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A Report from

OBSERVATIONS IN PERÚ, 25 July - 10 August 2001,

Dr EFJ Garcia

The visit included three distinct areas; the Peruvian coast and offshore islands of the Paracas peninsula, the Amazon rain forest along the River Tambopata, and the Andes mountains of the Inca trail. There was relatively little overlap in species between these three regions and each is treated separately below. Only those species which I encountered personally are mentioned here but the party identified a number of others.

Travel between the areas was by air. The visit was carried out under the able auspices of a well known tour company and was led by Andy Tucker.

The Coast; 26-28th July & 9th August

Arrival in Perú was at Lima, which was in the grip of the heavy, cool mist and drizzle (garua) which dominates the local climate. The mist extended well south of the city to Pucusana.

Sites visited were

A.     Pantanos de Villa. 26th July. Freshwater reserve comprising lagoons, sedge beds and reed beds and adjacent sand flats. Just south of Lima city.

B.     Pucusana fishing village. 26th July. Rocky Bay protected by headland. Boat trip around the Bay taken. Many pelicans and other hangers-on at jetty.

C.    Paracas peninsula. 26th-28th July. Observations in grounds of Hotel Paracas and on the adjacent sandy scrub. Also on the immensely arid Paracas peninsula on 26th and 27th July.

D.    The desert on the road to Ica. 27th July. Overflight of Nazca Lines from Ica. Observations in airport grounds and en route.

E.     Islas Ballestas and Isla San Gallan; visited on the morning of 28th July. Former are guano islands; rocky with many caves. Guano removal platforms still evident. Latter is a large island with a central mountainous core and large shingle beach housing a huge colony of Southern Sealions.

F.     Pisco marshes. 28th July; freshwater marshes and estuary, with some cultivation.

Humboldt Penguin

Humboldt Penguin                            Spheniscus humboldti                     
Two off Pucusana. Group of 12 on a rock at Ballestas Is.

Pied-billed Grebe                             Podilymbus podiceps                     
Common at Pantanos de Villa. Several family groups.

White-tufted Grebe                           Rollandia rolland                              
Common at Pantanos de Villa. 10+.

Great Grebe                                      Podiceps major                               
Common at Pantanos de Villa. 10+ seen including large young. Handsome species recalling Western Grebe in shape.

Cape Petrel                                       Daption capense                             
One inshore at Isla San Gallan.

Sooty Shearwater                             Puffinus griseus                               
Numerous off Paracas penisula.

Wilson's Storm-petrel                       Oceanites oceanicus                      
Numerous off Paracas peninsula.

Blue-footed Booby                            Sula nebouxii                                   
Two at Paracas hotel,  including one perched on  hotel jetty. One at Ballestas islands. All were immatures.

Peruvian Pelican                               Pelecanus thagus
Abundant on coast. Thousands present, especially around fishing villages where very confiding, sitting on boats and jetties. Never seen to plunge-dive like Brown Pelican.

Peruvian Booby                                Sula variegata                                  
Abundant on coast and inhabiting cliffs at Pucusana and on the Ballestas islands. Large young noted at latter site. Many thousands of adults everywhere. Often seen plunge diving in inshore waters, sometimes very shallowly and elsewhere from a height.

Neotropic (Olivaceous) Cormorant  Phalacrocorax brasilianus.
A long-tailed "freshwater" species. Very common at Pantanos de Villa and in inshore coastal waters.

Guanay Cormorant                           Phalacrocorax bougainvillii            
Common at Pucusana. 20+. Others off Paracas. Only small numbers seen and none on Ballestas.

Red-legged Cormorant                    Phalacrocorax gaimardi                 
Three at Pucusana. Several at Isla San Gallan. Pair on nest in a cave on Ballestas islands. Very striking species.

Great White Egret                             Egretta alba
Common at Pantanos de Villa, Pisco marshes and other coastal wetlands.

Snowy Egret                                      Egretta thula
Abundant at Pantanos de Villa and common in all coastal wetlands. Also on seashore rocks at Paracas penisula.

Little Blue Heron                               Egretta caerulea
Two at Pantanos de Villa. Two at Pisco marshes.

Striated Heron                                   Butorides striatus                            
Two at Pantanos de Villa.

Cattle Egret                                       Bubulcus ibis
Comon at Pantanos de Villa, Pisco marshes and elsewhere along the coast, sometimes with cows.

Black-crowned Night-heron             Nycticorax nycticorax                      
Small occupied colony at Pantanos de Villa

Least Bittern                                      Ixobrychus exilis                               
Three flushed from reed beds at Pantanos de Villa.

Puna Ibis                                            Pleagadis ridgwayi
Common at Pantanos de Villa and other coastal wetlands.

Chilean Flamingo                             Phoenicopterus chilensis               
Flock of 100+ on shore of salt flats fringing Paracas peninsula. Very pink- looking compared to Greater Flamingoes.

White-cheeked Pintail                      Anas bahamensis                           
30+ at Pantanos de Villa. 10 on shore of Paracas peninusula.

Cinnamon Teal                                  Anas cyanoptera                             
20+ at Pantanos de Villa. Males in full plumage and displaying.

Black Vulture                                     Coragyps atratus
Abundant near Lima and around Pantanos de Villa, largely absent further south. Strongly linked to habitation.

Turkey Vulture                                   Cathartes aura
Occasional pairs in desert areas south of Pucusana. Several around Pisco and Pucusana, four roosting in the hotel grounds. Abundant on Paracas peninsula, dozens roosting on the seashore cliffs. Hundreds on the Isla San Gallan, scavenging sealion pup corpses. Several on the Ballestas islands.

Osprey                                               Pandion haliaetus                            
One on a pylon at Pantanos de Villa.

Crested Caracara                            Polyborus plancus                           
One over Lima river, mobbing Black Vultures.

American Kestrel                              Falco sparverius
Common locally, as at Pantanos de Villa and Pisco marshes. Some recently-fledged.

Plumbeous Rail                                 Rallus sanguinolentus                     
One at Pantanos de Villa.

Common Moorhen                            Gallinula chloropus                          
Abundant at Pantanos de Villa. Common at Pisco marshes and seen on other small coastal wetlands.

Andean Coot                                     Fulica ardesiaca
Abundant at Pantanos de Villa. Very striking yellow frontal plates.

American Oystercatcher                  Haematopus palliatus                     
Small numbers, usually in pairs, on rocks around Paracas peninsula.

Blackish Oystercatcher                    Haematopus ater                             
Four at Pucusana. Three on shore of Paracas peninsula.

Black-necked Stilt                             Himantopus mexicanus                  
Common at Pantanos de Villa. In pairs. 20+. Small groups at Pisco marshes.

Peruvian Thick-knee                         Burhinus superciliaris                      
One on sand flats at Pantanos de Villa. Loose group of 14 on grazed marsh at Pisco.

Andean Lapwing                               Vanellus resplendens
One at Pisco marshes.

Grey Plover                                        Pluvialis squatarola                         
Small numbers on coastal rocks at Paracas peninsula.

Killdeer                                               Charadrius vociferus                       
6+ at Pantanosde Villa. Small numbers seen at other coastal sites.

Kentish Plover                                   Charadrius alexandrinus                 
Several on salt flats at Paracas peninsula, including small chicks.

Tawny-throated Dotterel                   Eudromias ruficollis                         
A loose flock of 20+ on the river fringes at Pisco marshes. Courser-like, orangish birds.

Whimbrel                                           Numenius phaeopus                       
Two on a rock at Lagunillas cove, Paracas peninsula.

Greater Yellowlegs                           Tringa melanoleuca
Two at Pisco marshes.

Lesser Yellowlegs                             Tringa flavipes                                 
Six at Pisco marshes.

Ruddy Turnstone                               Arenaria interpres                           
Abundant at Pucusana, where several hundred were roosting in  tight groups on boats offshore. Common along the shore of the Paracas peninsula. Less typically, a flock of 20 on riverside shingle at Pisco marshes.

Least Sandpiper                               Calidris minutilla                              
One at Pisco marshes.

Chilean Skua                                     Catharacta chilensis                       
One off the Ballestas islands. A very cold-toned species.

Grey Gull                                            Larus modestus                               
Abundant on the coast, especially on the Paracas peninsula where flocks of hundreds roosted on the beaches.

Band-tailed Gull                                Larus belcheri                                  
Abundant on the coast, especially on the Paracas peninsula, but less numerous than the Grey Gull.

Band-tailed Gull

Kelp Gull                                            Larus dominicanus                          
Several individuals on the Pantanos de Villa. Abundant on the coast. Common scavenging around the sealion rookery. (The fresh, mauled remains of one bird there may have involved an error of judgment on the bird's part)

Grey-headed Gull                              Larus cirrocephalus                         
Common at Pantanos de Villa. Included some juveniles. Not on coast.

Franklin's Gull                                    Larus pipixcan                                 
One at Pantanos de Villa.

Swallow-tailed Gull                           Creagrus furcatus                            
Four on sea inshore of Ballestas islands. Two juveniles/young immatures and two older immature birds. Heavy black bills and dark eye patches striking.

Elegant Tern                                      Sterna elegans                                
Three large, yellow-billed terns off Hotel Paracas were probably this although "Cayenne" Sandwich tern is also a possibility.

Royal Tern                                         Sterna maxima                                
Two at Lagunillas cove on the Paracas peninsula.

Peruvian Tern                                    Sterna lorata                                    
Several inshore at Paracas hotel and on the peninsula. Recalling a greyish Little Tern.

Inca Tern                                            Larosterna inca                                
Abundant at Pucusana, nesting on the cliffs and resting on buildings. Very common around the Paracas peninsula and especially on the Ballestas islands, where many recently-fledged young present.

Inca Tern

Black Skimmer                                 Rhynchops niger                              
Flock of 100+ on shore of salt flats fringing Paracas peninsula.

Rock Dove                                         Columba livia
Common in towns.

Pacific Dove                                      Zenaida meloda                              
Abundant, especially in Lima city where large flocks seen at dawn and dusk overhead.

Croaking Ground Dove                    Columbina cruziana                        
Four at Pantanos de Villa and individuals often seen on wires in towns along the coast. Tiny, with a striking yellow bill.

Groove-billed Ani                              Crotophaga sulcirostris                  
Two at Pantanos de Villa and occasional along the coast. Three in Hotel Paracas garden.

Amazilia Hummingbird                     Amazilia amazilia                            
Up to 3 in grounds of Hotel Paracas.

Peruvian Sheartail                            Thaumastura cora                           
One male and two females on tamarisks on sand flats near Hotel Paracas. No flowers there but seen to flycatch.

Coastal Miner                                    Geositta peruviana                          
Four on sand flats near Hotel Paracas. Running on the ground and leaping up for insects.

Peruvian Seaside Cinclodes          Cinclodes taczanovski                    
Common on rocky shores. At least 6 at Pucusana. Also at Lagunilla Bay on the Paracas peninsula. Very active on wave edges; recalling both Turnstone and Rock Pipit.

Wren-like Rushbird                           Phleocryptes melanops                  
One at Pantanos de Villa.

Many-coloured Rush Tyrant             Tachuris rubigastra                         
One at Pantanos de Villa.

Elaenia sp.                                        Elaenia sp.
Four taking dates in palms in lakeside vegetation at Ica.

Vermilion Flycatcher                         Pyrocephalus rubinus
Frequent on wires and buildings all along the coast. Males startlingly orange.

Tropical Kingbird                              Tyrannus melancholicus                    
Four at Ica in lakeside vegetation. Plunge-bathing.

Blue and White Swallow                  Notiochelidon cyanoleuca              
Common generally, especially at Pantanos de Villa. Several thousand at Pisco marshes. Very stumpy.

Long-tailed Mockingbird                  Mimus longicaudatus                      
Frequent in coastal towns and on wires. Usually in pairs.

House Wren                                      Troglodytes aedon                          
One at Pantanos de Villa.

House Sparrow                                 Passer domesticus
Several at Hotel Paracas. Also among houses near Pantano de Villa.

Cinereous Conebill                           Conirostrum cinereum                    
One in grounds of Hotel Paracas.

Hooded Siskin                                  Carduelis margellanica                   
Four at Ica airport.

Grassland Yellow Finch                    Sicalis luteola                                   
Small flocks common on grassland at Pisco marshes.

Blue-black Grassquit                        Volatinia jacarina                             
At least one at Ica airport.

Rufous-collared Sparrow                 Zonotrichia capensis                       
Common at Hotel Paracas

Peruvian Red-breasted Meadowlark  Sturnella bellicosa                      
Several at Pantanos de Villa and also common at Pisco marshes. Very striking.

AMAZONIA 29th July 29th - 2nd August

Arrival was by air at Puerto Maldonado. The principal elements of the visit were;

  1. 29th July. Boat transfer (5 hours) to Tambopata Jungle Lodge, upstream along the murky brown and fast flowing River Tambopata. Many birds seen en route both over and on the fringing forest and at occasional stops.
  2. 30th July. Observations at Tambopata Lodge. Then on boat transfer (4 hours) upstream to Tambopata Research centre. Observations on forest trails at centre and also at campsite on opposite bank.
  3. 31st July. Dawn observations of the parrot gathering at the clay-lick (colpa) on the river bank, viewed from the opposite shore. Observations again on forest trails at centre and also at campsite on opposite bank.
  4. 1st August. Observations of the colpa again. Then from boat on much faster downstream journey to Tambopata Lodge. Observations at the Lodge in the afternoon and at and around Condenado oxbow lake on the opposite shore, mainly from a raft paddled slowly around the lake.
  5. 2nd August. Observations on the return river trip between Tambopata and Puerto Maldonado and around the latter.

Species diversity was very high but most species, especially passerines, were represented by few individuals. Single trees often held a dozen or more species and many were only seen on one occasion. The list would have grown rapidly given more time.

Cinereous Tinamou                          Crypturellus cinereus                       
Heard near the claylick cliff.

Undulated Tinamou                          Crypturellus undulatus                     
Common around the campsite and heard calling all day, but especially at dawn and dusk. Responded to call imitations and approached closely but never actually seen.

Neotropic (Olivaceous) Cormorant  Phalacrocorax brasilianus
Small numbers noted on riversides.

American Darter                               Anhinga anhinga                              
Two immature single birds seen on logs in the river.

Cocoi Heron                                      Ardea cocoi
Single birds seen frequently on the river banks.

Snowy Egret                                      Egretta thula                                     
Small numbers on riverbanks, generally singly.

Snowy Egret

Great White Egret                             Egretta alba
Single birds frequently seen along river.

Cattle Egret                                       Bubulcus ibis                                    
Small flocks present near Pto Maldonado.

Capped Heron                                  Pilherodius pileatus                         
Single birds seen frequently on the river banks.

Orinoco Goose                                 Neochen jubatus                              
Two pairs noted on shingle banks.

Muscovy Duck                                   Cairina moschata                            
Two immature birds on riverside shingle below the Colpa. Another immature bird seen on riverbank.

Turkey Vulture                                   Cathartes aura                                 
Uncommon. Several near Pto Maldonado.

American Black Vulture                   Coragyps atratus                             
Common at Puerto Maldonado and near all lodges and settlements, including our camp. Commensalism with Man again very evident.

Tambopata River at camp

Greater Yellow-headed Vulture       Cathartes melambrotus                  
Common and characteristic. Omnipresent over the forest, often in small flocks.

King Vulture                                       Sarcorhamphus papa                     
Individuals and groups of up to six seen on most days.

American Swallow-tailed Kite         Elanoides forficatus                        
One seen crossing river.

Plumbeous Kite                                Ictinia plumbea                                 
Small flocks occasional along the river and over the research centre. Common over Puerto Maldonado.

Bicoloured Hawk                              Accipiter bicolor                              
One perched opposite Colpa. A large buff and dark hawk.

Great Black Hawk                             Buteogallus urubitinga                    
Occasional over forest. One landed at the Colpa cliff and caused temporary displacement of the parrots.

Grey Hawk                                         Buteo nitidus                                    
One near airport.

Roadside Hawk                                Buteo magnirostris                          
Individuals frequent along the river. Flight more accipiter-like than buteo-like.

Black Caracara                                 Daptrius ater                                    
Frequent along the river, often in small groups.

Red-throated Caracara                    Daptrius americanus                       
One small group of four or five seen on riverside trees.

Laughing Falcon                               Herpetotheres cachinnans             
One seen on a riverside tree. Heard at research centre.

Bat Falcon                                         Falco rufigularis                               
Common along river. Single birds and pairs often seen on the tops of dead or leafless trees. Very small but peregrine-like in proportions.

Speckled (Variable) Chachalaca   Ortalis guttata                                   
A small flock seen in riverside undergrowth. Red-winged.

Blue-throated Piping Guan              Pipile (Aburria) cumanensis           
Up to two seen on several occasions around the Colpa cliff. Very small-headed.

Razor-billed Curassow                     Crax mitu                                          
One seen on trees opposite the Colpa.

Starred Wood Quail                         Odontophorus stellatus                   
Heard near the oxbow lake.

Hoatzin                                               Opisthocomus hoazin                     
Two seen at close quarters, moving lethargically in lakeside shrubs at the oxbow lake.

Sun Bittern                                         Eurypygia helias                              
One near the Lodge. Seen feeding in the open on the riverbank mudflats.

Greater Yellowlegs                           Tringa melanoleuca                         
One flew past the campsite.

Collared Plover                                 Charadrius collaris                          
Several on riverside mudflats.

Pied Lapwing (Cayenne Plover)     Vanellus cayanus                             
One seen on riverside mudflats. Very striking but small for a Vanellus.

Large-billed Tern                              Phaetusa simplex                            
Occasional individuals frequent along the river. Massive bill but still a small tern.

Yellow-billed (Amazon) Tern            Sterna superciliaris                         
Occasional individuals frequent along river. Recalls Little Tern.

Black Skimmer                                 Rhynchops niger                              
One single bird on river only.

Rock Dove                                         Columba livia                                     
Common at Pto Maldonado.

Pale-vented Pigeon                          Columba cayennensis                    
Several around the oxbow lake.

Plumbeous Pigeon                           Columba plumbea                           
Several around the oxbow lake.


Birds began to arrive soon after dawn and they settled in adjacent trees before moving to the cliff-face to take clay. They were reluctant to settle initially and once they did so individuals stayed for only a few minutes in most cases. Considerable commuting to and from the site occurred during the several hours of observation. No count was attempted but the impression was that the claylick was visited by hundreds of macaws and perhaps a total of a few thousand of the smaller parrots and parakeets. Macaws and some parrots arrived in pairs and family parties. The smaller parakeets were often in flocks of up to 50 birds. Most of the species listed were also seen elsewhere, usually flying over the canopy.

Blue and Yellow Macaw                   Ara ararauna                                    
Common at the claylick and often seen nearby. Perhaps the most numerous of the larger macaw species.

Scarlet Macaw                                  Ara macao                                       
Small numbers seen at the claylick mainly. The scarcest species.

Red and Green Macaw                    Ara chloroptera                                
Small numbers seen at the claylick mainly.

Chestnut-fronted Macaw                  Ara severa                                        
Common at the claylick and over the forest generally.

Red-bellied Macaw                          Ara manilata                                     
Common at the claylick and over the forest generally.

Dusky-headed Conure                     Aratinga weddellii                            
Very common at the claylick and elsewhere. Flocks often seen over the river and on tree tops.

Cobalt-winged Parakeet                  Brotogeris cyanoptera                    
Very common at the clay lick. Blue wings striking.

White-bellied Parrot                         Pionites leucogaster                       
Common at the clay lick.

Orange-cheeked Parrot                   Pionopsitta barrabandi                   
A flock of 5 seen at the colpa.

Blue-headed Parrot                          Pionus menstruus                            
Very common at the clay lick and nearby.

Yellow-crowned Amazon Parrot      Amazona ochrocephala                  
Common at the clay lick and nearby.

Mealy Amazon Parrot                       Amazona farinosa                           
Very common at the clay lick and nearby.

Smooth-billed Ani                             Crotophaga ani                                
A small flock seen in riverside vegetation.

Tropical Screech Owl                       Otus choliba                                
Heard at the camp.

Tawny-bellied Screech Owl             Otus watsonii                                   
Heard at the camp. One seen at dusk near the oxbow lake.

Crested Owl                                      Lophostrix cristata
Heard at the camp.

Great Horned Owl                             Bubo virginianus                              
One seen and heard at sunset, sitting on an exposed canopy branch near the camp.

Sand-coloured Nighthawk               Chordeiles rupestris                        
Locally common on sand banks along the river, in groups of up to six. Hunting even in full sunshine at noon.

Pauraque                                           Nyctidromus albicollis                     
Several seen by torchlight on riverside logs. Included one large young. Heard along river.

Ladder-tailed Nightjar                      Hydropsalis climacoerca                
One on sand banks opposite the claylick.

Streptoprocne zonaris                      White-collared Swift                        
Common over Pto Maldonado. Large flocks seen from mid-morning on most dates always following the river downstream. Presumably commuting daily to the forest from the mountains.

Short-tailed Swift                              Chaetura brachyura                         
Small groups seen occasionally over the forest.

Neotropical Palm Swift                    Tachornis squamata                       
Small numbers noted at Pto Maldonado.

Pale-tailed Barbthroat                      Threnetes leucurus                          
Identified near research centre.

White-chinned Sapphire                  Hylocharis cyanus                            
Present at the Lodge.

Black-tailed Trogon                          Trogon melanurus                            
Occasional individuals seen in the forest including at the research centre.

Blue-crowned Trogon                       Trogon curucui                                 
One at the Lodge.

Amazon Kingfisher                           Chloroceryle amazona                    
Small numbers seen singly along the river. The commonest kingfisher.

Green Kingfisher                               Chloroceryle americana                 
One at a pool near the camp.

Ringed Kingfisher                             Ceryle torquata                                
Small numbers seen singly along the river.

Rufous Motmot                                  Baryphthengus ruficapillus              
One at the lodge.

Blue-crowned Motmot                      Momotus momota                           
One at the lodge.

White-throated Jacamar                  Brachygalba albogularis                 
Four seen flycatching from the canopy near the claylick.

White-chinned Jacamar                   Galbula tombacea                           
One flycatching in the understorey near the research centre. Unobtrusive.

Black-fronted Nunbird                      Monasa nigrifrons                            
Common and conspicuous, especially near the centre.

Swallow-wing Puffbird                      Chelidoptera tenebrosa                  
Individuals often seen flycatching from riverside tree tops.

Lemon-throated Barbet                    Eubucco richardsoni                       
One at the Lodge.

Chestnut-eared Aracari                   Pteroglossus castanotis                 
One at the oxbow lake.

White-throated Toucan                     Ramphastos tucanus                      
Groups of two or three seen at the Lodge and around the oxbow lake.

Little Woodpecker                            Veniliornis passerinus                    
Two near the centre.

Ringed Woodpecker                        Celeus torquatus                             
One near the centre.

Lineated Woodpecker                     Dryocopus lineatus                          
One near the camp.

Red-necked Woodpecker               Campephilus rubricollis                  
One observed for a long time on a large tree near the oxbow lake.

Plain-brown Woodcreeper              Dendrocincla fuliginosa                  
Several in forest near the centre.

White-shouldered Antshrike            Thamnophilus aethiops                   
Several in forest near the centre.

Plain-throated Antwren                     Myrmotherula hauxwelli                   
Several in forest near the centre.

Long-winged Antwren                      Myrmotherula longipennis               
Several in forest near the centre.

Masked Tityra                                   Tityra semifasciata                          
Seen on tree tops near the oxbow lake.

Screaming Piha                                Lipaugus vociferans                        
Commonly heard near the oxbow lake. (Sounding very much like the Australian Eastern Whipbird.)

Bare-necked Fruitcrow                    Gymnoderus foetidus                      
One female on a tree top at the oxbow lake.

Band-tailed Manakin                        Pipra fasciicauda                            
One male near the oxbow lake.

Vermilion Flycatcher                         Pyrocephalus rubinus                      
Noted at Pto Maldonado and also near settlements along the river.

Drab Water Tyrant                            Octhornis littoralis                            
Commonly seen along the river banks.

Great Kiskadee                                Pitangus sulphuratus                       
Common along the river banks.

Lesser Kiskadee                              Pitangus lictor                                  
Also common along the river. Two at the oxbow lake.

Tropical Kingbird                              Tyrannus melancholicus                    
Occasional along the river. Also at the airport.

White-winged Swallow                     Tachycineta albiventer                    
Common and characteristic. Often seen feeding in small groups over the river and sandbanks.

Grey-breasted Martin                       Progne chalybea                             
Small numbers over Pto Maldonado.

White-banded Swallow                    Atticora fasciata                              
Scarce but seen in ones and twos along the river.

Southern Rough-winged Swallow   Stelgidopteryx ruficollis                   
Small groups occasionally seen along the river.

Sand Martin                                       Riparia riparia                                  
Several along the river near Pto Maldonado.

Black-capped Donacobius              Donacobius atricapillus                  
Two in waterside vegetation at the oxbow lake, perched conspicuously.

Violaceous Jay                                 Cyanocorax violaceus                     
Frequently seen in small groups along the river.

Purplish Jay                                       Cyanocorax cyanomelas                
At least one identified by the river opposite the clay lick.

Musician (Quadrille) Wren               Cyphororhinus aradus                     
Heard near the oxbow lake.

Red-capped Cardinal                      Paroaria gularis                               
Two present at the airport, entering the terminal building occasionally through the open eaves.

Swallow Tanager                              Tersina viridis                                  
At least two on tree top perches at the Lodge.

Magpie Tanager                               Cissopis leveriana                          
At least one identified by the river opposite the clay lick.

White-shouldered Tanager              Tachyphonus luctuosus                   
At least two identified near the Centre.

Silver-beaked Tanager                    Ramphocelus carbo                        
Relatively numerous. Small groups identified at the airport, the Lodge, the Centre and near the camp site.

Blue-grey Tanager                            Thraupis episcopus                         
Present at the Lodge and Centre.

Palm Tanager                                   Thraupis palmarum                         
Common around the Lodge and Centre.

Paradise Tanager                            Tangara chilensis                            
One at the Lodge.

Green and Gold Tanager                 Tangara schrankii                            
Identifed at the Lodge and Centre.

Yellow-bellied Tanager                     Tangara xanthogastra                     
Identified at the Centre.

Crested Oropendola                        Psarocolius decumanus                 
Locally common. Colonies occasional along the river.

Russet-backed Oropendola            Psarocolius angustifrons                
Very common, perhaps the most frequent oropendola species. Colonies of up to 20 nests frequent along the river.

Nests of Russet-backed Oropendola

Olive Oropendola                              Psarocolius yuracares                    
Locally common, sometimes in mixed colonies with previous.

Yellow-rumped Cacique                   Cacicus cela                                    
Individuals seen commonly along the river and at both the Lodge and centre.

Solitary Cacique                               Cacicus solitarius                            
One near the Lodge.

Giant Cowbird                                   Scaphidura oryzivora                      
Common in small groups along the river and seen visiting oropendola colonies.

Seedeater sp.                                   Sporophila sp.
A pied species at the camp is pending identification.


Arrival was by air at Cusco. The main elements of the visit were;

  1. August 2nd. Cusco city.
  2. August 3rd. Lakes near Huarcapay, south of Cusco. The Sacred valley and heights around the Pisac ruins.
  3. August 4th. Coach travel to Chilca (km77) for the start of the Inca trail. Mainly level walking at around 2,600m along the southern bank of the Urubamba, thorough cactus and bromeliad scrub. Camp at Patallacta.
  4. August 5th. Undulating walk during the morning along the Cusichaca river to Huayllabamba; riverine scrub and open hillsides in a deep valley. Afternoon climb to camp at Llulluchapamp; 3,600m, traversing Polylepis cloud forest.
  5. August 6th. Continued steep ascent through grassy hillsides to Dead Woman's Pass, 4,200m, reached late morning. Then descent via rough steps and steep tracks to Pacaymayu (3,600m) followed by a further ascent to camp at Runcu Racay (3,800m).
  6. August 7th. Ascent through grassland to second pass (3,950m), past small lakes. Then gradual descent through open hillsides and then cloud forest to Chaquicocha. Ascending from there through good cloud forest to camp above Phuyu Pata Marca.
  7. August 8th. Long descent towards Macchu Picchu (2,500m) via the Trekkers' Lodge and the Sun Gate, mainly through cloud forest. Night at Macchu Picchu Lodge hotel.
  8. August 9th. Observations around Macchu Picchu ruins. Then during the afternoon during a walk along the Urubamba north bank, from Puente Ruinas to the town of Aguas Calientes (2,000m), through good gallery forest between sheer cliffs. Train return to Cusco from Aguas Calientes.
  9. August 10th. Return to Lima. Some observations in the city before departure.

Urubamba River at Aguas Calientes

White-tufted Grebe                           Rollandia rolland                              
Several at the Huarcapay lakes.

Little Blue Heron                               Egretta caerulea                              
Two at the Huarcapay lakes.

Fasciated Tiger Heron                     Tigrisoma fasciatum                       
One on rocks in the river at Aguas Calientes.

Puna Ibis                                            Plegadis ridgewayi                         
A flock of 30+ in flight near Cusco.

Andean Duck                                    Oxyura (jamaicensis) ferruginea    
10+ on a reed-fringed lake near Huarcapay.

Torrent Duck                                      Merganetta armata                          
Commonly seen along the Urubamba and its larger tributaries. Usually in pairs. Two small ducklings with one female.

White-cheeked Pintail                      Anas bahamensis                           
Small numbers at the Huarcapay lakes. 30+

Cinnamon Teal                                  Anas cyanoptera                             
Small numbers at the Huarcapay lakes. 30+

Speckled Teal                                   Anas flavirostris                               
Common at the Huarcapay lakes. 50+.

Puna Teal                                          Anas (versicolor) puna                    
Common at the Huarcapay lakes. 30+.

Andean Condor                                Vultur gryphus                                  
Six sightings of at least four individuals, all adults. All were patrolling just below the snow line. One pair were present on the highest peak north of Patallacta camp. Another pair were on the skyline east of Pacaymayu camp. Birds looked bulky and showed only a slight dihedral when soaring. Pale ruffs conspicuous as also the white upper surfaces to the secondaries, seen when the birds banked.

Black-chested Buzzard-eagle         Geranoetus melanoleucus              
Commonly seen, singly or in pairs. Two at the Huarcapay lakes. One in the Sacred valley. Also at various points on the Inca trail, generally below 3,000m.

Short-tailed Hawk                             Buteo brachyurus                             
One flew past Pacaymayu camp. Two seen around and above Macchu Picchu. A compact species with a dark hood.

Red-backed Hawk                            Buteo polysoma                               
One pair on hillsides above the cloud forest below Phuyu Pata Marca. Red back striking.

Puna (Gurney's) Hawk                      Buteo poecilochrous                       
Individuals seen hunting (hovering) over grassland near Km 82 and also below second pass.

Black-and-chestnut Eagle                Oroaetus isidori                               
At least one immature seen at the Pisac ruins.

Crested Caracara                            Polyborus plancus                           
Three on farmland west of Cusco on August 9th. Almost certainly this species. Heavy and with capped appearance.

Mountain Caracara                           Phalcoboenus megalopterus         
Several at the Pisac ruins. Also noted on crags north of the third pass. Distinctive. Seen to carry food in the beak.

Peregrine Falcon                              Falco peregrinus                             
One over Macchu Picchu.

American Kestrel                              Falco sparverius                              
Occasional pairs frequent all along the Inca trail and in other mountainous areas visited, especially in the lower valleys. Also in farmland and pastures throughout.

Andean Guan                                    Penelope montagnii                        
One in gallery forest below Macchu Picchu. Allowed close approach.

Plumbeous Rail                                 Rallus sanguinolentus                     
Two or three feeding on reedbed margins by an inlet stream at Huarcapay.

Andean Coot                                     Fulica ardesiaca                              
Common at the Huarcapay lakes. 50+.

Andean Lapwing                               Vanellus resplendens                      
Several on the lake margins at Huarcapay. Also seen on pastures near Cusco.

Andean Gull                                       Larus serranus                                 
Common (100+) at the Huarcapay lakes. Two on one of the small lakes above Runcu Raccay. Hundreds on farmland and small lakes in the highlands west of Cusco.

Rock Dove                                         Columba livia
Common in Cusco and some villages.

Eared Dove                                       Zenaida auriculata                           
Several near Chilca.

Bare-faced Ground Dove                Metriopelia ceciliae                         
One near the Huarcapay lakes. Small numbers along the Urubamba valley from Chilca and along the Cusichaca valley.

Mitred Conure                                   Aratinga mitrata                               
Several flocks of up to 30 in mountain scrub fringing cloud forest, between the first and second passes.

White-tipped Swift                            Aeronautes montivagus
Small groups over Macchu Picchu.

Andean Swift                                     Aeronautes andecolus                    
Common along the Urubamba valley.

Green Violetear                                Colibri thalissinus                            
Identified in montane scrub.

Sparkling Violetear                           Colibri coruscans                            
Present in montane scrub. Several seen.

Giant Hummingbird                          Patagona gigas                               
Frequently seen in the highlands, over montane scrub and near farmland. Noted at Pisac and especially along the Cusichaca valley.

Shining Sunbeam                             Aglaeactis cupripennis                   
Identified in montane scrub.

White-tufted Sunbeam                     Aglaeactis castelnaudi                   
Identified in montane scrub.

Great Sapphirewing                         Pterophanes cyanopterus              
Large species. Several seen in montane scrub between the first and second passes.

Violet-throated Starfrontlet               Coeligena violifer                            
Frequent in montane scrub.

Green-tailed Trainbearer                 Lesbia nuna                                     
Several along the Cusichaca valley especially.

Scaled Metaltail                                Metallura aeneocauda                    
Frequent in montane scrub.

Bearded Mountaineer                      Oreonympha nobilis                        
Noted in scrub near Pisac.

White-bellied Woodstar                   Chaetocercus mulsant                    
One above Macchu Picchu. Very small, fork-tailed species with a white collar.

Crimson-mantled Woodpecker       Piculus rivolii                                    
Two in a mixed-species flock below the third pass.

Andean Flicker                                  Colaptes rupicola                            
One in farmland near Cusco.

Bar-winged Cinclodes                     Cinclodes fuscus                             
Common around the campsite at Llulluchapampa, often along streamsides.

Stout-billed Cinclodes                      Cinclodes excelsior                         
One in montane scrub near the first pass.

Wren-like Rushbird                           Phleocryptes melanops                  
Two in reed beds at Huarcapay.

Many-coloured Rush Tyrant             Tachuris rubigastra                         
Two feeding by pools along an inlet stream at Huarcapay.

Puna Thistletail (White-chinned Spinetail)  Schizoeaca helleri              
Identified in montane scrub.

Marcapata Spinetail                         Certhiaxis marcapatae                   
One in a clearing in the cloud forest after third pass.

Rusty-fronted Canastero                  Thripophaga ottonis                        
Identified in montane scrub.

Andean Tapaculo                             Scytalopus magellanicus                
Two at the campside at Llulluchapampa and one just beyond first pass. Stumpy and wren-like.

Red-crested Cotinga                        Ampelion rubocristatus                   
Two in the canopy of cloud forest below Llulluchapampa. Two on montane scrub beyond the second pass.

Black-billed Shrike Tyrant                Agriornis montana                           
One or two on conspicuous perches in montane scrub beyond the third pass.

White-tailed Shrike Tyrant               Agriornis albicauda                         
One on a cliff face beyond the third pass.

Rufous-naped Ground Tyrant          Muscisaxicola rufivertex                  
Three or four on open ground near the Huarcapay lakes.

D'Orbigny's Chat Tyrant                   Ochthoeca oenanthoides               
Frequent on the edges of Polylepis forest.

White-browed Chat Tyrant               Ochthoeca leucophrys                    
Identified in Polylepis forest.

Rufous-breasted Chat Tyrant          Ochthoeca rufipectoralis                 
Identified on Polylepis forest fringes.

Black Phoebe                                   Sayornis nigricans                           
Individuals commonly seen on boulders in the rivers.

White-winged Black Tyrant              Knipolegus aterrimus                      
Locally common along the Cusichaca river.

Dusky-capped Flycatcher                Myiarchus tuberculifer                     
One in the forest canopy near the Sun Gate.

Cinnamon Flycatcher                       Pyrrhomyias cinnamomea              
One in gallery forest below Macchu Picchu.

Tufted Tit Tyrant                                Anairetes parulus                            
Several in Polylepis forest.

Yellow-billed Tit Tyrant                      Anairetes flavirostris                       
Two in hillside scrub near the Pisac ruins.

Unstreaked Tit Tyrant                       Uromyias agraphia                          
Identified in forest beyond the third pass.

Torrent Tyrannulet                             Serpophaga cinerea                       
Frequent along the Urubamba, sometimes in twos and threes, on river boulders.

White-tailed Tyrranulet                     Mecocerculus poecilocercus         
Identified in forest beyond the third pass.

White-banded Tyrannulet                 Mecocerculus stictopterus              
Several identified in forest beyond the third pass.

Sierran Elaenia                                 Elaenia palantangae                       
One in montane scrub near the Sun Gate.

Brown-bellied Swallow                     Notiochelidon murina                      
Locally common along the Inca trail but not seen at the highest points.

Blue and White Swallow                  Notiochelidon cyanoleuca              
Noted near Macchu Picchu and at lower elevations on the Inca trail.

Paramo Pipit                                     Anthus bogotensis                           
One at the campsite above Phuyu Pata Marca. Buffy, poorly streaked large species.

White-capped Dipper                      Cinclus leucocephalus                    
Frequent on boulders along the Urubamba and tributaries. Up to 3 together near Aguas Calientes.

House Wren                                      Troglodytes aedon                          
Noted in the Cusichaca valley and near Macchu Picchu.

Mountain Wren                                  Troglodytes solstitialis                    
Several in cloud forest beyond the third pass.

Great Thrush                                      Turdus fuscater                                
Frequent in montane scrub and forest fringes, generally at higher elevations than the next species.

Chiguanco Thrush                             Turdus chiguanco                            
Common along the Urubamba valley on the fringes of cultivation, especially between Miskay and Chilca and towards Cusco.

Red-eyed Vireo                                Vireo olivaceus                                
One in gallery forest near Aguas Calientes.

Dusky-capped Greenlet                   Hylophilus hypoxanthus                   
One or two in gallery forest near Aguas Calientes.

Mourning Sierra Finch                      Phrygilus fruticeti                             
One among boulders at Phuyu Pata Marca.

Plumbeous Sierra Finch                  Phrygilus unicolor                            
Several in montane scrub beyond the third pass and the Sun Gate.

Chestnut-breasted Mountain Finch  Poospiza caesar                            
Seen in gardens near the Hotel Inca Tambo, above Cusco.

Band-tailed Seedeater                    Catamenia analis                            
Locally common near Cusco and at the lower elevations of the Inca trail.

Slaty Brush Finch                              Atlapetes schistaceus                     
Several in forest undergrowth beyond the third pass.

Slate-throated Whitestart                 Myioborus miniatus                         
One or two in gallery forest below Macchu Picchu.

Spectacled Whitestart                      Myioborus melanocephalus           
A group of four or five in forest canopy near the Sun Gate. Also seen below Macchu Picchu.

Three-striped Warbler                      Basileuterus tristriatus                    
Several in the tree canopy at the Sun Gate.

Cinereous Conebill                           Conirostrum cinereum                    
Present in montane scrub beyond the third pass and in forest below Macchu Picchu.

Capped Conebill                              Conirostrum albifrons                      
Two in gallery forest below Macchu Picchu.

Golden-billed Saltator                      Saltator aurantirostris                      
Frequent in cloud forest, especially before the first pass.

Parodi's Hemispingus                      Hemispingus parodii                       
One seen at close quarters in bamboo beyond the third pass.

Three-striped Hemispingus             Hemispingus trifasciatus                
One at the Sun Gate.

Swallow Tanager                              Tersina viridis                                  
One on the tree canopy below Macchu Picchu.

Rust and Yellow Tanager                 Thlypopsis ruficeps                         
Frequent along the Cusichaca valley near villages and also in the valley beow Macchu Picchu.

Saffron-crowned Tanager                Tangara xanthocephala                  
Two in the canopy of gallery forest below Macchu Picchu.

Hepatic Tanager                               Piranga flava                                    
Two in the grounds of the Macchu Picchu Lodge.

Blue-capped Tanager                      Thraupis cyanocephala                   
One in gallery forest below Macchu Picchu.

Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager   Anisognathus igniventris                 
Several in Polylepis forest and nearby scrub below the first pass and beyond the third pass.

Blue-necked Tanager                       Tangara cyanocollis                        
One below Macchu Picchu in gallery forest.

Blue and Black Tanager                  Tangara vassorii                              
Two below Macchu Picchu.

Masked Flowerpiercer                     Diglossa cyanea                              
Frequent below the third pass and in scrub beyond the Sun Gate.

Moustached Flowerpiercer              Diglossa mystacalis                        
Frequent in open forest and dense scrub below Runcu Raccay and beyond the third pass.

Rufous-collared Sparrow                 Zonotrichia capensis                       
Common at all villages and campsites along the Inca trail and at Macchu Picchu.

Yellow-winged Blackbird                  Agelaius thilius                                 
Small flocks present at the Lakes near Huarcapay

Capybara - Tambopata River, Amazonia

Southern Sealion, Turkey Vultures, Kelp & Band-tailed Gulls
Isla San Gallan

©Ernest Garcia 2001


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