The condor is an Andean symbol, as identifiable to Ecuadorians as the bald eagle is to North Americans. And like the bald eagle, the condor has lived under the threat of extinction. Estimates place the wild population in Ecuador between 40-60 birds. But despite their rarity, there is one place where tourists can find several in captivity: The Condor Park in Otavalo.
The Condor Park, situated on the barren hills near Otavalo is a rescue center for more than 27 species of birds of prey. But it serves not only as home for nearly six dozen birds, but is an educational center for students and tourists alike. READ MORE
For many, birding is a numbers game. All serious birders keep a list, referred to as the Life List, which is the complete list of bird species seen (and documented) during a lifetime. Realistically, how many birds can you see before you die? Assuming you never left your own country, Ecuadorians could probably see twice as many as U.S. citizens.
There are about 9,800 species of birds on the planet. Very few birders have seen more than 7,000. To see that many you truly must travel the world, though in Ecuador, it is easy to get quick start to building your life list.
Of the 9,800 species in the world, one third of them are found in South America, with 1,600 of those in Ecuador alone. By comparison there are approximately 900 species of birds in all of North America. Because of Ecuador’s small size it is the country with the highest density of bird species per acre in the world. READ MORE