Day 1. Birdwatching along Manu Road to Wayqecha. Rufous-capped Thornbill and Swallow-tailed Nightjar
Well before dawn, we are on our way to reach the humid temperate zone while it is still early. The journey goes over the Andes and where we look for species such as Puna Hawk, Spot-winged Pigeon, Andean Flicker and Andean Lapwing. Checking out the scrub near Paucartambo, we may find the endemic Creamy-crested Spinetail as well as Tufted Tit-Tyrant, White-winged Black-Tyrant, Shining Sunbeam and Rust-and-Yellow Tanager. Birding the temperate woodland near Tres Cruces we will specifically look for Puna Thistletail, Diademed Tapaculo and Scribble-tailed and Junin Canasteros. Slightly lower the forest is more developed and we sometimes find Undulated and Stripe-headed Antpitta. Yungas Pygmy-Owl, Rufous-capped Thornbill, Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan, Yellow-throated and Golden-collared Tanagers, Hooded, Grass-Green and Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager. At dusk we look out for Puna Snipe and Swallow-tailed and Band-winged Nightjars Night at Wayqecha research station.
Day 2. Birding Wayqecha to Cock of the Rock Lodge
Primary targets above Pillahuata are the endemic Red-and-White Antpitta ,Marcapata Spinetail, Chestnut-breasted Coronet and Ochraceous-breasted Flycatcher..
Below Pillahuata one may sometimes see Golden-plumed Parakeet, Handsome Flycatcher and the rare Greater Scythebill.
Further down the road is Rocotal, situated just at the upper limit of the subtropical zone. Birds here include White-throated Antpitta, Crimson-backed Woodpecker, Blue-banded Toucanet, White-eared and Andean Solitaires, Pearled Treerunner, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Scaly-naped Parrot, Amethyst-throated Sunangel and many more.
In the afternoon we shall check out the display of brilliant orange colored males Andean Cock of the Rock. At nightfall we will look for Lyre-tailed Nightjar and Rufescent Screech-Owl just above the lodge. Night at Cock of the Rock Lodge
Day 3-4. Birding Cock of the Rock Lodge.
We’ll continue birding down the road to Cock of the Rock encountering species such as Long-tailed Antbird, Dusky-Green Oropendula, Yungas Manakin, Black-billed Treehunter, Orange-eared Tanager, Versicolored Barbet and Black-and-Chestnut and Solitary Eagles. The permanent mixed species flock around the lodge holds species like Yellow-rumped Antwren and Bolivian Tyrannulet. A nearby trail often treat us with Slaty Gnateater and Rufous-breasted Antthrush. Other birds include Lemon-browed Flycatcher, Golden-headed and Crested Quetzal, Uniform Antshrike and Golden-collared Tanager.
At the lodge clearing there are feeders and portweed flowers where hummingbirds like Violet-fronted Brilliant, Many-spotted Hummingbird, Booted Racket-tail and Wire-crested Thorntail. Nights at Cock of the Rock Lodge.
Day 5. Cock of the Rock Lodge to Villa Carmen.
Continued birding in the vicinity of Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge in the morning. Specifically, we shall be looking for a new soon to be described tanager that lives in the bamboo. Other birds here include the endemic and recently described Cinnamon-faced Tyrannulet, Chestnut-breasted Wren, Russet Antshrike, Chestnut-backed Antshrike and Rufous-webbed Brilliant. In the afternoon we will continue to Pilcopata at 1000m and look for specialties such as Amazonian Umbrellabird, Peruvian Piedtail, Cerulean-capped Manakin, Black-streaked Puffbird, Russet Antshrike, Lanceolated Monklet and Black-backed Tody-Flycatcher. The bamboo holds species like Ornate Antwren, Bamboo Antshrike and Pheasant Cuckoo. In the afternoon we reach Villa Carmen where White-cheeked Tody-Tyrant is regularly recorded, as well as sightings of Black-capped Tinamou. Beutiful garden and lodging in cabins. Night at Villa Carmen Lodge just outside of Pilcopata.
Day 6. Birding Pilcopata to Amazonia Lodge. Fine-barred Piculet and Spangled Cotinga
The road between Pilcopata and Atalaya has produced a number of very good species in the past, such as Military Macaw and Blue-headed Macaw, Wattled Guan, Red-billed Tyrannulet, Orange-fronted Plushcrown, Manu Antbird and Pheasant Cuckoo, Spangled Cotinga, Yellow-billed Nunbird and Fine-barred Piculet. In the afternoon we will start to explore Amazonia Lodge. The clearing filled with Blue Vervain and hummingbird feeders is a spectacle. Special hummers visiting include Rufous-crested Coquette , Koepcke´s Hermit, Gould’s Jewelfront, Gray-breasted Sabrewing, White-necked Jacobin, Golden-tailed Sapphire and many more. Night at Amazonia Lodge.
Day 7. Birding Amazonia Lodge. Rufous-crested Coquette and Black-capped Tinamou
At Amazonia Lodge the famous jeep-track has produced many specialties over the years such as Black-capped Tinamou, Rufous-vented Ground- Cuckoo, Black-spotted Bare-eye, Long-tailed Potoo, Amazonian Antpitta and Thrush-like Antpitta, Fiery-capped Manakin and many more.
We will bird Amazonia Lodge to midday and then move down river with motorized canoes to Pantiacolla Lodge. The access to the Pantiacolla ridge makes this lodge special. At our arrival at around 3 PM we will start checking out the bamboo for species like White-cheeked Tody-Tyrant, Bamboo Antshrike and Manu Antbird. Some night birding may reward us with Spectacled Owl, Crested Owl, Amazonian Pygmy-Owl or Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl. Night Pantiacolla Lodge.
Day 8. Birding Pantiacoola Lodge. White-cheeked Tody-Tyrant and Manu Antbird
Pantiacolla has a very good trail system. Frequently groups of Pale-winged Trumpeters are found. On the terra firme trail one can often localize a canopy flock. Night Pantiacolla Lodge.
Day 9. Birding Pantiacolla Ridge. Black Tinamou and Band-bellied Owl
If you like to try to some very rare Peruvian birds it may be a good idea to aim for the Pantiacolla ridge. After a fast coffee at 3 AM , we shall start walking. It is about an 8K walk and a 500m ascent. Before dawn we will be out looking for Band-bellied Owl - a very seldom seen upper tropical replacement of Spectacled Owl. The sun-rise from the view-point will prove to us that our hike up the slope in the dark was not in vain. This is one of the most spectacular sights in Peru. You will virtually have the whole Amazon beneath you. Our prime goal is to encounter the rare Black Tinamou. This is practically the only place on earth where one has a chance of seeing one. Other species here include Chestnut-tipped Toucanet, Orange-breasted Falcon, Black-and-White Hawk Eagle, Pavonine Quetzal, Koepcke’s Hermit, Scaly-breasted Woodpecker and a foothill form of Thrush-like Manakin which sings differently from the lowland form and that may prove to be a separate species. We will be down at the lodge again around lunch for our afternoon birding or a well deserved nap. Night Pantiacolla Lodge.
Day 10. Pantiacolla to Manu Amazon Lodge. Pale-winged Trumpeter and Buckley’s Forest Falcon.
In this in depth program to the Peruvian Amazon we have added an additional morning on the trails at Pantiacolla. One of the best things about Pantiacolla Lodge is the birder’s note-book where the birders leave their best observations. Thus we can get up-to-date info on special birds that have been seen lately.
At around midday we will leave with a box-lunch on the river to Manu Amazon Lodge and Manu Wildlife Center.
Day 11-12. Birding Manu Amazon Lodge. Long-crested Pygmy-Tyrant and Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo
Two full days at the trails of Manu Amazon Lodge. There is a great trail system at the camp which includes both terra firme and varzea like forest, heliconia thickets, aguajales (palm swamps) and extensive bamboo with all the specialists including Long-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, White-cheeked Tody-Tyrant, Pheasant Cuckoo, Rufous-headed Woodpecker and Rufous-vented Ground Cuckoo. Monkeys are plentiful including Black Spider Monkey, Monk Saki and Emperor Tamarin. Pale-winged Trumpeters and Razor-billed Curassows are often seen.
There are two clay-licks for Tapirs available. Sometimes Red-brocket Deer and Ocelots are also seen near the lick and on the way there is is sometimes possible to see the rare Red-billed Pied-Tanager.
Day 13. Manu Wildlife Center
We continue to Manu Wildlife Center the next lodge downriver. Manu Wildlife Center has a good canopy tower and a great trail system which we shall explore for toucans, parrots, raptors, cotingas, woodpeckers, and furnarids and antbirds of course. There is also a Tapir-lick here.
Day 14. Macaw lick and Cocha Camungo
Early morning start to reach the famous Macaw lick. One of the true natural wonders where Blue-headed Parrot, Mealy Parrot and White-eyed Parakeet later are replaced by large raucous Red-and-Green Macaws. The rest of the day we will spend time at the tower of Cocha Camungo for canopy species and walk the trails. The trails are good for Banded Antbird, Semi-collared Puffbird, Pale-winged Trumpeter and Rufous-fronted Antthrush. After an additional morning at Manu camping Lodge we will go down the Madre de Dios river to Cocha Blanquillo to see the local Giant Otter colony and additional marsh birds such as Pale-eyed Blackbird, Snail Kite, Horned Screamer, Sungrebe and Limpkin. We stay the night in Blanquillo Lodge.
Day 15. Blanquillo Lodge to Amigos
After some additional birding at Blanquillo lodge in the morning we shall continue downriver to Amigos Research Center. We whall arrive in the late afternoon to look for Black-faced Cotinga and Rufous-fronted Anthrush among other bird.
Day 16. Amigos Research Center.
Outstanding place in the Peruvian rainforest with a 7m Anaconda staked out at Pozo Don Pedro and recent sightings of Tapir and Jaguar on the trails. Rio Los Amigos Research Station is a very modern set-up in the rain forest with good trails, electric light and even internet and it has the specialties of SE Peru even such rare species as Long-crested Pygmy-Tyrant and Peruvian Recurvebill. There are 10 species of monkeys regularly seen including Emperor Tamarin and Monk Saki Monkey.
Day 17. Fly or bus to Cusco
We head down the river to Laberinto in midmorning. On the way we may see Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Red-breasted, White-browed and Pale-eyed Blackbirds, Chestnut Jacamar, White-throated Jacamar, Pearl Kite, Sulphury Flycatcher and Point-tailed Palmcreeper before the flight back Lima in the late afternoon. Calculate around $200 for the flight with LATAM. If you want to travel to Cuzco there is either a cheap but quite comfortable sleeper bus, which will get you there first thing in the morning. From Cuzco there are cheaper flights to Lima throughout the day. You could also of course stay in Puerto Maldonado and do some birding in the morning and then fly to Cuzco around midday.