Bird Watching South Peru
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The Manu Biosphere Reserve in Perú, has the highest diversity of life on Earth and is one of the most important conservation units in the world, that is why we consider this majestic place as one of our main destinations for birdwatching, and that is why this tour allows us to explore and experience the different ecosystems in search of birds as well as visit one of the 7 wonders of the world… Machu Picchu, surrounded by some of the most amazing scenery on Earth.
This is a birding tour. It is designed to see as many birds as possible while spending extra time on endemics and other target species, photography is welcome as long as it does not interfere with the birding, and this tour is fairly good for casual photography. In some areas, there will be little or no time for that purpose since there are other birds around to see.
We will also look at other wildlife such as monkeys, tapirs, capybaras and even the impressive jaguar if any are around, but birds are still our main focus of the tour.
- All the accommodations from the first until the last night (1-16)
- All meals from the first to the last day with dietary options and drinkable water
- Tour leader with telescope and audio gear
- Local cultural Guide at Machu Picchu
- Land and river transportation from the beginning to the end of the tour
- Roundtrip train tickets between Aguas calientes/Ollantaytambo
- Roundtrip bus tickets between Aguas calientes/Machu Picchu
- guas calientes/Machu Picchu
- International flights
- Travel insurance
- Excursions not included in the tour itinerary.
- Extras in hotels/lodges (laundry service, minibar, room service, telephone calls and personal items).
- Medical fees
- Tips to (Tour leader, local guide at Machupicchu, drivers, boatmen and lodge/restaurants staff
DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN LIMA
One night will be spent in a nice hotel next to the airport or in the
DAY 2: CUSCO
This morning we will take an early flight to the ancient city of Cusco, depending on the flight schedule, we may drop our bags off in the hotel or we could head straight out birding to the Huacarpay lake, about half an hour southeast of town. Here we will see a variety of high Andean species such as (Puna teal, Yellow billed pintail, Plumbeous rail, Many colored rush tyrant, Andean negrito, Rusty fronted canastero and much more). We will look especially for the spectacular and endemic Bearded mountaineer which often feeds in flowering bushes near the lake. Overnight in Cusco.
DAY 3: ABRA MALAGA
We need an early start as we drive over a very high pass at 4300m (14000ft) and then down to some beautiful temperate forest in the shadow of the imposing Verónica peak (5700m 19000ft), we will start by looking for (Inca wren, Three striped and Parodi’s Hemispinguses, Puna thistletail, Marcapata spinetail, Scaled metaltail and much more), before returning to the pass for a fairly short but tough hike to some groves of Polylepis woodland with several globally threatened species such as White browed tit spinetail, Ash breasted tit tyrant and if we are lucky Royal cinclodes, later in the afternoon we will make another stop to look for the endemic White tufted sunbeam before returning to town. Overnight in Ollantaytambo.
DAY 4: MACHUPICCHU
After the long day yesterday, we will enjoy a bit of a lie in though we will want to check the grounds of the hotel for White bellied hummingbird and a few other birds.
We will catch a mid morning train to Aguas calientes town at the base of Machupicchu. The rest of the day we will enjoy the visiting of the impressive inca site and our guide will give us a walking tour.
There are not too many birds to be seen in the ruins but we may encounter the endemic Green and white hummingbird and can look for Inca wren we missed it yesterday. Overnight in Aguas calientes town.
DAY 5: AGUAS CALIENTES/CUSCO
The train usually does not leave until after lunch, so, we should have a full morning to bird the cloud forest ecosystem, this area is good for species like (Silver backed tanager, Gould’s Inca, Sclater’s tyrannulet, Masked fruiteater, Rust and yellow tanager, Variable antshrike).
We will take the afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo where our vehicle will pick us up and take us back to Cusco.
DAY 6: CUSCO/MANU
Today, we leave early with the opportunity to revisit Huacarpay lake and driving between 6-7 hours on a rough road through scenic intermontane valleys, we will make selected stops for two smart endemics Creamy crested spinetail and Chestnut breasted mountain finch and stop for anything else we might encounter along the way.
We will reach the Acjanaco pass by around lunch time (3500m 11500ft), and spend the afternoon birding temperate forest downhill towards our lodge hoping to run into mixed species flocks that could have dozens of brilliant birds like (Mountain cacique, Citrine warbler, Grass green tanager, Golden collared tanager, White collared jay, Pearled treerunner, Black capped and Superciliared Hemispinguses and much more). Overnight in Wayqecha cloud forest research center or
Cock of the rock lodge
DAY 7: WAYQUECHA/COCK of the ROCK
It is hard not to be awed by the steep slopes blanketed with cloud forest as far as the eye can see, beautiful hummingbirds like Violet throated starfrontlet, Amethys throated sunangel flit through the roadside vegetation and have a great chance to see Gray breasted mountain toucan.
We will target some tough birds like Red and white antpitta, and jump out of the bus at the first sign of a mixed species flock and may see such gems as (Barred and Band tailed fruiteaters, White browed conebill, Chestnut bellied mountain tanager, Fulvous wren and White banded tyrannulet. 2 Overnight’s in Cock of the rock lodge. Hummingbird feeders here bring in several species including Green hermit, Violet fronted brilliant and Booted racket tail.
DAY 8: CORL
Just a few minutes drive from our lodge is a spectacular Cock of the rock lek furnished with comfortable blinds to observe the amazing males during their mating rituals. Along the trail system we can explore the mossy cloud forest, searching for the likes of Moustached wren, Slaty gnateater and Chestnut breasted wren.
Birding up and down the road we will quickly build up a list of mid elevation birds and possibilities include (Solitary eagle, Golden headed and Crested quetzals, White eared solitaire, Blue banded toucanet, Amazonian umbrella bird, Yungas manakin and a dazzling array of Tanagers).
DAY 9: CORL/LOWER ELEVATION
After a final morning in the birdy cloud forest we will descend farther down the Manu road, targeting foothill forest species like Chestnut backed antshrike, Two banded and Golden bellied warblers, Ornate flycatcher and Peruvian piedtail. In the afternoon we arrived to an excellent lodge in the foothills where we spend a single night.
We will arrive in time for some afternoon birding in the lush rainforest which is swathed in large stands of bamboo looking for some specialties like (Rufous headed woodpecker, Rufous breasted piculet, Bamboo antshrike, Striated antbird, Dusky tailed flatbill, Peruvian recurvebill and the stunning White cheeked tody flycatcher).
We will also be on the lookout for Scarlet hooded barbet and Round tailed and Fiery capped manakins. Overnight in Villa Carmen lodge
DAY 10: VILLA CARMEN/AMAZONIA LODGE
After a full morning around Villa Carmen, we will drive to the Upper Madre de Dios river where we take a short boat ride across the river to the lodge. It is about 200m/650ft walk but porters will carry our bags. This comfortable hacienda located at an elevation of 500m/1750ft will be our base for the next 2 nights.
The lodge clearing has a variety of feeders and flowering bushes that bring in a wealth of hummers as well as tanagers and other species, some of the regular visitors include Masked crimson tanager, Silver beaked tanager, Gray necked wood rail, Red capped cardinal, Gray breasted sabrewing, Rufous crested coquette, Violet headed hummingbird, sapphire spangled emerald and Koepcke’s hermit. Overnight in Amazonia lodge
DAY 11: AMAZONIA LODGE
We spend the day birding this famous lodge which already has a bird list of well over 500 species. It is situated where the last low foothills of the Andes begin to flatten out into the vast Rainforest lowland.
The floodplain near the lodge is covered in second growth only a few decades old, while on the steep hillsides tall primary forest is found, while birding the varied habitats at the lodge, we will see a very rich assortment of birds, some species we will especially look for include (Blue headed macaw, Bluish fronted jacamar, Bamboo antshrike, Golden bellied warbler, Fine barred piculet, Chestnut capped puffbird and Black backed tody
DAY 12: AMAZONIA/MANUWCENTER
After a few more hours of birding at Amazonia, we will board our motorized boat that will take us down the Madre de Dios river to our next lodge. It is about a 6 hours trip but the boat will make a couple of rest stops and we usually see some cool stuff along the way like (Yellow billed tern, Wood stork, Bat falcon, Fasciated tiger heron, Orinoco goose, Pied lapwing, Black skimmer and Horned screamer). We plan to arrive at the lodge before dark and we will spend the next 3 nights here. Overnight in Manu wildlife center
DAY 13, 14: MWC
We will have three full days in this amazing place, diversity is spectacular and we will bird trails, tower and oxbow lakes. Large stands of bamboo hold many local and sought after species, and the extensive varzea, terra firme and transitional floodplain forest hold a mind boggling variety of bird life.
A canopy observation tower gives us a chance to see the canopy birds at close range including many species of Toucans, Aracaris, Tanagers, Oropendolas, Parrots, Woodpeckers, Euphonias and others. Some of the more interesting species we will be searching for in the bamboo include Peruvian recurvebill, Manu antbird and White cheeked tody flycatcher.
We also look for the near endemic (Purus jacamar, Razor billed curassow, Pavonine quetzal, Rufous fronted antthrush, Gray cheeked nunlet, Pale winged trumpeter and Striolated puffbird), to name but a few. Great mammal sightings are also possible including Monkeys,
DAY 15: MWC/MACAW CLAY LICK/PUERTO MALDONADO
We need to leave very early in order to reach the Clay lick, which only allows entry at dawn to avoid disturbing the birds, activity varies from day to day but usually hundreds of Parrots and Macaws are visible from the blinds, Red and green macaw is a highlight and the beautiful Orange cheeked parrot is a regular visitor here. We will spend the rest of the day traveling by boat and then by car to Puerto Maldonado where we spend the night
DAY 16: PMALDONADO/LIMA
Today we take a commercial flight back to Cusco- Lima, depending on flight schedules, there may be some time for some morning birding near here where there are some stakeouts for the localized White throated jacamar. Overnight in Lima
DAY 17: LIMA and PUCUSANA
Today we head south to the fishing village of Pucusana, where the harbor is jam packed with Inca terns, Belcher’s, Gray hooded and Gray gulls, Guanay and Red legged cormorants and more. We will take a short boat ride to look for Humboldt penguin and Surf cinclodes (bring seasickness pills if you are susceptible). Making our way back to Lima we can target Peruvian thick knee and Short tailed field tyrant and check some wetlands for more waterbirds. Transfer to the airport to catch evening International flights.
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