Expedition Oratrix
Document Mexico’s most Endangered parrot in the Sierra de El Tuito

Neil Gerlowski (Vallarta Botanical Garden) and Fabian Carvallo Vargas (Mexican Network of Environmental Journalists) are organizing an expedition of wildlife photographers and journalists for the week of April 4 to 10 with the goal of documenting these parrots. Should this goal be met, it would provide an instant rallying call for a campaign to declare a new federal or state level natural protected area.

Secondary goals of the expedition include general photo documentation of the natural beauty and tremendous biodiversity of this area along with impacts in the area including mining, logging, and recent forest fires. So even if the Yellow-headed parrot continues to elude its would-be photographers, participants will still amass an abundance of useful material. The Sierra de El Tuito region boasts over 300 species of birds including the Military macaw (Ara militaris), the Lilac-crowned Parrot (Amazona finschi), and the Orange-fronted Parakeet (Eupsittula canicularis). To get a better sense of the full range of bird species found in this area, go to ebird.org and review the lists for hotspots in and around El Tuito, Jalisco.

Photo Friendly
6-7 Hours
2-36 People
All weather

Expedition Oratrix, Easter 2020

Each of Mexico’s 22 native parrots are listed as either highly vulnerable or endangered, but Amazona oratrix stands out from the list for the direness of its situation. The Yellow-headed parrot (Amazona oratrix) is estimated to have a total wild population of less than 2,000 individuals—down from 70,000 just a few decades ago. Their incredible beauty, and, worse of a curse even yet, their ability to mimic the human voice, has made them one of the most ardently pursued animals of the international illegal pet trade. More Yellow-headed parrots are confiscated at the US border each year than any other bird.
The state of Jalisco has only one recognized population of Yellow-headed parrots at the Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve. But just two years ago, Roberto Ornelas Carillo, a Puerto Vallarta based biologist camping in the Sierra de El Tuito observed a pair of these birds to his utter delight and astonishment. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a camera at hand to photo document this finding. He’s been back in these mountains to search for them since, but so far, without any luck. Enrique “Petaco” Quintero Canales, a local rancher who lives near the point at which Ornelas Carillo’s observation occurred has corroborated the biologist’s account by saying that he still sees these birds at least a few times every year.

8000 MXN

(approx. $420 USD) / person

Payment Options

We will gladly accept online payment in the methods below, as well as cash or cheque in person.
Accepted Payment Methods

Have a Question?

Feel free to reach out and we’re happy to answer any questions you may have or cheque in person.

Ignacio L. Vallarta 399, Local A,
Colonia Emiliano Zapata, C.P. 48380, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco


April 4th
Meet-up and breakfast at the Estero el Salado
April 4th
Last-chance supply run to La Comer and Costco
April 4th
Welcome and lunch at El Santuario de Las Guacamayas
April 4th
Arrival at expedition base camp, orientation, team-building…
April 5-9
Fieldwork, exploration, and photography(Participants will take turns attending base camp.)
April 10th
Departure from expedition base camp
April 10th
Dinner at the Vallarta Botanical Garden

Cost, Inclusions, & Exclusions

A participation fee of 8,000 pesos (about 420 USD) per person includes:

  • Meals from breakfast April 4 to dinner on April 10
    (Please note if you have any food allergies or dietary restrictions.)
  • Use of expedition kitchen
    (Participants will take turns attending to kitchen duties and camp duties.)
  • Generator for recharging laptops, cell phones, and batteries
  •  Camping permits and fees
  • Transportation from Puerto Vallarta on April 4th and back on April 10
    (Additional transportation available at an additional cost.)
  • Insurance for vehicular transportation
  • Planning, resupply, and logistical support by Operadora Turística VBG

Not included:

  •  Personal camping supplies (tent, mattress, sleeping bag…)
  • Personal expedition gear (backpack, appropriate attire, water bottle, flashlight…)
  • Camera supplies (camera, lenses, batteries, memory cards…)
  • Additional trips to/from Puerto Vallarta (available for an additional fee)
  • Personal insurance (expedition insurance available for an additional fee)

Reservations may be made by credit card payment of 8,000 pesos (about 420 USD) to:Operadora Turística VBG: www.tourspvr.com (deadline March 20, 2020) Deposits are not reimbursable.

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