Located in the foothills of Volcan Sumaco, in one of the wettest forests in Ecuador, RBBR has more than 500 species on its list, and is known for its unique mix of birds, composed of both lowland and highland species. As such, world birders have discovered that RBBR is a good place to pick up rare birds missed at lowland and highland lodges.

The star bird at RBBR is the Pink-throated Brilliant. Fairly common at RBBR, there is no other accessible site in the world where this little foothill specialist is regular. Other globally restricted hummingbirds that are fairly common at RBBR include Ecuadorian Piedtail and Black-throated Brilliant, both of which are easily found at the reserve.

Another big draw at the reserve is Red-winged Wood-Rail, which, though secretive, does wander into the open to feed, and has been seen by many parties since first being discovered at the site in 2017. As with the Pink-throated Brilliant, there is no location in the world where this bird is recorded with more regularity.

Because the forest is mostly old-growth terra firma, and because there is little hunting in the area, large fruit-eating birds are also found in good numbers at RBBR. Among the Cracids, the most sought-after bird is the Salvin’s Curassow, which can be very easy to see when they are in the area of the lodge. Also common is the Nocturnal Curassow, which is heard singing most nights, and is occasionally seen on the trails during the day.

Ant-swarm following species are also found in good numbers at Bigal. The most common are White-cheeked Antbird, White-plumed Antbird, and Hairy-crested Antbird, but they are sometimes joined by Reddish-winged Bare-eye, and even, rarely, by the magnificent Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo. Similarly, a long list of Tanagers, Flycatchers, Woodcreepers, and Cotingas are present at the reserve, and with patience can be teased out and observed.

The trails at Bigal, though often muddy and steep, are well marked, allowing birders to explore them on their own without fear of getting lost. Box-lunches are available, and it is easy to set out at dawn, returning at dusk for dinner, and encounter over 100 species in the day. It is a magnificent forest, largely free of human disturbance, and teeming with Amazonian and Andean birds. Because of how remote the research station is, and to give yourself the time to settle into the forest and find the birds you are looking for, we recommend a minimum of three nights, and encourage five-night stays. Contact us at to make your reservations today.


Fundación Sumac Muyu
Reserva Biológica del Rio Bigal
Telf:  593 0989306988
Oficina: Quito -Ecuador
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