Why bird Ecuador?
A few numbers and comparisons can help answer this simple question.
At 109,484 square miles, the country of Ecuador is roughly the size of the state of Nevada. In fact there are six states in the United States that have a greater area than Ecuador, including my home state of California.
While Ecuador is a small South American country (it ranks ninth out of the twelve countries by area), it has a astonishingly high 1, 600 bird species that have been recorded within it’s borders. Six species are endemic to the mainland and the Galapagos Islands has a massive 30 endemics.
Just to give some perspective, Ecuador has twice as many bird species than the United States and Canada combined; Twice as many species as the Europe.
In this small country 132 species of hummingbird have been recorded in Ecuador.
And it is not just the sheer number of birds that makes Ecuador such an enticing destination for a world birder, there are the superlatives!
One can start with the National Bird of Ecuador, the largest flying bird in the world, rare the Andean Condor. You can also find the largest hummingbird in the world, the giant hummingbird at the feeders of the Andes and the hummingbird with the largest beak in the world.
The giant hummingbird, Patagonia gigas.
So as my Copa flight was on final approach to to Andean city of Quito, I was looking forward to the incredible mega diversity of this diminutive South American nation. Buenos dias Ecuador!