Spectacular Northern Peru – 22 Days
Birding northern Peru tours have an excellent selection of local endemic birds, this is our most popular Northern Peru tour, and with good reason: the selection of birds is almost unbeatable on a trip of this length anywhere in the world given the diversity of species, the number of Peruvian and regional endemics, and the highly enigmatic and sought‐after specialties we’ll encounter. On the whole it is a comfortable mid‐range tour with a couple nights in basic hotels – and we’ve avoid night of camping in order to look for the incomparable Scarlet-banded Barbet, nowadays there is a basic accommodation, so we are safe from rain, during our excursion we do plan several long (but birdy!) walks, so at least a moderate level of fitness is required.
Day 1: ARRIVING TO LIMA – PERU.
The participants will be picking up at International Jorge Chavez Airport, Lima – Peru, transfer service will be waiting you to bring you to your hotel, which is located in Miraflores, to take a rest to be ready for the next day.
Day 2: FLIGHT to CAJAMARCA SAN MARCOS – CHONTA STREAM.
Early in the morning we take the first flight to Cajamarca / or a flight previous day in the evening
To begin the tour, we’ll head south from Cajamarca to San Marcos, here we have a breakfast in the field, to get San Marcos is one hour about driving to look for Great Spinetail; buff-bridled Inca-finch, other possibilities at this site are White‐winged Black‐Tyrant, Purple‐collared Woodstar, Amazilia Hummingbird, Spot‐throated Hummingbird, and Andean Tinamou (hard to see!). around midday we drive back toward Cajamarca, we visit small lake for some andean species and we look for the endemic Rufous-backed Inca-finch, we have our first chance for Black Metaltail, Pied-billed grebe (rare in the area) then we’ll spend the afternoon in Chonta stream, staking out likely flower patches for Grey‐bellied Comet, Rusty-crowned Tit-spinetail, Striated Earthcreeper, Black-Crested Warbler and picking up a few other species, hopefully including White‐winged Cinclodes and Torrent Tyrannulet.
Night: Cajamarca. B:L:D.
Day 3: HIGH ANDES – MARAÑÓN VALLEY.
We’ll spend the day birding en route to Celendin, our first stop is after one hour about driving around La Encañada, where we have our breakfast, here we’ll be looking for the Rare and local Rufous‐eared Brush‐Finch, Black‐crested Tit‐Tyrant, Jelski’s Chat‐Tyrant, Baron’s Spinetail, Shining sunbeam, Yellow-breasted Brush-finch, we keep driving to Cruz Conga looking for rare White‐tailed Shrike‐Tyrant, which is very similar to Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant (they overlap), andean Hillstar, Rufous Antpitta (Cajamarcae) and many others. late in the day we have our first meeting with Marañon valley and our first specialties are Gray-winged Inca-finch, Chestnut-backed Thornbird, and Buff-bridled Inca-finch, if time allows Yellow-faced Parrotlet.
we are going to spend a night in Balzas in quite basic Accommodation. but we’ll have the best birding chance in the afternoon and on the next morning. this evening we can look for Peruvian Screech-owl “Marañon Race” (very rare in the area) and Peruvian Pygmy-owl.
Night: Balzas / Celendin. B:L:D.
Day 4: MARAÑON VALLEY – ABRA BARRO NEGRO.
Today spend time in heart of mighty Marañon River Valley, Yellow‐faced Parrotlet, Peruvian Pigeon, Buff-bellied Tanager, Marañon Thrush and Black-necked Woodpecker, Yellow-tailed Oriole, Streaked Saltator, “peruvianus Subspecies”, Tropical Gnatcacher “maior subspecies”, Mouse-colored Tyrannulet “maranonica Subspecies”, Lesser Goldfinch in the valley. In higher areas Chestnut-crowned Antpitta, Rufous Antpitta obscura race different from the other site of the valley , around Abra Barro Negro, we’ll try for Coppery Metaltail, and Russet-mantled Softtail, White-chinned Thistletail, Blackish Tapaculo, Red-crested Cotinga,Gray-breasted Mountain-toucan and we have our first chance for mix flocks and visit hummingbird feeders if time allows, Purple-throated & Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Little Woodstar, Rainbow Starfrontlet, Shining Sunbeam, Green & Sparkling Violetear and more birds are possible.
Late in day we are going to look for Koepcke’s Screech owl and Rufous-banded Owl.
Night: Leymebamba. B:L:D.
Day 5: UTCUBAMBA VALLEY.
We’ll use today to work our way down the Utcubamba Valley, starting in humid forest and moving into drier habitats later. Our main targets include Red‐hooded Tanager, Gray-breasted Mountain-toucan, Golden-headed Quetzal and magnificent Andean Condor; down the valley Marañon Thrush, Speckle‐chested Piculet, Little Woodstar, Black‐necked Woodpecker, Marañon Chescentchest, Torrent Duck, and others, if we are lucky we can get Koepcke’s Screech-owl (during the day in the roosting place)
in the evening we’ll birding around the lodge looking for Peruvian Screech owl and for the rare and erratic Buff-fronted Owl (extreme lucky).
Night: Cocachimba. (with good views of Gocta Waterfalls). B:L:D.
Day 6: SAN LORENZO – CHIDO TRAIL.
This morning we will make an early start to reach a site for the elusive Pale-billed Antpitta, a rarely seen endemic and certainly one of the most spectacular in Peru. Russet-mantled softtail, Unstreaked Tit-Tyrant, Golden-browed Chat-Tyrant After an ascent we will reach the highly fragmented forest patches in which our quarry resides, and even Mountain Avocetbill with luck.
If we have seen the Antpitta in the morning we would then drop down to the feeders to pick up the Marvelous Spatuletail, Little Woodstar White-bellied Hummingbird, white-crowned Tapaculo, Sickle-winged Guan and other selection of birds.
Night: Pomacochas. B:L:D.
Day 7 – 8: ABRA PATRICIA.
Early in the morning we drive to Abra Patricia – Owlet Lodge; we’ll have 2 full days birding at Abra Patricia, the crown jewel of Northern Peru’s birding route. Targets are too many to list, but include Johnson’s Tody‐Flycatcher, Royal Sunangel, Bar‐winged Wood‐Wren, Cinnamon‐breasted Tody‐Tyrant, Rufous-vented Tapaculo, Inca Flycatcher, White-Faced Nunbird (rare) or uncommon flock members like Yellow‐scarfed and Green‐throated Tanagers (rare), White‐capped Tanager, Chestnut‐crested Cotinga and of course the endemic Antpittas ‐ Chestnut, Rusty‐tinged, and the mythical Ochre‐fronted are all possible.
Night walks will obviously target the enigmatic Long‐whiskered Owlet, Cinnamon Screech-Owl, Yungas Pygmy-Owl, but we may see other nocturnal species White-throated Screech-owl, Rufous-banded owl as well.
Night: Abra Patricia. B:L:D.
Day 9: AFLUENTES – MOYOBAMBA.
Today we’ll move downslope below Abra Patricia at Afluentes And look for a different set of exciting birds; these could To include Equatorial Greytail, Ecuadorian Piedtail, Olivaceous Greenlet, Ecuadorian Tyrannulet, Vermilion Tanager, Golden Tanager, Paradise Tanager, Bay-headed Tanager, Spotted Tanager, Golden-eared Tanager, White-lined Tanager, Versicolored Barbet,
Andean Cock-of-the-Rock shooting across the road or indulging its taste for fruit, and of seeing the Ecuadorian Piedtail, The endemic Huallaga (Tanager is fairly common here and the rather modestly-adorned Yellow-throated and Ashy-throated Bush-Tanagers make their rounds in noisy family parties, Grey-mantled Wren and the easily overlooked Other birds we may find in this ‘purple patch’ include Ruddy and Plumbeous Pigeons, Red-billed Parrot, White-eyed Parakeet, Black-mandibled Toucan, Golden-olive, Smoky-brown Woodpecker, Olivaceous and Olive-backed Woodcreepers, Ash-browed Spinetail, Montane Foliage-Gleaner and Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, Streaked Xenops, Lined Antshrike, Plain Antvireo, Rufous-Rumped Antwren, Blackish Antbird, ‘Northern’ White-crowned Tapaculo (possible split) Golden-winged Manakin, Slaty –capped flycatcher, Ornate flycatcher Olive-chested Flycatchers, Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant, Plumbeous crowned tyrannulet and Ecuadorian Tyrannulet.
just at the base of the mountains we visit a new private reserve – Arena Blanca where local guy is feeding Rufous-breasted Wood-quail, Brown Tinamou, in hummingbird feeders Blue-fronted & Green-fronted Lancebill, Black-throated Brilliant, Wire-crested thorntail and seasonally visiting Napo sabrewing. late in the day we drive to Moyobamba.
Night Birding can be slow or exciting, Band-bellied, Stripe, Spectacled, Black-banded Owls, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl and Tropical Screech-Owl.
Night: Moyobamba B:L:D.
Day 10: MISHQUIYACU RESERVE.
Mishquiyacu is one of Northern Peru’s premier foothill birding sites, and we’ll spend the day there, a new forest reserve that offers the San Martin form of the Mishana Tyrannulet, which likely represents a separate species from its lowland cousin, itself only recently described from the white sand forests of Iquitos, for the recently described Varzea Thrush (a cryptic species previously considered conspecific with Hauxwell’s Thrush), Foothill Antwren, Chestnut-Throated Spinetail, the Zimmer’s (or Northern Chestnut-tailed) Antbird in the area depending of your physical conditions we can get top hill looking the endemic local Ash-Throated Antwren, Buff‐throated Tody‐Tyrant, Short‐tailed Antthrush, In lower area, we’ll hope for Blue‐rumped Manakin, White‐bellied Pygmy‐Tyrant, Lanceolated Monklet, Lafresnaye’s Piculet, Fiery-throated Fruiteater and even some lowland antbirds. Possibilities abound here; we’re sure to have an interesting day. and some other goodies around hummingbird feeders, Rufous-crested Coquette, Koepcke’s & Black-throated Hermits and more birds.
Night: Moyobamba. B:L:D.
Day 11: To TARAPOTO.
We’ll have the morning around Moyobamba to bird where we need it; we could try for Cinereous‐breasted Spinetail and some missing species, later we drive toward Tarapoto, on the way we stop for Oilbird, after a good views we’ll drive to Tarapoto, in the afternoon, we’ll bird a bit of dry forest near the town, depending of the wether we do some birding around the tunnels on Cordillera Escalera, if we are lucky we can find one of our main Targets: “Dotted Tanager”.
Night: Tarapoto. B:L:D.
Day 12 – 13: To PLATAFORMA / FLOR DE CAFE – CORDILLERA AZUL MOUNTAINS.
Early in the morning we visit Upaquigua looking for Ashy-headed Greenlet, Huallaga-Slaty Antshrike, Sulphur-Bellied Tyrant Manakin, Rusty-Backed Antwren, Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant and if we are lucky White-lored Antpitta, them we drive to Plataforma, we use 4×4 transport, until July 2016 road was so horrible, but nowadays there is lots of improvings, just the last 14 Km are terrible, We have breakfast along the route, we head up to our remote Village in a building at 1400m in the foothills, which may take us much of the day to reach, depending on the state of the road. We will stay here for two nights. Based at this recently opened settlement, far removed from everyday Peruvian life, we shall be the guests of this welcoming community in an area unused to visitors. However, this site is not only the only accessible site to look for Scarlet-banded Barbet, but also one that is very good for a variety of foothill specialities. We shall be exploring the tracks and trails recently cut through the forests Scaled, Scarlet-breasted Fruiteaters or even the very rare Andean Laniisoma, which has been recorded here on occasion. Other species found here include Rose-fronted Parakeet, the foothill form of Long-tailed Woodcreeper, Blackish Peewee, Foothill Schiffornis, Blue-browed Tanager, Roraiman Flycatcher, If we have luck on our side we will also see one or two of the following: Subtropical Pygmy-Owl, Curl-crested Aracari, There is a phenomenal list of good birds here and one not equalled at other foothill sites.
There is a recently discovered new antbird for the science “Cordillera Azul Antbird”. Night birding can be productive Vermiculated Screech-Owl and Band-bellied owl in the evening.
Night: Plataforma/Flor de Café. B:L:D.
Day 14 PLATAFORMA TO TARAPOTO.
We have a morning birding around Plataforma looking for some missing species sometimes weather doesn’t help, so its good do have an extra morning, after a morning birding we drive to Tarapoto, along the way we can look for White-bellied Pygmy-Tyrant, and Mishana Tyrannulet in Bellavista we leave our 4×4 transport to take our van to get Tarapoto.
Night: Tarapoto. B:L:D.
Day 15: CORDILLERA ESCALERA / TUNNELS.
Today we shall explore a number of sites close to Tarapoto. Assuming the key species of the deciduous woodlands have been found, we shall head to low-lying foothill forest just north of Tarapoto (beyond the tunnel) where there is a good chance of finding a number of specialities. We may find the local Plumbeous Euphonia, Yellow-Shouldered Grosbeak, Blackish Peewee, Rough‐legged Tyrannulet and maybe Dotted Tanager.
we visit a new hummingbird feeders location, just below tunnels, Koepcke’s Hermit, Long-billed Starthroat, White-necked Jacobin, Black-throated Brilliant and Mango are present, short walk can provide additional birds Golden-headed Manakin, White-plumed Antbird, Musician Wren, Long-tailed Potto roosting?
We will then head west towards Moyobamba for a short visit to look for Oilbird (optional, just in case weather didn’t show us good views on the way in) before heading to our lodgings for an overnight stay. Around moyobamba we are going look for owls.
Night: Moyobamba. B:L:D.
Day 16: RIOJA BACK to the MOUNTAINS – ABRA PATRICIA.
We leave the lodge early in the morning, we drive to Rioja – marshy área where Mauritia Palm forest grows, Pale-eyed Blackbird, Varzea Thrush, Point-tailed Palmcreeper, Black-billed Seed-finch,where we look for Ocellated Crake, Russet-Crowned Crake, Spotted Rail, hard to see most of the time heard so close, after a morning birding we keep driving toward east slope, this will be an opportunity to catch up with missing species, so we’ll have time birding east of the andes one more time, In the evening, we have another chance for the mythical Long-whiskered Owlet and Cinnamon Screech-owl on a different location increasing our chance to see this bird.
Night: Abra Patricia. B:L:D.
Day 17: ABRA PATRICIA REVISITED.
We’ll have another full day at Abra Patricia – a site that always deserves another visit! If we’ve done well around the lodge, we may check slightly lower elevations for Hooded Tinamou, Vermilion and Blue‐browed Tanagers, and a variety of flycatchers and furnarids; we often have great flocks in this area. Almost certainly there will be tough species to work n if we’ve otherwise cleaned up, so this morning we’ll be concentrate in forest interior birds Chestnut-breasted Wren, Rufous‐vented Tapaculo, the afore mentioned endemic antpittas (see Days 6 ‐7), for example.
Night birding still have an extra chance for Long-whiskered Owlet
Night: Abra Patricia. B:L:D.
Day 18: PAMPAS DEL BURRO / MIDDLE MARAÑÓN VALLEY.
we spend a morning in a new place, close by Abra Patricia or in the same area, focused on the hard rare local birds Royal Sunangel, Bar-winged Wood-wren, Rusty-tinged Antpitta, Ochre-fronted Antpitta, and hummingbird feeders can add Rufous-vented Whitetip, White-tailed Hillstar and some other missing species, late in the morning we drive to Jaen – middle Marañon Valley where we look for Little Inca-finch, Marañon Crescentchest, Marañon Spinetail, Red-crested Finch and distinctive local races of Common Pauraque, Chinchipe spinetail (different race from Necklaced spinetail a formal specie along the coast) Northern-slaty Antshrike (Marañon Race), Collared Antshrike (Shumbae race) all of which are likely to be split in the future.
We’ll also find a variety of more widespread birds, perhaps including Ecuadorian Ground‐Dove, Drab and Chestnut‐throated Seedeaters
Night: Jaen. B:L:D.
Day 19: MIDDLE MARAÑÓN VALLEY – ABRA PORCULLA.
This área has variety of Marañon specialties, we can look for missing species of the day before, later we drive toward Olmos in between we stop just after the pass in Abra Porculla where some special birds occur: Piura Chat-tyrant, Henna Hooded & Rufous-necked Foliage-gleaners, Black‐cowled Saltator, Chapman’s Antshrike, Elegant Crescentchest, and Bay‐crowned Brush‐Finch, Gray-and-gold Warbler, Ecuadorian Piculet and many more birds. just before dark we drive to Olmos.
Night: Olmos. B:L:D.
Day 20: BOSQUE FREJOLILLO / QUEBRADA LIMÓN.
We’ll spend the day at Quebrada Frejolillo or El Limón de Platanal, one of the few accessible sites with wild White‐winged Guans. Aside from the guans, we’ll be looking for a huge variety of specialties, such as Tumbes Hummingbird, Tumbes Tyrant, Rufous Flycatcher, Red‐masked Parakeet, Ecuadorian Piculet, White‐headed Brush‐Finch, Black‐capped Sparrow, Sooty‐crowned Flycatcher, Ecuadorian Trogon, Pacific Elaenia and with luck Guayaquil Woodpecker. If we decide to make an early start, we can have a pre‐dawn chance for Scrub Nightjar and Peruvian Screech-Owl, while late in the afternoon we’ll visit a marshy area Plumbeous Rail and Spotted Rail (luck), then we drive far to the south; in the evening we have the best chance for Peruvian Screech-Owl
Night: Chiclayo. B:L:D.
Day 21: BOSQUE POMAC TO TRUJILO.
The spectacular Tumbesian site: Bosque Pomac. The main target here is Peruvian Plantcutter Endemic, but we’ll pick up a great number of other new birds too. Depending what we’ve previously seen, these could include Rufous Flycatcher, White‐tailed Jay, Tumbes Swallow, Necklaced Spinetail (the nominate race this time!), Superciliated Wren, Grey‐and‐white Tyrannulet, White‐edged Oriole, and Pacific Parrotlet. just outside chiclayo we’ll be birding in the marshy area looking for some see birds if we are lucky we can see the endangered Peruvian Tern, then we start a long driving to Trujillo.
Night: Trujillo. B:L:D.
Day 22: SINCICAP FLIGHT TO LIMA.
From Trujillo we drive to Sincicap our main target is the rare and local Russet-bellied Spinetail, Piura Chat-tyrant, Bay-crowned Brush-finch, Unicolored Tapaculo, Speckled Hummingbird, if we are lucky we can see Gray-Capped Cuckoo, we drive back to Trujillo after midday so we have enough time to organize luggages to take domestic flight to Lima and your international flight.
END OF THE TOUR