Where to watch birds and wildlife in
Red-and-green Macaws at a clay ick in Manu National Park by
- The richest region for birds on Earth
- With a tenth of all the world's species, about a thousand, thanks to the combination of temperate, subtropical, foothill and
especially lowland Amazonian rain forests where some locations measuring little more than ten square kilometres support over 550 species
- Including Manu National Park where 1000 species occur in just 15,000 square kilometres
- The birds include macaws and parrots, large flocks of which can be seen visiting the most spectacular clay licks in Amazonia
- As well as some of South America's and the world's other most spectacular birds including a dazzling array of hummingbirds,
quetzals, jacamars, toucans, cotingas including Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, manakins and multicoloured tanagers, swirling flocks of which light up the east
Andean slope forests
- Butterflies also abound, Giant Otters fish the waterways and there are lots of monkeys, although they are usually less
conspicuous than the birds
- All in some of the most pristine habitats left on Earth
Diademed Sandpiper Plover at Marcapomacocha by
Golden-backed Mountain Tanager at Bosque Unchog by
Best Birds and other wildlife in Manu - Southern Peru
Bearded Mountaineer, Koepcke’s Hermit, Green-and-white Hummingbird, Peruvian Piedtail, Coppery-naped Puffleg, Fine-barred Piculet,
White-browed Tit Spinetail, Puna and Vilcabamba Thistletails, Apurimac, Creamy-breasted and Marcapata Spinetails, Junin and Rusty-fronted Canasteros,
Red-and-white Antpitta, 'Ampay' and Vilcabamba Tapaculos, Inca Flycatcher, Black-backed Tody Flycatcher, Unstreaked Tit Tyrant, Masked Fruiteater,
Cerulean-capped Manakin, Inca Wren, Cuzco (Golden-bellied) Warbler, Parodi's Hemispingus, Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch, and Apurimac and Cuzco Brush
Finches. Also a chance of Taczanowski's Tinamou, Rufous-webbed Brilliant, White-tufted Sunbeam and Vilcabamba Brush Finch.
Pale-winged Trumpeter, Razor-billed Curassow, Yungas Pygmy-Owl, Ocellated Poorwill, Andean Potoo, Blue-headed Macaw, Rose-fronted Parakeet, White-bellied
Parrot, Green-fronted Lancebill, Festive and Rufous-crested Coquettes, Gould’s Jewelfront, Wire-crested Thorntail, Buff-thighed Puffleg, Rufous-capped
Thornbill, Violet-throated Starfrontlet, Many-spotted Hummingbird, Andean Motmot, Bluish-fronted, Purus and White-throated Jacamars, Black-streaked and
(Western) Striolated Puffbirds, Rufous-capped Nunlet, Curl-crested Aracari, Black-throated and Blue-banded Toucanets, Scarlet-hooded and Versicoloured
Barbets, Ocellated and Rufous-breasted Piculets, Rufous-headed and White-throated Woodpeckers, Brown-rumped Foliage-gleaner, Plain Softtail,
Ashy-breasted Tit-Tyrant, Pale-footed Swallow, Bamboo Antshrike, Goeldi's, Manu, Varzea, White-lined and Yellow-breasted Warbling Antbirds, Black-spotted
Bare-eye, Yellow-rumped Antwren, Amazonian Antpitta, Rufous-fronted Antthrush, Diademed and Puna Tapaculos, Slaty Gnateater, Bolivian, Cinnamon-faced and
Red-billed Tyrannulets, White-cheeked Tody Tyrant, Johannes's and White-bellied Tody Tyrants, Dusky-tailed Flatbill, Olive and Unadorned Flycatchers,
Rufous-webbed Bush Tyrant, Band-tailed Fruiteater, Band-tailed, Fiery-capped, Round-tailed and Yungas Manakins, White-collared Jay, White-eared
Solitaire, Hauxwell's Thrush, Tawny-faced Gnatwren, Fulvous Wren, Moustached Flowerpiercer, Golden-collared, Rust-and-yellow, Slaty and Yellow-crested
Tanagers, Chestnut-bellied Mountain-Tanager, White-browed Hemispingus, Peruvian Sierra Finch, Black-billed Seed Finch, Pale-eyed Blackbird and Casqued
Oropendola. Also a chance of Bartlett's, Black-capped, Cinereous, Grey, Hooded and Variegated Tinamous, Buckley's Forest Falcon, Rufous-breasted and
Stripe-faced Wood Quails, Crested and Harpy Eagles, Uniform Crake, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Long-tailed Potoo, White-browed Hermit, Pavonine Quetzal, Royal Cinclodes,
Peruvian Recurvebill, Rusty-breasted and Thrush-like Antpittas, Rufous-bellied Bush-Tyrant, Black-faced Cotinga and Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak.
Horned Screamer, Orinoco Goose, Muscovy and Torrent Ducks, Blue-throated Piping Guan, Fasciated Tiger Heron, Agami and Capped Herons, King
Vulture, Black-and-chestnut and (Montane) Solitary Eagles, Grey-necked Wood Rail, Sunbittern, Sungrebe, Pied Plover, Andean Lapwing, Andean Gull,
Yellow-billed and Large-billed Terns, pigeons and doves, Blue-and-yellow, Red-and-green and Scarlet Macaws, parrots, Hoatzin, Sand-coloured Nighthawk,
Lyre-tailed and Swallow-tailed Nightjars, hummingbirds including Black-eared Fairy, Sword-billed, Long-tailed Sylph, Black-tailed and Green-tailed
Trainbearers, Booted Racket-tail, Gould's Jewelfront and Giant, trogons, Crested and Golden-headed Quetzals, all five South American kingfishers,
puffbirds, jacamars, barbets, Channel-billed and White-throated Toucans, Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan, Golden-collared Toucanet, Chestnut-eared and
Ivory-billed Aracaris, woodpeckers including Crimson-bellied, foliage gleaners, Pearled Treerunner, Streaked Tuftedcheek, woodcreepers, many antbirds,
tyrannulets, Short-tailed Pygmy Tyrant (the world's smallest passerine along with Black-capped Pygmy Tyrant), tody tyrants, tody flycatchers, flycatchers,
ground tyrants, chat tyrants, Many-coloured Rush Tyrant, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Screaming Piha, Plum-throated, Purple-throated and Spangled Cotingas,
Bare-necked and Purple-throated Fruitcrows, tityras, jays, Musician Wren, Black-capped Donacobius, Giant Conebill, many tanagers, Black-faced and
Yellow-bellied Dacnises, honeycreepers, sierra finches, flowerpiercers, oropendolas and Orange-backed Troupial. Also a chance of Andean Condor, Military
Macaw, Crested and Spectacled Owls, Chestnut-crested Cotinga, White-browed Purpletuft, Tit-like Dacnis and Plushcap.
Giant Otter, Saddleback Tamarin, and Red Howler, (Common) Woolly,
(Black-headed) Night, Common Squirrel, Black (Peruvian) Spider, Dusky Titi, Brown Capuchin and White-fronted
Capuchin Monkeys. Also a chance of Brazilian Tapir, Emperor Tamarin, Gray's Bald-faced Saki Monkey, Red Brocket Deer and Tayra,
and an outside chance of Spectacled Bear (this great rarity is now seen with some regularity in the Chaparri
Ecological Reserve near Chiclayo in Northern Peru).
Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish
Numerous spectacular butterflies.
Red-and-green Macaws at a clay lick in Manu by
Best Sites for Birds and other wildlife in Manu - Southern Peru
- Cuzco-Machu Picchu-Abra Malaga Area
- Huacarpay Lake Bearded Mountaineer, Giant Hummingbird, Andean Lapwing, Andean Gull, Streak-fronted Thornbird,
Rusty-fronted Canastero, Many-coloured Rush Tyrant and Yellow-winged Blackbird.
- Hotel Pakaritampu, Ollantaytambo Bearded Mountaineer, Black-tailed and Green-tailed Trainbearers, and Giant Hummingbird
all possible in garden.
- Train Journey between Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes Lots of Torrent Ducks on Rio Urubamba.
- Aguas Calientes-Mandor Valley-Machu Picchu Andean Cock-of-the-Rock (Pueblo Hotel), Booted Racket-tail, Highland Motmot
(Pueblo Hotel), White-eared Solitaire (along railway line from Aguas Calientes) and Inca Wren (at the spectacular Inca site). Also a chance of Masked
Fruiteater (on walk down from Machu Picchu).
- Abra Malaga (up to 4300 m/14,000 ft) Andean Condor, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Scaled Metaltail, Blue-mantled and
Purple-backed Thornbills, Junin Canastero, White-browed Tit-Spinetail, Rufous and Stripe-headed Antpittas, Ash-breasted and Unstreaked Tit Tyrants,
Red-crested Cotinga, Inca Wren, Parodi's Hemispingus, Giant Conebill, Black-throated, Masked and Moustached Flowerpiercers, Plushcap and Cuzco Brush
Finch. Also a chance of Royal Cinclodes, Marcapata Spinetail and Tit-like Dacnis.
- Andean Spirit Lodge A chance of Koepcke's Screech Owl and Buff-fronted Owl.
- Soraypampa Road White-tufted Sunbeam, Apurimac Spinetail, Vilcabamba Tapaculo, Apurimac Brush Finch and Chestnut-breasted
- The Manu Road- the route down to Amazonia
- Huacarpay to Manu Road Rusty-fronted Canastero and Streak-fronted Thornbird.
- Beginning of Manu Road via Paucartambo and a high pass Creamy-crested Spinetail, Slender-billed Miner and Puna Ground
- Wayqecha Biological Research Station/Upper Manu Road Area (3000 m/9800 ft) White-throated Screech Owl (below station),
Rufous-banded Owl (below station), Swallow-tailed Nightjar (below station), Andean Potoo, Violet-throated Starfrontlet (above station), Chestnut-breasted
Coronet (below station), Golden-headed Quetzal, Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan, Blue-banded Toucanet, Puna Thistletail (above station), Diademed Tapaculo
(above station), Red-and-white and Rufous Antpittas, Inca Flycatcher, Chestnut-crested Cotinga (below station), White-collared Jay, White-eared Solitaire,
Rust-and-yellow Tanager (below station), Chestnut-bellied Mountain Tanager. Also a chance of Stripe-faced Wood Quail, Rufous-bellied Bush Tyrant and
- Wayqecha down to Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge Black-and-chestnut Eagle, Marcapata Spinetail, Red-and-white Antpitta, Black-throated
Tody Tyrant, White-browed Hemispingus, Golden-collared Tanager and Plushcap. Also a chance of Chestnut-crested Cotinga.
- Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge/Mid-elevation Area (1450 m/4800 ft) Andean Cock-of-the-Rock (mobile lek, usually viewable from hide),
Black-and-chestnut and Solitary Eagles, Rufescent Screech Owl, Crested and Golden-headed Quetzals, Buff-thighed Puffleg, Peruvian Piedtail, Geoffroy's
Wedgebill, Reddish Hermit,White-bellied Hummingbird, Wire-crested Thorntail, Booted Racket-tail, Violet-crowned Brilliant, Bronzy Inca, Black-streaked
Puffbird, Yellow-rumped Antwren, Slaty Gnateater, Bolivian and Cinnamon-faced Tyrannulets, Inca and Unadorned Flycatchers, Cerulean-capped and Yungas
Manakins, White-eared Solitaire, Cuzco Warbler, many tanagers, Golden-eyed Flowerpiercer and Golden-collared Honeycreeper. Also a chance of Band-bellied
Owl and Lyre-tailed Nightjar.
- Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge down to Amazonia Lodge/Lower Manu Road Bluish-fronted Jacamar, Bar-breasted Piculet, Black-backed Tody
Flycatcher, and Purplish and Violaceous Jays.
- Villa Carmen Biological Research Station Bamboo specialists such as Bamboo Foliage-gleaner, Goeldi's, Manu, Striated and
White-lined Antbirds, Bamboo Antshrike, Dot-winged Antwren, Flammulated Bamboo-Tyrant and White-cheeked Tody-Tyrant, as well as Blue-headed Macaw, Reddish
Hermit, Sapphire-spangled Emerald, Chestnut-capped Puffbird, Rufous-breasted Piculet, Rufous-headed Woodpecker, Red-billed Scythebill and Bluish-slate
- Amazonia Lodge Area (via boat trip from Atalaya along the Rio Madre de Dios) over 550 bird species recorded, including
Blue-throated Piping Guan, Sungrebe, Blue-headed Macaw, Hoatzin, Koepcke's Hermit, Black-eared Fairy, Rufous-crested Coquette, Golden-tailed Sapphire,
Gould's Jewelfront, Wire-crested Thorntail, Chestnut-capped Puffbird, Scarlet-hooded Barbet, Fine-barred Piculet, White-throated Woodpecker, Dusky-cheeked
Foliage-gleaner, Plain Softtail, Bamboo Antshrike, Manu Antbird, Amazonian Antpitta, Flammulated Pygmy Tyrant, Ringed Antpipit, Plum-throated Cotinga,
Bare-necked Fruitcrow, Band-tailed, Fiery-capped and Round-tailed (lek) Manakins, Tawny-faced Gnatwren, White-winged Shrike Tanager and Masked Crimson
Tanager. Also a chance of Black-capped and Cinereous Tinamous, Razor-billed Curassow, Uniform Crake, Military Macaw and Black-banded Owl, and an outside
chance of Rufous-vented Ground Cuckoo.
- Pantiacolla Lodge Area Clay lick for Blue-headed Macaw. Also a chance of Pale-winged Trumpeter.
- Manu Wildlife Centre Two canopy towers (including the one in nearby Tambo-Blanquillo Reserve), macaw clay lick (Ccollpa,
for Blue-headed Macaw, as well as Red-and-green Macaw, Blue-headed and Orange-cheeked Parrots, and Mealy and Yellow-crowned Amazons, mostly May-Oct),
mammal clay lick (Ccollpa, for Brazilian Tapir and possible Red Brocket Deer), three ox-bow lakes (cochas), Horned Screamer, Razor-billed Curassow,
Blue-throated Piping Guan (tame), White-browed Hawk, Grey-breasted Crake (Cocha Blanco), Blue-and-yellow and Scarlet Macaws, Orange-cheeked and
White-bellied Parrots, Tui Parakeet, Amazonian Pygmy Owl, Crested Owl, Ocellated Poorwill, Silky-tailed Nightjar, Long-tailed Potoo, Pavonine Quetzal,
Needle-billed Hermit, Festive Coquette, Great and Purus Jacamars, Chestnut-capped, Collared, Semi-collared, Spotted and Striolated Puffbirds,
Golden-collared Toucanet, Ivory-billed Aracari, Red-necked and Spot-breasted Woodpeckers, Cinnamon-throated, Elegant, Long-tailed and Olivaceous
Woodcreepers, Buff-throated and Olive-backed Foliage-gleaners, Plain Softtail, Chestnut-winged Hookbill, Dusky-throated Antshrike, Chestnut-shouldered,
Long-winged, Plain-throated, Pygmy and Sclater’s Antwrens, Manu, Silvered and Varzea Antbirds, Rufous-fronted Antthrush, Golden-crowned Spadebill,
White-bellied Tody Tyrant, Dusky-tailed Flatbill, Spangled Cotinga, Bare-necked Fruitcrow, Band-tailed Manakin, Wing-barred Piprites, Musician Wren,
White-winged Shrike Tanager, Yellow-bellied Dacnis, Black-billed Seed Finch, Casqued Oropendola, Pale-eyed Blackbird, and monkeys. Also a chance of
Bartlett's and Variegated Tinamous, Agami Heron (Cocha Blanco), Buckley's Forest Falcon, Pale-winged Trumpeter, Starred Wood Quail, Rufous-sided Crake,
Curl-crested Aracari, Black-faced Cotinga (Casa Machiguenga and Romero Rainforest Lodge), White-browed Purpletuft, Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak, Giant
Otter, Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth, and Emperor and Saddleback Tamarins.
- Tambopata, including Tambopata NR and Research Center (Explorers Inn), Posada Amazonas and Refugio Amazonas Not on the
main circuit and virtually the same wildlife as Manu but the Rio Tambopata is arguably even richer with over 550 bird species recorded within a three-mile
radius of Explorers Inn alone. A better chance of seeing Razor-billed Curassow and Pale-winged Trumpeter, the most spectacular clay lick in Amazonia
(the Ccollpa de Guacamayos, usually at its best for most macaws and parrots May-Sep, and Jan, with Blue-and-yellow, Blue-headed, Red-and-green and Scarlet
Macaws, White-bellied Parrot, Amazonian Parrotlet and Black-capped Parakeet) and an Agami Heron colony (at Cocha Coco, usually occupied Jan-Feb). Also
Orinoco Goose, Sungrebe, Hoatzin, Long-tailed Potoo, Festive Coquette, Pavonine Quetzal, Great Jacamar, Semicollared and Striolated Puffbirds,
White-fronted Nunbird, Ringed Antpipit, Bare-necked Fruitcrow, Band-tailed and Round-tailed Manakins, Brazilian Tapir and Giant Otter, a chance of Harpy
Eagle, and an outside chance of Grey-bellied Hawk, Rufous-vented Ground Cuckoo and Short-eared Dog.
- Iberia and Tipishca around Puerto Maldonado Specialities including Black-banded Crake, Purus and White-throated Jacamars,
Rufous-capped Nunlet, Rufous Twistwing, Humaita Antbird, Rufous-fronted Antthrush, Long-crested Pygmy Tyrant, White-cheeked Tody Flycatcher and
- Saona Lodge near Puerto Maldonado along Tambopata River Specialities including Rufous-headed Woodpecker.
- Los Amigos Biological Station Also not on the main circuit but like Tambopata accessible from Puerto Maldonado (three hours
by water taxi along Madre de Dios River) and a good site for White-browed Hawk, Pale-winged Trumpeter, Flammulated Tody Tyrant, Bamboo Antshrike, Peruvian
Recurvebill and Round-tailed Manakin. Also a chance of Harpy and Crested Eagles, Emperor Tamarin, Black Spider Monkey and Gray's Bald-faced Saki.
- Lago Soledad Lodge – formerly Amazon Rainforest Conservation Center (ARCC) – near banks of Las Piedras River A 35-metre
canopy tower, four clay-licks nearby which attract Red-and-green Macaws etc. and 619 bird species recorded in the area including Pale-winged Trumpeter,
Black-faced and Plum-throated Cotingas, many antbirds, bamboo specialists such as Humaita Antbird, Peruvian Recurvebill and Rufous Twistwing, as well as
Best Times for Birds and other wildlife in Manu - Southern Peru
The dry season usually lasts from May to October and this is the best time to visit, especially
August-September when activity usually peaks at the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock lek and the clay licks, which large
flocks of parrots and macaws visit daily, are busy. These clay licks are usually used mostly during the dry season.
During the wet season the most rain usually falls from January to March.
Recommended Bird Books etc. for Manu - Southern Peru
Birds of Peru by T S Schulenberg et al. Helm, 2010 (Second Edition).
Birds of South America: Non-Passerines by J R Roderiguez Mata et al. Harper Collins, 2006 hbk/Princeton University Press, 2006 pbk.
Birds of South America: Passerines by R S Ridgely and G Tudor. University of Texas Press/Helm, 2009
(Updated paperback edition of books listed next with 400 more illustrations).
The Birds of South America: Passerines by R S Ridgely and G Tudor. University of Texas Press, 1989 and 1994 (Two volumes).
Where to Watch Birds in Peru by T Valqui. Valqui, 2004.
Mammals of South America by R D Lord. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.
Monkeys of Peru: Pocket Identification Guide by R Aquino Y et al. Conservation International, 2015.
Travellers' Wildlife Guides: Peru by D Pearson and L Beletsky. Interlink Books, 2015 (Second Edition).
Bradt Wildlife Guide: Peruvian Wildlife by G Cheshire, H Lloyd and B Walker. Bradt Travel Guides, 2007.
Where to watch birds in South America by N Wheatley. Helm, 1994.
Don’t know which country/countries to visit in South America? Then it may be worth considering taking a look at this
book, written by this website’s author. It is many years old of course but it still provides a starting point, an overview and a guiding light to
the best birds and the best places to look for them on the continent, and could save hours of searching for similar information on the internet.
However, it is important to check more up-to-date sources for sites which have been opened up, sites and species which have been discovered,
lodges that have been built etc. since the book was published.
Birding and Wildlife Trip Reports for Manu - Southern Peru
Many trip reports, some for Southern Peru, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these
websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to
Southern Peru. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites,
which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Southern Peru' below.
Local bird and wildlife guides in Manu - Southern Peru
The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders.
Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are
the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional
skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently,
employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the
wildlife you wish to see.
- Peru Birding Tours
- We at Peru Birding Tours design, organize and run enjoyable and successful birding, photography and nature tours throughout Peru and South America,
visiting the best places for birds and wildlife, and we look forward to welcoming and guiding you.
Accommodation for birders in Manu - Southern Peru
Some Organized Tours for birds and other wildlife to Manu - Southern Peru
There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other
wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably
according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours
last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an
important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals
and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and
transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where
the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the
cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local
transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and
that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those
which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously
lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit.
Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are
certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are
the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional
skills of the local guides they employ.
While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom
tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set
itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes,
whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made
attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are
also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds
or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best
sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the
pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit
people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of
strangers, and people with partners with different interests. Individuals and small
groups will almost certainly have to pay more than the price of an organized tour with
a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the
price quoted for a set tour.
Tour companies who run organized tours or can arrange custom tours to Southern Peru
include the following.