Birding Tour Peru: The Manu Road 2017

Duration: 20 days

Our Birding Tour Peru: The Manu Road is perhaps ‘the’ birding adventure of South America, and the Manu Road is one of the obligatory birding destinations of the world.

Our 20-day trip will take you to the city of Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incas, which will allow us to explore the mountains on the way to the world famous Manu Road. This road connects the Andes of Cusco with the Amazon basin in the Madre de Dios region. It runs along the mountains to 4000 meters elevation and then descends to 500 meters in the Amazon. Driving along this remote road will allow us to see different habitats and different altitudinal ranges, such as arid mountains and plateaus, paramo and elfin forest, humid cloudforest mountains, and then 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, Sungrebe, Sunbittern, Hoatzin, Red-billed Scythebill, Paradise Tanager, Pale-winged Trumpeter, Razor-billed Curassow, Undulated Tinamou, Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Blue-and-yellow Macaw, Band-tailed Manakin, White-throated Toucan, Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan, Pavonine Quetzal, White-capped Dipper, and a lot of hummingbirds, including the endemic Bearded Mountaineer, Giant Hummingbird, and the handsome Booted Racket-tail.

In addition to these most-wanted and representative species the trip will provide a whole selection of range-restricted, country-endemic, and elusive species, such as Chestnut-breasted Mountain Finch, Creamy-crested Spinetail, Red-and-white Antpitta, Manu Antbird, Yungas Manakin, Rufous-headed Woodpecker, Peruvian Recurvebill, White-cheeked Tody-Flycatcher, Black-backed Tody-Flycatcher, Marcapata Spinetail, Rufous-fronted Antthrush, Amazonian Antpitta, Red-billed Pied Tanager, Rufous Twistwing, Purus and White-throated Jacamars, Orange-fronted Plushcrown, Fine-barred Piculet, Scarlet-hooded Barbet, and Blue-headed Macaw. We will be lucky if we have encounters with the rare Harpy Eagle and Rufous-vented Ground Cuckoo, both of which occur in the lowlands of the Manu National Park.

Three obligatory natural history shows are possible to witness on this trip, namely the display of the Andean Cock-of-the-rock, the macaws and parrots visiting the clay licks to ingest the minerals they need for their diet every day, and finally the mixed-flock activity, where several species of birds can travel in a single flock through the forest, including army ant followers. The trip also offers good chances for wildlife, including species such as emperor tamarin and over seven species of monkeys, giant otters, and with luck jaguar.

During this trip we will spend six days birding the mountains of Cusco and the upper parts of the Manu Road, visiting the Wayqecha Cloud Forest Biological Station and the Cock of the Rock Lodge, and 12 days visiting the main birding sites in the Amazon. First we will spend two nights at the recently-opened Villa Carmen Biological Station, which is a comfortable option for the lower Manu Road and the Atalaya area with independent rooms and private bathrooms, electricity, internet access, meal facilities, and a good selection of bird species including bamboo specialities – a great asset to our tours. Then we will visit the classic Hacienda Amazonia, where we will spend only one night, enjoying the beautiful grounds and hummingbird feeders, followed by four nights at the well-known Manu Wildlife Center, looking for several Amazonian specialists and visiting oxbow lakes and macaw clay licks, and then by three nights at the lesser-known but comfortable Los Amigos Biological Station in our quest for a handful of localized, prized species and good chances of tracking down mammals. Finally we will spend two days in the Puerto Maldonado area, where we will be near the Brazilian border to look for Rufous Twistwing and other open-country specialists.

Join us for this great adventure!

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