Birding 2018-06-27T21:46:03+00:00


The Mojanda region’s biodiversity is one of its most striking features. The three lakes nested in 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.

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 occasionally be seen soaring the crown of Fuya Fuya summit and Cerro Negro in front of it.

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.

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:

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

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 NameLatin NameHabitat
Curve-billed TinamouNorthoprocta curvirostrisU,p
Silvery GrebePodiceps occipitalisA,w
Pied-billed GrebePodilymbus podicepsR,w
Speckled TealAnas flavirostrisU,w
Yellow-billed PintailA. georgicaU,w
Andean DuckOxyura ferrugineaC,w
Andean CondorVultur gryphus*,R,p
Turkey VultureCathartes auraU,p
Black VultureCoragyps atratusU,p
Red-backed HawkButeo polyosomaC,p
Black-chested Buzzard EagleGeranoaetus melanoleucusU,p
Puna HawkButeo poecilochrousA,p
Cinereous HarrierCircus cinereousR,p
American KestrelFalco sparveriusC,t
Peregrine FalconFalco peregrinusA,p
Carunculated CaracaraPhalcoboenus carunculatusU,p
Andean GuanPenelope montagniiU,f
American CootFulica americanaC,w
Purple GallinulePorphyrula martinicaU,w
Lapwings & SnipesCharadriidae
Andean LapwingVanellus resplendensA,p
Noble SnipeGallinago nobilisU,p
Andean SnipeG. jamesoniU,p
Baird’s SandpiperCalidris bairdiiM,w
Spotted SandpiperActitis maculariaM,w
Andean GullLarus serranusU,p
Rock DoveColombia liviaC,g
Band-tailed PigeonC. fasciataC,f
Common Ground-DoveColumbina passerinaU,g
Eared DoveZenaida auriculataC,g
Maroon-chested Ground-DoveClaravis mondetouraR,f
White-capped ParrotPionus seniloidesR,f
OwlsTytonidae & Strigidae
Barn OwlTyto albR,f
Great-horned OwlBubo virginianusR,f
Short-eared OwlAsio flammeusR,f
Bandwinged NightjarCaprimulgis longirostrisC,p
Chestnut-collared SwiftCypseloides rutilusU,p
White-collared SwiftStreptoprocne zonarisU,p
Black-tailed TrainbearerLesbia victoriaeC,p
Green-tailed TrainbearerL. nunaU,s
Sparkling VioletearColibri coruscansC,s
Green VioletearC. thalassinusN,s
Giant HummingbirdPatagona gigasC,p
Ecuadorian HillstarOreotrochilus chimborazoC,p
Purple-backed ThornbillRamphomicron microrhynchumU,t
Blue-mantled ThornbillChalcostigma stanleyiR,t
Rainbow-bearded ThornbillC. herraniR,t
Shining SunbeamAglaeactis cupripennisC,p
White-bellied WoodstarAcestrura mulsantU,t
Tyrian MetaltailMetallura tyrianthinaC,s
Blue-tailed EmeraldChlorostilbon mellisugusU,p
Speckled HummingbirdAdelomyia melanogenysU,t
Booted Racket-tailOcreatus underwoodiiU,t
Sword-billed HummingbirdEnsifera ensiferaR,t
Great SapphirewingPterophanes cyanopterusU,f
Golden-breasted PufflegEriocnemis mosqueraU,f
Sapphire-vented PufflegE. lucianiU,f
Buff-winged StarfrontletCoeligena lutetiaeC,f
Mountain AvocetbillOpisthoprora eurypteraR,f
Gray-breasted Mt. ToucanAndigena hypoglaucaR,f
Crimson-mantled WoodpeckerPiculus rivoliiR,f
Azara’s SpinetailSynallaxis azaraeU,s
Andean Tit- SpinetailLeptasthenura andicolaU,p
Streak-backed CanasteroAsthenes wyattiR,p
ManCanasteroy-stripedA. flammulataC,p
Pearled TreerunnerMargarornis squamigerR,f
Giant AntpittaGrallaria gigantea*,R,f
Tawny AntpittaG. quitensisC,p
Foliage GleanersFurnaridae
Stoutbilled CinclodesCinclodes excelsiorR,p
Barwinged CinclodesC. fuscusC,p
Pale-throated TapaculoScytalopus panamensisU,s
Andean TapaculoS. magellanicusU,s
Red-crested CotingaAmpelion rubrocristatusC,t
White-crested ElaeniaElaenia albicepsU,s
White-throated TyrannuletMecocerculus leucophyrsU,p
Brown-backed Chat-TyrantOchthoeca fumicolorC,p
Rufous-breasted Chat-TyrantO. rufipectoralisU,p
Crowned Chat-TyrantO. frontalisU,p
Black-billed Shrike-TyrantAgriornis montanaC,p
Black PhoebeSayornis nigricansA,f
Tropical PeweeContopus cinereusA,f
Vermillion FlycatcherPyrocephalus rubinusC,p
Cinnamon FlycatcherPyrrhomyias cinnamomeaU,t
Tufted Tit-TyrantAnairetes parulusU,p
Agile Tit-TyrantA. agilisR,f
Torrent TyrannuletSerpophaga cinereaU,w
Plain-capped Ground-TyrantMuscisaxicola alpinaC,p
Spot-billed Ground-TyrantM. maculirostrisU,p
Golden-faced TyrannuletTyranniscus viridiflavusU,t
Streak-throated Bush-TyrantMyiotheretes striaticollisC,t
Blue and White SwallowNotiochelidon cyanoleucaC,t
Brown-bellied SwallowN. murinaC,p
White-capped DipperCinclus leucocephalusU,w
Sedge WrenCistothorus platensisC,p
Rufous WrenCinnycerthia unirufaU,f
Glossy-black ThrushTurdus serranusR,f
Great ThrushT. fuscaterC,g
Paramo PipitAnthus bogetensisC,p
Spectacled RedstartMyioborus melanocephalusU,f
Russet-crowned WarblerBasileuterus coronatusR,f
Black-crested WarblerBasileuterus nigrocristatusU,f
Blackburnian WarblerDendroica fuscaM,f
Black FlowerpiercerDiglossa humeralisC,f
Masked FlowerpiercerD. cyaneaU,f
Cinerous ConebillConirostrum  cinereumC,s
Capped ConebillC. albifronsU,f
Scarlet-bellied Mt. TanangerAnisognathus igniventrisC,f
Scrub TanangerTangara vitriolinaR,p
Blue and Black TanangerT. vassoriiU,f
Rufous-collared SparrowZonotricha capensisC,g
Rufous-naped Brush FinchAtlapetes rufinuchaU,t
Pale-naped Brush FinchA. pallidinuchaU,t
White-winged Brush FinchA. leucopterusU,t
Stripe-headed Brush FinchA. torquatusU,t
Plain-colored SeedeaterCatamenia inornataC,p
Band-tailed SeedeaterC. analisU,p
Paramo SeedeaterC. homochroaU,p
Variable SeedeaterSporophila americanaA,p
Southern Yellow GrossbeakPheucticus chrysopeplusC,f
Black-backed GrosbeakP. aureoventrisC,f
Blue-black GrosbeakCyanocompsa cyanoidesC,f
Plumbeous Sierra-FinchPhrygilus unicolorC,p
Grassland Yellow-FinchSicalis luteloaU,p
Hooded SiskinCarduelis magellanicusC,t