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| Bird watching in Peru |

With its 1816 bird species, more varieties than encountered in North America and Europe, Peru is one of the most important bird watching destination in the world.

For birdwatchers, Peru is a true paradise. It is filled with species dwelling in unique and fragile habitats, large migratory birds arriving from the most remote parts of the world and with species that, having disappeared in other countries, flourish in unexplored corners of the country. These giant flocks are a fundamental element in the life cycles of the sea, jungle and Andean lakes. The avifauna of Peru includes a total of 1816 species, of which 120 are endemic, 3 are non-native, and 72 are rare. 91 species are globally threatened. Here are the main bird watching routes:


The North route

With a total of 1200 species - the North route is home to some of the most sought-after Peruvian endemics such as the Marvelous Spatuletail (Loddigesia mirabilis), unique among birds, for it is the only bird that has just four feathers in its tail, and the White-winged Guan (Penelope albipennis), critically endangered due to a severe loss of suitable habitat. The North also includes the endemic rich Tumbesian and Marañon areas, and the mega-diverse Iquitos region from where many new species have been described in recent years. The Abra Patricia pass is becoming one of the best-known birding hotspots, with excellent forest habitats next to the road. Remote Awaruna territories along the lower Marañon River and its tributaries hold specialties such as the Orange-throated Tanager (Wetmorethraupis sterrhopteron) and the White-masked Antbird (Pithys castaneus). Also, the Long-whiskered Owlet (Xenoglaux loweryi) is a tiny owl that is endemic to a small area in the Andean mountains in Amazonas and San Martin in northern Peru. Due to its rarity, restricted habitat, and ongoing deforestation within its tiny range, it is currently considered endangered. It is estimated that the total population is between 250 and 1000 individuals.


The Center route

No flights are needed to bird the Center. It is truly a low-budget birding route, with a very rapid West to East journey. You can find rare and endemic species like the Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager (Buthraupis aureodorsalis) and Junin Grebe (Podiceps taczanowskii). Legendary Ted Parker made the Central Highway route famous in the 80s covering Santa Eulalia Canyon, Marcapomacocha, Ticlio, Lake Junin, Unchog, Carpish pass, Tingo Maria (with its accessible oilbird cave) and lowland rain forest in Pucallpa. Further away are the Cerros de Sira with an endemic Tanager and Cushabatay with the newly discovered Scarlet-banded Barbet (Capito wallacei). The Center also includes the Satipo region, where both subtropical and tropical birding can be done, and where there are still many species yet to be described (there are at least 5 species known that still have no ’official’ name).



The South route

This is the best-known Peruvian birding route, with Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, Cuzco, Machu Picchu, Abra Malaga, Manu and Tambopata, only to name a few. Key features include Polylepis forest specialists, Macaw-licks, Hummingbird feeders, Titicaca Grebe and many, many more. But there is more to discover in the South; new areas and possibilities are opening up. San Fernando, near Nazca, has the possibility to become an alternative to Paracas and Ballestas. The wildlife is certainly outstanding. Apurimac with Bosque Ampay and nearby Polylepis forests make it quite interesting to complete the circuit back to Lima on a new tarmac road over rolling high-altitude plains full of Vicuñas.



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