Birding Bogotá & Colombia

Sumapaz National Park

Key species

Endemics: Bogota Rail, Green-bearded Helmetcrest and Apolinar´s Wren (hernandezi subspecies).

Near endemics: Bronze-tailed Thornbill, Pale-bellied Tapaculo and Rufous-browed Conebill.


Torrent Duck, Andean Teal, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Noble Snipe, Andean Pygmy-Owl, Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Glowing Puffleg, Shining Sunbeam, Great Sapphirewing, White-bellied Woodstar, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Chestnut-winged Cinclodes, White-chinned Thistletail, White-browed Spinetail, Many-striped Canastero (multostriata subspecies), Tawny Antpitta (alticola subspecies), Plain-capped Ground-Tyrant, Black-collared Jay, White-capped Dipper, White-capped Tanager, Black-headed Hemispingus, Black-chested Mountain Tanager, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Plumbeous Sierra-Finch, Ochre-breasted Brush-Finch, Mountain Cacique and Andean Siskin.

Approximate number of bird species: More than 227


Height above sea level: The area we visit is between 3000 and 3700m (9850-12’150ft).


Sumapaz National Park is a large Colombia’s park, containing some 142,000 hectares (over 350,000 acres). It includes vast areas of high Andean forest, subpáramo and páramo ecosystems. It is located southeast of Bogotá at a height of about 800-4020m (2600-13,200ft) and can be reached from the city of Bogotá in about one hour and a half.

The high Andean forest within the park is characterized by fairly high rainfall and an abundance of mosses, lichens, ferns, bushes and trees with dense foliage, but the majority of the park is páramo vegetation, a wet grassland found above treeline mainly in the northern Andes. Sumapaz Páramo is, in fact, the largest páramo in existence.

The vegetation within the páramo is unusual, with numerous highly distinctive plants that are adapted to the climatic extremes of this cold wet region. Some of the most characteristic plants here are the Espeletias (called frailejones in Spanish), which are rosette-shaped members of the Asteraceae family, and a terrestrial bromeliad known as puya. These two plants impart a distinctive appearance to the páramo.

Hummingbirds, a few flycatchers and a variety of furnariids (for example cinclodes, thistletails and tit-spinetails) are among the commoner birds here, as well as a variety of small finches and a few aquatic species.

In the Birding Bogotá & Colombia’s tour we will leave Bogotá towards the southeast on the road to the town of San Juan de Sumapaz. The road passes through farmlands at first but eventually transitions to small farms mixed with patches of shrubbery. Here it is possible to see Pale-bellied Tapaculo, Plain-colored Seedeater and Black Flowerpiercer. Not far ahead is the paramo, and if the puyas are bloooming, there is a good possibility of finding Great Sapphirewing, Shining Sunbeam and Bronze-tailed Thornbill foraging around them. Apolinar´s Wren can also be seen here and this subspecies occurs in shrubs and Espeletia, unlike the ones on the Sabana de Bogotá, which occur in marshes around Bogotá. The frailejones also harbors Green-bearded Helmetcrest, now an endemic of the Eastern Andes.

An endemic subspecies of Tawny Antpitta also is common here as well as the Chestnut-winged Cinclodes, and an endemic subspecies of Many-striped Canastero. In the many lagoons of the park Bogotá Rail and Andean Teal occur.

To visit Sumapaz NP email us at


Esta entrada también está disponible en: Spanish

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