Classic Central Peru – 17 days
Central Peru is, unsurprisingly, the endemic hotebed of the country. Birding the Humboldt Current and Atacama Desert on the Pacific Coast, the dry West Andean Slope, the barren but diverse high-elevation puna, and humid forests from the treeline to the beginnings of the Amazon lowlands, you will find a rewarding variety of habitats in this area. Some of the star birds include Humboldt Penguin, Great Inca-Finch, White-cheeked Cotinga, Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, Junin Grebe, Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager, Yellow-scarfed Tanager, and Oilbird.
Most of this tour is on decent paved roads, though some time is spent on gravel roads in more remote areas. Most hotels are comfortable, clean, and some mid-range, but unique local endemic species.
Day 1: LOMAS DE LACHAY.
We start the tour by heading up to north to Lomas de Lachay; special humid hill, close the pacific ocean, forming an special habitat for endemic species. Coastal Miner, Cactus Canastero, Raimondi’s Yellow-finch, Thick-billed Miner and several common widespread species, Least Seedsnipe, Grassland Yellow-finch, Peruvian Meadowlark, Andean Tinamou, and others, late in the day we drive back to visit some mashy area along the coast, Peruvian Tern, Gray-hooded Gull, Many-colored Rush-tyrand Wren-like Rushbird, them we drive to base of the mountains if time allows some other selection of birds will be possible.
Night:Santa Eulalia. B:L:D.
Day 2: SANTA EULALIA VALLEY.
The spectacular scenery of the Santa Eulalia Valley provides an appropriate backdrop for tracking down a number of rare endemic birds. Our primary targets are the extremely localized Rufous-breasted Warbling-Finch and Great Inca-Finch; while looking for them we’re likely to encounter other goodies like Bronze-tailed Comet, Black Metaltail, and Rusty-crowned Tit-Spinetail, Black-necked Woodpecker, Thick-billed Miner- all Peruvian endemics. More common species we may encounter through the day include Canyon Canastero, Giant Hummingbird, Peruvian Sheartail, White-capped Dipper, White-winged Cinclodes, and Torrent Duck.
around midday Andean Condor could be flight by, late in the day we drive back to Santa Eulalia where Peruvian Pygmy-owl can be calling.
Night: Santa Eulalia. B:L:D.
Day 3: MILLOC – MARCAPOMACOCHAS.
This is one of the most exciting birding days in Peru, in spite of a relatively low total species count due to the high elevation – almost every bird we’ll see is a specialty! We’ll start by scouring a patch of Polylepis forest for the rare White-cheeked Cotinga. Other birds here include Stripe-headed Antpitta and Striated Earthcreeper. We’ll then move up the Milloc Valley, ticking off puna birds on the way: Black Siskin and Bright-rumped Yellow-Finch are common, while we’ll concentrate on finding Black-breasted Hillstar and a variety of canasteros (including the endemic Junin Canastero) and ground-tyrants (including the rare migrant Black-fronted Ground-Tyrant). In the afternoon we’ll bird the famous Marcapomacochas area where we will hope for a plethora of special birds, including the enigmatic Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, the stunning White-bellied Cinclodes, and the incongruous Olivaceous Thornbill. We’ll return to paved roads in the late afternoon, after a tiring but very rewarding day of birding and bumping along dirt roads.
Night: La Oroya. B:L:D.
Day 4: JUNIN LAKE – HUANUCO.
We’ll do whatever present conditions require to find the Critically Endangered Junin Grebe this morning. Currently we plan to take a small motor boat out into the deeper parts of Lake Junin to ensure good views of this hard-to-identify bird. There are many other interesting birds at Lake Junin, including Plumbeous Rail, Puna Plover (seasonal), and a variety of waterfowl. White-tufted Grebe, Puna, Yellow-billed Teals, Yellow-billed Pintail, Chilean Flamingos are sometimes present. We’ll drive on towards Huanuco in the afternoon, stopping to look for Black-crested Tit-Tyrant, Giant Conebill, Thick-billed Siskin, and a few more endemics such as Brown-flanked Tanager and Baron’s Spinetail on the way.
Night: Beautiful lodge outsite Huanuco. B:L:D.
Day 5 – 6: BOSQUE UNCHOQ.
We’ll have a 2 full days and to explore this most important site of the trip. The “”Big Four”” here – Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager, Rufous-browed Hemispingus, Bay-vented Cotinga and Pardusco – are all among Peru’s best birds, but are difficult. Of course there are other goodies to be found, among them Golden-collared Tanager, Coppery Metaltail, Tscudi’s and Large-footed Tapaculos, Line-fronted Canastero, Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant, Ochraceous-breasted Flycatcher, and the obscura race of Rufous Antpitta (likely to be elevated to full species status and often referred to as ‘Fulvous Antpitta), White-chinned Thistletail (here of the endemic southern race, which is sometimes split as Plenge’s Thistletail), We will also listen for the monotonous calls of the endemic Neblina (or Elfin Forest) Tapaculo, while we hope to find the smart Line-fronted Canastero in grassy areas with large boulders.
Night: beautiful Lodge Outside Huanuco (on the Way to Bosque Unchoq). B:L:D.
Day 7: PATY TRAIL – TINGO MARIA.
We’ll spend most of the day at the Paty Trail, one of Central Peru’s most famous birding sites. Though the habitat is unprotected and more degraded each year, many good birds can still be found. A few of the candidates include Peruvian Tyrannulet, Rufous-vented Tapaculo, and Bay Antpitta, all Peruvian endemics. If we’re lucky Masked Fruiteater, we’ll also experience some good general flocks bringing us a diversity of tanagers, flycatchers and furnariidae. In the afternoon we’ll descend to Tingo Maria, perhaps giving Band-bellied Owl a try at dusk.
Night in Tingo Maria. B:L:D.
Day 8: TINGO MARIA – OILBIRD CAVE
East of Tingo Maria we can find some remnant forest patches still home to some good birds, including Rufous-crested, Orange-eared, and Golden-naped Tanagers, Masked Fruiteater (uncommon and endemic!), and many others. In the afternoon we’ll bird around Tingo Maria National Park. Though trails are rather limited, there are a few and we’ll try for the endemic Black-bellied Tanager, Spot-winged Antbird, Fiery-capped Manakin, and a variety of other Amazonian bird species. Of course, we’ll take some time off to visit the spectacular Oilbird cave as well.
Night: Tingo Maria. B:L:D.
Day 9: CARPISH TUNNEL.
Leaving the biodiverse foothills behind, we’ll move back to higher elevations today to continue our quest for endemics. This morning we’ll especially be looking for Yellow-scarfed Tanager, Unstreaked Tit-Tyrant, and Peruvian Wren, Gray-breasted Mountain-toucan, Barred Fruiteater, Rufous-headed Pygmy-tyrant, Bar-bellied Woodpecker, Powerful Woodpecker, and if we are lucky Buff-tailed Sicklebill, while Chestnut Antpitta is also a distinct possibility at this site. In the afternoon we’ll drive to our comfortable Lodge.
Night: Huanuco. B:L:D.
Day 10: HUANUCO – OXAPAMPA.
Today will mostly be a travel day as we head back up past Lake Junin before descending again into the cloud forest. Along the way we’ll make a couple of birding stops for missing species, probably looking for the difficult Rufous-backed Inca-Finch among others. Late in the day we’ll settle into our cabins at Oxapampa.
in the evening we have our first chance for Cloud-forest Screech-owl.
Night: Oxapampa. B:L:D.
Day 11: OXAPAMPA -BOSQUE SHOLLET.
Around the area we look for some our targets species number of Peruvian endemics found in this fabulous area, including Masked Fruiteater, Unstreaked Tit-Tyrant, Peruvian Wren, Yellow-scarf Tanager, Chestnut Antpitta ‘Huanuco Fruiteater’ (a small, distinctive race of Green-and-Black Fruiteater which probably merits being elevated to species level).
In the afternoon we’ll drive to Bosque Shollet is a patch of beautiful cloud forest where we’ll spend the day looking for birds such as Black-winged Parrot, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Rufous-bellied Bush-Tyrant, Pale-footed Swallow, Sickle-winged Guan, and Moustached Flowerpiercer. It will also be another chance for Bay Antpitta and other species we may have missed in the Carpish Mountains.
In the evening second chance for Cloud Forest Screech-Owl.
Night: Oxapampa. B:L:D.
Day 12: VILLA RICA – COFFEE PLANTATION.
We’ll spend the whole day birding the shade coffee plantations around Villa Rica. Possibilities here are numerous; a few of the mouth-watering possibilities are Creamy-bellied Antwren, Foothill Elaenia, White-bellied Pygmy-Tyrant, Versicolored Barbet, Chestnut-backed Antshrike, and of course a variety of flycatchers and tanagers typical of cloud forest flocks. Around a marsh near town we’ll try for the enigmatic Subtropical Doradito as well as Green-backed Becard and some waterbirds, Masked Duck.
Night: Villa Rica. B:L:D.
Day 13: VILLA RICA – SATIPO.
Today we’ll bird our way out of this fascinating area, adding to our growing list of cloud forest species and looking for some missing are rare species localized in the area Masked Saltator and Andean Tyrant could be possible. In the afternoon we’ll drive through the down the valley to reach Satipo.
Night: Satipo B:L:D.
Day 14: SATIPO ROAD.
This area is similar in appearance to the famous Manu road, but less pristine and some other selection of species: we start birding at lower elevation, Paradise, Golden, Blue-necked, Bay-headed tanagers and more birds are mix flocks members, Ocellated Piculet and rare Lanceolated Monklet will be part of party, we’ll be concentrate above Apalla Calabaza for Bay Antpitta. Eyering Thistletail, Marcapata Spinetail “weskei subspecies”, Junin Tapaculo and nice humid montane mix flocks: Inca Flycatcher, Lacrimose Mountain-tanager, Gray-breasted Mountain-toucan, Grass-green Tanager, and many more birds.
Night: Apalla Calabaza. B:L:D.
Day 15 SATIPO ROAD TO ACCOBAMBA.
after breakfast we start birding looking for junin Tapaculo, eyering thistletail and some other missing species of day before, them we keep going higher up to cross the mountain just around the pass we look for Millpo Tapaculo undescribed species, Junin Canastero, Andean Ibis and several andean species, at the distance will see Mantaro Valley, down below habitat has a nice surprise, we’ll have our first change for Mantaro Thornbird and Mantaro Spinetail (different race of Azara’s Spinetail). and recently described Black-spectacled Brush-finch.
In the evening we have change for night birding, we look for the undescribed specie of Screech Owl, Accobamba Screech-owl
Night: Accobamba. B:L:D.
Day 16: MANTARO VALLEY – LA OROYA.
Today we are going birding around Accobamba looking for the recently discovered and described Black-goggled Brush-Finch. The shrubby slopes also provide a home for the endemic, recently discovered Thryothorus wren “Mantaro Wren” either an undescribed race of the endemic Inca Wren or perhaps a new species to science. In the same area we have a chance for Mantaro Thornbird, and Mantaro Spinetail (different race of Azara’s Spinetail).
After a morning birding around Acobamba we drive toward high andes leaving Mantaro Valley in the background, after midday we take the road to Comas. This village is located close to Mantaro Valley around this village we look for Eye-ringed Thistletail, and Fire-throated Metaltail, Creamy-crested Spinetail, Tschudi’s Tapaculo, Millpo Tapaculo. still we have a long driving.
Night: La Oroya. B:L:D.
Day 17: BACK To LIMA.
Today we’ll make the drive back to Lima, looking for Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe and perhaps other missing species in the high andes as time allows. Black Metaltail, Rusty-crowned Tit-spinetail, White-capped Deeper, Torrent Duck would be our last birds, We should arrive in Lima in the mid-afternoon.
We concluded the trip with a transfer at the airport or your hotel for a well-deserved rest