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30 October - 3 November 1999

by Niels Poul Dreyer

I arrived by plane at the Barcelona Airport and hired a taxi for $50 to drive me to Carupano, a 4-hour trip. In Carupano, there is a very nice hotel called La Colina C.A. with a veranda restaurant serving German food. The price is about $40 per night including tax. The owner of the hotel is the German-born Mr Wilfrid Merle, a very successful businessman who wants to promote ecotourism on a ranch called Aquasana.

The best place to stay and visit, however, is the German-born conservationist Klaus Muller's ecotourism venture at Vuelta Larga, Calle Bolivar No 8 near Guaraunos, about 1½ hours drive southwest from Carupano. The accommodation is very nice and ecologically sound. Just upon my arrival I spotted a Striped Owl sitting in one of the pine trees in front of the facilities. However, the real attraction is his farm about 20 minutes to the east. During his tenure the 2000-hectare buffalo farm has been turned into a wildlife sanctuary with a lot of trees and secondary forest, an ideal situation for the birds which live in the national park next door. Klaus want to show others that it is possible to make a living and on the same time improve nature. At the moment you do not stay on the farm but in the village, but fortunately special accommodation is under construction on the farm, which will make it possible to venture out any time to photograph birds.

Klaus has a son by the name Daniel who has a special knowledge about the birds in Sucre Province. He can take you everywhere you want on field excursions in the four-wheel drive. Consequently, I visited the farm twice. It is an excellent place to see water birds and 3 local species. We went on a canoe trip and a walk and saw Pygmy Kingfisher, White-tailed Goldenthroat, five endemic Black-dotted Piculets, a lek with two male Crimson-hooded Manakins and three beautiful Cream-colored Woodpeckers. It was great to watch large flocks of Orange-winged Parrots migrating across the red late afternoon sky to a night roost. Daniel told me that even the Yellow-knobbed Curassow is returning to the area as the vegetation grows up at the edges.

It was impossible to visit Cerro Humbo, because excessive rain had created 3 major landslides and consequently cut off the road. Upon my return to Europe, I learned over the news media that Venezuela had been hit by the worst natural disaster in this century just after I left, so I would expect that it will take a while before that road is fixed. It is certainly not on the high priority list! Alternatively Daniel took me to Cumbre Brason, elevation 650 m, about 40 minutes drive from Guaraunos. Just when the road reaches a gap we stopped at some sunflower type to see the Tufted Coquette. The gap proved to be excellent raptor spot and we saw Great Black and Common Black Hawk, Short-tailed Hawk, Grey Hawk and a hawk-eagle not to be identified. Other birds recorded were Sooty-capped Hermit, Pearly-vented Tody-Flycatcher, Stripe-breasted Spinetail, Orange-headed & Lance-tailed Manakin and Rufous-breasted Wrens.

On the final morning Daniel took me to the arid Araya Peninsular opposite to touristy Mararita Island about 2 hours drive vest of Carupano. The best habitat is found near Charcopacta lagoon, about ½ hour drive from Carupto. The dry xerophytic thorny area next to the road offers some excellent opportunities to see the vulnerable Yellow-shouldered Parrot. We saw 6 parrots perched and flying around in the cactus. Other special birds seen there were Harris Hawk, Buffy Hummingbird, Blue-tailed Emerald, Pale-eyed Pigeon, Straight-billed Woodcreeper, Yellow-billed Elaenia, Vermilion Cardinal in the cactus, Pileated Finch and Striped Saltator in a big acacia tree. Near the lagoon several waders were feeding and I got good views of some immature Scarlet Ibises, one Tricolored Heron and some seabirds along the beach. Unfortunately, we got bogged near the lagoon and needed help to get the four-wheel truck liberated from the soft moist sand.

My suggestion to people interested in birding Sucre is to contact/fax Klaus directly at or telephone 094 69052. Arrangements can also be booked through Audubon Venezuela. This is because it is nearly impossible to visit the best areas in a traditional car, and it is far cheaper and more comfortable having Klaus & Daniel to organize your trip. This is especially so if your group consists of more than one person. Klaus told me that it will be a bit difficult to do those trips for a single at a reasonable cost in the future. It was a bit tricky to contact Klaus, as his telephone was disconnected. They are now working on the problem, but in Venezuela it is prudent to expect the unexpected! I paid about $250 for 4 nights full board (3 days), 2 excursions to the farm, a visit to Cumbre Brason and the big trip to arid part of Araya Peninsula back to Carupano. I could not have done this trip to that price in a rented 4WD car and camping! They can pick you up at hotel La Colina C.A. I will return as I missed four critically endangered birds at Cerro Humbo.

If you have any questions, please contact

Niels Poul Dreyer


Red-legged Tinamou Crypturellus erythropus
Heared Brason

Brown Booby Sula leucogaster
common Charcopacta, Araya P.

Capped Heron Pilherodius pileatus
1 Vulta Larga, 1 Araya P near Carupano

Great Egret Ardea alba
common several places

Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor
1 west of Carupano

Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
2 Vuelta Larga

Snowy Egret Egretta thula
1 Vuelta Larga

Green Heron Butorides virescens
1 Vuelta Larga, 1 west of Curapano

Scarlet Ibis Eudocimus ruber
+15 juv at Charopecta lagoon

Green Ibis Mesembrinibis cayennensis
1 Vuelta Larga

Black Vulture Coragyps atratus

Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Several Vuelta Larga, Carupano etc

Osprey Pandion haliaetus
1 Charopecta lagoon

Black-collared Hawk Busarellus nigricollis
2 Vulta Larga

Gray-lined Hawk Buteo nitidus
2 C. Brason

Common Black-Hawk Buteogallus anthracinus
2 Cumbre Brason

Great Black-Hawk Buteogallus urubitinga
3 Cumbre Brason

Harris's Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus
2 Charopacta lagoon

Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris
3 Cumbre Brason

Short-tailed Hawk Buteo brachyurus
2 Cumbre Brason

White-tailed Hawk Buteo albicaudatus
2 Vuelta Larga

Crested Caracara Caracara plancus
4 Vulta Larga

Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima

Laughing Falcon Herpetotheres cachinnans
2 near Guaraunos

American Kestrel Falco sparverius
3 enroute to Vuelta Larga

Aplomado Falcon Falco femoralis
1 Aquasana

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis
2 Vuelta Larga

Horned Screamer Anhima cornuta
Heared on Vuelta Larga

Hoatzin Opisthocomus hoazin
5 seen in trees 4 km east of Vuelta Larga

Limpkin Aramus guarauna
+20 Vuelta Larga

Gray-necked Wood-Rail Aramides cajanea
1 Vuelta Larga

Purple Gallinule Porphyrio martinicus
2 Vuelta Larga

Azure Gallinule Porphyrio flavirostris
+10 Vuelta Larga, 5 Aquasana

Wattled Jacana Jacana jacana
Common Vuelta Larga and Aquasana

Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis
10 Aquasana

American Golden-Plover Pluvialis dominica
20 Charopecta lagoon

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
1 Charopecta Lagoon

Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
2 Vuelta Larga, 2 Charopecta Lagoon

Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria
3 Vuelta Larga

Spotted Sandpiper Tringa macularia
4 Vuelta Larga

Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus
5 Charopecta Lagoon

Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago
6 Vuelta Larga

Laughing Gull Larus atricilla
Common at sea at Charopecta Lagoon and Carupano

Royal Tern Sterna maxima
4 Charopecta Lagoon

Bare-eyed Pigeon Columba corensis
+25 Charopecta

Pale-vented Pigeon Columba cayennensis
10 Vuelta Larga

Scaled Dove Columbina squammata
+10 Charopecta (south)

Ruddy Ground-Dove Columbina talpacoti
common Vuelta Larga

Brown-throated Parakeet Aratinga pertinax
10 Vuelta Larga

Green-rumped Parrotlet Forpus passerinus
2 Vuelta Larga

Yellow-shouldered Parrot Amazona barbadensis
+6 seen in cactus 5 km east of Charopecta

Yellow-crowned Parrot Amazona ochrocephala
+20 Vuelta Larga

Orange-winged Parrot Amazona amazonica
+40 Vuelta Larga

Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
1 behind Guaraunos

Little Cuckoo Piaya minuta
1 Vuelta Larga

Greater Ani Crotophaga major
5 near Vuelta Larga

Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani
common in lowlands

Striped Cuckoo Tapera naevia
2 Vuelta Larga

Striped Owl Pseudoscops clamator
1 at Klaus habitación at Guaraunos

Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis
2 flushed in riverbed south of Guaraunos

Gray-rumped Swift Chaetura cinereiventris
common Cumbre Brason

Green Hermit Phaethornis guy
1 Cumbre Brason

Sooty-capped Hermit Phaethornis augusti
1 Cumbre Brason

Little Hermit Phaethornis longuemareus
4 Vuelta Larga

Gray-breasted Sabrewing Campylopterus largipennis
2 Cumbre Brason

Black-throated Mango Anthracothorax nigricollis
1 Cumbre Brason

Tufted Coquette Lophornis ornatus
1 female feeding in large yellow sunflowers Cumbre Brason

Blue-tailed Emerald Chlorostilbon mellisugus
2 in dry scrub east of Charopceta

Fork-tailed Woodnymph Thalurania furcata
4 Cumbre Brason

White-tailed Goldenthroat Polytmus guainumbi
1 Vuelta Larga

Buffy Hummingbird Leucippus fallax
several in dry Xenophorpic woodland east of Charopecta

Glittering-throated Emerald Amazilia fimbriata
+10 Vuelta Larga

Copper-rumped Hummingbird Amazilia tobaci

Venezuelan Sylph@ Aglaiocercus berlepschi
2 feeding in a large tree on the way up to Tunapuicito behind Curapano

Ringed Kingfisher Megaceryle torquata
1 Vuelta Larga

Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona
3 Vuelta Larga

Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana
1 Vuelta Larga

Green-and-rufous Kingfisher Chloroceryle inda
2 Vuelta Larga

American Pygmy Kingfisher Chloroceryle aenea
1 Vuelta Larga

Blue-crowned Motmot Momotus momota
Heared Vuelta Larga and Cumbre Brason

Rufous-tailed Jacamar Galbula ruficauda
3 Vuelta Larga, 1 Cumbre Brason

Russet-throated Puffbird Hypnelus ruficollis
2 east of Charopecta

Black-necked Aracari Pteroglossus aracari
2 near river bed Guaraunos

Red-billed Toucan Ramphastos tucanus
2 Cumbre Brason

Black-dotted Piculet Picumnus nigropunctatus
+5 Vuelta Larga

Cream-colored Woodpecker Celeus flavus
2 Vuelta Larga

Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus
2 Vuelta Larga

Red-crowned Woodpecker Melanerpes rubricapillus
5 Vuelta Larga

Buff-throated Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus guttatus
1 near Guaraunos

Streak-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes souleyetii
2 near Guaraunos

Stripe-breasted Spinetail Synallaxis cinnamomea
Heared Cumbre Brason

Yellow-chinned Spinetail Certhiaxis cinnamomea
Common on Vuelta Larga

Great Antshrike Taraba major
1 pair in a thick bush in riverbed at Guaraunos

Golden-faced Tyrannulet Zimmerius chrysops
1 Cumbre Brason

Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet Camptostoma obsoletum
1 Cumbre Brason

Pale-eyed Pygmy-Tyrant Lophotriccus pilaris
Close up view in forest on Vuelta Larga

Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant Hemitriccus margaritaceiventer
1 Cumbre Brason

Common Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum cinereum
4 Vuelta Larga

Yellow-olive Flycatcher Tolmomyias sulphurescens
1 Vuelta Larga

Pied Water-Tyrant Fluvicola pica
+10 Vuelta Larga

Cattle Tyrant Machetornis rixosus
2 Vuelta Larga

Cinnamon Attila Attila cinnamomeus
3 Vuelta Larga & 1 Guaraunos

Lesser Kiskadee Philohydor lictor
Common especially on Vuelta Larga

Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
common especially on Vuelta Larga

Rusty-margined Flycatcher Myiozetetes cayanensis
Fairly common

Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis
Fairly common

Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus

Black-crowned Tityra Tityra inquisitor
1 Vuelta Larga

Lance-tailed Manakin Chiroxiphia lanceolata
1 Cumbre Brason

Crimson-hooded Manakin Pipra aureola
3 Vuelta Larga

Golden-headed Manakin Pipra erythrocephala
3 Cumbre Brason

White-winged Swallow Tachycineta albiventer
3 Vuelta Larga

Gray-breasted Martin Progne chalybea
+100 along the road up to Cumbre Brason

Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis
+10 Vuelta Larga, 5 Cumbre Brason

Stripe-backed Wren Campylorhynchus nuchalis
10 Vuelta Larga, 6 Guaraunos

Rufous-breasted Wren Thryothorus rutilus
1 Cumbre Brason

Gray-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucophrys
2 Cumbre Brason

Black-capped Donacobius Donacobius atricapillus
2 Vuelta Larga

Yellow-legged Thrush Platycichla flavipes
1 Cumbre Brason

Long-billed Gnatwren Ramphocaenus melanurus
1 Cumbre Brason

Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina
common enroute to Cumbre Brason

Gray Seedeater Sporophila intermedia
+10 enroute to Cumbre Brason along the roadside

Chestnut-bellied Seedeater Sporophila castaneiventris
Common on Vuelta Larga

Pileated Finch Coryphospingus pileatus
2 in dry xerophytic bushes east of Charopecta

Vermilion Cardinal Cardinalis phoeniceus
+5 in cactus east of Charopecta

Streaked Saltator Saltator striatipectus
1 in an acacia tree east of Charopecta

White-lined Tanager Tachyphonus rufus
+10 Cumbre Brason

Silver-beaked Tanager Ramphocelus carbo

Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus

Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum
Common on Cumbre Brason

Trinidad Euphonia Euphonia trinitatis
1 Cumbre Brason

Bay-headed Tanager Tangara gyrola
Common on Cumbre Brason

Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia
5 Vuelta Larga

Bananaquit Coereba flaveola
Red-breasted Blackbird Leistes militaris
+10 Vuelta Larga

Velvet-fronted Grackle Lampropsar tanagrinus
+12 Vuelta Larga

Carib Grackle Quiscalus lugubris

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