Ornithological wealth in the balcony of your house.
Colombia is the second most biodiverse country on the planet and it is number one in bird diversity (including the largest number of species of hummingbirds), amphibians (frogs, toads and salamanders), orchids and palms; the number two in plants and fish; and the number three in diversity of reptiles, terrestrial vertebrates and butterflies.
Colombia is attracting more and more tourists from all over the world, and in 2017 we reached a record close to seven million tourists. Why do so many tourists come to Colombia? First, Colombia is a megadiverse country. It is number two in the world only after Brazil in terms of natural diversity; this means that the country has more animal and plant species per square meter than most countries in the world, with an area that does not even reach one percent of the planet
Colombia is the only country in South America that has two oceans, the Atlantic and the Pacific, and it is located near the equator in the intertropical zone of the planet, which has a great variety of climates and all thermal floors. This perfect location is related to the exuberant wealth in terms of natural diversity. The country is also part of the Amazon basin, which it shares with other countries. The Amazon River flows through it, and it is the longest and largest in the world. This river contains more water than the Nile, Yangtze and Mississippi rivers combined. In the Amazon, there is also the most extensive tropical forest in the world, which makes it a region of great biodiversity. In Colombia it is possible to practice extreme sports in mountain of unrivaled beauty: the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta, the Nevados National Park and the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy are some places to practice mountaineering, canopying, bungee jumping, rafting or canoeing, rappel, parachuting, paragliding, mountain bike, speleology. However, the activity that attracts the most tourists is bird watching, or as Colombians say: “Pajarear”.
Colombia has some 1921 species and it this figure is going higher; they expect to find more species in the areas were shaken by decades of violence and that tourism is bringing hope and alternatives. According to the Ministry of Environment, of these 1921 species 79 are endemic, meaning that they are only found in Colombian territory. Among some of the most representative species in this greatly diverse country, we can find the Andean condor that can weigh up to 15 kg and have a wingspan of 3 meters with its wings open. In addition, the yellow-eared parrot, which is a small Andean species that is currently threatened by the loss of its habitat, mainly due to the cutting of the wax palm; or the silent golden quetzal, among many other species that tourist birders will surely have on their wish list.
The places to make bird watching, to birch or simply to make birding are many and varied in the Colombian territory. These places can be divided into zones or natural regions of the country. In the northern Caribbean area of the country we can find the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. It is estimated that 20% of the bird species of Colombia are in this place and it is the place with the highest number of endemic species in the country. In the Pacific region we can also find a large number of species, there are more or less 650 species of birds in the country. The ideal place to achieve the best sightings is the El Almejal nature reserve, located in the municipality of Bahía Solano. The coffee region of the country is also an excellent place to see birds in all their splendor. There it is estimated that the number of species reaches the figure of 650. Among the most recommended places for birding we find the Otun Quimbaya Wildlife and Flora Sanctuary, the Nevados National Park and the Tatamá National Natural Park, the Urabá region. Finally, and perhaps more importantly, we have the Amazon region, where it is estimated that the number of species is about half of the total that the country has. The most recommended places there are The Amacayacu National Park and Puerto Nariño.
Given its natural wealth and the diversity of bird species, in Colombia you can also see birds in urban areas, which any continental region or entire countries in the world would envy. This richness in birds is favored by the more than 275 migratory species that arrive every year from the north of the continent escaping from the harsh winter. In cities such as Ibague, Cali and Medellín, which are found in the Andean region of the country (estimated to have around 900 species of birds), they have the advantage of having great potential in urban bird sightings. The city of Cali has the largest number of bird species in an urban area of the country with a figure of around 561 species. Medellin and the entire metropolitan area meanwhile have an estimated 445 species, as revealed by the data given by the scientific journal of the Alexánder Von Humboldt Institute in the fourth version of the bird fair, held in 2017.
Having this number of bird species living and sharing the city, allows you to experience unique and special moments for its inhabitants. In the mornings you can hear the song of the birds that play the awakening of the city; walking through the city observing the birds that adorn the skies and give meaning to the decision to live in a concrete jungle are some of these.
While I savor a cup of the softest coffee in the world sitting in my armchair on the balcony of my home, I can see a large number of birds: the noisy guacharacas (Ortalis Columbiana); the graceful tangara restrojera (Tangara Vitriolina); the tender parakeets of spectacles (Forpus Conspicillatus); the colored royal tanager (Tangara Cyanicollis); the imposing red pyranga (Piranga Rubra); the unmistakable hooded warbler (Wilsonia Citrina) and other more common birds like the common sirirí (Tyrannus Melancholicus); the barranquero (Momotus Aequatorialis) or the common tile (Thraupis Episcopus). Coming to Medellin and its surroundings is an unforgettable sighting experience in its tutelary hills: Cerro de Volador, Arví Park, Cerro Nutibara and Alto de San Miguel. If you want to know more about bird watching in Colombia and especially the city of Medellín, do not hesitate to contact us