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Peru has the second highest country bird list on the planet. With an incredible bird species list of 1,890 species and an equally amazing 113 country endemics, Peru is, quite simply, a must-visit birding destination. Our 16-day Expedition through Southern Peru will take you to explore some of the classic highlights of this incredible country. Explore some of the country’s classic, famous birding sites of the southern part of the country: Machu Picchu, the Manu Road and the Macaw Clay Lick. The magnificent Andean scenery and archeological sites provide a grand backdrop to the birding.
Arrive in Lima, Peru’s largest city, founded in the 1500s by Francisco Pizarro. We know you’ll most likely be a little tired after your long flight, so we’ll save you the stress of trying to navigate and bring you straight to your hotel adjacent to the airport where you can shake off that icky flight feeling with a shower and a sleep. If you arrive on an early flight you might be able to arrange an early check-in at the hotel, or we can organize an optional birding morning near the city. This evening, join your Travel Director and fellow travelers for a welcome dinner.
Reach the Amazon town of Puerto Maldonado taking an early flight. Explore the Cachuela Road near town for our first set of birds. The habitat consists of agricultural pastures with tropical secondary growth, which is quite good for finding specials like the localized White-throated Jacamar, and the Brazilian Teal. Other birds include Rusty-margined Flycatcher, Spotted Tody-Flycatcher, Cobalt-winged Parakeet, Blue-headed Parrot, Bare-necked Fruitcrow, Green Ibis, Roadside Hawk, Red-breasted Blackbird, White-tailed Kite, Chestnut-bellied Seedeater, Purus Jacamar, Great Antshrike and Barred Antshrike.
Start early today and take our 45-minute-long boat trip along the river to the Sandoval Lake, a huge oxbow lake located within the Tambopata Reserve. The trail leading to the lake is almost three kilometers long. Keep a look out for species such as Nunbirds, Woodpeckers, Parrots, Antshrikes, Woodcreepers, Tinamous, Trogons and Motmots. Ride across the lake and see the gorgeous Macaws, the Green Ibis, Wood Rail, Jacamar, Sungrebe, Sunbittern, Point-tailed Palmcreeper, Horned Screamer, Limpkin, Herons, Sunbittern, Anis, Tanagers, Toucans, Caracaras, Kites, Kingfishers, Gilded Barbet, and with luck the elusive Agami Heron. We shall pay special attention to Red-bellied Macaws, which roost in the Mauritian Palm trees. In the afternoon, head back to the city.
Spend the next three days exploring the forest nearby the Chuncho Lodge located along the Tambopata River. The lodge is strategically located near the famous Chuncho Macaw Clay Lick where (weather permitting) we can witness the daily ritual of several species of parrots and macaws coming to ingest the clay from which they obtain nutritional supplements and antioxidants to eliminate potential toxins from their usual diet. The Chuncho Macaw Clay Lick provides us with chances of seeing Macaws, Parrots, Parakeets and Parrotlets.
The river trips from the lodge to the clay lick can be delightful with some of the following fantastic species likely: Herons, Swallows, Woodpeckers, Hawks, Puffbirds, Sunbittern, and perhaps even our first encounters with Monkeys and Capybaras. If we are lucky, we may see the scarce Orinoco Goose; this is one of the best places to see this species in Peru.
The forest interior holds skulking species such as Antbirds, Tinamous, Tanagers and Wrens. Other canopy and sub-canopy forest species that we might see include Barbets, Aracaris, Manakins, Screaming Piha and Crimson-crested Woodpecker. With luck, we might also find the elusive Razor-billed Curassow, Pavonine Quetzal and Pale-winged Trumpeter. At night search for the Crested Owl, Spectacled Owl and Tawny-bellied Screech Owl.
Travel back to Puerto Maldonado and continue to Cusco, a city of astonishing charm and beauty that was once the capital of the Inca Society. Drive through the scenic mountains to the Sacred Valley of the Incas and settle into your hotel. The gardens of the hotel are very good for hummingbirds such as the endemic Bearded Mountaineer, spectacular Black-tailed and Green-tailed Trainbearers, White-bellied Hummingbird, Sparkling Violetear and a number of other species including Greenish Yellow Finch and Golden-billed Saltator.
Make your way to Machu Picchu, taking the scenic train ride to Aguas Calientes and spot Torrent Ducks on the rapids of the Urubamba River. Delve into the mysteries of this once-great civilization, admiring the 15th century stone ruins of temples, palaces and terraces whose construction defy imagination. The lush forest around Machu Picchu holds great species such as Andean Motmot, Collared Inca, Slate-throated Whitestart, Green Hermit, Plum-crowned Parrot, Torrent Duck, Torrent Tyrannulet, Black Phoebe, Silver-backed Tanager, Mottle-cheeked Tyrannulet and the Peruvian endemic Inca Wren.
Spend a full morning along the Urubamba River, looking for the endemic and most-wanted Masked Fruiteater as well as the endemic Green-and-white Hummingbird. Look out for mixed-species flocks which often have Tyrannulets, Tanagers, Piculets, Spinetails, Parakeets, Flycatchers, Woodpeckers and Wood Wrens. After lunch, board the train back to the Sacred Valley. Continue to Cusco, a city of astonishing charm and beauty that was once the capital of the Inca Society.
Set out to explore the famed road that connects the Andes of Cusco with the Amazon rainforest, the Manu Road. Drive through different type of habitats like dry high altitude Andean mountains, elfin forest, cloud forest, and moist montane forest. Our first stop will be at the Huacarpay Lake, and look for several species of Andean waterfowl, like Teals, Pintails, and Ducks. Other birds include Plumbeous Rail, Andean Coot, Yellow-winged Blackbird, Many-colored Rush Tyrant, Streak-fronted Thornbird, Wren-like Rushbird, the Giant Hummingbird, (largest hummer in the world), as well as for the endemic Rusty-fronted Canastero. Drive up the mountains to 3,800 m (12,500 ft), where we will have chances of seeing Slender-billed Miner, Mountain Caracara, Andean Flicker, Brown-bellied Swallow, Puna Thistletail, Tyrants, Hummingbirds, along with two fine Peruvian endemics, Creamy-crested Spinetail and Chestnut-breasted Mountain Finch. In the evening we will look for Swallow-tailed Nightjar, which is often seen along the road.
Explore the area around the lodge including the Canopy Walkway and the famous Pillahuata area looking for two important Peruvian endemics, Red-and-white Antpitta and Marcapata Spinetail, as well as other great birds such as Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan, Band-tailed Fruiteater, Masked Trogon, Southern Mountain Cacique, Red-crested Cotinga, Black-throated Tody-Tyrant, Trilling Tapaculo, Barred Fruiteater, Flowerpiercers and Woodcreepers. Search through mixed-species feeding flocks where we may pick out a number of tanager species. After a good morning birding session, start our slow drive through the magical humid montane forest including the Rocotal area. Near the Union bridge, check the fast-flowing waters of the Kosñipata River, looking for Torrent Duck and White-capped Dipper and with luck Lyre-tailed Nightjar at its daytime roost. Arrive at the Cock of the Rock Lodge which will be our base for the next three days.
We have three full days to explore the area around the Cock of the Rock Lodge, looking for amazing flocks of tanagers, Dacnis, Toucanet, Antshrike, Woodcreepers, Barbets, Flycatchers, Antbirds, Pigeons, Oropendolas, Manakins, and the famous Andean Cock of the Rock. At night search for the Rufescent Screech Owl and with luck the scarce Band-bellied Owl.
Traverse the lower altitude parts of the Road the next day, where we you can easily find the bamboo specialties, such as, Antshrike, Scythebill, Antwrens, Antbirds, Warblers, Tanagers, the Peruvian endemic Black-backed Tody-Flycatcher, and much more. Hummingbird feeders at the Lodge, provide great views of Violet-fronted Brilliant, Wire-crested Thorntail, Rufous-booted Racket-tail, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Speckled Hummingbird, Sparkling Violetear, and Many-spotted Hummingbird. The secretive Brown Tinamou sometimes visits the Lodge´s garden, also a good place to try for the elusive endemic Cerulean-capped Manakin and Yungas Manakin. The feeders in the garden often attract other wildlife such as Tayra, Bolivian Squirrel and Large-headed Capuchin. The viewpoint known locally as the “Mirador” a few kilometers above the lodge, is a good vantage point to look for Black-and-chestnut Eagle and Solitary Eagle, truly spectacular raptors. Other mixed flocks often contain Warblers, Wrens, Flycatchers, Conebills and with luck Yellow-rumped Antwren.
Drive back to Cusco, making selective stops along the road while looking for species we may have missed on previous days. This evening we join our travel companions and toast our Southern Peru Birding Expedition at a farewell dinner.
After breakfast, transfer to the Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport and connect with your flight home or consider extending your holiday.
In keeping with the nature of an expedition, we keep our schedule flexible to take advantage of the unexpected, adapting our course to the conditions and opportunities that arise. Your expedition experience can be tailored to the activity level you choose, whether it’s light or moderate or a little of both. Travelers should be in good health, comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time, and able to get in and out of expedition landing craft. Daily activities may include easy hikes, walking tours, and visits to cultural or historic sites, with options most days for more physical activities such as longer hikes. All departures are family friendly.
A Natventure Birdwatcher expert will accompany this Expedition, and local guides join us along the way.
We have arranged all of your transportation needs during your stay in Peru as specified in your Expedition itinerary. When spending time on your own, you may choose to visit a site that requires transportation. If this is the case, your private guide will happily recommend convenient transportation options.
MY OWN ROOM
During your expedition, sometimes it´s just more convenient and comfortable to have your own room. That´s why we offer the «My own room» option – a single room all to yourself.
My own room option: from $ 8,350
Our Birding Expeditions are premium, fully planned itineraries that provide an enriching, in-depth look at the avifauna, and natural heritage of a destination. These Expeditions are designed to fit into your schedule. You choose your desired departure date, and we’ll make all the arrangements.