North Peru: The White Masked Antbird Extension

Scarlet-banded Barbet
Until the early 2000s, White-masked Antbird was known from the unique holotype collected in what is now Peru, but the species had been speculated to be a hybrid because of the lack of subsequent sightings in the intervening half century.

In 2001 the species was “rediscovered” by an Louisiana State University expedition to the Morona River in Loreto department near a community called Arena Blanca. This confirmed it was a valid species.

A French expedition with ex Manu expeditions Leader Fabrice Schmitt and others found the bird just on the outskirts of an isolated town called San Lorenzo. It seems to be associated with white sand forest and is an obligate army ant follower.




Day 1:LIMA (OR NORTH PERU MEGAS TOUR) TO TARAPOTO If coming from Lima we’ll suggest a suitable flight, if coming off the North Peru Megas Tour you will arrive in the afternoon for a night at our resort hotel in Tarapoto
DAY 2: TARAPOTO TO YURIMAGUASThis morning we'll leave early to visit an area mountain range known as “La Escalera” on the road to Yurimaguas. This is a newly paved road that ascends a ridge visible from east of Tarapoto. Here we have a chance of seeing Koepckeʼs Hermit, Rose-fronted Parakeet, Golden-collared Toucanet, Dusky-chested Flycatcher, Blackish Pewee, and Dotted Tanager among many others. The Hummingbird feeders here are the main reason we will visit this site This is one of the few localities in Peru where Plumbeous Euphonia can be found. Exploring on the way we'll arrive at our resort hotel with swimming pool and all for leisurely night, cold beer and a leisurely start next day for another exciting segment of the trip. Night in Yurimaguas. B: BL: D
Day 3: YURIMAGUAS TO SAN LORENZOOur small plane flight to San Lorenzo on the Maranon River will leave in the morning – what time – no one knows! However, on arrival we'll immediately head out by local transport to a patch of forest where Fabrice Schmitt found a population of the enigmatic White-masked Antbird in 2013, now a protected area. Previously, to see this bird you had to be on expedition status to the Morona River, so this is really the first time this "lost" bird is available. The balance of the day will be spent birding the highly diverse forest. Night a rustic but clean hotel with en suite bathrooms B: BL: D
DAY 4 & 5: WHITE – MASKED ANTBIRDTwo full days in the area with priority being given to the Antbird. Of course, we'll see much more as we look for it. This species likes army ants and we'll try and find a swarm where it will be for sure in attendance but if we do not it will also come into playback if in the mood. Also, here are Green-tailed Goldenthroat, Black-necked Red Cotinga, Black Bushbird, Three-striped Flycatcher, Lunulated Antbird, Short-billed Leaftosser and a host of others. Night in our small hotel in San Lorenzo B: L: D
 DAY 6:SAN LORENZO TO TARAPOTOFlight to Yurimaguas and then we head straight off on the road to Tarapoto with some birding along the way near the Tunnels and the Hummingbird feeders. Night at our resort hotel in Tarapoto B: BL: D
DAY 7: SAN LORENZO TO TARAPOTOSome early morning birding near Tarapoto and noon flights to Lima and connecting flights home B