Created in 1973, the Manu Biosphere Reserve covers an area of 1,881,200 hectares, almost half the size of the Netherlands. It is one of largest conservation areas on earth and extends between 4100 meters to 200 meters above sea level (13451,44 – 656,168 ft.). Manu is one of the most biodiverse areas on this planet and is home to 1000 species of bird, more than 10% of the world total!
The Manu Biosphere Reserve is divided in three zones: the Cultural Zone where all the lodges are situated, the Reserved Zone designated for tourism, and the National Park where only scientists have access.
Manu Biosphere Reserve - 15 days
Just a few companies who have a permit to camp are allowed into the Reserved Zone.
Our birdwatching tour include the best birding destinations in the area enjoying a Manu expedition on comfortable bird tour with an excelent bird guide, Pristine forest, lots of mammals, amazing landscapes and the best crew that we have.
Day 1: HUACARPAY LAKE – UPPER MANU ROAD.
We drive out south of town 30km about it, we Start birding at Huacarpay Lake, looking for high Andean wetland species like Many-coloured Rush-Tyrant and Plumbeous Rail, Puna, Yellow-billed and Cinnamon Teal, Yellow-billed Pintail and searching the adjacent scrub for Rusty-fronted Canastero, Streak-fronted Thornbird and a variety of others. We’ll then make the drive through the dry Andes towards Manu, hoping to find three endemics en route: Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch, Bearded Mountaineer, and Creamy-crested Spinetail. Through the andes we can find Andes Ibis, Slender-billed Miner, with luck seasonal migrant Tawny-throated Dotterel, after short visiting the last andean picturesque village (optional), we drive to our first meeting with the most pristine forest – Manu National Park. In the afternoon we’ll have our first crack at the elfin humid forest, hoping for treeline specialties like Golden-collared Tanager, Grass-green Tanager, Hooded Mountain-tanager, Moustached Flowerpiercer, and – with lots of luck – the rare Scribble-tailed Canastero.
Late in the day, we will have our first chance for one of the enigmatic and endemic red-and-white Antpitta & Rufous Antpitta.
We spend the night in the humid montane forest, enjoying the stars with the opportunity to look for some nocturnal birds located in this area: Yungas Pygmy-Owl, Rufous-banded Owl, Swallow-tailed Nightjar.
Night: Wayquecha Lodge. B:L:D
Day 2: MIDDLE MANU ROAD.
After a morning around Wayqecha, looking for more high-elevation species like Grey-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Red-and-white Antpitta, Puna Thistletail, Marcapata Spinetail, Rufous-capped Thornbill, and many others, we’ll work our way down the Manu Road, birding the most productive areas. Possibilities are nearly endless, from relatively common specialties like Blue-banded Toucanet and Handsome Flycatcher to mega-rarities like Greater Scythebill and Andean Potoo. We should encounter some good flocks that could include a variety of tanagers as well as Versicolored Barbet, Striped Treehunter, Inca Flycatcher, and even Band-tailed Fruiteater if we’re lucky. In the not-so-rare but difficult category are Hazel-fronted Pygmy-Tyrant, Unadorned Flycatcher, and White-throated Antpitta… sound like enough to keep us busy for the day?.
We will spend the night in cloud forest in more temperate environment at 1400 meters of height less than the previous night (4593,176 ft,) in the ideal habitat for the Cock of the rock.
Night: Cock of the Rock Lodge. B:L:D.
Day 3 – 4: MANU CLASSIC CLOUD FOREST BIRDING.
We’ll have two full days around Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge – this is tanager paradise! Depending what birds we need, we’ll visit elevations from 1000 m. – up to 2400 m.( 3280,84 ft. – 7874,016 ft.). We can expect at least a couple great mixed flocks during our stay which could include Golden-eared (uncommon), Golden-naped, Black-goggled, Orange-Eared, Fawn-breasted, Yellow-throated, Spotted, Paradise, Golden, Bay-headed, and Black-goggled Tanagers, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Olive-backed Woodcreeper, Montane Foliage-gleaner, Grey-mantled Wren, Streak-necked, Slaty-capped and Lemon-browed Flycatchers, the restricted-range Bolivian Tyrannulet, Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant, Tropical Parula, Russet-crowned and Three-striped Warblers, Slate-throated Whitestart, Golden-eyed (or Deep-blue) and Bluish Flower-piercers, Blue-naped Chlorophonia, the restricted-range Slaty Tanager, Yellow-throated and Common Bush-Tanagers, and Black-faced (or Dark-faced) Brush-Finch (split from Rufous-naped). Yellow-rumped and Yellow-breasted Antwren, Ash-browed Spinetail, and many, many more. Away from flocks we’ll search for Crested and Golden-Headed Quetzal, Andean and White-eared Solitaires, Amazonian Umbrellabird, and Solitary and Black-and-chestnut Eagles, rare and Difficult to detect Black-Streaked Puffbird.
The lodge gardens are visited by Many-spotted Hummingbird, Violet-fronted Brilliant, Booted Racket-Tail, and others, sometimes including Wire-crested Thorntail and the rare Buff-Tailed Sicklebill and of course Andean Cock-of-the-Rocks are frequently seen in the area – if all else fails, we can visit a lek!
behind the garden there is a trail system where we can look for Chestnut-breasted Wren, Scaled Antpitta, Rufous-breasted and Short-tailed Antthrush’s, Slaty Gnateater and the endemic Cerulean-capped Manakin (very rare). Night birding is usually slow, but we should see Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Band-Bellied Owl and Rufescent Screech-Owl is also a possibility.
Night: Cock of the Rock Lodge. B:L:D.
Day 5: LOWER MANU ROAD – DOWN TO THE FOOTHILLS.
Today we’ll spend the morning on the lower part of the Manu Road where we’ll try for some very difficult endemics: Black-backed Tody-Flycatcher, Cerulean-capped Manakin, Peruvian Piedtail, and even an beautiful but undescribed tanager species known from this location ( “Bamboo Tanager” – “San Pedro Tanager” ), although it appears to be very rare, species of tanager are possible – feeling lucky? There are lots of others to hope for too, including Lanceolated Monklet, Two-banded Warbler, Chestnut-backed Antshrike, Stripe-chested Antwren, Versicolored Barbet, Golden-collared Honeycreeper, Fulvous-breasted Flatbill, Cinnamon-faced Tyrannulet, Ornate and Lemon-browed Flycatcher, Cabanis’s Spinetail.and many more birds Around mid-day we’ll have a quick look for some open country birds (there isn’t much appropriate habitat on this tour!)
we’ll arrive in the afternoon for a short walk around Villa Carmen lodge (biological station recently working in tourism 500m – 1640,42ft ), this area will provide different selection of trails with special habitats in the southeast of South America “Bambo” where many specialties are restricted to this type of habitat and make bird watching so special around Manu National Park.
we have a night birding with some great night birds: Stripe, Black-banded and Spectacled Owl are some goodies that we can get, including Tawny-Bellied Screech-Owl (Garden guy)
Night: Villa Carmen. B:L:D
Day 6: VILLA CARMEN – BAMBOO FOREST.
The bamboo forest offers a great selection of birds restricted to this habitat so we will be birding full morning looking for all possible specialties.
Some of our bamboo targets are the wonderful White-cheeked Tody-Flycatcher, Manu, Striated, Goeldi’s, and White-lined Antbirds, Ihering’s Antwren, Bamboo Antshrike, Large-headed and Dusky-tailed Flatbills, Flammulated Tody-Tyrant, Rufous-capped Nunlet, and Brown-rumped and Dusky-cheeked Foliage-gleaners, Red-billed Scythebill, Dot-winged Antwren, Ornate Antwren and Rufous-breasted Piculet If we’re very lucky, we may also get Rufous-headed Woodpecker and Peruvian Recurvebill, but these are usually difficult and rare species, Fine-barred Piculet is one of the local endemic specie found in the area usually around the lodge, Including lowland hummingbirds as well as we can find some mammals – Monkeys,
Night: Villa Carmen. B:L:D
Day 7: AMAZON FOOTHILLS – DOWN TO THE LOWLANDS.
After breakfast we have a couple hours birding before to leave the lodge, we have some birding on the way Yellow-billed Nunbird and Plain softail are our target before taking a short boat ride to Amazonia Lodge 10 minutes down stream from Atalaya Port.
Scanning from the boat we’ll catch Fasciated Tiger-heron, White-banded, White-winged and Southern Rough-winged Swallow.
Garden is so wonderful, where we could find Rufous-crested Coquette, Gould’s Jewelfront, and Sapphire-spangled Emerald, Violet-headed Hummingbird, Blue-tailed Emerald, Koepcke’s Hermit (endemic species) rare visitor among a variety of other hummingbirds. A short afternoon walk will get us our first Hoatzin for the trip, Amazonian Antpitta, Black-capped & Cinereous Tinamou, Blue-throated Piping-Guan, Fiery-capped, Band-tailed and Round-tailed Manakins, Bluish fronted Jacamar, Chestnut-capped Puffbird, Spot-backed Antbird, and rare and local threatened Razor-billed Curassow are possible. In the evening, we have a good chance of seeing Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl, but the local Black-banded Owl – though we usually hear it – is much more difficult!
Day 8: AMAZONIA – FOOTHILL FOREST.
We’ll spend most of the day at Amazonia Lodge, first heading into the hill forest for the most difficult forest birding of the trip. Rewards are there to be found though; flocks typically include Half-collared Gnatwren, Spectacled Bristle-Tyrant, Carmiol’s Tanager, Cuzco Warbler, Yellow-browed Tody-flycatcher, and Rufous-tailed Antwren; with lots of luck we may also find Foothill Antwren, Brownish-headed Antbird or even Sapphire Quail-Dove or Grey Tinamou – now it’s really getting tough! We’ll also visit a White-browed Hermit lek, while other possibilities include Black and Spot-backed Antbirds, Ringed Antpipit, and Round-tailed Manakin. After a mid-morning walk we scan around the lodge (check for soaring raptors and swifts!), we’ll try the floodplain forest for Slender-billed Xenops, Fine-barred Piculet, Black-faced Antthrush, Amazonian Antpitta, Dark-breasted Spinetail,Speckled Spinetail Red-billed Tyrannulet, Black-banded Woodcreeper after lunch we’ll catch a boat down the river for 2 hours about, We’ll start our river bird list too; we should find Fasciated Tiger-Herons among the more common species, depending of the season, Boreal and Austral migrants are present (waders), as well as some different raptors. We’ll have time for an afternoon walk at Pantiacolla; most likely we’ll head for the river edge forest to look for the beautiful Scarlet-hooded Barbet among others. Later we’ll wait on the beach for dusk to fall, watching various parrots and macaws flying over and then hoping for Sand-coloured Nighthawks and Ladder-tailed Nightjar.
Night: Pantiacolla Lodge. B:LD.
Day 9 : PANTIACOLLA LODGE.
Pantiacolla Lodge has some of the best bamboo birding in the area; this will be the main focus, though we will explore other habitats too. Some of our bamboo targets are the wonderful White-cheeked Tody-Flycatcher, Manu, Striated, Goeldi’s, and White-lined Antbirds, Ihering’s Antwren, Bamboo Antshrike, Large-headed and Dusky-tailed Flatbills, Rufous-capped Nunlet, and Brown-rumped and Dusky-cheeked Foliage-gleaners. If we’re very lucky, we may also get Rufous-headed Woodpecker and Peruvian Recurvebill, but these are usually difficult. Outside the bamboo we can expect good activity too; we may add Rusty-belted Tapaculo, Red-necked Woodpecker, and Striolated Puffbird, Golden-collared Toucanet, Great Jacamar to our list. And of course this is an amazing place for antbirds – we should build up a good list over our birding in the trails. Pantiacolla usually produces some really great rarity too, but it’s dangerous to predict what it will be – on past tours we’ve sometimes found Long-tailed Potoo, Striated Antthrush, Banded Antbird, or Amazonian Scrub-Flycatcher. Who knows what we might turn up!
Besides our main target birdwatching we have a great forest with lots of wildlife: monkeys 6 types at least, white-lipped Peccary, Jaguar and many other surprises
Night: Pantiacolla Lodge. B:L:D.
Day 10: OUT INTO THE LOWLANDS.
We’ll make an early morning visit to a parrot clay lick; though we cannot get very close to the birds here, our visit should ensure good looks at the endangered Blue-headed Macaw; other species that usually show up include White-eyed Parakeet, Blue-headed Parrot, and Chestnut-fronted Macaw. There are also river-edge birds to get here, including Mottle-backed Elaenia and Dark-breasted Spinetail. Orange-headed Tanager, Little Ground-tyrant, Later we’ll make the 5 hour boat trip out into the true lowlands, we have lunch on board enjoying amazing landscape and our river bird list will increase; Black Screamer, Orinoco Goose, Large-billed & Yellow-billed Tern are some options, at the sametime the biggest predator of the area can be seen from the boat “JAGUAR”, we will look for it next to the riverside birds that can be seen throughout our route. arriving at Manu wildlife Center in time for a short afternoon walk.
Night: Manu Wildlife Center. B:L:D.
Day 11 – 13: LOWLAND FOREST.
We’ll have three busy days at and around the Lodge. The terra firme forest here is excellent, with seemingly endless diversity; some targets include Rufous-capped Antthrush, Semicollared Puffbird, and Pavonine Quetzal in addition to a great variety of foliage-gleaners and of course antbirds and flycatchers. The canopy tower is excellent, usually producing at least one good flock per morning; this can include Chestnut-shouldered and Sclater’s Antwrens, Lemon-chested Greenlet, Black-capped Becard, Rufous-tailed Xenops, Grey Elaenia, Lineated Woodcreeper, and of course lots of others. Most of the time the flock is not nearby, so we’ll also watch for Spangled Cotinga, White-throated and Channel-billed Toucans, Ivory-billed and Curl-crested Aracaris, and raptors. The ultimate prize here is Red-billed Pied Tanager, which although not common, is a good possibility. An oxbow lake within walking distance of the lodge gives us a chance for Black-billed Seed-Finch and Pale-eyed Blackbird, while White-chinned Sapphire and Sunbittern are the most popular garden birds. During our stay we’ll make two half-day trips, the first to visit a famous parrot clay lick; from the comfort of a well-placed blind we will watch for Orange-cheeked and Yellow-crowned Parrots, Red-and-green Macaws, and Tui Parakeets among other species. This is also a good place for some early successional birds like Spotted Tody-Flycatcher, Hooded and Orange-headed Tanagers, and, with luck, River Tyrannulet. The second day trip is a relaxing a productive afternoon at an oxbow lake; birding from a catamaran we’ll search for Black-collared Hawk, Sungrebe, Purus Jacamar, Green-and-rufous Kingfisher, Muscovy Duck, and of course the impressive Horned Screamer. This is also our best chance for the rare Giant Otter. On at least one evening at MWC Lodge we’ll do some night birds, hoping especially for Ocellated Poorwill and Black-banded Owl.
Nigh: Manu Wildlife Center. B:L:D.
Day 14: BACK To CIVILIZATION!! – PUERTO MALDONADO.
On our final morning at MWC, we may try to pin down some stubborn missing species, or visit a nearby trail where the rare Rufous-fronted Antthrush occurs; it can be hard to see, of course! We’ll then travel downstream by boat, we will take a boat down stream for 2 hours about (depending water level) until Boca colorado village, here you will say goodbye our boat crew members, in Boca Colorado we will take ground transport (Taxi) for one hour about, to get Puerto Carlos in this place we are going to take another boat just cross the Inambari River for 10 – 15 minutes, from here we will take another ground transport to Puerto Maldonado for 2 – 3 hours about. if time allows we may make some birding stops in the late afternoon to try for the difficult Point-tailed Palmcreeper and others.
There is a chance to go direct to Puerto Maldonado to take a flight to go back home but it is very rushed and boring and it does not give us time to make any birding stop and it can be risky.
Night: Puerto Maldonado. B:L:D.
Day 15: PUERTO MALDONADO AREA.
There are various flight alternatives for leaving Puerto Maldonado; we usually go for a mid-day option to allow for a morning of birding. This can be productive, especially for the localized White-throated Jacamar; other possibilities include Green Ibis, Southern Caracara, Red-breasted Blackbird, Brazilian Teal, Purus Jacamar, Dull-capped Attila and a variety of other open country birds including seedeaters and raptors. The tour will conclude with our flight back to Lima (or Cusco).” or you can connect one of our bird tour extension see our itineraries.
B: and snack