One of our favourite areas of Ecuador’s cloud forest to visit is Mindo. Mindo is a town, a river and also an area on the western slopes of the Andes. At an elevation of 1,300 meters above sea level Mindo is located at the midpoint between the highland Quito area and the Pacific coast and so has birds that occasionally visit from both the Coastal and the Sierra regions, which is one of the main reasons why there are over 400 species of birds can be seen in the immediate area around Mindo. If we include areas that can be visited in a day trip from Mindo, this number rises to an estimated 550 species.
These birds include an array of humming birds as well as iconic species such as the Cock of the Rock, Giant Antpitta, Club-Winged Manakin, Toucan Barbet and Torrent Duck to name but a few.
A few bird facts for Mindo
- Mindo was ranked for several years in a row as among the top 3 highest bird counts in the world in the Christmas Bird Count sponsored by the Audubon Society. Beating off competition from over 2000 locations, within a 25 kilometre radios, the 24 hour count in Mindo has in some years exceeded 400 species.
- In the year 2000 Mindo was named as the first area in South America as an ‘Important Area for Birds’ by Birdlife International due to the high diversity and threatened nature of many of the birds found in the area.
- Mindo is home to the greatest number of endemic montane birds of any place in the world (according to Birds of Ecuador, by Ridgley and Greenfield)