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The Manu Road and Lowlands is perhaps the birding adventure of South America, and the Road is one of the obligatory birding destinations of the world. Our 20-day Birding Expedition takes you along this remote road that allow us to see different habitats and different altitudinal ranges, such as arid mountains and plateaus, paramo and elfin forest. Humid cloud forest mountains, and the Amazon basin of the Madre de Dios River, one of the most important Amazon River tributaries. Each habitat exhibits a unique ecosystem and avifauna with some of the most representative birds of this part of the world, such as Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Andean Condor, Torrent Duck, and a lot of hummingbirds, including the endemic Bearded Mountaineer, Giant Hummingbird, and the handsome Rufous-booted Racket-tail.
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.
Take an early flight to Cusco and start the birding day with exploring some wetlands and marshes near the city. Search for Puna Teal, Yellow-billed Pintail, Yellow-billed Teal, Andean Coot, Andean Lapwing, Plumbeous Rail, Cinnamon Teal, Andean Duck, Yellow-winged Blackbird, Andean Negrito, and other Andean wetland specialties. Also encounter the first hummingbirds of the Expedition, including Giant Hummingbird, Sparkling Violetear, Green-tailed Trainbearer, and the endemic Bearded Mountaineer. Have an easy afternoon in Cusco in order to rest well and acclimatize before starting our next day’s adventure.
Today we will leave Cusco to start exploring the famous Manu Road, one of the greatest bird rich hotspots in South America. We will start looking for the endemic Chestnut-breasted Mountain Finch and the endemic Creamy-crested Spinetail. Other targets include Band-tailed Seedeater, Peruvian Sierra Finch, Andean Flicker, Aplomado Falcon, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Black-throated Flowerpiercer, Spot-winged Pigeon, Brown-backed and Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrants, Moustached Flowerpiercer, Grass Wren, Violet-throated Starfrontlet, Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Tyrian Metaltail, Andean Guan, Grass-green Tanager, Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager, Variable and White-throated Hawks, and many others.
Set off on an morning walk after breakfast, keeping an eye out for the Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan, Masked Trogon, the endemic Marcapata Spinetail, Golden-collared Tanager, Hooded Mountain Tanager, the endemic Red-and-white Antpitta, Red-crested Cotinga, Masked Flowerpiercer, Trilling Tapaculo, Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant, Streak-throated Bush Tyrant, White-banded, White-throated, White-tailed, and Black-capped Tyrannulet, Chestnut-bellied Mountain Tanager, Pearled Treerunner, Montane Woodcreeper, Rufous-capped Thornbill, Blue-backed Conebill, Collared Inca, Barred Fruiteater, and Black-throated Tody-Tyrant. If we are lucky, we might find the nocturnal Swallow-tailed Nightjar after dinner.
Depart Wayquecha and descend to the cloud forest in the San Pedro area. Look for mixed flocks along the road including species like Citrine and Three-striped Warblers, Andean Motmot, Blue-banded Toucanet, Yungas Pygmy Owl, Andean and White-eared Solitaires, Great Thrush, Blue-and-black and Blue-capped Tanagers, Golden-headed Quetzal, Black-backed Grosbeak, White-collared Jay, Southern Mountain Cacique, Superciliaried and Drab Hemispinguses, Pale-legged Warbler, and if we are lucky Solitary Eagle and Black-and-chestnut Eagle.
Spend two full days around the forest of Cock of the Rock Lodge, looking for a large selection of colorful species such as Paradise, Orange-eared, Golden, Spotted, Bay-headed, Blue-necked, Golden-eared, Slaty, Silver-beaked, Magpie, Saffron-crowned, and White-winged Tanagers, Dacnises, Honeycreepers, Versicolored Barbet, Manakins, Black-eared Hemispingus, and others. In addition, we should also find Scale-crested Pygmy Tyrant, Antbirds, Antshrikes, Antwrens, Parrots, Wrens, Slaty Gnateater, and with luck Brown Tinamou around the lodge grounds. The hummingbird feeders attract Violet-fronted Brilliant, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Rufous-booted Racket-tail, Many-spotted Hummingbird, and Sparkling Violetear. The flowering bushes are good for Wire-crested Thorntail, Green Hermit, and Wedge-billed Hummingbird. Set off on an evening walk searching for the Rufescent Screech Owl and Lyre-tailed Nightjar after dusk, and if we are lucky we might find Andean Potoo at its daytime roost.
Drive further down and explore the ecosystems with bamboo vegetation, looking for the endemic Black-backed Tody-Flycatcher, White-lined Antbird, Red-billed Scythebill, Rusty-fronted Tody Flycatcher, Bamboo Antshrike, Golden-crowned Flycatcher, Lemon-browed Flycatcher, Streaked Flycatcher, and Bluish-fronted Jacamar. Visit the villages of Patria and Pilcopata, where me might spot the Chestnut-bellied Seed Finch, Chestnut-bellied Seedeater, Plumbeous Kite, Roadside Hawk, Yellow-bellied Dacnis, Cinnamon-faced Tyrannulet, Plain-crowned Spinetail, and others. Reach the Villa Carmen Biological Station and settle into your room. After dusk we will try for Tropical Screech Owl and Tawny-bellied Screech Owl.
Enjoy a full day exploring the area around Villa Carmen, especially the bamboo trail, where the Manu Antbird, Bamboo Foliage-gleaner, Flammulated Bamboo Tyrant, Bamboo Antshrike, White-lined Antbird, Plain-winged Antshrike, Bluish-slate Antshrike, Ornate Stipplethroat, Pygmy Antwren, Blackish Antbird, White-flanked Antwren, Black-throated Antbird, White-browed Antbird and Rusty-belted Tapaculo, inhabit. The endemic Fine-barred Piculet, Rufous-breasted Piculet, Orange-fronted Plushcrown, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Blue-headed Parrot, Scarlet-hooded Barbet, Band-tailed Manakin, Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, Masked Tityra, Pectoral Sparrow, Collared Trogon, Amazonian Motmot, and with luck Blue-headed Macaw, are also found in the nearby forest.
Today arrive in a very interesting ecosystem, the Transitional Forest. The place is awesome for hummingbird species, including Koepcke’s Hermit and also Rufous-crested Coquette, Gould’s Jewelfront, Golden-tailed Sapphire, and Wire-crested Thorntail, all easily seen from the lodge balcony. Other birds include Grey-cowled Wood Rail, Speckled Spinetail, Southern Chestnut-tailed Antbird, Blackish Rail, Chestnut-capped Puffbird, Chestnut-eared and Lettered Aracaris, Black-tailed Trogon, Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper, Black-banded Woodcreeper, Lineated, Little, Yellow-tufted, and Crimson-crested Woodpeckers, Fasciated and Rufescent Tiger Herons, Crested, Casqued, and Russet-backed Oropendolas, and Sand-colored Nighthawk. At night, search for the Great and Common Potoos.
Continue by motorized canoe to the Manu Wildlife Center. Spot local bird species along the lush shores of the Madre de Dios River, such as, Black Skimmer, Pied Plover, Swallow-winged Puffbird, Great Black Hawk, Blue-throated Piping Guan, Red and-green Macaw, Blue-and-yellow Macaw, and Scarlet Macaw.
Delve into the Amazon rainforest, seeking out its diverse birdlife, such as the Razor-billed Curassow, Pale-winged Trumpeter, Musician Wren, Southern Nightingale-Wren, Red-necked Woodpecker, Butterfly Coquette, Reddish Hermit, White-chinned Sapphire, Great Jacamar, Pavonine Quetzal, Grey Antbird, Dusky-throated Antshrike, Common Scale-backed Antbird, King Vulture, Black-fronted and White-fronted Nunbirds, Western Striolated Puffbird, Rufous-headed Woodpecker, White-cheeked Tody-Flycatcher, and Dusky-tailed and Large-headed Flatbills. The macaw clay lick provides great views of all local macaw species, such as Scarlet, Blue and-yellow, Red-and-green, Chestnut-fronted, and Red-bellied Macaws. Other parrots include Southern Mealy Amazon, Blue-headed Parrot, Orange-cheeked Parrot, Dusky-headed Parakeet, Rose-fronted Parakeet, and White-eyed Parakeet, among many others.
Today we leave the Manu Wildlife Center and travel along the Madre de Dios River, looking for Orinoco Goose, Terns, Pied Plover, and with a lot of luck we might find the elusive Jaguar resting along sandbars. Look for the localized Red-billed Pied Tanager, Long-crested Pygmy Tyrant, Black-billed Seed Finch, Pale-eyed Blackbird, Rufous-fronted Antthrush, Black-faced Cotinga, and Varzea Schiffornis.
This location is particularly good for mammals, including more primates than other lodges with species like Emperor Tamarin and Black-faced Spider Monkey. Elusive mammals that can be seen at the Los Amigos River include Ocelot, Tayra, Nine-banded Armadillo, and with a lot of luck the seldom-seen Short-eared Dog. Nocturnal hikes could provide sightings of Crested Owl, Spectacled Owl, Amazonian Pygmy Owl, and Tawny-bellied Screech Owl.
Travel out of the rainforest by boat to Puerto Maldonado city and settle into your comfortable room at Centenario Hotel. Make a couple of stops along the way spotting more birds, such as Jays, Seedeaters, Tanagers, or perhaps the King Vulture soaring above us.
Have the entire day to explore Puerto Maldonado and surroundings, looking for the localized Purus Jacamar and White-throated Jacamar and also for Black-faced Tanager, Red-breasted Blackbird, Grassland Sparrow, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Rusty-backed Antwren, Barred Antshrike, Picui Ground Dove, and Southern Crested Caracara. This evening we join our travel companions and toast our Manu Road & Lowlands, Birding Expedition at a farewell dinner.
Say “hasta luego” to Peru and its birdlife, and fly back to Lima to connect with flights home or consider extending your holiday in Lima.
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 $ 9,659
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.