Venezuela: New Year in the Llanos: Dec 26, 2014—Jan 04, 2015

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Please contact us if you would like more information on upcoming departures for this tour.

Departs: Caracas
Tour Limit: 8
Operations Manager: Erik Lindqvist
Download Itinerary: PDF (116.7 KB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


David Ascanio

David Ascanio, a Venezuelan birder and naturalist, has spent over 35 years guiding birding t...

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Jabiru family at nest

Jabiru family at nest— Photo: John Barkla

Enjoy great biodiversity where many threatened bird species are easy to see due to decades of conservation efforts on large tracts of tropical dry forest and grasslands, with amazing concentrations of waterbirds. Good chance for Neotropical mammals. Wonderful photographic opportunities.

Hato Piñero and Hato El Cedral are large working cattle ranches respectively in the "upper" and "lower" Llanos of Venezuela. This is the only VENT tour that covers the extreme ends of the Llanos. Both provide a wonderful blend of waterbird spectacle, and woodland and grassland birding, including Jabirú, seven species of ibis, Scarlet Macaw, Capped and Whistling herons, huge Horned Screamers, Black-collared Hawk, Red-billed Scythebill, Pale-eyed Pygmy-Tyrant, Pale-tipped Tyrannulet, Venezuelan Troupial, Orinocan Saltator, Rufous-tailed and Pale-headed jacamars, and the increasingly rare Yellow-knobbed Curassow. Two boat trips at Hato El Cedral reveal dozens of bizarre Hoatzins, five kingfisher species, Azure Gallinule, Rusty-backed Spinetail, Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Sunbitterns, colorful Masked Cardinals and, hopefully, the spectacular Agami Heron.

Very comfortable accommodations with air-conditioning and good home-cooked meals at both locations create a "private guest" atmosphere that allows us to enjoy this natural Llanos paradise to the fullest. Our days here will consist of full mornings of birding, followed by a return to the ranch house for lunch and a siesta during the hottest part of the day. Later, in mid-afternoon, we will return to the field to catch the last hours of daytime activity. We then work our way back to the ranch house after dark, spotlighting birds, reptiles, and mammals en route. These night drives routinely produce Common and Great potoos, numerous owls, crab-eating zorros, nightjars, and occasionally Brazilian tapir, ocelot, giant anteater, cougar, and jaguarundi. Birds are remarkably easy to see, and most of the over 220 species that we see will be seen repeatedly, allowing us to soak up their field marks and behaviors.

Good accommodations with air-conditioning; three nights at Hato Piñero and three at Hato El Cedral; morning, afternoon, and evening outings on a safari truck; easy non-strenuous terrain; midday breaks; cool mornings and evenings and hot midday climate.