A shocking flock of Scarlet Ibises at Hato El Cedral in the Llanos of Venezuela by Lars Petersson.
Scarlet Ibis, Agami Heron, Sunbittern, Scarlet and Red-and-green Macaws, American Flamingo, Magnificent Frigatebird, Yellow-knobbed Curassow, Black-mandibled and Channel-billed Toucans, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Crested, Golden-headed and White-tipped Quetzals, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Wire-tailed Manakin, some of the 40 or so endemics including Groove-billed Toucanet, White-bearded (Bearded) Helmetcrest, Handsome Fruiteater and Slaty-backed Hemispingus, as well as Horned and Northern Screamers, Orinoco Goose, Torrent Duck, Brazilian Teal, Brown Pelican, Anhinga, Capped and Boat-billed Herons, Fasciated and Rufescent Tiger Herons, Reddish Egret, Pinnated Bittern, Buff-necked Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Maguari Stork, Jabiru, King Vulture, American Swallow-tailed and Snail Kites, White Hawk, Aplomado Falcon, Grey-necked Wood Rail, Azure Gallinule, Limpkin, Double-striped Thick-knee, Pied Plover, Black-necked Stilt, Wattled Jacana, Large-billed Tern, Black Skimmer, pigeons and doves, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, parrots, Hoatzin, Squirrel Cuckoo, Burrowing Owl, Common and Great Potoos, hummingbirds such as Booted Racket-tail, Long-tailed Sylph and Collared Inca, trogons, all five South American kingfishers, puffbirds, Red-headed Barbet, Andean (Emerald) Toucanet, Collared and Many-banded Aracaris, woodpeckers, spinetails, Pearled Treerunner, Streaked Tuftedcheek, woodcreepers including Red-billed Scythebill, antbirds, antpittas, Ocellated Tapaculo, many flycatchers including Cliff, Vermilion and Fork-tailed, Golden-breasted Fruiteater, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Golden-winged and Lance-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, Vermilion Cardinal, Oriole Blackbird and Venezuelan Troupial. Also a chance of Zigzag Heron, Sungrebe, Nacunda Nighthawk and Rosy Thrush Tanager.
(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.
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.