Manu Biosphere Reserve - South East Peru
Cloud Forests, Lowland Rainforest and Macaw Lick
20 Days / 19 Nights

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Day 1: Arriving in Lima we transfer to our hotel in Lima, which will vary depending on flight arrival times.
Day 2: Early morning flight to Cusco and we head out south of town with a picnic lunch to Huacarpay lakes. The lake is surrounded by Inca, and pre-Inca ruins. Here we will see a variety of high Andean waterfowl including Puna, Speckled and Cinnamon Teal, Yellow-billed Pintail, Andean Duck and other wetland associated birds. White-winged Grebe and Andean coot will be here too. Depending on the time of year migrant North American shorebirds (waders) may be present. We will be specifically on the lookout for Wren-like Rushbird, Many-colored Rush-tyrant, Yellow-winged Blackbird, Puna Ibis and Andean White-winged Negrito. Birds of Prey we may see include Aplomado Falcon, Cinereous Harrier, Red-backed Hawk and Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle. In the arid scrub around the lake we’ll look for the endemic Rufous-fronted Canastero and also Streak-fronted Thornbird. We should find the pretty, endemic Bearded Mountaineer feeding in the tree tobacco (Nicotania sp.) with Giant Hummingbird and Trainbearers. Peruvian, Ash-breasted and Mourning Sierra-Finches will be here with Greenish Yellow-finch and Blue and Yellow Tanager. In the late afternoon we’ll drive back to Cusco for a night in the old Inca capital. (B,L,D)
Day 3: Early start in our expedition bus. We will make a couple of selected stops in the inter-montane valleys specifically for two endemics. We’ll take a picnic breakfast as the sun hits the slopes and colorful Quechua peasant farmers pass by with livestock creating a peacefull pastoral scene – our target here - the Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch. We should see Andean Hillstar, Andean Flicker, Black-throated Flowerpiercer, Chuiguanco Thrush and more. Our next stop is for the endemic Creamy-crested Spinetail, before arriving at the last Andean pass - Ajcanacu. We have had luck with Andean Condors here in the past and if its clear we’ll be able to look out from the last range of the Andes over the Amazon basin stretching into the distance, as the Incas did in ancient times, worshipping the sun rising over the endless rainforest. A side stop should find us Scribble-tailed and Line -fronted Canasteros and maybe Puna and Diademed Tapaculo. In the after-noon we will bird the upper limits of the eastern slopes. Working our way down the eastern slope of the Andes, the forest becomes more continuous and we will spend the afternoon birding to our accomodations at 2800 meters above sea level above Pillahuata. Possibilities are many but we hope to encounter mixed species flocks of Tanagers, Flycatchers and Furnarids. Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan, Collared Jay and Mountain Cacique are among some of the many species we may find. In the evening we will go to a favorite spot where we have had luck calling in Swallow-tailed nightjar. Night at the Wayquecha Biological Station. (B,L,D)
Day 4: A full day to explore the humid temperate forest from treeline down. We’ll start early near our Lodge. Our target birds after a hot breakfast and hot tea and coffee include – the recently described Diademed Tapaculo, Moustached Flowerpiercer, Tit-like Dacnis, Golden-collared Tanager and the Puna Thistletail. As the day warms we’ll spend all day birding downhill through the forest looking for mixed feeding flocks that will contain Grass-green Tanager, Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Black-throated Tody-Flycatcher, Barred Fruiteater, White-banded and White-throated Tyrannulets and much more. If we are lucky we may see Peruvian Treehunter, Golden-plumed Parakeet or Greater Scythebill. We’ll stay agai at the wayquecha biological station again for this night. (B,L,D)
Day 5: At breakfast we will be greeted with a varied dawn chorus and Red and White Antpitta should be calling. We will spend all day birding from the biological station at 2800 meters to our next stop at 1300 meters. This is pristine forest on a little traveled road. Some of the special birds on this stretch which we will look for include : White-rumped Hawk, Trilling Tapaculo, Black and Chestnut Eagle, Andean Guan, Scaly-naped Parrot, a wide variety of Hummingbirds including Collared Inca, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Violet-throated Startfrontlet and Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Purple-backed Thornbill, Scaled Metaltail, White-bellied Woodstar. Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Bar-bellied Woodpecker, the endemic Marcapata Spinetail, White-throated Antpitta, Barred and Band-tailed Fruiteaters, White-throated Tyrannulet, Ochraceous-breasted Flycatcher, Barred Becard, Pale-footed Swallow, Mountain Wren, Citrine Warbler and many Tanagers. Night at the comfortable Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge near Union at 1300 meters. (B,L,D)
Day 6, 7 and 8: Cock of the Rock Lodge is situated in the pristine Cloud Forest of the Mountains of Manu just a few minutes walk from a spectacular Cock of the Rock lek furnished with comfortable blinds (hides) whch enable us to observe these colorful birds during their dawn mating rituals. Facilities at the Lodge include 12 large spacious en-suite bungalows with hot and cold running water, flush toilets and two single beds in each room plus several rooms with shared facilities – which room you get depends on how early you book!. Private bungalows have thir own private balcony. Lighting is by candle and lantern but there is a small generator available for charging batteries. There is a large dining area and lounge overlooking a feeding station for Brown Capuchin Monkeys and Tayras (a large mustellid related to the Martens). Hummingbird feeders attract several species right in he dining room including Rufous-webbed Brilliant. There is trail system behind the lodge that enables you to see the under-story of the Cloud Forest first hand and facilitates seeing some species not likely from the road such as Chestnut-breasted Wren, Scaled Antpitta, Rufous-breasted and Short-tailed Antthrush’s, Slaty Gnateater and the endemic Cerulean-capped Mankin. Many spectacular waterfalls in the area are far enough away so as to enable hearing birdsong. Orchids abound with c. 80 species recorded around the lodge. One day we’ll devote to the 2500 meter altitude zone, and one day to the 1500 meter zone. Possibilities include White-rumped Hawk, Solitary Eagle, Rufous-capped Thornbill, Crested Quetzal, Golden-headed Quetzal, Masked Trogon, Highland Motmot, Black-streaked Puffbird, Blue-banded Toucanet, Olive-backed Woodcreeper, Montane Woodcreeper, Spotted Barbtail, Montane Foliage-gleaner, Amazonian Umbrellabird, Uniform and Variable Antshrikes, Slaty Gnateater, Chestnut-crested Cotinga, Scaled Fruiteater, Bolivian Tyrannulet, Inca Flycatcher (endemic), Yungas Mankin, Uniform Antshrike, White-throated Spadebill, Fulvous-breasted Flatbill, Saffron-crowned Tanager, Yellow-rumped and Slaty Antwrens, Deep-blue Flowerpiercer, Peruvian Piedtail (endemic) and lots more. We will visit one of the two nearby Cock-of-the-Rock leks to watch the strange mating dance of these spectacular birds. Up to 20 males congregate at this spot to display. We will also do some night birding here and we have been lucky previously with Foothill and Rufescent Screech Owl, Rufous-banded Owl, Lyre-tailed Nightjar and Andean Potoo. Nights at Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge. (B,L,D)
NOTE: If Cock of the Rock Lodge is full we’ll stay at the nearby very comfortable Paradise Lodge
Day 9: After a dawn breakfast accompanied by the singing of Andean Solitaires and Paradise Tanagers from the breakfast table, we leave San Pedro at 1600 meters and spend the day birding slowly down to the comfortable Amazonia Lodge at 500 meters. We will pay particular attention to the stretch between 1500 meters and 800 meters. This upper tropical zone forest has disappeared on much of the Andean slopes in South America because of it’s suitability for cash crops such as tea, coffee and coca, but in this part of Peru the forest remains untouched. A spectcular new Tanager to science, yet to be described is along this stretch and we have seen it with several tours. Birds we have seen well on this stretch of road include: Rufous-breasted Wood-Quail, Speckle-faced Parrot, Chestnut-collared Swift, Peruvian Piedtail, Three-striped and Three-banded Warbler, Long-tailed Sylph, Lanceolated Monklet, Versicolored Barbet, Russet Antshrike, Rufous-lored Tyrranulet, Marble-faced Bristle-tyrant, Fulvous-breasted Flatbill, Russet Antshrike, Olive-tufted Flycatcher, Golden-crowned Flycatcher, Dusky-green Oropendola, Golden-collared Honeycreeeper, White-winged Tanager, Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager and much more. A short boat ride across the Madre de Dios river takes us to the lodge. We plan to reach Amazonia Lodge before dusk. Night at Amazonia Lodge. (B,L,D)
Day 10 and 11: Two full days at the comfortable Amazonia Lodge. This family run converted tea and citrus hacienda has a bird list of around 600 species and others are continually being added to the list. The lodge is situated in the transitional zone at 500 meters, where the last low foothills of the Andes begin to flatten out into the lowland Amazon Basin proper. There are Butterfly bushes that attract various Hummingbird species including the pretty Rufous-crested Coquette, Golden-tailed Sapphire, Blue-tailed Emerald, Black-eared Fairy and Wire-crested Thorntail. A canopy tower on the hill enables us to watch canopy foothill flocks. We will be birding a variety of habitats over the next three days including floodplain and hill forest. One day we will pack a picnic lunch and bird the road from Atalaya to Pilcopata. The possibilities around Amazonia Lodge are enormous but some species we will be on the lookout for include: Black-capped Tinamou, Blackish Rail, the strange Hoatzin, Buckley’s Forest Falcon, Wattled Guan, Military Macaw, Blue-headed Macaw, Pheasant Cuckoo, Koepcke’s Hermit, Rufous-webbed Brillia, Bluish fronted Jacamar, Chestnut-capped Puffbird, Fine-barred Piculet, Red-billed Scythbill, Dark-breasted Spinetail, Dusky-cheeked Foliage-gleaner, Bamboo Antshrike, Chestnut-backed Antshrike, Amazonian and Thrush-like Antpitta’s, Rusty-belted Tapaculo, Mottle-backed Elaenia, Red-billed Tyrranulet, Johannis’ Tody-tyrant, Yellow-browed Tody-flycatcher, Black-backed Tody -Flycatcher, Ornate Flycatcher, Band-tailed, Fiery-capped and Round-tailed Manakins, White-thighed Swallow, Golden-bellied(Cuzco) Warbler, Black-faced Dacnis - the list goes on....! We will have the possibility of night birding here and in the past we have seen: Mottled Owl, Black-banded Owl, Tawny-bellied Screech-owl, Great, Long-tailed and Common Potoo. We will be reluctant to leave this very birdy place, but yet more awaits us in the Amazon lowlands. All nights will be spent at Amazonia Lodge. (B,L,D)
Day 12: Early morning birding near Amazonia Lodge in search of species we have missed. As the day begins to warm, we will head down the Alto Madre de Dios river in our motorized canoes to its confluence with the Manu River (about 4 hours), and then on for another two hours to the very comfortable Manu Wildlife Center, jointly owned by Manu Expeditions and the Peru Verde conservation group. This lodge facility is designed to take visitors, but there are usually biologists here conducting scientific research, often ornithologists. Accommodations are first class in bungalows with en-suite bath, hot water and with adjoining spacious dining and bar complexes. On the river journey, we will have the opportunity to see some of the typical riverside species such as Pied Lapwing, Collared Plover, Fasciated Tiger-heron, Orinoco Goose, Large-billed and Yellow-billed Tern. Flyovers will include many species of Macaws and Parrots, and this is our opportunity for some Bird of Prey observations. The river trip is a pleasure as we leave the last foothills and enter the Amazon proper. Our boats are roofed with comfortable padded bucket seats. We plan to arrive at the Manu Wildlife Center in the late afternoon. Night Manu Wildlife Center. (B,L,D)
Day 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18: Six full days based at the Manu Wildlife Center. Situated just upriver from the Blanquillo Macaw Lick. There will be the opportunity on one morning to visit the Macaw lick and observe the spectacle of hundreds of Parrots and Macaws at close quarters from our blinds. Here we will see the beautiful Orange-cheeked Parrrot, hundreds of Blue-headed Parrots as well as Mealy and Yellow-crowned Parrots. Smaller visitors include White-eyed, Cobalt-winged and Dusky-cheeeked parrotlets. The rest of the time will be spent birding the extensive trail systems which have been designed to visit different forest types. The area around this lodge has the most forest types of anywhere in the Manu area, and thus the highest bio-diversity - which means the most species of birds. Large stands of Bamboo hold many local and much sought after species, and coupled with the extensive Varzea, Tierra Firme and Mature Transitional Floodplain Forest, this means a mind-boggling variety of bird-life. Although investigation on birds is in its early stages we expect this lodge area to hold more species of birds than anywhere else in the world and the bird list is already 575+. We will spend time at a canopy observation tower accessed by a spiral metal stairway watching canopy flocks which include Sclater’s Antwren, Chestmut-winged and Lineated Foliage-gleaners, Three-striped Flycatcher, Red-billed Pied Tanager, Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak and a multitude of Tanagers, Dacnis and Honeycreepers. Some of the more interesting and unusual species we will be searching for in the Bamboo include - Rufous-headed Woodpecker, Manu Antbird (common here), Flammulated Bamboo-tyrant, White-cheeked Tody-flycatcher, Brown-rumped Foliage-gleaner, Large-headed and Dusky-tailed Flatbills, Peruvian Recurvebill, Dusky-cheeked and Brown-rumped Foliage-gleaners, Ihring’s and Ornate Antwren, White-lined Antbird, Striated Antbird and more. We will certainly look for one of the 5 singing Rufous-fronted Antthrushes we have located on territory here. Some of the scarcer forest species we will be on the lookout for that we have seen here previously include : Bartlett’s Tinamou, Razor-billed Currasow, Pale-winged Trumpeter, Sunbittern, Elusive Antpitta (2 territories) Pavonine Quetzal, Purus Jacamar, Striolated Puffbird, Gray-cheeked Nunlet, Cream-colored Woodpecker, Ocellated Woodcreeper, Colared Puffbird, Ruddy Spinetail, Plain Softail, Striped Woodhaunter, Sclater’s Antwren, Banded Antbird, Ash-throated Gnateater, White-throated Antbird, Black-spotted Bare-eye, Black-faced Cotinga, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, White-bellied tody-tyrant, Royal Flycatcher, Musician Wren, Pale-eyed Blackbird, Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak to name but a few. We will also visit Ox-bow lakes in the area where we will see lakeside birds including Hoatzin, Sungrebe, Agami Heron, Greater Large-billed Seed-finch, Silvered and Band-tailed Antbirds, Amazonian Streaked Antwren, Rufous-sided Crake, Gray-breasted Crake and we may be lucky and see one of the two Giant Otter families that live in the area. Night birding may produce Long-tailed, Great and Gray Potoos, Amazonian Pygmy Owl, Spectacled Owl, Ocellated Poorwill and Silky-tailed Nightjar amongst others. A visit to the large mammal lick in the forest, apart from attracting Tapirs, Peccaries and maybe a Jaguar, also attracts Guans, Currasows, Chachalacas as well as Rose-fronted and Rock Parakeets and Dusky-billed Parrotlet. All nights at the Manu Wildlife Center. (B,L,D)
Day 19: Early start on our comfortable boats and our last look at early morning Parrot flocks. Our journey down the Madre de Dios River takes us past pristine forest until the town of Boca Colorado. It will be a great chance to see riverside birds and raptors. As the journey continues we’ll see evidence of gold panning and arrive at our destination of Laberinto. Leaving our boat we’ll take a 40 minute bus ride, birding along the way, into the bustling frontier town of Puerto Maldonado where we’ll stay at our comfortable hotel. (B,L,D)
Day 20: Early morning birding around the airport and the road to Cusco. We should pick up a lot of new species in these few hours including seedeaters, Red-breasted Blackbird and White-tailed Kite. Other birds we’ll be on the lookout for include Grassland Sparrow, Gray-breasted Crake, Black-faced Tanager, Barred Antshrike, Crested Caracara, Lesser – Yellow-headed Vulture, Samll–billed Tinamou, Rusty-margined and Sulphury Flycatchers etc. Point –tailed Palmcreeper is common. Morning Lan Peru Airbus 319 flight to Lima (or Cusco if joining post tour extentions) and connecting international flights. We’ll provide day use of a hotel in Lima for relaxing before your international flight or overnight if needed. (B)
Departures 2012: April 1 -20, July 22 – August 10 , November 11- 30
Tour includes: Accommodation in camp, lodges and hotels, meals in lodges and in camp, drinking water in camp and in lodges (always available in the field on board expedition bus), one visit to Cocha Blanco oxbow lake, one visit to CochComungo oxbow lake and canopy platform, multiple visits to Manu Wildlife Center canopy platform, transfers, tips to and services of guides, boatmen, drivers and camp crew.
Not included: Airfare Lima-Cusco and Puerto Maldonado-Lima, drinks, international departure tax tips to hotel staff, items of a personal nature, laundry, phone calls.
2012 Rates per person in US$: $5125. Single Supplement: $932