Central Peru: High Andean and Cloud Forest Endemics

Puna Grasslands, Polylepis, The Satipo Road, Cloud Forest, West Slope Endemics, Flightless Grebe and Bosque Unchog.

Diademed-Sandpiper-PloverPhotographer: Ian Merrill

This tour has been carefully designed to give you a chance at seeing all of the central Peruvian high Andean endemics, such as White-cheeked and Bay-vented Cotingas, Pardusco, Junín Grebe, White-bellied Cinclodes and Golden-backed Mountain-tanager. Taking place amidst the dramatic surroundings of the Peruvian high Andes, the dates for this tour have been chosen carefully to coincide with what should be the driest time of year. During this tour we will visit the Huascaran National Park, The Satipo Road and its endemics, Lake Junín and the Carpish mountains

Day 1: ARRIVAL IN LIMA

Arriving in Lima our staff will transfer you to our selected hotel where you will spend the night.

Day 2: LOMAS DE LACHAY TO SANTA EULALIA

Today we will drive north from Lima to visit the Lomas de Lachay nature reserve. This is an area of low coastal hills that are covered in a unique 'fog vegetation’, comprising sparse plant life which obtains water almost entirely from condensation as it rarely rains here. On the way we will travel through bare desert, home to the endemic Coastal Miner. Higher up in the hills we may find Grayish Miner and the endemic Thick-billed Miner. At times Least Seedsnipe, Tawny-throated Dotterel and Peruvian Pipit all nest in this area.

Upon reaching Lomas de Lachay we will search the green slopes for species such as Black-chested Buzzard-eagle, Variable Hawk, American Kestrel, Eared Dove, Croaking Ground-dove, Oasis and Amazilia Hummingbirds, Vermilion Flycatcher, Blue-and-white Swallow, Hooded Siskin, Grassland Yellow-Finch, Rufous-collared Sparrow and Peruvian Meadowlark. If we are fortunate we may even find the rare and nomadic Raimondi's Yellow-finch here. A short distance away from the reserve itself is a desolate desert canyon, where we shall search for the endemic Cactus Canastero amongst the sparse cacti and large boulders. In more open areas we shall keep an eye out for the small desert race nanodes of the Burrowing Owl.Moving on, we shall diligently search recently-plowed fields for the cryptic Peruvian Thick-knee and the diminutive Short-tailed Field-tyrant. We may find Groove-billed Ani, as well as Parrot-billed and Chestnut-throated Seedeaters, in hedges and brushy areas.
We will arrive in the late afternoon at our country hotel in Santa Eulalia where we will spend the night. B: L: D

DAY 3: THE SANTA EULALIA VALLEY

After an early start we will drive along the dusty but spectacular Santa Eulalia road, which will take us high into the mountains above Lima. The scenery here is stunning! After crossing a bridge over a tremendous chasm, we shall reach a shrubby hillside and a small ravine where we will spend time searching through flocks of the numerous Mourning Sierra-finches in the hopes of finding the elusive and rare endemic Rufous-breasted Warbling-finch. The endemic Black Inca is also to be found here and Andean Tinamou is often seen on the road.

Lower down we will enter a mosaic of small farms with hedgerows and irrigated fields, where we will check flowering bushes for the endemic Bronze-tailed Comet. Other endemics we will hope to find here are Black-necked Woodpecker, Striated Earthcreeper, Rusty-crowned Tit-spinetail, Thick-billed Miner and Rusty-bellied Brush-finch. Tall groves of introduced Eucalyptus trees often hold the diminutive Peruvian Pygmy-owl and, depending on the weather conditions, the majestic Andean Condor may take to the air.
Descending further we will reach the arid cactus-clad slopes which are home to another highly prized endemic, the Great Inca-finch.

Other birds we will hope to see during the course of the day include Bare-faced Ground-dove, Andean Swift, Giant Hummingbird, Peruvian Sheartail, Purple-collared Woodstar, Pied-crested Tit-tyrant, Long-tailed Mockingbird, Cinereous Conebill, Blue-capped Tanager, Mourning Sierra-finch and Scrub Blackbird.

In the afternoon we will head up the central highway to our hotel at San Mateo where we will spend the night. This is stage two of our acclimation to higher altitudes. B: L: D

DAY 4: THE MARCOPOMACOCHA ROAD

After breakfast we will leave San Mateo and head for the cold high-elevation bogs of the Marcopomacocha road, which are home to one of the world’s most highly sought-after shorebirds, the exquisite Diademed Sandpiper-plover. Today we will be birding at an elevation of over 4,500 meters, which will be tiring, but the superb set of special birds to be found here will make our physical efforts well worthwhile and we should be perfectly acclimated. The scenery is without comparison and at this time of year we can expect sun and a scattering of snow.

Another odd wader we will look for today is the large Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe, which often feeds amongst the peaceful llama and alpaca herds at our favorite birding bog. We may well flush a startled Puna Snipe as we search through this often-waterlogged habitat. We will also be aiming to find four high-altitude endemics here: White-bellied Cinclodes, Dark-winged Miner, Black-breasted Hillstar and Junín Canastero.
Other birds we may find in this scenic area include Olivaceous Thornbill, Andean Goose, Mountain Caracara, Grey-breasted Seedsnipe, Andean Flicker, Slender-billed Miner, Plain-breasted Earthcreeper, Streak-throated Canastero, Puna, Plain-capped, Cinereous, White-fronted and Ochre-naped Ground-tyrants, Andean Swallow, White-winged Diuca-finch and Bright-rumped Yellow-finch.
After this fantastic day of birding amidst wonderful scenery we will carry on to our comfortable country hotel in Concepcion where we will spend the night. B: L: D

DAY 5: THE PARIAHAUNCA ROAD

Today we will travel the road to Parihuanca, where the recently discovered and described Black-goggled Brush-finch occurs. We will pass through a fair amount of high-elevation country, in which we will look for any of the birds that we may have missed at Marcapomacocha yesterday. Remnant cloud forest patches here hold an as-yet undescribed species of Pheugopedius wren (“Mantaro Wren”), which is related to Plain-tailed Wren. Other birds we will look for during the day include Creamy-crested Spinetail, Junín and Streak-backed Canasteros, Striated Earthcreeper, Tschudi’s Tapaculo, a soon-to-be-described species of Phacellodomus thornbird (related to Streak-fronted Thornbird), a distinct form of Azara’s Spinetail and an as-yet undescribed species of Asthenes canastero (related to Rusty-fronted Canastero).
In the late afternoon we will return to our hotel in Concepcion for a second night. B: L: D

DAY 6: THE UPPER SATIPO ROAD

Today we will explore the Satipo road, which has become increasingly popular thanks to the discovery of some desirable species there.
We will start the day looking for the endemics Creamy-crested Spinetail and Eye-ringed Thistletail, along with a soon to be described species of Scytolopus tapaculo (“Milpo”).
Ascending into the cloud forest we will hope to find the recently-described endemic Junín Tapaculo. Other birds we should encounter here include Shining Sunbeam, Giant Hummingbird, Grey-breasted Mountain-toucan, Barred Fruiteater, Yellow-throated Tanager, Tyrian Metaltail, Red-crested Cotinga, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-tanager, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Bay Antpitta, Pearled Treerunner, Streaked Tuftedcheek and Rusty and Black-throated Flowerpiercers.
In the elfin-forest habitat we will target the beautiful endemic Fire-throated Metaltail and the obscura race of Rufous Antpitta and the local foem of Chestnut Antpitta. Also, to be found here is a soon-to-be-described species of Cranioleuca spinetail, as well as Black-backed Grosbeak and White-winged Black-tyrant.
Tonight, will be spent staying in a room provided by the local community. This room holds 6 beds, and a separate screened bed to provide some privacy for changing and for one person to sleep. There is a clean flush-toilet but no shower (its cold anyway!). There is usually electricity, provided from a small hydro-powered generator. Alternatively, if you require more privacy than this room provides, there is a big football field where we can pitch tents for those who prefer by request. B: L: D

DAY 7: THE SATIPO AND ANDAMARCA ROADSThere is much to look for in this area and we will spend another full day exploring this forest and a nearby road for endemics and soon to be described species. B: L: D

 DAY 8: APAYA TO OXAPAMPA

After some morning birding at lower elevations of the Satipo road, we’ll head for Oxapampa and our comfortable Ulcumano Cloud Forest Lodge for the night. On the way we will stop at Bosque de Sha’llot which hosts birds such as Black-winged Parrot, Bay Antpitta, the local form of Chestnut Antpitta, the endemic Masked Fruiteater, and our main target the endemic Creamy-bellied Antwren, Large-footed Tapaculo (endemic), Rufous-vented Tapaculo, Inca Flycatcher, Peruvian Wren (endemic). Night Ulcumano Lodge. B: L: D

DAY 9: FULL DAY ULCUMANO LODGE

Today will be spent exploring the trails surrounding our cloud forest lodge. The lodge has a bird list of some 170 species, including the endemics Yellow-scarfed Tanager, Green and White Hummingbird, Peruvian Wren, the local form of Chestnut Antpitta and Inca Flycatcher. This is also perhaps the best place in the world to see Cloud-forest Screech-owl.

Other birds that we hope to encounter today will include Golden-headed Quetzal, Gray-breasted Mountain-toucan, Chestnut-crested Cotinga and White-eared Solitaire. There are a range of montane tanagers to be found here, such as Silver-backed, Flame-faced, Saffron-crowned, Yellow-throated and Fawn-breasted Tanager. Masked Fruiteather, Chestnut-crested Cotinga, Bay Antpitta, al Swallow-tailed Nightjar, Crested Quetzal, Uniform Antshrike, Rufous-Vented Tapaculo, Andean Motmot, Peruvian Tyrannulet, White-eared Solitaire. Montane Foliage-gleaner, Hummingbirds include Green-fronted Lancebill, Bronzy Inca, Collared Inca, Booted Racket-tail. After a full day birding in the Andean cloud forest we will spend a second night here in our comfortable lodge. Night Ulcumano Lodge B: L: D.

DAY 10: ULCUMANO LODGE TO LAKE JUNÍN

After spending the morning birding around the lodge, we will head out to the coffee plantations around Villa Rica, where we will specifically be looking for the endemic Creamy-bellied Antwren should we have missed it so far. We will also visit Lago Oconal to see what water birds are present-we often see Masked Duck here.
We will then continue on and up to the high altitudes of Lago Junín for a night at a rustic hotel but it is the best in town! B: L: D.

 DAY 11: LAKE JUNÍN AND THE FLIGHTLESS GREBE

Today we will take to the water in small boats on one of Peru’s largest lakes, Lago Junín. This is the home of the critically endangered endemic Puna Grebe (also known as Junín Grebe). To have any chance of observing this grebe we will have to reach an area of floating reeds in the lake. There will be plenty of other Andean waterfowl around, such as Speckled and Puna Teals, Yellow-billed Pintail and Andean Duck. Puna Ibises and Andean Gulls are often present in large numbers and with luck we will see Andean Avocet as well. If the water levels are right we will also look for Junín Rail. The reedy margins of the lake hold Wren-like Rushbird and Many-colored Rush-tyrant, as well as Puna Plover and Plumbeous Rail. We will employ a local guide to help us see the endemic Junín Rail.
We will also do some birding on “terra-firme” in the fields surrounding the lake, where we could find Common Miner, Black-billed Shrike-tyrant, Andean Negrito, Short-billed Pipit and Ash-breasted Sierra-finch.

In the afternoon we will make our way to Huanuco, stopping to look for Rufous-backed Inca-finch along the way, if time permits. We’ll stay at Huanuco’s most famous grand hotel right on the Plaza B: L: D.

DAY 12: THE CARPISH MOUNTAINS

These next 2 full days will be devoted to exploring the forests near the Carpish pass, including a walk along the famous Paty trail. Amongst the mixed feeding flocks found in these humid habitats we could encounter Yellow-whiskered and Grey-hooded Bush-tanagers, Black-capped, Oleaginous, Black-eared and Drab Hemispingus’, Beryl-spangled Tanager and Hooded, Lacrimose and Blue-winged Mountain-tanagers. We will be keeping a special eye out for another attractive flock member, the Yellow-scarfed Tanager. More challenging birding will be required to see Trilling, Large-footed and Rufous-vented Tapaculos and Rusty-breasted Antpitta and yet another form of Chestnut Antpitta. Amongst the endemic species to be found here will be Masked Fruiteater, Peruvian Tyrannulet, Unstreaked Tit-tyrant, Inca Flycatcher and Peruvian Wren.
Other species that we might encounter during the 2 days Green-and-black and Band-tailed Fruiteaters, Masked Saltator, White-rumped Hawk, Powerful Woodpecker, Streak-headed Antbird (in areas where bamboo is prevalent), Streak-throated and Smoky Bush-tyrants, Citrine and Russet-crowned Warblers and White-eared Solitaire. Tonight, we return to our hotel in Huanuco. B: L: D

DAY 13 & 14: BOSQUE UNCHOG

Today we will visit the isolated and remote mountains of Bosque Unchog. These are the stunning Golden-backed Mountain-tanager, Rufous-browed Hemispingus, Bay-vented Cotinga and the strange Pardusco.
We will also be on the look-out for the endemics Coppery Metaltail. Other birds that we hope to encounter today include Neblina and an undescribed Tapaculo, Line-fronted Canastero, the obscura form of Rufous Antpitta (soon to be a full species in it's own right), Ochraceous-breasted Flycatcher, Golden-collared Tanager, Buff-breasted and Chestnut-bellied Mountain-tanagers, White-chinned Thistletail, Sword-billed Hummingbird and Mountain Velvetbreast. We will also hope to see Swallow-tailed Nightjars in the evening.
Due to its remoteness we will need to camp here tonight, as comfortably as possible. Our field staff will have prepared the camp and food for us whilst we have been birding. Night in our tented camp. We’ll have two nights of camping near 12,000 feet in an absolutely enchanting high Andean valley camping in luxury. Each morning we’ll arise, probably to the calling of displaying Andean Snipe overhead, but more certainly to the delivery of coffee or tea and a bowl of hot water for freshening up. During our one and a half days of birding, we will spread out over the surrounding ridges and forested valleys, checking the upper elevation for its special birds. Lunches may be back at camp or delivered to us along the trails. We’ll relax in the dining tent in the evening, usually with popcorn and something to drink before dinner. We’ll sleep in cozy tents, spread across the spongy pajonal, under a million stars. Nights at Camp. B:L:D.

DAY 15: BOSQUE UNCHOG TO HUÁNUCO

We will spend the morning birding at Bosque Unchog. After lunch we will make our way back to Huanuco, making a stop to look for the endemic Brown-flanked Tanager en route or visit another birding site Night (and hot showers!) at the same comfortable hotel in Huanuco we stayed at before B: L: D

 

DAY 16: HUÁNUCO TO THE CORDILLERA BLANCA

Today we will travel to the Callejon de Huaylas and the Huascaran National Park, crossing the divide of the two mountain ranges, the Cordilleras Blanca and Huayhuash, that dominate this part of the tour. In the afternoon we will do some high-altitude birding, looking for ground-tyrants, Giant Coot and Gray-breasted and Rufous-bellied Seedsnipes. If time permits we will make a stop at the little-visited major Inca archaeological site of Huánuco Viejo, where we can find Andean Ibis and Band-tailed Sierra-finch. We should arrive at our comfortable our hotel in Carhuaz just after dark, where we will spend the night. B: L: D

DAYS 17 and 18: THE HUASCARAN NATIONAL PARK

We will spend 2 full days birding the Andes of the Cordillera Blanca, in the shadow of Huascaran, Peru’s highest peak (it being the second highest peak in the whole of the Andes). We will concentrate our birding efforts in the Polylepis groves at Quebrada Llanganuco, above the village of Yungay. Endemic birds that we will be searching for here include Ancash Tapaculo, Plain-tailed Warbling-finch, Rufous-eared Brush-finch, Rufous-backed Inca-finch and the cinnamon-tailed form of Pale-tailed Canastero. It will require some effort however to locate the endemic Tit-like Dacnis where there are Gynoxis bushes.
Other birds we may see here include the endemic White-cheeked Cotinga (if we can find any mistletoe), Ash-breasted and Maranon Tit-tyrants, Rainbow Starfrontlet, Andean Hillstar, Blue-mantled Thornbill, Yellow-billed Tit-tyrant, Jelski's Chat-tyrant and Spot-billed, Rufous-naped and White-browed Ground-tyrants. Both nights spent in our comfortable hotel in Carhuaz. B: L: D

DAY 19: DRIVE TO LIMA

Today we will drive back to Lima, breaking our journey with some birding stops. This will include a stop at Lago Conococha, where we should see many Andean Geese, Andean Ibis and Giant Coots. We may also make a stop to look for Bay-crowned Brush-finch. If time permits, on the way in to Lima we may visit the Laguna Paraiso for shorebirds and terns including Peruvian Tern. We will arrive in Lima in time for late flights home or overnight can be arranged by request B: L.

 NOTE: The very nature of the isolated area we will be visiting at Bosque Unchog means we will need to camp for 2 nights in order to see the special birds to be found here. Our camp crew will take care of everything. However, tour participants must each bring along a good winter weight sleeping bag for these nights in camp. The camps are as comfortable as possible, with dining tents and folding tables and chairs. We will have individual sleeping tents, each with comfortable inflatable 'therma-rest' mattresses. Two toilet tents will be provided, as well as hot water for washing in the morning and evening. Horses will carry our gear to camp and will be available, if needed, for riding back to camp after a long day's birding.

Customer Testimonials

Jim Watt - Canada

I want to thank you very much for leading such an excellent trip to the high Andes this September. I had a great time and enjoyed myself thoroughly. I even survived the camping.

Jerry Wozniak - USA

Thank You For The Great Peru Trip. I Have To Give Full Credit Of Appreciation. Guide - Personable, Patient, Knowledgeable, Friendly, Sincere, Conscientious, Giving And Caring--And Silly. He Held It Altogether And Made It Memorable And Worthwhile. Kudos To Him. You Are Fortunate To Have A Great Guide.

Kent Lennert - USA

I have just finished the Central Peru trip with Fabrice and it was great. Fabrice did a great job and I would recommend him to anyone. Knows the birds and pleasant to be with.By the way, the Manu Expeditions crew on this trip is outstanding. The food in the field was the best. In fact everything they did for us was outstanding. Their field meals beat all meals in restaurants and hotels. My compliments to your staff.

Submit a testimonial

Comments

Thank You For The Great Peru Trip. I Have To Give Full Credit Of Appreciation. Guide - Personable, Patient, Knowledgeable, Friendly, Sincere, Conscientious, Giving And Caring--And Silly. He Held It Altogether And Made It Memorable And Worthwhile. Kudos To Him. You Are Fortunate To Have A Great Guide.

I have just finished the Central Peru trip with Fabrice and it was great. Fabrice did a great job and I would recommend him to anyone. Knows the birds and pleasant to be with.By the way, the Manu Expeditions crew on this trip is outstanding. The food in the field was the best. In fact everything they did for us was outstanding. Their field meals beat all meals in restaurants and hotels. My compliments to your staff.

I want to thank you very much for leading such an excellent trip to the high Andes this September. I had a great time and enjoyed myself thoroughly. I even survived the camping.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
9 + 9 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.