Birder's Guide

MAR 2014

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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19 March 2014 | Birder's Guide to Travel Quito, Ecuador Sam Woods Photo © Pablo Cervantes Photo © Andrew Spencer Photo © Nick Athanas Photo © Nick Athanas Like many birders, I love lists. Some of us even center our lives on lists, and it could be argued that we have an unhealthy obsession with them. I greatly enjoy the remarkable diversity of choices that comes out of these "top" lists. In every tour I lead, whether it be in Ecuador, China, or Papua New Guinea, the fnal top fve votes for "birds of the trip" are always plugged with the odd surprise or two (for instance, Masked Water-Tyrant in Ecuador; Willie-wagtail in Papua New Guinea; Large-billed Leaf-Warbler in China), and they rarely follow a pattern from group to group, which is the very reason such lists absorb my thoughts. If you asked me to compile this list again tomorrow, I must confess that I might just come up with an entirely new selection. First, a word about my criteria. I wanted the list to refect the diverse bird groups found in Ecuador. Ec- uador boasts more than 130 species of hummingbird and in excess of 100 species of tanager, but I restrained myself from picking a batch of hummers or tanagers to fll my entire top 20. This list is, of course, riddled with my own idiosyncrasies and open to huge disagreement among the birding commu- nity. I encourage this. I hope to cause some birders to spill beer in fevered surprise, and spark a debate on my choices. 1 • Crescent-faced Antpitta (Grallaricula lineifrons) The Crescent-faced Antpitta is the ultimate antpitta, a tiny bird with crisp white crescents on its face. It hangs out in some of the more remote parts of the country, close to treeline, often in dense stands of bamboo. I have known 5-Ecuador.indd 19 3/4/14 1:01 PM

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