A shocking flock of Scarlet Ibises at Hato El Cedral in the Llanos of Venezuela by Lars Petersson.
Endemics - 58 - not all of these occur in the west.
(Six hummingbirds, five antpittas and a fruiteater) North/Northwest 36 Venezuelan Wood-quail, Merida Sunangel, White-bearded Helmetcrest, Golden (Golden-bellied) Starfrontlet, Green-tailed Emerald, Rusty-flanked Crake, Plain-flanked Rail (small range), Groove-billed Toucanet, Venezuelan Parakeet, Red-eared Parakeet, Rose-headed Parakeet, Great Antpitta (probably also occurs in Colombia), Grey-naped Antpitta, Scallop-breasted Antpitta, Merida Tapaculo, Caracas Tapaculo, Guttulate Foliage-gleaner, Ochre-browed Thistletail, Black-throated Spinetail, Handsome Fruiteater, Rufous-lored Tyrannulet, Venezuelan Bristle-tyrant, Maracaibo Tody-flycatcher, Venezuelan Tyrannulet, Blackish (Slaty-backed) Chat-tyrant, Rufous-browed (Brown-backed) Chat-tyrant, Merida Wren, Caracas Brush-finch, Merida (Moustached) Brush-finch, Green-billed (Russet-backed) Oropendola, White-fronted Whitestart, Slaty-backed Hemispingus, Grey-capped Hemispingus, Merida Flowerpiercer, Rufous-cheeked Tanager and Chestnut-breasted (Golden) Tanager.
West 1 Tachira Antpitta (small range).
Northeast/Paria Peninsula 13 Venezuelan Sylph (Cordillera de la Costa), Scissor-tailed Hummingbird (Paria), Black-spotted Piculet, White-throated Barbet (Serrania de Turimiquire and Cordillera de Caripe), Paria (White-throated) Barbet, Sucre Antpitta (also Paria Peninsula), White-throated Barbtail, Paria Barbtail, Urich’s Tyrannulet, Paria Brush-finch, Grey-headed Warbler (Cordillera de Caripe), Paria Whitestart and Venezuelan Flowerpiercer.
South 6 Tepui Tinamou (small range), Tepui (Band-winged) Nightjar, Orinoco Softtail (small range), White-faced Whitestart (Cerros Guanay, Sipapo and Yavi), Guaiquinima Whitestart (small range) and Duida Grass-finch (small range).
East - Lower Rio Caroni 1 Carrizal Seedeater (Isla Carrizal in the lower Caroni River, Bolivar. Three specimens found in 2001; the only known habitat, stands of spiny Guadua and Ripidocladus species of bamboo, has been cleared to allow construction of the Tocoma Dam, but researchers are hopeful of finding the birds living elsewhere).
East - Orinoco Delta 1
Near-endemics - not all in the west.
Venezuela and Colombia 81 (16 hummingbirds, three puffbirds and three antpittas) Rufous-vented Chachalaca, Yellow-knobbed Curassow, Helmeted Curassow, Black-fronted Wood-quail, Northern Screamer, Bare-eyed Pigeon, Pygmy Swift, Orange-throated Sunangel, Longuemare’s (Amethyst-throated) Sunangel, Perija Metaltail, Coppery-bellied Puffleg, Green (Collared) Inca, Perija (Golden-bellied) Starfrontlet, Blue-throated Starfrontlet, Red-billed Emerald, Coppery Emerald, Narrow-tailed Emerald, Short-tailed Emerald, Buffy Hummingbird, Steely-vented Hummingbird, Green-bellied Hummingbird, Shining-green Hummingbird, Violet-chested Hummingbird, Dwarf Cuckoo, White-tipped Quetzal, Pale-headed Jacamar, Russet-throated Puffbird, Two-banded (Russet-throated) Puffbird, Moustached Puffbird, Citron-throated (Channel-billed) Toucan, Yellow-billed (Groove-billed) Toucanet, Scaled Piculet, Chestnut Piculet, Rusty-faced Parrot, Perija (Painted) Parakeet, Scarlet-fronted Parakeet, Recurve-billed Bushbird, Streak-fronted (Black-crested) Antshrike, Bar-crested Antshrike, Black-backed Antshrike, Klages’s Antbird, Magdalena Antbird, Blue-lored Antbird, Perija (Rufous) Antpitta, Hooded Antpitta, Rusty-breasted Antpitta, Perija Tapaculo, Pale-bellied Tapaculo, Scalloped (Schwartz’s) Antthrush, Eastern Barred Woodcreeper, Caribbean (Pale-legged) Hornero, Plain (Rufous-fronted) Thornbird, Perija Thistletail, Streak-capped Spinetail, Crested Spinetail, White-whiskered Spinetail, Orinoco Spinetail, White-bibbed Manakin, Golden-breasted Fruiteater, Mountain (Spectacled) Tyrannulet, Slender-billed Tyrannulet, White-bearded Flycatcher, Scrub Greenlet, Black-collared Jay, Stripe-backed Wren, Black-billed Thrush, Tocuyo Sparrow, Perija Brush-finch, Yellow-mandibled (Pectoral) Sparrow, Golden-winged Sparrow, Ochre-breasted Brush-finch, Black-fronted (Yellow-breasted) Brush-finch, Grey-throated Warbler, Yellow-crowned (Golden-crowned) Warbler, Yellow-fronted Whitestart, Vermilion Cardinal, Orinocan Saltator, Fulvous-headed Tanager, Rufous-browed Conebill, Glaucous Tanager and Black-headed (Hooded) Tanager.
Venezuela, Colombia, and Trinidad & Tobago 6 Rufous-shafted Woodstar, Stripe-breasted Spinetail, Venezuelan Flycatcher, Trinidad Euphonia, Venezuelan Troupial and Masked Cardinal.
Venezuela, Colombia and Guyana 2 Northern Festive Parrot and Red Siskin.
Venezuela, Colombia and Guianas 1 Lilac-tailed Parrotlet.
Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil 7 Orinoco Piculet, Yapacana Antbird, Grey-bellied Antbird, Yellow-throated Antwren, Brown-headed Greenlet, Azure-naped Jay and Rio Negro Gnatcatcher.
Venezuela, and Trinidad & Tobago 1 Copper-rumped Hummingbird.
Venezuela and Tobago 1 White-tailed Sabrewing.
Venezuela and nearby islands 1 Yellow-shouldered Amazon (Venezuelan islands of Margarita and La Blanquilla, and the island of Bonaire in the Caribbean. It has been extirpated from the islands of Aruba and possibly also Curacao.)
Venezuela and Guyana 2 Fiery-shouldered Parakeet and Red-banded Fruiteater.
Venezuela, Guyana and Suriname 2 Blue-cheeked Amazon and Guianan (Rufous-brown) Solitaire.
Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil 35 Roraiman Nightjar, Tepui Swift, Tepui Goldenthroat, Peacock Coquette, Velvet-browed Brilliant, Rufous-breasted Sabrewing, Copper-tailed (Green-bellied) Hummingbird, Tepui Parrotlet, Roraiman Antwren, Streak-backed Antshrike, Roraiman Antbird, Tepui Antpitta, White-throated Foliage-gleaner, Roraiman Barbtail, Tepui Spinetail, Olive Manakin, Scarlet-horned Manakin, Orange-bellied Manakin, Rose-collared Piha, Green-cheeked (Green-backed) Becard, Black-fronted Tyrannulet, Chapman’s Bristle-tyrant, Sierra de Lema (McConnell’s) Flycatcher, Ruddy Tody-flycatcher, Tepui Elaenia, Flutist Wren, Tepui Wren, Pantepui (Black-billed) Thrush, Tepui Brush-finch, Golden-tufted Grackle, Roraiman (Two-banded) Warbler, Tepui Whitestart, Olive-backed Tanager, Greater Flowerpiercer and Black-hooded Tanager.
Venezuela, Guianas and Brazil 36 Guianan Puffbird, Tepui Toucanet, Guianan Toucanet, Green Aracari, Black-spotted Barbet, Caica Parrot, Painted Parakeet, Northern Red-shouldered Macaw, Brown-bellied Stipplethroat (Antwren), Spot-tailed Antwren, Todd’s Antwren, Black-throated Antshrike, Guianan Antwarbler (Warbling Antbird), Ferruginous-backed Antbird, Red-billed Woodcreeper, Chestnut-rumped Woodcreeper, Lineated (Guianan) Woodcreeper, McConnell’s Spinetail, Tiny Tyrant-manakin, Crimson-hooded Manakin, White-throated Manakin, Guianan Red Cotinga, White Bellbird, Dusky Purpletuft, Glossy-backed Becard, Olivaceous Schiffornis (Mourner), Smoky-fronted Tody-flycatcher, Painted Tody-flycatcher, Guianan Tyrannulet, Olive-crowned Greenlet, Tepui Vireo (not French Guiana), Cayenne Jay, Finsch’s Euphonia, Golden-sided Euphonia, Red-and-black Grosbeak and Blue-backed Tanager.
Venezuela and Brazil 6 Buff-breasted Sabrewing, Sapphire-spangled Emerald, Caura Antbird, Black-chested Tyrant, Great Elaenia (likely to occur in Guyana) and Scaled Flowerpiercer.
Sunbittern. Also a chance of Agami and Zigzag Herons, Sungrebe and Nacunda Nighthawk.
Horned Screamer, Orinoco Goose, Torrent Duck, Brazilian Teal, American Flamingo, Capped and Boat-billed Herons, Fasciated and Rufescent Tiger-herons, Pinnated Bittern, Buff-necked and Scarlet Ibises, Roseate Spoonbill, Maguari Stork, Jabiru, Magnificent Frigatebird, King Vulture, Snail and Swallow-tailed Kites, White Hawk, Aplomado Falcon, Grey-necked Wood-rail, Azure Gallinule, Limpkin, Double-striped Thick-knee, Pied Plover, Wattled Jacana, Large-billed Tern, Black Skimmer, pigeons and doves, Chestnut-fronted, Red-and-green and Scarlet Macaws, parrots, Hoatzin, Squirrel Cuckoo, Burrowing Owl, Common and Great Potoos, hummingbirds such as Long-tailed Sylph and Collared Inca, trogons, Crested and Golden-headed Quetzals, all five South American kingfishers, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, puffbirds, Red-headed Barbet, Collared and Many-banded Aracaris, Black-mandibled and Channel-billed Toucans, woodpeckers, spinetails, Pearled Treerunner, Streaked Tuftedcheek, woodcreepers including Red-billed Scythebill, antbirds, antpittas, many flycatchers including Cliff, Vermilion and Fork-tailed, Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Golden-breasted Fruiteater, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Golden-winged, Lance-tailed and Wire-tailed Manakins, White-capped Dipper, Black-capped Donacobius, Tropical Parula, wintering warblers such as Blackburnian, Cerulean and Prothonotary, many tanagers, Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia, honeycreepers, Plushcap, flowerpiercers, brush finches, Oriole Blackbird and Venezuelan Troupial.
(Brown-throated) Three-toed Sloth, Capybara, Red Howler and Wedge-capped Capuchin Monkeys, and Grey River Dolphin. Also a chance of Giant Anteater, Southern Tamandua, Pink River Dolphin, Ocelot, Brazilian Tapir and Vampire Bat.
Giant Anteater by Jon Hornbuckle.
Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish
Spectacled Caiman. Also a chance of (Green) Anaconda and Orinoco Crocodile.
The best time to visit the Llanos is between December and March, especially February-March when it is usually drying out and the wildlife becomes more concentrated. The best time to look for White-bearded Helmetcrest is during the rainy season which usually lasts from April to November, although a few birds seem to remain on the high Andean paramo throughout the year.
Birds of Venezuela by D Ascanio, G Rodriguez and R Restall. Helm, due 2017.
Field Guide to the Birds of Venezuela by S Hilty. Helm, 2002.
Birds of South America: Non-Passerines by J R Roderiguez Mata et al. Harper Collins, 2006.
Birds of South America: Passerines by R S Ridgely and G Tudor. University of Texas Press/Helm, 2009 (Updated paperback edition of books listed next with 400 more illustrations).
The Birds of South America: Passerines by R S Ridgely and G Tudor. University of Texas Press, 1989 and 1994 (Two volumes).
Birds of Northern South America by R Restall, C Rodner and M Lentino. Helm, 2006 (Two volumes).
Birding in Venezuela by M L Goodwin. Lynx Edicions, 2003 (Fifth Edition).
Wild Mammals of Venezuela by R D Lord. Armitano Editores, 2000.
Mammals of South America by R D Lord. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.
All Birds Venezuela by Bloomsbury/Sunbird Images.
Where to watch birds in South America by N Wheatley. Helm, 1994.
Don’t know which country/countries to visit in South America? Then it may be worth considering taking a look at this book, written by this website’s author. It is many years old of course but it still provides a starting point, an overview and a guiding light to the best birds and the best places to look for them on the continent, and could save hours of searching for similar information on the internet. However, it is important to check more up-to-date sources for sites which have been opened up, sites and species which have been discovered, lodges that have been built etc. since the book was published.
Many trip reports, some for Western Venezuela, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to Western Venezuela. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Western Venezuela' below.
The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.
There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.
While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and people with partners with different interests. Individuals and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more than the price of an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.
Tour companies who run organized tours or can arrange custom tours to Western Venezuela include the following.