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You are here:2.2.9 Mangaloma Reserve

2.2.9 Mangaloma Reserve

The Mangaloma Reserve is owned and managed by the Imaymana Foundation.  Mangaloma is 200 hectare in size, and there is another 400 hectare of forest adjacent to the reserve. The acquisition of the neighboring forest is of major importance for the conservation of the last remnants of forest of the region, and Imaymana Fundation is actively working to raise the necessary funds for expansion of this reserve.  This reserve is located in Pichincha Province.  The lands are located at elevations between 700 m to 900 m.  As of January, 2010, ornithologist Alejandro Solano and visitors have recorded 290+ bird species for the reserve, of which 30+ are endemic to the Chocó Region and only shared with Southwestern Colombia.



Chocó lowland rain forest, the “Pluvial Forest”.



The site can be visited continuing along the Quito-Calacali-La Independencia Highway from the Mindo Valley from the lodgings there, or you could stay in the town of Los Bancos. Mangaloma Reserve has basic but comfortable accommodation, with beds, shower, kitchen, but no electricity.  The reserve can also provide you with meals.

Visitors will be asked to pay a $5 per day entrance fee.  The reserve can only be visited upon request and permission from Imaymana Fundation.  Contact this organization at / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or by calling the phone: (02) 2058 250, or the cellphone: 098712878.  The foundation will schedule your visit and make sure the park rangers and the staff knows about your visit.

There are many buses running on the Quito-Calacali-La Independencia Highway that can stop by the entrance to the side road going to Magaloma.  Should you take a bus ride, drop off at Los Bancos and from there hire a pickup truck or taxi to take you to the site.  The site can be visited yearround, with the only need of a high clearance vehicle. No four wheel drive is needed.



To get to Mangaloma drive along the Quito-Calacali-La Independencia Highway from the The Mindo Valley.   As a starting reference, begin at the “Mindo turn off” at 0.0 km.   Drive toward the lowlands for 16.4 km.   Here you will find the Restaurante Mirador del Rio Blanco, in the town of Los Bancos.

(Click here to download Map. Mangaloma Reserve).

Drive another 10.7 km and you will get to the entrance road to Mangaloma.   At this point it is 27.1 km from the Mindo turn off.  The entrance of this dirt road will be on your right.

Reset your odometer to 0.0 km, and take this side road and drive for 3.1 km.  Here you will find that the road splits.  The main road continues ahead to the right, while and the left road goes to Mangaloma. 

Turn left and follow this narrow road for 0.5 km, or 3.6 km from the highway.  At this point you will see a gate.  Open the gate if it is closed and make sure you leave this gate in the same conditions you found it.   Proceed along the road for 1.1 km more, or 4.7 km from the asphalt.  Here you will arrive to Mangaloma’s main gate.  The administration center and parking place are only 0.2 km ahead.

Once you leave the car behind, continue the gentle slope down the hill to find the beginning of a trail heading to forest.  The trail from the parking area cuts through open terrain and Second-growth for about 0.4 km before arriving at a bridge over Pitzara River.  This is the start of the “Blue trail” into the forest.  Walking the trail from the parking place to the Pitzara river, you could find:  White-tipped Dove, Dusky Pigeon , Pallid Dove, Pacific Parrotlet, Maroon-tailed Parakeet, Rose-faced Parrot, Bronze-winged Parrot, Stripe-throated Hermit, Green Thorntail, Western Emerald, Purple-crowned Fairy, Chocó Toucan, Pale-mandibled Araçari, Olivaceous Piculet, Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Chocó Woodpecker, Scarlet-backed Woodpecker, Guayaquil Woodpecker, Pacific Hornero, Slaty Spinetail, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Great Antshrike, Pacific Antwren, Dusky Antbird, Sooty-headed Tyrannulet, Chocó Tyrannulet, Rufous-winged Tyrannulet, Yellow Tyrannulet, Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, Ornate Flycatcher, Streaked Flycatcher, Cinnamon Becard, White-bearded Manakin, Lesser Greenlet, Ecuadorian Thrush, White-thighed Swallow, Band-backed Wren, Olive-crowned Yellowthroat, White-lined Tanager, White-shouldered Tanager, Black-winged Saltator, Orange-billed Sparrow and Yellow-bellied Siskin. At the bridge over Pitzara River an unusual Slaty Becard was heard and subsequently seen in November 2009.

The forest at the start of this main, or Blue Trail, is a dense second-growth for the first 1.0 km that gradually changes into a more mature forest.  This first kilometer is particularly good for canopy bird flocks.   Look along this area for:  Northern Violaceous Trogon, Orange-fronted Barbet, Red-headed Barbet, White-whiskered Puffbird, Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner, Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, Ruddy Foliage-Gleaner, Plain-brown Woodcreeper, Western Slaty-Antshrike, Russet Antshrike, Dot-winged Antwren, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Brown-capped Tyrannulet, Greenish Elaenia, Olive-striped Flycatcher, Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant, Tawny-faced Gnatwren, Slate-throated Gnatcatcher , Purple Honeycreeper, Scarlet-breasted Dacnis, Yellow-tufted Dacnis, Scarlet-and-white Tanager, Glistening-green Tanager, Rufous-throated Tanager, Gray-and-gold Tanager, Emerald Tanager, Golden-hooded Tanager, Blue-whiskered Tanager, Bay-headed Tanager, Rufous-winged Tanager, Ochre-breasted Tanager, Dusky-faced Tanager, Tawny-crested Tanager and Scarlet-browed Tanager.

The Blue Trail continues inside the more mature forest while ascending a gentle slope.  Along this section you can look for other forest based species, such as:  Barred Forest-Falcon, Plumbeous Forest-Falcon, Baudó Guan, Crested Guan, Indigo-crowned Quail-Dove, Rufous-fronted Wood-Quail, White-whiskered Hermit, Purple-chested Hummingbird, Green-crowned Woodnymph, Chocó Trogon, Cinnamon Woodpecker, Western Woodhaunter, Scaly-throated Leaftosser, Spot-crowned Antvireo, Checker-throated Antwren, Esmeraldas Antbird, Rufous Mourner, Stripe-throated Wren, Song Wren and Chocó Warbler.

The entire extent of the main Blue Trail is roughly 2.0 km.  Near the end of this trail there is a split.  Take the right hand trail and continue up toward the ridge.  Soon after the trail divides you will find the site of the Long-watled Umbrellabird lek.  The lek is not active year-round, and the best time to see it is from late October to early March.  At the end of the Blue Trail you will also find a patch of tall second growth forest.  This area is worth searching for some of the same species described for the beginning of this trail.  The best time to see the Umbrellabird vocalizing is at first light, and you will need to start walking way before dawn.

The reserve is well known, as people have been able to find two of the rarest birds to be found in Ecuador. The mythical Banded Ground-Cuckoo, and the enigmatic Rufous-crowned Antpitta have been recorded while following the Army Ants swarming through forest.  They have been seen particularly along the Red Trail also known as “Cuevas Trail”.


Birds to look for

Mangaloma Reserve

Forest (F), Second-growth (2G), Pastures (P).

Common: White-tipped Dove (2G), Pacific Parrotlet (2G), Bronze-winged Parrot (F,2G), Chocó Toucan (F,2G), Black-cheeked Woodpecker (2G), Golden-olive Woodpecker   (2G), Pacific Hornero (2G), Slaty Spinetail (2G), Streak-headed Woodcreeper (2G), Western Slaty-Antshrike   (F,2G), Checker-throated Antwren (F), Dusky Antbird (2G), Chestnut-backed Antbird (F,2G), Sooty-headed Tyrannulet   (2G), Chocó Tyrannulet (F,2G), Yellow-crowned   Tyrannulet (2G), Olive-striped Flycatcher (2G), Yellow Tyrannulet (2G), Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant (2G), Ornate Flycatcher (F,2G), Bran-colored Flycatcher (2G), Rusty-margined   Flycatcher (2G), Cinnamon Becard (2G), White-bearded Manakin (F,2G), Lesser Greenlet (F,2G), Ecuadorian Thrush (2G), Band-backed Wren (2G), Bay Wren (2G),Olive-crowned Yellowthroat (P), Chocó Warbler (F,2G), Rufous-throated Tanager (F,2G), Golden-hooded Tanager (F,2G), Bay-headed Tanager (F,2G), Ochre-breasted Tanager (F,2G), Dusky-faced Tanager (F,2G), Tawny-crested Tanager (F,2G), White-lined Tanager (2G), White-shouldered   Tanager (F,2G), Buff-throated Saltator (F,2G), Black-winged Saltator (F,2G), Orange-billed Sparrow(2G).

Uncommon: Crested Guan (F), Rufous-fronted Wood-Quail (F), Dusky Pigeon (F,2G), Pallid Dove (2G), Maroon-tailed Parakeet (F,2G), Rose-faced Parrot (F,2G), White-whiskered Hermit  (F,2G), Stripe-throated Hermit (F,2G), Green Thorntail (F,2G), Western Emerald (2G), Purple-chested Hummingbird (F,2G), Purple-crowned Fairy (F,2G), Chocó Trogon (F), Northern Violaceous Trogon (F), Orange-fronted Barbet (F,2G), Red-headed Barbet (F,2G), White-whiskered   Puffbird (F), Pale-mandibled Araçari (F,2G), Olivaceous Piculet (2G), Chocó Woodpecker (F,2G), Scarlet-backed Woodpecker (2G), Cinnamon Woodpecker (F), Guayaquil Woodpecker (F,2G), Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner (F,2G), Buff-fronted   Foliage-gleaner (F,2G), Ruddy Foliage-Gleaner (2G), Western Woodhaunter (F), Scaly-throated Leaftosser (F), Great Antshrike (2G), Russet Antshrike (F,2G), Spot-crowned Antvireo (F), Pacific Antwren (2G), Dot-winged Antwren (F,2G), Esmeraldas Antbird (F), Brown-capped Tyrannulet   (F,2G), Rufous-winged Tyrannulet (2G), Greenish Elaenia (2G), Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant (2G), Streaked Flycatcher (2G), Rufous Mourner (F),White-thighed Swallow (F,2G), Stripe-throated Wren (F), Song Wren (F), Tawny-faced Gnatwren (F), Slate-throated   Gnatcatcher (F,2G), Purple Honeycreeper (F,2G), Yellow-tufted Dacnis (F,2G), Gray-and-gold Tanager (F), Emerald Tanager (F), Rufous-winged Tanager (F), Scarlet-browed Tanager (F), Yellow-bellied Siskin (2G).

Rare: Plumbeous Forest-Falcon (F),Baudó Guan (F), Indigo-crowned Quail-Dove   (F), Banded Ground-Cuckoo (F), Rufous-crowned Antpitta (F), Slaty Becard (2G), Scarlet-breasted   Dacnis (F,2G), Scarlet-and-white Tanager (F,2G), Glistening-green   Tanager (F), Blue-whiskered Tanager (F).

For a complete   Mangaloma checklist go to:

As per July 2009, the web site was available only in Spanish and German, but to see the bird checklist, just go ahead in Spanish and click on Magaloma Reserve, click Aviturismo, and then click on  “Descarga el Inventario de aves 2010” to download a PDF of the checklist in English with Scientific names.


Copyright © 2010 by Lelis Navarrete

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Meet the Author

Lelis Navarrete – Birding tour leader. Lelis has 19 years of experience as a birding guide and naturalist in the field. He has led groups of birders throughout most of Latin America, guiding frequently in countries like his native country of Ecuador and in the Galapagos Islands, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Panama. A Biology B.Sc. graduate from Universidad Católica in Quito, Lelis has supported Jocotoco Foundation since its founding in 1998 and was an active Board Member until 2010 supporting Ecuadorian bird and wildlife conservation. Lelis divides his time between his two great passions in life: birding and spending time with his wife Solange and son Fabian with whom he lives in Quito.


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