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A Report from

Bolivia 24 September - 25 October 2000,

John van der Woude

A summary of John van der Woude's report of his independent birding trip to this landlocked but highly varied country. The full report is at There you will also find photos of the scenery of the birding sites, and several sounds (in mp3 format).

We made a private 5-week birding trip to Bolivia including side trips to northern Chile and Buenos Aires province, Argentina. The side trip to Chile was more or less forced by the social-political troubles in Bolivia resulting in many roadblocks, and the extra trip to Argentina was a planned stopover on our way back home. So this was a trip from ocean to ocean, and from steaming lowlands to freezing highlands. The report is in three parts: this one about Bolivia and two short separate reports of the side trips to Chile and Argentina.

Apart from the roadblocks (that we easily avoided) and some time needed to get used to the high altitude of La Paz, we had no troubles at all and we enjoyed the diversity of cultures.

We first had a successful week of birding from the chaco woodlands of Santa Cruz through the semi-arid valley of Comarapa up to the Siberia cloud forest above it. Then we could not proceed to Cochabamba because of the roadblocks so we went back to Sta. Cruz and on to the tropical lowlands in the Beni province: the partly wooded savannas of Trinidad and the tropical rainforest remains at Riberalta. By now the situation in the highlands had cleared enough and we flew on to La Paz. After a visit to the high Cumbre pass and the steep forested Yungas valleys below it, we still wanted to visit the region around Cochabamba (highlands and East Andes slope forests), but here the last roadblocks still persisted. So instead we took the side trip to nearby northernmost Chile, which we did not regret at all. There we had a lot of good birds in the short distance from the coast of the Atacama desert to the splendid intact puna grasslands below the snow-clad volcanoes at Lauca national park. The 5-day stopover at Buenos Aires did we use to go along the coastal marshes and pampas, from the city down to Punta Rasa at the open ocean. We regarded this region as the southern end of the same savanna belt as we visited in eastern Bolivia.

Sites visited in Bolivia:

- Lomas de Arena near Sta. Cruz
- Rio Pirai at foot of Andes above Sta. Cruz
- Samaipata, low-elevation Andes on ' old road' from Sta. Cruz to Cochabamba
- Cuevas valley near Samaipata
- Comarapa (semi-arid and others), at end of Valle from Samaipata upwards
- Siberia cloud forest, well above Comarapa
- Jardin Botanico, mostly chaco forest, near Sta. Cruz
- Viru Viru airport near Sta. Cruz
- Trinidad surroundings, in eastern savanna lowlands (Beni province)
- Riberalta surroundings, in northeastern rainforest lowlands (Beni province)
- Laguna Alalay at Cochabamba city (2500 m altitude)
- Cumbre pass of La Paz and temperate shrubby forest behind it
- Yungas down to Chulumani

The most special species in the higher parts of Bolivia were:

Small-billed Tinamou, Brushland Tinamou, Short-winged (Titicaca Flightless) Grebe, Comb Duck, Andean Condor, Rufous-breasted Wood-quail, White-faced (Large-tailed) Dove, Red-fronted Macaw, Blue-crowned Parakeet, Green-cheeked Parakeet, Turquoise-fronted (Blue-fronted) Parrot, Scissor-tailed Nightjar, White-bellied Hummingbird, Black-hooded Sunbeam, Great Sapphirewing, Violet-throated Starfrontlet, Red-tailed Comet, Spot-backed Puffbird, Blue-banded Toucanet, White-wedged Piculet, White-fronted Woodpecker, Striped Woodpecker, Narrow-billed Woodcreeper, Bolivian Earthcreeper, Black-throated Thistletail, Ochre-cheeked Spinetail, Stripe-crowned Spinetail, Iquico (Maquis) Canastero, Streak-fronted Thornbird, Striped Treehunter, Rufous-faced Antpitta, Slaty Gnateater, Gray (from Unicolored) Tapaculo, Diademed Tapaculo, White-tipped Plantcutter, Yungas Manakin, Tawny-rumped Tyrannulet, Mouse-coloured Tyrannulet, Slaty Elaenia, Greater Wagtail-tyrant, Tufted Tit-tyrant, D'orbigny's Chat-tyrant, Puna Ground-tyrant, Andean Tyrant, Rufous Casiornis, Swainson's Flycatcher, Crowned Slaty-flycatcher, Brown-chested Martin, Fawn-breasted Wren, White-banded Mockingbird, White-eared Solitaire, Andean Slaty-thrush, Purplish Jay, Black Siskin, Brown-capped Whitestart, Two-banded Warbler, Orange-browed Hemispingus, Three-striped Hemispingus, Rust-and-yellow Tanager, Slaty Tanager, Golden-rumped Euphonia, Red Pileated-finch (Red-crested F.), Peruvian Sierra-finch, Grey-crested Finch, White-winged Diuca-finch, Rufous-sided Warbling-finch, Black-and-chestnut Warbling-finch, Ringed Warbling-finch, Moustached Flower-piercer, Black-throated Flower-piercer, Grey-bellied Flower-piercer, Ultramarine Grosbeak, Dusky-green Oropendola, Southern Mountain Cacique.

The most special species in the lowlands of Bolivia were:

Greater Rhea, Whistling Heron, Jabiru, Plumbeous Ibis, Buff-necked Ibis, Horned Screamer, Southern Screamer, Upland Sandpiper, Picui Ground-dove, Blue-throated Macaw, Golden-collared Macaw, Pale-rumped Swift, Pale-tailed Barbthroat, Green-and-rufous Kingfisher, Toco Toucan, White Woodpecker, Scaly-breasted Woodpecker, Pale-crested Woodpecker, Striped Woodcreeper, Rufous Cachalote, Eastern Woodhaunter, Ihering's Antwren, Black-spotted Bare-eye, Masked Antpitta, Sulphur-bellied Tyrant-manakin, White Monjita, Black-backed Water-tyrant, Dull-capped (White-eyed) Attila, Fawn-breasted Wren, White-banded Mockingbird, Purplish Jay, Southern Yellowthroat, Rose-breasted Chat, Masked (Blackbanded?) Tanager, Black-faced Dacnis, Red-crested Cardinal, White-bellied Seedeater, Tawny-bellied Seedeater, Solitary (Black) Cacique.

See the full report for more details.


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