Visit your favourite destinations
Western Europe
North America
Eastern Europe
South America
Middle East
East Indies

A Report from

Venezuela 1998, 1997, 1995, 1994,

John van der Woude

Birding in Venezuela will get a new impulse with the new field guide by Hilty. Here are summaries of John van der Woude's reports of his independent trips to this highly varied country. The reports cover most of the country: Andes, Northeast, Henri Pittier NP, Falcon, Junglaven (Amazonas), Llanos, Southeast (Bolivar). The full reports are at There you will also find photos of the scenery of the birding sites, and several sounds (in mp3 format) are included.

Birds of Venezuela
Steven Hilty: Buy from or

  • This book will surely become the definitive guide to Venezuela, with over 1300 species illustrated and expertly described. Accurate range maps are complemented by detailed notes on identification, similar species, voice, behavior, status and habitat. A comprehensive introduction includes a photographic guide to the main habitat types plus sections on migration and National Parks.

Venezuela NE and NW, 25 Dec. 1997 - 13 Jan. 1998

Our 4th private birding trip to Venezuela had three aims. First, in this El Niño winter the weather in Venezuela should be better than in Ecuador or Peru, the original options for this winter. Second, we wanted to fill two gaps in our Venezuela travels (only to discover more gaps). Third, we wanted to try out a trip in a South American country without hiring a car, although on the last five days we did hire a car because of a sprained ankle. Some conclusions on this theme of birding here by public transport will follow at the end of the report.

Except for some heavy rains in the Andes, the weather was good. Maybe the foregoing months had even been a bit too dry, there were not many flowers and hence less hummers than expected. The two regions visited were the Northeast (Maturin, Paria peninsula, Caripe) and the Northwest around Merida (Tabay, Azulita, Maracaibo basin border, Bocono, Barinas, Sto. Domingo). The public transport in Venezuela is such that we could reach any possible destination with the appropriate means of transport. That is, going from long to short distances: internal flights, long-distance buses, shared (= por puesto, per seat) taxi's, minibuses, private taxi's (libres), and shared or private 4WD trucks and jeeps. Once we were even offered a ride on a mule.

The total number of bird species observed on this trip was 340, not an overwhelming number, but with several specialties, and only from North of the Orinoco, with few waders etc. Sites visited were:

- Cerro Humo: Paria National Park at Las Melenas, Sucre
- Irapa: coastal area (mainly old plantation) W of Irapa, Sucre
- Rio de Agua: the buffalo farm + hills, near Bohordal, Sucre
- Caripe and surroundings, Monagas
- Tabay: near hotel La Casona and lower Pico Humboldt trail, Merida state
- Azulita road, Merida state
- Rio Frio valley, 56 km NE of El Vigía, Zulia/Merida states
- Palmarito, at Lago Maracaibo, Zulia
- Bocono: lower part of road through Guaramacal N.P., Trujillo state
- Llanos: San Sylvestre road + side road, near Barinas
- Santo Domingo: valley up to the paramo of Eagle Pass, mostly Merida state

Nice species were:

Scarlet Ibis flock, Whispering (Bare-faced) Ibis, Horned Screamer closeby, Torrent Duck, King Vulture very close, Hook-billed Kite, Bicolored Hawk near nest, White Hawk, Aplomado Falcon, possibly Northern Helmeted Curassow, the big macaws, Rose-headed Parakeet, Saffron-headed Parrot, Rusty-faced Parrot, Dwarf Cuckoo, Oilbird (in the caves), Lyre-tailed Nightjar (female), White-tipped Swift, Green Hermit, White-necked Jacobin, White-tailed Sabrewing, Copper-rumped Hummingbird, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Scissor-tailed Hummingbird, Merida Sunangel, Rufous-shafted Woodstar, Swallowwing, Groove-billed Toucanet, Citron-throated Toucan, Black-mandibled Toucan, Scaled Piculet, Red-crowned Woodpecker, Olive-backed Woodcreeper, Crested Spinetail, White-throated Barbtail, White-fringed Antwren, Jet Antbird, Chestnut-crowned Antpitta, Slate-crowned Antpitta, Crimson-hooded Manakin, Black-capped Tyrannulet, Paltry Tyrannulet, Mountain Elaenia, Yellow-bellied Chat-tyrant, Pale-eyed Pygmy-Tyrant, Short-crested Flycatcher, Rufous-breasted Wren, Merida (Paramo) Wren, Orange-billed Nightingale-thrush, Chestnut-bellied Thrush, Black-collared Jay, Black-chested Jay, Grey-capped Hemispingus, Crimson-backed Tanager, Paria (Yellow-faced) Whitestart, Fulvous-headed Tanager, Trinidad Euphonia, Ultramarine Grosbeak, Moustached Brush-finch.

See the full report for more details.


Venezuela (Junglaven Amazonas, Henri Pittier, SE Falcon), 7-24 Jan. 1997

After a few days in the Henri Pittier National Park in the coastal cordillera, we stayed nine days in the Junglaven camp in the Ventuari basin in the Amazonas jungle. Dazzled by all the birds seen at Junglaven we still managed to observe other birds at the surroundings of Finca Campo Lindo in SE Falcon (Northern Venezuela). We also did some birding in the Litoral East of Caracas airport. Below, after the logistics we describe the birding sites and give an annotated species list.

Highlights from Junglaven were, for us:

Agami (Chestnut-bellied) Heron, Zigzag Heron, Crestless (Les. R-b) Curassow, Black Curassow, Grey-winged Trumpeter, Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlet, Rufous-winged Ground-cuckoo, Green-tailed Goldenthroat, Bronzy Jacamar, Spotted Puffbird, Rusty-breasted Nunlet, Amazonian Barred Woodcreeper, Ruddy Spinetail, Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner, Slender-billed Xenops, Cherrie's Antwren, Stipple-throated Antwren, Black-throated Antbird, Rufous-throated Antbird, White-browed Purpletuft, Pompadour Cotinga, Yellow-crested (-crowned) Manakin, Forest Elaenia, Grey Elaenia, Helmeted Pygmy-tyrant, Amazonian Black-tyrant, Citron-bellied Attila, Pale-bellied Mourner, Dusky-chested Flycatcher, Dusky-capped Greenlet, Fulvous-crested Tanager, White-lored (Gold.bel) Euphonia, White-vented Euphonia, Opal-rumped Tanager, Short-billed Honeycreeper, Blue-black Grosbeak.

Highlights for the North of Venezuela (Falcon, Henri Pittier), including the species we saw in the North (including the Llanos) in 1994:

Fasciated Tiger-heron, Sharp-tailed Ibis, Buff-necked Ibis, Orinoco Goose, Ornate Hawk-eagle, Rufous-vented Chachalaca, Band-tailed Guan, Venezuelan Wood-quail, Double-striped Thick-knee, Scarlet-fronted Parakeet, Red-eared Parakeet, Red-billed Parrot, Little Cuckoo, Sooty-capped Hermit, Grey-chinned Hermit, Green-fronted Lancebill, Ruby-topaz Hummingbird, Blue-chinned Sapphire, White-vented Plumeleteer, Violet-chested Hummingbird, Crested Quetzal, White-tipped Quetzal, Pale-headed Jacamar, Russet-throated Puffbird, Groove-billed Toucanet, Scaled Piculet, Red-rumped Woodpecker, Ruddy Woodcreeper, Ochre-browed Thistletail, Black-throated Spinetail, White-browed Spinetail, Grey-throated Leafscraper, White-streaked [Plumb.] Antvireo, Schwartz's Antthrush, Rusty-breasted Antpitta, Golden-breasted Fruiteater, Handsome Fruiteater, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Lance-tailed Manakin, Pearly-vented Tody-tyrant, Venezuelan Bristle-tyrant, Pale-edged Flycatcher, White-bearded Flycatcher, Cinereous Becard, Bicoloured Wren, Stripe-backed Wren, Black-hooded Thrush, Golden-fronted Greenlet, Scrub Greenlet, Andean Siskin, White-eared Conebill, Bicoloured Conebill, Glaucous Tanager, Ochre-breasted Brush-finch, Orange-fronted Yellow-finch, Large-billed Seed-finch.

See the full report for more details.

Venezuela (Bolivar state), 27 Feb. to 10 March 1995

Like in 1994, we had a marvellous birding trip to Venezuela. This year we went to Bolivar state only, which is SE of the Orinoco. Avifaunistically, this area has as well elements from the northern part of Venezuela (N of the Orinoco), as from the broad Amazonian/Guyanan region Distinctive bird groups, which we saw at many places, comprise parrots & macaws, jacamars, manakins, toucans, trogons, piha's, bellbirds, etc, so we are in the real Neotropics.

We stayed at three places: 1. at the base of the Escalera, the road going up to the Gran Sabana, passing several tropical forest zones, 2. El Palmar, for a visit to the Imataca Forest Reserve (Rio Grande), and 3. Las Trincheras in the lower Rio Caura valley. At 1 and 3 we stayed in lodges, at 2 in a hotel. This was all arranged through the Audubon Society of Venezuela. We had a car from Budget, but this car was not without problems, probably also due to the fact that we arrived at Carnival time, so we had the last car available. We later changed it to a much better car, in Ciudad Bolivar, also from Budget.

In general, the visited sites were forests, or rather forest borders: along roads and tracks, rivers, clearings, etc. At a few places we also walked trails into the forest. In between we also had interesting savannas.

Specials included:

Harpy Eagle, Grey-winged Trumpeter, Fiery-shouldered Parakeet, Caica Parrot, Dusky Parrot, Yellow-headed Parrot, Red-fan Parrot, Band-rumped Swift, Peacock Coquette, White-chested Emerald, Crimson Topaz, Brown Jacamar, Pied Puffbird, Black Nunbird, Black-spotted Barbet, Guianan Toucanet, Golden-collared Woodpecker, Chestnut-rumped Woodcreeper, Rufous-bellied Antwren, Spot-winged Antbird, Red-banded Fruiteater, Rose-collared Piha, Capuchinbird, White Bellbird, Bearded Bellbird, Guianan Cock-of-the-rock, Scarlet-horned Manakin, White-fronted Manakin, Tiny Tyrant-manakin, White-naped Xenopsaris, Black-collared Swallow, Flutist Wren, Cayenne Jay, Tepui Greenlet, Olive-backed Tanager, Red-shouldered Tanager, Rufous-bellied Euphonia, Spotted Tanager, Green Oropendola, Olive Oropendola, Tepui Mountain-grackle.

See the full report for more details.

Venezuela (Rancho Grande, Llanos, Andes), 28 Feb. to 11 March 1994 

As part of a holiday based on Curacao, we made a private birding trip to Venezuela from 28 February to 11 March 1994. The general outline of the trip was the following: first a few days at the Rancho Grande biological station in Henri Pittier National Park (in the northern coastal cordillera), then a few days at Hato El Frio in the Llanos (the river plains between the coastal cordillera and the Andes), then up through the Santo Domingo valley into the Andes, up to Tachira.

See at the above reports for the specialties we saw in the region covered here (North and Andes).

full reports  at


Why not send us a report, or an update to one of your current reports?