Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Venezuelan Troupial Icterus icterus ©Bjørn Christian Tørrissen Website
Birding Venezuela

Venezuela serves as an excellent introduction to South America. It has a decent bird book (and a new one under production); a quite good road system, many accessible national parks and quite good infrastructure. It used to be vary safe, but today is no better or worse than other destinations in South America. Care is needed not be out of sight of your car, nor to bird alone near big cities (i.e Maracay). Hiring a car with a driver is a good idea (not only in Venezuela).

If you have never birded South America before I would start a three week trip in Los Llanos – the Orinoco basin which has overwhelming numbers of large birds such as storks, ibises and herons as well as many raptors. This is probably one of the most seductive types of birding one can do to get non-birding spouses into birding. There are many luxurious lodges that provide good services for birders. People on tight budgets may want to check out the areas near Mantecal, but if you can afford it the lodges are very good.

Your first trip to S.A should also include the Andes of Merida. Birding is quite easy there. There are many good birding sites from Barinas to Merida via Santo Domingo, and an excellent mountain trail through cloud forest from Tabai just outside Merida. The trail is quite strenuous to do all in one day, so one may want to spend a couple of days here and even camp in the top area where some of the best Merida birds occur such as Rusty-faced Parrot and Slaty-backed Hemispingus. Other areas to include in west Venezuela is the endemic-rich Coro dessert and the coastal range of Henri Pittier National Park – also with many endemics. Henri Pittier NP has two bisecting roads that are both very good for birding. One of them takes you to the biological station of Rancho Grande. The birding from the veranda in mid-morning is exceptional and here you can get somewhat familiarised with the overwhelming diversity of neotropical birds and get to know many examples that represent typical South American families.

Now after three weeks you are set for some advanced neo-tropical birding and you should turn your attention to the South East; here there are two principal areas. The first, Campamento Rio Grande, has become renowned for its stake-out of Harpy Eagle nests. There are some three-four nests in the area and there has been at least one active every year since this became widely known at the beginning of the nineties. Birding in general is very good, but it can be quite frustrating sometimes, with birds in mixed species flocks that you don´t get good looks at, as well as many unfamiliar calls. If you really want to see all the birds here it is a very good idea to employ a guide.

Similarly the base of the Guyanan shield, at the bottom of the Escalera road, has rain-forest and some good trails which are also very species rich but difficult to work if you have little experience with calls in the Amazon. The escalera itself is quite straightforward and the number of accessible endemic birds is very high.Finally, some mention of the areas in the North East which could be included after say 12 days in the South east. The oilbird cave at Caripe is impressive and one of the most accessible sites in South America for this species. The Paria peninsula and especially the Cerro Humo trail holds a handful of endemics all threatened by habitat-loss.

NB November 2016 – Venezuela is going through economic meltdown with a vast and rising crime rate and unprecedented migration as people flee poverty. In many places plantations have ceased production. The country’s international debt is crippling.Birders should check news services for latest changes. UK Government Foreign Office alerts give sound advice to potential travellers and similar services are available from most western governments.

Top Sites
  • Amazonas - Gavilán Road

    Satellite View
    Due in part to lack of access, Venezuelan Amazonas is relatively little birded in comparison with the neighbouring countries of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil. The best-known lodge, Junglaven, is rather remote and costly to access, so it comes as a welcome surprise to find excellent Amazonian birding just a few kilometres south of the sleepy town of Puerto Ayacucho. I first accompanied Mary Lou Goodwin along this road several years ago and am certain that continued exploration will produce a very respectable bird list. Although the road has been heavily deforested and initially looks rather fruitless, perseverance pays off. The road gives access to a variety of Amazonian habitats including savannah, white sand scrub, moriche palm swamps and tall humid forests and it is a good idea to bird all habitats to ensure a good representative overview. Typical Amazonian groups are the bread-and-butter of this road: about 15 species of parrot, six toucans, four Celeus woodpeckers, plenty of woodcreepers, Furnariids and antbirds and a host of flycatchers and tanagers. The remaining chunks of primary forest are good places to listen for Rufous-winged Ground-Cuckoo; White-plumed and Rufous-throated Antbirds will be found at the same antswarms. Treetops should be scanned for Paradise Jacamar, Spangled and Pompadour Cotingas and White-browed Purpletuft. Moriche swamps hold the specialist Point-tailed Palmcreeper and Sulphury Flycatcher. Forested creeks have Long-billed Woodcreeper, Black-chinned Antbird and, with luck, Amazonian Black-Tyrant. Guianan Cock-of-the-Rocks are not uncommon and add a touch of colour. Good accommodation exists on the outskirts of Puerto Ayacucho and many more Amazonian species can be picked up at a variety of sites nearby.
  • Andes - La Mucuy and the Humboldt Trail

    Satellite View
    The Humboldt Trail is another of those must bird sites. This Andean trail is a wide, old Spanish pack-horse track which winds up from the ranger station at La Mucuy to the Pico Humboldt. Fortunately, the only users are hikers and birders with the occasional curious day-visitor, so that it is not uncommon to enjoy these marvellous cloud forests and their avian denizens in complete solitude. The trail begins at 2100m and can comfortably be birded to about 2700m in a morning – above that one can camp in order to access the high-altitude bamboo breaks and páramo. Often, the first species one encounters is Rufous-banded Owl in the La Mucuy car park itself. The recreation area provides excellent birding with Mérida Sunangel, Gorgeted Woodstar and Moustached Brush-Finch being typical. During the northern winter migrant warblers fill out the colourful subtropical mixed feeding flocks. Further up the trail Rose-headed Parakeet, Golden-headed Quetzal, Golden Starfrontlet, Mérida Tapaculo, Golden-breasted Fruiteater and White-fronted Whitestart are usually easy. Rusty-faced Parrots are a question of luck whilst the four species of Antpitta, including the endemic Grey-naped, require patience. Of the four Hemispingus, Grey-capped is common, whereas Slaty-backed is unreliable at the higher elevations. Excellent accommodation is available just a short drive from the trailhead.
  • Coastal Cordillera - Henri Pittier National Park

    Satellite View
    Created in 1937 in honour of a Swiss botanist, Henri Pittier National Park has acquired legendary status amongst Neotropical birders and today figures as an obligatory stop on any visitor`s itinerary. Although the park comprises just over 1000 square kilometres – half the size of the United Kingdom`s Snowdonia National Park – the list of species recorded tops 550 and includes several Venezuelan first records. Besides quantity, the park also provides quality in the form of a large number of rare and endemic species. The chief attraction is its lush cloud forest which harbours avian delights such as Venezuelan Wood-Quail, Band-tailed Guan, Helmeted Curassow, Groove-billed Toucanet, Guttulated Foliage-gleaner, White-streaked Antvireo, Scallop-breasted Antpitta, Scalloped Antthrush, Caracas Tapaculo, Venezuelan Bristle-Tyrant, Handsome Fruiteater and Rufous-cheeked Tanager. Raptors are particularly conspicuous and Black Hawk-Eagle, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle and Solitary Eagle are all considerably easier to encounter here than elsewhere within their wide range. The deciduous forests of the lower slopes are home to Black-backed Antshrike, Venezuelan Flycatcher and Golden-winged Sparrow while the coast holds Buffy Hummingbird, Bicoloured Conebill and Glaucous Tanager. In addition to its resident avifauna, the park is famous for the Portachuelo Pass, which is one of the most studied migratory routes in the Neotropics. Excellent accommodation at several strategic sites on the park borders makes this area a real pleasure to bird.
  • Llanos - Hato Piñero

    Satellite View
    The Venezuelan llanos, or 'flatlands', provide a wildlife spectacle on a par with anything else America has to offer and, indeed, have sometimes been referred to as America's East Africa. The llanos flood during the wet season and some regions become a vast lake. With the onset of the dry season, the waters drop and isolated creeks and pools begin to dry up, creating a feeding bonanza for caiman, anacondas, mammals and birds alike. Hato Piñero is a private cattle ranch nestling in the northern llanos and offering birding packages in comfortable accommodation. The draft list of birds found at the 800 square kilometre ranch currently stands at 300 and when you take your first ride in one of the open-top trucks, it's easy to believe that the total will eventually be much higher. Seven species of ibis can be found on a single excursion, herons and egrets abound, Yellow-knobbed Curassows are a traffic hazard and Sunbitterns are easier to view here than almost anywhere else. Besides its extensive wetlands, Hato Piñero also boasts one of the largest areas of intact deciduous forest in the entire llanos, a habitat which is home to White-fringed Antwren, White-throated Spadebill, Fuscous Flycatcher, Pale-tipped Inezia, Pale-eyed Pygmy-Tyrant and Trinidad Euphonia. Gallery forests hold Pale-headed Jacamar, Rusty-backed Spinetail and Orinocan Saltator while forest patches are good for Dwarf Cuckoo, Scarlet Macaw, Russet-throated Puffbird and White-bearded Flycatcher. Night excursions are a major attraction and typically produce Common and Great Potoos, Lesser Nighthawk, Pauraque and White-tailed Nightjar, though Nacunda Nighthawk and Striped Owl, Spectacled Owl and large cats are regular: Hato Piñero is one of the best places anywhere within its wide range to encounter a Jaguar.
  • Tepuis - La Escalera

    Satellite View
    Yet another, legendary birding name, La Escalera literally means the staircase and refers to a road which winds up from the Guayanan lowland forests onto the grassy plateau known as the Gran Sabana. The escarpment up which the road climbs is covered in a dense cloud forest which is home to most of the Pantepui endemics which are more typical of the foothill slopes of the table mountains (tepuis) proper; thus it gives easy access to real Pantepui birding. There are some at least 38 Pantepui endemics (more study is certain to reveal further endemics); many of which are only found in Venezuela and most of which are far more easily seen here than anywhere else. Easily found along the forested roadside are Fiery-shouldered Parakeet, Rufous-breasted Sabrewing, Peacock Coquette, Velvet-browed Brilliant, Scarlet-horned Manakin, Scarlet-horned Manakin, Orange-bellied Manakin, Tepui Brush-Finch, Tepui Whitestart and Tepui Mountain-Grackle. An eye overhead will usually be rewarded with Tepui Swifts and the rather less reliable Tepui Parrotlet. More challenging still are skulkers like Tepui Tinamou, Tepui Antpitta and Flutist Wren. The beginning of the Gran Sabana is the place to look for Tepui Goldenthroat as well as Russet-crowned Crake and Tawny-headed Swallow and rarities like Giant Snipe and Bearded Tachuri. In the dry season the forested slopes and sandstone cliffs echo to the ethereal songs of White and Bearded Bellbirds. In addition, more world-class birding is to be had in the lowlands at the foot of La Escalera. Excellent accommodation is available five minutes from the base of La Escalera.
  • Chris Sharpe

    Contributor of Top Sites | sharpebirder AT

  • Gunnar Engblom


Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 1383

    (As at May 2019)
  • Number of bird species: National Bird

    Venezuelan Troupial Icterus icterus
  • Number of endemics: 54 - 15 Non-passerines

    Tepui Tinamou Crypturellus ptaritepui, Venezuelan Wood-quail Odontophorus columbianus, Tepui Nightjar Systellura roraimae, Merida Sunangel Heliangelus spencei, Venezuelan Sylph Aglaiocercus berlepschi, White-bearded Helmetcrest Oxypogon lindenii, Golden Starfrontlet Coeligena eos, Scissor-tailed Hummingbird Hylonympha macrocerca, Rusty-flanked Crake Laterallus levraudi, Plain-flanked Rail Rallus wetmorei, Groove-billed Toucanet Aulacorhynchus sulcatus, Black-spotted Piculet Picumnus nigropunctatus, Venezuelan Parakeet Pyrrhura emma, Red-eared Parakeet Pyrrhura hoematotis, Rose-headed Parakeet Pyrrhura rhodocephala,
  • Number of endemics: 54 - 39 Passerines

    Great Antpitta Grallaria excelsa, Tachira Antpitta Grallaria chthonia, Grey-naped Antpitta Grallaria griseonucha, Scallop-breasted Antpitta Grallaricula loricata, Sucre Antpitta Grallaricula cumanensis, Merida Tapaculo Scytalopus meridanus, Caracas Tapaculo Scytalopus caracae, Guttulate Foliage-gleaner Syndactyla guttulata, White-throated Barbtail Premnoplex tatei, Paria Barbtail Premnoplex pariae, Ochre-browed Thistletail Asthenes coryi, Orinoco Softtail Thripophaga cherriei, Delta Amacuro Softtail Thripophaga amacurensis, Black-throated Spinetail Synallaxis castanea, Handsome Fruiteater Pipreola formosa, Rufous-lored Tyrannulet Phylloscartes flaviventris, Venezuelan Bristle-tyrant Pogonotriccus venezuelanus, Maracaibo Tody-flycatcher Todirostrum viridanum, Venezuelan Tyrannulet Zimmerius petersi, Urich's Tyrannulet Phyllomyias urichi, Blackish Chat-tyrant Ochthoeca nigrita, Rufous-browed Chat-tyrant Ochthoeca superciliosa, Merida Wren Cistothorus meridae, Caracas Brush-finch Arremon phaeopleurus, Paria Brush-finch Arremon phygas, Merida Brush-finch Atlapetes meridae, Green-billed Oropendola Psarocolius oleagineus, Grey-headed Warbler Basileuterus griseiceps, White-fronted Whitestart Myioborus albifrons, Paria Whitestart Myioborus pariae, White-faced Whitestart Myioborus albifacies, Guaiquinima Whitestart Myioborus cardonai, Duida Grass-finch Emberizoides duidae, Slaty-backed Hemispingus Poospiza goeringi Grey-capped Hemispingus Kleinothraupis reyi, Venezuelan Flowerpiercer Diglossa venezuelensis, Merida Flowerpiercer Diglossa gloriosa, Rufous-cheeked Tanager Tangara rufigenis, Chestnut-breasted Tanager Tangara arthus,
  • Checklist

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Useful Reading

  • Birding in Venezuela

    | By Mary Lou Goodwin | Sociedad Conservacionista Audubon de Venezuela | 2003 | Edition 5 | Paperback | 332 pages, B/w illustrations | ISBN: 9788487334481 Buy this book from
  • Birds of Northern South America

    | Volume 1: Species Accounts An Identification Guide | By Robin Restall, Clemencia Rodner & Miguel Lentino | Christopher Helm | 2006 | Paperback | ISBN: 9780713672428 Buy this book from
  • Birds of Venezuela

    | By David Ascanio, Gustavo A Rodriguez & Robin L Restall | Bloomsbury Publishing | 2017 | Paperback | 592 pages, 248 plates with colour illustrations; colour photos, colour illustrations, colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9781408105351 Buy this book from
  • Birds of Venezuela

    | By Steven L Hilty, John Gwynne & Guy Tudor | Christopher Helm | 2002 | Paperback | 878 pages, 67 colour and b/w plates, 44 colour photos, 20 line illustrations, 1378 maps | ISBN: 9780713664188 Buy this book from
  • Site Guides: Venezuela

    | A Guide to the Best Birding Locations Dennis W Rogers48 pages, maps.Cinclus 1993 ISBN: 9780963776501 Buy this book from
Birding Aps
  • All Birds Venezuela

    | (a complete field guide to identify all the bird species recorded in Venezuela) | Mullen & Pohland GbR | 2 GB | Requires iOS 8.0 or later |

    This app is an electronic field guide and contains all 1412 species ever recorded in Venezuela. This app fills a gap in the region and is the only bird app available for Venezuela! It is based on the renowned reference work of the Helm Guide Series "Birds of Northern South America" by Robin Restall, Clemencia Rodner, and Miguel Lentino. The creation of apps from the book is a co-production between Bloomsbury Plc and Sunbird Images. The app contains 4,620 illustrations and more than 3,000 bird songs and calls in total!
  • La Mucuy Bird Observatory

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
    Located in the Mérida Mountains, Sierra Nevada National Park, Venezuela - Although Venezuela is not widely recognized as an important place for Neotropical migrant birds, its importance appears to be underestimated…
  • Sociedad Venezolana de Ciencias Naturales

    Facebook Page
    Edif. Sociedad Venezolana de Ciencias Naturales, piso 2, Calle Arichuna, Urb. El Marques Caracas, Call (0212) 2728708 Twitter: @Audubon_VZLA
  • Venezuelan Audubon Society

    The Venezuelan Audubon Conservation Society (SCAV) is a non-governmental, non-profit organization composed of nature-loving people interested in promoting the study, conservation and enjoyment of the extraordinary natural wealth of our country, especially its avifauna. In order to promote the interest of the community in the preservation of this natural heritage, SCAV works in three main areas: Education, Research and Ecotourism.

Abbreviations Key

  • Estacion Biologica El Frio

    Facebook PageSatellite View
    The biological station and visitor facilities are located in the heart of El Frío ranch, about 90 miles west of San Fernando de Apure, in Apure state, Venezuela. Located on both sides of the San Fernando-Mantecal road, El Frío encompasses about 200,000 acres. The site is a functioning cattle ranch, which supports 45,000 head of cattle and 1,000 horses. Combining its cattle raising activity with research and ecotourism, Hato El Frío represents one of the best examples of the ecosystems of the flooded llanos. Beyond the ubiquitous spectacled caimans and capybaras, the ranch is home to large flocks of herons, ibises, and storks that congregate around watering holes. El Frío is actively involved in conservation issues, serving as a breeding station for rare Orinoco crocodiles.
  • Los Llanos Grasslands

    InformationSatellite View
    More than 400 species of birds speckle the grasslands with white, crimson, yellow, blue, orange and black. Scarlet Ibis, chestnut-fronted Macaws, Jabiru Storks, black-collared Hawks, as well as the prehistoric-looking Hoatzin, call it their home. The Llanos also shelter a wide array of other animals such as giant anteaters, wild horses, armadillos, iguanas, tortoises, red howler and capuchin monkeys…
  • NP Canaima

    InformationSatellite View
    It is located in Bolívar State, reaching the borders with Brazil and Guyana. Home to harpy Eagle, Dusky Parrot, Red-shouldered Macaw and many other birds.
  • NP Cerro El Copey

    InformationSatellite View
    It iIs a protected area with the status of a national park located to the east of the Caribbean island of Margarita, in the highest mountainous region of Nueva EspartaState. It is surrounded by desert plains and this is why, despite its scarce 960 m elevation, it has green forests and montane grasslands that feed on the humidity provided by the trade winds.
  • NP Cerro Saroche

    InformationSatellite View
    The park is located in the state of Lara, between Barquisimeto and Carora.
  • NP Henri Pittier

    InformationSatellite View
    Its 107,800 hectares, located in the north of Aragua state, comprise most of the Araguan coast and mountainous area of Carabobo state. It also borders San Esteban National Park. Henri Pittier National Park is the largest among the national parks of the Venezuelan Coastal Range. There are more than 500 bird species and 22 endemic species.
  • NP Tirgua

    InformationSatellite View
    It consists of deciduous and semi-deciduous forests, with many palm trees in the understory. Mammals include araguato capuchin monkeys, cunaguaros, lapas, and tapirs.
  • NP Yacambú

    InformationSatellite View
    Yacambú National Park is in the state of Lara, on the southern slope of the Portuguesa Cordillera, which is part of the northern Andes range. The park was created in 1962 to protect the watershed of the Yacambú River, whose waters will feed the José María Ochoa Pilé reservoir once dam construction is complete…
  • National Parks - by State

    WebsiteSatellite View
    a page for each
  • WR Hato Pinero

    Facebook PageSatellite View
    Hato Piñero has for almost 50 years, been a unique example of agricultural development, through the use of the most advanced techniques and practices in agricultural and livestock husbandry, yet conserving nature in its natural state...
Guides & Tour Operators
  • ABTbirds

    Tour Operator
    whether you are an individual traveler or you like to join fellow birders, we can arrange a wide variety of birding tours to the famed Rancho Grande, the vast plains (Llanos), the Andes, the mountains of Paria, the Lake Maracaibo basin and the Tepuis. Over the years, we have found locations to look for the Roraiman Nightjar (our first record is back to 1984!), Scallop-breasted Antpitta, Recurve-billed Bushbird, Tepui Wren, Orinoco Softtail, Gray-headed Warbler, Great Antpitta and 3 yet undescribed birds among others
  • Angel Eco-Tours

    Facebook Page
    The sound of hundreds of parrots awakening breaks the silence. You and your travel companions climb out of your beds to see the sunrise and experience the wonder that is Venezuela
  • Arassari Trek [formerly Bum Bum Tours]

    Tour Operator
    All our trips are highly educational and designed to give fair paid work to people living in remote areas. Ecological conscience and conservation of the environment are our main concerns to help preserve Venezuela as beautiful as it is right now.
  • Geodyssey

    Tour Operator
    You might choose to tour Venezuela staying in comfortable hotels and lodges with opportunities to explore each region. You might like to have an active holiday, going on an adventurous trek or a river journey deep in the more remote regions of Venezuela. You might be keen to see something of Venezuela`s huge diversity of birds and wildlife. Even if you prefer just to relax on a beautiful beach, Venezuela offers you a choice from lively beach-life to quiet Robinson Crusoe beaches fringed with palm trees. (There is also the tourist island of Margarita, which is best avoided if you would prefer to see the real Venezuela.)
  • Natoura Adventure Tours

    Tour Operator
    Since its inception in 1986, NATOURA has remained a team of young and enthusiastic nature lovers, who specialize in organizing safe and exciting Eco & Adventure tours throughout our beautiful and diverse country
Trip Reports
  • 2016 [05 May] - Eustace Barnes

    PDF Report
    A spectacularly diverse biological haven; Venezuela is one of the most exciting destinations for birders although not one without its problems. Extending the tour to explore remote sites including the other-worldly summit of Mount Roraima makes for what is, the most adventurous and rewarding tour to this fascinating region.
Places to Stay
  • Hato el Cedral

    Hato El Cedral is located in the low plains of Venezuela`s Apure, near the town of Mantecal, in the country`s vast interior grasslands known as the llanos. Its 53,000 hectares (106,000 acres) are both a working cattle ranch with more than 20,000 head of cattle and an important tourist center for the growing interest in ecological and adventure tourism. This camp provides its visitors with one of the most outstanding displays of animal wildlife in the western hemisphere. In addition to being a working ranch, El Cedral is also considered an ecological reserve, and hundreds of species of wild animals run free. The wildlife here are unaware of the danger associated with man`s presence, because hunting has been banned for many years. El Cedral is the only ranch where animals are friendly and abundant, which distinguishes it as the best on the Venezuelan plains!
  • Orinoco Delta Lodge

    Is a family run operation specialized in nature and adventure travel in The Orinoco Delta Region in Venezuela with offices in Tucupita and Playa el Agua in Margarita Island
  • Ucaima Camp

    This is the oldest of the camps in the area. Well known Rudy "Jungle Rudy" Truffino built his camp in Ucaima, a few minutes by jeep upriver from Canaima on the banks of the Carrao River in the 1950's. It is now operated by his daughters who provide warm, friendly service to the guests and are always available for chatting with guests about the beauty of the Lost World region. Encounters there included half a dozen resident black-capped parrots, a baby giant anteater, a tapir, a resident macaw, and a friendly boa constrictor
Other Links
  • Aves de Venezuela

    Aqui encontrar
  • Birds of Venezuela

    Website App
    The aim of this work is to cover as many vocalizations of as many bird species as possible, occurring in Venezuela.
  • Venezuela Yours

    Those large black birds, with long, sharp and extended wings, showing a whitish or intense red colored swollen throat, are the Frigate Birds, the
  • Venezuelan Birds

    Venezuela! A birders paradise
  • Siempre Verde Venezuela

    ...connecting people to nature

Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

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