The first record of Royal Sunangel Heliangelus regalis in Ecuador has been published recently in the journal Cotinga. To view the publication - click this link: Royal Sunangel at Yankuam Lodge, Ecuador. Previously, the species was only recorded in Peru. The Royal Sunangel is listed as endangered by BirdLife International (see Species Factsheet).
The birds were found in the humid forest above the Yankuam Lodge, Cordillera del Cóndor, province Zamora-Chinchipe in south-east Ecuador (04°15’S 78°39’W). Recently, the Yankuam Lodge became well-known to birdwatchers because of a nearby population of Orange-throated Tanagers Wetmorethraupis sterrhopteron at Shaime. Read here how to get to the lodge: Cabañas Yankuam.
The Royal Sunangels above Yankuam were first discovered and described by Frederik Ahlman and Niels Krabbe (Krabbe & Ahlman 2009). In 2009 Juan Freile, Paolo Piedrahita, Galo Buitrón, Elisa Bonaccorso and Carlos Rodríguez held an expedition to the same area and located several males and females at three different locations. Along the “tepuí trail” (starting in front of the cabañas) the species was found to be rare in the lower parts. Further along the trail in the higher parts and especially on the ridge tops the sunangel seemed rather common and was observed easily (Juan Freile pers.comm).
The tepuí area at Yankuam holds more interesting bird species for Ecuador apart from the Royal Sunangel and Orange-throated Tanager. Other interesting birds in this area include: Rufous-browed Tyrannulet Phylloscartes superciliaris, Plumbeous-crowned Tyrannulet Phyllomyias plumbeiceps, Roraiman Flycatcher Myiophobus roraimae, Cinnamon-breasted Tody-Tyrant Hemitriccus cinnamomeipectus, Bar-winged Wood Wren Henicorhina leucoptera and Zimmer’s Antbird Myrmeciza castanea (Krabbe & Ahlman 2009). View a checklist of bird species in this area made by Niels Krabbe and Frederik Ahlman at this link: Birds of Nangaritza Valley.
Krabbe, N & Ahlman, F.L. (2009). Royal Sunangel Heliangelus regalis at Yankuam Lodge, Ecuador. Cotinga 31: 69.
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