Birding at Otun Quimbaya Flora and Fauna Sanctuary, Colombia

We arrived to Otun Quimbaya after dark on a Saturday.  On the way from Pereira we stopped along the Otun River in town in search of the torrent duck, a local highlight.  We struck out on the duck, but did see a white-capped dipper in the river.

Otun Quimbaya is located in the west slope of the central Andes.  The reserve covers more than 1200 acres between 5,741 and 7,382 feet in elevation extending into the cloud forest.


Upon arrival Saturday evening, we checked into our rooms at the reserve’s lodge and had dinner.  Then, we headed out in search of a Colombian screech-owl that had been reported along the trail behind the lodge.  Our search was successful.

We spent all day on a Sunday birding at Otun Quimbaya by walking along the unsaved road in the reserve.  The day was a definite highlight because locals from the town of La Florida were visiting the reserve in numbers on foot and by chiva bus. This gave us the opportunity to talk to locals as they passed by.  Almost all of them wanted to know why we had binoculars, field guides, and spotting scopes in tow.

Chiva bus from La Florida.

To add to the experience, we had luck spotting red-ruffed fruitcrows, a variety of warblers, emerald toucanets, a barred antshrike, and the first Andean cock-of-the-rock of the trip!

Red-ruffed fruitcrow.
Roadside hawk.
Pair of emerald toucanets.

The food and accommodations at the lodge were the most basic of our entire trip, but the birding was great.  If you’re also into butterflies, tropical flora, and the sound of howler monkeys in the distance, Otun Quimbaya is worth a visit.