The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a unique massif separated from the Andes Mountains, rises 19,000 feet in elevation from the nearby Caribbean coastline. This rapid change in topography hosts the highest concentration of continental range-restricted bird species found anywhere in the world. Its isolation from other mountain regions has allowed the plant communities to evolve separately and as a result, endemism is very high, with more than 30 species of birds occurring only there.
Birding will begin just outside the town of Minca where coppery emerald and stripe-throated hermit can be seen frequenting flower gardens of the homes. As we ascend, we will bisect shade grown coffee plantations that are sure to reward us with nice bird sightings. As we gain elevation, the plantations give way to second and old growth forests where we will begin to see target species for the area. Santa Marta Brush-finch and White-lored Warbler and Blossomcrown, Santa Marta Seedeater, Three-striped Warbler, Andean Condor, Rufous Antpitta, Santa Marta Wren, White-tipped Swift, Santa Marta Parakeet, Santa Marta Mountain-tanager, White-tailed Starfrontlet, Santa Marta Bush-tyrant, Santa Marta Antpitta, Golden-crowned Whitestart, Red-billed Parrot, Band-tailed Guan, and Barred Forest-falcon. This is a trip not to be missed.