BIRDING – SOUTHERN PERU
Machu Picchu / Manu Could Forest
- Peru Classic Machu Picchu
- Machu Picchu & Manu Road
- Machu Picchu & Tambopata Reserve
- Manu Road Short
- Manu Road & The Amazon
- Manu Road & the amazon Biosphere Reserve
The Manu Biosphere Reserve has the highest diversity of life on Earth and is one of the most important conservation units in the world. If you were to choose THE best birding trip, this must surely be a candidate. The beauty of this trip is the variety of habitats visited, ranging from Puna grassland, elfin forest, orchid laden cloud forest where Spectacled Bears and Cock-of-the-Rocks still live undisturbed, to untouched Amazonian low land rainforest which 13 species of monkey call home and giant otters still exist in the oxbow lakes.
A trip to Manu is a trip to one of the world’s great wilderness areas where wildlife is still plentiful and over 1000 species of bird have been recorded. We regularly record 550+ of them on this tour and often see jaguar. Imagine birding on forest trails with mixed species flocks that might contain over 40+ species, and then bumping into a troop of Peruvian Spider Monkeys around the corner, or quietly paddling on a catamaran on an oxbow lake with a family of giant otters and teeming lakeside birdlife. Incredible right?
|Hotel, Lodges||International & Domestic Flight Tickets|
|Private toilets||Airport Taxes|
|Hot water||Visa Fees|
|WiFi||Any alcoholic Beverage|
|Full meals, soft drinks||Phones Calls, Laundry|
|Private land & boat transportation||Taxis, extra activities|
|Entrance fees||Tips (optional)|
|Birding guide.||Other items of personal nature|
Arriving in Lima our staff will transfer to your hotel.
Breakfast before your early morning flight to Cusco where your tour leader will greet you and we’ll head out south of town with a picnic lunch to Huarcapay lakes. The lake is surrounded by Inca, and pre-Inca ruins. Here we will see a variety of high Andean waterfowl including Puna, Teal, Yellow-billed Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Yellow-billed Pintail. And other wetland associated birds. White-tufted Grebe and Andean Coot will be here too. Depending on time of year migrant North American shorebirds (waders) may also be present. We will be specifically on the lookout for Wren-like Rushbird, Many-colored Rush-tyrant, Yellow-winged Blackbird, Puna Ibis, Plumbeous Rail and Andean Negrito. Birds of Prey we may see include Aplomado Falcon, Cinereous Harrier, Variable Hawk and Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle. In the arid scrub around the lake we’ll look for the endemic Rusty-fronted Canastero and also Streak-fronted Thornbird. We should find the pretty, endemic Bearded Mountaineer feeding in the tree tobacco (Nicotania sp.) with Giant Hummingbird and Trainbearers. Peruvian, Ash-breasted and Mourning Sierra-Finches will be here with Greenish Yellow-finch and Blue and Yellow Tanager. In the late afternoon we’ll drive back to Cusco via a different route. Overnight in the old Inca capital.
Early start in our private transportation. We will make a couple stops in the inter-montane valleys specifically for two endemics. Stopping for our picnic breakfast as the sun hits the slopes and enjoy colorful Quechua local with livestock creating a peaceful pastoral scene. Our target here is the Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch. We should also see Andean Hillstar, Andean Flicker, Black-throated Flowerpiercer, Chuiguanco Thrush and more. Our next stop is for the endemic Creamy-crested Spinetail, before arriving at the last Andean pass – Ajcanacu, where if it’s clear we’ll be able to look out from the last peak of the Andes over the Amazon basin stretching into the distance, just as the Incas did in ancient times. Here we’ll try to find species like Scribble-tailed Canastero, Line -fronted Canasteros and maybe Puna and Diademed Tapaculo. In the afternoon we will bird the upper limits of the eastern slopes before working our way down the eastern slope of the Andes, the forest becoming more continuous. We will spend the afternoon birding until our accommodation at 2800 meters above sea level, above Pillahuata. Possibilities are many but we hope to encounter mixed species flocks of tanagers, flycatchers and ovenbirds. Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan, Collared Jay and Mountain Cacique are among some of the other species we can find. In the evening we will try for Swallow-tailed Nightjar. Overnight at Wayquecha Biological Station.
We’ll start out early from the lodge and depending on what we are missing we may go back up to the tree line, or spend a full day birding the humid forest from the tree line down. Our target birds after breakfast and hot tea or coffee include – the noisy, Mustached Flowerpiercer, Tit-like Dacnis, Golden-collared Tanager and the PunaThistletail. As the day warms we’ll spend the day exploring downhill through the forest seeking for mixed feeding flocks that may contain Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Grass-green Tanager, Black-throated Tody-Flycatcher, Barred Fruiteater, White-banded and White-throated Tyrannulets and much more. If we are lucky we may see Golden-plumed Parakeet or Greater Scythebill. We’ll stay again at the Wayquecha Biological Station for the night.
At breakfast we will be greeted with a varied dawn chorus amongst which the Red and White Antpitta should be calling. We will spend all day birding from the biological station at 2800 meters down to our next stop at 1300 meters. This is pristine forest along a little traveled road houses some special birds which we will look for including: White-rumped Hawk, Trilling Tapaculo, Black and Chestnut Eagle, Andean Guan, Scaly-naped Parrot, a wide variety of hummingbirds such as Collared Inca, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Violet-throated Startfrontlet, Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Purple-backed Thornbill, Scaled Metaltail, White-bellied Woodstar. Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Bar-bellied Woodpecker, the endemic Marcapata Spinetail, White-throated Antpitta, Barred and Band-tailed Fruiteaters, White-throated Tyrannulet, Ochraceous-breasted Flycatcher, Barred Becard, Pale-footed Swallow, Mountain Wren, Citrine Warbler and multiple tanager species are also in the list. Overnight at the comfortable Cock of the Rock Lodge.
If no space is available at Cock of the Rock Lodge we’ll stay at the nearby comfortable Paradise Lodge.
Cock of the Rock Lodge is situated in the pristine cloud forest of Manu’s mountains right next to a spectacular Cock of the Rock lek, with comfortable blind (hide) which allows us to observe these colorful birds during their dawn mating display rituals. Facilities at the lodge include 12 large spacious bungalows with hot and cold running water, flushing toilets and two single beds in each room. Some have private bathrooms while several rooms have shared facilities. Rooms are dependent on availability and can quickly fill up if another group is passing through. Private bungalows also have their own private balcony. The lodge is illuminanted by candle light but there is a small generator available for charging batteries. A large dining area and lounge overlook a feeding area for Brown Capuchin Monkeys and Tayras (a large mustelid related to martens). Hummingbird feeders attract several species right be side the dining room sometimes including the Buff-Tailed Sicklebill. There is trail system behind the lodge that enables you to see the under story of the cloud forest first hand and facilitates seeing some species difficult to observe from the road such as Chestnut-breasted Wren, Scaled Antpitta, Rufous-breasted Antthrush, Short-tailed Antthrush, and Slaty Gnateater. Orchids abound with c. 80 species recorded around the lodge. We will spend one day at 1500 meter zone where possibilities include White-rumped Hawk, Solitary Eagle, Rufous-capped Thornbill, Crested Quetzal, Golden-headed Quetzal, Masked Trogon, Highland Motmot, Black-streaked Puffbird, Blue-banded Toucanet, Olive-backed Woodcreeper, Montane Woodcreeper, Spotted Barbtail, Montane Foliage-gleaner, Amazonian Umbrellabird, Uniform and Variable Antshrikes, Slaty Gnateater, Scaled Fruiteater, Bolivian Tyrannulet, Inca Flycatcher (endemic), Yungas Mankin, Uniform Antshrike, White-throated Spadebill, Fulvous-breasted Flatbill, Saffron-crowned Tanager, Yellow-rumped and Slaty Antwrens, Deep-blue Flowerpiercer, Peruvian Piedtail (endemic) and lots more. We will also do some night birding here and we have been lucky previously with Lyre-tailed Nightjar and Andean Potoo. Overnight at Cock of The Rock Lodge.
After a dawn breakfast accompanied by the sounds of nature and watching Paradise tanagers from the breakfast table, we leave San Pedro cloud forest area and spend the day birding slowly down to the comfortable Amazonia Lodge at 500 meters. We will pay particular attention to the stretch between 1500 meters and 800 meters. This upper tropical zone forest has disappeared along much of the Andean slopes in South America because of its suitability for cash crops such as coca, coffee and tea, but in this part of Peru the forest remains untouched. Birds we have seen on this stretch of road include: Rufous-breasted Wood-Quail, Chestnut-collared Swift, Peruvian Piedtail, Three-striped and Three-banded Warbler, Long-tailed Sylph, Lanceolated Monklet, Versicolored Barbet, Russet Antshrike, Rufous-loredTyrranulet, Marble-faced Bristle-tyrant, Fulvous-breasted Flatbill, Russet Antshrike, Olive-tufted Flycatcher, Golden-crowned Flycatcher, Dusky-green Oropendola, Golden-collared Honeycreeper, White-winged Tanager, Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager and much more. A short boat ride across the Madre de Dios river takes us to the lodge. We plan to reach Amazonia Lodge before dusk. Overnight: at Amazonia Lodge.
Two full days at the comfortable Amazonia Lodge. This family run Lodge has a bird list of around 650 species and others are continually being added. The lodge is situated in the transitional zone at 500 meters, where the last low foothills of the Andes begin to flatten out into the lowland Amazon Basin proper. There are butterfly bushes that attract various hummingbird species including the pretty Rufous-crested Coquette, Golden-tailed Sapphire, Blue-tailed Emerald, Black-eared Fairy and Wire-crested Thorntail. A canopy tower on the hill enables us to watch foothill canopy flocks. We will be birding a variety of habitats over the next three days including floodplain and hill forest. One day we will pack a picnic lunch and bird the road from Atalaya to Pilcopata. The possibilities around Amazonia Lodge are enormous but some species we will especially be on the lookout for include: Black-capped Tinamou, Blackish Rail, the strange Hoatzin, Buckley’s Forest Falcon, Military Macaw, Blue-headed Macaw, Pheasant Cuckoo, Koepcke’s Hermit, Bluish fronted Jacamar, Chestnut-capped Puffbird, Fine-barred Piculet, Red-billed Scythbill, Dark-breasted Spinetail, Dusky-cheeked Foliage-gleaner, Bamboo Antshrike, Chestnut-backed Antshrike, Amazonian and Thrush-like Antpitta’s, Rusty-belted Tapaculo, Mottle-backed Elaenia, Red-billed Tyrranulet, Johannes’s Tody-tyrant, Yellow-browed Tody-flycatcher, Ornate Flycatcher, Band-tailed, Fiery-capped and Round-tailed Manakins, White-thighed Swallow, Black-faced Dacnis – the list goes on. We will have the possibility of some night birding here and in the past we have seen: Mottled Owl, Black-banded Owl, Tawny-bellied Screech-owl, Great, Long-tailed and Common Potoo. We will be reluctant to leave this very birdy place, but yet more awaits us in the Amazon lowlands. Overnight at Amazonia Lodge.
Early morning birding near Amazonia Lodge in search of species we may have missed. As the day begins to warm, we will head down the Alto Madre de Dios river in our motorized canoes to Bonanza Eco-Lodge. On the river journey, we will have the opportunity to see some of the typical riverside species such as Pied Lapwing, Collared Plover, Fasciated Tiger-heron, Orinoco Goose, Large-billed and Yellow-billed Tern. Fly overs will include many species of macaws and parrots, and this is our opportunity for some bird of prey observations. Enjoy the pleasant river trip as we leave the last foothills and enter the Amazon proper. We plan to arrive at Bonanza Eco-Lodge in the afternoon where accammodations are simple bungalows with hot water. Overnight at Bonanza Eco-Lodge.
Tree full days at this highly bird divers place. This local family run business is a new birding site for Birds of Peru Tours and will give us the opportunity to spend time birding the extensive trail systems which have been designed to visit different forest types. The area around this and the next lodge has the most forest types of anywhere in the Manu area, and the highest bio-diversity – which means the most species of birds. Large stands of bamboo hold many local and much sought after species, and coupled with the extensive Varzea, Terra Firme, and transitional floodplain forest, means a great variety of bird-life and is part of the area. In fact, it is thought to hold more species of birds than anywhere else with 450+. We will spend time at a canopy observation tower accessed by a stairway to watch canopy flocks which include Curl-Crested Aracari, White-Throated Toucan, Chestnut-Eared and Ivory-Billed Aracaris, Channel-Billed Toucan, Plum-Throated Cotinga, Bare-Necked Fruitcrow, Yellow-Tufted Woodpecker, Rufous-Headed Woodpecker, Crimson-Crested Woodpecker, Lemon-Throated Barbet, and Striolated Puffbird. This is another opportunity for some bird of prey observations, and if luck with us, we may see the rare and almost a mythical Rufous-Vented Ground-Cuckoo, and Peruvian Recurvebill. Other wildlife present includes monkeys and a range of other mammals.
This is a new birding place which we are including at our famous Manu trip, and because it has been so little visited before now for this purpose, it means that there are birds everywhere and are somewhat tame because no one bothers them, it also has one of the best tapir licks near the Lodge with 80% guarantee of seeing the large and elusive beast. Overnight at Bonanza Eco-Lodge.
Trip to Manu Wildlife Center.
Three full days based at the Manu Wildlife Center. Situated just upriver from the Blanquillo Macaw Clay Lick there will be the opportunity on one morning to visit the lick and observe the spectacle of hundreds of parrots and macaws at close distance from a blind. Here we will see the beautiful Orange-cheeked Parrot, hundreds of Blue-headed Parrots as well as Mealy and Yellow-crowned Parrots. Smaller visitors include Tui Parakeet, White-eyed Parakeet, Cobalt-winged Parakeet and, Dusky-Billed Parrotlets. The rest of the time will be spent birding the extensive trail systems which have been designed to explore different forest types. We expect this lodge area to hold more species of birds than anywhere else in the world with a bird list already up to 585+. We will spend time at a canopy observation tower accessed by a spiral metal stairway watching canopy flocks which include Lineated Woodcreeper, Sclater’s Antwren, Chestnut-winged Foliage-gleaner, Chestnut-Winged Hookbill, Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak and a multitude of tanagers, dacnis and honeycreepers. Some of the more interesting and unusual species we will be searching for in the bamboo include – Rufous-headed Woodpecker, Manu Antbird (common here), Flammulated Bamboo-tyrant, White-cheeked Tody-flycatcher, Large-headed and Dusky-tailed Flatbills, Peruvian Recurvebill, Dusky-cheeked and Brown-rumped Foliage-gleaners, Ihring’s and Ornate Antwren, White-lined Antbird, Striated Antbird and more. We will certainly listen out for the singing Rufous-fronted Antthrushes we have located on territory here. Some of the scarcer forest species we hope to find that we have seen here previously include: Bartlett’s Tinamou, Razor-billed Currasow, Pale-winged Trumpeter, Sunbittern, Pavonine Quetzal, Purus Jacamar, StriolatedPuffbird, Gray-cheeked Nunlet, Cream-colored Woodpecker, Ocellated Woodcreeper, Colared Puffbird, Ruddy Spinetail, Plain Softail, Striped Woodhaunter, Banded Antbird, Ash-throated Gnateater, White-throated Antbird, Black-spotted Bare-eye, Black-faced Cotinga, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, White-bellied Tody-tyrant, Royal Flycatcher, Musician Wren, Pale-eyed Blackbird, and Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak to name but a few. We will also visit oxbow lakes in the area where we will see lakeside birds including Hoatzin, Sungrebe, Agami Heron, Black-billed Seed-finch, Silvered and Band-tailed Antbirds, Amazonian Streaked Antwren, Rufous-sided Crake, Gray-breasted Crake and we may be lucky and see one of the two Giant Otter families that live in the area. Night birding may produce Long-tailed Potoo, Great Potoo, and Common Potoo, Amazonian Pygmy Owl, Spectacled Owl, Ocellated Poorwill and Silky-tailed Nightjar amongst others. We’ll have the opportunities to visit the large mammal lick in the forest, apart from attracting Tapirs, Peccaries, maybe even a Jaguar, it also attracts Guans, Currasows, Chachalacas as well as Rose-fronted and Rock Parakeets and Dusky-billed Parrotlet. Overnight at Manu Wildlife Centre.
Early start on our comfortable boat and our last look at early morning parrot flocks. Our journey down the Madre de Dios River takes us past pristine forest until the town of Boca Colorado. It will be a great chance to see more riverside birds and raptors on route. Leaving our boat we’ll take one hour ride in local transport to the Inambari River where our private transport will be waiting on the other bank to take us, birding along the way, into the frontier town of Puerto Maldonado where we’ll overnight at a comfortable hotel.
Early morning birding around Puerto Maldonado and the road to Cusco. We should pick up a lot of new species in these few hours including seedeaters, Red-breasted Blackbird and White-tailed Kite. Other birds we’ll be on the lookout for include White-throated Jacamar, Black-banded Crake, Grassland Sparrow, Gray-breasted Crake, Black-faced Tanager, Barred Antshrike, Southern Crested Caracara, Lesser Yellow-Headed Vulture, Small–billed Tinamou, Rusty-margined and Sulphury Flycatchers etc. Point –tailed Palmcreeper is common.
Morning Lan Peru Airbus 319 flight to Lima (or Cusco if joining post tour extensions) and connecting international flights. We’ll organise day use of a hotel in Lima for relaxing before your international flight or overnight if needed.