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
My very first trip to Northern Peru in 2001 started in Chiclayo, and although I only explored as small part of it at that time, I was impressed with the area & the birds. Now I have traveled and visited almost every corner of this part of Peru, learning about the top birding locations and discovering my own to create the best birding rout to share with you. This trip transect from Tarapoto in the Huallaga Valley to Abra Patricia and takes in some of the most restricted birds in Peru. On this trip we will look for the endemic Inca-Finches, the Marvelous Spatuletail, Long-whiskered Owlet, Pale-billed Antpitta, not to mention a host of other birds of North Peru.
|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|
Arrive in Lima and transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Lima.
Morning flight from Lima to the coastal city of Chiclayo. On arrival we’ll head to either Batan Grande or Bosque de Pomac. At these sites are protected dry woodland where we can bird for Rufous Flycatcher (endemic), Tumbes Swallow, Peruvian Plantcutter (endemic), Coastal Miner (endemic), Necklaced Spinetail, Baird’s Flycatcher, Scarlet-backed Woodpecker, Tumbes Tyrant (endemic),Supercilliaried Wren, and othera. Moving on around 10:00 am we’ll pass the interesting Tinajones reservoir to see if any Black-faced Ibis or perhaps the Peruvian-thicknee are in the area, and what other waterfowl and water loving birds are around before continuing on to Chapparri Reserve. This reserve is privately owned by the local community where we will spend the night. In the evening we’ll look for Peruvian Screech Owl behind the small buildings. Overnight at local accommodation.
A full day birding around Chaparri Reserve. We’ll leave early with a boxed breakfast and look for special birds like Henna–hooded Foliage-Gleaner, Rufous-necked Foliage-Gleaner, Ecuadorian Piculet, Ecuadorian Trogon, and other Tumbesian specialties. Returning for lunch we have the afternoon to bird and photograph species that are more easily found in the immediate area such as Elegant Crescentchest. Here you can see Spectacled Bear in captivity and due to their re-introduction project, good chances of seeing them in the wild. The Sechuran Fox can sometimes be seen visiting the reserve’s open-air dining room around lunchtime. Overnight at local accommodation .
Almost every morning several species of hummingbirds gather to bath in a small stream in the reserve. Depending on the weather and season we may see Tumbes Hummingbird, Oasis Hummingbird, Purple-collared Woodstar, Amazilia Hummingbird, Long-billed Starthroat, Short-tailed Woodstar, Peruvian Sheartail and Little Woodstar. Then we can head to a nearby pond where Sulphur-throated Finch comes in large groups out of the desert to drink. Other specialties here include the endemic and highly endangered White-winged Guan. Common to this area are Cinereous Finch (endemic), Tumbes Tyrant (endemic), as well mammals such as White-tailed Deer and Sechuran Fox. We’ll bird the surrounding scrubland looking for Tumbes Sparrow, Scarlet-backed Woodpecker, Gray-breasted Flycatcher, Gray and Gold Warbler, Sooty-capped Flycatcher, Gray and White Tyrannulet, Pacific Elaenia and more. After lunch and as the day warms up we’ll head off to Olmos town for the night with another stop at the Tinajones Reservoir to see what water birds are around, hoping we may see Spotted Rail. Overnight at Olmos.
Leaving the coastal plain behind we’ll head off early for one of the lowest passes in the Andes – Abra Porculla. Making selected stops along the way, we will pay particular attention to known spots along the roadside where we have seen Piura Chat-tyrant (endemic), a very rare and local endemic. Other birds we may see include: Black-cowled Saltator, Andean Tinamou, Elegant Crescentchest, Three-banded Warbler, White-winged Bruch-Finch, Bay crowned Brush-Finch, Chapman’s Antshrike, Rufous-necked Foleage-Gleaner, Henna-hooded Foliage-Gleaner, Ecuadorian Piculet, Yellow-bellied Seedeater, Black and White Seedeater. Dropping over the east side of the pass for lunch, we’ll drive straight on to our hotel in the town of Jaen which is in Maranon valley. Overnight in Jaen.
An early start with breakfast in the field. We’ll drive along a side road to a families privately owned farmland where we have had spectacular success with finding the Marañon Crescentchest (endemic). Here we will see other Marañon endemics including- Buff-bellied Tanager, Chinchipe Spinetail, Marañon Slaty Antshrike, Sooty-crowned Flycatcher, Marañon Spinetail, Marañon Thrush and Yellow-cheeked Becard. The distinct Maranon races of Speckle-breasted Wren and Black-capped Sparrows, are also here, as well as Tataupa Tinamou and, surprisingly the Miltary Macaw. After lunch we’ll head for Pomacochas with stops for Little Inca-Finch (endemic) along the way, then on to an area of rice fields to look for Spotted Rail and Paint-billed Crake. We continue to follow Utcubamba river, keeping an eye out for Fasciated Tiger-heron and Torrent Duck, passing through Pedro Ruiz and onto Abra Patricia for 4 nights. Overnight at Owlet Lodge.
Birding around the Abra Patricia area. Staying at the lodge will give us access to an extensive trail system they have in a great area of cloud forest which is particularly good to look for Antpittas, plus White-throated Screech-Owl and Rufous-banded Owl. This famous research and collection site is home to some of the least known Peruvian birds. Here we can find mixed flocks species with Blue-Browed Tanager, Metallic-Green Tanager and others. Exploring side trails we may see the new Johnson’s Tody-Flycatcher (endemic), Tyrranine Woodcreeper, Spotted and Rusty-winged Barbtails. During the three full days we have here, we’ll bird various altitudinal zones between 1000 and 2200 meters. We have recently located Ash-throated Antwren (endemic), here. Target birds – some very rare – we hope to see include; Cinnamon-breasted Tody-Tyrant, Bar-winged Wood-wren, Royal Sunangel (endemic), Equatorial Graytail, Scaly-naped Parrots, Straw-backed or Green-Throated Tanager, Metallic-green Tanager, Blue-browed Tanager, White-capped Tanager, Wedge-billed Hummingbird, Crimson- mantled Woodpecker, Montane Woodcreeper. If we are lucky, we may hear or see Ochre-fronted Antpitta (endemic), Rusty-tinged Antpitta (endemic). Long-tailed Antbird, Rufous-vented Tapaculo (endemic), Golden-faced Tyranulet, Sulphur-bellied Tyrannulet, Ecuadorian Tyrannulet, Fiery-throated Fruiteater, Scaled Fruiteater, Cock of the Rock, Lanceolated Monklet, Fine-barred Piculet (endemic), Barred Becard , Sharpe’s Wren, Black-crested Warbler, and Bicolored Antvireo. Night birding should be good here for Rufous-banded Owl, Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Rufous-bellied Nighthawk, and Cinnamon Screech Owl. This is also a known location for Long-whiskered Owlet (endemic) and we will certainly be trying for it at least one evening. Overniight at Owlet Lodge .
Early morning birding at Abra Patricia and then to Puente Aguas Verdes. Further down slope from Abra Patricia, near the tiny settlement villa of Afluente, the road passes through beautiful upper reaches of lowland tropical forests where another set of new and exciting birds will await us in excellent roadside habitat. The most spectacular birds are the tiny Speckle-chested Piculet (endemic), and the canopy-dwelling endemic Ash-throated Antwren. If luck is with us we have excellent chances of seeing the flame-colored Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, and the Ecuadorian Piedtail, a lek-forming hummingbird in the southernmost limit of its range. The endemic Huallaga Tanager is very common here, while Yellow-throated and Ashy-throated Bush-Tanagers make their rounds in noisy family parties. We’ll carefully look for mixed species flock containing the beautiful Varicolored Barbet, the noisy Yellow-breasted Antwren, the restless Grey-mantled Wren and the easily overlooked Equatorial Greytail, a warbler-like member. Other birds we may find in this forest patch include Ruddy and Plumbeous Pigeons, White-eyed Parakeet, Red-billed Parrot, Black-mandibled Toucan, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Smoky-brown Woodpecker, Olivaceous Woodcreeaper, Olive-backed Woodcreepers, Ash-browed Spinetail, Montane Foliage-gleaner, Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, Streaked Xenops, Lined Antshrike, Plain Antvireo, Rufous-rumped Antwren, Blackish Antbird, White-crowned Tapaculo, Golden-winged Manakin, Slaty –capped Flycatcher, Ornate Flycatcher, Olive-chested Flycatcher, Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant, Plumbeous- crowned Tyrannulets. Later we shall continue on our journey with a few stops in remnant Mauritia Palm tree forests looking for Point-tailed Palmcreeper. Some night birding may give us Stygian Owl or Band-bellied Owl. Overnight at Wakanki Lodge.
Morning birding around the area where we can see the ever elusive and un-described race of the endemic Misahana Tyrannulet. Also looking for Lesser Elaenia, Stripe-necked Tody-tyrant, Pale-breasted Thrush, Rufous-fronted Thornbird, Cinereous-breasted Spinetail, the recently described Varzea Thrush and more. We plan to go to a small area where hummingbird feeders produce quite a show. The hummer garden is amazing with many species possible here including White-chinned Sapphire, White-necked Jacobin, Grey-breasted Sabrewing, Golden-tailed Sapphire, Black-throated Hermit, Rufous-crested Coquette and many more. In the afternoon we’ll move onto Pomacochas and we’ll concentrate on any species we are missing, if any! Overnight at Pomacochas Lake . One morning we’ll leave early and head to a hill called San Lorenzo, eating a boxed breakfast before we ascend the San Lorenzo trail (San Lorenzo) which is known to hold Pale-billed Antpitta & Rusty-tinged Antpitta as well as Russet-mantled Softtail.
An early morning start, we will prioritise the Marvelous Spatuletail. (Hopefully) once found, we will eat our boxed breakfast and head to the San Lorenzo trail which is known to be inhabited by the Pale-billed Antpitta (endemic), Rusty-tinged Antpitta (endemic), as well as Russet-mantled Softtail (endemic), Patches of good cloud forest remain giving us the opportunity to see species like: Golden-headed Quetzal, Gray-breasted Mountain-toucan, Speckled Hummingbird, Mountain Velvetbreast, Colared Inca, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Versicolored Barbet, Strong-billed Woodcreeper, White-tailed and White-banded Tyranulets, Inca Flycatcher (endemic), Chestnut-crested Cotinga, White-capped Tanager, White-collared Jay, Andean Solitaire, Silver-backed Tanagers plus many more. Here in a forest of chusquea bamboo we have seen the newly described Johnson’s Tody-Flycatcher. Later we’ll visit the Huembo Centre for another chance to see the Marvelous Spatuletail (endemic), which comes to the feeders along with Little Woodstar, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Andean Emerald, Bronzy Inca and White-bellied Woodstar amongst others. In the afternoon we’ll drive to our next hotel located alongside the Utcubamba River. Night birding here may reward us with the rare Buff-fronted Owl and Koepcke’s Screech Owl (endemic). Overight near Chachapaoyas.
Today we continue to Leymeybamba. We’ll have a hotel breakfast and some birding in the hotel gardens before making a couple of planned stops along the way, especially for the rare and range restricted Buff-bellied Tanager. On route we have our first chance at seeing the Maranon Thrush. Others species include Lafraneye’s Piculet, Torrent Duck and White-capped Dipper. We plan to be in the pretty Andean town of Leymeybamba before dusk where will want to visit the hummingbird feeders near the Leymeybamba Museum. Overnight at Leymeybamba.
Early start to visit Abra Barro Negro. We’ll slowly bird the farmlands and remnant patches of cloud forest along the way and make some specific stops for certain species, such as Coppery Metaltail (endemic) and Russet-mantled Softail (endemic). Other birds here include White-chinned Thistletail, Yellow-scarfed Tanager (endemic) the obscura race of Rufous Antpitta, Blackish Tapaculo, Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan, Shining Sunbeam, Collared Inca, Mountain Cacique, Purple-backed Thronbill, White-collared Jay, Rainbow Starfrontlet, and Chestnut-crowned Antpitta. After a picnic lunch we may stay out late for Swallow-tailed Nightjar, Yungas Pygmy Owl and Rufous-banded Owl. Returning to overnight in Leymeybamba.
In the morning we may spend some time in a nearby canyon taking a boxed breakfast before driving over the Abra Barro Negro Pass and dropping once again into the spectacular Maranon valley. We should see the pretty Buff-bridled Inca-finch (endemic) in the open forest and a healthy population of Maranon Thrush. Other birds to look out today include Violet-throated Startfrontlet, Puna Hawk, Andean Lapwing, Andean Flicker, Great Sapphirewing , Baron’s Spinetail, Rufous-capped Antshrike, Yellow-tailed Oriole, and Peruvian Pigeons (endemic), found in large groups in the evening. In the early evening we’ll arrive at Celendin. Overnight at Celendin.
Today we’ll spend the whole day birding the west side of the Maranon valley. Initially birding the riverine and agricultural vegetation, we should see Peruvian Pigeon (endemic). In the woodland there should be Buff-bridled Inca-finch (endemic) and the very endangered and habitat restricted Yellow-faced Parrotlet (endemic). We’ll slowly bird up the side of the vally to Limon Town, where Chestnut-backed Thornbird (endemic) and Gray-winged Inca-finch (endemic) are our target species. Buff-bellied Tanager is here too. The afternoon we’ll devote to searching for the rare Jelski’s Chat-tyrant, and the more common Andean species. In the afternoon we’ll return to Celendin, birding along the way Overnight at Celendin.
Early morning birding in humid forest and Polylepis scrub. On this road we’ll make planned stops for some Andean species we may not have seen – Peruvian Sierra-finch, Shining Sunbeam and also stop on the high puna grasslands for Cinclodes, Canastero’s, Pipits, Ground-tyrants and Sierra-finches. Also here is Rainbow Starfronlet, Black-crested Warbler, Maranon Tit-tyrant, and Many-striped Canastero. We’ll make a special effort for the Cajamarcae race of the Rufous Antpitta. In the Polylepis we’ll search for Black Metaltail (endemic), Jelski’s Chat-tyrant, Baron’s Spinetail, Striated Eartcreeper (endemic), and Rusty-crowned Tit-Spinetail (endemic). This stretch of road is also one of the best places to see the very rare White-tailed Shrike-tyrant. In the afternoon we’ll go to a special area for the endemic Gray-bellied Comet. We’ll spend the afternoon looking for this rare endemic and others. Cajamarca a beautiful colonial city in a dry intermontane valley. It was here that Pizarro ambushed and captured Atahualpa, the last Inca emperor, and we will stay for two nights in a hotel near the beautiful and world famous Plaza de Armas. Overnight at our hotel in Cajamarca.
Early morning excursion to San Marco for the endemic and range restricted Great Spinetail, Followed by species like Buff-bridled Inca-Finch (endemic), White-winged Black Tyrant, Lesser Goldfinch and Fasciated Wren. Other birds we may see include the endemic Plain-tailed Warbling Finch, Rufous-chested Tanager and Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant. After seeing these birds we’ll return to Cajamarca and if time permits do some more birding around Cajamarca. Overnight in Cajamarca.
Early start today we’ll leave the Andes and head down to the coast but not before making a detour via Sunchubamba (aka Abra Gabilan) to look for Russet-bellied Spinetail (endemic) and Unicolored Tapaculo (endemic), if we are lucky. Also here are the Piura Chat-tyrant (endemic), Black-necked Woodpecker (endemic), and an new location to see the Rufous-backed Inca-Finch (endemic), Other stops may produce Bay-crowned Brush-Finch and Great Inca-Finch (endemic), Overnight in Chiclayo.
Relaxed start today – we’ll head out after breakfast to the coast and the wetlands of Eten where Peruvian Tern is always possible, along with Gull-billed Tern, and other marshland and seabird species. After lunch in a traditional restaurant we’ll head for the airport for the afternoon flight to Lima arriving around 4 pm for connecting international flights.