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Tour to Peru: Birdwatching in the Manu Jungle


A World Heritage site, Manu is Peru’s largest National Park covering a staggering 15,328 km². It has one of highest levels of biodiversity of any park in the world including over 1000 species of birds, including macaws and parrots which you will see on this tour!


Can you do Manu justice if you only have a week birding available? No, you can’t. But as discussed in our 12 day SE Peru endemics  most of the endemic birds of the region can be seen without venturing far into the lowlands, so for a birder is this program still very attractive. You can always save the lowland for another opportunity. The lowlands of the Tambopata or Amigos areas are in general less expensive to visit, than lowland Manu.




Birdwatching Huacarpay, Manu road highlands and birding near Tres Cruces in pm. Wayquecha research center.

Early AM flight to Cusco and then birding Huacarpay lake for Bearded Mountaineer and Rusty-fronted Canastero. Drive pretty much straight to Wayquecha arriving at nightfall. Look for Creamy-crested Spinetail and Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch on the way. At Acjanaco we will look for Scribble-tailed Canastero. Lower down are Puna Thistletail and Diademed Tapaculo. Sleeping cabins at Wayquecha research station (aka ACCA) near Esperanza.



Birding Wayquecha, Pillahuata, Rocotal to Cock-of-the rock lodge. Temperate and subtropical cloud forest.

Primary target is the endemic Red-and-White Antpitta in the morning. Many times we also encounter Undulated and Stripe-headed Antpitta. Yungas Pygmy-Owl and species like Marcapata Spinetail, Rufous-capped Thornbill, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Dark-faced Brush-Finch, Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan, Blue-banded Toucanet, Hooded, Grass-Green and Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager can be seen near Pillahuata. At Rocotal Kolibri Expeditions have staked out a day-roosting Andean Potoo, just next to the road, with very high hit-rate during 2007-2008. We shall also look for White-throated Antpitta and Hooded Tinamou. In the late afternoon we shall be arriving to the Cock-of-the-Rock lek just next to the Lodge. Sleep in private cabins at Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge.



Bird watching at Cock of the Rock Lodge. Cloud forest and upper tropical forest. All day.

The private reserve around here holds a number of good birds such as Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Rufescent Screech-Owl, Long-tailed Antbird, Dusky-Green Oropendula, Yungas Manakin, Black-billed Treehunter, Orange-eared Tanager, Versicolored Barbet and Black-and-Chestnut and Solitary Eagles. The permanent mixed species flock around the camp holds species like Yellow-rumped Antwren and Bolivian Tyrannulet. A nearby trail often treats us with Slaty Gnateater and Rufous-breasted Ant-thrush. Other birds include Lemon-browed Flycatcher, Crested Quetzal, Uniform Antshrike and Golden-collared Tanager. At the lodge clearing there are feeders and blue vervain flowers where hummingbirds like Violet-fronted Brilliant, Many-spotted Hummingbird, Booted Raquet-tail and Wire-crested Thorntail. With lots of luck we may also spot the endemic and rare Peruvian Piedtail and Rufous-webbed Brilliant. Recently the undescribed “San Isidro-Owl” has been seen near the lodge – apparently the same that is known from San Isidro in Ecuador.



Birdwatching Cock of the Rock Lodge-Amazonia Lodge.

Continued birding in the vicinity of Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge in the morning. Specifically, we shall be looking for a new soon to be described tanager that lives in the bamboo. In the afternoon we will continue to Pilcopata at 800m and look for specialties such as Amazonian Umbrellabird, Stripe-chested Antwren, Cerulean-capped Manakin, Black-streaked Puffbird, Russet Antshrike, Lanceolated Monklet and Black-backed Tody-Flycatcher. We continue to travel to Amazonia Lodge this day watching out for overflying parrots such as Military and Blue-headed Macaw and Spangled and Plum-throated Cotingas in the tree-tops along the hilly stretch between Pilcopata and Atalaya. 



Birding Amazonia Lodge

At Amazonia lodge the specialties include Koepcke’s Hermit, Rufous-vented Ground- Cuckoo, Black-spotted Bare-eye, Long-tailed Potoo, Amazonian and Thrush-like Antpitta, Red-billed Tyrannulet, Fiery-capped Manakin and many more. Special features at Amazonia Lodge include a good canopy tower up the ridge trail and the famous jeep-track, which is very good for crossing Tinamous (including Black-capped Tinamou). Night at Amazonia Lodge.



Birding at Amazonia Lodge and the continue to Cock of the Rock Lodge.

Additional birding at Amazonia Lodge. The lodge clearing has big stands of Blue Vervain that brings in hoards of Hummingbirds such as Golden-tailed Sapphire, Gray-breasted Sabrewing and Rufous-crested Coquette. Recently forest dwellers such as Koepcke’s Hermit, Gould’s Jewelftont and Rufous-webbed Brilliant have made it to the clearing and been regularily seen.
In the afternoon we shall return to Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge. At Patria we shall look for Point-tailed Palmcreeper in a small palm swamp. Additional birding looking for specialties along the way, picking up species we may have missed on the way down.



Birdwatching from Cock-of the Rock Lodge to Cusco.

Between 9-10 AM it is good to look for Solitary and Black-and-Chestnut Eagle from the mirador about 40 minutes from Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge.

Later will bird the road upwards to Rocotal, situated just at the upper limit of the subtropical zone. Birds here include Red & White Antpitta, White-throated Antpitta, Crimson-backed Woodpecker, Blue-banded Toucanet, White-eared and Andean Solitaires, Pearled Treerunner, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Scaly-naped Parrot, Amethyst-throated Sunangel and many more. Ocassionally, the rare Great-billed Scythebill has been seen here.