Peru Manu Part I: The Cloud Forest and Foothills: Aug 11—23, 2007

Peru Manu Part I: The Cloud Forest and Foothills

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Departs: Lima, Peru
Tour Limit: 14
Download Itinerary: PDF (186 KB)

Route Map

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Tour Leaders

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Steve Hilty

Steve Hilty is the senior author of A Guide to the Birds of Colombia, and author of Birds of...


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Andean Cock-of-the-rock at display lek near Cloud Forest Lodge, Peru.

Andean Cock-of-the-rock at display lek near Cloud Forest Lodge, Peru.— Photo: Robert (Spike) Baker

Widely acknowledged as one of the premier birding and natural history sites in the world. Part I focuses on the Andes, Part II the lowlands. Spectacular tropical birding in a pristine, super-rich avifauna.

Following a day in the historic Inca city of Cuzco, where we will acclimate to high elevations, our Manu Part 1 journey begins when we set out on an adventure across the highlands, passing a quiltwork of often colorful fields and villages and ever-changing panoramas before eventually descending in steps down the verdant, eastern wall of the Andes, first through elfin forest, then cloud forest, and finally rich wet foothill forest at the conclusion of the trip. Our first destination is the Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge, at about 4,500 feet elevation, and well-situated for mountain birding with Andean Cocks-of-the-rock displaying nearby, and feeders that attract hummingbirds, barbets, and tanagers. We also may see Black-and-chestnut Eagles, Torrent Ducks, motmots, quetzals, and mountain-toucans but, for some, the high energy bird flocks dominated by unbelievably colorful tanagers—which are so characteristic of the Andes—will surely be a highlight.

Three days later we will resume our journey downward into the bird-rich Andean foothills and, at the end of the day, be met and ferried across the Alto Madre de Dios River to the Amazonia Lodge. With delightful hospitality, spotless rooms, and excellent food, the Amazonia Lodge is a superb place to make a relaxed birding transition from cloud forest to foothill rainforest. You are sure to notice dramatic changes in the avifauna here as tanager-dominated mixed species flocks of the highlands give way to a more diverse array of antbirds, furnariids, flycatchers, manakins, and such exotic species as hoatzins and macaws. Numerous species here are unique to these wet foothills, among them the Blue-headed Macaw, Scarlet-hooded Barbet, Chestnut-backed Antshrike, and Black-backed Tody-Tyrant, and our visit here is sure to be one filled with exciting wildlife sightings.

The Manu I tour is a highland wilderness experience that perfectly complements the lowland trip which follows. It incorporates the beauty and majesty of the Andes, the dramatic panoramas, the clouds, and the birds and forests of this unspoiled region into a birding experience unsurpassed in South America.

Good to excellent lodge accommodations and good food; several days at each site; roadside birding in highlands; mostly easy trails in lowlands; travel by bus, boat, and charter plane; one long travel day; moderately brisk pace with frequent midday breaks; cool in mountains, warm and humid in lowlands.