Eco Birding Peru 11 days and 10 Nights
Peru’s Manu Biosphere Reserve has the highest concentration of bird life on Earth. At the time of writing approximately, 925 species have been recorded. Ornithologists expect this figure to break the 1000 mark in the near future as remoter areas of the reserve are explored. There are a little under 9000 species of birds in the world, meaning Manu holds one in every nine species found on the planet. No other protected area on Earth contains so many birds.
Eco Peru Tours has designed this amazing tour for birding, exploring totally different types of ecosystems from the high Andes, Cloud Forest and the Lowland Amazon Rainforest. Giving our clients one of the most amazing experiences of birding in South America.
LODGES WE STAY DURING OUR TOURS
WAYQUECHA BIOLOGICAL STATION.
In 2005, Amazon Conservation created Peru’s only permanent field research station focused on cloud forest ecology and management.
This 1,450-acre research center, called Wayqecha (“brother” in the local language of Quechua), sits at 3,000 meters above sea level. The station is located in the Kosñipata Valley in the department of Cusco, in southeastern Peru, where it serves as a buffer along the southern edge of Manu National Park.
The Wayqecha Cloud Forest Biological Station is one of the world’s best sites to explore the lush cloud forest ecosystem. A constant supply of moisture supports a remarkable diversity of plants, which in turn supports thriving populations of birds, amphibians, orchids, and mammals.
Enjoy its amazing experience along its trails and the amazing canopy walkway.
THE COCK-OF-THE-ROCK LODGE
is located at 1600m/5200ft elevation in the Kosñipata Valley, 165km/102 miles by road from Cusco, and situated within the 5,060ha/12,500-acre cloud forest reserve of the conservation group Peru Verde. We take just 7 to 8 hours by bus from Cusco to reach the peace and simple comfort of this lodge — although many groups are so enthralled by the magical diversity of what the world’s leading bird tour company has called “the best road in the world”, that they spend a bit longer.
VILLA CARMEN BIRDING LODGE
Nestled in the Andean foothills, perched between the mountains and the lowlands, Villa Carmen Biological Station offers birdwatchers the opportunity to see a Blue-headed Macaw, Hairy-crested Antbird, Roufous-capped Nunlet, and charismatic Hoatzin.
The 7,600-acre property is located in the buffer zone of Manu National Park, and boasts over 25 miles of trails spanning a wide variety of habitats, including old-growth rainforest, lower montane forest, secondary forest, streams, rivers and waterfalls.
EL DORADO LODGE.
Located Four hours down the Alto Rio Madre de Dios. Very private rustic and isolated lodge wich has a great view of the river, very nice place to see birds of the secondary forest, river bank, and its spectacular parrot clay lick, species that are hard to spot, such as the orange checked parrot, blue headed macaw and if possible.
MANU WILDLIFE CENTER.
Manu offers by far the greatest quantity and diversity of animals and plants in the world. No other destination in Peru or beyond can compare with Manu Nowhere else can you enjoy a superbly intact transect of tropical habitats from Andean grasslands and cloud forests down to foothill and lowland forests.
Manu boasts the highest bird, mammal, and plant diversity of any park on Earth, including 1,000 of the world’s 9,700 bird species, 200 species of mammals, and 15,000 species of flowering plants. The most photogenic spectacles are frolicking Giant Otters, 1,000 parrots and macaws at a riverbank clay lick, dancing Cock-of-the-Rock, habituated monkeys, and huge Lowland Tapirs at a forest clay lick.
Day (1). CUSCO – WAYQUECHA BIOLOGICAL STATION (3000m/9,880 Ft. Elevation)
Our adventure begins in Cusco very early in the morning, we will pick you up from your hotel la Casona Inkaterra in our private Van, Today’s destination is the lush cloud forest region where the Andes meet the Amazon basin. It’s a day of scenic drama and striking contrasts. Our first stop is Huacarpay, a mountain wetland habitat, with numerous bird species that we are hoping to see, such as the endemic Bearded Mountaineer, Rusty-fronted Canastero as well as non-endemic flycatchers, coots, teals, egrets, hummingbirds, raptors, and seedeaters, between the Cusco Valley and the Paucartambo valley. Our next stop is for the endemic Creamy-crested Spinetail, before arriving at the last Andean pass – Acjanaco. On a clear day, we’ll be able to look out from the last range of the Andes over the Amazon basin stretching into the distance. A side stop may find us Scribble-tailed and Line -fronted Canasteros and maybe Puna and Diademed Tapaculo. In the afternoon we will bird the upper limits of the eastern slopes. Working our way down the eastern slope of the Andes, the forest becomes more continuous and we will spend the afternoon birding to our accommodation at 2800 meters above sea level above Pillahuata. Possibilities are many but we hope to encounter mixed-species flocks of Mountain Tanagers, Flycatchers, and Ovenbirds. Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan, Collared Jay, and Mountain Cacique are among some of the many species we may find. In the evening we will go to a favorite spot where we have had luck calling in Swallow-tailed Nightjar. We spend the night at Wayquecha Biological Station. Overnight at WAYQUECHA BIOLOGICAL STATION
Day (2). WAYQUECHA BIOLOGICAL STATION.
we start early towards the canopy walkway trying to find amazing species in that it will be a long birding day, having the many species: such us: Tanagers, Toucans, Mountain wrens, warblers, quetzals, Guans, and many others.
Then we return for breakfast, after breakfast we start exploring the hummingbird feeder, excellent opportunity for pictures, after lunch we explore the orchid garden trying to find more bird species.
At night we go out trying to find some owl species. OVERNIGHT AT WAYQUECHA BIOLOGICAL STATION.
Day (3) WAYQUECHA BIOLOGICAL STATION – COCK-OF-THE-ROCK LODGE.(1600m/5200ft elevation)
After breakfast, we will be greeted with a varied dawn chorus and Red and White Antpitta should be calling. We will spend all day birding from the biological station at 2800 meters to our next stop at 1300 meters. This is a pristine forest on a short bus drive some of the special birds on this stretch which we will look for include: White-rumped Hawk, Trilling Tapaculo, , Andean Guan, a wide variety of Hummingbirds including Collared Inca, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Violet-throated Startfrontlet and Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Purple-backed Thornbill, Scaled Metaltail, White-bellied Woodstar, Mountain Parakeet, Andean Pigmy Owl, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, the endemic Marcapata Spinetail, Andean Parakeet, White-throated Antpitta, Barred and Band-tailed Fruiteaters, White-throated Tyrannulet, Ochraceous-breasted Flycatcher, Barred Becard, Pale-footed Swallow, Mountain Wren, Citrine Warbler and many Tanagers. . During the afternoon we will arrive at Cock of the rock Lodge, we will enjoy the feeder for hummingbirds the Wire-Crested Thorntail, Green Hermit, Green Violetear, Sparkling Violetear, Speckle Hummingbird, Many-Spotted Hummingbird, Violet-Fronted Brilliant, Fawn-Breasted Brilliant, Bronzy Inca, Booted Racket-Tail. At night time we have good chance to see Vermiculated Screech-Owl, Rufescent Screech-Owl, Band-bellied Owl, and Rufous-Banded Owl.Overnight at Cock of the rock lodge.
OVERNIGHT AT ANDEAN COCK OF THE ROCK LODGE.
Day (4) COCK-OF-THE-ROCK LODGE.
Cock of the Rock Lodge is situated in the pristine Cloud Forest of the Mountains of Manu just a few minutes’ walk from a spectacular Cock of the Rock Lek (Rupicola Peruviana) furnished with comfortable blinds (hides) which enable us to observe these colorful birds. There is trail system behind the lodge that enables you to see the under-story of the Cloud Forest first hand and facilitates seeing some species normally not seen from the road such as Chestnut-breasted Wren, Scaled Antpitta, Rufous-breasted and Short-tailed Antthrush’s, Slaty Gnateater and the endemic Cerulean-capped Manakin, Yungas Manakin, Fiery-Capped Manakin. Orchids are abundant with about 80 species recorded around the lodge. Montane Foliage-gleaner, Amazonian Umbrellabird, Uniform and Variable Antshrikes, Slaty Gnateater, Chestnut-crested Cotinga, Scaled Fruiteater, Inca Flycatcher (endemic), Uniform Antshrike, White-throated Spadebill, Fulvous-breasted Flatbill, Saffron-crowned Tanager, Yellow-rumped and Slaty Antwrens, Deep-blue Flowerpiercer, Peruvian Piedtail (endemic) and lots more. Overnight at Cock of the Rock Lodge.
Day (5) COCK OF THE ROCK LODGE TO VILLA CARMEN BIOLOGICAL STATION Elevation (550m/1800ft)
We start early morning after breakfast birding around the trails, looking for species such as: Bar-bellied Woodpecker, Sierran Elaenia, Black-Throated Toody-Tyrant, Golden-Crowned Flycatchers, White-Crowned Tapaculo, Yellow- Throated Tananger, Common Hemisphingus, Bolivian Tyrannulet, Scaly-naped Parrot, Speckle-Faced Parrot, Stripe-Faced Wood-Quail, Black and Chestnut Eagle, White-Throated Hawk, Solitary Eagle, Spotted Barbtail, Golden-Headed Quetzal, Highland Motmot, Strong-Billed Woodcreeper, Black-Streaked Puffbird, Versicolored Barbet, Blue-Banded Toucanet, we have lunch in between then we continue down the manu road to Pillcopata town then to Villacarmen Biological station. Overnight at Villa Carmen.
Day (6) VILLA CARMEN BIOLOGICAL STATION.
The possibilities are almost endless and include Uniform Crake, Hoatzin, Blue-headed and Chestnut-fronted Macaws, Yellow-billed Nunbird, Scarlet-hooded Barbet, Golden-bellied Warbler, Rufous-crested Coquette, Bamboo Antshrike, Black-throated Antbird, Rusty-belted Tapaculo, Ringed Antpipit, Johannes’s Tody-Tyrant, Hauxwell’s Thrush, and Band-tailed, Round-tailed, and Fiery-capped Manakins—in a word, tons of birds. Feeders for hummingbirds should have Gray-breasted Sabrewing, while seed feeder and blind near our rooms could have visiting Cinereous, Undulated, or Black-capped Tinamou. With luck, a habituated Amazonian Antpitta may come to worms, a unique experience. We’ll have the chance to go night birding here as well, and we should hear and possibly see Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl, Black-banded Owl, and Common Potoo. OVERNIGHT AT VILLA CARMEN.
Day (7) VILLA CARMEN TO EL DORADO LODGE (500m/1640ft Elevation)
After Breakfsat we take our Van one hour to Atalaya port, were we will be taking our boat, 30 minutes down the Alto Madre de Dios river, then we walk 40 minutes to visit this spectacular Machuwasi Lagoon were we have great chances to see many bird species. Then we continue our boat journey to el Dorado Lodge. After arriving the lodge chances to see a great sunset . And macaws flying going back to their nest. Overnight at El DORADO LODGE.
Day (8) EL DORADO LODGE TO MANU WILDLIFE CENTER (400m/1312ft Elevation)
We start early morning walk 20 minutes and see and small parrot clay, with great chances to see, blue headed parrots, blue headed macaws, ornage checked parrot, mealy parrots, chestnut fronted macaws. Then we return to the lodge for breakfast.
After breakfast we start to navigate 4 to 5 hours to Manu Wildlife Center.
Overnight at Manu Wildlife Center.
Day (9) MANU WILDLIFE CENTER.
Another early start a short boat ride downstream. We take a 20-minute trail through palm plantations to a cut-off channel of the river. You will witness the scarlet macaws in the morning ritual, they come flapping down to the treetops, survey the eroded clay banks of the river, ensuring first that there were no Great Black Hawks present. A supporting cast also appears: these may include Blue-headed, Mealy, Yellow-crowned, and Orange-cheeked Parrots. The drama plays out in first in tentative and then bolder approaches to the lick, until finally nearly all the macaws, parrots and parakeets form a colorful and noisy spectacle on the bare banks, squabbling as they scrape clay from the hard surface. (Please note that the clay lick is most active from August to October and less so during the months of May and June.) We return to the lodge for lunch, and then we continue to explore and discover the rainforest, its lore and plant life, on the network of trails surrounding the lodge, arriving in the late afternoon at our 34m/112ft Canopy Tower. On its platform we witness the frantic rush-hour activity of twilight in the rainforest canopy, before night closes in.
From atop this platform you will witness the frantic “rush-hour” activity of wildlife as twilight turns to night. You will then walk the “Collpa Trail” to the famous Tapir Clay Lick.
This is the most active known clay lick in all the Amazon for these majestic 600-pound animals, distant cousins of horses and rhinoceroses, and the largest land mammal of Latin America. Manu Wildlife Center research has identified as many as 12 individual Tapirs who come to this lick to eat clay from under the tree roots around the edge.
The clay absorbs and neutralizes toxins in the vegetarian diet of these gentle giants. You can observe this nocturnal ritual from a roomy, elevated observation platform 17 feet (5 meters) above the forest floor. The platform is equipped with freshly-made-up mattresses with pillows. Each mattress is covered by a roomy mosquito net where you can nap, if you like, until the first tapir arrives.
Overnight at Manu Wildlife Center.
Day (10) MANU WILDLIFE CENTER
We set out early for an old oxbow lake full of water lilies (Nuphar lutea) and sunken logs and board a the lodge’s waiting catamaran. Chances are good we will encounter the resident Giant Otter family on a fishing expedition, or groups of monkeys swinging noisily through the high tree. Around the lake, it is an ornithologist’s dream: Woodpeckers, tanagers, macaws, toucans and parakeets are just a few of the birds to be seen.
Wattled Jacanas tread delicately atop the lily pads, Sun Grebes paddle daintily across the calm water, Anhingas air-dry their wide, black wings along the shore, while high above, Osprey perched on branches scan for fish.
Among the bushes near the waterline, Hoatzins, announce their presence with distinctive, bizarre wheezing and grunts.
After lunch at the lodge your guide is available to lead you on freewheeling expeditions in search of other wildlife encounters. Or you can set out one of the lodge’s many trails on private and personal excursions to meditate in quiet contemplation with the spirits of the rainforest.
During the evening, from the late afternoon until after supper, you will have the opportunity to take part in a boat ride along the riverbank (if the level of river allows) in search of caiman and other nocturnal animals. Overnight at Manu Wildlife Center.
Day (11) BOAT TO BOCA MANU, SANTA ROSA, ROAD TO CUSCO OR PUERTO MALDONADO.
We leave the lodge very early on the 2 ½ hour return boat trip downstream to the Village of Boca Colorado Village. Breakfast is served on the boat while you observe early morning wildlife activity along the river. You will also pass lowland native settlements, as well as gold miners digging and panning gold along the banks of the Madre de Dios River. We will stop in the far-west type gold-mining town of Colorado to start our overland journey to Puerto Carlos for 45 minutes, then you will cross the Inambari River for 15 minutes boat trip to Santa Rosa.
Finally our van will drive us in approximately two-hours to the airport in Puerto Maldonado. Here you return on the commercial flight to Cusco or Lima. Or 6 hours’ drive back to Cusco
- Meals. B, L, D.
- Land and River Transportation
- English Speaking birdguide
- Hotel transfers
- Entrance fees.
- Complete list of bird species of the trip.
Walking: The walking effort is easy to moderate.
Climate: Rather variable. At high altitudes conditions range from cool to decidedly cold in the early morning. At middle elevations many days are dry and sunny, and overcast.
The jungle lodges are comfortable but simple; some do not have full-time electricity, but provide a generator for a few hours a day to charge batteries. Wayqecha Biological Station with shared bathroom facilities. Hot and cold water is always available and all toilets facilities are flush.
Bird Photography: Opportunities are worthwhile.
What to Bring:
We advise you to bring:
- Aside from Binoculars and photo-equipment (the important birdwatchers stuff) we advise:
- A spotting scope.
- Flashlight for night birding
- Light day pack
- Sunscreen and insect repellent
- T-shirts and a long-sleeved shirt
- Jeans or other cotton pants are comfortable, as well as quick-drying nylon ones
- Cotton socks
- Sweater, jacket or fleece for night birding
- Light jacket, water resistant, or poncho
- Hiking boots or sturdy shoes
- Sandals for after hours
- Hat and sunglasses
- Plastic bags for camera,clothes, etc
- Personal toiletries (shampoo, towel, etc)