Ancient trees, volcanic peaks and abundant birdlife all characterise the majestic Sumaco Forest Reserve.
Situated in the north-eastern Ecuadorian Amazon, Sumaco is stunning; the sight of volcanic peaks rising from the forest canopy is akin to something straight from an El Dorado legend or fantasy adventure film. Rich volcanic soil and the presence of several major rivers, including Napo and Coca, have ensured that the Sumaco Forest Reserve is a vibrant playground for myriad plant species. This, in turn, has attracted huge numbers of bird species and other jungle-dwelling wildlife.
The Sumaco Forest Reserve is a fascinating, fragile ecosystem and a privilege to visit. It spreads across an expanse of 500,000 acres, where cedar trees, orchids, and over 6,000 other plant species (many of which became new discoveries to the scientific world during initial explorations) cover the landscape. Lush subtropical forest, rugged hillsides, howling monkeys, singing birds, crystal-clear streams and picturesque horizons are some of the ways to describe the Sumaco cloud forest.
The sight of loose cloud systems filtering their way effortlessly through the trees is something to behold. As moist air moves, and air temperatures change, the cloud density can change from a barely visible haze to thick fog creeping through the canopy in a matter of moments. These wonders of nature are characterised by an almost mythical topography of mosses, lush ferns, orchids and bromeliads; all kept naturally hydrated courtesy of the water deposited from the damp cloud forest air. Many species of bird thrive in this environment, including Toucans, Hummingbirds and Parrots. Jaguars, Sloths, Armadillos and giant Tarantulas are also among the noteworthy wildlife that calls the Sumaco cloud forest home.
Giant Hummingbirds of the Sumaco
The majestic Hummingbird has long been of intrigue to birdwatchers and travellers alike. These beautiful little birds have the ability to amaze observers with their multi-directional flight and timid though approachable nature. The Giant Hummingbird is the largest species in the family and can be found in abundance throughout the Sumaco region.
Over 500 bird species – and counting
The lush cloud forest climate of the Sumaco Reserve is much loved by the birds of Ecuador. With more than 500 varieties of native birds identified in the region, Sumaco makes for a true birdwatcher’s paradise.
The mysterious San Isidro Owl
The San Isidro Owl has been the source of debate and intrigue for both conservationists and locals since its formal identification many years ago. Sharing neither the characteristics, location nor altitude with other known Owl species in this part of the Amazon, the 'Mystery Owl’ is now thought to be an entirely new species, so keep your eyes peeled as these birds are not only rare but notoriously difficult to spot!