New Trip Report(s): Ecuador

Here’s a report from Ian Thompson covering two visits to Ecuador. Some accompanying photographs are here.

Given the current uncertainties regarding travel, I’ve found it challenging to even summon up the energy to plan trips this past year. In case others might be feeing the same, I thought I would send a list of mammal sightings from a trip to Ecuador in the hope that this will inspire others in their planning as the travel situation improves globally. Due to current restrictions/closures I was not able to visit a couple of sites in the Amazon. I’ve included my mammal list from a previous 7-day trip to Tiputini in the Ecuadorian Amazon at the same time of year in 2013 as a taste of what can be expected there. Tiputini is outstanding for primates in particular – I have seen all 10 species that occur there both times I have visited.

Sites visited on this trip were Bellavista Lodge (2 nights), Rio Canande Reserve (2 nights), Bosque Seco Lalo Loor (2 nights, with an afternoon visit to nearby Jama-Coque), Chakana Reserve (1 night at the nearby Tambo Condor), Papallacta (3 nights, with the days spent in Cayambe-Coca National Park), Cabanas San Isidro (2 nights), Wildsumaco Lodge (2 nights). I had a 12 hour stopover in Mexico City on the way home and went to Milpa Alta, south of Mexico City, to try for Volcano Rabbits.

Mammals seen (nomenclature follows Tirira, 2017):

  1. Derby`s Woolly Opossum (Caluromys derbianus) – 1 seen first night, 2 on the second night during night walks at Rio Canande Reserve.
  2. Brown-Eared Woolly Opossum (Caluromys lanatus)- 1 seen in a Cecropia tree at the entrance to Wildsumaco Lodge.
  3. Nine-Banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus)- single individuals seen both nights at Rio Canande Reserve.
  4. Brown-Throated Three-Toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) – 1 captured and killed by a Tayra at Rio Canande Reserve. The mammal spectacle of the trip.
  5. Northern Tamandua (Tamandua mexicana) – 1 seen up in a tree at Rio Canande Reserve.
  6. Black-Mantled Tamarin (Leontocebus nigricollis) – a group of 3 feeding on bananas at Wildsumaco Lodge – finally seen in the last hour I had there prior to heading back to Quito.
  7. Maranon White-Fronted Capuchin (Cebus yuracus) – 2 groups seen at Wildsumaco Lodge.
  8. Lemurine Night Monkey (Aotus lemurinus) – several individuals seen both nights at San Isidro Lodge.
  9. Mantled Howler (Alouatta palliata) – 2 seen at Rio Canande. Abundant at Lalo Loor Reserve –multiple individuals seen on every walk. Also seen at Jama Coaque.
  10. Brown-Headed Spider Monkey (Ateles fusciceps) – Abundant at Rio Canande –multiple individuals seen on every walk. The best site globally for this species.
  11. Poeppig`s (Common) Woolly Monkey (Lagothrix lagothricha) – 1 troop seen at Wildsumaco Lodge.
  12. Red-Tailed Squirrel (Notosciurus granatensis) – seen everywhere except Chakana and Papallacta.
  13. Guayaquil Squirrel (Simosciurus stramineus) – 2 seen at Lalo Loor, in the fruit trees near the entrance. All squirrels seen deeper into the forest at this site were the preceding species.
  14. Amazon Dwarf Squirrel (Microsciurus flaviventer) – 1 seen from the deck at Wildsumaco.
  15. Peters` Squirrel (Sciurus oculatus) – 1 seen at Milpa Alta south of Mexico City.
  16. White-bellied Arboreal Mouse (Oecomys bicolor) – 1 seen at night at Wildsumaco climbing a sapling.
  17. White-footed Climbing Rat (Rhipidomys leucodactylus) – 1 seen climbing a branch in a thicket at night at Cabanas San Isidro.
  18. Alfaro`s Mouse (Handleyomys alfaroi) – 1 caught at Bellavista.
  19. Thomasomys sp. – caught at Bellavista. Identification to species level pending.
  20. Black Rat (Rattus rattus) – 1 seen early morning inside the restaurant at Tambo Condor.
  21. Central American Agouti (Dasyprocta punctata) – 1 seen running across the road just before the village of Tandayapa.
  22. Black Agouti (Dasyprocta fuliginosa) – multiple individuals seen at the feeders at San Isidro. Also seen at the feeder at Wildsumaco and 1 seen on the trail near the antpita feeding station.
  23. Andean Rabbit (Sylvilagus andinus) – common at Chakana Reserve. Also seen at Cayambe-Coca.
  24. Osgood`s Shrew (Cryptotis osgoodi) – 1 seen running across the road in front of the vehicle just outside the Termas at Papallacta. Two shrew species occur here. This appears to be the more likely one.
  25. Andean Big-eared Brown Bat (Histiotus montanus) – bat with yellow-coloured body seen flying around the vehicle at night at about 4 000 metres elevation in Cayambe-Coca National Park.
  26. Colocolo (Leopardus(Felis) colocolo) – 1 seen on the trail to the compost pile at 5:20 am at Bellavista.
  27. Andean Bear (Tremarctos ornatus) – 1 large male seen from the highway west of Papallacta.
  28. Olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina) – 1 seen the first night, 2 the second night at Bellavista.
  29. Western Lowland Olingo (Bassaricyon medius) – 1 seen on a night walk at Rio Canande.
  30. Eastern Lowland Olingo (Bassaricyon alleni) – 1 seen on a night walk on the F.A.C.E. trail at Wildsumaco. Apparently one occurs around the lodge at Wildsumaco. A possible individual was seen at night there, but the view was not clear enough to distinguish from Kinkajou.
  31. Kinkajou (Potos flavus) – Abundant at multiple locations – 4 individuals seen at Rio Canande, 1 at San Isidro, 4 seen one night, 1 the next at Wildsumaco.
  32. Tayra (Eira barbara) – 1 seen attacking and killing a sloth at Rio Canande. The sloth fell out of the tree and the Tayra raced down the trunk after it. Watched as the Tayra dragged the sloth up the steep hillside through the forest.
  33. Coyote (Canis latrans) – 2 seen at Milpa Alta south of Mexico City during my stopover there.
  34. Mountain Tapir (Tapirus pinchaque) – 1 seen well at Cayambe-Coca.
  35. Andean Deer (Odocoileus ustus) – abundant at Chakana and Antisana reserves. Seen at Cayambe-Coca also.

Probable but not tickable –a large indistinct shape bounded across the F.A.C.E. trail in the gloaming early in the morning at Wildsumaco. Most likely a Puma.

A number of bats and rodents seen were unidentifiable.

Mammals seen November 2013, Tiputini:

  1. Waterhouse`s Mouse Opossum (Marmosa waterhousei) – 1 came in to raid the garbage container in the library at night.
  2. Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus).
  3. Linnaeus` Two-toed Sloth (Choloepus didactylus).
  4. Pygmy Marmoset (Cebuella pygmaea) – difficult to find without a guide. Jose at Tiputini heard the calls and located a tree where several were seen.
  5. Golden-mantled Saddle-backed Tamarin ( Leontocebus tripartitus) – commonly seen here.
  6. Maranon White-fronted Capuchin (Cebus yuracus).
  7. Humboldt`s Squirrel Monkey (Saimiri cassiquiarensis).
  8. Spix`s Night Monkey (Aotus vociferans).
  9. Red-crowned Titi (Plecturocebus discolor).
  10. Napo Saki (Pithecia napensis).
  11. Linnaeus` Red Howler (Alouatta seniculus).
  12. White-bellied Spider Monkey (Ateles belzebuth).
  13. Poeppig`s Woolly Monkey ( Lagothrix lagothricha).
  14. Northern Amazon Red Squirrel (Hadrosciurus igniventris).
  15. Red-tailed Squirrel (Notosciurus granatensis).
  16. Green Acouchi (Myoprocta pratti).
  17. Lowland Paca ( Cuniculus paca) – mother and infant seen on the banks of the Tiputini river at night.
  18. Proboscis Bat (Rhynchonycteris naso) – common on logs sticking out the freshwater lagoons.
  19. Greater Sac-winged Bat (Saccopteryx bilineata) – roost in the buttress roots of a large tree near the cabins.
  20. Common Tent-making Bat (Uroderma bilobatum).
  21. Greater Bulldog Bat (Noctilio leporinus).
  22. Collared Peccary (Pecari tajacu) – 1 seen swimming across the Tiputini River.
  23. White-lipped Peccary (Tayassu pecari) – a herd seen at the salt-lick.


  • Venkat Sankar

    Wow, Ian. That’s a really fantastic set of species. Saving this one – hopefully I can do it in a few years with the same itinerary 🙂

    Too bad about the Volcano Rabbit, though I’m sure there will be another chance. Were you there in August? The guys there told me that’s the worst time to try; April-June are best.

    • Ian Thompson

      Hi Venkat. Thanks – I was really happy with the trip. I was there in December. The guides at Milpa Alta told me the same thing – come back in May or June. We saw some moving grass which was likely a Volcano Rabbit but no animal. Lots of droppings, so we might have had better luck earlier in the morning. It is a beautiful site – I’ll head back there the next time I have a stopover in Mexico City.
      I hope you are doing well. What a strange year – hoping 2021 will be much better.

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