20 wanderlust.co.uk September 2019
HOME TO THE MOST BIRD SPECIES ON EARTH
he South American country is
true bird territory – the most
diverse birding destination on the
planet, home to more than 1,920
In fact, Colombia is the second most
biodiverse country in the world. Its varied
geography is made up of around 53 million
hectares of natural forest and 22 million
hectares of savannah, as well as arid
deserts, wetlands, snowy peaks and over
1,800 lakes. This makes it a prime wildlife
This is especially true when it comes to
birds. Colombia was crowned ‘Birdwatching
World Champion’ for the third year in
a row during Global Big Day 2019, an
event organised by the Laboratory of
Ornithology at Cornell University where
birders head out to spot as many bird
species as they can in a single day in May.
Colombia broke the record, hitting a record-
breaking 1,590 birds in a day – 41 more
than their record last year.
Colombia’s species are breathtaking.
The most diverse spots are found in the
mountain ranges and forests of Sierra
Nevada de Santa Marta and the Eastern
Cordillera. Here you can spot the likes of
ruby topaz hummingbirds, black-backed
antshirike, blue-billed curassows and lance-
tailed manakins. You can also find near-
endemic bird species on the border regions
between Ecuador and Panama.
The best way to experience Colombia’s
natural wonders is on a designated
birdwatching trail through the country.
The government recently launched two
key twitching routes: the Caribbean route
and the Central Andes route. The former
sees you exploring the regions of Cesar,
Magdalena and La Guajira, while the
Central Andes route includes the regions
of Caldas, Risaralda and Quindío.
Whichever path you take, you’re
guaranteed an experience full of variety,
colour and culture – and more birds than
you’ve ever experienced before. Colombia
is one of those destinations that still feels
unexplored, where the raw biodiversity
and natural landscapes will stay with you
long after the trip.
If you are interested in finding out more
about birdwatching in Colombia, visit
you can watch a documentary by filmmaker
Gregg Robert Bleakney, created as part of
ProColombia’s ‘Colombia #1 in bird species
on earth’ campaign. The documentary
offers a taste of just how spectacular the
birdwatching is in Colombia. But if you want
to experience the real thing, you’ll just have
to visit Colombia for yourself.
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