WITH REFERENCE TO FINCA LA VISPERA GROUNDS
Dr Joseph Tobias
Edward Grey Institute
Department of Zoology, Oxford University
South Parks Road
Oxford, OX1 3PS
tel. +44 (0)1865 271244
I stayed in Samaipata for several weeks in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005, mostly for work reasons. Finca La Vispera is a peaceful place to stay for anyone passing through Samaipata: it encompasses 6 ha of land 1 km from the town centre, and is ideally situated for anyone wanting to explore the area. Trips can be made independently one hour downhill to Los Volcanes (where you can find Bolivian Recurvebill with a bit of luck), and 1–2 hours uphill to Amboro National Park (try the cloud forest at La Yunga, or the property of Don Gilberto–one of Samaipata’s guides–who can probably show you Southern Horned Curassow if you have a couple of days to spare).
The following list is not comprehensive. It was compiled after various walks in the countryside around Samaipata, and from information posted in several reports by other observers, including Mark van Beirs, Brian Gee, Jon Hornbuckle, Sjoerd Mayer, Francisco Sagot, Jan Vermeulen and John van der Woude, It includes all habitat within or immediately adjacent to Samaipata, ie within c.500 m of habitation, and also the road to El Fuerte, the waterfall below El Fuerte (=Puente El Fuerte) and the first couple of kilometres along the pipeline track.
follows the Lista Anotada de las Aves de Bolivia (Hennessey et al.
2003); where taxonomy varies from this source, species are marked with an
asterisk (*). “Boreal migrant” indicates that the species breeds in North
America and is usually found at Samaipata between October and April. “Austral
migrant” indicates that the species breeds in Argentina and/or Chile, usually
appearing around Samaipata between April and September.
TATAUPA TINAMOU Crypturellus tataupa
Commonly in scrubby areas around town.
HUAYCO TINAMOU Rhynchotus maculicollis
Small numbers call from bushy or grassy hillsides above the town (regularly heard in scrub near the Eucalypts behind La Vispera).
NOTHURA Nothura darwinii
Occasionally heard or seen in shrubby areas on hillsides near town (eg near El Fuerte).
STRIATED HERON Butorides striatus
Occasionally recorded at the small wooded ponds near the beginning of the pipeline track.
COCOI HERON Ardea cocoi
Singles rarely seen flying over town.
IBIS Theristicus caudatus
Occasional records in fields near Samaipata.
TURKEY VULTURE Cathartes aura
circling over town and the surrounding hillsides.
BLACK VULTURE Coragyps atratus
throughout the area.
KING VULTURE Sarcorhamphus papa
occasionally seen flying near town, especially over deciduous forests.
ANDEAN CONDOR Vultur gryphus
cliff sites near Samaipata and 1–5 often seen flying high over the town itself.
SWALLOW-TAILED KITE Elanoides forficatus
occasionally seen flying over.
KITE Elanus leucurus
One or two
pairs nest close to town and individuals are occasionally seen hunting over
grassy areas, such as below La Vispera.
PLUMBEOUS KITE Ictinia plumbea
occasionally seen flying close to town.
HAWK Accipiter ventralis*
seen circling near town (this form sometimes treated as Sharp-shinned Hawk A.
BUZZARD-EAGLE Geranoaetus melanoleucus
seen soaring near town, breeding near El Fuerte.
ROADSIDE HAWK Buteo magnirostris
at the edge of town, including around La Vispera.
HAWK Buteo platypterus
Ones or twos occasionally seen circling near town between November and March.
HAWK Buteo brachyurus
seen circling or hunting over hillsides around town, including behind La Vispera
and at Puente El Fuerte.
VARIABLE HAWK Buteo polyosoma*
Rarely seen circling near town, including behind La Vispera (if split, the form here would be the Red-backed Hawk).
ZONE-TAILED HAWK Buteo albonotatus
flying over hillsides behind La Vispera.
CARACARA Phalcobaenus megalopterus
seen flying over hillsides at the edge of town, including behind La Vispera.
CRESTED-CARACARA Caracara plancus*
Occasionally seen drifting past town (sometimes known as Southern Caracara); also on La Víspera grounds
CARACARA Milvago chimachima
Sightings of this species were reported near Samaipata by Sjoerd Mayer (beware of juvenile Mountain Caracaras).
KESTREL Falco sparverius
around town, including in the grounds of La Vispera.
APLOMADO FALCON Falco Femoralis (Richard Dunn)
Seen flying over Alto Florida
BAT FALCON Falco rufigularis
seen at the edge of town, occasionally flying over La Vispera.
PEREGRINE FALCON Falco peregrinus
occasionally seen soaring over town, including at La Vispera.
WOOD-RAIL Aramides cajanea
seen in marshy gullies or wooded areas at the edge of town.
SUNBITTERN Europyga helias
seen along rivers near town.
PIGEON Columba fasciata
regularly seen in wooded areas near town.
PALE-VENTED PIGEON Columba cayennensis
A few resident
in areas with trees near town.
PIGEON Columba plumbea
seen/heard in wooded areas, eg behind El Fuerte.
EARED DOVE Zenaida auriculata
breeding bird in gardens around town, including the grounds of La Vispera.
RUDDY GROUND-DOVE Columbina talpacoti
visitor, sometimes common, sometimes absent.
PICUI GROUND-DOVE Columbina picui
Occasional sightings but irregular.; also on La Víspera grounds
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE Leptotila verreauxi
seen and heard in shrubland and gardens as well as woods, including around La
DOVE Leptotila megalura
regularly seen or heard in wooded gullies or hillsides near town, eg along
pipeline track, at Puente El Fuerte and behind El Fuerte itself.
PARAKEET Aratinga acuticaudata
regularly seen around the edge of town, including the grounds of La Vispera.
PARAKEET Aratinga mitrata
near town, especially in areas close to cliffs. Sometimes seen at La Vispera.
PARAKEET Pyrrhura molinae
regularly seen in woodlands near town (eg pipeline trail and Puente El Furte);
not usually seen actually flying over town.
PARROT Pionus sordidus
Samaipata, although usually a bird of the cloud forests in PN Amboró.
PARROT Pionus maximiliani
occasionally seen in wooded areas (eg around Puente El Fuerte).
TURQUOISE-FRONTED AMAZON Amazona aestiva*
seen or heard regularly in flight near the town; their appearance may be
seasonal (also known as Blue-fronted Parrot).
CUCKOO Piaya cayana
Regular wherever there are a few taller trees (not pines or Eucalyptus) near town., including in La Víspera grounds
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI Crotophaga ani
or heard in small numbers around town, including the grounds of La Vispera.
GUIRA CUCKOO Guira guira
Common around town, including La Vispera, and even visiting the central square.
STRIPED CUCKOO Tapera naevia
(but more difficult to see) in shrubby areas at the edge of town, including La
SCREECH-OWL Otus choliba
calling at night in gardens around the edge of town, including the grounds of La
PYGMY-OWL Glaucidium brasilianum
Occasionally seen in wooded areas near town, such as Puente El Fuerte.
BURROWING OWL Athene cunicularia
Fairly common, including in La Víspera grounds
NIGHTJAR Caprimulgus longirostris
seen sitting on roads after dark (eg en route to El Fuerte).
NIGHTJAR Hydropsalis torquata
A few seen in
scrubby areas at the edge of town.
COMMON POTOO Nictibius Griseus
Occasionally heard and seen on La Víspera grounds (see photo)
SWIFT Cypseloides rothschildi
groups (sometimes containing scores of individuals) of plain mid-brown swifts
over half the size of Streptoprocne zonaris must be this species.
They are larger, paler and more uniform than Streptoproce rutila,
and lack the chestnut collar.
CHESTNUT-COLLARED SWIFT Streptoprocne rutila
Small groups of
this species are regularly seen high over town.
SWIFT Streptoprocne zonaris
but irregular. Occasionally large flocks pass over.
SWIFT Aeronautes montivagus
breeds on cliffs nearby; individuals or small groups occasionally pass over
Samaipata, including La Vispera.
ANDEAN SWIFT Aeronautos andicola
town but much less common than previous species.
HERMIT Phaethornis subochraceus
Occasionally seen in denser patches of remnant woodland, such as behind El Fuerte and above Puente El Fuerte. Usually a lowland species.
GREAT-BELLIED HERMIT Phaethornis malaris
reported on La Víspera grounds
HERMIT Phaethornis pretrei
around town, usually in more open areas, including grounds of La Vispera.
GREEN VIOLETEAR Colibri thalassinus
Occasional in gardens and the edge of wooded areas (possibly seasonal).
VIOLETEAR Colibri coruscans
near town (scarce or seasonal)
MANGO Anthracothorax nigricollis
Small numbers reported from Puente El Fuerte.
GLITTERING-BELLIED EMERALD Chlorostillbon aureoventris
gardens and around town; several individuals constantly in the grounds of La
EMERALD Chlorostillbon mellisugus
town in more wooded areas.
WOODNYMPH Thalurania furcata
Scarce in lower
areas of woodland eg downhill along pipeline track and at Puente El Fuerte
HUMMINGBIRD Amazilia chionogaster
Not as common
as Chlorostillbon aureoventris, but nevertheless often seen in
shrubby areas at the edge of town, reularly visiting flowers at La Vispera and
in the town square.
COMET Sappho sparganura
Seen on La Vispera grounds
WOODSTAR Microstilbon burmeisteri
reported at the edge of woodlands near town; scarce and perhaps seasonal.
TROGON Trogon curucui
Scarce in remnant woodlands near town; also on La Víspera grounds
AMERICAN PYGMY KINGFISHER Chloroceryle aenea
A few records
from streams and ponds near town (eg near pipeline trail).
PUFFBIRD Nystalus chacuru
encountered near town; more often heard than seen.
SPOT-BACKED PUFFBIRD Nystalus maculatus
near town, but inconspicuous; often in the grounds of La Vispera.
PICULET Picumnus dorbygnianus
(but much more often heard than seen) in scrubby or wooded areas round town,
including the grounds of La Vispera.
PICULET Picumnus albosquamatus
of this bird sound exceedingly similar to those of the previous species (with
which it might hybridize). Likewise it is occasionally observed in wooded areas
near town (eg Pipeline track and behind El Fuerte).
WOODPECKER Veniliornis frontalis
wooded areas near town, eg along pipeline track.
WOODPECKER Dryocopus lineatus
A few pairs
remain in wooded areas near town.
NARROW-BILLED WOODCREEPER Lepidocolaptes angustirostris
Occurs in any
area with taller trees, including the grounds of La Vispera.
OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER Sittasomus griseicapillus aequatorialis (Richard Dunn)
Seen along trail in Alto Florida
RUFOUS HORNERO Furnarius rufus
Often seen and
heard around town. Two or more pairs nesting in the grounds of La Vispera.
SPINETAIL Synallaxis frontalis
town in hedgerows and scrub, including in the grounds of La Vispera.
AZARA’S SPINETAIL Synallaxis azarae samaipatae
Fairly common in taller scrub and woodlands around town (eg pipeline track and woodlands behind El Fuerte).
If samaipatae is treated as a race of A.
superciliosa, it is known as Buff-browed Spinetail.
SPINETAIL Synnalaxis scutata
Occasionally seen or heard in scrubby woodland near town, but more common downhill towards Las Cuevas.
Sometimes included in a separate genus, Peocilurus.
STRIPE-CROWNED SPINETAIL Cranioleuca pyrrhophia
seen or heard in trees around town (where it creeps around in the canopy),
including near La Vispera.
THORNBIRD sp. Phacellodomus (presumably rufifrons or striaticeps)
Reported in tall scrub near town; on La Víspera grounds near pond.
FOLIAGE-GLEANER Syndactyla rufosuperciliata
wooded areas near town, eg pipeline track.
STREAMCREEPER Lochmias nematura
above Puente El Fuerte (by the main road below the town).
ANTSHRIKE Batara cinerea
Scarce in thick
tall scrub or woodland near town, ie pipeline road area and near El Fuerte.
ANTSHRIKE Taraba major
encountered in extensively scrubby areas near town.
ANTSHRIKE Thamnophilus palliatus
seen (or more often heard) in scrubby or wooded areas near town.
ANTSHRIKE Thamnophilus caerulescens
in thicker scrub and woodland near the edge of town and woods behind El
ANTSHRIKE Thamnophilus torquatus
in gardens, gullies and dense shrubbery at the edge of town (including grounds
of La Vispera).
ANTWREN Herpsilochmus atricapillus
Found in small
numbers in woodland near town (eg pipeline track and behind El Fuerte).
WHITE‑BACKED FIRE‑EYE Pyriglena leuconota
Found in scraps
of forest near town (eg along the pipeline track), but declining as habitat is
ANTTHRUSH Chamaeza campanisoma
still present (but difficult to see) in woodland along the pipeline track.
GNATEATER Conopophaga ardesiaca
recorded, at least until recently, in wooded areas near town (eg pipeline track)
but much harder to find now that much habitat has been destroyed.
OLIVE-CROWNED CRESCENTCHEST Melanopareia maximiliani
the pipeline track in newly cleared areas, and found breeding in shrubs
alongside the rock at El Fuerte.
TYRANNULET Phyllomyias sclateri
resident in forested areas such as the woods behind El Fuerte.
ELAENIA Elaenia albiceps
from the area, and doubtless occurs at least as a migrant, but difficult to
separate from the E. pallatangae.
ELAENIA Elaenia parvirostris
breed in areas with scattered trees, including near the garden of La Vispera.
LESSER ELAENIA Elaenia chiriquensis
A few seen or
heard in scrubby habitat on hillsides around town, where this species seems to
ELAENIA Elaenia obscura
breed in thicker vegetation and shrubby gullies on hillsides near the edge of
SIERRAN ELAENIA Elaenia pallatangae
A few seen or
heard on higher bushy hillsides, including in shrubbery around El Fuerte.
BEARDLESS TYRANNULET Camptostoma obsoletum
around town. Seen or heard in small numbers in scrubby growth or scattered
trees, including at La Vispera.
FLYCATCHER Suiriri suiriri
irregular in scrubby areas near town.
TYRANNULET Serpophaga munda
breeding in shrubby areas near town, regularly visiting the grounds of La
TYRANNULET Phaeomyias murina
in scrubby patches around town, including the grounds of La Vispera.
FLYCATCHER Leptopogon superciliaris
in remnant woodlands near town (eg the wood behind El Fuerte).
SCRUB-FLYCATCHER Sublegatus modestus
seen in broken habitat, shrubby areas or scattered trees near town.
TYRANNULET Inezia inornata]
record mentioned for Samaipata by Brian Gee.
WAGTAIL-TYRANT Stigmatura budytoides
shrubby areas around town, sometimes appearing in the grounds of La Vispera.
TODY-TYRANT Hemitriccus margaritaceiventer
Fairly common and vocal in scrubby habitat around the edges of town,including in La Víspera grounds
TODY-FLYCATCHER Todirostrum plumbeiceps
inconspicuous, in wooded areas near town (eg pipeline track and behind El
FLYCATCHER Tolmomyias sulphurescens
numbers survive in patches of trees near town, mostly along river-courses or
pipeline track etc.
BRAN-COLOURED FLYCATCHER Myiophobus fasciatus
seen in scrubby habitat around the edges of town, including in the grounds of La
FLYCATCHER Hirundinea ferruginea
around the edges of town, regularly visiting the grounds of La Vispera.
BLACK PHOEBE Sayornis nigricans
along rivers (eg at Puente El Fuerte).
BLACK-TYRANT Knipolegus aterrimus
breeding bird in open scrubby or rocky habitat surrounding town (occasionally in
the grounds of La Vispera).
TYRANT Satrapa icterophrys
(and sometimes common) in grassy or bushy areas around town, including the
grounds of La Vispera.
BUSH-TYRANT Myiotheretes striaticollis
found on dry hillsides near town, eg near El Fuerte and on hillsides above La
GREAT KISKADEE Pitangus sulphuratus
Reported from near town as well on La Vispera grounds.
FLYCATCHER Myiodynastes chrysocephalus
Occasionally seen around Puente El Fuerte, and possibly present in other woodlands near town.
FLYCATCHER Myiodynastes maculatus
around town, breeding in remnant woodlands.
FLYCATCHER Empidonomus varius
around town in scrubby habitat, including in the grounds of La Vispera (seems to
FLYCATCHER Griseotyrannus aurantioatrocristatus
occasionally observed at the edge of woods near town (eg behind El Fuerte).
KINGBIRD Tyrannus melancholicus
throughout, including thee grounds of La Vispera.
FLYCATCHER Tyrannus savana
A few records of small numbers during migration periods, including on La Víspera grounds
FLYCATCHER Myiarchus tuberculifer
remnant woodlands near town (eg behind El Fuerte)
FLYCATCHER Myiarchus cephalotes
sighted in the pipeline road area and at El Fuerte, but certainly not as common
as the previous species.
BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER Myiarchus tyrannulus
seen in bushy and scrubby habitat surrounding town.
BECARD Pachyramphus polychopterus
A few pairs
hold territories in wooded areas along the pipeline track.
CRESTED BECARD Pachyramphus validus
seen in more wooded habitat near town.
PLANTCUTTER Phytotoma rutila
Fairly common in scrub and gardens around town; also on La Víspera grounds
RUFOUS‑BROWED PEPPERSHRIKE Cyclarhis gujanensis
noisy breeding bird in scrubby areas around town, including the grounds of La
VIREO Vireo leucophrys
A few seen in
woodland behind El Fuerte.
RED‑EYED VIREO Vireo olivaceus
vocal breeding bird around town, including in the grounds of La Vispera.
PURPLISH JAY Cyanocorax cyanomelas
Present in woodlands near town, including behind El Fuerte., including in La Víspera grounds
JAY Cyanocorax chrysops
in gullies with tall shrubs or trees near town, including along the road above
PURPLE MARTIN Progne subis
Small numbers occasionally seen hawking over the town between October and March.
BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW Notiochelidon cyanoleuca
bird around town, including La Vispera and the town square.
BARN SWALLOW Hirundo rustica
occasionally seen near town.
WREN Thryothorus genibarbis
A few regularly
encountered in remnant woodlands near town (eg behind El Fuerte).
HOUSE WREN Troglodytes aedon
breeding bird around town, including the grounds of La Vispera
MASKED GNATCATCHER Polioptila dumicola
regular in wooded areas around town, including grounds of La Vispera.
THRUSH Catharus ustulatus
Occasionally seen near La Vispera and fairly common in remnant woodlands near
town between October and March.
GREAT THRUSH Turdus fuscater
near Samaipata, possibly a seasonal visitor (or confused with the previous
THRUSH Turdus chiguanco
species in scrubby cliffs and hillsides near town (eg around El Fuerte)
THRUSH Turdus rufiventris
bird around town, including grounds of La Vispera.
CREAMY-BELLIED THRUSH Turdus amaurochalinus
bird, including in the grounds of La Vispera.
PIPIT Anthus hellmayri
One seen and heard displaying near El Fuerte,
BANANAQUIT Coereba flaveola
Scarce visitor to wooded areas around town
TANAGER Thlypopsis sordida
A few records
from shrubby or wooded areas near town.
TANAGER Trichothraupis melanops
observed in wooded areas such as behind El Fuerte, and the waterfall on the main
road below (Puente El Fuerte).
TANAGER Ramphocelus carbo
seen near town, but quite scarce.
SAYACA TANAGER Thraupis sayaca
in tall scrub or gardens, including at La Vispera.
TANAGER Thraupis bonariensis
Fairly common in tall scrub or gardens, including at La Vispera.
PALM TANAGER Thraupis palmarum
seen on La Víspera grounds
TANAGER Pipraeidea melanonota
reported from remnant woodlands near town.
TANAGER Tangara cayana
One report from
near La Vispera, although this is an unusually high altitude for this species.
SWALLOW-TANAGER Tersina viridis
wooded areas near town.
GUIRA TANAGER Hemithraupis guira
Found in small
numbers in woodlands near town.
FLOWERPIERCER Diglossa sittoides
inconspicuous in degraded habitats with scattered trees near town.
BUSH-TANAGER Chlorospingus ophthalmicus
A few in
woodlands behind El Fuerte.
HEPATIC TANAGER Piranga flava
Occasionally seen in patches of scattered trees near town, including in La Víspera grounds
PURPLE‑THROATED EUPHONIA Euphonia chlorotica
in areas where trees remain, including near La Vispera.
EUPHONIA Euphonia cyanocephala
wooded areas near town.
SPARROW Zonotrichia capensis
including around La Vispera.
SPARROW Ammodramus humeralis
A few in grassy
areas around town and along the pipeline track.
FINCH Lophospingus griseocristatus
seen in scrubby areas near town, including close to La Vispera.
BOLIVIAN WARBLING-FINCH Poospiza boliviana
Scarce in low shrubs and partially cleared areas around town (including garden of Mahikari).
BLACK-AND-CHESTNUT WARBLING-FINCH Poospiza nigrorufa*
Scarce in scrubby areas near town. If this form is treated as conspecific with P. whitii from the lowlands of Brazil/Argentina etc,
it is called Black-and-rufous
WARBLING-FINCH Poospiza torquata
Small numbers regularly found in shrubby areas near town. Including grounds of La Víspera.
BLACK-CAPPED WARBLING-FINCH Poospiza melanoleuca
Common in scrub
and scattered trees around town, including grounds of La Vispera.
SAFFRON FINCH Sicalis flaveola
Very common around town; breeding at La Vispera, competing against House Wrens for nest boxes.
GREAT PAMPA-FINCH Embernagra platensis
One or two singing in grassland beside El Fuerte.
BLUE‑BLACK GRASSQUIT Volatinia jacarina
breeding in grassy areas near town.
DOUBLE‑COLLARED SEEDEATER Sporophila caerulescens
bird in open or bushy areas near town, including the grounds of La Vispera.
SEEDEATER Sporophila leucoptera
in bushy areas around town (including gardens of Mahikari). This distinctive
form is sometimes treated as a separate species S. bicolor.
SEEDEATER Sporophila ruficollis
visitor in small numbers to grassy areas near town.
SEEDEATER Catamenia analis
regularly found in drier hillsides or shrubby habitat near the village.
GRASSQUIT Tiaris obscura
seen (or heard seasonally) in grassy and bushy areas near town, but usually
SAFFRON-BILLED SPARROW Arremon flavirostris
in wooded habitats near town, wherever a few trees survive along watercourses
STRIPE-HEADED BRUSH-FINCH Buarremon torquatus
wooded areas near town, eg pipeline track.
FINCH Coryphospingus cucullatus
in scrubby areas, roadside and gardens around town, including the grounds of La
GROSBEAK Pheucticus aureoventris
observed in woodlands near town. Probably seasonal in occurrence, disappearing
in the wet season.
SALTATOR Saltator maximus
small numbers in wooded areas near town.
SALTATOR Saltator aurantiirostris
breeding bird around town, including in the grounds of La Vispera.
GROSBEAK Cyanocompsa brissonii
in shrubby gullies near town, including in the grounds of La Vispera.
TROPICAL PARULA Parula pitiayumi
Small numbers breeding in areas where trees or tall shrubs remain, including near La Vispera. Fairly common in remnant woodlots
(eg Pipeline track and El Fuerte).
MASKED YELLOWTHROAT Geothlypis aequinoctialis
in bushy or grassy areas near town, including along the road above La Vispera.
REDSTART Myioborus brunniceps
in tall scrub and gullies with trees or shrubs near town; more often heard than
TWO‑BANDED WARBLER Basileuterus bivittatus
Regular along the pipeline track and in woodlands behind El Fuerte.
OROPENDOLA Psarocolius decumanus
Small numbers nest around Puente El Fuerte and the lower pipeline track
EPAULET ORIOLE Icterus cayanensis
observed in taller dry woods near town.
BLACKBIRD Gnorimopsar chopi
occasionally seen near town, but scarce.
COWBIRD Moluthrus badius
around town (numbers seem to fluctuate seasonally, lowest in the wet season).
SHINY COWBIRD Molothrus bonariensis
around town, including La Vispera (young birds here being fed by Rufous Horneros).
HOODED SISKIN Carduelis magellanica
in scrubby habitat and gardens around town, including La Vispera
SISKIN Carduelis xanthogastra
records from semi-wooded areas around town.
HOUSE SPARROW Passer domesticus
the village square.