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You are here:2.2.10 The Silanche Bird Sanctuary

2.2.10 The Silanche Bird Sanctuary

The Silanche Bird Sanctuary is an 80 hectare preserve owned and protected by the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation. This site is one of the last remnants of Chocó lowland rainforest in the region.  To see many of the specialties found there you have to visit forests much further north.  The elevation of this sanctuary ranges from 300 to 350 meters above sea level. The Sanctuary holds a small portion of tall mature forest, good sections of tall second-growth, and a few sections with plots of agro-forestry.



Chocó lowland Rain Forest.


The Silanche Bird Sanctuary.

The site can be visited continuing along the Quito-Calacali-La Independencia Highway from the Mindo Valley. You can also stay in the town of Pedro Vicente Maldonado. There are many buses running on the Quito-Calacali-La Independencia Highway and you can easily get to Pedro Vicente Maldonado.  There you can hire a pickup truck to take you to the Silanche sanctuary. To get from the highway to the Sanctuary will require that you to arrange some sort of transportation, as there is no public transportation to the site.

The Silanche Bird Sanctuary is open to visitors 7 days a week, and you can visit the site at any time of the day without time restrictions.   There is a small entrance $7 US per visitor.  If you are plan to visit the Milpe Bird Sanctuary, you can pay a combined visit fee to the two sites for $10 US for each person.  By doing this you can visit the two sites in two different days.  One of the main attractions from the Silanche Sanctuary is a 15 meters high canopy tower located close to the parking place.

Further information regarding the Mindo Cloud Forest Foundation and the Silanche Bird Sanctuary can be obtained at



The Silanche Bird Sanctuary.

To get to this Sanctuary drive along the Quito-Calacali-La Independencia Highway from the The Mindo Valley.  As a starting reference begin at the “Mindo turn off” 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. Drive another 21.1 km and you will get to the entrance road to Pedro Vicente Maldonado.

(Click here to download Map. Silanche Bird Sanctuary).

At this point it is 37.5 km from the “Mindo turn off”.  Avoid entering the town to the right by continuing on the left side road along the Pedro Vicente Maldonado bypass for 2.6 km, which is 40.1 km from the “Mindo turn off”.  Go another 9.8 km from this spot, 49.9 km from the “Mindo turn off”.  You will see the entrance dirt road to Silanche Bird Sanctuary on your right hand side.

From the entrance road along the highway, 0.0 km, just at the first 0.6 km, there is a dense second-growth that could be very productive at times.  Another 1.9 km or 2.5 km from the highway, you will reach to a fork.  Take the left hand turn here and go another 3.8 km or 6.3 km from the highway.  In case you find any forks here, just stay on your right. Here you will reach a metal bridge.  This is a great place to begin birding.   Look for the Sunbittern here on the stream.   The first 300 meters along the road up the hill through the forest is a good place to look for Stub-tailed Antbird and Lanceolated Monklet.   This road from the bridge all the way up to the parking place is an excellent place to bird.   The second-growth right by the parking place is good for White-bearded Manakin, The canopy tower close to the parking place is a good place to try for Blue-whiskered Tanager, Slate-throated Gnatcatcher, Brown-capped Tyrannulet and many other canopy bird species. The trails just past the canopy tower are very good for inside forest birding. 


Birds to look for

The Silanche Bird Sanctuary.

Second-growth   (2G), Forest (F), Grasslands (G).

Common: Ruddy Pigeon (2G, F), Maroon-tailed Parakeet (2G,   F), Pacific Parrotlet (2G), Bronze-winged Parrot (2G, F), Pale-mandibled   Araçari (2G, F), Chocó Toucan (2G, F), Black-cheeked Woodpecker (2G), Pacific   Hornero (G), Slaty Spinetail (2G), Streak-headed Woodcreeper (2G),   Sooty-headed Tyrannulet (2G), Chocó Tyrannulet (2G, F), Rusty-margined   Flycatcher (2G), White-bearded Manakin (2G), Lesser Greenlet (2G, F),   White-thighed Swallow (2G), Bay Wren (2G), Thick-billed Euphonia (2G, F),   Golden-hooded Tanager (2G, F), Bay-headed Tanager (2G, F), Lemon-rumped   Tanager (2G, F), Lesser Seed-Finch (G), Variable Seedeater (G),   Yellow-bellied Seedeater (G).

Uncommon: Gray-headed Kite (F), Dusky Pigeon (2G, F),   Chestnut-fronted Macaw (2G, F), Blue-headed Parrot (2G, F), Little Cuckoo (2G),   Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift (2G, F), White-whiskered Hermit (2G, F),   Stripe-throated Hermit (2G, F), Green Thorntail (2G, F), Green-crowned   Woodnymph (2G, F), Purple-chested Hummingbird (2G, F), Purple-crowned Fairy (2G,   F), Chocó Trogon (2G, F), Rufous-tailed Jacamar (2G), Barred Puffbird (2G,   F), White-whiskered Puffbird (2G, F), Orange-fronted Barbet (2G, F),   Red-headed Barbet (2G, F), Chestnut-mandibled Toucan (2G, F), Olivaceous   Piculet (2G), Cinnamon Woodpecker (2G, F), Guayaquil Woodpecker (2G, F),   Black-striped Woodcreeper (2G, F), Western Slaty-Antshrike (2G, F), Pacific   Antwren (2G, F),  Checker-throated   Antwren (2G, F), Dot-winged Antwren (2G, F), Dusky Antbird (2G),   Chestnut-backed Antbird (2G, F), Stub-tailed Antbird (2G, F), Black-headed   Antthrush (2G, F), Gray Elaenia (F), Yellow Tyrannulet (2G), Black-capped   Pygmy-Tyrant (2G), Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher (F), Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher   (2G, F), White-ringed Flycatcher (F), One-colored Becard (2G, F),   Purple-throated Fruitcrow (F), Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo (2G, F), Band-backed   Wren (2G), Slate-throated Gnatcatcher (F), Chocó Warbler (2G, F), Purple   Honeycreeper (2G, F), Yellow-tufted Dacnis (2G, F), Guira Tanager (2G, F),   Orange-crowned Euphonia (2G, F), Gray-and-gold Tanager (2G, F),   Ochre-breasted Tanager (2G, F), Dusky-faced Tanager (2G, F), Tawny-crested   Tanager (2G, F), Scarlet-browed Tanager (2G, F), Slate-colored Grosbeak (2G,   F), Orange-billed Sparrow (2G), Scarlet-rumped Cacique (2G, F),   Yellow-bellied Siskin (2G, G).

Rare: Plumbeous Hawk (F), Semiplumbeous Hawk (F), Rufous-breasted   Wood-Quail (F), Pallid Dove (2G, F), Rose-faced Parrot (2G, F), Lanceolated   Monklet (2G, F), Double-banded Graytail (2G, F), Spot-crowned Antvireo (2G,   F), Moustached Antwren (2G, F), Red-capped Manakin (F), Blue-crowned Manakin   (2G, F), Gray-mantled Wren (2G, F), Stripe-throated Wren (F), Tawny-faced   Gnatwren (F), Scarlet-thighed Dacnis (2G, F), Scarlet-breasted Dacnis (2G,   F), Scarlet-and-white Tanager (2G, F), White-vented Euphonia (2G, F),   Fulvous-vented Euphonia (2G, F), Emerald Tanager (2G, F),  Blue-whiskered Tanager (2G, F),   Rufous-winged Tanager (2G, F).

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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