Tapichalaca Reserve – Ecuador


The Tapichalaca Reserve is located in a remote part of the eastern Andean slope in Ecuador. The 1997 discovery of the Jocotoco Antpitta changed conservation in Ecuador. The Jocotoco Antpitta was discovered by ornithologist Robert Ridgely and in his honor named “Grallaria Ridgelyi”.  This endangered bird is found only along the trails at Tapichalaca, making it an exciting moment if you are able to spot one! The best wildlife photography can be taken in the mornings when the birds are searching for food.

American Bird Conservancy partnered with Fundación Jocotoco to create this conservation reserve. Its purpose was to protect the Jocotoco Antpitta and numerous other globally-threatened birds such as Bearded Guan, Golden-plumed Parakeet, White-breasted Parakeet, and Spot-winged Parrotlet. Even though the Jocotoco Antpitta is the most popular, there are more than 300 bird species living in the reserve and in adjacent areas, including 10 or more endangered species. This diversity makes Tapichalaca reserve a great destination for birders trying for the best wildlife photography. In addition to the many kinds of birds, some threatened species of frogs, Spectacled Bears, and Mountain Tapirs are frequently seen at higher elevations. Other wildlife includes Jaguar and Spider Monkeys, also present in the reserve.

Since this reserve is located in such a remote area, housing can be tough to find. Thankfully, Casa Simpson lodge is located nearby and can give you access to this beautiful foggy landscape. The altitude of the area is 1,800 to 3,400 meters. The reserve sees average to heavy rainfall.

Owen traveled to Tapichalaca Reserve in April 2014.

Birds found here