The Peruvian Amazon has some great birding destinations from the southern Amazon of Tambopata and Manu, to the northern Amazon of Tamshiyacu and Pacaya Samiria. Enjoy the fantastic lowland Amazon tours, home to one of the world’s highest levels of species, to Peruvian Cloud Forest, home to another of the highest diversities of species worldwide. Birding in Peru therefore leaves you spoiled for choice and you could spend a very long time here while still seeing new species each day.
To give an example of birding in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest, we will focus the article on a few different tours that offer some of the best birding in Peru’s rainforest.
Posada Amazonas Birding Tour
A great tour for five days in the Amazon as an introduction to Amazon birding, the Posada Amazonas birding tour offers a chance to see hundreds of species by sound and sight over just a few days. Enjoy birding at every opportunity, from before we get to the boat that takes us to the lodge to the roadside before you return to the airport. We will be taking the opportunities to see diverse species living in the transitional environments. Identify species living along the roadside like purus jacamars, pearl kites, and scaled pigeon, birds found along the river, such as pied lapwing, collared plover, bat falcons and kingfishers, and then many species as we enter the rainforest.
From the Posada Amazonas, you can enjoy the canopy tower to spot some mixed species, which are always a favorite sighting. Enjoy finding mixed tanager flocks where you can see paradise tanagers, green-and-gold tanagers, flame-crested tanagers, turquoise tanagers, and opal-rumped tanagers all together.
The canopy tower is also a great place to spot toucans and different parrots, such as the large macaws. The aracaris you can find here include chestnut-eared, lettered, emerald, curl-crested, and brown-mandibled species making for some great photography. The lucky few birders also manage to spot some rarer species like large harpies.
After the canopy tower, we will head over to the clay lick and base ourselves behind a blind to watch the action. Enjoy seeing different parrots and parakeets feeding from the clay, such as mealy and yellow-headed Amazons, blue-headed parrots and dusky headed parakeets.
We will explore the rainforest trail to find different rainforest species, including searching for a variety of manakins, bamboo specialists and lake living species. The priority for the trail walks will be the many different endemic species, including the dusky-cheeked foliage-gleaners, brown-rumped foliage gleaners, red-billed scythebills, rufous-headed woodpeckers, Peruvian recurvebills, rufous-breasted piculets, large-headed flatbills, flammulated bamboo-tyrants, dusky-tailed flatbills, dot-winged and ornate antwrens, white-lined antbirds, and rufous capped nunlets.
Then as a great opportunity to see some nocturnal Amazon species, we will head out on night walks to scout the rainforest for different owls, potoos, and other species.
On the way back from the Posada, we will be spotting river species then search specifically for savannah specialists. These include birds like the southern crested caracaras, white-tailed kites, and black-faced tanagers.
Tahuayo Lodge Birding
A great lodge for a private and customized tour of north Peru’s Amazon, enjoy seeing some fantastic bird species spread between two different lodges. On tours of six days or more, enjoy visiting the Amazon Research Center in more pristine Amazon and the main Tahuayo Lodge. These area present the only tour lodge with access to the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve in Peru’s northern Amazon Rainforest.
Explore the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve with your expert private guide by canoeing, hiking, and boating around the rainforest to find interesting birds. Explore varzea forest to see fantastic birds, including the wire tailed manakins and trogons, canoe tahuampa forest to see hoatzins and horned screamers, and boat the rivers to see interesting raptors and macaws flying overhead.
A great place for seeing different species of birds is the native villages around the Tamshiyacu. This is a great place to find different aracaris and others.
We will then head over to the Amazon Research Center, deeper into pristine Amazon Rainforest, to find other birds. These trails cross several different ecosystems including bajial, high and low restinga, palm swamp and terra firme, each home to its avian specialists. While find different birds, we will also see several different species of Amazon monkeys as they look on us curiously wandering around their home.
Tambopata Research Center Birding Tour
For a more intense Amazon Rainforest birding tour, we recommend the Tambopata Research Center Birding Program. Over nine bird-filled days, enjoy birding from three Amazon lodges in different sections of the Tambopata Amazon. Spot different species at each of the Posada Amazonas & Refugio Amazonas rainforest lodges then visit the Tambopata Research Center, one of the deepest rainforest lodges in the Amazon.
You will be assigned a specialist birding guide who can identify hundreds of species both by sound and sight. The program has been specifically planned to maximise the diversity and species you will see in the Amazon.
Start birding at the office in Puerto Maldonado, the gateway to the southern Amazon Rainforest. The office area has a nicely kept garden to give you a taste of what awaits you deeper in Amazonia.
On the way to the port, we will make the most of the transitioning habitat by spotting different species that like the more open environment. We will then be spotting birds on the way down river to the lodge, such as kingfishers, collared plovers, oropendolas and vultures
We will first visit the community owned Posada Amazonas Lodge and search for mixed species flocks from the canopy tower, as well as searching for the favorites like plum-throated cotingas, striolated puffbirds, toucans, macaws, and cream-colored woodpeckers. This is a great place to spot the chestnut-eared, lettered, emerald, curl-crested, and brown-mandibled aracaries.
Enjoy trails around the Posada Amazonas to find some rainforst dwelling species, like the fiery-capped manakin, round-tailed manakin, pale rumped trumpeteer and pavonine quetzal.
We will then explore the Tres Chimbadas Lake to see the hoatzins, horned screamers and other lake life. A great thing about the Posada Amazonas is the nearby stands of bamboo, which are home to different birds. This is found around the Tres Chimbabas where we can see many different endemic birds, such as striped cuckoos, large-headed flatbills, dusky-tailed flatbills, dusky-cheeked foliage-gleaners, flammulated bamboo-tyrants, dot-winged and ornate antwrens.
After this, it’s time to enter the actual Tambopata National Reserve where we will spend our time from now on. We will now find many different species to add to your list. Birds we will start seeing include many different egrets, capped herons, cocoi herons, horned screamers, razor billed currasows, blue-throated piping guans, and Orinoco geese.
We will now be heading to stay at the Tambopata Research Center & Lodge, deep in the Tambopata National Reserve. Enjoy the Chuncho claylick to see different parrots, parakeets and large macaws. We will have great opportunities to see large macaw parrots feeding from the clay, although the activity does depend on the time of year.
While at the Tambopata Research Center, you will also have the opportunity to talk to researchers studying the macaws and hear a talk by scientists about their research.
We will also get the chance to see another clay lick where around 15 species of parrot visit on a daily basis. Enjoy scarlet, red-and-green, blue-headed, blue-and-gold, red-bellied, and chestnut-fronted macaws; orange-cheeked, blue-headed, and white-bellied parrots; dusky-headed, dusky-billed parrotlets, cobalt-winged, white-eyed, and tui parakeets, and mealy and yellow-crowned amazons. There are two clay licks we can visit in this region and another presents great viewing of large macaws. The macaws that visit on a daily basis include scarlet, red-bellied, chestnut-fronted, blue-and-gold, red-and-green, and blue-headed macaws, as well as different parakeets and parrotlets.
The Tambopata Research Center has some fantastic rainforest trails we will explore, such as the 5 mile Ocelot Trail and Toucan Trail. Explore the floodplain forest and search around very tall rainforest trees.
The trails we will search have been selected for their very high diversities of species to maximise the diversity you will see on your trip. Enjoy different birds like different manakins, pale-winged trumpeters, tarred wood quails, foliage-gleaners, many woodcreepers, antbirds, black-tailed leaftosser, flycatchers, several trogons and more.
Mixed species flocks are exceptionally diverse with understory flocks led by birds such as dusky-throated antshrike and red-crowned ant-tanagers. They often contain 30-40 species (or more) including: plain winged antshrike, bluish slate antshrike, white eyed antwren, plain breasted antwren, thrush-like antpitta, white winged shrike tanager, amazonian barred woodcreeper and Spix’s woodcreeper. The Ocelot trail also crosses some permanently flooded old ponds inhabited by agami heron, rufescent tiger-heron, pygmy and green-and-rufous kingfishers, and sunbittern.
Even very close to the Tambopata Research Center we will see interesting species, such as cinnamon- throated woodcreeper, speckled chachalaca and yellow-tufted woodpecker, squirrel cuckoo, and masked crimson tanager.
We will be seeing and searching for amazing different species, even rare birds like harpy eagle, yellow-bellied tanager, and forest falcons. Enjoy the transitional forests to see many other species, such as nunbirds, barbets, crested and russet-backed oropendolas, white-throated jacamar, and flycatchers.
To give a contrast to the daytime birding, we will enjoy night walks around the Tambopata Research Center to find different nocturnal birds, such as pauraques, tawny-bellied screech-owls, great potoos, ocellated poorwilll, long tailed potoos, and if we are lucky crested owls and mottled owls.
Once we start heading back from Tambopata Research Center we will stay at the Refugio Amazonas Lodge, built on land previously used for a cattle ranch. The forest is recovering and provides great chances to find secondary forest specialists like streaked flycatcher, short-tailed pygmy tyrant, solitary black cacique, gray-fronted dove, boat-billed flycatcher, barred antshrike, ruddy ground dove and others.
Peruvian Cloud Forest
The Peruvian Cloud Forest of Manu National Park contains an incredible high diversity of birds. The Tropical Andes contains one of the world’s highest levels of animal and plant live and the Peruvian Cloud Forest is no exception. The area is especially rich in hummingbirds. Either choose a regular tour of the Cock of the Rock Lodge, combine the Cock of the Rock Lodge with the Manu rainforest lowlands to see fantastic wildlife, or enquire for their specific birding programs.