Six hours from Bogotá, we find the municipality of Soatá in the department of Boyacá. This is an ideal birding spot since it offers an incredible contrast of completely different ecosystems within a very short distance. This will reward us with a spread of endemic and near-endemics during our visit to this región.

As we ascend into the mountains above Soatá, we will reach a relict oak forest where suprises abound. These forests support several species directly associated with these forests, such as the endemic and range-restricted Mountain Grackle. While searching for this species, we will surely come across other near endemic specialties and one of the reasons for visiting this region: Golden-bellied Starfrontlet, Bronze-tailed Thornbill y Coppery-bellied Puffleg, and the spectacular Sword-billed Hummingbird. Similarly, we will have the possibility to find other near endemics: the beautiful Rufous-browed Conebill , Golden-fronted Whitestart (a white-faced eastern andes subspecies) and Moustached Brush Finch, as well as the rare and threatened Rusty-faced Parrot, and the Rufous-naped and Pale-naped brush-finch.

A short downhill trip from the city towards the Chicamocha River, we will enter the dry premontane forest which is home to an endemic species with a very restricted range: Niceforo's Wren. We will likely hear his melodious song in the undergrowth. Other species to look for in the area include the endemic Apical Flycatcher and two other endemic hummingbirds: the range restricted Chesnut-bellied Hummingbird and Indigo-capped Hummingbird, as well as the near endemic Short-tailed Emerald and the rare Lazuline Sabrewing. Other birds to look for include Tawny-crowned Pygmy-tyrant and others like the Yellow-backed Oriole and Tropical Mockingbird.

Photo Credit: Diana Balcazar