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Otte Ottema

Hello, dear bird watchers of the world!



Ever thought of coming to Suriname? It's one of the last countries on earth, which is almost completely covered with pristine rainforest. We are Ashraf Tilburg and Otte Ottema, and we know where the birds are which you want to see.

We have a lot to offer. Just to mention a few Surinamese specialties, which have a very high chance to be spotted on every standard 15-day trip: Blood-colored Woodpecker, Arrow-head Piculet, Rufous Crab-Hawk, Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock, Capuchinbird, Pale-bellied Mourner, Scarlet Ibis, Blue-backed Tanager, Least Bittern, Ash-throated Crake, Black-banded Owl, Green Ibis, Great Potoo, Point-tailed Palm Creeper, Cayenne Jay, Blue-backed Manakin, all 6 species of Jacamars, Black and Crimson-hooded Manakin, Saffron-crested Tyrant Manakin, Gray-winged Trumpeter, Red-fan Parrot and Guianan Toucanet. The rare and range-restricted White-throated Pewee, which has not been seen for 10 years, has been found again, not anymore on the plateau of Brownsberg, but on the mountain road towards it. You will also have a good chance to see Crimson Fruitcrow, Zig-zag Heron, Green-throated Mango, Finsch's Euphonia, Boat-billed Tody Tyrant and White-fronted manakin. With a bit of luck, you may see the magnificent Red-and-black Grosbeak on the Brownsberg, or the skulking Band-tailed Antshrike near the Fredberg, the Chapman Swift, Crimson Topaz, Guianan Red-Cotinga and Rose-breasted Chat. During all the tours we will visit a ‘Dwarf-Forest-on-White Sand’, also called ‘Low Savannah Forest’. New discoveries have shown that 3 species of birds, which were thought to be rare, are common in this rare habitat. These are Bronzy Jacamar, Saffron-crested Tyrant-manakin and Black Manakin. You will have a very good chance to see all three.
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Ashraf Tilburg

Recently Fred Pansa discovered a new lek of the Cock-of-the-Rock, near his camp, which is very easy to reach. The Cock-of-the-Rock has been spotted here on every standard tour during breeding season, from December to April. Outside breeding season there is still a good chance to see this bird. For more details about Suriname and its avifauna, please visit the Resources page where you will find information about books and other websites.

If you are interested, contact me at otte_address. We offer all-in bird watching trips for between 1 and 4 persons as well as day trips around Paramaribo, to the savannah and to the Warapa creek. I recommend not to come with more than 4 people. Then the price is affordable and the quality of birdwatching still high. Of course, if you want to come with more than 4 persons, this is possible. We also can make special arrangements for you. Information about all-in bird watching trips can be found here (standard 15-days trip to Cola Creek, Savannah, Brownsberg, Fredberg, Warapa creek and Paramaribo, recommended), or here (one day trips).

The other itineraries you will find on this website are not available, but this does not mean that we cannot visit those places. If you want to visit a place, which is not included in the standard 15 days tour, I can make a special arrangement for you. In general those places are more expensive, because we will have to fly to come there.

Check What Other Bird Lovers Say...

Now being back in Germany we think about a third birding tour to Suriname and, for sure, we would ask Ash and Ralph again to be our guides.

- Ursula RInas
Germany
Our first birding experience in Suriname was in December 2019 during a tour led by Otte Ottema, a legend of Suriname ornithology. Otte was supported by two young very knowledgeable and enthusiastic bird guides, namely Ashraf Tilburg and Ralf Boboo. It was the last tour led by Otte himself handing afterwards the tour organisation over to Ashraf. For us it was a very intense birding trip that we enjoyed a lot and which generated the desire to come again for birding to Suriname (see also 1-3).

In February/March 2023 we finally came again. Needless to say that we contacted Ashraf to organize the tour for us. Two of us were already in Suriname in 2019 and for two other German birders it was their first trip to Suriname. Again, it was a wonderful experience, seeing already known birds again and also encountering new ones we missed during our trip in 2019. Ashraf and Ralf were once more our bird guides making things - not only in birding - possible which we did not believe that they could work out. Now being back in Germany we think about a third birding tour to Suriname and, for sure, we would ask Ash and Ralph again to be our guides.

Trip reports from our 2019 tour and further information (in German)

- Ursula RInas
Germany

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(...) These attributes, along with his dry sense of humour and laidback demeanour, ensured that we had a most enjoyable and successful trip.

- Steve & Jackie Edwards
U.K.
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Ashraf Tilburg was our birding guide in Suriname in October 2022. He set about finding birds that were on our “wants” list, with great enthusiasm, using his outstanding field-craft skills and his amazing knowledge of the birds, most significantly, their songs and calls. These attributes, along with his dry sense of humour and laidback demeanour, ensured that we had a most enjoyable and successful trip.

- Steve and Jackie Edwards
U.K.

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Ashraf has been mentored by Otte Ottema who is a noted ornithologist in Suriname who has guided me on earlier trips. This training was evident in Ashraf’s excellent search and identification skills.

- Ken Ross
Canada
I took the day-long birding tour with Ashraf around the Paramaribo area covering Peperpot, Chocopot, and Weg naar Zee. This proved to be a well-paced and rewarding opportunity to see a wide range of species including a number of life birds. Ashraf was very personable and pleasant to travel with and was adept at finding the various species. He has been mentored by Otte Ottema who is a noted ornithologist in Suriname who has guided me on earlier trips. This training was evident in Ashraf’s excellent search and identification skills. Also much appreciated was was his driving skills in negotiating challenging Paramaribo traffic. Lastly, the restaurant chosen for lunch provided a quick and very tasty Surinamese meal. A highly recommended outing!

- Ken Ross
Ottawa, Canada

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[photos ©] left : Bronzy Jacamar by Foek Chin Joe ; right : Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock by Sylvain Cordier.
© 2004-2023, Otte Ottema Contact Me (otteottema + @ + gmail.com)