Trip report: Peru: Manu and Machu Picchu custom tour (Aug-Sept 2018) by Tropical Birding

Guided by José Illanes.This was a set departure tour.

This tour in southern Peru is a fantastic tour to be able to lead regularly, as it offers up much more besides the birds. There is good potential for mammal sightings (or other creatures), and top all of that off, we have the traditional visit to the iconic Machu Picchu Inca ruins, arguably the First Wonder of the South American World. So, it combines classic Amazonian birds, with Andean birding, Inca ruins, and great natural history in one of the world epic biodiversity hotspots. In Manu, in the Andes, displaying Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Creamy-crested Canastero, Giant Hummingbird, Rufous-crested Coquette, Peruvian Piedtail, (amongst a profusion of other hummingbirds), and a procession of colorful Andean tanagers, like Golden-collared, Paradise, and Blue-necked Tanagers. Other Andean standouts included Andean Motmot, Blue-banded Toucanet, Bluish-fronted Jacamar, and Lanceolated Monklet. On this year’s tour we stayed at Villa Carmen along the lower Manu Road, where forests with bamboo patches were rich in birds, and included a Cinereous Tinamou at a feeding station, and Blue-throated Macaws passing overhead. We will definitely include this marvelous place on future tours. Lower down, excellent views of Amazonian Antpitta, Orinoco Goose, Horned Screamer, Hoatzin, Pavonine Quetzal, Red-necked Woodpecker, and Purus and White-throated Jacamars featured. Moving away from Manu, we ventured higher into the Andes at Abra Malaga, where the gorgeous White-tufted Sunbeam was the highlight. We then visited the famous ruins of the Incas, getting record numbers of Torrent Ducks and Inca Wren while doing so, as well as a popular Masked Fruiteater. The tour finished at the wonderful port of Pucusana, where Inca Terns, Humboldt Penguins and Red-legged Cormorant entertained at the last, before International departures pulled us back to Lima.

At the end of this incredibly diverse tour, we had recorded a substantial bird list of 644, 42 of which were only heard. Among the group favorites on the tour were Golden-headed and Pavonine Quetzals, Masked Fruiteater, Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Rufous-capped Antthrush, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Paradise Tanager, Creamy-crested Spinetail, Inca Wren, Red-necked Woodpecker, Dark-billed Cuckoo, Hoatzin, Blue-footed Booby, Amazonian Antpitta, Torrent Duck, Rufous-crested Coquette.

PERU: Manu and Machu Picchu Trip Report (PDF format 12.1 MB)