Bird Watching in Doña Dora, Alto Anchicaya
If you are searching for an exceptional birding spot in southern Colombia, then look no further than Avistamiento de Aves Doña Dora.
Doña Dora is easily accessible and there are simple but comfy overnight options for couples and solo travelers. The family owners are so friendly and welcoming, the food is delicious, and waking up in the house at dawn with barbets feeding just outside your window is a pretty incomparable experience.
This is an astonishing observatory an hour and a half from Cali. Toucan barbets, more than twenty hummingbird species, orange-breasted fruiteaters, black-chinned mountain tanagers and so many more.
What more could you ask for in a birding destination?!
Considered one of the best places for bird watching in Colombia, Doña Dora has 421 reported different species.
The entrance is surrounded by immense forests that create an ideal habitat for a large number of birds.
The eBird hotspot for the area lists 478 species reported.
And what a list of species it is! Crimson rumped toucanet, black-chinned mountain tanager, rufous-throated tanager, silver-throated tanager, tricolored brush finch, black-headed brush finch, chestnut-headed oropendola and sickle-winged guan are regular visitors to the banana feeders and can be seen most days. Keep an eye out for bay wren and the sooty-headed wren in the bushes behind the feeders as well. A tayra has been seen just below the house.
The star bird at Doña Dora is almost certainly the toucan barbet. This Chocó endemic species is only found in western Ecuador and Colombia. It is typically a canopy species that can be hard to see. Not so here, where a large family of toucan barbets nest in a hollow tree trunk and are almost permanently present in the ficus tree. There probably is not a better place in the world to observe this iconic species.
The famous ficus tree is also a magnet for rarer species when it is fruiting. Although they are unpredictable visitors, the ficus draws in species like black solitaire, golden-collared honeycreeper, and yellow-collared chlorophonia.
The observatory’s location on a forest corridor down to the lower Anchicayá Valley and the lowland Pacific jungles means that there’s ample potential for surprise observations. For example, once a little woodpecker was spied on.
Hummingbirds are another big draw here, and species that regularly visit the feeders include green thorn tail, empress brilliant, rufous-gaped hill star, crowned wood nymph, brown violetear, and Andean emerald. Scarcer hummers like a velvet-purple coronet, purple-bibbed whitetip, brown Inca, and tawny-bellied hermit can also be seen with some patience.
Beyond the house itself, there is excellent birding along the road. Scan the river for torrent ducks and search out a roosting lyre-tailed nightjar on the rocky cliffs. Further along the road, mixed flocks can contain Pacific species like grey and gold tanager, glistening-green tanager, and purplish-mantled tanager. Slate-colored grosbeaks are often seen near the waterfall, as are roving bands of the endemic crested ant-tanager.
Doña Dora is easily one of the best observatories in the world Do not miss birding here if you are planning a trip to Colombia.