Manu Birdwatching – 4D/3N
ManuSome of the attractions around the lodge in San Pedro include one “lek” or dancing ground of Andean cock of the rocks (Rupicola peruviana) endemic to the cloud forest, which are nearly crow-sized, bright red birds in the Cotinga family. Troops of acrobatic Woolly Monkeys (Lagothrix lagothricha) are also frequently sighted. An ornithological census by John Arvin, a renowned tropical ornithologist, shows a list that exceeds 700 species of birds in the way from the grasslands to the lowlands of the Upper Madre de Dios River port of Atalaya (Eastern slopes of the Andes).
Day 1 | Cusco - San Pedro (Cloud Forest)
We depart early in the morning to our Cloud forest adventure. We pass through inter Andean valleys and Andean communities. We´ll visit the interesting Pre-Inca burial towers of Ninamarka known as “chulpas”, then we continue to the colonial town of Paucartambo, from there we go up to Acjanaco pass at 3500 m.a.s.l. Where a ranger station marks the southernmost point of the park, from this point we descend into the Amazon basin through the cloud forest rich in endemic species like the Cock of the rock (Rupicola peruviana), the Spectacle bear (Tremarctos ornatus), orchids, ferns, bromeliads, etc. to arrive to our lodge in the Cloud forest where we overnight.
During our journey to the Cloud forest, we will make two walks in search of bird species, the first one on the upper humid montane forest, in an area called Pillahuata where it is possible to spot birds species like Hooded Tinamou (Nothocercus nigrocapillus), Stripe-faced Wood-Quail (Odontophorus balliviani), Golden-plumed Parakeet (Leptosittaca branickii), Yungas Pigmy-Owl (Glaucidium bolivianun), Gould´s Inca (Coeligena inca), Blue-banded Toucanet (Aulacorhynchus coeruleicinctis), Crimson-mantled Woodpecker (Piculus rivolii brevirostris), Sierran Elaenia (Elaenia pallatangae), White-collared Jay (Cyanolyca viridicyana), Mountain Cacique (Cacicus chrysonotus), etc; we will do the second walk in the Cloud forest and before we arrive to our lodge. In this area the vegetation is more luxuriant and will look for birds like Chestnut-bellied Mountain-Tanager (Delothraupis castaneoventris), Tawny-rumped Tyrannulet (Phyllomyias uropygialis), Band-tailed Fruiteater (Pipreola intermedia) and the Barred Fruiteater (Pipreola arcuata) in the mixed flocks, among others.
Day 2 | San Pedro (Cloud Forest) - Amazonia Lodge (Rain Forest)
Today we wake up very early to observe Cock of the rocks (Rupicola peruviana), Peru´s national bird from a platform. The male birds are vibrant reddish orange, and as many as several dozen come together for an exhibition of a mating ritual dance in a place called “lek”. The males display their crest, showing off and posturing for the females. The females, fewer in number, watch to select the most suitable males. After this activity we come back to the lodge to have breakfast. After breakfast we take our transport that will take us to the port of Atalaya, this is the first fluvial port of the Alto Madre de Dios river, here we take our outboard engine boat and head downstream to Amazonia lodge where we overnight, this is a great opportunity to spot birds that inhabit the river shores like herons, cormorants, kingfishers, etc. We will spent the rest of the day using the facilities of Amazonia lodge which is situated at the pre-mountain zone and there it is possible to do birding in many different habitats like bamboo forest, flood plain area, hill forest, swamp, etc just walking short distances.
Day 3 | Amazonia Lodge (Rain Forest) - San Pedro (Cloud Forest)
This day again we will get up very early to take our boat, and after 25 minutes boat ride we arrive to a Parrot lick “Collpa”, which is a wall of clay in the riverbanks, where many species of parrots such as the Blue-headed Parrot (Pionus menstruus), White-eyed Parakeet (Aratinga leucophthaulmus) and the Chesnut-fronted Macaw (Ara severa) among others parrots come every day to feed for mineral and salt supplements to their diet of seeds and fruits. On the way back we stop at Machuwasi Lake, where we will see other species that live on the lake like the Hoatzin or Shansho (Opistocomus hoatzin), Snake bird (Anhinga anhinga), Black–capped Donacobius (Donacobius atricapillus), gallinules, flycatchers, woodpeckers and more. After this activity we come back to our lodge where we spent most of the day. The lodge also has a porch with a view of the garden and feeders where it is possible to see several species of hummingbirds including Rufous-crested Coquete (Lophornis delatteri), Amethyst Woodstar (Calliphlox amethystine) and Wire-crested Thorntail (Discosura popelairii). The list of the lodge contains 609 species of birds including black-capped Tinamou, Blackish Rail, Hoatzin, Buckley´s Forest falcon, Wattled Guan, Military Macaw, Blue-headed macaw, Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, Koepcke´s hermit, White-bearded Hermit, Gray-breasted Sabrewing, Black-eared Fairy, Golden-tailed Saphire, Blue-tailed Emerald, Bluish fronted Jacamar, Fine-barred Piculet, Scarlet-hooded barbet, Bamboo Antshrike, Manu Antbird, Amazonian Antpitta, Rusty-belted Tapaculo, Black-spotted Bare-eye, Johanni´s Tody-tyrant, White-cheecked Tody-tyrant, Ornate Flycatcher, Two-banded Warbler, Fire-capped Manakin, Plum-throated Cotinga, Masked-crimson Tanager, Yellow-bellied Dancis, Common Potoo etc.
Late in the afternoon we come back to the cloud forest lodge.
Day 4 | San Pedro (Cloud Forest) - Cusco
As our lodge is very closet to the Cock of the rocks lek, we are able to visit again the ” lek” to see the activity of the Cock of the rocks or try to spot one of the females hidden in the forest. After breakfast we have the rest of the morning to increase our list of spotted birds in the cloud forest. Lunch at the lodge and then we take our ground transport to go back to Cusco.