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You are here: Yankuam Lodge and Shaime Yankuam Lodge and Shaime

Yankuam in Shuar language means lonely star, which is an appropriate name, as this is the only place anywhere near this region where you can have lodging and full board services. The lodge is located in the Alto Nangaritza River close to the Shuar community of Shaime.  The birding areas are located at an elevation between 900 to 1450 meters, very close to the Peruvian border.  As of May, 2010 the area lacks formal protection, but the Ecuadorian government has plans to create the Alto Nangaritza Protected Forest.  Due to better security here, as opposed to in its range in Peru, this is the best place in the world to look for the endangered and spectacular Orange-throated Tanager.



Elfin Forest, Lower Montane Forest and Footjill Forest.



Yankuam Lodge and Shaime

To access the site you start in Zamora.  This is the biggest city fairly near the site.  A four wheel drive is not necessary, but a high clearance vehicle is.

To attempt a visit to look for the Orange-throated Tanager in this region you will have to organize the visit through Yankuam Lodge.  To visit the forest where the Orange-throated Tanager occurs you have to take a boat ride on the Nangaritza and Numbatkaime rivers. The lodge can provide you with a boat belonging to them, or organize boat transportation with local people. Further information on Yankuam Lodge can be obtained by visiting, , or by writing to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling the phones: (07) 2606 147 / (07) 2605 739.  In case none of the above contacts work you could also try writing to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

The two known sites for the tanager are close to the Shuar village of Shaime. One is further upstream from Shaime, and this site is known as “Laberinto” also known as “Laberinto de las Mil Ilusiones”.  Another is right behind Shaime. To visit the Shaime site you will have to pay a US $4 per person entrance fee.  Laberinto is privately owned and there was no fee to enter the site per 2008.



Yankuam Lodge and Shaime

If you are continuing from your visit to Bombuscaro entrance to Podocarpus NP please see the birding instructions in the respective subchapter on how to get there.

(Click here to download Map. Yankuam Lodge and Shaime)

Beginning in Zamora at the roundabout in front of the bus terminal, set the odometer to 0.0 km.  Drive the four lane avenue through the city for 0.3 km and you will get to a bridge. Drive across the bridge crossing over the Zamora River.  At the end of the bridge there is a traffic light.  Here at the traffic light you must turn to the right.

This is the beginning of the E45 Troncal Amazónica Highway heading north.  Drive for 1.8 km or 2.1 km from Zamora.  At this point there is a roundabout with a nice statue of a man panning for gold.   Continue along the main highway heading to Cumbaratza, and at a point 6.9 km or 9.0 km from Zamora, look for a forest patch on the left side of the highway.  Start by looking for birds at this forest patch and then continue along the highway for 1.1 km, or 10.1 km from Zamora.

Here on the right, there is a side road which enters the abandoned Zamora airport runway.  You can also park here and walk this area to bird.

The forest patch along the highway is home to: Stripe-chested Antwren, White-browed Antbird and Forest Elaenia.   While walking along the highway, search in the scrubby vegetation and the flooded pasture land on both sides of the road for:

Speckled Chachalaca, Black Caracara, Gray-breasted Crake, Rufous-sided Crake, Blackish Rail, White-eyed Parakeet, Glittering-throated Emerald, Spot-breasted Woodpecker, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Dark-breasted Spinetail, Mottle-backed Elaenia, Yellow-olive Flatbill, Olive-chested Flycatcher, Short-crested Flycatcher, Masked Tityra, Olivaceous Greenlet, Black-capped Donacobius, Thrush-like Wren, Yellow-bellied Dacnis, Turquoise Tanager, White-lined Tanager, Black-billed Seed-Finch, Chestnut-bellied Seedeater, Yellow-browed Sparrow and Yellow-rumped Cacique.

Drive the highway another 32.7 km, or 42.8 km from Zamora.  At this point there is a road to the right. The main highway continues north ahead to the left and eventually arrives at Gualaquiza.  Gualaquiza the site to visit Condor Mirador is 77.5 km away from this point.

Take the right turn here heading to Zumbi, and drive 15.6 km, or 58.4 km from Zamora. Here you will get to a road split.  Reset your odometer here to 0.0 km for future references.

The road to the left heads to Paquisha, while the road to your right heads to Guaysimi, Orquideas and Yankuam.  Here there is a sign that reads, “Yankuam 46 km”.  Take this road to the right and drive for 49.0 km going through the towns of Guaysimi, Surmi and Orquideas before arriving at Yankuam Lodge.

From the lodge, the road continues only about half a kilometer to a vehicle ferry.  From the end of the road a short trail passes along the river bank.  At the forest close to the lodge, for about 1 km both directions along the road look for: Greater Yellow-headed Vulture,Dusky-billed Parrotlet, Cobalt-winged Parakeet, Pale-rumped Swift, Great-billed Hermit, Gray-chinned Hermit, Gray-breasted Sabrewing, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Blue-crowned Trogon, Purplish Jacamar, Channel-billed Toucan, White-throated Toucan, Crimson-crested Woodpecker, Speckled Spinetail, Lined Antshrike, Stripe-chested Antwren, Blackish Antbird, Black Antbird, White-browed Antbird, Golden-winged Tody-Flycatcher, Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher, Olive-faced Flatbill, Grayish Mourner, Yellow-cheeked Becard, Chestnut-crowned Becard, White-winged Becard, Amazonian Umbrellabird, White-necked Thrush, Buff-rumped Warbler, Black-faced Dacnis, Yellow-bellied Dacnis, Turquoise Tanager, Paradise Tanager and Masked Tanager.

As of 2010, there are plans to build a bridge over the Nangaritza River and continue the road further south from Yankuam.  The forest patches beyond the river is where Gray-tailed Piha has been recorded.

Directly opposite the parking area for the lodge there is a trailhead going inside the forest and uphill.  This trail ascends to an elevation of 1450 meters. The first section is an easy walk, but the higher you go the more difficult it gets.  The higher elevation area requires you to climb short sections using roots and vines.  Once at the top the vegetation is stunted, and Royal Sunangel, Roraiman Flycatcher, Bar-winged Wood-Wren and Vermilion Tanager are found.

To get to where these much localized birds can be seen is a very strenuous day trip and you need to take box lunch.  You must leave really early in the morning, without doing much birding on the way, and return immediately after seeing the birds.  This should not be a problem, however, if you reach the site.

The lower and middle part of this trail should also be explored as several interesting birds are found here:  Gray Tinamou, Rufous-vented Whitetip, Red-stained Woodpecker, Foothill Antwren, Scale-backed Antbird, Northern Chestnut-tailed Antbird, Chestnut-crowned Gnateater, Ecuadorian Tyrannulet, Rufous-browed Tyrannulet, Lemon-browed Flycatcher, Western Striped Manakin, Wing-barred Piprites and Fulvous Shrike-Tanager.

In order to visit either of the two sites where the Orange-throated Tanager occurs, you also need to take a day trip.  The Shuar village of Shaime is roughly one hour upstream from Yankuam.  Behind Shaime village there are two trails, both leading to an Oilbird cave up in the mountain where the tanager is fairly common.  The first trail goes mostly through tall and good forest and requires a 3 hour, non-birding walk.  The second goes through degraded second-growth and pasture and requires a 2 hours non-birding walk. Despite the obvious temptation to walk the good forest trail, I recommend walking up the muddy shorter trail as the target bird has to be the tanager.  Remember that rubber boots are essential.  The shorter trail is roughly 5 km, and the longer one is 6+ km to the cave where you can also try for the Oilbird.  The forest at the oilbird cave is where to look for the tanager.  The birds are fairly common and if you get there, and finding it should not be a problem. Other birds that could also be seen in the Shaime area include: White-necked Puffbird, Chestnut-capped Puffbird, Hairy-crested Antbird, White-plumed Antbird and Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak.

The second site to look for the Orange-throated Tanager is the site known as “Laberinto”, which is half an hour upstream from Shaime along the Numbatkaime River.  The total length of the Laberinto loop trail is roughly 6+ km and it also requires a full day visit. The trail starts steeply through forest, and later turns into a loop passing through “Laberinto”.  The tanager can be seen in Laberinto and on the way out along the more disturbed forest.  On the way to Laberinto you could also find: Buckley's Forest-Falcon, Collared Puffbird and Brown Nunlet.  Once in Laberinto you will find the Black-and-white Tody-Flycatcher to be numerous.

The Nangaritza River boat ride and any of the above mentioned sites are also an area where the Military Macaw and Spot-winged Parrotlet have been recorded.


Birds to look for

Yankuam Lodge and Shaime

Stunted Forest (SF), Second-growth (2G), Forest (F), River (R),   Pastures (P).

Common: Striated Heron (2G,R), Greater   Yellow-headed Vulture (2G,F), Cobalt-winged   Parakeet (2G,F), Blue-headed Parrot (2G,F), Oilbird, Pale-rumped   Swift, Great-billed Hermit (2G,F),   Gray-chinned Hermit (2G,F), Gray-breasted   Sabrewing (2G,F), Glittering-throated Emerald (2G), Fork-tailed   Woodnymph (2G,F), Yellow-tufted Woodpecker (2G), Dark-breasted Spinetail (2G), Lined   Antshrike (2G), Mottle-backed Elaenia (2G), Yellow-olive Flatbill (2G), Olive-chested Flycatcher (2G), Ecuadorian   Tyrannulet (2G,F), Roraiman Flycatcher   (SF), Black-and-white Tody- Flycatcher (2G), Long-tailed Tyrant (2G), Great Kiskadee (2G), Boat-billed   Flycatcher (2G), Social Flycatcher (2G), Piratic Flycatcher (2G), Violaceous   Jay (2G), Black-billed Thrush (2G), Black-capped Donacobius (P), Thrush-like Wren (2G), Bar-winged Wood-Wren (SF), Buff-rumped Warbler (R), Blue-necked Tanager (2G), Turquoise Tanager (2G), Paradise   Tanager (2G,F), Blue-black Grassquit (2G), Chestnut-bellied Seedeater   (2G),   Yellow-browed Sparrow (2G),   Yellow-rumped Cacique (2G),   Crested Oropendola (2G,F).

Uncommon: Speckled   Chachalaca (2G),   Black Caracara (2G), Buckley's Forest-Falcon (2G,F), Gray-breasted Crake (P), Rufous-sided Crake (P), Blackish Rail (P), White-eyed Parakeet (2G,F), Spot-winged Parrotlet (2G,F), Dusky-billed Parrotlet (2G,F),   Blue-crowned Trogon (2G,F), Royal Sunangel (SF), Rufous-vented   Whitetip (2G,F), Purplish Jacamar (2G,F), Channel-billed Toucan (2G,F),   White-throated Toucan (2G,F), White-necked Puffbird   (F), Chestnut-capped   Puffbird (F), Spot-breasted Woodpecker (2G), Red-stained   Woodpecker (F), Crimson-crested   Woodpecker (2G,F), Stripe-chested Antwren (2G), Foothill Antwren (F), Blackish Antbird (2G),   Black Antbird (2G), White-browed Antbird (2G), Scale-backed Antbird (F), Northern Chestnut-tailed Antbird (F),   Chestnut-crowned Gnateater (F),   Golden-winged Tody-Flycatcher (2G),   Rusty-fronted Tody- Flycatcher (2G), Olive-faced Flatbill (2G), Forest Elaenia (2G,F), Rufous-browed   Tyrannulet (2G,F), Lemon-browed   Flycatcher (2G,F), Short-crested Flycatcher (2G), Yellow-cheeked   Becard (2G,F), Chestnut-crowned   Becard (2G,F), White-winged   Becard (2G,F), Masked Tityra (2G,F), Western   Striped Manakin (2G,F), Wing-barred Piprites (F), Olivaceous Greenlet (2G,F), Yellow-bellied   Dacnis (2G,F), Yellow-bellied Dacnis (2G,F), White-lined Tanager (2G,F), Masked   Tanager (2G,F), Fulvous   Shrike-Tanager (2G,F), Vermilion Tanager (F), Orange-throated Tanager (F), Black-billed Seed-Finch (P).

Rare: Gray Tinamou (F), Military Macaw (2G,F), Collared Puffbird (F), Brown Nunlet (F),   Speckled Spinetail (2G,F), Hairy-crested Antbird   (F), White-plumed Antbird (F) Grayish Mourner (F),   Gray-tailed Piha (F), Yellow-shouldered   Grosbeak (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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