Neblina Forest Birding Tours



November trip: eastern andean ridge

Orchid Fever Satisfied: Helge and a Telipogon af maldonadoensis

By Gustavo Cañas-Valle


  • Number of ORCHIDS seen during the trip: 127 species
  • Average expected number of PLANTS with flowers seen during the trip: 370 to 400 species
  • Families Represented: 73 families (minimum)
  • Vegetation Types Visited: 10 out of 16 Ecuadorian Vegetation Types.
  • Total habitats visited: 10 out of 20.
  • Altitude Range: 981 to 4000 m (3218 to 13,123 ft)

A General Description of plants Photographed by habitat follows:



Top Ten Highlight Birds

North Ecuadorian Grassland and "Quebrada" vegetation (Interandean Valleys)

Machachi – Cotopaxi Road

Oxalis cf peduncularis (Oxalidaceae), Prunus capuli (Rosaceae), Brugmansia sanguinea, Brugmansia nubigena (Solanaceae), Coriaria ruscifolia (Coriariaceae),

Eastern Cordillera Paramo (Grass, shrub and cushion, and Desert paramo) Phytogeographically known in South America as Puna.

Cotopaxi National Park

Aa sp. (Orchidaceae), Chuquiraga jussieui (Asteraceae), Coriaria ruscifolia (Coriariaceae), Halenia weddeliana, Gentiana sedifolia (Gentianaceae), Hypericum laricifolium (Hypericaceae), Tristerix longebracteatus (Loranthaceae), Ribes sp. (Saxifragaceae) Brachyotum sp. Possible: Brachyotum gleasonii (Melastomataceae)

Eastern Cloud forest


34 spp seen in 22 families: In the Orchids, the family with the most species recorded: 7 species, three genera: Epidendrum, Maxillaria and Phragmipedium. Epidendrum was the most numerous with 5 spp.

Eastern Cloud forest and Eastern Low montane forest


66 spp seen in 18 families: Orchid family presented 34 species in 21 genera, dominating the group Maxillaria (4 species) and Phragmipedium and Gongora, with 3 species each.

South Ecuadorian shrub vegetation and Dry scrub vegetation of southernmost Ecuador (Chinchipe Valley)

La Toma – Loja Road

Loja County Botanic Garden: 54 spp in 5 families. Orchids were the most frequently seen organisms there: 50 species in 29 genera. The dominant genera were Epidendrum (8 species), Oncidium (7 species) and Maxillaria (4 species).

Southern Cordilleras Paramo (Grass, shrub and cushion paramo)

Cajanuma Area (PNP)

9 spp in 7 families e.g: Gaulteria revoluta, Bejaria sp. (Ericaceae), Oreaocallis grandiflorum (Proteaceae), Streptosolen jamesonii (Solanaceae) Most numerous family: Ericaceae (3 species). No orchids recorded.

Savanna and Deciduous Forest; Semi-deciduous Forest

Catacocha – Macará Road

7 spp in 7 families: Most interesting plants were one Cucurbitaceae and several Bombacaceae including Ceiba trischistandra. Most species did not have flowers to be used as a trait for identification

Dry scrub vegetation of southernmost Ecuador (Chinchipe Valley)

Vilcabamba (PNP Western Limit)

Yangana and Cerro Toledo: 38 spp in 23 families. Most frequently seen in this area: Ericaceae (5 spp), Compositae (3 spp) and Orchidaceae (3 spp).

Eastern Cloud Forest

Tapichalaca Reserve (PNP Southwestern Limit)

Tapichalaca Reserve: 9 spp in 7 families, e.g.: Oncidium macranthum (Orchidaceae), Guzmania sp. (Bromeliaceae), Centropogon sp. (Campanulaceae). Dominant families: Onagraceae and Orchidaceae, with 2 species each.

Eastern Cloud forest and Eastern Low montane forest

Loja – Zamora Old Road (PNP Northern Limit)

San Francisco on the road to Zamora: 10 spp in 9 families. Orchidaceae: only family with more than one species (Epidendrum spp).

Eastern Cordillera Paramo (Grass, shrub and cushion paramo)

Papallacta, Lava Flow and Termas de Papallacta

Papallacta Pass and the Lava Flow: 50 spp in 13 families. Orchids: 16 species in 8 genera. Genera with the most species: Pleurothallis (5 spp) and Epidendrum, Odontoglossum, Pterichis y Stellis (2 species each.)

Eastern Cloud forest and Eastern Low montane forest

Baeza – El Chaco – Cosanga Area

45 spp in 19 families: 13 spp in Orchidaceae, the one with the most species seen in this section. From the 11 genera seen in the family, the two more numerous, Elleanthus and Odontoglossum, presented 2 species each.

Eastern Cloud Forest

San Isidro and Cosanga Area

San Isidro and Cosanga: 29 spp in 15 families. Orchids presented the most records with 8 species: 4 Epidendrum and 2 Maxillaria. On the way back to Quito, before Baeza: five (5) orchid species from: Elleanthus, Epidendrum, Lepanthes, Pleurothallis, and Trychoceros.

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