale-throated Tapaculo Scytalopus panamensis U,s
Andean Tapaculo S. magellanicus U,s
Cotingas Cotingidae
Red-crested Cotinga Ampelion rubrocristatus C,t
Flycatchers Tyrannidae
White-crested Elaenia Elaenia albiceps U,s
White-throated Tyrannulet Mecocerculus leucophyrs U,p
Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca fumicolor C,p
Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant O. rufipectoralis U,p
Crowned Chat-Tyrant O. frontalis U,p
Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant Agriornis montana C,p
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans A,f
Tropical Pewee Contopus cinereus A,f
Vermillion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus C,p
Cinnamon Flycatcher Pyrrhomyias cinnamomea U,t
Tufted Tit-Tyrant Anairetes parulus U,p
Agile Tit-Tyrant A. agilis R,f
Torrent Tyrannulet Serpophaga cinerea U,w
Plain-capped Ground-Tyrant Muscisaxicola alpina C,p
Spot-billed Ground-Tyrant M. maculirostris U,p
Golden-faced Tyrannulet Tyranniscus viridiflavus U,t
Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant Myiotheretes striaticollis C,t
Swallows Hirunididae
Blue and White Swallow Notiochelidon cyanoleuca C,t
Brown-bellied Swallow N. murina C,p
Dippers Cinclidae
White-capped Dipper Cinclus leucocephalus U,w
Wrens Troglodytidae
Sedge Wren Cistothorus platensis C,p
Rufous Wren Cinnycerthia unirufa U,f
Thrushes Turdidae
Glossy-black Thrush Turdus serranus R,f
Great Thrush T. fuscater C,g
Pipits Motacillidae
Paramo Pipit Anthus bogetensis C,p
Warblers Parulidae
Spectacled Redstart Myioborus melanocephalus U,f
Russet-crowned Warbler Basileuterus coronatus R,f
Black-crested Warbler Basileuterus nigrocristatus U,f
Blackburnian Warbler Dendroica fusca M,f
Tanangers Emberizidae
Black Flowerpiercer Diglossa humeralis C,f
Masked Flowerpiercer D. cyanea U,f
Cinerous Conebill Conirostrum  cinereum C,s
Capped Conebill C. albifrons U,f
Scarlet-bellied Mt. Tananger Anisognathus igniventris C,f
Scrub Tananger Tangara vitriolina R,p
Blue and Black Tananger T. vassorii U,f
Finches Emberizidae
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotricha capensis C,g
Rufous-naped Brush Finch Atlapetes rufinucha U,t
Pale-naped Brush Finch A. pallidinucha U,t
White-winged Brush Finch A. leucopterus U,t
Stripe-headed Brush Finch A. torquatus U,t
Plain-colored Seedeater Catamenia inornata C,p
Band-tailed Seedeater C. analis U,p
Paramo Seedeater C. homochroa U,p
Variable Seedeater Sporophila americana A,p
Southern Yellow Grossbeak Pheucticus chrysopeplus C,f
Black-backed Grosbeak P. aureoventris C,f
Blue-black Grosbeak Cyanocompsa cyanoides C,f
Plumbeous Sierra-Finch Phrygilus unicolor C,p
Grassland Yellow-Finch Sicalis luteloa U,p
Siskins Fringillidae
Hooded Siskin Carduelis magellanicus C,t
Casa Mojanda