This two-week version of our Comprehensive Northern Peru tour is an excellent opportunity for those who cannot travel more than 14 days but want to see the best of this great birding route and the amazing set of endemic species it provides, especially the endemics Marvelous Spatuletail and Long-whiskered Owlet. Our tour will start in Lima, the capital of Peru, and from there it will take you to the northwest to explore the deciduous woodlands known as the Tumbesian area in search of the endemics Peruvian Plantcutter and White-winged Guan. It will continue along the mid-Marañón Valley, looking for the secretive Little Inca Finch and Maranon Pigeon, and finally reach the Utcubamba and Alto Mayo Valleys, where lush, humid, montane forest meets the upper Amazon lowlands. The highlights here are Marvelous Spatuletail, Lulu’s Tody-Tyrant, Hoatzin, Oilbird, Rufous-crested Coquette, White-eared Solitaire, Golden-headed Quetzal, Channel-billed Toucan, Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Ash-throated Antwren, Fiery-throated Fruiteater, Bar-winged Wood Wren, Royal Sunangel, Band-bellied Owl, Ochre-fronted Antpitta, Rusty-tinged Antpitta, Chestnut Antpitta, Yellow-scarfed Tanager, and nearly 50 species of hummingbirds.
Itinerary main tour (14 days/13 nights)
Day 1. Arrival in Lima
You will arrive at the Jorge Chávez International Airport of Lima and be transferred 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: Casa Andina Select Miraflores, Lima
Day 2. Birding Pucusana and flight to Chiclayo
We will have an easy morning visiting the fishing village of Pucusana, 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of the city. Here we will have the chance to see many coastal birds and Humboldt Current specialists like Inca Tern, Belcher’s Gull, Peruvian Pelican, Peruvian Booby, Humboldt Penguin, and the endemic Peruvian Seaside Cinclodes. Other birds include Guanay Cormorant, Red-legged Cormorant, and Blackish Oystercatcher.
Later we will drive back to Lima to transfer to the airport and connect with our flight to Chiclayo.
Overnight: Casa Andina Select Chiclayo, Chiclayo
Day 3. Birding the Bosque de Pómac Historic Sanctuary and explore the coast
We will explore the Bosque de Pómac Historic Sanctuary, which is an area of large deciduous mesquite woodland. Here we spend a nice morning, looking for several range-restricted species, including the endemic Rufous Flycatcher, Peruvian Plantcutter, and Tumbes Tyrant. Other birds include Tumbes Swallow, Grey-and-white Tyrannulet, Scarlet-backed Woodpecker, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, White-edged Oriole, Lineated Woodpecker, White-tailed Jay, Fasciated Wren, Superciliated Wren, Short-tailed Field Tyrant, Tawny-crowned Pygmy Tyrant, Pacific Hornero, Collared Antshrike, Baird’s Flycatcher, Pacific Parrotlet, Amazilia Hummingbird, Short-tailed Woodstar, and many others; in particular we hope to find the endemic Cinereous Finch and the endemic Coastal Miner.
In the afternoon we will explore the coastal shores of Chiclayo in search of Gull-billed Tern and Peruvian Tern.
Overnight: Casa Andina Select Chiclayo, Chiclayo
Day 4. Birding the Refugio de Vida Silvestre of Laquipampa, transfer to Tucume
We will have an early start to explore the Refugio de Vida Silvestre of Laquipampa above the mountains of Chiclayo in search of the endemic and Endangered (IUCN) White-winged Guan. Other interesting birds include the secretive Henna-hooded Foliage-gleaner, Rufous-necked Foliage-gleaner, Ecuadorian Trogon, Tumbes Sparrow, Short-tailed Swift, Speckle-breasted Wren, Pacific Elaenia, Plumbeous-backed Thrush, Ecuadorian Piculet, Whooping Motmot, White-headed Brushfinch, Black-capped Sparrow, and Red-masked Parakeet.
Later we will transfer to Tucume and spend the night in a comfortable but rustic lodge, where after a tasty dinner we will try for West Peruvian Screech Owl.
Overnight: Los Horcones de Tucume, Tucume
Day 5. Birding the Porculla mountain pass, transfer to Jaén
Again we will have an early start driving to the Porculla mountain pass (the lowest Peruvian mountain pass), where we will look for White-winged Brushfinch, Line-cheeked Spinetail, Black-cowled Saltator, Chapman’s Antshrike, Black-and-white Seedeater, Grey-chinned Hermit, Three-banded Warbler, Elegant Crescentchest, Tumbesian Tyrannulet, Grey-and-gold Warbler, Ash-breasted Sierra Finch, and the endemic Piura Chat-Tyrant.
After some hours birding below the pass we will head to the heat of Jaén, where after check-in at the hotel we will go to explore the Jaén surroundings for birds like Ecuadorian Ground Dove, the endemic Spot-throated Hummingbird, Chinchipe Spinetail, Purple-throated Euphonia, and after dusk Anthony’s Nightjar.
Overnight: Hotel El Bosque, Jaén
Day 6. Birding Bosque de Yanahuanca, transfer to Gocta
An early start will take us to Bosque de Yanahuanca, which is located near the city of Jaén. Here we will look for the localized Maranon Spinetail, Red Pileated Finch, the endemic and shy Little Inca Finch, Maranon Crescentchest, Northern Slaty Antshrike, Green-backed Becard, Black-and-white Becard, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Blue Ground Dove, and Striped Cuckoo.
Then we will drive along the Utcubamba Valley, looking for Fasciated Tiger Heron, Pied Plover, Yellow-browed Sparrow, Savanna Hawk, Amazon Kingfisher, Maranon Spinetail, and Mitred Parakeet.
In the afternoon we will drive to Gocta, where we will stay in a hotel with an impressive view of the third-largest waterfall in the world, 771 meters (2530 feet) high. We will have a relaxed birding session in the afternoon around the hotel grounds, and after dusk we will try for the seldom-seen Buff-fronted Owl.
Overnight: Gocta Andes Lodge, Cocachimba
Day 7. Huembo hummingbird feeders and transfer to the Owlet Lodge
This morning we will start birding at the main road, looking for the endemic Speckle-chested Piculet, Lemon-browed Flycatcher, White-lined Tanager, Torrent Tyrannulet, Speckle-breasted Wren, Tooth-billed Tanager, Yellow-bellied Elaenia, and, with luck, Golden-rumped Euphonia.
Then we will drive to the famous Huembo feeding center, where we will enjoy the feeders with views of the sought-after Marvelous Spatuletail (perhaps the most beautiful hummingbird in the world), Bronzy Inca, Andean Emerald, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Sparkling Violetear, Lesser Violetear, Violet-fronted Brilliant, White-bellied Woodstar, Little Woodstar, and White-bellied Hummingbird.
Here we might also have good chances for Black-throated Toucanet as well as Speckle-breasted Wren, Chestnut-capped Brushfinch, Northern White-crowned Tapaculo, Sierran Elaenia, Buff-browed Foliage-gleaner, and Azara’s Spinetail.
After having had satisfactory views of these beautiful birds we will drive to the Abra Patricia area to explore and stay at the Owlet Lodge for three nights.
Overnight: Owlet Lodge
Day 8. Owlet Lodge
Today we will explore the trails of the lodge, looking for species such as Grass-green Tanager, the endemic Yellow-scarfed Tanager, Masked Flowerpiercer, the endemic Lulu’s Tody-Flycatcher, Green-and-black Fruiteater, Black-throated Tody-Tyrant, Variable Antshrike, Russet-crowned Warbler, Grey-breasted Wood Wren, Rufous Spinetail, the endemic Rufous-vented Tapaculo, Rufous-headed Pygmy Tyrant, Spotted Barbtail, Blue-winged Mountain Tanager, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Pearled Treerunner, White-banded Tyrannulet, Capped Conebill, and Strong-billed, Montane, and Olive-backed Woodcreepers.
The hummingbird feeders of the lodge provide views of Emerald-bellied Puffleg, Bronzy Inca, Collared Inca, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, White-bellied Woodstar, Long-tailed Sylph, and Chestnut-breasted Coronet.
In the afternoon we will explore the steep Owlet Trail, where we will look for the enigmatic, endemic, and Endangered (IUCN) Long-whiskered Owlet. If we are lucky we might also encounter Rufous-bellied Nighthawk.
Overnight: Owlet Lodge
Day 9. Owlet Lodge and Fundo Alto Nieva
After having had a full day with no driving yesterday, today we will explore the lowest parts of the mountain pass, especially the recently new Fundo Alto Nieva, a private reserve, where we will enjoy hummingbird feeders with Greenish Puffleg, Rufous-vented Whitetip, Peruvian Racket-tail, Green-fronted Lancebill, and the spectacular Royal Sunangel. But not only hummingbirds are the attraction of this reserve, but we also will have a chance to see the endemic Rusty-tinged Antpitta coming to a worm feeder. Other birds at lower elevations include the range-restricted Bar-winged Wood Wren, Cinnamon-breasted Tody-Tyrant, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Olive-chested Flycatcher, Blue-naped Chlorophonia, Flame-faced Tanager, and Golden-eyed Flowerpiercer.
We will return to the lodge for lunch, and after some rest we will drive back to Fundo Alto Nieva to look for the endemic and secretive Ochre-fronted Antpitta, which attends the worm feeders only in the afternoon. Before dusk we will try for Cinnamon Screech Owl and Lyre-tailed Nightjar and have another chance for Long-whiskered Owlet.
Overnight: Owlet Lodge
Day 10. Afluentes (“tributaries”) and transfer to Moyobamba
Today we will leave the mountains and head to lower elevations to the upper tropical forest. Here we will focus on mixed-flock species, including colorful birds such as Golden Tanager, Paradise Tanager, Bay-headed Tanager, Spotted Tanager, Golden-eared Tanager, Vermilion Tanager, White-lined Tanager, Magpie Tanager and also Versicolored Barbet, Ash-browed Spinetail, Dark-breasted Spinetail, Montane Foliage-gleaner, Lined Antshrike, White-backed Fire-eye, Northern White-crowned Tapaculo, Yellow-breasted Antwren, Grey-mantled Wren, and Scale-crested Pygmy Tyrant. We will also have another chance for Speckle-chested Piculet and hope to see the fabulous Andean Cock-of-the-rock.
Later we will reach Rioja in the flat lowlands, where we will look for the secretive Point-tailed Palmcreeper, Spot-breasted Woodpecker, Gilded Barbet, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Hauxwell’s Thrush, Cobalt-winged Parakeet, and Chestnut-bellied Seedeater.
Finally we will arrive in the Moyobamba area in the tropical Amazon foothills at our basic but good accommodation, the Waqanki Lodge. Here we will spend the afternoon admiring the hummingbird feeders, looking for Rufous-crested Coquette, Blue-tailed Emerald, Black-throated Mango, Long-billed Starthroat, White-necked Jacobin, Brown Violetear, Long-tailed Hermit, Black-throated Hermit, Sapphire-spangled Emerald, Golden-tailed Sapphire, Wire-crested Thorntail, White-chinned Sapphire, and with luck even Amethyst Woodstar.
The area around Waqanki provides good chances for owls, including Band-bellied Owl, Stygian Owl, Striped Owl, Black-banded Owl, Napo Screech Owl, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, and Tropical Screech Owl. But getting the largest number of them depends very much on how hard we work and on luck. They have different times during which they are active at night, so hard work is required to track down most of them.
Overnight: Waqanki Lodge, Moyobamba
Day 11. Waqanki and Moyobamba
Today we will hike up the mountains above Moyobamba along a steep trail, looking for Fiery-capped Manakin, Fiery-throated Fruiteater, Scarlet-breasted Fruiteater, Black-and-white Tody-Flycatcher, Tawny-throated Leaftosser, White-bellied Pygmy Tyrant, the endemic Mishana Tyrannulet, White-lored Tyrannulet, Spot-winged Antbird, Northern Chestnut-tailed Antbird, Plain-winged Antshrike, Peruvian Warbling Antbird, Channel-billed Toucan, Golden-collared Toucanet, Rufous Motmot, Blue-rumped Manakin, Buff-throated Tody-Tyrant, and the endemic and Endangered (IUCN) Ash-throated Antwren.
In the evening we will keep trying for owls and for Spot-tailed Nightjar and Ocellated Poorwill.
Overnight: Waqanki Lodge, Moyobamba
Day 12. Reserva Arena Blanca and transfer to Tarapoto
A predawn start will take us to visit the recently opened Reserva Arena Blanca, where we will visit the feeders, which attract Rufous-breasted Wood Quail, Cinereous Tinamou, Little Tinamou, Orange-billed Sparrow, and Grey-necked Wood Rail. The hummingbird feeders attract Blue-fronted Lancebill, Amethyst Woodstar, Long-billed Starthroat, Wire-crested Thorntail, Many-spotted Hummingbird, and a few others.
Other interesting species in the reserve are Golden-collared Toucanet, Inambari Woodcreeper, Dusky Spinetail, and Chestnut-bellied Seed Finch.
Later we will continue our tour to Tarapoto, making a stop on the way to see Oilbird roosting at daytime.
Overnight: Hotel Rio Shilcayo, Tarapoto
Day 13. Cordillera Escalera Regional Conservation Area and flight to Lima
We will leave the hotel and head toward the buffer zone of the Cordillera Escalera protected zone. In this area we will have good views of Cliff Flycatcher, White-tipped Swift, Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo, Slate-colored Grosbeak, and if we are lucky Military Macaw.
We will arrive at a local hummingbird center, where we will have nice views of the endemic Koepcke’s Hermit, Gould’s Jewelfront, Black-throated Brilliant, and Pale-tailed Barbthroat. This pleasant center, located in the upper Amazon forest, also provides great views of White-throated Toucan, Violaceous Jay, Magpie Tanager, and some understory species such as Carmiol’s Tanager, Golden-headed Manakin, Ruddy Foliage-gleaner, Black-faced Antthrush, White-breasted Wood Wren, Spot-winged Antbird, Green-backed Trogon, and if we are lucky enough to find army ant swarms the stunning White-plumed Antbird and Bicolored Antbird.
In the afternoon we will take a domestic flight back to Lima.
Overnight: Hotel Limaq, Lima
Day 14. Departure
You will be transferred to the Jorge Chávez International Airport of Lima to connect with 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. In addition, we sometimes have to use a different international guide from the one advertised due to tour scheduling.
Hello Chris, and I hope your New Year is off to a good start.
I’ve just returned from our custom tour with Eduardo and I want to tell you – he is a jewel! Very knowledgeable, approachable, friendly and seems to enjoy birding and helping other birders find and appreciate the birds.
I have graded this tour with an “A-“. The minus is because the food was not really very good nor tasty — with the exception of the last meal which was a delightful experience. But none of that is Eduardo’s fault. His guiding, listening and decorum were beyond reproach. He could many times describe where the target bird was, rather than just pointing and scaring it away. A true gentleman and very helpful when I needed help or clarification.
It would be a pleasure to go again with him. He was able to find 26 lifers for me when I expected at the most 19. Now my world list total is 7466 and counting!
He is trying to work something out for me in Peru, but that’s not until May – If we can come up with a feasible itinerary.
Meanwhile, know that you’re welcome to use any or all of this letter to encourage others to join your tours with Eduardo.
Stay well, keep birding. I plan to, too.
Kay Goodhue — Johannesburg, South Africa