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Birding in Apa Apa Forest, Bolivia

Patrick O'Donnell

17-19 March 2002

I just got back to Cuzco from a few days in Bolivia. I initially went to renew my tourist visa for Peru, but after reading some enticing information about birding in Bolivia via the WorldTwitch website I took advantage of my time there and visited a good site in the Yungas called, "Apa Apa forest". The forest is a known site for the rare and little known Scimitar-winged Piha (which I did not see, although no surprise there). It also has good birding in general, with a mix of humid and dry cloud forest, and is also some of the only accessible cloud forest in the Chulumani area, the rest having been cut down years ago.

Apa Apa forest is owned by the Bolivian/American couple Ramiro and Tilda Portugal and kudos goes out to them for having preserved their forest and being so kind and considerate to a wandering birder who showed up unannounced. They have a hacienda that provides comfortable lodging and good food at a very fair price. As I was charged a discounted price due to helping them out with the birdlist, it is probably best to contact them concerning rates.

Around the hacienda itself was farmland and scrub with slightly better habitat near the river. To get to good forest habitat, I had to walk uphill for at least an hour along a road that is passable by car in the dry season. Don Ramiro regularly drives visitors up there, but as I visited during the wet season, the road up to the forest was blocked by a small landslide. Habitat on the way up is second growth and scrub.

The cloud forest itself was good birding overall. Huge fig trees adorned with bromeliads were prominent, and there was some bamboo on slopes that were higher up and less humid. The main trail passed through humid cloud forest entering a valley with many streams with a short trail descending a bit into the valley and a loop that went up through good cloud forest eventually reaching drier forest with much bamboo. It rained daily, often in the morning but never all day. Elevation was around 2000 meters.

I recorded 104 species overall, 27 of which were lifers. Around the hacienda were Inga sp. trees that were good for Hummingbirds and also Psittacids.

Contact information:

Ramiro and Matilda Portugal
casilla 3-34955, La Paz, Bolivia
tel: 2790381
email: apapayungas[at]

UP: along way up to forest.
UP/F: on way up to and including forest.
F: forest.
H: hacienda
arch: refers to thatch arch on trail upon entering forest.

Species seen with notes:

Brown Tinamou (Crypturellus obsoletus) - commonly heard and two seen along trail F.

Short-tailed Hawk (Buteo brachyurus) - 1 pale phase adult seen.

Plain-breasted Hawk (Accipiter ventralis - one seen UP.

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) - a few seen H.

Speckled Chachalaca (Ortalis guttata) - a few Ortalis briefly seen were assumed to be this species UP.

Andean Guan (Penelope montagnii) - appeared to be fairly common UP/F.

Stripe-faced Wood-Quail (Odontophorus boliviani) -several coveys heard F.

Picui Ground-Dove (Columbina picui) - common H.

Band-tailed Pigeon (Columba fasciata) - several seen F.

Ruddy/Plumbeous Pigeon (Columba sp.) - a few seen at fruiting tree at H were not vocalizing.

White-tipped Dove (Leptotila verreauxi) - common H.

Plum-headed Parrot (Pionus tumultuosus) - a few flocks seen UP/F.

Red-billed Parrot (Pionus sordida) - flocks seen daily H, UP.

Green-cheeked Parakeet (Pyrrhura molinae) - commonly heard and seen a few times perched UP/F.

Mitred Parakeet (Aratinga mitrata) - a few flocks seen H.

Squirrel Cuckoo (Piaya cayana) - a few seen mixed flocks F.

Green Violetear (Colibri thalassinus- a few seen H and UP.

Bronzy Inca (Coeligena coeligna) - one seen F.

Speckled Hummingbird (Adelomyia melanogenys) - a few seen F.

White-bellied Hummingbird (Leuccipus chionogaster) - a few seen UP.

Blue-tailed Emerald (Chlorostilbon mellisugis) - several seen UP.

Booted Raquettail (Ocreatis underwoodii) - several seen H, UP/F.

White-bellied Woodstar (Chaetocercus mulsant) - one female showed up now and then at H.

Fork-tailed Woodnymph (Thalurania furcata) - a few seen H.

Chestnut-collared Swift (Streptoprocne rutilus) - one bird seen.

Masked Trogon (Trogon personatus) - a few seen F.

Black-streaked Puffbird (Malacoptila fulvogularis) - one seen F.

Versicolored Barbet (Eubucco versicolor) - several seen daily H, UP/F. A common bird in the area.

Blue-banded Toucanet (Aulacorhynchus coeruleicinctus) - one seen F.

Smoky brown Woodpecker (Veniliornis fumigatus) - a few seen F.

Golden-olive Woodpecker (Piculus rubiginosus) - several seen H, UP/F. The most common Woodpecker.

Montane Woodcreeper (Lepidocolaptes affinis) - a few seen in mixed flocks, F.

"Olivaceous" Woodcreeper (Sittasoma "griseicapillus") - one seen F, song was more reminiscent of Buff-throated Woodcreeper than Sittasoma from western Amazonia, although in the field looked similar. Nor did bird respond to an imitation of Sittasoma song from western Amazonia. Exactly how many species of Sittasoma are there? Maybe I will work on that some day.

Azara's Spinetail (Synallaxis azarae) - a few heard and seen.

Buff-browed Foliagleaner (Syndactyla rufosuperciliata) - one seen in mixed species flock F.

Striped Treehunter (Thripadectes holostictus) - a few seen and heard F.

Montane Foliage-gleaner (Anabacerthia striaticollis) - several seen, prominent member of mixed species flocks, F.

Spotted Barbtail (Premnoplex brunnescens) - several seen and heard,F.

Streaked Xenops (Xenops rutilans) - a few seen mixed flocks F.

Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper (Lochmias nematura)? - bird heard giving call like this species near streams inside forest although did not respond to playback of song. Call is 3-4 rapid staccato notes.

Variable Antshrike (Thamnophilus caerulescens) - a few seen UP/F.

Long-tailed Antbird (Drymophila caudata) - one heard near arch, F.

Short-tailed Antthrush (Chamaeza campanisoma) - a few heard F.

Southern White-crowned Tapaculo (Scytalopus bolivianus) - several heard and three seen, F.

Slaty Gnateater (Conopophaga ardesiaca) - fairly common with several heard and three birds seen H, UP, F- especially near arch and one female seen along trail to river below H.

Buff-banded Tyrannulet (Mecocerculus hellmayri) - one bird heard that sounded like White-tailed Tyrannulet assumed to be this species, F.  

Plumbeous-crowned Tyrannulet (Phyllomyias plumbeiceps)? - possibly not recorded yet in Bolivia. A bird heard in mixed species flock in forest sounded like this species, then a Phyllomyias sp. was seen in same flock lacking prominent wingbars, short, all dark bill, at least somewhat of a lighter superciliary. Couldn't discern iris color.

Mottle-cheeked Tyrannulet (Phylloscartes ventralis) - a few heard and seen mostly with mixed sp. flocks, F.

Slaty-capped Flycatcher (Leptopogon superciliaris) - several seen and heard H,UP/F mostly in mixed flocks.

Greenish Elaenia (Myiopagis viridicata) - a few seen near H.

Streak-necked Flycatcher (Mionectes straticollis) - several seen with mixed flocks, F.

Ochre-faced Tody Flycatcher (Todirostrum plumbeiceps) - a few seen and heard UP and near arch.

Golden-crowned Flycatcher (Myadestes chrysocephalum) - one seen with mixed flock, F.

Cinnamon Flycatcher (Pyrromyias cinnamomea) - several seen F.

Tropical Kingbird (Tyrranus melicholius) - common near H.

Cliff Flycatcher (Hirundinea ferruginea) - a few present at pavillion near H.

Smoke-colored Pewee (Contopus fumigatus) - a few seen and heard with mixed flocks, F.

Crested Becard (Pachyramphus validus) - a few present near H.

Yungas Manakin (Chiroxiphia boliviana) - several heard and seen UP/F especially near arch.

Scarlet-breasted Fruiteater (Pipreola frontalis) - two seen F at fruiting tree.

Band-tailed Fruiteater (Pipreola intermedia) - one female seen F.

Blue and White Swallow (Notiochelidon cyanoleuca) - common H.

Purplish Jay (Cyanocorax cyanomelas) - common H, UP. Inca Jay (Cyanocorax yncas) - heard once F.

Moustached Wren (Thryothorus genibarbis) - several heard and seen H, UP/F.

Mountain Wren (Troglodytes solstitialis) - a few seen F in mixed flocks.

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) - common H.

Gray-breasted Wood Wren (Henicorhina leucophrys) - several heard and seen F.

Andean Solitaire (Myadestes ralloides) - two heard F.

White-cheeked Solitaire (Entomodestes leucotis) - one seen F at same fruiting tree as Fruiteaters.

Red-crested Finch (Coryphospingus cucullatus) - a few seen H.

Slaty Finch (Haplospiza rustica) - a few seen UP, probably also present in bamboo along upper trail.

Blue-black Grassquit (Volatinia jacarina) - a few seen and heard H.

Buff-throated Saltator (Saltator maximus) - a few heard and seen H.

Cloud-forest Brush-Finch (Atlapetes latinuchus) - a few seen UP/F.

Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch (Baurremon brunneinucha) - one seen F.

Stripe-headed Brush-Finch (Baurremon torquatus) - a few seen F.

Saffron Finch (Sicalis flaveloa) - common H.

Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis) -common H. 

Swallow Tanager (Tersina viridis) - two pairs seen H.

Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager (Anisognathus flavinuchus) - several seen mixed flocks UP/F.

Common Bush-Tanager (Chlorospingus ophthalmicus) - several seen mixed flocks F.

Black-eared Hemispingus (Hemispingus melanotis) - several seen mixed flocks F.

Golden-naped Tanager (Tangara ruficervix) - two seen mixed flock F.

Saffron crowned Tanager (Tangara xanthocephala) - several seen mixed flocks F.

Slaty Tanager (Creurgops dentata) - one female seen mixed flock F.

Palm Tanager (Thraupis palmarum) - common H.

Sayaca Tanager (Thraupis sayaca) - common H.

Silver-beaked Tanager (Ramphocelus carbo) - a few seen H.

Blue Dacnis (Dacnis cayana) - a few seen H.

Bronze-green Euphonia (Euphonia mesochrysa) - a few seen mixed flock F.

Orange-bellied Euphonia (Euphonia xanthogaster) - several seen mixed flocks F.

Blue-naped Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia cyanea) - a few seen and heard F.

Capped Conebill (Conirostrum albifrons) - a few seen mixed flocks F.

Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola) - common H.

Tropical Parula (Parula pitiayumi) - common H, UP/F.

Three-striped Warbler (Basileuterus tristriatus) - common F.

Pale-legged Warbler (Basileuterus signatus) - several seen H, UP.-supercilliary did not extend past eye and crescent below eye noted.

Russet-crowned Warbler (Basileuterus coronatus) - a few seen F in mixed flocks.

Slate-throated Redstart (Myioborus miniatus) - common H, UP/F.

Brown-capped Vireo (Vireo leucophrys) - a few heard and seen F.

Giant Cowbird (Scaphidura orizyvora) - a few seen H.

Crested Oropendola (Psarcolius decumanus) - several seen H.

Dusky-green Oropendola (Psarcolius atrovirens) - common H, UP/F.

Patrick O'Donnell
patcotinga [at]

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