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WINGS Birding Tours – Itinerary

Bolivia: Barba Azul Nature Reserve, Sadiri Lodge, and the Apolo Valley

Friday 5 October to Friday 19 October 2018
with Rich Hoyer as leader

Price Pending

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Subtropical Pygmy-Owl Photo: Rich Hoyer

Bolivia is a large country with many ecoregions, and we’ve long wanted to offer this new tour as a companion to our classic Bolivia tour in order to see even more of it and the wonderful birds that call it home. We’ll visit three regions of radically different ecosystems, all farther north than our other tour. Starting with the Barba Azul Nature Reserve, located in the Llanos de Moxos, a region of seasonally flooded tropical savanna and gallery forest, we’ll use small private planes to make our transfers in and out. After two days at Barba Azul, famous for its conservation of the Blue-throated Macaw, we’ll spend some time at one of Bolivia’s few ecolodges, located on the outermost ridge of the Andes—low enough to have some classic Amazonian species yet high enough to offer some respite from the tropical heat. Next we’ll fly up to La Paz and take a bus to Lake Titicaca. From there we’ll drive through the cloud forests of the country’s northernmost Andean ridges on our way to the dry interior valley of Apolo, which has its own host of special birds.

Day 1: We’ll fly this morning to the small city of Trinidad in the center of the country and from there to Barba Azul Nature Reserve for three nights. Night at Barba Azul Nature Reserve.

Days 2–3: We’ll have two full days based at the reserve to see the macaws (of which there are actually six species possible, including the extremely local Blue-throated Macaw, for which the reserve was created and named), as well as many other birds found in the tropical savanna and gallery forests. The story of the discovery of the Blue-throated Macaw’s distribution and its ongoing conservation is well known but can’t be told often enough. If not for the efforts of several conservationists in Bolivia, the species could very well be extinct in the wild, and our visit will help support these efforts. We’ll also take time to search for specialties such as Spot-tailed Nightjar, Cock-tailed Tyrant, Sharp-tailed Tyrant, Streamer-tailed Tyrant, Crested Doradito, Long-winged Harrier, and Chimango Caracara. Nights at Barba Azul Nature Reserve.

Day 4: After a final morning of birding at the reserve we’ll continue via private plane to Rurrenabaque and from there by road to the ecolodge that will be our home for the next four nights, Sadiri Lodge. Night at Sadiri Lodge.

Days 5–7: A jungle lodge on an outlying ridge of the Andes, Sadiri itself is a rarity in Bolivia. Amid perfect habitat we’ll enjoy leisurely birding but pay special attention to the range-limited species found here such as the recently described Yungas Tyrannulet and Subtropical Pygmy-Owl as well more common and colorful birds such as Starred Wood-Quail and Paradise Tanager. Nights at Sadiri Lodge.

Day 8: This morning we’ll transfer to Rurrenabaque in time for our flight to La Paz and continue from there to Lake Titicaca. Night near Lake Titicaca.

Day 9: We’ll have birding stops along Lake Titicaca to look for the endemic Short-winged Grebe and check the altiplano and puna habitats in the high Andes for waterfowl, flamingos, ovenbirds, and tyrants as we begin our drive over the mountains. Night in Charazani.

Day 10: We’ll complete our drive to Apolo today, passing through some mid-elevation cloud forests that are full of interesting birds. In the afternoon we’ll visit another patch of cloud forest. Night in Apolo.

Days 11–12: We’ll spend two days in this interior valley in the rain shadow of the Andes’ outlying ridges. Dry areas like this in an otherwise rain-drenched eastern slope of the Andes are quite rare and usually host birds with isolated distributions. One of the most famous recent rediscoveries here is the endemic and far-removed subspecies of Swallow-tailed Cotinga, which some split as the Palkachupa Cotinga. We’ll make a special effort for it and also look for the rare Ashy Antwren and Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, both of which are spotted here regularly. Nights in Apolo.

Day 13: We’ll retrace our steps back to La Paz, breaking the long drive in half in order to bird the moist cloud forests along the main road. Night in Charazani.

Day 14: We’ll spend the early morning in the high puna habitats, where we’ll concentrate on picking up some species that we may have missed on the first day before we complete our drive to La Paz. Night in La Paz.

Day 15: The tour ends this morning with transfers to the international airport in La Paz.

Updated: 18 September 2017


  • 2018 Tour Not Yet Priced
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* Tour invoices paid by check carry a 4% discount. Details here.

Maximum group size eight with one leader.