CHINGAZA NATIONAL PARK
|# Excl Vagrants*:||76|
|# Near Endemics*:||7|
|*Based on partial or incomplete data.|
|Habitat: Cloud forest, Frailejones paramo, highland lakes|
ABOUT THE BIRDING
Chingaza National Park is a large, mountainous area in the highlands of the Eastern Andes Cordillera. The habitat consists of montane cloud forest, high elevation lakes, and specialized paramo covered by a vast expanse of Frailejones, a rare and quite spectacular plant found only in a few places. These strange plants can get as much as 12m (40 ft) tall.
Birding is primarily along the main access road. About 28 km from Bogota the road traverses temperate scrub mixed with Chusquea bamboo. This habitat is home to Bronze-tailed Thornbill, Longuemare's Sunangel, Coppery-bellied Puffleg, and Rufous-browed Conebill, all near endemics found only in the highlands of Colombia and Venezuela. A few kilometers farther, the road crosses the pass where Frailejones habitat predominates. This habitat is seasonally home to the Bearded Helmetcrest, a strange hummingbird that moves about erratically in search of flowering plants. Another 1 km, past the cable car station, is montane forest where the near endemic Blue-throated Starfrontlet and Golden-faced Redstart, and the more widely distributed Black-chested Mountain-Tanager can be found. The endemic Brown-breasted (Flame-winged) Parakeet is a threatened species usually found at lower elevations of the park too remote to reach in a single day but may occasionally appear. The next 5 kms traverse good habitat for Bearded Helmetcrest as well as the more widely distributed Black-headed Hemispingus. Past the park entrance are tracts of paramo and Polylepis forest interspersed with highland lakes. Nature trails starting near the park center provide access through these habitats and to some of the lakes.
LOCATION OF SITE
Chingaza National Park is located 50 km southeast of Bogota and is reached by a good road.