Cuicocha Lake

Cuicocha Lake is best know for it beauty than for its birds.  But if you like birding in beautiful places, then you have to visit this mysterious lake.  This is crater lake formed after the eruption of the Cuicocha volcano which collapsed forming a caldera.  This caldera is constantly filling with water from the Cotacachi volcano which lies just north.  It is about 200 meters deep, 3 km wide, and has four dactic lava domes in the center.

Cuicocha lies on the southern end of the Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve of 204,420 hectors of mixed life zones ranging from 1m to 4939 meters.  It includes some of the most important areas of the Chocó region in Ecuador.

This are constitutes and IBA in Ecuador (Birdlife IBA Factsheet EC037 - Reserva Ecologica Cotacachi-Cayapas).


BIRDS of Cuicocha Lake

Below is a sequence where a Variable Hawk female (above) attacks (plays?) with a Juvenile (below) who is teasing.  Note the ability of the juvenile hawks to spin and maintain flight upside down while he monitors the Variable Hawk on his descent.  This play repeated itself about three times before the juvenile flew toward me to check me out.


Variable Hawks Playing


White-tailed Shrike-Tyrant

Variable Hawk juvenile above me

Rufoous-naped Brush-Finch

Great Thrush

White-tailed Shrike-Tyrant

Variable Hawk Juvenile above me

Rufoous-naped Brush-Finch

Great Thrush







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Birdwatching Tours

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Yanachocha Reserve
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23 de Junio
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Rio Palenque
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Land Tour & Darwin’s Finches

Northern Highland Sites
Antisana Reserve
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Cayambe-Coca Reserve
Bosque Jerusalen
Condor Park
Cuicocha Lake
San Pablo Lake