Southern and West-Central Peru - 27th August to 16th September 2006

Published by Ian Merrill (i.merrill AT btopenworld.com)

Participants: Ian Merrill

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Saturday 26th August

KLM may not offer the most luxurious service in the skies, but they are rather cheap and an additional bonus is the fact that their Schipol to Lima service provides a stop-off at the Caribbean Island of Bonaire, one of Holland’s last remaining colonial outposts. At 14.00 local time Andy Bunting, Andy Deighton, Paul Hopkins, Martin Kennewell, Volkert van der Willigen and I emerge, blinking, into the bright sunlight and extreme humidity of Bonaire’s tiny airfield.

After nine hours in the confines of the MD11 we are keen to stretch our legs and make the most of our forty-five minutes on terra firme, though an over-zealous security guard makes list-building a little more tricky by shepherding us inside the shed-like terminal building. In spite of our plate-glass confines we clock up an impressive total of seventeen bird species, including Ruby-Topaz Hummingbird and Carib Grackle.

A further three-and-a-half hours of air travel, first over the Amazonian lowlands, then rugged Andean peaks, delivers us to the Peruvian capital of Lima situated on the arid western coastal plain. Once clear of the administrative formalities we are warmly greeted by Manu Expeditions’ Lima representative, Jorge, and whisked through the busy streets to the Manhattan Hotel. A couple of beers and an early night set us up for an all-too-imminent alarm call.

Sunday 27th August

03.45 is never a good time to begin the day, but needs must and we have an early air connection to make. At 06.10 our LAN domestic flight leaves Lima for an hour-long hop over the Andes to Cusco, the 3,300m high gateway town to some of the finest birding sites on the planet.

Our Peruvian trip has been many months in preparation and at an early stage in our investigations we concluded that the use of Peru’s premier birding ground agents, Manu Expeditions, would be essential if we were to realise the full potential of this incredibly bird-rich region. We are therefore greeted at the airport by the Messiah of Peruvian birding, Barry Walker, with a broad smile and trademark wide-brimmed hat. Barry, who left his home in the UK some 25 years previously to undertake a birding trip from which he never returned, now runs the Manu Expeditions (URL: www.manuexpeditions.com, E-mail: birding@manuexpeditions.com) travel company and is unparalleled in his knowledge of Peruvian birds.

Our kit is rapidly thrown into the superbly equipped go-anywhere Manu Expeditions bus, which will be at our disposal for the next two weeks, and we set off southeast to Huacarpay Lake. Leaving behind the less picturesque modern concrete areas of downtown Cusco we travel past traditional whitewashed houses and shops with wavy terracotta-tiled roofs. A good paved road follows the flat valley bottom, which supports a patchwork of hand-cultivated fields, small blocks of mud-brick houses and occasional stands of introduced eucalyptus. The ubiquitous Chiguanco Thrush hops across gardens and we also spy our first dark Puna Ibises through the windows of the bus.

Steep dry hills flank the valleys and also the large saucer-shaped depression that harbours Huacarpay Lake and its surrounding wetlands. Although cultivation has encroached into the Lake’s fertile margins, the area has recently been granted formal protection and is designated as a Ramsar site of international importance for its bird life. It is almost thirty-six hours since we left the UK when we actually commence our first scheduled birding, initially in the dry thorn and cactus scrub that covers the lakeside hills. The endemic Rusty-fronted Canestero is our first prize bird, along with Band-tailed and Ash-breasted Sierra-Finches and White-browed Chat-Tyrant. A pair of Bearded Mountaineers, a range-restricted endemic, takes a little more finding, as does Streak-fronted Thornbird.

Over the next four-and-a-half hours we make a complete circuit of Huacarpay, partially on foot and partially by bus. Highlights include Giant Hummingbird, Greenish Yellow-Finch, Rufous-naped Ground-Tyrant, Andean Negrito and our first Bare-faced Ground Doves. Waterbirds are abundant, with good numbers of both Puna and Speckled Teal, plus Andean Duck, Yellow-billed Pintail, White-tufted Grebe and Plumbeous Rail. In the reedy margins dazzling little Many-colored Rush-Tyrants feed.

An extremely civilized lunch is taken seated at our picnic table in the shade of eucalypts, where we dine on avocado, olives and local cheeses and meats, before spending the remainder of the afternoon birding around some adjoining pools and in the dry scrub which bounds the wheat fields beyond. Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant and some close-up views of hunting Cinereous Harriers are the highlights of a rather hot couple of hours.

In the late afternoon we retrace our route to Cusco and check into the very comfortable Los Andes de America Hotel, just two minutes walk from the main plaza. After consuming our first Coca Tea, an acquired taste not unlike stewed Privet leaves, we take a stroll into town. Cusco’s mixture of Inca and Hispanic influenced architecture is outstanding, while the lively tourist district retains a distinctly relaxed and welcoming air; this is certainly a place where a traveller could spend some time, and many are clearly doing so.

After dark we meet up with BW in his very own ‘English Pub’, the famous Cross Keys, where we consume the first of many Pisco Sours and complete the daily bird log. A magnificent evening meal is consumed next door in the Tunupa Restaurant, where we are treated to a demonstration of skirt-swirling Peruvian dance.

Monday 28th August

A huge buffet breakfast and short taxi ride to Cusco railway station preclude our boarding of the somewhat luxurious train that will convey us on our Machu Picchu daytrip. The three-and-a-half hour journey commences at 06.00 with a backwards-and-forwards shuffle out of the basin in which the town of Cusco lies; an ingenious system of switchbacks and points sees us climb above the sea of terracotta roofs and up the valley-side beyond.

The initial stages of the journey run through farmland, then scrub-covered hillsides. Eventually the train track and Urubamaba Rivers converge, and we begin to follow the churning white waters that cut steep ravines into the ever-more-forested landscape. Torrent Ducks and White-capped Dippers appear at regular intervals in this ideal habitat, which continues all the way to the town of Aguas Calientes. By the time the railway has descended to the town, located at 1700m, the forest has taken on a distinctly more luxuriant nature. Mitred Parakeet, Highland Motmot and Yellow-browed Sparrow are added to our list in the vicinity of the station before we make a rapid beeline in the direction of the waiting buses, in an attempt to get ahead of the crowds.

Once full, the small tourist bus embarks on the twenty-minute journey, first along the valley bottom, and then zigzagging on a dusty gravel road that leads up the steep hillside to the Machu Picchu ruins. The bus is actually one of twenty or thirty identical vehicles and it is soon apparent that they run a relentless day-long shuttle mission to deliver as many tourists as is physically possible to Peru’s premier tourist attraction.

The surrounding landscape is one of breathtaking beauty, with precipitously steep forested mountainsides slipping in and out of banks of low cloud. The Inca ruins themselves are undoubtedly impressive when set against such an awesome backdrop, but when they have to be shared with hundreds of other day-trippers the mystical atmosphere is sadly eroded. To wander amongst the wondrously sculpted jigsaws of stone walls and doorways must be unforgettable when experienced in relative solitude, but when one is shoulder-to-shoulder with American and Japanese tourists the experience is far less magical.

After passing through the turnstile with the accompanying hordes we realise the error of our timing and limit ourselves to less than an hour around the ruins. Wandering amongst the precision-fit masonry and along the maze of ancient steps and alleyways, we desperately try to capture an image without another hundred souls dotted about the stonework. I find it to be a visit of rather mixed emotions and in hindsight maybe we should have missed out this site entirely, bearing in mind our limited timescale; I would advise any future visitors to allow an overnight stay at Aguas Calientes to permit an early morning visit to the ruins and some worthwhile birding time.

In spite of the crowds birds are actually seen as soon as we arrive, with Rust-and-yellow plus Blue-and-black Tanagers around the entrance turnstile and an Inca Wren in the bamboo immediately adjacent. Our first Mountain Caracara of the trip is a juvenile bird perched atop the ruins and both Highland and Sierran Elaenias hunt insects from the forest bounding the site.

Leaving the ruins we head back down the entrance road, dodging the never-ending army of tourist buses. A small group of very attractive Tricolored Brush-Finches linger in the roadside bushes and more Inca Wrens are coaxed into view with playback. A Green-and-white Hummingbird feeds beside the track and a superb White-eared Solitaire is first heard and then seen at close range. Other highlights of a sweaty couple of hours under a now-clear sky include White-winged Black-Tyrant, Azara’s Spinetail, Glossy-black Thrush, Speckled Hummingbird, Variable Antshrike and an Andean Condor high above. A group of long-snouted Andean Coatis is also seen, as they timidly raid the rubbish tip to the rear of a café close to the access road. Also of note are the hordes of savagely biting ‘Pumawecatchas’, the ‘fly that makes the puma cry’!

After a late lunch we descend by bus to connect with our 15.30 train out of Aguas Calientes. Arriving at our destination of Ollantaytambo with a little daylight to spare we deposit our kit in the excellent rustic El Albergue Hotel and spend the last hour of the day birding beside the Urubamba River. Here we find a photogenic pair of Torrent Ducks and a very smart White-winged Cinclodes typically feeding at the water’s edge. Food at the family-run El Albergue is outstanding and over a hot bowl of soup and a beer we discuss our plans for the morning and what will actually be the trip’s first full day of serious birding.

Tuesday 29th August

By 04.30 we are aboard the bus and on the road for the two-hour climb to Abra Malaga. As the first light of day penetrates the mist and cloud the outlines of high peaks become visible, as does the dusting of snow on the ground as we negotiate the 4,230m Abra Malaga Pass. Major road improvement operations are afoot beyond the pass and this is great cause for concern as we descend through a conglomeration of excavators, lorries, stone piles and the remains of vegetation that has been ripped out as part of the road widening works.

Although the pass itself is well above the treeline our descent sees the height and density of vegetation slowly increase until we are in superb lichen-draped and bamboo-rich elfin forest. We are close to the settlement of Canchaillo, at an altitude of 3,600m, and although the sound of construction traffic echoes down the valley we have thankfully found a relatively undisturbed section of habitat.

A profusion of birds instantly begins to materialise from the mist, commencing with an occabambe race Rufous Antpitta that responds to the tape. It is rapidly followed by Moustached Flower-Piercer, Purple-backed Thornbill, White-browed Conebill, Stripe-headed Brush-Finch, Great Thrush, Line-fronted Canestero and Coppery-naped Puffleg. A break for breakfast is hard to achieve in such a superbly target-rich environment and after a quick bowl of granola we continue our uphill walk, ticking madly as we go. Scarlet-bellied Mountian-Tanager, Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant, White-throated Tyrannulet and both Black-throated and Masked Flower-Piercers appear to be abundant.

A number of stunning little Plushcap Finches are found in the Chusquea bamboo, while Marcapata Spinetail, Puna Thistletail and Diademed Tapaculo all obediently respond to playback. Tyrian Metaltail, Three-striped Hemisphingus, Violet-throated Starfrontlet and Streaked Tuftedcheek are all added to the list in the course of a phenomenally bird-rich couple of hours, along with some real gems in the form of Tit-like Dacnis, Unstreaked Tit-Tyrant, Parodi’s Hemisphingus and Smokey Bush-Tyrant.

Although the cloud continues to drift in and out of the valley and occasional heavy showers force liberal use of our umbrellas the birds continue to appear as we slowly walk down hill. Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant, Paramo Seedeater, Yellow-billed Cacique and Mountain Wren come next, with a dazzling Golden-collared Tanager and the rare Cusco Brush-Finch being further highlights.

Lunch is consumed on the bus in the course of a particularly heavy shower, before we commence our pm session that continues to inundate the notebook with new birds. Andean Guan and the ever-impressive Sword-billed Hummingbird are seen, while better light allows us to pick out the distinctly pink throats of Pale-footed Swallows which hawk overhead. Another Rufous Antpitta puts in an appearance, along with Blue-backed Conebill, Supercilliared Hemisphingus and White-throated Hawk.

The weather clears later in the day with breaks in the cloud providing tantalising views of the stunning snow-capped peak of the 6,000m high Mount Veronica which dominates the regions topography. When we reach the village of Carrizales, at around 3,500m, we find our progress blocked by a one-way system enforced by the roadworks and therefore retrace our steps back uphill.

Although we come across a series of large excavators ripping away at the roadside habitat and are passed by dozens of spoil-laden lorries, the birding is relatively uninterrupted and we finish the afternoon with another couple of star birds in the form of Chestnut-bellied Mountain-Tanager and a fine rufous phase Yungas Pygmy-Owl.

Our mighty bagful of quality birds are celebrated with another fine meal and many a well-deserved Cusquena beer back at the El Albergue.

Wednesday 30th August

Today we hit the road at 04.45 for our ascent to the highest altitude birding yet, retracing our route to Abra Malaga Pass. The weather is much better than on the previous day, with the sky being clear and a heavy frost lying on the ground, which bodes very well for our thin aired assault on some of Peru’s most sought-after species.

The breakfast table is erected at the roadside and while we wait for our pancakes to cook the first birds are added to the list in the form of flyover Bright-rumped Yellow-Finch, White-winged Diuca-Finch and a very welcome group of three Andean Ibis. Pancakes with syrup and strong coffee is taken against a backdrop of Veronica’s unobscured snowy peak, fortifying us for a breathless assault on the ridge that bounds the famous Abra Malaga Polylepsis woodland.

Streak-throated Canestero, Andean Hillstar and another group of five Andean Ibis provide welcome breaks during the short but exhausting ascent. The ridge is at an altitude of around 4,500m and affords fantastic views of Veronica, the long U-shaped valley stretching below and also the remnant patches of Polylepsis that represent one of the most threatened habitats on Earth. What remains of the woodland is clearly restricted to the more inaccessible steep valley flanks, as the lower sections have largely been cut for firewood.

We make our way down slope through the gnarled trunks and peeling red bark of the dwarf woodland, hung with multicoloured lichens and moss, slowly notching up a stunning list of the site’s speciality species as we descend. Blue-mantled Thornbill, Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant and White-browed Tit-Spinetail are all noted, as is the first of four Stripe-headed Antpittas. Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant, Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant, Rufous-webbed Tyrant, Black Siskin and Great Sabrewing follow, along with Tawny Tit-Spinetail, Giant Conebill and the first of a number of Puna Tapaculos.

At the head of the valley is a high moss-hung cliff set in a large Polylepsis stand, which is our next focus of attention. We make our way to its base and BW begins to play back a recording of the appropriate call. Eventually a distant response is heard, but only very briefly. A frustrating half-hour ensues, with occasional calls being heard as we edge closer to the source. Finally, on a mossy ledge some ten metres up the vertical cliff face, the distinctive chocolate-brown form of a Royal Cinclodes is located. Our quarry is somewhat larger than expected, with chestnut wing patch, creamy supercillium and a mottled whitish throat. A heavy decurved bill is used to rummage in the damp peaty soil that has accumulated on the ledges and to toss aside leaf litter. We are extremely privileged to be able to study and film this incredibly rare species, whose world population is probably less than a couple of hundred individuals.

With our Polylepsis targets in the bag we begin the long descent down the rocky valley, gathering more new birds as we go. First are a couple of very impressive Andean Flickers feeding close to a herd of domesticated Alpacas and Llamas. On the flatter valley floor we find a proliferation of wintering ground tyrants, where BW’s identification prowess comes into its own. With his help we sort out the White-fronted, White-browed, Cinereous and Puna Ground-Tyrants that dart from rock to rock.

In the lower, more sheltered portion of the valley, where crop fields and pasture predominate, we locate our first gaudy Peruvian Sierra-Finches and nectar-sipping Shining Sunbeams. It’s early afternoon before we make a welcome rendezvous with the bus and our waiting lunch, where the valley rejoins the main road. Although the physical distance covered is not too great, the extremely high altitude has taken its toll with at least half of the group suffering from an assortment of headaches and dizziness.

Fully refreshed we continue to follow the road downhill, birding the dry scrub at around 3,400m where we eventually eek out an impressive trio of Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch, White-tufted Sunbeam and Creamy-crested Spinetail, the latter a real star in a genus of generally dull brown candidates.

The remainder of the day is spent travelling back to Cusco, making a return to the Los Andes de America for a single night before the long trek east and down the fabled Manu Road.

Thursday 31st August

At 04.30 we’re on the bus and heading into the mountains. Our route, along the upper reaches of the Manu Road, takes us through an arid landscape of yellow rocky hillsides and dry valleys. A breakfast stop is made in an area of walled terraced fields and eucalypts at around 3,700m, close to Huancarini, where more Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finches entertain. A brief stop a few hundred metres lower finds Slender-billed Miner and Taczanowski’s Ground-Tyrant feeding in a bare roadside field, and an Ornate Tinamou runs up the hillside close to the pre-Inca burial towers at Paucartambo.

We pass through numerous villages of low mud-walled houses, outside which groups of ladies in traditional wide-brimmed black hats and brightly coloured woven shawls congregate. As we travel up the west slope of the Andes the climate remains dry and vegetation relatively sparse. Nearing the high point of the road at the Acjanaco Pass, however, enough moisture is precipitated from the low cloud that often shrouds the area, to promote the growth of blocks of low woodland in sheltered valleys. A brief stop in one such area produces White-winged Black-Tyrant, Tit-like Dacnis, Sparkling Violetear and Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant.

Our approach to the 3,344m summit of the Acjanaco Pass is made in dense low cloud. A fee is paid to enter the Manu Biosphere Reserve proper and we drive a short way down the Tres Cruces Road to tape in a pair of Scribble-tailed Canesteros from the mist. We then dine at the roadside before commencing our descent down the more densely wooded east slope. Or at least we think it’s more densely wooded as we can scarcely tell in the dense mist which envelopes the valley.

A brief hole in the cloud reveals a fencepost-perched Aplomado Falcon, which looks just as disgruntled with the weather as we are. The cloud cover stays with us all the way to our 2,600m Esperanza (often quoted as Pillahuata) campsite, where a flat area of close-cropped grass amongst the epiphyte-hung trees will accommodate the tents we have brought with us.

Although conditions are dire we are desperate to do some birding at this well renowned site and set out into the mist. A couple of hours in the gloom produces Black-faced Brush-Finch, Rufous-capped Thornbill, Grass-green Tanager and Drab Hemisphingus. The highlight of the evening comes when we return to the campsite to find a pair of woodcock-like Andean Snipe feeding in the open on the grass beside our toilet! After sunset a nightbirding attempt proves fruitless, as so often is the case in our collective Neotropical birding experience.

Besides our comfortable two-man sleeping tents BW’s lads have erected a large dining tent, complete with gaslights. Here we are served a fine three-course meal complete with wine and listen to BW’s fascinating anecdotes long into the cool Andean night. When we emerge the Southern Cross is visible in a rapidly clearing sky and we fall asleep to the sound of drumming Andean Snipe.

Friday 1st September

Unperturbed by the poor nightbird performance the previous evening we are out well before dawn with recordings and spotlight. The weather has remained clear and a Swallow-tailed Nightjar is calling from further up the hillside. But that is as close as it gets in spite of our best efforts, and we take solace in the continued drumming of our Andean Snipe and a hot plate of bacon and eggs.

We make a slow descent down the Manu Road on foot, picking up numerous new birds in the much-improved weather. Red-crested Cotinga, Pearled Treerunner, Masked Trogon and a nest-building pair of outrageously colourful Masked Mountain-Tanagers are first on the menu. Barred Becard, Streak-necked Flycatcher and an attractive Maroon-chested Chat-Tyrant are picked out of a large feeding flock just above the tunnels, where a Gould’s Inca feeds on roadside blooms. Rufous-bellied Bush-Tyrant is another good find, but star bird of the morning for aesthetic appeal is the Barred Fruiteater that eventually emerges from its canopy hiding-place.

Further downhill progress is enlightened by Montane Woodcreeper and Blue-banded Toucanet, but by now minds are set on the morning’s biggest target that has been heard calling throughout our descent. BW takes us down a narrow trail into the bamboo and we line up in the requisite spot. The tape is given a whirl and five seconds later a Red-and-white Antpitta bounds into view! The bulky bird obviously doesn’t realise that he is theoretically obliged to skulk in the densest of undergrowth and instead proudly shows off his rich rufous upperparts, white throat and scalloped flanks to all and sundry. Incredible!

We are obviously on a roll, as soon after a lunch stop we find a pair of exquisite White-collared Jays nest-building beside the road a little further downhill, plus our first Capped Conebills and Dusky-green Oropendulas. A small flock of Speckle-faced Parrots take a noisy feast in a fruiting tree and as we approach the Cock-of-the Rock Lodge Versicolored Barbet, Golden-headed Quetzal and a group of Yellow-whiskered Bush-Tanagers bring the days birding to a close. Although we have seen a fine selection of birds one-or-two high altitude targets have eluded us and our theory is that the obvious nesting activities of many species has rendered them relatively unresponsive to playback.

We arrive at the Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge, our home for the next three nights, as dusk settles over the wide forested valley. Our cabins are comfortably spacious, with large en-suite bathrooms and an ample supply of candles. The lodge also provides a similarly ample supply of Cusquena and some fine cuisine, over which we plan our attack for the next few days.

Saturday 2nd September

The aptly-named Cock-of-the Rock Lodge sits just metres from an established lek site of the bird of the aforementioned name and after a pre-dawn breakfast this is where we begin the day. A large open-fronted timber hide overlooks the low branches in which the male Andean Cock-of-the-Rocks gather to woo their potential mates. As daylight begins to break a cacophonous serious of grunts and squeals echoes through the trees as the lekking birds exercise their vocal chords. Dull orange shapes grow brighter as the light improves until the bizarrely shaped cotingas sit glowing on their display perches. An early morning at the lek is certainly unmissable and we all vacate the hide with suitably impressive digital evidence.

Making our way uphill we find the forest to be alive with birds and quickly notch up Russet-crowned and Three-striped Warblers, Black-eared Hemisphingus and rarely encountered Yellow-rumped Antwren. Yungas Manakin and Rufous-breasted Antthrush are unobliging and put in the briefest of appearances, but then we hit a large feeding flock and a tanager-frenzy commences! The riot of colour moving through the canopy includes Golden-eared, Blue-necked, Golden, Slaty, Golden-naped, Saffron-crowned and Bay-headed Tanagers, with a supporting cast of Lemon-browed Flycatcher, Montane Foliage-Gleaner, Black-billed Treehunter and Blue-naped Chlorophonia. As we continue uphill, further new birds include ‘Inca’ Jay, both Rusty and Deep-blue Flower Piercer and Orange-eared Tanager.

As the day starts to warm up a Black-and-chestnut Eagle takes to the thermals over the valley and a little later a pair of Solitary Eagles do likewise. A calling Uniform Antshrike does his best to avoid detection, but we are too clever for him and eventually work out his location in a dense tangle. Woolly Monkey and Bolivian Squirrel are new to the mammal list and ‘flycatching things’ are added in the form of Tawny-rumped Tyrannulet, Golden-crowned, Dusky-capped and Handsome Flycatchers.

Over lunch, back at the Lodge, we spend time with the bird feeders in the garden where Violet-fronted Brilliant, Booted Racket-tail, Many-spotted Hummingbird and Wire-crested Thorntail are all regular visitors. The early afternoon sees us quietly picking our way around the shady mossy recesses of the River Trail below the Lodge. It’s hard work getting to grips with birds in the dense, dark understorey, but with persistence we notch up Slaty Gnateater, Spotted Nightingale-Thrush, Yungas Manakin and Spotted Barbtail. In spite of our determined efforts the singing Chestnut-breasted Wrens cannot be lured out of their hiding-holes.

The day is concluded with another uphill ascent to El Mirador at 2,000m. Highland Motmot and a small group of Scaly-naped Parrots are seen on route but the target bird has to wait until dusk is descending. In the last light of day the amazing form of a male Lyre-tailed Nightjar is watched gliding above the treetops, trailing an amazing broad streamer of a tail behind him as he goes; a fine conclusion to a wonderfully bird-filled day.

As today is BW’s Birthday, dinner is followed by one or two additional celebratory beers!

Sunday 3rd September

Following the obligatory pre-dawn breakfast we take the bus up to the 2,000m contour for our morning session. Inca Flycatcher is a good way to start the day, with Andean Solitaire and Northern White-crowned Tapaculo hot on its heels. The gorgeous Yellow-throated Tanager is a very welcome find, along with the Striped Treehunter and Bronze-green Euphonia that follow. Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Smoke-colored Peewee and Pale-eyed Thrush all appear as we slowly walk downhill, though a White-throated Antpitta refuses to vacate the dense cover from which it calls.

Hummingbirds are well represented, with Green Violetear, Buff-thighed Puffleg and the fantastic bumblebee-like White-bellied Woodstar. Star bird of the morning would have been Black-streaked Puffbird, had it not been for the fact that it only managed to stay on view for about half a second, while return appearances of Slaty Tanager and White-eared Solitaire are also well received.

Coinciding with our return to the Lodge for lunch comes the onset of persistent rain, brought about by a sudden turn in the weather. A dreaded ‘friaje’ has descended upon the valley, a cold weather front moving from the south which has instantly dropped the temperature by six or eight degrees and brought with it a bank of thick moisture-laden cloud. Unwilling to let a bit of adverse weather spoil our fun we set out with brolleys raised high and stiff upper lips, though the birds are clearly trying their hardest to ruin the party.

Highlights of a rather soggy afternoon on the section of the Manu Road below the Lodge include Stripe-chested Antwren, Chestnut-backed Antshrike, Cinnamon-faced Tyrannulet, Long-tailed Tyrant and Wedge-billed Hummingbird. After dark we venture further uphill in search of nightbirds, where a Rufescent Screech-Owl is tempted frustratingly close, but just not quite close enough. Still, the weather must be better tomorrow.

After dining we talk and drink late into the night with Chris, a Texan birder and PhD student, who has many a yarn to recite following his months spent in the field surveying and banding birds in an attempt to make sense of their altitudinal migration in Peru; the story and photographs of his close encounter with a Spectacled Bear are particularly enthralling!

Monday 4th September

At 04.30 I’m fumbling with a box of damp matches, trying to light a candle, as the rain drums heavily on the roof of the chalet; it doesn’t sound too good. There is no need to rush breakfast and bag-packing, as we know what to expect now. With an extra layer of clothing in place and brolleys tightly clutched we set off on a déjà vu walk down-slope from the Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge.

Again it’s a hard slog but we still manage to pluck Two-banded Warbler, Olive-striped Flycatcher, Chestnut-tipped Toucanet and an extremely obliging Amazonian Umbrellabird from the grasp of the inclement weather. The western Amazonian flaviventris race of Yellow-breasted Flycatcher and the yellow-bellied subflava race of Warbling Antbird both go into the ‘potential future split bank’, though Blue-fronted Jacamar and Fine-barred Piculet are less controversial.

Eventually the rain begins to abate and the final birds of the morning, Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatcher, White-backed Fire-Eye and Tyrannine Woodcreeper are studied without the aid of an umbrella! After a revitalising packed lunch we find that the temperature has raised enough to allow the removal of fleeces and we resume our birding at around 1,300m with a very impressive pair of Ornate Flycatchers. The high-pitched song of an Olive Finch causes much excitement as it is a tick for BW, though much cursing and peering into dense streamside undergrowth ensues in the quest for this extreme skulker. Of even more excitement for us Peruvian low-listers is the eleventh-hour response to the tape we have been trawling all morning, though it again takes some stealthy footwork before we all get views of the stunning little endemic Black-backed Tody-Flycatcher. After savouring this beauty, and also the Dot-winged Antwren with which it shares the bamboo stand, we take to the bus for a lengthy downhill ride into the true lowlands.

Where the Manu Road finally leaves the densely forested foothills and loses its incline, we pass though the small settlement of Pilcopata and its surrounding cultivated plateau. Last stop of the day is made at the Atalaya Mirador that affords a stunning view out across the Manu Lowlands proper, where uninterrupted primary forest stretches to the distant horizon. Here we just have time to witness the evening macaw flypast, with two each of Military and Scarlet passing by before we have to descend to the river and our waiting boat.

A very river-worthy Manu Expeditions vessel and two experienced crew are at our disposal for the next week-or-so and soon we are shooting the Rio Madre de Dios rapids past Fasciated Tiger-Herons, en route to a sunset appointment with Hacienda Amazonia Lodge. From the water’s edge a track leads several hundred metres through Varzea forest, where our progress is slowed by a Black-faced Antthrush that refuses to leave the trail!

The track eventually opens into a large grassy clearing in which the buildings of the Lodge are set, these comprising kitchen, dining room, showers and two large, comfortable accommodation blocks, each with a spacious veranda. Again we find the food to be first class and the Cusquena suitably chilled, all consumed to a serenade of Pauraque and Common Potoo. After dining we exchange notes and tales with a couple of typically jovial Aussie birders who are mid way through a major Peruvian tour.

Tuesday 5th September

After a pre-dawn breakfast we are soon back on the boat and whizzing past the ‘fascinated’ tiger-herons in the reverse direction. The bus awaits at Atalaya, to run us back up to the Mirador for another parrot vigil. Only Chestnut-fronted and Red-and-green Macaws show up, along with Double-toothed Kite, Purplish and Turquoise Jays and a Bat Falcon. Other birds new to the trip list, now that we have dropped to just 950m above sea level, include Buff-throated Foliage-Gleaner, Black-faced Dacnis, Small-billed Elaenia and Red-throated Caracara.

We are also clearly now in serious ‘antbird’ country, in my humble opinion the most exciting family in the whole of the Neotropics, and consequently Plain-winged Antshrike, Black Antbird and the cracking little White-browed Antbird are all coaxed into view in rapid succession. A Koepcke’s Hermit feeds amongst roadside heliconids, and close-by the endemic Cusco Warbler performs magnificently to the tape.

When BW picks up the somewhat subdued call of a Blue-headed Macaw, one of the morning’s major targets, six pairs of binoculars frantically scan the hillside. Fortunately the bird in question has alighted near by and we are all able to form an orderly queue for an eye-full in the scope. The big-bird action continues with more Military Macaws, Chestnut-eared Aracaris and Black-throated Toucanet, while on a smaller scale we pick up White-lored Euphonia, Slate-colored Grosbeak, Blue-throated Trogon and a pair of Black-throated Antbirds.

Our final birding of the morning takes us on a trail into our first real patch of dense, spiny Guadua bamboo. Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher and Black Hawk-Eagle are seen as we make our way into the dense, dull understorey but once inside all is rather quiet. Persistence pays off, however, and eventually two real crackers are lured to the tape in the form of Red-billed Scythebill and Southern Nightingale Wren.

Emerging back into daylight we add Lesser Seedfinch and a group of fourteen Swallow-tailed Kites that soar above the canopy, before heading back to Atalaya. Here we bid our farewells to Barry’s two drivers/cooks who have taken care of us so well since our arrival in Cusco, as they will be taking the bus back while we take to the river.

Straight-billed and Cinnamon-throated Woodcreepers, plus the first of many Gray Antwrens, are recorded in the walk through the Varzea forest to the Lodge. After dining some time is spent on the veranda overlooking the purple-flowered bushes that have been especially planted to attract hummingbirds. The planting scheme is obviously having the desired effect and within minutes we have seen Gould’s Jewelfront, Blue-tailed Emerald and the biggest hummingbird prize in the area, a wonderful Rufous-crested Coquette.

The Hacienda Amazonia Lodge is actually built on the site of an old plantation, as the owners have come to realise that ecotourism can be more profitable that producing crops. This means that the majority of the birding will actually be done in secondary forest, though one could be excused for thinking that the habitat is untouched by man. The straight, flat and wide track known as ‘The Jeep Trail’ cuts through such secondary forest and is the destination for our afternoon’s birding.

Temperatures still haven’t returned to normal levels since the passage of the recent friaje, but bird activity seems unaffected here and we rapidly find Crimson-crested Woodpecker, Johannes’ Tody-Tyrant and a dazzling male Band-tailed Manakin. A number of Bluish-slate Antshrikes work their way through the understorey and the first of many Lafresnaye’s Woodcreepers feeds low down. A male Round-tailed Manakin puts in a brief appearance, an Undulated Tinamou strolls down the wide track and a pair of White-lined Antbirds are taped into view to round off the afternoon.

Before dinner a brief nightbirding session brings us a good view of Common Potoo, with both Common Possum and Brazilian Tapiti boosting the mammal list later in the evening.

Wednesday 6th September

First light sees us picking up the birding where we left off the previous evening, on the Jeep Trail. The antbirds start the proceedings with a pair each of Great Antshrike, White-lined Antbird and Silvered Antbird, the latter a wetland edge specialist seen beside the oxbow lake a short walk from the Jeep Track. Large numbers of ungainly Hoatzins clamber about the waterside trees, hissing and groaning to create an eerily primeval scene in the low sunlight.

A Southern Chestnut-tailed Antbird is located feeding at low level, in contrast to the Blue-throated Piping-Guan which makes its way through the canopy branches. Next a Rusty-belted Tapaculo is taped-in to be highlighted with a laser-pointer on its perch in the densest of cover and a couple of Spix’s Guans make their way noisily through the bushes.

As we make our way to a large cultivated clearing within the forest Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, Ornate Antwren, Forest Elaenia, Green-and-gold Tanager and Grey-capped Flycatcher are all added to the notebook. A Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle and two King Vultures are enjoyed, from our vantage point amongst the banana trees and coca leaves being grown in the clearing, as they take to the thermals.

A return walk along the Jeep Track adds Rufous-tailed Xenops, Short-crested Flycatcher, Plain-winged Antshrike, Mottle-backed Elaenia and a fine zebra-striped male Bamboo Antshrike. Red Brocket Deer and a charming group of Bolivian Squirrel-Monkeys are new mammals for the trip and back at the oxbow we add a waterside Band-tailed Antbird.

Taking a circuitous route back to the Lodge through the Varzea forest adds Pale-legged Hornero, Black-tailed Trogon, White-throated Toucan, Plumbeous Antbird, Chestnut-crowned Foliage-Gleaner, the ultra-skulking Cabanis’ Spinetail, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker and a grand finale of a pair of Chestnut-capped Puffbirds; it’s been quite a morning. Before dining we obtain some great views of a group of three Black-headed Night Monkeys that are roosting the day away in a low tree behind the accommodation block.

After lunch we are just chilling out on the veranda with the hummingbirds when a couple of gaudy red and yellow birds drop in to the bird table and cause optics and cameras to fly in all directions. The source of the excitement is a pair of Scarlet-hooded Barbets, both dazzlingly colourful and extremely rare; even the resident Rufous-crested Coquette has to take second billing for a few minutes!

Our afternoon route takes us first through Varzea forest, where we find Black-crowned Tityra, Short-tailed Swift, Black-capped Donocobius and Spot-breasted Woodpecker, then inevitably back along the Jeep Trail. With a seemingly inexhaustible reservoir of new birds, this great site proceeds to produce Pygmy Antwren and a brief Black-capped Tinamou. A calling Thrush-like Antpitta causes serious problems when it refuses to budge from the densest of cover, but somehow six heavy-footed gringos manage to tiptoe through the undergrowth until it is viewable to all. The daylight is concluded atop the small observation tower set above the marsh at the Jeep Track entrance. Here liberal use of the tape finally persuades a noisy Blackish Rail to parade in full view.

After dinner we set out on a determined nightbirding mission, seeking to make amends for earlier abortive attempts. As we close in on a Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl a more distant call takes priority and we head further along the Lodge entrance track. A couple of blasts of the tape bring in a Long-tailed Potoo that glides low through the sub-canopy to investigate the territorial intruders but sadly fails to linger. Getting to grips with a Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl proves to be a more difficult proposition, but with persistence we secure not one but two of the surprisingly elusive creatures. And so ends another day.

Thursday 7th September

After another pre-dawn breakfast we make our way towards previously unexplored habitat in the low foothills that rise above the forested river plane. For a short distance the trail climbs steeply, before following a contour through the primary forest. The day’s bird account is opened with a Black-faced Antthrush feeding on the trail and soon afterwards pulses quicken when BW hears a Hairy-crested Antbird calling close by. Seeing this incredibly elusive creature is another matter, however, and for the next half hour we scramble up and down the hillside in pursuit of this uncannily elusive species. Our prize is certainly worth the sweat and scratches as Hairy-crested Antbird is undoubtedly one of the stars of this highly diverse family, with well-marked rufous back, black face and contrasting pale shaggy crest.

Sooty Antbird, Pectoral Sparrow, Plain-brown Woodcreeper, Ringed Antpipit and Olive Tanager all follow in a flurry of avian activity, before a large canopy flock moves into view and we struggle to know which bird to look at next! By following the overhead commotion and testing neck muscles to the limit we identify Rufous-tailed Foliage-Gleaner, Olivaceous, Strong-billed and Wedge-billed Woodcreepers, Rufous-tailed Antwren, Yellow-backed and Yellow-crested Tanagers, Plain Xenops, Speckled Spinetail, Euler’s Flycatcher and Yellow-bellied Dacnis. Our heads are spinning!

Very reluctantly we have to make tracks back to the Lodge after three hours in the field, as we have a boat to catch. Our time at the family-run Hacienda Amazonia Lodge has been truly superb and we thank our hosts warmly as we depart.

At 09.30 we head into the open water of the Rio Madre do Dios for the long boat ride down river to the Manu Wildlife Centre. Although the night-time temperatures have remained unusually low it is clear that the friaje has now well-and-truly departed as the temperatures and humidity begin to climb, making the built-in ‘air conditioning’ of our speeding boat particularly pleasurable.

The four-and-a-half hour journey to the riverside settlement of Boca Manu takes us through unbroken forest, with the snaking Rio Madre do Dios well over a hundred metres wide and frequently abrading into various smaller channels to rush past river islands and sandbars. En route we clock up the usual suspects, in the form of Large-billed and Yellow-billed Terns and Greater Yellow-headed Vultures. Drab Water-Tyrants and Swallow-wings perch on partially submerged tree skeletons and stunning Pied Lapwings feed on exposed sandbars.

At the frontier settlement of Boca Manu Pueblo we stop to refuel the boat and grab a cold beer in the general store overlooking the landing point. The final hour-and-a half leg of the journey is the most exciting from a birding perspective and produces a group of three Orinoco Geese, though these rapidly disappear up the bank and into the waterside vegetation. We take to the shore in pursuit and are amazed to find that they have actually disappeared into the dense shrubbery above flood level, never to be seen again. Once ashore we brave the ferociously biting Sand Flies for long enough to find ourselves a River Tyrannulet and in the process flush both Ladder-tailed Nightjar and Upland Sandpiper.

The final section of the boat trip adds Dusky-headed Parakeet, Muscovy Duck, Sunbittern and a fantastic flock of around a hundred Sand-colored Nighthawks, to bring us to the Manu Wildlife Centre’s substantial wooden jetty shortly before dark. After a brief tour of the facilities by Julian, the establishment’s character-less Australian manager, we are shown to our excellent chalet accommodation, candle-lit and with mosquito nets plus en-suite facilities.

A well equipped bar serves cold Cusquena and excellent Pisco Sours, though we find the food in the restaurant to be somewhat lacking when compared to the fine fare to which we have become accustomed in previous establishments. We get a mid-course bonus, however, when one of the resident guides interrupts us to point out a Great Potoo that is perched on an exposed canopy branch above the restaurant and illuminated by the bright moonlight.

Friday 8th September

Our post-breakfast destination is the canopy platform, situated around twenty minutes walk from the lodge. Access to the totally different selection of species that inhabit the high forest canopy is essential in a lowland environment and Manu Wildlife Centre possesses one of the finest facilities we have seen from which to gain such access. A steel spiral staircase raises forty metres to a sturdy timber platform built into the crown of a hardwood forest giant and is split into two levels with more than ample room for all seven of us.

The view across the surrounding treetops to the steadily climbing sun is magnificent and gives an entirely different perspective on the forest. We are in position by 05.45 and immediately new species begin to appear. Lineated Woodcreeper, Black-bellied Cuckoo, Red-bellied Macaw and both Orange-cheeked and Mealy Parrots come first, followed by some good local specialities in the form of a pair each of Slate-colored Hawks and Striolated Puffbirds, Ringed Woodpecker and the very rare Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak which perches on top of the highest limb in view.

Plain Softtail, Faciated and Spot-winged Antshrikes, Pink-throated Becard, the lowland race of Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Broad-billed Motmot and White-collared Puffbird have us running back and forth across the platform along with Scaly-breasted Woodpecker, Chestnut-winged Foliage-Gleaner, Pink-throated Becard and White-bellied Parrot, plus both Curl-crested and Brown-mandibled Aracaris.

When a feeding flock passes through this too contains an entirely different selection of species and from the treetop foliage we pick out Masked, Yellow-crested and White-shouldered Tanagers, as we all frantically adjust position to maintain the optimum viewing angle on the constantly-moving wave of birds. Gilded Barbet, Sclater’s Antwren, Dusky-capped Greenlet, Black-capped Becard and Swainson’s Flycatcher complete the fly-past and a truly memorable three hours in the high branches.

The day is rapidly warming and the sweat bees are becoming thirsty by the time we descend, while the trails through the transitional floodplain forest appear rather dull and birdless after our time in the treetops. We make our way to The Grid, where a system of geometric trails cut through the level forest plain, and immediately the birds begin to appear.

A small mixed flock feeding in the understorey consists of Long-tailed Woodcreeper plus Long-winged, Plain-throated and White-flanked Antwrens. BW calls our attention as a couple of Pale-winged Trumpeters dart back and forth across the track some way ahead. Although we briefly catch up with these strange shaped black-and-white creatures a little further along The Grid our views are sadly all too brief. Both Collared and Blue-crowned Trogons and the recently split White-bellied Tody-Tyrant are found and we are very excited when a Pavonine Quetzal, which is seemingly calling from several kilometres away, rushes to the tape and perches above our heads!

Amazon Dwarf Squirrel, Casqued Oropendula and Red-stained Woodpecker round off a fine morning and we return to the lodge for lunch. A White-bearded Hermit feeding in the heliconids beside the dining room interrupts courses, but lunch is still consumed with great speed to allow us to get back into the field with a minimum loss of birding time.

We reconvene just after 13.00 at a small ant swarm seen earlier on the trail to the canopy tower. Surprisingly this is the only ant swarm encountered in our time in the lowlands, but luckily it harbours some of the specialist swarm attendees high on our wanted list. At the top of this list is the very attractive White-throated Antbird that obediently perches in a very photogenic and totally un-antbird-like fashion! Also around the swarm we find Red-crowned Ant-Tanager, White-chinned and Elegant Woodcreepers, Dusky-throated Antshrike and a scaly female Purple-throated Cotinga. Away from the ants we see Needle-billed Hermit and another Slate-colored Hawk before returning to catch our boat.

Twenty minutes and a Horned Screamer later we are disembarking at the Antthrush Trail, which cuts through a patch of Guadua bamboo dominated Varzea forest. We are very surprised when our main target bird, the endemic Rufous-fronted Antthrush, responds to the tape within minutes of our arrival. Seeing the calling bird is predictably more tricky and after half an hour of creeping through the particularly dense undergrowth we admit defeat with this bird in favour of the pursuit of another individual which has started calling further down the track. This chap turns out to be much more obliging and, after some effort, is actually filmed and photographed walking in the open on the trail, proudly displaying his little ginger forehead and neat blue eye-ring.

Other highlights of the Antthrush Trail include Large Elaenia, White-fronted, Geoldi’s and Blackish Antbirds, Red-headed Woodpecker, Thrush-like Wren and the very smart Rufous-breasted Piculet. We make our way back to the lodge along the river in the failing light, with more Horned Screamers strutting beside us along the sandbars, to celebrate a superb day’s birding with candlelit Cusquenas and popcorn.

Saturday 9th September

Today we split into two parties after breakfast, with the photographers taking the boat to the macaw lick and the birders hitting the Terra firme forest. It’s a shame to miss the parrotfest, but with limited time we cannot do both and I opt for the Terra firme and the prospect of considerably more new birds.

Taking the Creekside Trail and Fig Pass our first new birds are Black-faced Antbird, Olive-backed Foliage-Gleaner, Blue-crowned Motmot and Plain-brown Woodcreeper. Band-tailed Manakin and Plumbeous Antbirds put in welcome reappearances, while White-fronted Nunbird and a noisy group of Purple-throated Fruit-Crows move through the canopy. Turning a bend in the trail we startle a group of three Starred Woodquail, two of which explode into flight though thankfully one stays on the deck long enough to allow some views. A highlight of the morning comes when we corner a tinamou against a creek, thus preventing its normally stealthy departure. Careful study and some very good images of the bird identify it as the very scarce White-throated Tinamou, seen only once before by BW.

A group of shaggy-coated, pug-faced Monk Saki Monkeys form an excellent mammalian diversion, after which BW gives us a lesson in furnarid identification as we sort out Black-banded and Tschudi’s Woodcreepers. Moving onto the Manakin Trail we drop onto a large feeding flock and pick out Violaceous Trogon, Lemon-throated Greenlet, Gray and Warbling Antbirds, Rufous-bellied Euphonia, Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher and Flame-crested Tanager.

The trail eventually brings us to the Colpa Salt Lick, where a large hide overlooks vertical faces in the red mineral-rich earth, excavated by innumerable tiny beaks and teeth over many decades. We settle down below the mosquito nets used by overnight visitors and watch the mineral-eaters move through the clearing. Large numbers of Red-crowned Parakeets are the first to descend to the bare soil, accompanied by smaller numbers of Black-capped Parakeets. Next tiny Dusky-billed Parrotlets appear en masse, with many venturing into the small dark recesses that have been excavated at the base of the earth banks.

Black Spider Monkeys are moving through the treetops on the far side of the clearing, but the main mammal action is announced by a cacophony of grunting and very strange clicking noises that begin to echo through the trees. The source of the commotion is a large group of White-lipped Peccaries on their way to the salt lick, though our presence prevents all but a few of the more confident individuals of this increasingly rare species from actually venturing into the clearing.

Soon after mid day VW and PH arrive, along with our lunch, telling tales of colourful parrots licking clay and two Orinoco Geese on the river. After dining and a brief siesta we begin to bird our way slowly back towards the lodge, picking up both Round-tailed and Blue-backed Manakins and a Spix’s Guan. Another large feeding flock is encountered, with the stars of this one being a mighty Amazonian Barred-Woodcreeper, Yellow-bellied Tanager, Slender-billed Xenops, White-winged Becard, Chestnut-winged Hookbill and Paradise Jacamar.

Completing the evening checklist really takes an age in the lowlands!

Sunday 10th September

Today we are back on the water straight after breakfast for the ten minutes ride to the Cocha Nueva Bamboo Trail, with groups of Red-bellied Macaws flying out from their roost sites through the dense mist brought in by heavy overnight rain. From the landing spot it takes fifteen minutes to walk to the point where the dense patches of tall, spiny Guadua bamboo begin to dominate the forest.

Striated Antbird, Black-faced Antthrush and the awesome Black-spotted Bare-Eye set the ball rolling, but it is actually quite hard work to eek out the target birds in this dense habitat where population densities seem very low. Manu and White-lined Antbirds, Dusky-tailed Flatbill and Bamboo Antshrike all eventually respond to the tape as we walk through tunnels of bamboo and we also pull out Fuscus Flycatcher, Brown-rumped Foliage-Gleaner and Flammulated Bamboo-Tyrant. A yellow-flanked Warbling Antbird, Ruddy Quail-Dove and Giant Antshrike keep up the interest, but still we are missing some of the biggest stars.

Venturing down the ominously-named ‘Dead End Trail’ we finally get a distant response to our trawled tape and eyes scan the bamboo thicket. A preening foliage-gleaner looks interesting, then it turns its head in profile to reveal a pale eye-ring and supercillium, and more importantly a stonking-great grey bill with upturned lower mandible; for me the moment the Peruvian Recurvebill turns it’s head will be one of the most abiding of the trip! This Holy Grail of the Guadua bamboo-stands proceeds to work its way through the undergrowth, even lingering long enough to allow some high-ISO shots of that bill-to-end-all-bills!

Continuing our loop we can now change the trawling tape, but even then it takes an age before our other main target bird finally calls back. The diminutive-yet-dazzling White-cheeked Tody-Tyrant jumps nervously from bamboo stem to bamboo stem, singing and showing off bright-chestnut crown and huge white cheeks and we communally congratulate BW for saving the morning.

A trail-wandering Great Tinamou and a Dark-billed Cuckoo round off the birding and we make tracks for the lodge and an overdue lunch. Rufous-breasted Hermit provides today’s dining-room entertainment, but we don’t hang around as we have another site to cover this afternoon.

Again a ten-minute boat ride delivers us to the Cocha Blanca landing point, and a further ten-minute walk brings us to this superb oxbow lake in the early stages of succession. A purpose-built viewing platform, consisting of comfortable chairs sitting on a timber base supported by a catamaran of two canoes, is at our disposal for the afternoon. Our boatmen provide the paddle-power and off we glide, aboard what is easily the most relaxing and tranquil mode of transport of the whole trip.

A Black-collared Hawk alights in nearby trees, while the first of the afternoon’s three stripe-headed Sungrebes feeds on the lily-strewn, glass-smooth water of the oxbow. Our first port of call is a group of sparsely leaved Secropia trees bounding the lake. In the branches sit a family group of five wonderful Purus Jacamars, rich chestnut birds with huge red bills that are a highly sought-after speciality of the oxbow margins.

Continuing our circuit we pick our way through water lilies occupied by numerous tiptoeing Wattled Jacanas and margins alive with Muscovy Duck, Limpkins and Horned Screamers. A small group of Tui Parakeets fly over, dwarfed by the various macaw species that cross back and forth and either Amazon or Green-and-rufous Kingfishers seem to occupy every perch. In spite of constant tape trawling we fail to get a sniff of White-eyed Blackbird, but it’s still an immensely enjoyable way to spend the afternoon.

The walk back to the river produces a very obliging Rufous-capped Antthrush, ending another action-packed day in style.

Monday 11th September

By 04.30 we have packed and are eating breakfast. This is our last day in the lowlands and we are heading back to Boca Manu to catch the first flight to Cusco. It is worth bearing in mind that flights often depart very early as the weather can deteriorate later in the day and many departures are cancelled as a result. Our four nights at Manu Wildlife Centre has therefore only given us three mornings birding, something of which we were unaware when we arranged our itinerary and we can’t help feeling unfairly robbed of time in this amazing area as we board the boat before the sun has risen.

This morning the fog has achieved an even thicker consistency and we edge out into the river in near blind conditions with one of the boatmen taking up a position at the bows, torch in hand, to look out for the many partially submerged hazards which dot the river. Progress is resultantly very slow, as the fog scarcely clears all the way to Boca Manu, where we arrive over two hours later.

The weather conditions mean that our flight is delayed, so there is no rush to make the short walk to the airstrip and we take advantage of some bonus birding time. Little Ground-Tyrant feeds on the sandbars at the landing point and close by a party of skulking Plain-crowned Spinetails are eventually persuaded to show. Chestnut-capped Puffbird and our only Sapphire-spangled Emerald are also seen along the short trail.

By the time we reach the terminal building, a small bandstand-like thatched hut with open sides and containing little more than a two-way radio and a set of scales, the sun has started to burn through the mist. We are told that our chartered flight is about to leave Cusco, which will leave us forty-five minutes birding time around the site.

We have just begun to make our way up the grass airstrip when a superb cream-coloured Southern Tamandua ambles across the grass in front of us. We have missed this long-tailed anteater on a number of previous Neotropical trips and the sighting is a huge bonus. Another pair of Slate-colored Hawks makes their way through the trees, but the greatest prize is a dazzling male Plum-throated Cotinga, shining sky-blue with contrasting crimson throat, which typically perches on an exposed treetop branch.

With perfect timing a member of the security staff appears to evict us from the runway as our flight is due to land imminently. This just gives us time to acquaint ourselves with the local Pale-winged Trumpeter, a bird imprinted on humans by the local villagers who apparently make use of the species’ ability to guard against unwelcome snakes.

We pack ourselves into the tiny Cessna 208B for the forty-five minute flight to Cusco, hurtle down the bumpy airstrip and then rise above a fantastic panorama of unbroken lowland forest; we even pick up an adult King Vulture from the aircraft, soaring way below us! The leg of the journey through the Andean peaks is decidedly bumpy but we are on the Cusco tarmac before we know it.

Our original itinerary shows a flight to Lima next morning, allowing a time-cushion for the unpredictability of flights out of Boca Manu, but now we are ahead of schedule and in a position to make the transfer on the same day. BW gets to work on the phone and by the time we reach the pre-booked Los Andes de America Hotel he has arranged for us to fly back to Lima at 16.30; a great result!

We are left with a couple of hours to rearrange kit, as we sent some gear back overland with the bus, then hit the town for a bout of souvenir shopping and a fine Italian meal. The Lima flight is uneventful and within a minute of vacating the terminal building we have had another tick, in the form of the Pacific Doves that roam the car park.

We make the now-familiar short hop to the Manhattan Hotel, where we run through the detail of the final leg of our campaign over Cusquenas and some very tasty seafood.

Tuesday 12th September

At 05.00 we’re in the bus, with Jorge back on hand to ease any logistical mishaps. Our route takes us north through the town, where nightclubs are just disgorging their staggering clientele onto the streets and neon-lit casinos are still running strong. In the gathering light we leave the urban sprawl and take the Pan American Highway north, where it hugs the coastline to weave in and out of alternate bays and headlands. We are in the Atacama Desert, a barren landscape of dunes and pale sandy rock that run down to meet crashing Pacific breakers.

Windscreen wipers remove the moisture deposited by the damp grey mist that fills the air and gives the landscape a drab cast lacking any warmth of colour. Turning inland, on the Sayan Road, an emergency stop is called for a roadside bird that turns out to be one of two families of Tawny-throated Dotterel that frequent the low dunes and sparse scrub. In the immediate area we locate Coastal Miner, a number of Least Seedsnipe and a fantastic group of eleven Peruvian Thick-Knees, masters of desert disguise with a cunning ability to vanish in an instant.

Moving further along the road, a side track takes us onto the Lomas de Lachay Reserve. Here the barren rocky valley is dotted with tall dark cactus spikes and the upper slopes are shrouded in a mist of condensing sea air; it is certainly one of the most atmospheric settings of our trip.

As we trawl the tape for the site’s speciality we bump into our first Oasis Hummingbird perched quietly in the mist. We have walked some distance over the steeply inclined slopes before a response to the tape is heard and seconds later a distinctive long-tailed silhouette is seen at the top of a tall cactus spike. It is the endemic Cactus Canestero, a brown bird very like its congeners, but when viewed atop a spiny cactus in this most mystical of locations it is truly a moment to savour.

The rock-slope dwelling Greyish Miner, a pair of Burrowing Owls and a flypast flock of eight Mountain Parakeets complete our list at this site and after a quick breakfast we move on to the main section of Lomas de Lachay Reserve. The official entrance track cuts inland from the coast road, slowly gaining altitude and with the vegetation changing accordingly as it does so. The bare sandy ground changes to a sea of yellow flowers, in which Peruvian Meadowlarks perform their songflights.

By the time we reach the Reserve car park we have been enveloped in a thick foggy mist, but thankfully the list of target birds here is a small one, unlikely to be affected by the adverse conditions. Masked Yellowthroats of the isolated western auricularis group, a likely split, are found to be common amongst the stunted trees and low shrubs, as is the very attractive Collared Warbling-Finch. A pair of Thick-billed Miners is located around the car park and, as the seasonal Raimondi’s Yellow-Finch is absent at this time of year, this completes our quota of specialties. En route back out to the main highway Yellowish Pipit is worthy of note, as the isolated peruvianus Pacific Coast population is also likely to become a full species before too long.

Heading back in a southerly direction, the next stop is an unlikely-looking area of scrub and cultivated land close to the village of Chancay. Birding along the weedy field edges we find our first Long-tailed Mockingbirds and the impressive little Short-tailed Field-Tyrant. A small creek is rather bizarrely the location of the local carrot-washing industry and dozens of workers are busily trampling on nets full of carrots to clean them in the clear water. In spite of the disturbance we add Chestnut-throated Seedeater, Amazilia Hummingbird and the unstreaked immaculatus form of Streaked Saltator at this spot.

Our lunch stop is taken on a headland a little further down the coast, where the road runs along a precarious ledge cut into the steep sandy slope running down to the cold waters of the Humboldt-chilled Pacific Ocean a hundred metres below. The rich waters are teeming with seabird including dozens of Inca Terns, Peruvian Boobies, Belcher’s and Grey Gulls. Small groups of Guanay Cormorants and Peruvian Pelicans pass by, as do a handful of Red-legged Cormorants. It’s a hell of a dining spot!

The never-ending sprawl of Lima is negotiated in the heat of the afternoon and by late evening we are chugging east, up the steep inclines and hairpin bends of the Central Highway. It soon becomes apparent that our bus is seriously underpowered for these conditions and that the driver is, to say the least, inept on the trying mountain roads. It is 21.30 by the time we make our destination of La Oroya, in a state of great relief. BW is suitably apologetic about his normally faultless sub-contacted transport, but a beer and steak soon puts the matter to right. Half of the party also pop a Diamox ‘Altitude Smarty’ at this point in the hope of countering any adverse reactions the following day, which will largely be spent above 4,000m.

Our night’s accommodation is in the basic but clean San Juan Hostel, not that we are awake for very long within its confines.

Wednesday 13th September

Today has the opportunity to be either one of the most memorable of trip or a real flop; it all depends on matters largely beyond our control, in the form of reliable transport both on land and water and on the cooperation of a great many sought-after birds.

The fact that first light finds us chugging uphill towards Lake Junin at a snail’s pace in the hairdryer-powered super-bus does not bode at all well for the remainder of the day. Thankfully the route from La Oroya to Junin is a relatively flat one, at least once we leave the jagged peaks and head into the rolling Puna grasslands. Here the scenery changes dramatically as we enter a fantastic wide sweeping valley of short-tufted brown grasses on which occasional small groups of Vicuna graze.

The town of Junin is an attractive hamlet of typically narrow streets, low whitewashed houses and terracotta roofs, all set against a backdrop of high rugged hills that flank the valley. As we await the INRENA staff, or Ministerio de Agricultura Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales to give it its full name, we fill time photographing some of the town’s common bird species in the superb mountain light. Bright-rumped Yellow-Finches, Black Siskins and Andean Flickers all oblige at the roadside.

There is a slight misunderstanding about the meeting spot but soon we are following the INRENA boys in their smart pickup to the allotted boat launch point. Travelling north out of town excitement begins to mount as the vast freshwater mass of Lago Junin, or Chinchicocha to give it its true local name, appears to the west.

We skirt the marsh-fringed shoreline for a good ten kilometres before leaving the road and cutting down to the water’s edge. Huge numbers of waterbirds are present on the shallow lagoons that are separated from the main body of water by substantial reedbeds. Yellow-billed Pintail and Andean Coot predominate, with a good sprinkling of Crested Ducks, Puna and Speckled Teal, with the tiny shapes of Wilson’s Phalaropes spinning between. On the sheep-grazed land that runs down to the water Andean Negritos, Common Miners, Bar-winged Cinclodes and Andean Lapwings feed.

The INRENA staff have collected a trailer and small aluminium boat that they launch into the weedy shallows and we split into two groups due to the limited size of the craft. As the first boat heads for the open water MK, VW and I check out the shoreline inhabitants, grateful that the terrain is without any inclines at this 4,000m altitude. Our first Andean Geese plus a pair of very smart and decidedly uncommon Puna Plovers are plucked from the masses of commoner birds, but our search time is cut short when the boat returns after less than an hour.

Swapping positions we cram into the buoyant aluminium craft to punt through the shallow margins then fire up the outboard motor to venture beyond the reedbeds and into open water. Our first Junin Grebe is spied within ten minutes of skirting the shoreline, but this is a sub adult bird and we are keen to see one at its best. It takes another thirty minutes of searching before we find an adult Junin Grebe cooperative enough not to spend all its time below the surface and are able to savour the long neck and lengthy pale-grey bill which distinguishes this species from the very similar juninensis race of Silvery Grebe. Classed as Critically Endangered by Birdlife International, the flightless Junin Grebe occurs on this single water body and has a population rarely exceeding a few hundred birds. These individuals are threatened by mining pollution that has already rendered a proportion of the lake lifeless, and destructive water-level regulation caused by a hydroelectric plant, making it one of the rarest and most threatened birds on the planet.

Our return trip produces the local morrisoni race of White-tufted Grebe and once ashore we find that the other lads have plucked out three very impressive Giant Coots from the hundreds of Andean Coots that dot the shallows. Further good news is the fact that Jorge has secured the services of a fast minibus that will convey us to the next birding sites at double the speed of the super-bus, vital if we are to see the day’s itinerary come to fruition.

It’s certainly cosier with eight of us packed into the new minibus, but most importantly it’s faster and the Puna Grassland is soon whizzing past the windows. We retrace our route back to La Oroya and return to the Central Highway for our descent. In the daylight we are able to witness the huge mining operations which scar the hillsides of Peru’s mineral belt, with their plants covered by hectares of rusting tin roofs and accompanied by horrendously polluted tailings ponds.

Numerous Andean Geese, several more Giant Coot and a pair of Silvery Grebes are seen on route, but time is too precious to stop. In under two hours we make it to the distichia peat bog just below the 4,800m Ticlio Pass, home of the afternoon’s first target species and also the world’s highest railway! It takes just a couple of seconds of playback to attract a pair of wonderful White-bellied Cinclodes, striking furnarids with white underparts, grey heads and bright rufous backs. Scarcely more widespread than the Royal Cinclodes, this vulnerable species occupies mossy bogs in a tiny Central Peruvian range.

A pair of bulky, pale White-winged Diuca-Finches complete our stop and we continue down the slope until we come to the turn signposted Marcapomacocha. Here the road turns from tarmac to loose gravel and we make a quick stop for a Plain-breasted Earthcreeper. Following a stunningly scenic valley the road climbs steeply via a series of hairpins until we are delivered at the legendary Marcapomacocha Bog, at an altitude of 4,600m; that’s over 15,000 feet or more than half way up Mount Everest!

Thankfully physical exertion is kept to a minimum as we find the incomparable Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, surely one of the world’s most impressive birds, within ten minutes of our arrival. A pair of these tiny balls of exquisitely marked feathers are at our photographic mercy for half an hour as they feed on the carpet of boggy moss, or at least the section which not been removed by the activities of Lima’s mushroom growers who have been avidly collecting peat and thereby destroying this incredibly rare habitat.

The ‘DSP’s share their bog with the amazing Olivaceous Thornbill, which half-hovers and half-walks over tiny crimson ground-level blooms and a very obliging Puna Snipe which has a preference for the damper areas. Walking back downhill and savouring the backdrop of snow-capped jagged peaks, we find Dark-winged Miner, Ochre-naped Ground-Tyrant and a very brief Black-breasted Hillstar. Lower down the valley D’Orbigney’s Chat-Tyrant is a good find, though the wind that is now whistling up the hillsides leads the Junin Canesteros to keep their heads low.

At the point where the Marcapomacocha Road joins the Central Highway we leave the hired taxi and swap back to the super-bus that is just about capable of the downhill leg of the journey. En route to Santa Eulalia we have plenty of time to savour a day in which we have witnessed Junin Grebe, White-bellied Cinclodes, Diademed Sandpiper-Plover and a host of other amazing high altitude species in a display of birding quality which will be difficult to ever match anywhere on the Planet.

The Hotel La Quenta in Santa Eulalia town is our destination for the evening, and predictably the celebratory beers flow in volume amongst the very comfortable surroundings.

Thursday 14th September

Our drive up the Santa Eulalia Valley commences at 04.30 as progress is set to be slow on the winding dirt road. As the sun rises we find ourselves making our way along a narrow ledge-of-a-track, cut into the pale rock of the precipitously steep hillsides. The view, deep to the floor of the gorge and up to the peaks high above, is outstanding and the landscape dramatically different to anything we have experienced. Tinder-dry brown grasses, low scrub and tall cacti dominate any slopes too steep for cultivation, with small terraced fields tended around a few hamlets through which we pass.

It takes a full two hours to reach the 3,000m contour, not far from the picturesque village of San Pedro de Casta, whose whitewashed houses cling precariously to the mountainside at a still higher altitude. Scrub Blackbird is noted en route and as soon as we leave the bus we find the area to be awash with new birds. Andean Tinamous scurry up the steep hillsides and a Canyon Canestero is lured to our breakfasting spot. Rusty-bellied Brush-Finches are common, and we also pick out Yellow-billed and Pied-crested Tit-Tyrants, Golden-bellied Grosbeak and Rusty-crowned Tit-Spinetail. Hummingbirds are represented by the Bronze-tailed Comet, Black Metaltail and Giant Hummingbird, while Black-winged Ground-Dove is the common Metriopelia at this altitude.

After this frantic bird injection we descend a few hundred metres by bus and then recommence on foot. Here Andean Swift is finally added to our lists, along with a cactus-clinging Black-necked Woodpecker, Purple-collared Woodstar and Peruvian Sheartail. With some persistence we locate a calling Peruvian Pygmy-Owl to end our morning session and break for lunch, though our dining is still interrupted by flypasts from two superb adult Andean Condors and a group of Scarlet-fronted Parakeets.

Descending by bus to around 2,300m we walk a section of the road where just coarse dry grass and an occasional sparse shrub cling to the steep hillside. Encouraged by playback a gorgeous Great Inca-Finch leaps to the top of a bare bush and begins to sing. With rufous mantle, grey head, black face and heavy yellow bill this localised endemic is certainly one of the stars of the day.

After the lengthy decent to La Quenta we pack our bags and head into downtown Lima to check into the Hotel La Castellana for the last two nights, tour a few bars and sample some of the Capitals fine seafood cuisine.

Friday 15th September

The day of the big boat ride. BW has made a point of warning us that today’s logistical arrangements are totally beyond his control, as our deep-water pelagic birding trip into the Humboldt Current has been sub-contracted to Gunnar Engblom’s Kolibri Expeditions; we know from firsthand accounts that this outfit has been known to be less than reliable in the past.

We are therefore quite relieved when the Kalibri rep appears at the allotted 04.45 slot at our hotel; so far so good. We weave our way to the waterfront at the Port of Callao, where we line up on the wooden jetty in the gathering light to be transferred by rowing boat to the twelve-metre cruiser Melusine. Upon boarding we are pleasantly surprised at the quality of the well-equipped and eminently seaworthy craft and any reservations about Kolibri’s involvement quickly dissipate.

The first hour of the journey is within the sheltered lea of the inshore Palomino Islands, and the waters remain pleasantly calm. We take the opportunity to eat breakfast from the well-stocked galley, though I can still hear BW’s words ringing in my ears, “I’d wait until we get to the open water before you decide whether you want any breakfast”.

The common inshore species cruise overhead, with numerous Grey, Kelp and Belcher’s Gulls, Inca Terns, Peruvian Pelicans and Peruvian Boobies passing us by. Smaller numbers of Grey-headed Gulls, ‘Hudsonian’ Whimbrel, Turnstone and American Oystercatcher are also noted and this is where we see what turns out to be our only Humboldt Penguin of the entire trip.

There is just enough room to squeeze the whole party onto the prime viewing area at the bows and this is where we take up position as we round the point of the largest island and hit the open water. There is instantly a considerable swell, which rhythmically tosses the small craft. It doesn’t take long before open-sea species make an appearance with the first of many Peruvian Diving-Petrels, some of which allow very close approach before they submerge. The first of many wonderful Waved Albatrosses also appear, surprisingly close inshore. These huge Galapogos breeders are dark grey with contrasting pale head and neck, showing a subtle saffron wash to nape and crown and sport a huge banana-yellow bill. Awesome!

It is somewhere around this time that the rhythmic passing of alternate peaks and troughs in the swell becomes slightly more distracting than the seabirds. VW’s comment of “Are you OK, Ian? You have turned green”, is particularly well received. I am just dwelling on the fact that he must have made a particularly understanding and compassionate GP when he turns round and throws up over the side of the boat; lets say we’re even, then! VW has scarcely finished wretching over the port handrails when AB joins in, with a beautifully choreographed move to the starboard side of the boat, creating a wonderful scene of formation piking at its best. In a magically memorable moment AB turns round wiping his stomach contents from his Zeiss bins, eager not to miss any seabird action due to a misplaced carrot blocking an eyecup. And so the scene is set for the next ten hours.

An Elegant Tern flies low overhead, the only one we see, and then the first Elliott’s (or White-vented) Storm-Petrel cuts across the bows. The latter species is set to be the commonest storm-petrel of the trip, with an estimated 400+ seen on the voyage. Cape Petrel and Pink-footed Shearwaters mingle with the much commoner Sooties and the first of several Southern Giant Petrels drifts menacingly by. And I somehow manage to keep my breakfast in place.

As we continue further into the Pacific, Hornby’s (or Ringed) Storm-Petrels appear, large well-marked birds with an obvious dark breast-band on whitish underparts and also lesser numbers of the all-dark Markham’s Storm-Petrel. A school of up to thirty Bottlenose Dolphins circle the boat for some time and a flock of seven superb black-hooded adult Swallow-tailed Gulls cause great excitement when they pass overhead. And still I hang onto my breakfast, though at times it’s a very close call.

Upon reaching a point 35 nautical miles off the Lima coast we are apparently at the edge of the Continental Shelf, though the sea looks pretty much the same as it has for the last five hours and it’s certainly no less bumpy. At this stage a particularly strong-stomached member of the crew climbs over the stern to where a huge drum of the most foul-smelling rotting fish chum is located and starts to ladle it into the sea. The fish offal and popcorn mixture forms a stinking slick on the water’s surface and instantly storm-petrels flock to our location. The boat proceeds to circle as more bird-bait is laid and we try our hardest to breathe through mouths and not noses.

The bird-pulling power of the chum is truly amazing and soon dozens of Elliott’s, Hornby’s and Markham’s Storm-Petrels are pattering on the water’s surface. A single Wilson’s Storm-Petrel is picked out and a couple more Swallow-tailed Gulls and Southern Giant Petrels join the mêlée. Eventually even the big boys are drawn in, as a fantastic sub-adult Black-browed Albatross joins the Waved Albatrosses circling our position. Even more exciting is the adult Buller’s Albatross that appears from a distant horizon to check out the commotion, though we have to admit a little identificational fau pass which is later resolved unequivocally with AD’s amazing ‘digi-binned’ footage. A three-albatross pelagic in these waters is truly outstanding.

Having distributed the allocated chum we make an about-turn and head for solid ground; I’ve only got to stop myself from being sick for another six hours now! The return trip sees more of the same species passing us by, though a Humpback Whale is a great bonus.

When land finally does appear on the horizon there is a communal sigh of relief. It also coincides with what is arguably the mammalian highlight of the whole Peru trip, as a Sperm Whale announces his presence by breaching clear of the water and crashing back with an almighty splash. He only surfaces a couple more times, but rounded ‘hump’, square head shape and forty-five degree blow are all seen well.

Our route back to port takes us close by two of the smaller Palomino Islands that are home to immense numbers of breeding seabirds and South American Sea-Lions. On the higher outcrops Peruvian Boobies cram shoulder-to-shoulder in a Humboldt equivalent to the Bass Rock, while smaller numbers of Guanay and Red-legged Cormorants and Peruvian Pelicans dot the lower ledges and buzz low past the boat. From a distance the whole of one end of an island appears littered with large brown rocks, which upon closer approach reveal themselves to be a South American Sea-Lion colony literally thousands strong. It is truly a gathering of almost biblical proportions and the communal grunting emitted by the Otariid mass creates a deep guttural wall of sound that cannot be compared to anything we have ever experienced before. Similarly the uniquely pungent smell of the colossal seabird and mammal colonies will live in the nostrils for a very long time!

Rounding one of the larger islands the swell finally lessens and at this point the remainder of the chum is distributed to an assortment of gulls and terns that eagerly flock to the rear of the boat providing a great test of combining balance with photography. By the time we are transferred ashore it is dusk; we have spent the entire daylight portion of the day afloat and in spite of feeling as sick as a dog for 90% of it I have kept my breakfast firmly within my stomach!

It is amazing how rapidly ones digestive system can recover from such an ordeal and little more than an hour later we are dining on the finest seafood washed down with Chilean wine on what is sadly our final night-out of the trip.

Saturday 16th September

A 05.30 breakfast would normally be unheard-of, but today’s rather local itinerary allows for such a luxury. Heading south out of Lima and back into the arid clutches of the Atacama Desert, our first stop is a small area of scrub just short of Pucusana. Amazilia Hummingbird, Short-tailed Field-Tyrant, Coastal Miner and a flushed Lesser Nighthawk is all we have to show for an hour in the bushes, so we make tracks to the extremely picturesque fishing port of Pacusana. Dozens of brightly-painted fishing boats of various shapes and sizes rock gently in a walled harbour backed by hillsides terraced in pastel-coloured houses. A smell of seaweed and fish fills the misty air as nets are mended and catches transferred to a bustling market.

A couple of Surfbirds trot along the tide line with the Ruddy Turnstones, and Peruvian Pelicans jostle for position as fishmongers discard their scraps. Prize bird here is the Peruvian Seaside Cinclodes, a real character who boldly works his way around the bases of the harbour walls where the low tide has exposed various tasty morsels in the beds of green and purple seaweed; for me this fearless furnarid, with a niche in such an unlikely setting, rates as one of the top birds of the trip. A tour around the harbour margins in a small motorboat provides some great photographic opportunities of both the birds and town, with large gatherings of Inca Terns stealing the limelight, before we head back north to Playa San Pedro.

Playa San Pedro is actually a strip of golden sandy beach that presumably attracts day-trippers from Lima should the sun ever break through the seemingly permanent grey Humboldt mist. Today the stalls that back the seafront are deserted, though our attention first turns to the small freshwater pools which lie between the cultivated fields and the coast. A flock of over 200 Willet dominate the scene, with a sprinkling of Stilt Sandpipers, Wilson’s Phalaropes, ‘Hudsonian’ Whimbrel, Black-bellied Plovers, Semi-palmated Sandpipers and Semi-palmated Plovers. There are also a mixture of Black-necked and White-backed Stilts going about their business, being either one or two different species depending upon whose taxonomy one follows. White-cheeked Pintail is new to the trip and the half-dozen attractive Chestnut-collared Swallows that skim the ponds are new to us all.

A shout from the seaward side soon has us all focussing on a group of nine Peruvian Terns that have dropped onto the sand, a rather uncommon bird that is studied and photographed with relish. Final addition to the trip list is Grassland Yellow-Finch, before we head further north in search of some coastal scrub, an all–too-unusual habitat in an era of rapid urbanisation.

We stop beside the main highway at Lurin Bridge and follow the small creek inland, checking the adjoining hedgerows and limited patches of scrub. ‘Rufescent’ Flycatcher, the rufescens Pacific coastal form of Bran-colored Flycatcher, is a nice find though the Pacific Parrotlets that move around in small groups are apparently derived from a feral population. Scrub Blackbird, Plumbeous Rail, American Purple Gallinule and, most importantly, Drab Seedeater complete our visit.

Heading back into Lima we make a quick stop at the Pantanos de Villa Marshes, which have sadly become the site of regular muggings of visiting birders in recent times. Keeping one eye on our backs we quickly pick out Great, Pied-billed and White-tufted Grebes, plus a variety of widespread wetland species, before beating a hasty retreat. And so the bins are packed away for the last time. Returning to the town centre we are treated to the finest seafood meal to date, before making our way back to the hotel to pack for the long haul home.

It is hard to recall every site visited and habit zone sampled over the last twenty-one days, such has been the diversity shoehorned into our three-week window in a relatively small portion of this huge country. We have gasped in the thin air of 4,000m high Puna grassland and relict elfin Andean forests, and sweated in the humidity of the luxuriant Amazonian lowlands. And we have sampled all points in between, amassing an unfeasible 730 species of bird in the process (with another 33 species heard-only). To pick out a favourite locality, let alone a favourite bird, is nigh on impossible. This immense total includes such bewildering statistics as 53 species of antbird, 68 furnarids, 54 hummingbirds and 54 tanagers.

We are deeply indebted to Manu Expeditions (URL: www.manuexpeditions.com, E-mail: birding@manuexpeditions.com) who made the entire tour run so seamlessly and especially to the great Barry Walker, whose knowledge of Peru’s avifauna and skill in producing the region’s most sought-after species is second-to-none. Not only is he an excellent bird guide but also a first-class Peruvian historian, fascinating storyteller and superb host. We part company already planning our return visit and reunion in the North of Peru, eager to return to the country which must surely be the premier birding destination on the Planet.

Daily Itinerary

August 26th:
Fly UK to Lima with KLM, via Amsterdam and Bonaire. Night in Lima

August 27th: Morning flight to Cusco, then direct to Huacarpay Lakes with picnic lunch. Overnight in Cusco at Hotel Los Andes de America

August 28th: Train from Cusco (3300m) to Machu Picchu (2000m). Visit ruins (2600m) and some birding back towards Aguas Calientes along the road. Return to Ollantaytambo (2870m)

August 29th: Full Day at Abra Malaga (Panticalla Pass), starting at tree-line at Canchailloc at 3600m and working down to around 3200m. Some road works did not affect our success. Night in Ollantaytambo

August 30th: Full Day at Abra Malaga (Panticalla Pass), starting at the Pass (4050m) and all morning in the Polylepis woodland. Long walk down valley to lunch. Afternoon in the semi arid scrub and then back to Cusco for the night. Night Hotel Los Andes de America

August 31st: Cusco (3300m) to Pillahuata (Esperanza) camp (2780m) with stops at Huancarani, Paucartambo and over Ajcanacu Pass (3344m)

September 1st: Started birding at the road tunnels near Esperanza (2780m) and then at Pillahuata (2600m) down to Buenas Aires (2060m). Night at Cock of the Rock Lodge

September 2nd: Full day in the Cock of the Rock Lodge area birding from 1600-1300m in the morning and then 1600-2000m in the afternoon. Night Cock of the Rock Lodge

September 3rd: All morning birding above and below Rocotal at 2000m. A big cold front rolled in this day at lunch. Afternoon below the lodge at 1200m. Night Cock of the Rock Lodge.

September 4th: Cock of the Rock Lodge to Amazonia Lodge. Cold and rainy. We birded from 1800m to 1200m, then at 1000m (Quita Calzones). We drove through Pilcopata and then on to Atalaya with some birding near the Mirador. In the late afternoon we crossed the Alto Madre de Dios River and walked into Amazonia Lodge. Night Amazonia Lodge.

September 5th: We crossed the river in the early morning to be at the Mirador (800m) early. We then birded the Atalaya – Pilcopata road and returned to Amazonia Lodge for lunch. Afternoon was spent on the Jeep Track. Night Amazonia Lodge.

September 6th: Full day at Amazonia Lodge on the Jeep Track and on the trails.

September 7th: Morning on the hill trails above Amazonia Lodge to about 700m and then to the river and by boat to Manu Wildlife Center Lodge (250m). Stop at Boca Manu to refuel and a beer and another stop on a beach for late afternoon birding. Night Manu Wildlife Center Lodge.

September 8t: First thing at the Canopy Tower then the Grid. Afternoon on the aptly named Antthrush Trail. Night Manu Wildlife Center Lodge

September 9th: Morning for PH and VW at the Macaw Lick. Fig pass, Creekside and Manakin trails for the rest before lunch. Lunch and siesta at the Tapir Lick. Afternoon return via the Collpa trail. Night Manu Wildlife Center Lodge.

September 10th: All morning in the on the Cocha Nueva trail. Afternoon visit to the Cocha Blanco oxbow lake

September 11th: Early start and up the Madre de Dios River for 3 hours in the morning fog to the Boca Manu Aerodrome. Some birding at the Aerodrome and 45 minute flight over the Andes to Cusco. Lunch in Cusco and then the last flight to Lima. Night in Lima.

September 12th: Early start to Lomas de Lachay. Afternoon long drive to La Oroya (3600m) with a stop at Chancay. Night La Oroya

September 13th: Early start to Junin and then onto Chincahycocha Lake for the endemic Junin Grebe. Drive over Ticlio pass at 4700m to the Marcopomacocha Road at 4600m

September 14th: Santa Eulalia Road 3000–2300m. Drive to Lima.

September 15th: Full day Pelagic 35 nautical miles off the Port of Callao

September 16th A full day along the coast south of Lima to the fishing village of Pucusana. Short boat trip. Birding San Pedro Beach and the Lurin Valley. Short stop at Villa Marshes.

Checklist compiled by Barry Walker

* = Heard Only
E = Endemic to Peru.
NE = near-endemic e.g. just sneaks into NW Bolivia, SW Brazil, SW Ecuador or N. Chile.
MWC = Manu Wildlife Centre
HAL = Hacienda Amazonia Lodge

Gray Tinamou* Tinamus tao
Heard only, HAL

Black Tinamou* Timaus osgoodi
Vulnerable. Heard only, COTR

Great Tinamou Tinamus major
Seen at MWC on the Cocha Nueva trail

White-throated Tinamou Tinamus guttatus
Fantastic looks of this seldom seen Tinamou (photographed) on the Creekside trail, MWC

Hooded Tinamou* Nothocercus nigrocapillus
Heard only, COTR

Cinereous Tinamou* Crypturellus cinereus
Heard most days in the lowlands

Little Tinamou* Crypturellus soui
Heard on many days

Brown Tinamou* Crypturellus obsoletus
Heard only, COTR

Undulated Tinamou Crypturellus undulatus
Seen on n the Jeep Track at HAL and other locations

Black-capped Tinamou Crypturellus atrocapillus
Commonly heard at Amazonia Lodge and one seen on the Jeep Track, HAL

Ornate Tinamou Nothoprocta ornate
Great looks of one near Paucartambo

Andean Tinamou Nothoprocta pentlandi
Fabulous looks of half a dozen along the Santa Eulalia Road

Humbodt Penguin (NE) Spheniscus humboldti
Surpisingly the only record was of one on the pelagic

White-tufted Grebe Rollandia rolland
Seen at Villa Marshes, Lago Junin and at Huacarpay Lakes

Great Grebe Podiceps major
Seen on the pools at Villa Marshes

Least Grebe Tachybaptus dominicus
On the Ox-bow lake in MWC

Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
Villa Marshes

Silvery Grebe Podiceps rolland
On lakes below Ticlio pass and on lake Junin

Junin Grebe (E) Podiceps taczanowskii
About 6 of the flightless endemic on our boat trip on Junin

Waved Albatross Phoebastria irrorata
40+ of this Galapagos Island breeder on the pelagic. Only breeds on Espanola and Isla de Plata

Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris
One subadult on the pelagic. Breeds on sub-antarctic islands

Buller’s Albatross Thalassarche bulleri
One on the pelagic, only the second record off Lima. Breeds only on Chatham Island New Zealand

Antarctic (Southern) Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus
At least 4 on the pelagic

Cape Petrel Daption capense
10 + on the pelagic

White-chinned Petrel Procellaria aequinoctialis
100 + on the pelagic

Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus
Commonly seen on the pelagic

Pink-footed Shearwater Puffinus creatopus
20+ on the pelagic

Wilson’s Storm-Petrel Oceanites oceanicus
Only 1 positively identified

White-vented (Elliot’s) Storm-Petrel (NE) Oceanites gracilis
The common Storm-Petrel on the pelagic with 400+ seen. This is a Humboldt currant specialist

Markham’s Storm-Petrel (NE) Oceanodroma markhami
10+ on the pelagic. This is a Humboldt currant specialist – only known breeding colony is on the desert coast on the Paracas Peninsular

Ringed (Hornby’s) Storm-Petrel (NE) Oceanodroma hornbyi
Around 60 seen on the pelagic. This is a Humboldt currant specialist – breeding grounds unkown, but dessicated specimens found way inland in the desert indicate they nest deep in the Atacama Desert a long way inland

Peruvian Diving-Petrel (NE) Pelecanoides garnotii
Great views of this species with 40+ seen on the pelagic

Peruvian Pelican Pelicanus thagus
Common on the coast

Peruvian Booby Sula variegata
Common on the coast

Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus
Small numbers seen in the Amazonian lowlands and on the coast

Guanay Cormorant Phalacrocorax bougainvillii
Common the coast

Red-legged Cormorant Phalacrocorax gaimardi
A few on the coast – a very attractive Cormorant

Anhinga Anhinga anhinga
One seen at Manu Wildife Center

Capped Heron Pilherodius pileatus
A few on the Rio Alto Madre de Dios

Cocoi (White-necked) Heron Ardea cocoi
Not uncommon on the Rio Alto Madre de Dios.

Great Egret Ardea albus
Widespread in suitable habitat

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Widespread in suitable habitat

Snowy Egret Egretta thula
Widespread in suitable habitat

Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
Widespread in suitable habitat

Striated Heron Butorides striatus
Widespread in suitable habitat

Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Widespread in suitable habitat

Fasciated Tiger-Heron Tigrisoma fasciatum
A number on the fast-flowing sections of the Alto Madre de Dios between Amazonia Lodge and Boca Manu

Andean Ibis Theristicus branickii
Good looks at breakfast at Abra Malaga and next day on the way to Manu

Puna Ibis Plegadis ridgwayi
Common in the highlands and also at Villa Marshes

Green Ibis Mesembrinibis cayennensis
One on Cocha Blanco Lake

Horned Screamer Anhima cornuta
Good studies of this impressive species mostly along the Alto Madre de Dios

Andean Goose Chloephaga melanoptera
c40 in the Junin/La Oroya area

Orinoco Goose Neochen jubata
Near-Threatened. 4 on two dates on Alto Madre de Dios, near MWC

Muscovy Duck Cairina moschata
Several sightings of this large Duck at MWC

Torrent Duck Merganetta armata turneri
12 seen from the train en route to and from Macchu Picchu

Speckled Teal Anas flavirostris
Common at Huacarpay Lakes and Junin and small numbers elsewhere in the highlands

Crested Duck Anas specularioides
At Lake Junin only

Yellow-billed Pintail Anas flavirostris
Widespread in suitable habitat

White-cheeked Pintail Anas bahemensis
Seen at Villa Marshes

Puna Teal Anas puna
Common at Junin and Huacarpay Lakes and at Villa Marshes

Cinnamon Teal Anas cyanoptera
Common at Junin and Huacarpay Lakes and also at Pantanos de Villa

Andean Duck Oxyura ferruginea
Common at Junin and Huacarpay Lakes and at Villa Marshes

Andean Condor Vultur gryphus
Near-Threatened. Several looks at the enigmatic Vulture, especially so at Santa Eulalia

Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Widespread in suitable habitat

Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Widespread in suitable habitat

Greater Yellow-headed Vulture Cathartes melambrotus
Not uncommon in the Manu lowlands

King Vulture Sarcoramphus papa
6 seen in the Manu lowlands

Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Widespread in suitable habitat

Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus
Atalaya only, at least 14

Double-toothed Kite Harpagus bidentatus
One perched in a tree above Atalaya

Plumbeous Kite Ictinia plumbea
Seen daily at altitudes below 1000m

Cinereous Harrier Circus cinereous
4 at Huacarpay Lakes and 2 on the way to Manu

Crane Hawk Geranospiza caerulescens
Several in the lowlands

Slate-colored Hawk Leucopternis schistacea
Several sightings including 2 mating from the MWC canopy tower and at least 2 at Boca Manu Airstrip

Great Black-Hawk Buteogallus urubitinga
A few of this riverside species in Manu

Black-collared Hawk Busarellus nigricollis
A couple on the ox-bow lakes at MWC

Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle Geranoaetus melanoleucus
2 at Huacarpay Lakes and 2 in the Santa Eulaia Valley

Solitary Eagle Harpyhaliaetus solitarius
2 near Cock of the Rock Lodge soaring and perched

Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris
Widespread in suitable habitat

White-throated Hawk Buteo albigula
One at Abra Malaga

Puna Hawk Buteo poecilochrous
At Abra Malaga and in the Junin /Marcocpomacocha area

Red-backed Hawk Buteo polyosoma
In intermontane valleys and at Lomas de Lachay

Black-and-White Hawk-Eagle Spizastur melanoleucus
At HAL on 2 succesive days

Black Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus tyrannus
One perched calling near Atalaya

Black-and-Chestnut Eagle Oroaetus isidori
2 near Cock of the Rock Lodge seen very well soaring and perched

Black Caracara Daptrius ater
Several sightings in the lowlands

Red-throated Caracara Ibycter americanus
Several sightings of this noisy bird

Mountain Caracara Phalcoboenus megalopterus
Not uncommon in the highlands and a juvenile perched on the ruins at Machu Picchu

Laughing Falcon* Herpetotheres cachinnans
Heard only, HAL

American Kestrel Falco sparverius
Widespread in suitable habitat

Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis
Several widespread sightings

Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
1 along the coast and one at Machu Picchu of the cassini race

Aplomado Falcon Falco femoralis
Great looks on a fencepost near Ajcanacu Pass

Barred Forest-Falcon* Micrastur ruficollis
Heard only, MWC

Speckled Chachalaca Ortalis guttata
Common at HAL and one at COTR Lodge

Andean Guan Penelope montagnii
Several great looks in the Cloud Forest

Spix’s Guan Penelope jacquacu
Sightings at HAL and MWC

Wattled Guan* Aburria aburri
Near-Threatened

Blue-throated (Common) Piping-Guan Pipile cumanensis
At Amazonia Lodge and Manu Wildlife Center

Razor-billed Curassow Mitu tuberosa
A few sightings of this huge gamebird in the Manu lowlands

Rufous-breasted Wood-Quail* Odontophorus speciosus
Heard a number of times on the Manu Road

Starred Wood-Quail Odontophorus stellatus
Three seen on the Creekside trail at MWC

Hoatzin Opisthocomus hoazin
Many at the HAL oxbow and Cocha Blanco Lake

Limpkin Aramus guarauna
Cocha Blanco Lake

Pale-winged Trumpeter Psophia leucoptera
A small group seen on the Grid one morning at MWC were wary and moved away quickly. Also an imprinted bird at Boca Manu.

Gray-breasted Crake* Laterallus exilis
Heard only, Cocha Blanco Lake

Gray-necked Wood-Rail Aramides cajanea
One at HAL and two at MWC

Blackish Rail Pardirallus nigricans
Seen well on the jeep track at HAL in response to playback

Plumbeous Rail Pardirallus sanguinolentus
2 seen at Huacarpay Lakes and also near Villa Marshes

American Purple Gallinule Porphyrio martinica
An immature in the Lurin Valley on the coast

Azure Gallinule Porphyrio flavirostris
2 immatures on Cocha Blanco Lake

Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
An immature on Cocha Blanco Lake was a notable straggler

Slate-colored (Andean) Coot Fulica ardesiaca
Common in suitable habitat

Giant Coot Fulica gigantean
Three on Lake Junin and others noted near Ticlio pass

Sungrebe Heliornis fulica
At least five on Cocha Blanco

Sunbittern Eurypyga helias meridionalis
Seen well on the Madre de Dios River and at MWC

Wattled Jacana Jacana jacana
Many at Cocha Blanco

Blackish Oystercatcher Haematopus ater
A handful at Pucusana.

American Oystercatcher Haemotopus palliates
A couple of sightings around the Palomino Islands

Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus
40 at at San Pedro near Lima

White-backed Stilt Himantopus melanurus
4 at San Pedro near Lima. plus intermediaries. Probably conspecific with the previous taxon

Peruvian Thicknee Burhinus superciliaris
One group of 13 seen exceptionally well near Lomas de Lachay and two more by the reserve entrance

Pied Lapwing Vanellus cayanus
Several ightings on the Madre de Dios River

Andean Lapwing Vanellus resplendens
Widespread in suitable habitat

Black-bellied (Grey) Plover Pluvialis squatarola
San Pedro

Semi-palmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus
Only at San Pedro beach

Killdeer Charadrius vociferous
Widespread in suitable habitat

Collared Plover Charadrius collaris
A few on the Madre de Dios River

Puna Plover Charadrius alticola
2 on the short turf beside Lake Junin

Diademed Sandpiper-Plover Phegornis mitchellii
2 birds at our usual stakeout on the Marcapomacocha road

Tawny-throated Dottrel Oreopholus ruficollis
8 adults and 4 fluffy young near Lomas de Lachay

Puna Snipe Gallinago andina
One at Marcapomacocha

Andean Snipe Gallinago jamesoni
Several heard and 2 seen feeding on the ‘lawn’ at the Pillahuata camp

(Hudsonian) Whimbrel Numineus phaeopus hudsonicus
On the coast

Upland Sandpiper Bartramia longicauda
One on a beach along the Madre de Dios River

Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
Widespread in suitable habitat

Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes
Widespread in suitable habitat

Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria
One on oxbow at MWC

Spotted Sandpiper Tringa macularia
Many seen including several in summer plumage

Willet Catoptorophobus macularia
200+ at San Pedro beach

Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Common on the coast

Surfbird Tringa incana
c5 at Pucusana

Sanderling Calidris alba
On the coast

Semi-palmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla
Marsh adjacent ot San Pedro Beach

Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla
Widespread in suitable habitat

Baird’s Sandpiper Calidris bairdii
In the highlands at Lake Junin

Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos
2 at Huacarpay Lakes, 2 at Lake Junin

Stilt Sandpiper Calidris himantopus
2 at Huacarpay Lakes near Cusco and 6 at San Pedro

Wilson’s Phalarope Steganopus tricolor
Widespread in suitable habitat, very common at Lake Junin

Red (Grey) Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius
300+ on the pelagic

Least Seedsnipe Thinocorus rimicivorus
10+ near Lomas de Lachay; breeding here

Chilean Skua Stercorarius chilensis
5 on the pelagic

Pomarine Jaeger Stercorarius pomarinus
Several on the pelagic

Long-tailed Jaeger Stercorarius longicaudus
One juvenile on the pelagic

Belcher’s Gull Larus belcheri
Small numbers at most coastal sites

Gray Gull Larus modestus
Fairly common on the coast – nests in the Atacama desert

Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus
Fairly common on the coast

Gray-headed Gull Larus cirrocephalus
Large colony at Villa Marshes and a few in Callao Harbour

Andean Gull Larus serranus
Widespread in the highlands

Sabines Gull Xema sabini
3 on the pelagic

Swallow-tailed Gull Creagrus furcatus
7 individuals on the pelagic

Elegant Tern Sterna elegans
One on the pelagic

South American Tern Sterna hirundinacea
A few on the pelagic

Arctic/Common Tern Sterna paradisaea/hirundo
A few on the pelagic

Yellow-billed Tern Sterna superciliaris
Daily on the lowland Amaazonian rivers

Peruvian Tern Sterna lorata
8 at San Pedro beach including one juvenile

Large-billed Tern Phaetusa simplex
Daily on the lowland rivers

Inca Tern Larosterna inca
Many along the coast

Black Skimmer Rynchops niger
Seen most days on the lowland rivers

Feral Pigeon Columba livia
Common around most habitation

Spot-winged Pigeon Patagioenas maculosa
Common in the highlands

Band-tailed Pigeon Patagioenas fasciata
Common in the higher Cloud Forest

Pale-vented Pigeon Patagioenas cayennensis
Common in the lowlands

Plumbeous Pigeon Patagioenas plumbea
A number seen along the Manu Road

Ruddy Pigeon Patagioenas subvinacea
Fairly common in the lowlands

Eared Dove Zenaida auriculata
Widespread in suitable habitat

West Peruvian (Pacific) Dove (NE) Zenaida meloda
Widespread around coastal habitation, including Lima Airport

Croaking Ground-Dove Columbina cruziana
Widespread on Pacific Slope

Ruddy Ground-Dove Columbina tapalcoti
Two near Patria

Bare-faced Ground-Dove Metriopelia ceciliae
We saw two sub-species – nominate ceciliae at Huacarpay Lakes and gymnops in the Santa Eulalia Valley

Black-winged Ground-Dove Metropelia melanoptera
10+ in the Santa Eulalia Valley

Gray-fronted Dove Leptotila rufaxilla
Seen commonly at all lowland sites

Ruddy Quail-Dove Geotrygon montana
Several sightings at MWC

Blue-and-Yellow Macaw Ara ararauna
Still a common sight in the lowlands

Military Macaw Ara militaris
Vulnerable. 4 near the Mirador stakeout above Atalaya. A foothill bird which is an HAL speciality (also two there)

Scarlet Macaw Ara macao
Less common than the next species

Red-and-Green Macaw Ara chloropterus
Star performer at the Macaw Lick

Chestnut-fronted Macaw Ara severa
The common small Macaw of the lowlands

Red-bellied Macaw Ara manilata
Likes Mauritia palms and several groups flying over on the way to and from feeding and roosting sites close to MWC

Blue-headed Macaw (NE) Ara couloni
4 birds seen well at the Mirador above Atalaya including one perched. Also heard over Jeep Track, HAL

Scarlet-fronted Parakeet Aratinga wagleri
c10 at Santa Eulalia Valley. A likely future split

Mitred Parakeet Aratinga mitrata mitrata
We saw the nominate mitrata subspecies at Machu Picchu in humid forest

White-eyed Parakeet Aratinga leucophthalmus
Common in the lowlands below Cock of the Rock Lodge and around HAL

Dusky-headed Parakeet Aratinga weddellii
Just 2 along the river

Rose-faced Parakeet Pyrrhura roseifrons
Great studies at the MWC Tapir Lick during our midday siesta, when c200 were present. The Painted Parakeet complex has recently been split into several species and the Manu bird is now Rose-faced Parakeet

Black-capped (Rock) Parakeet Pyrrhura rupicola
Again good looks at c6 at the MWC Tapir Lick at midday

Mountain Parakeet Bolborhynchus aurifrons
At Lomas de Lachay and Santa Eulalia

Dusky-billed Parrotlet Forpus sclateri
A few at the MWC Tapir Lick with the Pyrruhra Parakeets

Pacific Parrotlet Forpus coelestis
4 at the Lurin River were a surprise but presumably originate from a feral population established in the Liam area since the 1970s

Cobalt-winged Parakeet Brotogeris cyanoptera cyanoptera
Common and noisy in lowland forest.

Tui Parakeet Brotogeris sanctithomae
Seen at the Macaw Lick and Cocha Blanco in the MWC area

White-bellied Parrot (NE) Pionites leucogaster
4 scoped from the canopy tower at MWC

Orange-cheeked Parrot Pionopsitta barrabandi
Another star performer at the Macaw Lick plus flyby’s from the MWC Canopy Tower

Blue-headed Parrot Pionus menstruus
Hundreds at the Macaw Lick and a common lowland forest resident

Speckle-faced (Plum-crowned) Parrot Pionus tumultuosus tumultuosus
A flock of 20 near the Pillahuata camp

Yellow-crowned Parrot Amazona ochrocephala
At the MWC Macaw Lick

Scaly-naped Parrot Amazona mercenaria
A cloud forest Amazonas – flocks near Pillahauta and Cock of the Rock Lodge

Mealy Parrot Amazona farinosa
Common in the lowlands and at the MWC Macaw Lick

Dark-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus melacophrys
1 at Cocha Nueva

Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
Common in suitable habitat

Black-bellied Cuckoo Piaya melanogaster
One seen well from the canopy tower at MWC

Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani
Widespsread in the Amazon

Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris
Widespread on the coast

Rufescent Screech Owl* Meagascops ingens
A frustratingly close calling bird at the Cock of the Rock lek

Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl Megascops watsonii
Two separate birds in response to playback at HAL and heard every night in the lowlands

Yungas Pygmy Owl Glaucidium bolivianum
One in response to playback at Abra Malaga

Amazonian Pygmy-Owl* Glaucidium hardyi
Several heard at MWC

Peruvian Pygmy Owl (NE) Glaucidium peruanum
One seen well in the Santa Eulaia Valley

Great Potoo Nyctibius grandis
A calling bird seen in the Lodge clearing at MWC on a moonlit night

Long-tailed Pottoo Nyctibius aethereus
One seen in response to playback at HAL

Common Potoo Nyctibius griseus
One seen at HAL and heard nightly there

Sand-colored Nighthawk Chordeiles rupestris
Great looks along the Madre de Dios River. Roosts on sandbars and dead logs in the river

Lesser Nighthawk Chordeiles acutipennis
One flushed near Pucusana

Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis
Several seen duing the day and at dusk

Ladder-tailed Nightjar Hydropsalis climacocerca
One on a sandbar along the Madre de Dios River

Swallow-tailed Nightjar* Uropsalis segmentata
Heard only at Esperanza

Lyre-tailed Nightjar Uropsalis lyra
A full tailed male and a female at the Mirador above Union Bridge

Chestnut-collared Swift Streptoprocne rutilus
Widespread

White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris
Widespread and numerous

Gray-rumped Swift Chaetura cinereiventris
Seen on several days around Cock of the Rock Lodge

Short-tailed Swift Chaetura brachyura
Many sightings

Andean Swift Aeronautes andecolus
Twenty on the Santa Eulaia Road were the only sighting

Fork-tailed Palm-Swift Tachornis squamata
Several sightings

Rufous-breasted Hermit Glaucis hirsuta
One at the MWC flowers

Green Hermit Phaethornis guy
Great looks at the feeders at Cock of the Rock Lodge

White-bearded Hermit Phaethornis hispidus
The common forest Hermit in the lowlands. Seen well at the flowers at MWC

Koepcke’s Hermit (E) Phaethornis koepckeae
Near-Threatened. A Peruvian endemic and a speciality at HAL. 3 individuals seen including 2 exceptionally well

Needle-billed Hermit Phaethornis philippii
Two sightings at MWC

Reddish Hermit Phaethornis ruber
Widespread in suitable habitat

Gray-breasted Sabrewing Campylopterus largipennis
Daily at the HAL flowers and feeders

White-necked Jacobin Florisuga mellivora
HAL only

Green Violet-ear Colibri thalassinus
Widespread in suitable habitat

Sparkling Violet-ear Colibri coruscans
Widespread in suitable habitat

Rufous-crested Coquette Lophornis delattrei
A female daily at HAL

Wire-crested Thorntail Popelairia popelairii
Good looks at Cock of the Rock lodge

Blue-tailed Emerald Chlorostilbon mellisugus
Common at the Butterfly bushes at HAL

Fork-tailed Woodnymph Thalurania furcata
Widespread in suitable habitat

Golden-tailed Sapphire Chrysuronia oenone
Widespread in suitable habitat

Many-spotted Hummingbird Taphrospilus hypostictus
Great looks at the Cock of the Rock feeders

Amazilia Hummingbird Amazilia amazilia
Chancay and Pucusana only

Green-and-White Hummingbird (E) Amazilia viridicauda
Peruvian endemic and a Machu Picchu speciality

Sapphire-spangled Emerald Amazilia lactea
One at Boca Manu Aerodrome

Speckled Hummingbird Adelomyia melanogenys
Widespread in suitable habitat

Gould’s Jewelfront Helidoxa aurescens
A fantastic bird at the Vervane Bushes at HAL

Violet-fronted Brilliant Heliodoxa leadbeateri
Widespread in suitable habitat

Rufous-webbed Brilliant (E) Heliodoxa branickii
One in the garden at Cock of the Rock Lodge

Giant Hummingbird Patagona gigas
At Huacarpay Lakes and Santa Eulalia Valley

Shining Sunbeam Aglaeactis cupripennis caumatonotus
Common in the higher cloud forest

Whie-tufted Sunbeam (E) Aglaeactis castelnaudii
3 or 4 of this endemic at Abra Malaga

Andean Hillstar Oreotrochilus estella
Abra Malaga Polylepsis only

Black-breasted Hillstar (E) Oreotrochilus melanogaster
One at Marcopomacocha

Gould’s (Collard) Inca (NE) Coeligena (coeligena) inca
Several in the Cloud Forest

Bronzy Inca Coeligena coeligena
One just below The Tunnels, between Pillahuata camp site and CORL, 4/11

Violet-throated Starfrontlet (NE) Coeligena violifer osculans
Fairly common around Pillahuata and at Abra Malaga

Sword-billed Hummingbird Ensifera ensifera
One at Abra Malaga

Great Sapphirewing Pterophanes cyanopterus
One at Abra Malaga

Amethyst-throated Sunangel Heliangelus amethysticollis
Not uncommon in higher cloud forest

Coppery-naped (Sapphire-vented) Puffleg Eriocnemis sapphiropygia (luciani)
Seen well at Abra Malaga (sapphiropygia)

Buff-thighed (Greenish) Puffleg Haplophaedia (aureliae) assimilis
Cock of the Rock Lodge area

Booted Racket-tail Ocreatus underwoodii annae
Cock of the Rock Lodge

Black-tailed Trainbearer Lesbia victoriae
Huacarpay Lakes

Bronze-tailed Comet (E) Polyonymus caroli
Four of this endemic along the Santa Eulaia Road

Purple-backed Thornbill Ramphomicron microrhynchum
A female seen well at Abra Malaga

Scaled Metaltail (NE) Metallura aeneocauda
Three at Abra Malaga

Black Metaltail (E) Metallura phoebe
One along the Santa Eulaia Road

Tyrian Metaltail Metallura tyrianthina smaragdinicollis
Common

Rufous-capped Thornbill Chalcostigma ruficeps
Two near our camp at Pillahuata

Olivaceous Thornbill Chalcostigma olivaceum
One at Marcopomacocha, where its bizarre feeding technique was studied at close quarters

Blue-mantled Thornbill (NE) Chalcostigma stanleyi
Several in the Abra Malaga Polylepis

Long-tailed Sylph Aglaiocercus kingi
Several sightings including males

Wedge-billed Hummingbird Schistes geoffroyi
Near Cock of the Rock Lodge

Bearded Mountaineer (E) Oreonympha nobilis
At least 3 in the Nicotania bushes around Hucarpay Lake

Black-eared Fairy Heliothryx aurita
One at HAL

Peruvian Sheartail (NE) Thaumastura cora
Small numbers seen on the Santa Eulalia Road. Just sneaks into northern Chile

Oasis Hummingbird (NE) Rhodopis vesper vesper
Lomas de Lachay and at Santa Eulaia

Purple-collared Woodstar (NE) Myrtis fanny
On the Santa Eulalia Road. Just sneaks into northern Chile

White-bellied Woodstar Acestrura mulsant
2 at 2000 meters on the Manu road including a full plumaged male; a real bumblebee gem

Golden-headed Quetzal Pharomachrus auriceps
A number seen between Pillahuata and COTR

Pavonine Quetzal Pharomachrus pavoninus
One male on MWC Grid

Black-tailed Trogon Trogon melanurus melanurus
A number seen in the Manu lowlands

Amazonian White-tailed Trogon* Trogon viridis viridis
Heard at MWC

Collared Trogon Trogon collaris
A number seen in the Cock of the Rock area

Masked Trogon Trogon personatuts
A couple in the Cloud Forest

Blue-crowned Trogon Trogon curucui
A number seen in the Manu lowlands

Amazonian Violaceous Trogon Trogon violaceus violaceus
MWC only

Ringed Kingfisher Ceryle torquata
A number seen in the Manu lowlands

Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona
A number seen in the Manu lowlands

Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle Americana
On the Amazonian Ox-bow lakes but also along the coast at Lurin

Green-and-Rufous Kingfisher Chloroceryle inda
On Cocha Blanco

Broad-billed Motmot Electron platyrhynchum
MWC only

Rufous Motmot* Baryphthengus martii
MWC

Blue-crowned Motmot Momotus momota
MWC, in the bamboo

Highland Motmot Momotus aequatorialis
Both at Machu Picchu and in the Manu Cloud Forest

Purus Jacamar Galbalcyrhynchus purusianus
7 seen well on Cocha Blanco at Manu Wildlife Center

Bluish-fronted Jacamar Galbula cyanescens
Common in the Amazonian lowlands

Paradise Jacamar Galbula dea
Heard and later one very strange plumaged immature, MWC

White-necked Puffbird Notharchus macrorhynchos
Two from the MWC canopy tower

Chestnut-capped Puffbird Bucco macrodactylus
A pair at HAL and one at Boca Manu

Striolated Puffbird Nystalus striolatus
Two from the canopy tower at MWC

Black-streaked Puffbird Malacoptila fulvogularis
One at 2000 meters in the Cloud Forest in response to playback

Black-fronted Nunbird Monasa nigrifrons
Not uncommon at MWC

White-fronted Nunbird Monasa morphoeus
A few at MWC

Swallow-wing Chelidoptera tenebrosa
Common along the lowland rivers

Gilded Barbet Capito auratus
Several at MWC

Lemon-throated Barbet Eubucco richardsoni
Seen at HAL and MWC

Scarlet-hooded Barbet (E) Eubucco tucinkae
Pair at the feeders at HAL. An uncommon Peruvian endemic

Versicolored Barbet Eubucco versicolor
Not uncommon around Cock of the Rock Lodge

Black-throated Toucanet (E) Aulacorhynchus atrogularis
Sightings of six birds in the lowlands, it is a recent split

Chestnut-tipped Toucanet Aulacorhynchus derbianus
One near Cock of the Rock Lodge

Blue-banded Toucanet (NE) Aulacorhynchus coeruleicinctis
A number seen in the Cloud Forest

Ivory billed (Brown-mandibled) Aracari Pteroglossus azarae (mariae)
Several seen at MWC

Chestnut-eared Aracari Pteroglossus castanotis
The common Amazonian lowland Aracari

Curl-crested Aracari (NE) Pteroglossus beauharnaesii
A total of four birds all at MWC

Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan* Andigena hypoglauca
Near-Threatened. Heard only above and below Esperanza

Golden-collared Toucanet Selenidera reinwardtii
One at MWC

Channel-billed Toucan Ramphastos vitellinus
Several in the Manu lowlands

White-throated (Cuvier’s) Toucan Ramphastos tucanus
Several in the Manu lowlands

Fine-barred Piculet (E) Picumnus subtilis
Several in the Manu foothills

Bar-breasted Piculet Picumnus aurifrons
One at MWC from the canopy tower with a mixed species flock

Rufous-breasted Piculet Picumnus rufiventris
Two sightings at this bamboo specialist at MWC

Yellow-tufted Woodpecker Melanerpes cruentatus
Widespread in Manu lowlands

Red-stained Woodpecker Venilornis affinis
Three individuals all with mixed canopy flocks at MWC

Golden-Olive Woodpecker Piculus rubiginosus
Two in the Cloud Forest

Crimson-mantled Woodpecker Piculus rivolii atriceps
One in the Cloud Forest

Spot-breasted Flicker (Woodpecker) Colpates punctigula
2 at Amazonia Lodge. This and the following species are perhaps better called Flickers to follow the rest of the Colaptes genus

Black-necked Flicker (Woodpecker) (E) Colpates atricolis
One on the Santa Eulalia Road

Andean Flicker Colaptes rupicola
Not uncommon in the highlands

Scaly-breasted Woodpecker Celeus grammicus latifasciatus
Two seen at MWC

Ringed Woodpecker Celeus torquatus
Two responded well to palyback at the MWC canopy tower

Red-necked Woodpecker Campephilus rubricollis
Regular sighting at MWC

Crimson-crested Woodpecker Campephilus melanoleucos
Two seen at HAL

Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus
Regularly encountered in the Manu lowlands

Coastal Miner (E) Geositta peruviana
Peruvian endemic. On the coast out of Lima

Grayish Miner (E) Geositta maritime
Peruvian endemic. On its favoured rocky slopes at Lomas de Lachay

Common Miner Geositta cunicularia
Junin only

Dark-winged Miner (E) Goeositta saxicolina
One at Marcopomacocha

Thick-billed Miner (E) Geositta crassirostris
A pair at at Lomas de Lachay

Slender-billed Miner Geositta tenuirostris
Upper Manu Road and Lomas de Lachay only

Plain-breasted Earthcreepr Upacerthia jelski
Two at Marcopomacocha

Surf (Peruvain Seaside) Cinclodes (E) Cinclodes taczanowski
Two at Pucusana

Bar-winged Cinclodes Cinclodes fuscus rivularis
Common in the highlands

White-winged Cinclodes Cinclodes atacamensis
2 at Ollantaytambo and 2 at Marcopomacocha – much more restricted to water than the preceeding species

Royal Cinclodes (NE) Cinclodes aricomae
Critically Endangered. Arguably the Bird of the Trip. Virtually a Peruvian endemic with less that 200 pairs and a critically endangered Polylepis forest endemic. Has just been found in an inaccessible locality in northern Bolivia. Watched at length at the Abra Malaga stakeout, in response to playback.

White-bellied Cinclodes (E) Cinclodes palliatus
Vulnerable. Three in response to playback near Ticlio pass – a very rare endemic under presuure from turf cutting practices

Pale-legged Hornero Furnarius leucopus tricolor
HAL only

Rusty-crowned Tit-Spinetail (E) Leptasthenura pileata pileata
We saw the nominate race on the Santa Eulalia Road

Tawny Tit-Spinetail (NE) Leptasthenura yanacensis
Near-Threatened. A virtual Polylepis endemic seen at Abra Malaga

White-browed Tit-Spinetail (E) Leptasthenura xenothorax
Endangered. Peruvian endemic restricted to Polylepis groves in the Cordillera Vilcanota. We saw six birds at Abra Malaga

Wren-like Rushbird Phleocryptus melanops
At Huacarpay and Villa. A reedbed specialist.

Puna Thistletail (E) Schizoeaca helleri
Two seen well in response to playback at Abra Malaga

Azara’s Spinetail Synallaxis azarae urubambae
Seen at a number of highland sites

Cabanis’ Spinetail (NE) Synallaxis cabanisi
Seen at HAL and heard elsewhere

Plain-crowned Spinetail Synallaxis gujanensis
Two at the Boca Manu Aerodrome

Marcapata Spinetail (E) Cranioleuca marcapatae marcapatae
Two seen well at Abra Malaga in Chusquea Bamboo and then near Pillahuata. A highly localised endemic (Cuzco only)

Creamy-crested Spinetail (E) Cranioleuca albicapilla albigula
A Peruvian endemic. Two at Abra Malaga and one at the traditional stakeout above Paucartambo

Speckled Spinetail Cranioleuca gutturata
Two with the big mixed flock on the hill at HAL

Canyon Canastero (NE) Asthenes pudibunda
Several on the Santa Eulalia Road. Recently found in North Chile

Rusty-fronted Canastero (E) Asthenes ottonis
A pair at Huacarpay Lakes

Cactus Canastero (E) Asthenes cactorum
Four at Lomas de Lachay

Streak-throated Canastero Asthenes humilis
Abra Malaga only

Line-fronted Canastero (NE) Asthenes urubambansis
Near-Threatened. Seen well at Abra Malaga. Also in Bolivia

Junin Canastero (E) Astenes virgata
A pair filmed just below the Abra Malaga Polylepsis woodland

Scribble-tailed Canastero Asthenes maculicauda
Tres Cruces Road; the north end of its range here

Streak-fronted Thornbird Pacellodomus striaticeps
Two at Huacarpay Lakes; at the northern end of its range here

Plain Softtail Thripophaga fusciceps dimorpha
4 at the canopy tower and nearby grid at Manu Wildlife Center

Spotted Barbtail Premnoplex brunnescens
One on the river trail below Cock of the Rock Lodge

Pearled Treerunner Margarornis squamiger
Not uncommon in the higher Cloud Forests

Rufous-tailed Xenops Xenops milleri
One below Cock of the Rock Lodge and one at HAL

Slender-billed Xenops Xenops tenuirostris
One at MWC

Plain Xenops Xenops minutes
One at MWC

Streaked Xenops Xenops rutilans
A few in the Cloud Forest

Montane Foliage-gleaner Anabacerthia striaticollis
Fairly common in the Cloud forest near Cock of the Rock Lodge

Streaked Tuftedcheek Pseudocolaptes boissonneautii
One at Abra Malaga

Striped Treehunter Thripadectes holostictus
One at 2000 meters on the Manu Road

Black-billed Treehunter Thripadectes melanorhynchus
One near Cock of the Rock Lodge

Peruvian Recurvebill (E) Simoxenops ucayalae
Near-Threatened. One seen very well and photographed on the MWC the Cocha Nueva Trail

Chestnut-winged Hookbill Ancistrops strigilatus
Two in a mixed flock at MWC

Chestnut-winged Foliage-gleaner Philydor erythropterus
Seen from the canopy Tower and other trails at MWC

Rufous-tailed Foliage-gleaner Philydor ruficaudatus
Several in mixed canopy flocks at MWC

Cinnamon-rumped Foliage-gleaner* Philydor pyrrhodes
Heard only MWC

Dusky-cheeked Foliage-gleaner* Automolus dorsalis
Bamboo specialist. Heard only MWC

Chestnut-crowned Foliage-gleaner Automolus rufipileatus
Several sightings in the Manu lowlands

Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner Automolus ochrolaemus ochrolaemus
Heard several places and two responded well to playback HAL

Olive-backed Foliage-gleaner Automolus infuscatus
A good site is the Creekside trail at MWC

Brown-rumped Foliage-gleaner Automolus melanopezus
One seen well in the bamboo on the Cocha Nueva Trail, MWC

Black-billed Leaftosser* Sclerurus caudacutus
Heard only at MWC

Tyrannine Woodcreeper Dendrocincla tyrannina
One near Cock of the Rock Lodge

Plain-brown Woodcreeper Dendrocincla fuliginosa
Two seen at MWC

White-chinned Woodcreeper Dendrocincla merula
One at the antswarm on the MWC Canopy Tower Creek trail. An obligate Army Ant follower

Long-tailed Woodcreeper Deconychura longicauda pallida
Heard every day at MWC and one brought in using playback

Olivaceous Woodcreeper Sittasomus griseicapillus amazonus
Several sightings – this race will be elevated to species level in the future. Keep track of these subspecies. Sittasomus griseicapillus almost certainly consists of multiple species

Wedge-billed Woodcreeper Glyphorynchus spirurus
One of the commoner Amazonian Woodcreepers

Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper Dendrexetastes rufigula
A pair seen well at HAL and calling there pre-dawn every day. Also seen at night whilst owling with a full moon!

Strong-billed Woodcreeper Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus
One at MWC

Amazonian Barred Woodcreeper Dendrocolaptes certhia
One seen at MWC

Straight-billed Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus (or Dendroplex) picus picus
Nesting in the garden at HAL

Tschudi’s Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus chunchotambo
Two seen in the understory of Terra firme forest on the Colpa Trail at MWC

Elegant Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus elegans
One in response to playback on the Manakin Trail at MWC

Lafresnaye’s (Buff-throated) Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus (guttatus) guttatoides
Commonest Woodcreeper

Olive-backed Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus triangularis
Several in the Cloud Forest

Montane Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger
A few near Cock of the Rock Lodge

Lineated Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes albolineatus
Good looks from the Canopy Tower at MWC

Red-billed Scythebill Campylorhamphus trochilirostris
Great looks in a bamboo patch near Atalaya

Fasciated Antshrike Cymbilaimus lineatus
Heard daily at MWC and one seen in a mixed flock from the canopy tower

Bamboo Antshrike (NE) Cymbilaimus sanctaemariae
Seen well at HAL and in the Guadua bamboo on the Cocha Nueva trail at MWC

Great Antshrike Taraba major
Commonly heard and seen on several occasions

Chestnut-backed Antshrike Thamnophilus palliatus
Heard below Cock of the Rock Lodge and three seen well

Uniform Antshrike Thamnophilus unicolor
Great looks at one above Cock of the Rock Lodge after some effort. This species is not on the range maps for this part of Peru and some show a white tail tip but it sounds like birds from Central Peru. Watch this space!

Plain-winged Antshrike Thamnophilus schistaceus
A number recorded in the lowlands

Variable Antshrike Thamnophilus caerulescens
A pair seen at Machu Picchu

Spot-winged Antshike Pygiptila stellaris
Common in the lowlands

Dusky-throated Antshrike Thamnomanes ardesiacus ardesiacus
Two pairs at MWC Lodge

Bluish-slate Antshrike Thamnomanes schistogynus
Understory flock leader and common. Seen many days in the lowlands; its call leads to mixed understory flocks

Pygmy Antwren Myrmotherula brachyura brachyura
Common and seen on the jeep track at HAL

Sclater's Antwren Myrmotherula sclateri
Seen from the canopy tower at MWC and on the Grid

Amazonia Streaked Antwren Myrmotherula surinamensis
Seen by the bridge at MWC Lodge (BW)

Stripe-chested Antwren Myrmotherula longicauda
One of the commoner Myrmotherula in the foothills

Plain-throated Antwren Myrmotherula hauxwelli
Two seen at MWC

Ornate Antwren Myrmotherula ornata meridionalis
A dead leaf-cluster specialist. Seen along the jeep track at HAL. In Se Peru gray backed forms are common but some red backed forms occur – our male had a gray back

White-flanked Antwren Myrmotherula axillaris
Common in understory flocks

Slaty Antwren Myrmotherula schisticolor
One at Cock of the Rock Lodge

Long-winged Antwren Myrmotherula longipennis garbei
The ones we saw at Manu Wildife Center were in a mixed flocks

Gray Antwren Myrmotherula menetriesii
Common in the lowlands with mixed flocks

Yellow-breasted Antwren Herpsilochmus axillaris
Good looks at several individuals at Cock of the Rock Lodge

Dot-winged Antwren Microrhopias quixensis
Two in the foothills

Striated Antbird Drymophila devillei
Several of the Bamboo specialists on the Cocha Nueva trail at MWC

Yellow-rumped Antwren (NE) Ternura shapei
Endangered. One early in the morning at Cock of the Rock Lodge. A very rare bird and the Manu Road is probably the best place to see it

Gray Antbird Cercomacra cinerascens sclateri
Commonly heard but tricky to see this canopy vine tangle specialist. We called one in at MWC Lodge

Blackish Antbird Cercomacra nigrescens
Varzea bird – we called in a pair in the MWC Bamboo

Black Antbird Cercomacra serva
A pair seen well at the Macaw lookout above Atalaya

Manu Antbird (NE) Cercomacra manu
We heard this in most lowland bamboo patches and called a pair in on the Cocha Nueva trail at MWC. Only described in 1990, the range just creeps into NW Bolivia and s. Amazonian Brazil

White-backed Fire-eye Pyriglena leuconota marcapatensis
Two seen below Cock of the Rock Lodge

White-browed Antbird Myrmoborus leucophrys
A common lowland Antbird. Many encounters

Black-faced Antbird Myrmoborus myotherinus
A foothill and Terra Firme bird – one seen

Warbling Antbird (White-breasted) Hypocnemis cantator peruviana
We saw both yellow flanked and rufous flanked birds. Both morphs occur in the same population and sound identical

Band-tailed Antbird Hypocnemoides maculicauda
Only recorded at the HAL oxbow

Silvered Antbird Sclateria naevia
Three responded well to playback at HAL – another lakeside specialist

White-lined Antbird (NE) Percnostola lophotes
Another bamboo specialists. Range just creeps over the border into NW Bolivia. Several seen especialy along the Anthrush trail at MWC

Southern Chestnut-tailed Antbird Myrmeciza hemimelaena
Common denizen of the lowland rainforest. Several encounters

Plumbeous Antbird Myrmeciza hyperythra
Two birds seen in all

Goeldi's Antbird (NE) Myrmeciza goeldii
Several seen. Favours Bamboo but is not restricted to it

Sooty Antbird Myrmeciza fortis
An immature male in the hill forest at HAL

Black-throated Antbird Myrmeciza atrothorax
A pair seen in response to recording at Atalaya

White-throated Antbird Gymnopithys salvini
Two seen and photographed at an antswarm along the Canopy Tower Trail at MWC. An obligate Army Ant follower and a real prize

Hairy-crested Antbird Rhegmatorhina melanosticta
One in the hill forest at HAL

Black-spotted Bare-eye Phlegopsis nigromaculata
After several frustrating attempts we were treated to superb views on the MWC Cocha Nuevo Trail

Rufous-capped Antthrush Formicarius colma colma/nigrifrons
One at dusk seen at MWC

Black-faced Antthrush Formicarius analis
Heard daily in the lowlands with several being seen

Rufous-fronted Antthrush (NE) Formicarius rufifrons
Near-Threated. One of the birds of the trip on the aptly named Anthrush trail. Great photographic views were had by all of this near endemic only rediscovered in the ‘70s by Ted Parker. Manu Wildlife Center is the place to see this species

Rufous-breasted Antthrush Formicarius rufipectus thoracicus
Heard commonly Cock of the Rock Lodge and one seen improbably flying across the road!

Barred Antthrush* Chamaeza mollissima yungae
A number heard above COTR

Undulated Antpitta* Grallaria squamigera
One heard Abra Malaga

Scaled Antpitta* Grallaria guatimalensis sonoria
At Cock of the Rock Lodge

Stripe-headed Antpitta (NE) Grallaria andicola
Fantastic looks at four birds in the Polylepis at Abra Malaga

White-throated Antpitta* Grallaria albigula
Two heard, just uphill from the pepper farm well above COTR

Red-and-white Antpitta (E) Grallaria erythroleuca
A Peruvian endemic restricted to the Department of Cusco. Filmed, photographed and taped at the usual stakeout behind the bano at Pillahuata in the Cloud Forest. At our feet!

Rufous Antpitta (NE) Grallaria rufula occobambae
Two seen well at Abra Malaga. This is the occobambae race of a superspecies that will be split into at least 7 species

Amazonian Antpitta* Hylopezus berlepschi
A number heard only in the lowlands

Thrush-like Antpitta Myrmothera campanisona
One seen on the jeep track at HAL. Heard several other days

Slaty Gnateater (NE) Conopophaga ardesiaca
Two seen on the river trail below Cock of the Rock Lodge

Ash-throated Gnateater* Conopophaga peruviana
Heard only at HAL

Rusty-belted Tapaculo Liosceles thoracicus
Seen on two successive days at HAL

Diademed Tapaculo (NE) Scytalopus schulenbergi
Great looks near treeline at Canchaillo, Abra Malaga

Northern White-crowned Tapaculo Scytolopus atratus
Heard on several days at middle elevations in the Cloud forest. One seen well near Rocotal. The atratus group certainly contains several taxa and will be split in the future. Manu birds sound distinctly different form birds further north

Puna Tapaculo (NE) Scytalopus simonsi
Three responded well in the Abra Malaga Polylepis

Red-crested Cotinga Ampelion rubrocristata
Good studies at Abra Malaga and at Pillahuata

Barred Fruiteater Pipreola arcuata
Great looks at a male at point blank range near the tunnels above Pillahuata

Screaming Piha Lipaugus vociferans
Commonly heard at MWC. Several seen

Purple-throated Cotinga Porphyrolaema porphyrolaema
A distinctive female near the Canopy Tower at MWC

Plum-throated Cotinga Cotinga maynana
Two male birds ‘scoped at the Boca Manu Aerodrome

Bare-necked Fruitcrow Gymnoderus foetidus
Not uncommon in the lowlands

Purple-throated Fruitcrow Querula purpurata
A flock of half a dozen on the Creekside Trail, MWC

Amazonian Umbrellabird Cephalopterus ornatus
Good looks at a female below Cock of the Rock Lodge

Andean Cock-of-the-Rock Rupicola peruviana
Common but stunning especially at the lek at the lodge named after this bird. The lek at dawn is a very special experience

Blue-backed Manakin Chiroxiphia pareola regina
One male brought in to playback along the Manakin Trail at MWC

Yungas Manakin Chiroxiphia boliviana
Seen on two consecutive days at Cock of the Rock Lodge

Band-tailed Manakin Pipra fasciicauda
Good looks at the the leks on the jeep track at HAL and the one on the Fig Pass at MWC

Round-tailed Manakin (NE) Pipra chloromeros
At HAL and MWC

Fiery-capped Manakin* Machaeropterus pyrocephalus
Heard only on the jeep track at HAL

Dwarf Tyrant-Mankin Tyranneutes stolzmanni
Heard most days at MWC and 2 seen after some searching

Wing-barred Piprites* Piprites chloris
Heard only at MWC

Forest Elaenia Myiopagis gaimardii
One seen at HAL

White-crested Elaenia Elaenia albiceps urabambensis
A couple near Pillahuata (Sierran commoner here but with different call)

Small –billed Elaenia Elaenia parvirostris
Two near the Macaw lookout. An Austral migrant in Peru

Mottle-backed Elaenia Elaenia gigas
One on the jeep track at HAL

Highland Elaenia Elaenia obscura
Machu Picchu

Sierran Elaenia Elaenia pallatangae
Common at Pillahuata and Machu Picchu

Torrent Tyrannulet Serpophaga cinerea
Several seen, always by rushing streams

River Tyrannulet Serpophaga hypoleuca
In the willows beside a Madre de Dios River beach

Ochre-bellied Flycatcher Mionectes oleaginous
Seen at HAL

Streak-necked Flycatcher Mionectes striaticollis
Not uncommon around COTR

Olive-striped Flycatcher Mionectes olivaceus
Seen at HAL

Inca Flycatcher (E) Leptopogon taczanowski
Three individuals seen along the Manu Road. A scarce Peruvian endemic

Slaty-capped Flycatcher Leptopogon superciliaris
Seen below COTR

Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant Phylloscartes ophthalmicus
A coomon in mixed flock species near Cock of the Rock Lodge

Cinnamon-faced Tyrannulet (E) Phylloscartes parkeri
At least ten of this recently described species (1997) below Cock of the Rock Lodge. One of several birds named after Ted Parker – a pioneer of Peruvian ornithology as we know it to-day

Tawny-rumped Tyrannulet Phyllomyias uropygialis
This was the Tyrannulet seen at round 2000 meters on the Manu Road, Black-capped not reaching Manu

Bolivian Tyrannulet Zimmerius bolivianus
Good looks at several along the Manu Road

White-throated Tyrannulet Mecocerculus leucophrys
A sprightly Tyrranulet seen on several days in the higher Cloud forest

White-banded Tyrannulet Mecocerculus stictopterus
Common below the Pillahuata camp site at c3100m

Unstreaked Tit-tyrant (E) Uromyias agraphia agraphia
Good looks at this endemic at Abra Malaga

Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant (NE) Anairetes alpinus
Endangered. A near endemic found outside Peru in only one locality in Bolivia. Four seen in the Abra Malaga Polylepis

Pied-crested Tit-Tyrant (E) Anairetes reguloides
Not uncommon on the Santa Eulalia Road

Yellow-billed Tit-Tyrant Anairetes flavirostris
Not uncommon on the Santa Eulalia Road

Tufted Tit-Tyrant Anairetes parulus
Two individuals at Abra Malaga

Many-colored Rush-Tyrant Tachuris rubrigastra
A few at Huacarpay Lakes – always a treat!

Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant Lophotriccus pileatus
Quite common around Cock of the Rock Lodge

Flammulated Bamboo-Tyrant Hemitriccus flammulatus
Really should be called the Flammulated Bamboo, “except in Bolivia and north Peru where it’s not in Bamboo”, Tyrant! One seen well after chasing it off the trails at Cocha Nueva, MWC

White-bellied Tody-Tyrant Hemitriccus griseipectus
Heard most days at MWC, with one chased and seen

Johannes' Tody-Tyrant Hemitriccus iohannis
Heard several palces. Seen at HAL

White-cheeked Tody-Flycatcher (E) Poecilotriccus albifacies
One seen very well in the bamboo on the Cocha Nueva trail after some effort; a major prize

Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher Poecilotriccus latirostre
One seen in roadside scrub above Atalaya

Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum chrysocrotaphum neglectum
A few of this snazzy Flycatcher in the vicinity of COTR

Black-backed Tody-Flycatcher (E) Todirostrum pulchellum
Two individuals seen below the 1000 meter bridge on the Manu Road; a little stunner

Ringed Antpipit Corythopis torquata
Good looks of this strange ground dwelling flycatcher in the HAL foothills

Dusky-tailed Flatbill Ramphotrigon fuscicauda
One very responsive bird in the Cocha Nueva bamboo, MWC

Gray-crowned Tolmomyias Tolmomyias poliocephalus
HAL

Yellow-breasted (Olive-faced ) Flycatcher Tolmomyias (viridiceps) flaviventris
One below Cock of the Rock Lodge

Ornate Flycatcher Myiotriccus ornatus phoenicurus
Two at the 1000 meter bridge on the Manu Road. Ornate is a good name – it is indeed!

Handsome Flycatcher Myiophobus pulcher
One near Cock of the Rock Lodge

Bran-colored Flycatcher Myiophobus fasciatus
Seen at COTR

Rufescent (Bran-colored) Flycatcher (NE) Myiophobus (fasciatus) rufescens
Lurin Valley only

Cinnamon Flycatcher Pyrrhomyias cinnamomea
Common in the Cloud Forest

Fuscous Flycatcher Cnemotriccus fuscatus
One on the Cocha Nueva Trail, MWC

Euler's Flycatcher Lathrotriccus euleri
Seen at HAL

Smoke-colored Pewee Contopus fumigatus
Seen at COTR

Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans latirostris
Fairly common on rushing streams at Machu Picchu and along the road to Manu

Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus
The resident coastal population was seen around Lima and the migrant southern form in the Amazonian lowlands

Maroon-belted Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca thoracica
Good looks near a rushing stream below Pillahuata

Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca rufipectoralis rufipectoralis
Common at Abra Malaga

Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca fumicolor berlepschi
A number at Abra Malaga

D’Orbigny’s Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca oenanthoides
Two at Marcopomacocha, to our great relief after missing this species at Abra Malaga

White-browed Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca leucophrys
At Huacarpay Lakes and the Santa Eulaia Valley

Drab Water-Tyrant Ochthornis littoralis
Common beside the Madre de Dios River

Red-rumped Bush-tyrant Cnemarchus erythropygius
One in the Polylepis at Abra Malaga

Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant Myiotheretes striaticollis
One near Paucartambo and several along the Santa Eulaia Road

Smoky Bush-Tyrant Myiotheretes fumigatus
One at Abra Malaga

Rufous-bellied Bush-Tyrant Myiotheretes fuscorufus
One near Buenas Aires on the Manu Road

Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant Agriornis Montana
Huacarpay Lakes and Junin only

Rufous-webbed Tyrant Polioxolmus rufipennis
At least six in the valley below the Polylepis at Abra Malaga

Spot-billed Ground-Tyrant Muscisaxicola maculirostris
Several in drier rockier upland habitat

Little Gound-Tyrant Muscisaxicola fluviatilis
Beside Madre de Dios River only

Rufous-naped Ground-Tyrant Muscisaxicola rufivertex occipitalis
Resident. At Huacarpay and Abra Malaga

Puna Ground –Tyrant Muscisaxicola juninensis
One at Abra Malaga

White-browed Ground-Tyrant Muscisaxicola albilora
Winter visitor that breeds in Patagonia. 30+ at Abra Malaga in loose migratory flocks

Taczanowski’s Ground-Tyrant (NE) Muscisaxicola griseus
Resident. Seen at Abra Malaga and Marcopomacocha

Cinereous Ground Tyrant Muscisaxicola cinerea
A winter visitor to Peru, seen at several upland sites

White-fronted Ground-Tyrant Muscisaxicola albifrons
Resident and the biggest Ground-Tyrant always found near bogs, e.g. Marcopomacocha

Ochre-naped Ground-Tyrant Muscisaxicola flavinucha
Winter visitor. One at Marcopomacocha

Short-tailed Field-Tyrant (NE) Muscigralla brevicauda
At Pucusana and near Chancay

Andean Negrito Lessonia oreas
At Huacarpay Lakes and Lake Junin

White-winged Black-Tyrant Knipolegus atterimus
A pair at Machu Picchu and another two near Paucartambo. Not easy to find in Peru

Long-tailed Tyrant Colonia colonus
Not uncommon below COTR

White-eyed Attila* Attila bolivianus
Heard only at MWC

Cinereous Mourner Laniocera hypopyrra
MWC

Sirystes* Sirystes sibilator
Heard only at MWC

Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer
Upper Manu Road

Swainson’s Flycatcher Myiarchus swainsoni pelzelni
One from the Canopy Tower, MWC

Short-crested Flycatcher Myiarchus ferox
HAL

Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
Widespread in suitable habitat

Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua
One at HAL

Lemon-browed Flycatcher Conopias cinchoneti
Several sightings around Cock of the Rock Lodge

Golden-crowned Flycatcher Myiodynastes chrysocephalus
Fairly common above and below Cock of the Rock Lodge

Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculates
COTR

Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similes
COTR

Gray-capped Flycatcher Myiozetetes granadensis
HAL

Lesser Kiskadee Philohydor lictor
Fairly common alongside Ox-bow lakes

Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
MWC

Barred Becard Pachyramphus versicolor
Four sightings in the upper Cloud Forest

White-winged Becard Pachyramphus polychopterus
Heard most days in the lowlands – several seen

Black-capped Becard Pachyramphus marginatus
A pair on two consecutive days at MWC

Pink-throated Becard Pachyramphus minor
Two seen from the Canopy Tower, MWC

Black-tailed Tityra Tityra cayana
MWC

Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata
MWC

Black-crowned Tityra Tityra inquisitor
HAL

White-winged Swallow Tachycineta albiventer
Common along the Madre de Dios River

Brown-chested Martin Phaeoprogne tapera
A few sightings in the lowlands

Brown-bellied Swallow Notiochelidon murina
Various sites in the highlands

Blue-and-white Swallow Notiochelidon cyanoleuca
Common in the highlands

Pale-footed Swallow Notiochelidon flavipes
About 20 at Abra Malaga

White-banded Swallow Atticora fasciata
Occasional along the Madre de Dios River

White-thighed Swallow Neochelidon tibialis
Two hawking at HAL

Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis
Various sites below COTR

Bank Swallow Riparia riparia
One at Playa San Pedro

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
A number on the coast

Chestnut-collared Swallow Petrochelidon rufocollaris
Six birds at Playa San Pedro

Yellowish Pipit Anthus lutescens peruvianus
At Lomas de Lachay displaying. This isolated coastal population may deserve species rank

Short-billed Pipit Anthus furcatus
One at Lake Junin

Paramo Pipit Anthus bogotensis
One at Abra Malaga

White-capped Dipper Cinclus leucocephalus
Several from the train to and from Machu Picchu

Black-capped Donacobius Donacobius atricapillus
Common on the ox-bow lakes and marshes of the lownds

Thrush-like Wren Campylorhynchus turdinus
Commonly heard, two seen on the MWC Antthrush Trail

Fulvous Wren (NE) Cinnycerthia fulva
A noisy family group just above Pillahuata

Inca Wren (E) Thryothorus eisenmanni
Two pair seen extremely well at the Machu Picchu Ruins – where else to see an Inca Wren! Also seen at Abra Malaga. Only described to science in the late 60s

Moustached Wren Thryothorus genibarbis
The common lowland noisy wren; likes bamboo. Several seen whilst looking for rarer bamboo specialists but played hard to get

House Wren Troglodytes aedon
Common in the highlands but also one in succesional vegetation on a river island near MWC

Mountain Wren Troglodytes solstitialis
Fairly common in the humid Cloud Forest

Gray-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucophrys
Not uncommon around COTR

Southern Nightingale-Wren Microcerculus marginatus
Many heard and one seen well on the hill above Atalaya

Chestnut-breasted Wren* Cyphorhinus thoracicus
Several heard close to COTR but remained elusive in spite of concerted efforts

Long-tailed Mockingbird (NE) Mimus longicaudatus
Common near Lima

Andean Solitaire Myadestes ralloides ralloides
Frequently heard both at Machu Picchu and in the Manu Cloud Forest, a few seen

White-eared Solitaire Entomodestes leucotis
Two birds in one day is exceptional, but we achieved this on our walk down from the ruins. One also seen on Manu Road above COTR

Spotted Nightingale-Thrush Catharus dryas
One in response to playback at Cock of the Rock Lodge

Pale-eyed Thrush Platycichla leucops
Two along the Manu Road – one scoped on its singing perch

Chiguanco Thrush Turdus chiguanco chiguanco
Common in the highlands

Great Thrush Turdus fuscater ockenderi
Abra Malaga and Pillahuata

Glossy-black Thrush Turdus serranus
A male at Machu Picchu and male and female in the Manu Cloud Forest

Black-billed Thrush Turdus ignobilis
A number between COTR and HAL

Hauxwell's Thrush Turdus hauxwelli
One on the Cocha Blanco trail

Green (Inca) Jay Cyanocorax yncas
Four in the Manu Cloud Forest

White-collared Jay (NE) Cyanolyca viridicyana
Seen at the nest below Pillahuata

House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Common around habitation

Brown-capped Vireo Vireo leucophrys
A number seen in suitable habitat

Chivi (Red-eyed) Vireo Vireo chivi (olivaceus)
Manu Lowlands

Lemon-chested Greenlet Hylophilus thoracicus
Two in a mixed flock at MWC

Dusky-capped Greenlet Hylophilus hypoxanthus
2 from the Canopy Tower, MWC

Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo* Vireolanius leucotis
Heard only at MWC

Thick-billed Euphonia Euphonia laniirostris
Not uncommon in the lowlands

Bronze-green Euphonia Euphonia mesochrysa
One male in the Manu Cloud Forest

White-lored Euphonia Euphonia chrysopasta
One above Atalaya

Orange-bellied Euphonia Euphonia xanthogaster brunneifrons
The commonest Euphonia in Manu

Rufous-bellied Euphonia Euphonia rufiventris
Two sightings at MWC on the Manakin Trail

Blue-naped Chlorophonia Chlorophonia cyanea
Fairly common around Cock of the Rock Lodge

Hooded Siskin Carduelis magellanica urubambensis
Widespread in suitable habitat

Olivaceous Siskin Carduelis olivacea
15+ of this Cloud Forest Siskin above Cock of the Rock Lodge

Black Siskin Carduelis atrata
At Abra Malaga and Junin

Tropical Parula Parula pitiayumi
Several in the Cloud Forest

Black-lored Yellowthroat (NE) Geothlypis auricularis
A few at Lomas de Lachay

Spectacled Whitestart Myioborus melanocephalus
Common just below Cock of the Rock Lodge

Golden-bellied Warbler (E) Basileuterus chrysogaster chysogaster
1 on the road between Pillahuata and Atalaya after some searching

Two-banded Warbler Basileuterus bivittatus
One seen along the Manu Road above CORL. One heard on each of the next 2 days

Citrine Warbler Basileuterus luteoviridis striaticeps
Fairly common near Pillahuata

Russet-crowned Warbler Basileuterus coronatus
Several seen in the Manu Cloud Forest

Three-striped Warbler Basileuterus tristriatus
Common in the Manu Cloud Forest

Buff-rumped Warbler Phaeothlypus fulvicauda
Seen on a few occasions in the lowlands

Bananaquit Coereba flaveola
Widespread in suitable habitat

Chestnut-vented Conebill Conirostrum speciosum
Two along the jeep track at HAL

Cinereous Conebill Conirostrum cinereum cinereum
Common in suitable habitat

White-browed Conebill (NE) Conirostrum ferrugineiventre
Common at treeline at Abra Malaga

Blue-backed Conebill Conirostrum sitticolor
A few in the Manu and Abra Malaga Cloud Forest

Capped Conebill Conirostrum albifrons
Several seen below Pillahuata

Giant Conebill (NE) Oreomanes fraseri
Near-Threatened. One seen well in the Polylepis at Abra Malaga

Magpie Tanager Cissopis leveriana
A few records in the lowlands

Grass-green Tanager Chlorornis riefferii
Eight in total in the Manu Cloud Forest

Common Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus ophthalmicus
Common between Pillahuata and Cock of the Rock Lodge

Yellow-whiskered Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus parvirostris
Mostly found below the next bird, its congener, but often in mixed flocks. Common around Cock of the Rock Lodge

Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus flavigularis
Above and below Cock of the Rock Lodge

Black-capped (White-browed) Hemispingus (E) Hemispingus (auricularis) atrpileus
A few in flocks around Pillahuata camp

Parodi’s Hemispingus (E) Hemispingus parodi
Repeated views of at least 6 birds in response to playback in a mixed species flock at Abra Malaga, the only place you can realistically see this rare endemic

Superciliaried Hemispingus Hemispingus superciliaris
Fairly common at Pilllahuata. Here the yellow form

Black-eared Hemispingus Hemispingus melanotis berlepschi
Several above and below Cock of the Rock Lodge. The berlepschi race is quite different and may deserve full species status

Drab Hemispingus Hemispingus xanthophthalmus
A few in mixed flocks near Pillahuata

Three-striped Hemispingus Hemispingus trifasciatus
At least 24 at Abra Malaga

Rust-and-Yellow Tanager Thlypopsis ruficeps
Seen daily at Machu Picchu and the Pillahuata area

Carmiol’s (Olive) Tanager Chlorothraupis carmioli
One in the hill forest at Amazonia Lodge

White-winged Shrike-Tanager Lanio versicolor
Canopy flock leader – a voice to remember for locating these flocks. Pairs and small family groups seen in several canopy flocks

Slaty Tanager (NE) Creurgops dentata
Fairy regular in flocks in the Cock of the Rock Lodge area

Yellow-crested Tanager (NE) Tachyphonus rufiventer
One at HAL and one at MWC, both in canopy flocks

Flame-crested Tanager Tachyphonus cristatus
An individual on two consecutive days at MWC

White-shouldered Tanager Tachyphonus luctuosus
Seen on several dates in the lowlands. A widespread and common species

Red-crowned Ant-Tanager Habia rubica peruviana
A few in the understory at MWC

White-winged Tanager Piranga leucoptera
One male in the Manu Cloud Forest

Masked Crimson Tanager Ramphocelus nigrogularis
Common in suitable habitat

Silver-beaked Tanager Ramphocelus carbo
Common in suitable habitat

Blue-Gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus
Common in suitable habitat. The Andean divide splits this species into two races

Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum
Common in suitable habitat

Blue-capped Tanager Thraupis cyanocephala
Common around Puillahuata camp

Blue-and-yellow Tanager Thraupis bonariensis
Unlike most Peruvian Tanagers likes arid and semi arid areas. At Huacarpay Lakes and drier ares of Abra Malaga and Santa Eulalia. One out of range at COTR

Hooded Mountain-Tanager Buthraupis montana
Quite a few on two days around the Pillhauta camp. The display is pretty acrobatic for such a large Tanager

Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager Anisognathus igniventris igniventris
Fairly common around Pillahuata and Abra Malaga

Yellow-throated Tanager Iridosornis analis
All members of this genus are stunning and this was no exception

Golden-collared Tanager (NE) Iridosornis jelskii
First in the rain and mist at Abra Malaga with a couple more seen around Pillahuata

Chestnut-bellied Mountain-Tanager (NE) Delothraupis castaneoventris
At least four at Abra Malaga. Can be tricky to find

Fawn-breasted Tanager Pipraeidea melanonota
Widely distributed but scarce. A number around COTR

Orange-eared Tanager Chlorochrysa calliparaea
Not uncommon in the Cloud Forest

Turquoise Tanager Tangara mexicana
A lowland species seen from the Canopy Tower at MWC amongst other places

Paradise Tanaager Tangara chilensis
Relaitively common at COTR and below

Green-and-gold Tanager Tangara schrankii
Another lowland Tanager present in many canopy flocks

Golden Tanager Tangara arthus
Not uncommon at COTR

Golden-eared Tanager Tangara chrysotis
A number in the COTR area

Saffron-crowned Tanager Tangara xanthocephala lamprotis
Another Christams Tree ornament. In most Cloud Forest mixed flocks. The orange crowned race here

Yellow-bellied Tanager Tangara xanthogastra
An uncommon Amazonian Tanager - a couple seen at Amazonia Lodge

Spotted Tanager Tangara punctata
Replaces the former in the higher foothills. Not uncommon around 1000 meters

Bay-headed Tanager Tangara gyrola
Several seen in suitable habitat

Golden-naped Tanager Tangara ruficervix fulcivervix
Good views on the Manu Road

Blue-necked Tanager Tangara cyanicollis
Another Christamas Tree bird; Common in the lowlands

Masked Tanager Tangara nigrocincta
One sighting only, from the MWC Canopy Tower

Beryl-spangled Tanager Tangara nigroviridis
Not uncommon in the lowlands

Blue-and-black Tanager Tangara vassorii atrocaerulea
Often together with the former

Black-faced Dacnis Dacnis lineata
Not uncommon in the lowlands

Yellow-bellied Dacnis Dacnis flaviventer
HAL only

Blue Dacnis Dacnis cayana
Not uncommon in the lowlands

Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza
Not uncommon in the lowlands

Purple Honeycreeper Cyanerpes caeruleus
Not uncommon in the lowlands

Tit-like Dacnis Xenodacnis parina
Seven of this strange bird seen at treeline at Abra Malaga. Feeds on aphids found exclusively on Gnoxys bushes

Swallow-Tanager Tersina viridis
Several sightings in the lowlands

Plush-cap Catamblyrhynchus diadema
Chusquea bamboo specialist. Great looks of 6 birds at Abra Malaga

Peruvian Sierra-Finch (NE) Phrygilus punensis
Fairly common in open highland areas

Mourning Sierra-Finch Phrygilus fruticeti
At Huacarpay Lakes and Santa Eulalia

Plumbeous Sierra-Finch Phrygilus unicolor
Common around the Polylepis at Abra Malaga and other highland areas

Band-tailed Sierra Finch Phrygilus alaudinus
At Huacarpay and Lomas de Lachay

Ash-breasted Sierra-Finch Phrygilus plebejus
Fairly common in open highland areas

White-winged Diuca-Finch Diuca speculifera
At Marcopomacocha and Abra Malaga

Great Inca-Finch (E) Incaspiza pulchra
At least three on the Santa Eulalia Road, in response to playback

Collared Warbling-Finch (NE) Poospiza hispaniolensis
At least 6 on the coast at Lomas de Lachay

Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch (E) Poospiza caesar
Limited range endemic found only in the Departments of Cusco and Puno. Three seen at the usual sites near the village of Huancarani and Abra Malaga

Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina
Widespread in suitable habitat

Yellow-bellied Seedeater Sporophila nigricollis
Three at Machu Picchu

Chestnut-throated Seedeater Sprophila telaso
Common on the coast

Double-collared Seedeater Sporophila caerulescens
Several in lowland secondary habitat

Drab Seedeater (NE) Sporophila simplex
One of the last birds of the trip at Lurin Bridge

Lesser Seed-Finch Oryzoborus angolensis
One near Atalaya

Band-tailed Seedeater Catamenia analis analis
Widespread in suitable habitat

Plain-colored Seedeater Catamenia inornata inornata
Twenty at Abra Malaga

Paramo Seedeater Catamenia homochroa
On the road at Abra Malaga near treeline

Rusty Flowerpiercer Diglossa sittoides
At least one near COTR

Moustached Flower-piercer (NE) Diglossa mystacalis albilinear
Common near treeline at Abra Malaga and on the Manu Road

Deep-blue (Golden-eyed) Flower-piercer Diglossopis glauca
Several above Cock of the Rock Lodge

Bright-rumped Yellow-Finch Sicalis uropygialis
A high Puna species seen on several occasions

Greenish Yellow-Finch Sicalis olivascens
A few at Huacarpay Lakes

Grassland Yellow-Finch Sicalis luteola luteola
Only seen at Playa San Pedro

Red-capped Cardinal Paroaria gularis
Not uncommon in the lowlands

Olive Finch Lysurus castaneiceps
One responded to tape at Quita Calzones Bridge but very elsuive

Black-faced Brush-Finch (NE) Atalaptes melanolaemus
Quite common around Pillahuata

Tricolored Brush-Finch Atlapetes tricolor
A small group at Machu Picchu

Cuzco Brush-Finch (E) Atalaptes canigens
A small family group of this localised endemic in the rain at Abra Malaga

Rusty-bellied Brush Finch (E) Atlapetes nationi
Common along the Santa Eulalia Road

Stripe-headed Brush-Finch Atlapetes torquatus
One at Abra Malaga

Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonatrichia capensis
Common

Yellow-browed Sparrow Ammodramus aurifrons
Common in open areas in the lowlands

Pectoral Sparrow Arremon taciturnus
Several lowland skulkers

Streaked Saltator Saltator albicollis
A few of the unstreaked race along the coast

Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus
Widespread in suitable habitat

Grayish Saltator Saltator coerulescens
Widespread in suitable habitat

Golden-billed Saltator Saltator aurantiirostris albociliaris
Widespread in suitable habitat

Slate-colored Grosbeak Pitylus grossus
Seen above Atalaya. Others heard

Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak Parkerthraustes humeralis
The genus is named after Ted Parker. One from the canopy tower at MWC

Golden-bellied Grosbeak Pheucticus chrysogaster
Two or three on the Santa Eulalia Road

Blue-black Grosbeak Cyanocompsa cyanoides
A female at HAL

Yellow-winged Blackbird Agelaius thilius
Common at Hucarapay at the northern end of its range here

Peruvian Meadowlark (NE) Sturnella bellicosa
Numerous at Lomas de Lachay

Scrub Blackbird (NE) Dives warszewiczi
Seen at various coastal sites

Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonariensis
Widespread in suitable habitat

Giant Cowbird Molothrus oryzivorus
Common in the Manu lowlands

Epaulet Oriole Icterus cayanensis
Two above Atalaya

Yellow-billed Cacique Amblycercus holosericeus
One at Abra Malaga

Yellow-rumped Cacique Cacicus cela
Common in the Manu lowlands

Mountain Cacique* Cacicus leucorhampus chrysonotus
Heard only above COTR

Casqued Oropendola (NE) Psarocolius oseryi
Seen on two dates at MWC Lodge

Crested Oropendola Psarocolius decumanus maculosus
Common in the Manu lowlands

Dusky-green Oropendola (NE) Psarocolius atrovirens
Just sneaks into Bolivia, Replaces Russet-backed Oropendola in the Cloud Forest

Russet-backed Oropendola Psarocolius angustifrons alfredi
Common in the Manu lowlands

A Grand Total of 763 species of which 33 were heard only, withn 24 endemics and 47 near-endemics.

The Mammal List

Common Opossum Didephis marsupilalis
One at he feeders at HAL after dark

Bat sp.
Various unidentified

Southern Tamandua Tamandua tetradactyla
One making its way across Boca Manu Aerodrome was a highlight

Black-headed Night Monkey Aotus nigiceps
Fantastic views of three daytime roosting individuals on two successive days at HAL

Black Spider Monkey Ateles paniscus
A group at the MWC Tapir Lick quickly moved off once they heard us

Common Woolly Monkey Lagothrix lagothricha
A small troop seen above Cock of the Rock Lodge

Bolivian Squirrel Monkey Saimiri boliviensis
One large troop on the HAL Jeep Trail

Brown Capuchin Monkey Cebus apella
Several troops at various lowland sites

White-fronted Capucuchin Cebus albifrons
c25 on the Creekside Trail at MWC

Monk Saki Pitrhecia monachus
Six or so of this spectacular species on the Manakin trail at MWC

Red Howler Monkey Alouatta seniculus
Several on the Madre de Dios riverbank. The howling one of the characteristic dawn sounds of the Amazon

Andean Coati Nasuella olivacea
Four of this little known mammal at feeding on a tip behind a Machu Picchu café

Southern River Otter Lutra longicaudis
One on the Madre de Dios River

South American Sealion Otaria byronia
Many thousands on the Palomino Islands off Lima

Llama (Domesticated) Lama glama
Fairly common in the highlands

Alpaca (Domesticated) Lama pacos
A few in the highlands

Vicuna Vicuna vicuna
Only recorded on the Junin Puna Grasslands, where several dozen were seen

White-lipped Peaccary Tayassu pecari
Six crashed through the MWC Tapir Lick

Red Brocket Deer Mazama Americana
Great looks on the Jeep Track at HAL

Gray Brocket Deer Mazama gouazoubira
One beside the Madre de Dios River

Bolivian Squirrel Sciurus ignitus
A few in the Cloud Forest

Southern/Northern Amazon Red Squirrel Sciurus spadaceus/igniventris
A few in the lowlands

Amazon Dwarf Squirrel Microsiurus flaviventer
A few in the lowlands

Brown Agouti Dasyprocta variegata
Several in the lowlands

Tapiti or Brazilain Rabbit Sylvigalus brasiliensis
One while spotlighting at HAL

Bottle-nosed Dolphin Tursiops truncatus
Several groups on the pelagic

Sperm Whale Physeter macrocephalus
Possibly the ‘mammal of the trip’, one seen on the pelagic

Humpback Whale Megaptera novaeangliae
One on the pelagic

The Reptile List

Black Caiman Melanosuchus niger
Several on the Ox-bow lakes

Side-neck (Amazonian River) Turtle Podocnemis unifilis
Common on sunny logs along the rivers and lakes

Ian Merrill
October 2006
i.merrill@btopenworld.com
http://uk.geocities.com/i.merrill@btopenworld.com/default.htm