Northwestern Peru Pre-trip Amazon Cruise: Jan 15—22, 2016
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Collared Antshrike, female— Photo: Andrew Whittaker
A varied and interesting region with a range of dry to arid and desert-like habitats provides a dramatic contrast to the humid Amazonian rainforests of the cruise, many birds that are easy to see, and lovely Bombax forests and dry canyons.
If you are asking, “Why northwestern Peru?”, spend a few minutes thumbing through Birds of Peru and you will quickly see that this region is rich in endemic birds. Part of the reason for this is because the Marañon River valley here is low and arid and bisects the Andes so deeply that it forms a major biogeographical barrier to high Andean birds living to the north and south of this valley. This area is, in short, a meeting of three important avifaunas, one north of the valley, one to the south, and a unique third group found within this dry valley and watersheds to the west. This short trip focuses especially on these dry habitats westward and near the coast, which are home to many endemic and range-restricted species. Birding here is as good as it gets anywhere in the Andes, and most of the birds are remarkably easy to see, making this a great introduction to Peru’s birdlife.
The tour focuses on the Algorrobo (Prosopis spp. or acacia) woodlands, deserts, and dry canyons of Peru’s northwestern coastal zone. This region abounds with range-restricted specialties. Foremost among them is the White-winged Guan, once feared extinct and only rediscovered in 1977. A few of the specialties we will be looking for include Peruvian Thick-knee, Tumbes Hummingbird, Scrub Nightjar, Scarlet-backed Woodpecker, Necklaced Spinetail, Coastal Miner, Collared Antshrike, Elegant Crescent-chest, Peruvian Plantcutter, Rufous Flycatcher, and Tumbes Tyrant, among others.
Good accommodations; electricity and cell phone connections throughout; birding along relatively easy trails and roads; a couple of midday breaks with siestas during the heat of the day; climate warm and dry with cooler nights.