Northern Peru Specials – Owlet, Barbet, White-Masked Antbird, Spatuletail & More 15 Days

Northern Peru Specials – Owlet, Barbet, White-Masked Antbird, Spatuletail & More 15 Days

Bird Tours of Northern Peru is the most Suggested Trip for Bird Photographers, featuring the Birds of Peru book cover species

My very first trip to Northern Peru in 2001 started in Chiclayo, and although I only explored a small part of it at that time. I was impressed with the area & the birds of Northern Peru. 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 route to share with you. This trip transects from Tarapoto in the Huallaga Valley to Abra Patricia and takes in some of the most enigmatic birds in Peru. On this Bird Tours Northern Peru, we will look for the endemic Scarlet-banded Barbet (showcased on the cover of the Birds of Peru guide), Marvelous Spatuletail, Long-whiskered Owlet, Pale-billed Antpitta, and White-masked Antbird, not to mention a host of other birds of north Peru.

USD $ 4800 /per person for group of 2 people at least
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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

Northern Peru Specials – Owlet, Barbet, White-Masked Antbird, Spatuletail & More 15 Days Summary Itinerary Day 1: LIMA TO TARAPOTO We will take a flight from Lima to Tarapoto arriving around noon. We shall head out, taking a boxed lunch or picnic, for an afternoon of birding in an area of woodland, near to Tarapoto, home to the rare and isolated Huallagae race, of Northern Slaty Antshrike. This area also holds the Bluish-fronted Jacamar (gaudy) and the flycatcher-like Sulphur-bellied Tyrant-Manakin, while other interesting birds we may find here include: Speckled Chachalaca, Blue Ground-Dove, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Blue-crowned Trogon, Blue-crowned Motmot, Black-fronted Nunbird, Planalto Hermit, Chestnut-eared and Lettered Aracaris, Lafresnaye’s Piculet, Plain-crowned and Chestnut-throated Spinetail’s, Stripe-chested Antwren, White-browed Antbird, White-bellied Pygmy-Tyrant, Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant, Boat-billed and Piratic Flycatchers, Buff-breasted Wren, Varzea Thrush, Ashy- headed Greenlet, Tropical Gnatcatcher and Red-eyed Vireo Overnight at a nice local hotel . L & D


Today we head off to an isolated outlying ridge where the birding explorer Todd Mark discovered an accessible site for the almost legendary Scarlet-banded Barbet. Here we will have time to search for the Barbet and do some afternoon birding around the area. We will settle into a local family run hotel with simple but comfortable rooms, and if you are still up for it we can look for the Vermiculated Screech Owl in the evening.


A full day in the Barbet area. Although the Scarlet-banded Barbet and Cordillera Azul Antbird, are our main targets we will also be looking for other interesting birds. Some great birds that have been seen here include: the Foothill race of the Long-tailed Woodcreeper; Scaled-, Fiery-throated- and Scarlet-breasted Fruiteaters; Grey-tailed Piha; Rose-fronted Parakeet, Foothill and Slaty Antwren, Foothill Schiffornis, Short-tailed Antthrush, Ash-browed and Chestnut-throated Spinetails, Yellow-throated Spadebill and a colorful variety of tanagers. Also seen here is the Roraiman Flycatcher and Jet-, Yungas- and Blue-rumped Manakin. Overnight at our local hotel.


Early morning birding as our staff load our gear for departure so we can head straight off on the road to Tarapoto with some stops along the way. In Tarapoto we will stay at the same comfortable hotel. Overnight at Tarapoto.


This is a full day birding transfer to Yurimaguas along a paved road. In the morning we’ll leave early to visit an area known as “Cordillera Escalera” on the way to Yurimaguas. Here we have a chance to see Koepckeʼs Hermit, Rose-fronted Parakeet, Golden-collared Toucanet, Dusky-chested Flycatcher, Blackish Pewee, and Dotted Tanager among many others. The Hummingbird feeders here are the main reason we will visit this site. This is one of the few localities in Peru where Plumbeous Euphonia can be found. Exploring on the way we’ll arrive at our resort hotel for the night, enjoy a cold beer and some time to relax. Overnight in Yurimaguas.


Our small plane flight to San Lorenzo on the Maranon River leaves at some point in the morning – what time exactly – no one ever knows! However, on arrival we’ll immediately head out by local transport to a patch of forest where a population of the enigmatic White-masked Antbird was found in 2013. Previously, to see this bird was its own expedition with hit and miss chances along the Morona River, so this is really the first time this “lost” bird is available. The majority of the day will be spent birding the highly diverse forest. Overnight at a rustic but clean hotel with en-suite bathrooms.


Full day in the area with priority being given to the Antbird. Of course we’ll see much more as we look for it. This species is an obligate follower of army ants and so we’ll try and find a swarm where it will be for sure be in attendance. However, if we are not successful it will also come in response to playback if in the mood. Also here are Green-tailed Goldenthroat, Black-necked Red Cotinga, Black Bushbird, Three-striped Flycatcher, Lunulated Antbird, Short-billed Leaftosser and a host of others. Overnight at our rustic hotel.


Return flight to Yurimaguas. Then we head straight off on the road to Tarapoto and Moyobamba with some birding along the way and a stop at an Oilbird gorge where the birds are easily seen on their roosting ledges. Overnight at Wakanqui Lodge.


We may want to do some pre-dawn owling where we have regularly seen Rufous, Blackish and Spot-winged Nightjars, Black –banded and Tropical Screech Owls. Here we can see the endemic Mishana Tyrannulet, Lesser Elaenia, Stripe-necked Tody-Tyrant, Pale-breasted Spinetail, and surprisingly the newly described Varzea Thrush is here too! Rufous-fronted Thornbird, Stripe-necked Tody-Tyrant and more. The valley near the lodge has some interesting species but we will have seen many of them at the Barbet Camp so our main afternoon birding here will be the Hummingbird feeders, which produce quite a show. The hummer garden is amazing: with many species possible, including White-chinned Sapphire, White-necked Jacobin, Grey-breasted Sabrewing, Golden-tailed Sapphire, Black-throated Hermit, Rufous-crested Coquette and much much more. We may search for the endemic Ash-throated Antwren and sometimes we can find Stygian Owl. Overnight at Wanquanki Lodge.


We’ll bird our way up to Abra Patricia today. Our first stop should produce Point-tailed Palmcreeper, maybe Pale-eyed Blackbird, Black-billed seed-Finch and Cinereous-breasted Spinetail. Then we’ll move onto the lower elevations of Abra Patricia and eventually arrive at the very birdy Owlet Lodge.


Four full days at 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 etc. This famous research and collection site is home to some of the least known Peruvian birds. We’ll base ourselves at the comfortable Owlet Lodge, which has White-throated Screech Owl and Rufous-banded Owl in the surrounding area. We may find mixed flock species with Blue-browed, Metallic-green and other tanagers.

Looking on side trails we may get to see the new Lulu’s Tody-tyrant, Tyrranine Woodcreeper, and Spotted and Rusty-winged Barbtails. During the four full days we have here, we’ll bird various altitudinal zones between 1000 and 2200 meters. We have encountered Ash-throated Antwren here in the past. Target birds – some very rare -we hope to see include; Cinnamon-breasted Tody-Tyrant, Bar-winged Wood-wren (endemic), Royal Sunangel (endemic), Equatorial Graytail, White-capped and Scaly-naped Parrots, Straw-backed, Metallic-green and Blue-browed Tanagers, White-capped Tanager, Wedge-billed Hummingbird, Crimson- mantled Woodpecker, and Montane Woodcreeper. We may hear or see if we are lucky Ochre-fronted (endemic) or Rusty-tinged Antpittas (endemic). Streak-headed Antbird, Rufous-vented Tapaculo (endemic), Golden-faced Tyrannulet, Sulphur-bellied Tyrannulet, Ecuadorian Tyrannulet, Fiery-throated and Scaled Fruiteaters, Cock of the Rock, Lanceolated Monklet., Fine-barred Piculet (endemic), Barred Becard, Sharpe’s Wren, Black-crested Warbler, and Bicolored Antvireo. Night birding will be focused on finding Long-whiskered Owlet and we will certainly be trying for this at least one or two nights, but we’ll not ignore Cinnamon and White-throated Screech-Owl. Further down slope from Abra Patricia, near the tiny settlement 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 noteworthy specialties are the tiny Speckle-chested Piculet and the canopy-dwelling Ash-throated Antwren. Until recently the latter was only known from the outlying mountain ridge above Jesus del Monte (further east), but in 1999 this highly localized species was also found here by a local guide at Afluente. We have excellent chances of seeing the flame-colored Andean Cock-of-the-Rock shooting across the road, and the Ecuadorian Piedtail, a lek-forming hummingbird here reaching the southernmost limit of its range. The endemic Huallaga Tanager is fairly common here and Yellow-throated and Ashy-throated Bush-Tanagers make their rounds in noisy family groups. We shall carefully look for mixed species flock parties hopefully containing the beautiful Versicoloured Barbet, the noisy Yellow-breasted Antwren, the very active Grey-mantled Wren and the easily overlooked Equatorial Greytail, a Warbler-like member of the Furnariidae family here at the southern extremity of its range. Other birds we may find in this habitat include Ruddy and Plumbeous Pigeons, White-eyed Parakeet, Red-billed Parrot, Yellow-throated Toucan, Golden-olive, Smoky-brown Woodpecker, Olivaceous and Olive-backed Woodcreepers, Ash-browed Spinetail, Montane and Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaners, Streaked Xenops, Lined Antshrike, Plain Antvireo, Rufous rumped Antwren, Blackish Antbird, ‘Northern’ White-crowned Tapaculo (though the taxonomic position of this variation is still to be determined), Golden-winged Manakin, Slaty -capped, Ornate and Olive-chested Flycatchers, Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant, Plumbeous- crowned and Ecuadorian Tyrannulets. 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. Here patches of good cloud forest still remain which give us the chance to see species such as: Gray-breasted Mountain-toucan, White-collared Jay, Speckled Hummingbird, Mountain Velvetbreast, Colared Inca, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Golden-headed Quetzal, Versicolored Barbet, Strong-billed Woodcreeper, White-tailed and White-banded Tyranulets, Inca Flycatcher (endemic), Chestnut-crested Cotinga, White-capped Tanager, Andean Solitaire, Silver-backed Tanager and more. We have also seen here Johnsons Tody-tyrant in the chusquea bamboo. Later we’ll visit the Huembo Marvelous Spatuletail reserve where we’ll give priority to Marvelous Spatuletail which comes to the feeders along with Little Woodstar, Andean Emerald, Bronzy Inca and White-bellied Woodstar amongst others.

Day 15:

Morning transport to Tarapoto airport and the end of the tour. Depending on flights there may be opportunities for some birding on route or near Tarapoto before drop off for afternoon/evening flights to Lima and homeward connections.

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