Ventanas, Antioquia, Colombia.
These big, gorgeous Andean tanagers are very jay-like in both voice and behavior. I used playback to lure them in close, and they seemed to know I was the one responsible as they stared right at me and screeched loudly. Photographed with a Canon 5D Mark IV camera and a Canon 100-400mm f4-5.6 IS II lens, handheld, on 9 February 2019.You can find previous featured photos here.
Welcome to antpitta.com. I use this site to share my photographs of wild birds. I have uploaded over 4000 photos of more than 3000 bird species. Most photos are from the Neotropics, though I add photos from elsewhere around the world when I get the chance. I have been continually improving my gear and skills over the years. Many of the older shots are not the best quality, but I am always striving to improve them. Photos are hosted on my Flickr site, and a complete index of bird species is here.
Use one of the links below, or scroll down a little to see my blog and a selection of some recent favorites.
Neotropical Birds - explore by family
Complete Index - use this if you are looking for a particular species (it takes a few moments to load)
Other stuff from around the world - photos from areas outside of the Neotropics, including mammals and herps
See recently-added photos
Latest updates and blog:
2 March: I've added the shots from my Colombia trip in February, and here are a few of my favorites:
22 February: Bicolored Antpitta is one of the harder antpittas to photograph at the Rio Blanco Reserve in Colombia. It does not come to the feeder every day (this was my fourth try counting two different visits) and there is very little light to work with. A full-frame camera and some noise reduction in post processing helped a lot though, and I'm pretty happy with the result. That's antpitta number 34 for the site (or 35 if you count the "gnatpitta"). (Edit 24 Feb: In a remarkably short time, this shot has become my most viewed photo all time on Flickr with more than 15k. Totally unexpected, but I heartily approve since antpittas are awesome!)
31 January: I haven't been adding anything new to this page, but I have been doing other work behind the scenes. In November I upgraded my screen to a high-end 4k screen designed for photographers. It was revelation! Everything looks sharper and vivid, and the level of detail is phenomenal. The downside to this is that all the old photos I had uploaded at only 800-1000 pixels wide just don't look very good anymore. But the future is clear, and soon almost everyone will have high-res screens. So I have started to slowly reprocess and reupload my photos at their maximum useable resolution. It's a huge undertaking, which I probably won't finish for years, but I've made a good start this month. While doing this, I found some shots that I had never previously uploaded, which can be seen at my photostream here. I'm leaving today for a three week trip to Colombia, so hopefully will have some new material to share when I get back.
30 December: Happy holidays! I've just added a few more shots from Peru, including the nice Spotted Rail that is now the temporary "featured photo".
1 December: My last tour was in Taiwan, and it was a hybrid birding/photography tour ("birding with a camera"). I've finished loading all the shots onto my Flickr site, click here for the gallery. A few favorites are below:
17 November: I've had a lot of tours lately without much time between them, so have a lot to catch up with. Here are a few shots from an Ecuador tour November (and I've changed the featured photo to a Long-wattled Umbrellabird from that trip).
3 October: I have a short amount of time between trips, and have been uploading shots from Peru, including the Yellow-faced Parrotlet in flight that will be the featured photo for a while. Before my tour, I finally visited the remote Flor de Cafe (better known as Plataforma) in northern Peru to see the famed Scarlet-banded Barbet and the newly-described Cordillera Azul Antbird. My photos of them are rather mediocre, but I was very happy to at least see them. The antbird was especially difficult as several former territories have been deforested, and it was also very dry during my visit, which I think may have cause them to vocalize and respond less than normal. I finally found a pair of the antbirds with the help of a local guide named Eugenio who had found some new territories for them.
21 August: I finally finished moving all my photos over to Flickr, and have updated all the links and indices. I reprocessed some of them while doing that, making them larger and removing watermarks. Many more also deserve this treatment, but it is a lot of work and I probably only will do it for the best/most interesting shots. I've also caught up on uploading all my recent shots as well as a bunch of shots from the US that I had never gotten around to posting. A put a selection of them below.
Scissor-tailed Flycatchers were very common during the few days I had in High Island, Texas in April.
31 July: I had a great trip in Brazil visiting the northern Pantanal and Cristalino Jungle Lodge. We also had a bit of time in Chapada dos Guimarães, where I got what was perhaps my favorite bird photo of the trip. We came across an antswarm at the side of the road in gallery forest where there were at least 20 White-backed Fire-eyes actively feeding completely in the open. It was a remarkable concentration of these birds, which I normally just encounter in pairs that are often shy and hard to see.
10 July: My recent travels have taken me to more northerly climes, including Belarus and Alaska. Alaska in June is stunning, and I am glad I finally made it there. It probably won't be the last time! I've just finished adding the best photos to my Flickr account (here). Along with the Spectacled Eider at the top, here are a few other favorites:
23 May: I am changing the way I license photos for non-commercial use. I am making all my photos available under the generic Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. Click here and scroll to the bottom for further info. I am also going to stop watermarking images in the future.
8 May: After a short trip to Texas, I've had time to finish uploading my shots from Suriname. While the Spotted Antpitta may have been my favorite bird, I think my favorite shot is a Painted Tody-Flycatcher, which I just added as the Featured Photo. Some of the other decent shots are below:
Guianan Warbling-Antbird at Fredberg, which is a forest reserve with a simple eco-lodge; birding in this area was superb!
Only two bird species are endemic to the Guianas, and both are woodpeckers - this one is Blood-colored Woodpecker.
22 April: I'm starting to upload shots from Suriname from a few weeks ago, click here for more recent shots. Here are a few noteworthy ones. Pale-bellied Mourner is not a particularly beautiful species, but it is very hard to find and it was a lifer for me. It is not frequently photographed. It was in a savanna area on white sand soil near the village of Powaka (sometimes spelled Powakka). Gray-winged Trumpeters (and trumpeters in general) are usually shy, hard to see, and even harder to photograph. Many birders who are trying to see all the world's families find trumpeters to be one of the hardest to get, despite their huge range. You can't just go to a stakeout and play a call and have one fly in. You usually have to spend a huge amount of time in the rainforest hoping to get lucky. Well, I finally visited a place where I think trumpeters are just about guaranteed, Brownsberg Nature Park in Suriname. The trumpeters here, for whatever reason, seem to have lost almost all fear of humans, and you can get very close to them! Sometimes they even wander through the park HQ clearing... and yes, they are wild birds. Brownsberg was my favorite place in Suriname. The forest was pristine and absolutely beautiful. It's up on an escarpment at 500 m., so it is not quite as hot as the other places I visited in the country. There is accommodation on site, which was somewhat basic but totally fine for me, an on-site restaurant, and even communal kitchens if you wanted to bring your own food. I saw some really great birds there including Red-and-black Grosbeak and White-fronted Manakin. I heard a White-throated Pewee, but it was way down a steep slope. If I had been alone, I may have gone after it, but I was leading a group so I really couldn't chase it.
17 April: I've finished adding 32 new photos from my short trip to Trinidad. Here are a few of my favorites:
9 April: After a few days in Trinidad and two weeks in Suriname, I am now back home (a day late thanks to American Airlines). Trinidad was nice, but the birding in Suriname was terrific. The accomodation and food not so much, but the place has tons of potential and it was a memorable trip. I have lots of photos to post, but I have started by replacing the headline photo with a Spotted Antpitta. It was perhaps my favorite bird I saw there (even though not a lifer), and my 33rd antpitta species photographed. I saw it with the tour group two days before, but wasn't able to get a shot. Then, during a mid-day "siesta" during the heat of the day, I chased after it in earnest. It took me 45 minutes, and the bird led me well off the trail into the rainforest, but the hunt was successful in the end, and it was truly exhilarating to nail a photo of such a difficult bird. Normally I am very reluctant to go far off trail in remote rainforest like this, but there was a huge student group that was staying at the lodge while we were there, and they were so loud that it was easy to use them as a navigation aid!
20 March: One last batch from Guyana before I leave for my next trip. It was especially nice to finally get a decent shot of Collared Puffbird. It's one of my favorite puffbirds, but I don't encounter it very often. Guianan Streaked-Antwren also posed nicely for the camera. All my posted shots are currently at the top of my photostream.
18 March: More shots from Guyana today, including the featured photo of Guianan Cock-of-the-rock. Golden-collared Woodepcker and Guianan Toucanet are specialties of the Guianan region. Blue-backed Manakin is more widespread, but this is the best shot I've gotten of one so far.
2 March: I spent most of February in Guyana, the first time I had been there since 2006. It was a really nice trip with great birding and a fun group. We saw most of our targets, and I even got a few lifers. It was a birding trip, not a photo trip, so I only brought my 100-400mm lens this time, but I still managed to get some nice shots. Here are a couple of them, but I still have a bunch more to go through. Sun Parakeet was probably my favorite bird of the trip. This beautiful species is restricted to northern Brazil and adjacent Guyana. It is seriously endangered, apparently largely due to trapping for the cage bird trade; BirdLife International estimates the total population to be 1000-2499, and in decline. There is a small population near Karasabai in Guyana, which has become known as one of the most reliable places to see it. We found them very quickly at a known stakeout. Spotted Puffbird was surprisingly common at Karanambu Lodge, and we saw several at very close range.
9 February: One last quick update before I leave today on a trip to Guyana. I added my last new shots from Ecuador last year in the form of Spangled Coquette and Gray Tinamou, both of them from Copalinga Lodge. I've also started adding some mammals shots, though there are more buried away in my archives that I will have to dig out at some point.
25 January: Continuing a theme, White-throated Screech-Owl was one of my favorite shots on an Ecuador trip back in November. I'd tried many times to photograph one previously with no luck. It's larger than most other screech-owls reaching up to 27 cm/11 in.
23 January: It seems a bit crazy it took me so long to see one of these, but I have spent most of my birding life in tropical climes... I drove up into Pennsylvania on Saturday to see it and luckily it was easy to find.
19 January: A couple of shots from the upper reaches of Itatiaia National Park in Southeast Brazil: the endemic Green-crowned Plovercrest and very scarce and local Black-capped Piprites.
17 January: I couldn't believe it when this Rufous-tailed Antthrush crossed a road right in front of us on my last Brazil trip. Normally (along with every other antthrush), it is usually very shy and pretty much never comes out in the open.
16 January: Bay-chested Warbling-Finch is endemic to the highlands of southeastern Brazil. Recent genetic studies showed that this species was not closely related to other warbling-finches, and a genus was erected for it, Castanozoster.
14 January: Some from Southeast Brazil today; I changed the "featured photo" to a nice shot of Eye-ringed Tody-Tyrant, and added improved shots of a number of species like Purple-crowned Plovercrest, Violaceous Euphonia, and Pileated Parrot.
8 January: Here are a few more shots from Cristalino Lodge in Brazil, including two species I had never photographed before.
Black-collared Swallow is a highly localized species, found only found along fast-flowing rivers. They may be seasonal at Cristalino.
4 January: I saw tapir calf for the first time during my Brazil trip back in September. I alerady thought tapirs were incredibly cool animals, but the young one truly blew my mind!
Recently added photos: Click here
Website design and all photos copyright Nick Athanas
For questions, comments, or photograph licensing info, please email