Birding at Manu National Park Expedition 14D / 13N
Manu National Park is one of the most biodiverse natural parks in South America, UNESCO World Heritage Site, a biosphere area, make many nature lovers, birders and photographers visit and return whenever they have time. This expedition will take us to the depths of the Park where we will explore each accessible place, starting up in the elfin forest, the cloud forest and finally the rainforest.
Day 1. Cusco – Wayquecha Biological station
Departure from Cusco early in the morning in a private transport to the town of Paucartambo. On the way we can see Puna ibis, Andean flicker, Hooded siskin, among others.
Around noon we arrive at Acjanaco (3520masl – 11548ft.) from which we start descending towards the biological station of Wayquecha. Making stops on the route, we will observe species such as hummingbirds, mountain toucans, mountain tanagers and some endemic species. Arriving at the lodge we have more possibilities to see other species typical of the area in the garden and be able to enjoy more of their show. We spend the night in the biological station of Wayquecha.
Day 2. Wayquecha Biological station – Cock of the Rock Lodge
Today we will continue our expedition, exploring the well-made trails, where we can see colorful tanagers, Pygmy owl, Finches, among others. After lunch, we drive down to San Pedro area, making stops on the way, and be able to observe Golden-headed Quetzal, Scaled Metaltail, White-bellied Woodstar, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Barred Fruiteater, White-throated Tyrannulet, and maybe Woolly Monkeys. Overnight at Cock of the rock Lodge.
Day 3 and 4. Cock of the rock Lodge
There, you will enjoy mid-altitude mountain species such as Blue-banded Toucanet, Olive-backed Woodcreeper, Montane Woodcreeper, Montane Foliage-gleaner, Crested Quetzal, Golden-headed Quetzal, Amazonian Umbrellabird, Variable Antshrike, Paradise Tanager, Golden Tanager, Dusky-green Oropendola, and Versicolored Barbet. In this area you can also see two species of primates and other mammals such as squirrels and Tayra. The gardens of the Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge are the ideal place to see and photograph a variety of hummingbirds as Green-fronted Lancebill, Wedge-Billed Hummingbird, Violet-Fronted Brilliant, Booted Racket-tail and Wire-Crested Thorntail, among others.
At dawn, you will center your attention on looking for Antbirds, Antshrikes and Antpittas on the lodge’s trail. You will then go back to the lodge for well-deserved breakfast before spending the rest of the morning in the garden (The order of those activities can be changed depending on the weather).
The afternoon of the first day will be dedicated to visit the lek of the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock and try to see the spectacular males during their courtship dance. And on the second day, look for birds, especially tanagers along the road or around the garden.
Overnight and meals at the Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge.
Day 5. Cock of the Rock Lodge – Amazonia Lodge
Today we will begin the descent towards the transitional forest, place of mystery and abundance of wildlife. As soon as we descend, we will see species such as Swallow Tanager, Blue-crowned Trogon, Bat Falcon, Speckled Chachalaca, Solitary Eagle, among other species that are specialists in secondary and transitional forest.
At noon, we arrive at Atalaya village and take our boat that will take us to the lodge for 10min. After lunch, we will take advantage of the daylight to observe and photograph birds and mammals in the garden and surroundings. We spend the night in the Amazonia lodge.
Day 6. Amazonia Lodge
The land of this lodge includes different habitats, which brings us the opportunity of spot birds such as Great Antshrike, Royal Flycatcher, Chestnut-eared Aracary, Spangled Cotinga, Ringed Woodpecker, Great Potoo, Amazon Kingfisher, Green Kingfisher and many more. In addition, the lodge has a large garden where you can find the Golden-tailed Sapphire, Blue-tailed Emerald, Rufous-Crested Coquette, Green Hermit and colorful tanagers. You can also go for a night walk in search of the Great Potoo, Spectacled Owl, and Common Pauraque.
Day 7. Amazonia Lodge – Pantiacolla Lodge
This morning we will visit the small lake, Cocha Machuwasi, formed by an abandoned meander, which is now accessible by a path with birds like the Manu Antbird, Buckley’s Forest-falcon, Wattled Guan, Pheasant Cuckoo, Koepcke’s Hermit, Ferruginous Pygmy-owl and among others.
Once we get to the lake, we embark on a pole driven raft from which you can look closely at the strange Hoatzin, akin to the ancient bird Archaeopteryx. This species makes a digestion similar to ruminants, flies only short stretches and their chicks have claws on the wings used to climb the branches. Other species typical of this habitat: Striated Heron, Cocoi Heron, Rufescent-tiger Heron, Sungrebe, Red-capped Cardinal, Horned Screamer, Watled Jacana and many more.
After our picnic lunch (lunch box), we will descend the snake-like river to Pantiacolla Lodge. Along this river path you can observe Collared Plover, Fasciated Tiger-heron, Military Macaw, Large-billed Tern and Yellow-billed Tern, among others. Arriving at Pantiacolla Lodge, we may still have time for some walk in the forest.
Day 8. Pantiacolla Lodge
Along these two days, you will walk along different trails around Pantiacolla Lodge, which offers ten different trails for bird watching. We will not establish a set order for explore them. On the paths and garden, we can see birds such as Red-throated Caracara, Spix´s Guan, Blue-throated Piping-guan, Sunbittern, Dark-billed Cuckoo, Grey-breasted Sabrewing, Festive Coquette, Great Jacamar, Chestnut-capped Puffbird, Plum-throated Cotinga, Bamboo Antshrike, Green Honeycreeper, Great Tinamou, Golden-collared Toucanet, Cream-coloured Woodpecker, Round-tailed Manakin and many others. You will also go for a night walk.
Day 9. Pantiacolla Lodge – Manu Wildlife Center
After the last walk through one of the trails and breakfast, we will start the journey by boat towards Manu Wildlife Center, a Lodge settled in a private land. On the way, we will make many stops needed to observe birds such as the Black Skimmer, Sand-coloured Nighthawk, Great Potoo and many more. We arrive at the lodge in the afternoon, get settled and explore some path, birding until dusk.
Day 10. Manu Wildlife Center – Cocha Blanco
We will start our day on the river, heading to the Cocha Blanco (another meander) and then walk for about 15min along the main trail. Once there, we take the catamaran and explore it. And that will be worth it, because we can spot Least Grebe, Hoatzin, Green Ibis, Green-and-rufous Kingfisher, Horned Screamer, Sungrebe, Agami Heron, Black-billed Seed-finch, Silvered Antbird, Band-tailed Antbirds, Amazonian Streaked-antwren, Rufous-sided Crake, Gray-breasted Crake and more. Also, there’s a family of giant otters that can be seen sometimes. Back to the Lodge for lunch.
By the afternoon we explore around the garden and the main bridge.
Day 11. Manu Wildlife Center – Macaw Claylick – Camungo lake
Early departure by boat for the collpa (salty-clay lick) in order to find macaws, parrots and parakeets eating the mud. The activity of these birds can last between two and four hours. The first ones are parrots, then parakeets, and finally the macaws come down, making sure the place is safe, because predators might be prowling around.
After the delicious breakfast, we walk back to the river and take our boat for cossing the main river. We visit the Camungo oxbow lake. The species which can be found in this other lake are similar but, unexpectedly, some are more prevalent here than there and vice versa, thereby, we will have one more opportunity to see them. As in the Cocha Blanco, we will travel this lagoon on rowboat after a short walk along the path that connects the river. You’ll go back to Manu Wildlife Center for lunch and spend the afternoon touring the trails in search of its birds.
Day 12. Manu Wildlife Center – Mammals clay lick
Today, we will dedicate this day entirely by walking around the Manu Wildlife Center and entering to its different habitats: first in the morning, we will go the mammal cay lick where is common to see the Rose-fronted Parakeet, Rock Parakeet, among other birds that we might see them along the way. We will also explore the transitional forest, bamboo masses and primary – secondary forest, plus the 30 meters high tower, which is perfect for spotting some birds of prey mainly.
Many other species are best found on the trails and gardens; Variegated Tinamou, White-chinned Sapphire, reddish hermit, Plain-throated Antwren, Rufous-capped Antthrush and Black-tailed Tityra, to name just a few.
Day 13. Manu Wildlife Center – Manu Learning Center
After breakfast, we will take our boat back to the beginning of our expedition. We visit another lodge with interesting garden and forest, the Manu Learning Center. We get there making stops in interesting places or wherever we find concentrations of birds. It’s another good opportunity to see those species which escaped you coming down the river; for example; Orinoco Goose, Jabiru, Greater Yellow-headed Vultur and Bare-necked Fruitcrow. We arrive in the afternoon, still in time to walk through one of its trails and even perform a second scan by night.
Day 14. Manu Learning Center – Cusco
After our last breakfast, we will have the last chance to see the Rufous-crested Coquete flying around the garden. Traveling by boat, we reach Atalaya village, where our private car will be waiting for us. We drive back to Cusco making some stops, for watching or photographing birds.
- All the transportation from/to Cusco
- Experienced Bilingual birder/Guide
- Accommodation (in lodges)
- Duffle bag
- All food included (except the first breakfast and last dinner)
- Extra drinks (beer, pisco sour, etc.)
- Travel Insurance
- Tips for the staff (optional)
- Take extra money with you
- Good Binoculars
- Eco-friendly clothes