Birdwatching in Mashpi
The Mashpi Reserve and Lodge are located in the Ecuadorian Chocó Bioregion, one of the most biodiverse centers of endemism in the world. One of Mashpi's great pluses is its situation between altitudes of 550 meters (1760 feet) and close to 1400 meters (4,400 feet) above sea level which means that guests explore at least two different habitat types: lowland floodplain forests and lower montane or foothill forests with a transitional zone at 1000 meters (3,200 feet) of elevation where many of the species overlap. It is this range of altitudes, right on the Equator, on the western Pacific slopes of the tropical Andes, that create the amazingly-high number of species found here and their endemism: they're found here and nowhere else. As result of this, Mashpi is a real birding paradise.
To date, almost 400 hundred species of birds have been recorded, but a more realistic estimate comes closer to 500 species; many of which will be discovered as we track further into more remote sectors of the Reserve at lower and higher elevations. Among the wide number of species to be found in Mashpi, just by way of examples, we can cite the Indigo Flowerpiercer (Diglossopis glauca), Black Solitaire (Entomodestes coracinus), Chocó Vireo (Vireo masteri), Banded Ground-Cuckoo (Neomorphus radiolosus), Yellow-Green Bush Tanager (Chlorospingus flavovirens), Moss-backed Tanager (Bangsia edwardsi), Black-tipped Cotinga (Carpodectes hopkei) and many other rare Chocó-endemic residents.
Hummingbirds are among the highlights of any visit to Mashpi, with 32 species observed in the wild to date. The specially constructed handsome Hummingbirds Observation shelter provides a relaxed and contemplative way to enjoy these amazing winged creatures as they buzz around the feeders. Here, guests will be able to observe and photograph these magnificent flying machines as part of the Lodge's program of activities.
During the near-three hour drive from Quito northwest to the Lodge, guests will travel through a variety of habitats – including montane, temperate, subtropical and foothill forest – that feature visibly distinct natural settings, all excellent for bird watching, and especially so as you approach the Mashpi Reserve.