Coastal Lima, Peru: Villa, Pucusana & Puerto Viejo - July 2018

Published by Pepe Rojas (pepe AT

Participants: Pepe Rojas, Leonie Batkin, Ron Thorn and family


Our day trip in the coastal areas of Villa, Pucusana and Puerto Viejo cold not have been better! We started by driving to the small fishing village of Pucusana, where we spent some time at the overlook waiting (and hoping!) to see the Humboldt Penguins. Usually it is best to be there early in the morning to have the better chances to see the birds swimming but we had a late start so our prospects weren’t the best. Little that I know when all of the sudden I saw some penguins torpedoing under the surface swimming away from their cove! We had a group of 12 birds just bathing and froliking for the longest time in front of us! What a way to start our day trip!

We continued on to the Puerto Viejo wetlands, previous stopped at the exit of Pucusana were we got a positive ID of a Hawk John had spotted earlier, a Harris’ Hawk. While looking at this bird, a bright red beacon called our attention ( and eye!) It turned out to be a Peruvian Meadowlark perched singing! It was hard to leave uh! Finally we were on to Puerto Viejo and we did a quick stop to look for Peruvian Thicknees to one of “my spots”. After some scanning, I found a pair sitting on the ground and we drove to get closer views, which we did! Continuing into Puerto Viejo, we were able to get excellente views of Many-colored Rush-Tyrant and Wren-like Rushbird in the reeds. By the nearby vegetation we scored White-crested Elaenia and Amazilia Hummingbird among other birds. We drove towards the beach, here our main targets were the endemics Coastal Miner and Seaside Cinclodes, “the most marine of the passerines”. On our way we found a group of 32 Peruvian Thicknees sitting on the ground...a nice bonus!

At the beach we found both of our endemics among other species like American and Blackish Oystercatcher, Red-legged Cormorant, Gray and Gray-hooded Gull, Peruvian Pelicans, Peruvian Boobies among others.

After a nice lunch at the beach we started our drive to the Villa Wetlands. Here we went after Plumbeous Rail, which did not materialize despite the efforts of your leader. We left the birds alone and cross to visit the larger lagoon were we had Yellow-crowned and Black-crowned Night-Herons, Pied-billed Grebe, Great Grebe with young birds, (some of which still having the stripy effect on their feathers!) Andean Coot, to mention a few. Then we drove towards the beach but previously we took a detour to the urban area where we stopped at a park and saw Chestnut-throated Seedater, Blue-black Grasquit, Bananaquit, Southern Beardless Tyrannulet and an Amazilia Hummingbird. Finally we drove to the beach where we saw hundreds of birds...literally. Gray-hooded and Andean Gulls, Neotropic Cormorants, Whimbrel, White-cheeked Pintail, Cinnamon Teal, a huge flock of Black Skimmers and many more.

At that point the light conditions were not the best and we depart back to our hotel after a great day of birding.

It was a great day for me and I hope it was for you too. I was very happy to share and show you some of the birds around Lima and I will be looking forward for another adventure anytime.

Stay strong, be happy and bird a lot!

Love and joy.

Species Lists

Anatidae (Ducks & Geese)

Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) We saw some males sleeping at the Puerto Viejo lagoon.

Cinnamon Teal (Spatula cyanoptera) We scored a couple of views at the Villa wetlands. First in the large lagoon and then by the beach.

White-cheeked Pintail (Anas bahamensis) These lovely ducks were seen first at the Puerto Viejo lagoon and later also at Villa.

Podedicipidae (Grebes)

Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) From the small observation dock at the large lagoon in Villa, we saw a pair of these small grebes.

Great Grebe (Podiceps major) There were a number of adults with young birds in Villa. Earlier at Puerto Viejo, we saw at least 2 individuals sleeping.

Columbidae (Pigeons & Doves)

Rock Dove (Columba livia) These birds were (are!) everywhere! Introduced

West Peruvian Dove (Zenaida meloda) A common bird of Lima.

Eared Dove (Zenaida auriculata) Another common bird (not as common as the previous species!) of Lima.

Croaking Ground Dove (Columbina cruziana) We had excellent views of this small ground dove at the park in Villa… was even croaking!

Cuculidae (Anis & Cuckoos)

Groove-billed Ani (Crotophaga sulcirostris) I think only John had a glimpse of this species.

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

Amazilia Hummingbird (Amazilia amazilia) This is the most common hummingbird in Lima.

Rallidae (Rails, Crakes & Coots)

Plumbeous Rail (Pardirallus sanguinolentus) Our first efforts yielded at least three “heard only/quick view” because of the people of even the cat around! Later we came back and got better views of a bird that responded pretty well but managed to sneaked through the vegetation.

Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata) Quite common indeed!

Andean Coot (Fulica ardesiaca) There were quite a few of these birds with the the chestnut and yellow foreheads at the Villa wetlands

Charadriidae (Plovers and allies)

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) There was at least a couple of birds flying by. One at the entrance of Puerto Viejo and the other one at the Villa area.

Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)

Blackish Oystercatcher (Haematopus ater) We had excellent views of this bird at one of the rocks in Puerto Viejo beach.

American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) We had excellente views of few of these birds at the same area than the previous species.

Burhinidae (Thicknees)

Peruvian Thick-knee (Burhinus superciliaris) No quite and endemic but almost, with a very restricted range barely reaching northern Chile at the south and Southern Ecuador at the north. We found a pair by the Panamerican highway and later on our way to the beach in Puerto Viejo we found a group of 32 birds sitting quietly.

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and allies)

Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) Probably some of the earliest migrants from the north. Boreal migrant (or Neartic Migrant, as Floyd E. Hayes suggested)

Rynchopidae (Skimmers)

Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) There was a huge flock on the ground at the last lagoon we went in the Villa area.

Laridae (Gulls & Terns)

Andean Gull (Chroicocephalus serranus) There were some adults and young birds at the lake near the beach in the Villa wetlands.

Gray-hooded Gull (Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus) Our first views of these lovely gulls were in Puerto Viejo. Later at our last stop in Villa, we had many more individuals bathing at the lake near the beach we visited last.

Gray Gull (Leucophaeus modestus) This species was seen first at the Puerto Viejo beach and later at Villa. Austral Migrant (or Netropical Migrant as Floyd E. Hayes suggested)

Belcher's Gull (Larus belcheri) We had great views of this species at different plumages in Pucusana and later at Puerto Viejo.

Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus) Our first encounter with this species was at the Rimac river while leaving the airport. Later we had better views at the coast.

Inca Tern (Larosterna inca) The most beautiful tern was seen very well at the overlook in Pucusana where we even found at least 2 young birds in a brownish plumage.

Spheniscidae (Penguins)

Humboldt Penguin (Spheniscus humboldti) I believe this species was in “high demand” and we scored great views of a group of 12 that swam away from their cove and spent a while bathing to our enjoyment!

Sulidae (Boobies & Gannets)

Peruvian Booby (Sula variegata) We saw few flybys until we reached the beach of Puerto Viejo where we found them at their roost.

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants)

Red-legged Cormorant (Phalacrocorax gaimardi) Our first views of this rather rare species were at Pucusana and mostly flybys. Later in the Puerto Viejo area, we enjoyed great scope views of at least three adults and 4 young birds in immature plumage.

Neotropic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) Common!

Pelecanidae (Pelicans)

Peruvian Pelican (Pelecanus thagus) We had excellent view of this species at the coastal areas.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets and Allies)

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) At the Villa wetlands we saw a lot of individuals, including some young birds

Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea) This species used to be rare in Villa, but somehow it seems more common lately.

Striated Heron (Butorides striata) We had views of at least one bird at the Puerto Viejo lagoon.

Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) Seen along the drive and later at Villa.

Great Egret (Ardea alba) Ditto.

Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) We saw some individuals at the beach in Puerto Viejo.

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) Seen at different locations.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises, Spoonbills and Allies)

Puna Ibis (Plegadis ridgwayi) Linda spotted our first bird at the lake in Puerto Viejo.

Cathartidae (New World Vultures and Condor)

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) We had good views of this species along the coastal areas.

Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) These birds were everywhere!

Accipitridae (Hawks, Kites, Eagles & Allies)

Harris's Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus) We had our first view of a young bird when we were leaving Pucusana at the same are John saw it when we drove in. Later we saw other individuals in adult plumage.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) During our drive into the Puerto Viejo beaches, an individual was spotted hovering above the ground. Nearby we saw another bird, presumably its partner.

Furnariidae (Earthcreepers, Cinclodes, Canasteros & Allies)

Coastal Miner (Geositta peruviana) We saw a pair at one of my spots near the beach in Puerto Viejo. Endemic.

Wren-like Rushbird (Phleocryptes melanops) We had great views at the reeds in Puerto Viejo and later in Villa.

Surf Cinclodes (Cinclodes taczanowskii) The most marine of the passerines was seen pretty well at the Puerto Viejo area, We even saw a pair displaying! Endemic

Tyrannidae (Flycatchers, Tyrannulets, Elaenias & Allies)

Southern Beardless Tyrannulet (Camptostoma obsoletum) Our first views of this species weren’t good. They were at the top of a eucalyptus tree with other birds foraging. However, at the park in Villa, we had excellente views of at least three individuals.

White-crested Elaenia (Elaenia albiceps) There were at the same tree where the previous species was seen. The tape brought them into a closer tree where we had great views of an adult showing off its white crest and also a young bird.

Many-coloured Rush-Tyran (Tachurnis rubrigastra) I always have a hard time remembering that this bird belongs to the tyrannidae family, a group of rather obscure and drab birds. In Peru its known as the “7 colores” (7 colors)

Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus) There was one seen briefly at the reeds on the Puerto Viejo area.

Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) Our first of several was seen during our drive to the Puerto Viejo marshes.

Hirundinidae (Swallows and Martins)

Blue-and-white Swallow (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca) This is the most common member of its family in Lima. Colloquially known as “Santa Rositas” due the resemblance of the bird’s color with the habit wore by the Peruvian Saint Santa Rosa de Lima.

Troglodytidae (Wrens)

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) We had a singing bird at the Villa wetlands during one of our walks.

Mimidae (Mockingbirds)

Long-tailed Mockingbird (Mimus longicaudatus) This was another bird we found everywhere.

Thraupidae (Tanagers, Flowerpiercers, Sierra-Finches & Allies)

Blue-gray Tanager (Thraupis episcopus) We had a brief view of a bird. Introduced.

Cinereous Conebill (Conirostrum cinereum) We saw this species several times. This belongs to the subspecies littorale which is found mostly in coastal habitats (from the latin litoris that means “shore”)

Blue-black Grassquit (Volatinia jacarina) We saw at least three individuals at the park in Villa.

Chestnut-throated Seedeater (Sporophila telasco) We saw briefly an adult perched on a tree but it vanished. Few moments later, someone point out a small flock on the ground feeding on the grass seeds which turned out to be this species.

Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola) This bird was also seen at the same park. Introduced

Icteridae (Blackbirds, Cowbirds & Allies)

Peruvian Meadowlark (Sturnella bellicosa) When we were leaving Pucusana, we stopped to look for the Harris’ Hawk (which we found!) and we found this little gem glooming as a beacon! Later on Villa, we had a closer encounter with another male singing!

Scrub Blackbird (Dives warczewiczi) This is also another bird we were able to watch at the Villa area near the headquarters


House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) Introduced