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Birdwatching and orchids

The valley of the Rio Pastaza between Baños and Puyo is an internationally recognized biodiversity hotspot. It contains at least 500 species of birds, hundreds of orchid species including many new to science, and large mammals such as the endangered Mountain Tapir and Spectacled Bear. The number of plant species unique to this area is greater than the number of plant species endemic to the famous Galapagos Islands!

The reason for the amazing biodiversity and endemism of the region is its variety of habitats and microclimates. Climates range from hot and humid lowlands to permanent glaciers in the space of 60 km, the size of a large American city. The vast Amazonian rain forest reaches into the lower elevations of the valley, and each successive rise in elevation from east to west brings a slightly different kind of forest. Among the richest are the foothill forests at 1100-1500m elevation, full of epiphytic plants and colorful birds. Above these are the cloud forests, moss-covered and mysterious. Higher still, on the flanks of the active Volcan Tungurahua, are alpine grasslands full of flowers and hummingbirds.

The owners of Luna Runtun, Adventure SPA are helping to protect this biodiversity by establishing nature reserves in these different habitats, and by helping local forest owners to make a sustainable living without cutting their forests. They have created the San Antonio Cloud Forest Reserve at the base of Tungurahua, where Mountain Tapir and Spectacled Bear are found with some regularity. This area is rich in high-elevation forest birds including the rare White-rimmed Brush Finch, resident Peregrine Falcons, and many striking tanagers like the Golden-crowned Tanager. It was going to be sold to wood cutters when Luna Runtun, Adventure SPA stepped in to save it.
The owners of Luna Runtun, Adventure SPA also have established a foothill forest reserve at lower elevations near Mera, protecting a completely different set of birds, plants, and animals. This area has many Amazonian birds like the gaudy Paradise Tanager, and mammals such as the tayra and coati. The Mera area is a center of plant endemism with about 50 unique species found nowhere else, so it is an important area for conservation.

Between these two reserves, Luna Runtun, Adventure SPA works with a private landowner whose forest hosts the noisy group mating display of one of the most spectacular Andean birds, the glowing orange-red Cock-of-the-Rock. This community support is very important, since the ecotourism visits arranged through Luna Runtun, Adventure SPA can provide a way for this landowner to live without cutting down his forest. In Ecuador there are many species of plants, insects, frogs, and other things with small ranges that fall outside the officially protected national park system. The only way to preserve these species is by creating a mosaic of small, privately owned reserves strategically located in the gaps between the national parks. Luna Runtun, Adventure SPA is making this idea a reality in the Upper Pastaza watershed, and they are to be congratulated for their efforts.

Birds of LUNA RUNTUN, Adventure SPA and its surroundings:

Band-Winged Nightjar
Great Horned Owl
Andean Pygmy-Owl
American Kestrel
Barred Hawk
Black-Chested Buzzard-Eagle
Swallow-Tailed Kite
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Blue-And-White Swallow
Great Thrush
Glossy-Black Thrush
Pale-Eye Thrush
Inca Jay
Turquoise Jay
White-Winged Tanager
Blue-Gray Tanager
Hooded Mountain-Tanager
Paradise Tanager
Yellow-Rumped Cacique
Tropical Kingbird
Blackish Pewee
Bicolored Antvireo
Black-Backed Grosbeak
Ruddy Pigeon
Olivaceous Siskin
Rufous-Collared Sparrow
Collared Inca
Bronzy Inca
Long-Tailed Sylph
White-Bellied Woodstar
Caprimulgus longirostris

Bubo virginianus
Glaucidium jardinii
Falco sparverius
Leucopternis princeps
Geranoaetus melanoleucus
Elanoides forficatus
Coragyps atratus
Cathartes aura
Notiochelidon cyanoleuca
Turdus fuscater
Turdus serranus
Platycichla leucops
Cyanocorax yncas
Cyanolyca turcosa
Piranga leucoptera
Thraupis episcopus
Buthraupis montana
Tangara chilensis
Cacicus cela
Tyrannus melancholicus
Contopus nigrenscens
Dysithamnus occidentalis
Pheucticus chrysogaster
Columba fasciata
Carduelis olivacea
Zonotrichia capensis
Coeligena torquata
Coeligena coeligena
Aglaiocercus Kingi
Chaetocercus mulsant

Listado de aves de Luna Runtun y sus alrededores

Band-Winged Nightjar
Great Horned Owl
Andean Pygmy-Owl
American Kestrel
Barred Hawk
Black-Chested Buzzard-Eagle
Swallow-Tailed Kite
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Blue-And-White Swallow
Great Thrush
Glossy-Black Thrush
Pale-Eye Thrush
Inca Jay
Turquoise Jay
White-Winged Tanager
Blue-Gray Tanager
Hooded Mountain-Tanager
Paradise Tanager
Yellow-Rumped Cacique
Tropical Kingbird
Blackish Pewee
Bicolored Antvireo
Black-Backed Grosbeak
Ruddy Pigeon
Olivaceous Siskin
Rufous-Collared Sparrow
Collared Inca
Bronzy Inca
Long-Tailed Sylph
White-Bellied Woodstar
Caprimulgus longirostris
Bubo virginianus
Glaucidium jardinii
Falco sparverius
Leucopternis princeps
Geranoaetus melanoleucus
Elanoides forficatus
Coragyps atratus
Cathartes aura
Notiochelidon cyanoleuca
Turdus fuscater
Turdus serranus
Platycichla leucops
Cyanocorax yncas
Cyanolyca turcosa
Piranga leucoptera
Thraupis episcopus
Buthraupis montana
Tangara chilensis
Cacicus cela
Tyrannus melancholicus
Contopus nigrenscens
Dysithamnus occidentalis
Pheucticus chrysogaster
Columba fasciata
Carduelis olivacea
Zonotrichia capensis
Coeligena torquata
Coeligena coeligena
Aglaiocercus Kingi
Chaetocercus mulsant

"Familia Vaca Coronel. Excelentes servicios".
Abr. 13/14
Galo, Lourdes y Galito

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