Colombia is a paradise for bird watchers. Whether for scientific purposes or simply out of curiosity, it is an amazing destination.
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Guianan Cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola rupicola) /Picture: Juan David Ramírez/
The vast savannas covering the east of Colombia load with life Meta, Vichada, Casanare and Arauca departments. The Colombian llanos are connected to the E with the Venezuelan ones creating a huge flat grass-forested area.
Due to the proximity to the country’s capital, and to the wide variety of options for birdwatching in savanna and Andean slopes forest, Villavicencio has become in a very popular destination.
Vast plains, limitless glides for birds.
Savanna and Forested White Sand, Savanna, Galley and Marshes rule in the Colombian Llanos where there are extraordinary numerous congregations of aquatic birds and allies.
Only a slightly more than 2.500 millimeters of rains every year are gotten in this area of the country, but under a monsoonal regime where it mainly rains between April and November flooding all over the place. El Tuparro National Park in the Venezuelan border, plus some few IBAs, are the only protected areas in this area of the country.
Orinoco Goose (Neochen jubata) /Picture: Diego Calderón Franco/
Close to 470 bird species inhabit the Eastern Plains of Colombia. This interesting area of our country is not characterized by having endemic species because the majority of the avifauna is shared with Venezuela due to the high degree of similarity of the our savanna ecosystems.
Nonetheless, special fauna is represented by the prehistoric looking Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin), the Horned Screamer (Anhima cornuta), the Orinoco Goose (Neochen jubata), and several mammals. Thousands of Whistling-Ducks, Jabirus, Storks, Ibises, Egrets, Herons, and Spoonbills gather in water ponds creating a colorful spectacle that contrasts with the green of the plains.
Colombian Chachalaca (Ortalis colombianus) endemic species /Picture: Diego Calderón Franco/
Between Villavicencio and Puerto López, there are several places to stop and see congregations of birds. In Villavicencio proper, manikins, antbirds, squirrel monkeys, and other fauna may be observed in several places, including the Bavaria Forest and Los Ocarros Park.
Only 15 minutes from Villavicencio, the Alto de Buenavista offers stunning Colombian sunrises and sunsets graced by endemic species like the Colombian Chachalaca (Ortalis colombianus) and several tanagers and thrushes restricted to the eastern foothills of the Andes.
Transportation and mobility in the Llanos are easy due to the good roads, so reaching the birding destinations is hassle-free.