Birding Tour Peru: Central Peru September 2018

Tour Details

Duration: 18 days
Group Size: 4 – 8
Date Start: September 27, 2018
Date End: October 14, 2018
Tour Start: Lima
Tour End: Lima

Tour Information

This tour is designed to search for endemics and localized birds of the Central Peruvian Andes.

We will visit high elevations during this tour, including 15.000 feet (4 600 meters) above sea level.

A few moderately difficult hikes in steep cloudforest terrain at 9 100 feet are involved in the tour, but a lot of birding is next to the roads.

No domestic flights are required, but there are two days with long drives.

Camping includes two nights at Apaya, and two nights at Bosque Unchog at 11 800 feet (3600 meters) with facilities.

The camping equipment includes: Private tent (single supplement and twin), personal mattress, sleeping bag, and pillow.

The accommodations vary from comfortable good hotels in Lima, Concepción, Huánuco, and Tingo María to basic with en suite bathrooms at Santa Eulalia and Villa Rica. Shared bathroom in the Apaya camp ground..

Possible endemic birds:

Peruvian Seaside Cinclodes, Coastal Miner, Thick-billed Miner, Raimondi Yellow Finch, Great Inca Finch, Black-necked Woodpecker, Rusty-bellied Brush Finch, Bronze-tailed Comet, Rufous-breasted Warbling Finch, Canyon Canastero (near endemic), Junin Canastero, White-bellied Cinclodes, Black-breasted Hillstar, Dark-winged Miner, “Milpo Tapaculo”, Eye-ringed Thistletail, Fire-throated Metaltail, Chestnut Antpitta, Creamy-bellied Antwren, Cloudforest Screech Owl (near endemic), Peruvian Wren, Yellow-scarfed Tanager, Masked Fruiteater, Unstreaked Tit-Tyrant, Brown-flanked Tanager, Bay Antpitta, Chestnut Antpitta, Tschudi’s Tapaculo, Coppery Metaltail, Golden-backed Mountain Tanager, Pardusco, Rufous-browed Hemispingus, Bay-vented Cotinga, Striated Earthcreeper, Baron’s Spinetail, Neblina Tapaculo, and Huallaga (Black-bellied) Tanager.

Extension for the Junin Grebe by request only

Tour Costs

Price: US$6,109 / £4,647 / €5,196 per person sharing, assuming 4-8 participants,
US$9,256 / £7,040 / €7,872 per person sharing for a private tour with just 2 participants

Single Supplement: US$439 / £334 / €373

* Please note that currency conversion is calculated in real-time, therefore is subject to slight change. Please refer back to the base price when making final payments.

Price includes:
All accommodation (hotel and lodges). We use the best accommodations available.
Private transport
Private tour leader
All meals (except where indicated)
Camping equipment
Bottled water
Admission fees

Price excludes:
Dinner on the first night in Lima
All airfares
Personal expenses such as internet access, phone calls, personal laundry, etc.
Beverages and alcoholic drinks
Any activity which is not described above (city tours, museums fees, extra activities, extra drives not described in the itinerary, etc.)
Any birding activity or tour if you arrive in the morning of the first day

Eduardo's BioEduardo's Bio

Central Peru Birding Adventure 2018

This tour offers you the opportunity to explore the high Peruvian Andes and humid lush montane forest in search of a special set of endemic birds restricted to the central Andes and of several range-restricted species, including some recently described birds.

We will start our tour exploring the coast south of Lima, where we will have the chance to look for several Humboldt Current specialists like Humboldt Penguin, Inca Tern, Guanay Cormorant and the endemic Peruvian Seaside Cinclodes.
We will then explore the arid Andean valleys above Lima in search of several endemic birds like Great Inca Finch, Rufous-breasted Warbling Finch, Black-necked Woodpecker, Rusty-bellied Brush Finch, Bronze-tailed Comet, and if we are lucky we may see the Andean Condor.
Our tour will take us to 4500 meters above sea level (14 700 feet) under the mighty snow-capped mountains, where we will walk on bog cushions while looking for the legendary Diademed Sandpiper-Plover and the endemic White-bellied Cinclodes. Other birds include classic Andean birds like Andean Goose, Andean Lapwing, and more endemics like Junin Canastero, Black-breasted Hillstar, and Dark-winged Miner.
Our hunger for endemic birds will take us along the less visited Satipo road; a long stretch that goes from the high Puna mountains to the tropical lowlands, providing a great altitudinal change of habitat with different communities of birds, comparable with the Manu Road only. We will look for the endemic undescribed species of Scytalopus known as “Milpo Tapaculo” and the endemic Fire-throated Metaltail and Eye-ringed Thistletail.
We then will spend a couple of days camping in a rural and remote tiny Andean village with lack of any touristic infrastructure, but our field team will work hard to provide you all you need, including tasty food, cold beer, strong coffee, and a comfortable camping setting. After several days in the dry mountains it will be a pleasure to bird along humid montane forest, where we shall find the endemic Peruvian Wren, Slaty Brush Finch, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Montane Woodcreeper, Superciliaried Hemispingus, Black-capped Hemispingus, Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager, Hooded Mountain Tanager, Lacrimose Mountain Tanager, Grass-green Tanager, Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Barred Fruiteater, Montane Foliage-gleaner, and Lyre-tailed Nightjar.
As soon as we descend into the upper tropical valleys we may have the chance to find Blue-browed Tanager, Amazonian Umbrellabird, and Magpie Tanager, and if we are lucky we may even see Black-and-chestnut Eagle.
Our trip will then take us to the little village of Villa Rica, which is a small coffee production center with large extensions of coffee plantations. These plantations provide a habitat for many birds, including the endemic and localized Creamy-bellied Antwren as well as Ocellated Piculet, Chestnut-backed Antshrike, Lanceolated Monklet, Plain-crowned Spinetail, and Blue-headed Parrot, and at night we will try for Band-bellied Owl.
We will explore the Huánuco province, where we will visit several areas, including the Carpish Mountains, where we will look for the endemics Bay Antpitta, Unstreaked Tit-Tyrant, Brown-flanked Tanager, Yellow-scarfed Tanager, and Tschudi’s Tapaculo.
We will also make a brief visit to the lowlands of Tingo María, where we will look for the endemic Huallaga (Black-bellied) Tanager and the localized Blue-headed Macaw. There will also be a visit to the Oilbird cave, where we will have the chance to see hundreds of them.
Finally we will explore the Elfin forest of Bosque Unchog, where we plan to camp one night at the high elevation of 3600 meters (11 800 feet). Here we will look for five endemic and localized birds, including the Golden-backed Mountain Tanager, one of the largest members of the family and only found in this place. Other birds include Bay-vented Cotinga, Pardusco, Coppery Metaltail, and Rufous-browed Hemispingus.
On the way back to Lima we will pass by some Polylepis forest and dry valleys, where we will look for the endemics Rufous-backed Inca Finch, Giant Conebill, Striated Earthcreeper, Stripe-headed Antpitta, Tit-like Dacnis, and Baron’s Spinetail.

Itinerary (18 days/17 nights)

Day 1. Arrival

Arrival at the city of Lima and transfer to your hotel. No activities are included on day 1, since most international flights arrive in Lima late in the evening. If you arrive on an early flight you might be charged an extra accommodation fee for an early check-in at the hotel, or we can organize an additional birding morning near the city.
Overnight: Hotel Casa Andina Miraflores, Lima

Day 2. Birding Pucusana and Puerto Beach

We will have an easy day, visiting the fishing village of Pucusana, 60km south of the city. Here we will have the chance to see many coastal birds and Humboldt Current specialists like Inca Tern, Belcher Gull, Peruvian Pelican, Peruvian Booby, Guanay Cormorant, Red-legged Cormorant, Blackish Oystercatcher, Humboldt Penguin, and the endemic Peruvian Seaside Cinclodes. Later we will drive to Puerto Beach, where we will look for Great Grebe, Andean Coot, Cinnamon Teal, White-cheeked Pintail, Peruvian Meadowlark, Many-colored Rush-Tyrant, Wren-like Rushbird, Grassland Yellow Finch, Gray-hooded Gull, American Oystercatcher, Gray Gull, and the endemic Coastal Miner and near-endemic Peruvian Thick-knee.
We will drive back to Lima for an overnight stay.
Overnight: Hotel Costa del Sol, Lima

Day 3. Birding the Lomas de Lachay National Reserve 

Today we will drive north of Lima to the Lomas de Lachay National Reserve, where we will look for a number of endemics like Cactus CanasteroThick-billed Miner, and, if we are lucky, the endemic but nomadic Raimondi’s Yellow Finch. Other birds include Grayish MinerShort-tailed Field TyrantBand-tailed Sierra FinchLeast SeedsnipeMasked YellowthroatCollared Warbling FinchBlack-chested Buzzard-EagleVermilion Flycatcher, and Mountain Parakeet. With luck we may also find Andean Tinamou, and we’ll have our first chance for Oasis Hummingbird.
After midday we will transfer to the Santa Eulalia valley.
Overnight: Santa Eulalia

Day 4. Birding the highlands above the Santa Eulalia Valley

Today we will have an early start to explore the Santa Eulalia road and the upper canyon. This fantastic location in the highlands of Lima provides a beautiful complex of landscapes, surrounded by the Andes and dominated by blue skies. We will drive over two hours up the mountains to reach the habitat of the endemic, shy, rare, and localized Rufous-breasted Warbling Finch.
We will focus all our efforts to look for this tricky fellow, but in the same area we will have views of Canyon Canastero(near-endemic), and a number of Peruvian endemics in  Black-necked Woodpecker, Bronze-tailed Comet, Rusty-bellied Brush Finch, Rusty-crowned Tit-Spinetail, and of course Great Inca Finch. Other juicy birds include Giant Hummingbird, Sparkling Violetear, Pied-crested Tit-Tyrant, Tufted Tit-Tyrant, Mourning Sierra Finch, Streak-throated Bush Tyrant, Blue-and-yellow Tanager, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Aplomado Falcon, Torrent Duck, White-capped Dipper, Peruvian Pygmy Owl, Greenish Yellow Finch, and Bare-faced Ground Dove, and if we are lucky we may find the majestic Andean Condor.
We will drive back to Santa Eulalia to stay overnight.
Overnight: Santa Eulalia

Day 5. . Birding Marcapomacocha

Today we should have great fun exploring Marcapomacocha. This place is located high in the Andes at almost 15 000 feet (4 500 meters), but with a lot of care and following the respective suggestions we may not have any altitude problem. This bird location is famous in the world to holds the legendary Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, and we will also be looking for some Peruvian endemic birds like Black-breasted Hillstar, Junin Canastero, Dark-winged Miner, and the rare and localized White-bellied Cinclodes, listed as critically endangered. Other birds include Andean Lapwing, Andean Goose, Crested Duck, Variable Hawk, Puna Ibis, Giant Coot, Puna Teal, White-winged Diuca Finch, Black Siskin, Olivaceous Thornbill, Plain-breasted Earthcreeper, Streak-throated Canastero, Grey-breasted Seedsnipe, and Puna Snipe, and with luck we may find Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe.
Later we will drive to Concepción.
Overnight: Hotel Loma Verde, Concepción

Days 6 – 7. Birding the Satipo Road

We shall leave Concepción early in the morning and drive up to the Satipo Road. On the way we may see some Andean Gull, Andean Ibis, Andean Lapwing, Giant Coot, Yellow-billed Teal, Puna Teal, Andean Goose, and the undescribed species of Scytalopus better known as “Milpo Tapaculo”. Descending from the Puna to the cloudforest we will stop for the Peruvian endemics and main targets of the day, Eye-ringed Thistletail and Fire-throated Metaltail. Both are localized species which don’t occur either in northern or southern Peru. Other birds include Barred Fruiteater, Undulated Antpitta, Chestnut Antpitta, (possibly a new taxon), White-collared Jay, Peruvian Wren, Slaty Brush Finch, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Montane Woodcreeper, Superciliaried Hemispingus, Black-capped Hemispingus, Masked Flowerpiercer, Montane Wren, Masked Trogon, and much more. At night we will try for Lyre-tailed Nightjar.
Overnight: Camping in the Andean village of Apaya

Day 8. Birding the Satipo Road, transfer to Villa Rica

We’ll spend a final morning exploring the middle and lower Satipo Road, looking for species like Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Black-and-chestnut Eagle, Amazonian Umbrellabird, Blue-browed Tanager, Blue-necked Tanager, Blue-and-black Tanager, Magpie Tanager, Russet-crowned Warbler, Streak-necked Flycatcher, Inca Flycatcher, Red-crested Cotinga, Blue-banded Toucanet, Fasciated Tiger Heron, and much more.
After lunch we will head to Villa Rica, which is a town located in the upper tropical and is well known for its coffee production. At night we will try for Band-bellied Owl and Scissor-tailed Nightjar.
Overnight: Villa Rica

Day 9.  Birding around Villa Rica

A full day in Villa Rica will allow us to also make a short visit to Lake El Oconal, looking for Anhinga, Least Grebe, Wattled Jacana, Cocoi Heron, Purple Gallinule, and Blackish Rail. The coffee plantations are good for species like Ocellated Piculet, Stripe-chested Antwren, Plain-crowned Spinetail, Chestnut-backed Antshrike, White-backed Fire-eye, Blackish Antbird, Lineated Woodcreeper, Little Woodpecker, Chestnut-eared Araçari, Blue-headed Parrot, and the Peruvian endemic Creamy-bellied Antwren. At night we will make an optional try for the elusive and seldom-seen Cloudforest Screech Owl.
Overnight: Villa Rica

Day 10. Transfer to Huánuco

A predawn start if it is necessary to look for Cloudforest Screech Owl again. We will have a long day driving to Huánuco city, making some road stops to look for some Andean and tropical birds that can show up along the road,
Overnight: Grand Hotel Huánuco

Day 11. Birding around Huánuco

We will explore the Carpish tunnel looking for the Peruvian endemics Yellow-scarfed Tanager, Bay Antpitta, Peruvian Wren, Unstreaked Tit-Tyrant, and Tschudi’s Tapaculo, as well as for Stripe-headed Brush Finch, Azara’s Spinetail, Gray-breasted Wood Wren, Yellow-billed Cacique, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Hooded Mountain Tanager, Superciliaried Hemispingus, Rufous-headed Pygmy Tyrant, Long-tailed Antbird, Chestnut-breasted Wren, Striped Treehunter, Plushcap, Chestnut-crested Cotinga, Flame-faced Tanager, Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Plum-crowned Parrot, and more.
Overnight: Grand Hotel Huánuco

Days 12 – 13. Birding Bosque Unchog

We will spend two days to explore the elfin forest of Bosque Unchog located above the mountains of Huánuco. Here we will spend two nights camping safari style in order to maximize our efforts to look for the endemic and localized Golden-backed Mountain Tanager and the other Bosque Unchog endemics: Rufous-browed Hemispingus, Bay-vented Cotinga, and Coppery Metaltail.
Other birds here include White-chinned Thistletail, Rufous Antpitta, Many-striped Canastero, White-browed Spinetail, Golden-collared Tanager, Grass-green Tanager, Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager, Neblina Tapaculo, Red-rumped Bush Tyrant, Ochraceous-breasted Flycatcher, Crowned Chat-Tyrant, Yellow-scarfed Tanager, White-collared Jay, White-throated Tyrannulet, and much more,
Overnight: Camping, Bosque Unchog

Day 14. Birding Bosque Unchog, transfer to Tingo María

After a last morning at Bosque Unchog we will drive to the tropical foothills of Tingo María, where we will spend two nights. At night we will try for Tropical Screech Owl and Ferruginous Pygmy Owl.
Overnight: Tingo María

Day 15. Birding Tingo María National Park

We will explore this park all day, looking for the localized Blue-headed Macaw, Lafresnaye Piculet, the Peruvian endemic Huallaga Tanager, Grey-breasted Wood Rail, Mouse-colored Tyrannulet, Dot-winged Antwren, Spot-breasted Woodpecker, Black-capped Donacobius, Coraya Wren, Thrush-like Wren, Speckled Chachalaca, White-eyed Parakeet, Blue-headed Parrot, Orange-backed Troupial, and Yellow-rumped Cacique, and if we are lucky we may find the Military Macaw and Black-mandibled Toucan.
We will also visit the Oilbird cave, where we will have the chance to see hundred of birds roosting inside.
Overnight: Tingo María

Day 16. Transfer to Huánuco, birding on the way

We will leave Tingo María and focus on the road to Carpish. We will spend the morning looking for birds we could have missed on the previous days.
Overnight: Grand Hotel Huánuco

 Day 17. Birding the Polylepis forest above Huánuco, transfer to Lima

We will explore the Polylepis forest above Huánuco, where we may find Stripe-headed Antpitta, the Peruvian endemics Striated Earthcreeper and Baron’s Spinetail, and others like Thick-billed Siskin and Giant Conebill. Our main target will be the endemic and localized Rufous-backed Inca Finch, the most tricky-to-get of all the Inca finches. Then we will have a long drive back to Lima.
Overnight: Hotel Costa del Sol, Lima Airport

 Day 18. Departure

Connect to your international flights.


Please note that the itinerary cannot be guaranteed as it is only a rough guide and can be changed (usually slightly) due to factors such as availability of accommodation, updated information on the state of accommodation, roads, or birding sites, the discretion of the guides and other factors.

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Birding Peru for the first time in July 2012 with Eduardo, a professional and very knowledgeable local Peru guide, ensured a smooth, safe and hassle-free trip filled with south Peruvian endemics such as Junin Canastero, White-bellied Cinclodes, Great Inca-Finch and Inca Wren. Eduardo, with the assistance of Raul, were quick to spot birds and ensured that all in the group got onto the birds as fast as possible. While birding, Eduardo also enlightened and amused us with his vast knowledge of birds and other fauna of the area. At the end of each day Eduardo assisted the group to complete a list of birds seen and heard for the day. A briefing each evening prepared participants on what to expect the next day. The accommodation was clean and safe, even in off-the-beaten-track areas. I can highly recommend the Birding Ecotours bird guide in Peru.

Lisl van Deventer — Pretoria, South Africa

Central Peru Trip Report November 2016

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