This area, while geographically not too far from the Manu Road, is home to a quite different set of birds. The main focus is always on the endemics, but there are lots of other birds to be found as well.
Abra Malaga its one of the most popular birding spots close by Cusco and easily combined with any birding tour that we have, specially if you take one of Manu birding tours.
Abra Malaga has two different zones: East slope of the Andes well know like cloud forest and Polylepis forest located in high Andes, both locations are totally different one to each other, so endemic, local, small range species have as especial selection. to this amazing place we decided to add another location “Vilcabamba mountains”, and there is no any other tour company that offer a birding tour to this area, Tanager tours crew are constantly exploring new locations offering new birding spots, in this isolated mountains inhabit, few, but very special endemic species: Vilcabamba Thistletail and Tapaculo, and rare and poorly know Vilcabamba Brushfinch, beside there are lots of Peruvian birds.
Day 1: ABRA MALAGA – POLYLEPIS FOREST.
we’ll drive until the Polylepis forest at Abra Malaga in the morning. The three best birds to be found here are Royal Cinclodes, Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant and White-browed Tit-Spinetail. While these, especially the highly sought-after cinclodes, are sometime elusive, there are many other birds to see as well, including Tawny Tit-Spinetail, Puna Tapaculo, Blue-mantled Thornbill and Giant Conebill, Stripe-headed Antpitta, Red-rumped Bush-tyrant, in the afternoon we’ll return and stay in a hotel in Ollantaytambo, On the way back we visit a place called ¨Peña Ruins”. This is the stake-out for the endemic White-tufted Sunbeam. Also Creamy-crested Spinetail, Rusty-fronted Canastero, Black-backed Grosbeak and, with luck, Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch are possible here.
Night: Ollantaytambo. B:L:D.
Day 2: ABRA MALAGA – CLOUD FOREST (the other side of the pass).
We’ll make an early start from Ollantaytambo (if you come from Machu Picchu too) today we drive over the pass, where we will see a complete different habitat: the upper cloud forest. We’ll hope especially to encounter some good mixed flocks which could contain Parodi’s Hemispingus, Unstreaked Tit-Tyrant, Marcapata Spinetail, Cusco Brushfinch, Inca Wren, White-browed Conebill, Tawny-rumped Tyrannulet, Tit-like Dacnis and many others. Undulated Antpittas are frequently heard calling but are very hard to see, same as Rufous Antpitta and endemic Red-and-white Antpitta as are Diademed Tapaculos. Hummingbirds to look for include Sapphire-vented Puffleg, Scaled Metaltail, Rufous-capped Thornbill and Sword-billed Hummingbird. late in the day will keep going down the valley where we have some chance for Swallow-tailed Hummingbird, Ocellated Piculet. Sclater’s Tyrannulet, Night can be very productive Tropical Screech-owl its around or even better rare and nomadic Buff-fronted Owl.
Night. Ipal. B:L:D.
Day 3 VILCABAMBA MOUNTAINS.
early in the morning we are going to drive toward Vilcabamba leaving the hotel before sunrise, we have quite long driving, in this isolated mountains we can find Peruvian endemic species resctrictied just to this area, Vilcabamba Tapaculo, Thistletail, and poorly know Vilcabamba Brushfinch, for several years our crew were exploring this mountains by different access looking for these rarities, oue rewards was to find this mithical specie, at the same time we could find some peruvian endemic located just in northern and Central Peru Johnson’s Tody-flycatcher, Marcapata Spinetail “Weskei” and many more are posible on this amazing forest.
Night: Ipal. B:L:D.
Day 4 BACK TO CUSCO.
We have a long driving until Cusco so depending of our missing species we´ll stop along the way looking for some mixed flock, bird stake-out that still we need. in Cusco we drop you at your hotel where its the of the tour.
if you have a domestic flight in Cusco, we can go direct to the airport
Night: Cusco. B:L.