Skip to navigation, or go to main content.

Rich Hoyer on his recent tour, Machu Picchu and the Manu-Kosñipata Road.

September 22: Rich Hoyer on his recent tour, Machu Picchu and the Manu-Kosñipata Road.

The numbers, variety, and rarity of birds on this year's tour to Machu Picchu and the Kosñipata Valley will be hard to beat. It was a fair bit cooler than usual, and with less rain than one might expect, and both made for great birding conditions.


On our first day’s drive we had time for several birding stops including for this stunning Many-colored Rush Tyrant in the valley below Cusco.

After our visit of Machu Picchu, birding began in earnest. 

Just upstream from the town of Machu Picchu we had time to enjoy a pair of Torrent Ducks in the Urubamba River.


We traveled over a high pass where a pair of the very handsome Andean Goose was quite a surprise right next to the road.


Then at the moderate elevations of San Pedro, our early morning visit to the very active Andean Cock-of-the-rock lek was an unforgettable highlight.


It was a nice surprise to learn that a Brown Tinamou recently has become acclimated to the bustling kitchen noise of our lodge near here, and we saw it twice during our stay.


One stellar day began with views of a White-throated Antpitta, a pair of White-crowned Tapaculos, and a pair of Solitary Eagles soaring low overhead, but seeing both Blue-banded and the rarer Chestnut-tipped Toucanet (here) on the same day was really unexpected.


At our final lodging at Villa Carmen Biological Station, our bird list exploded with all the bamboo and lowland tropical diversity. Another surprise here was a feeding station that has been attracting tinamous, and nowhere can one get better views of a Black-capped Tinamou than this.


An incredible morning here involved a sighting of a mega-rare Crested Eagle that at first vanished within a minute of our finding it. It then magically reappeared on a nearby perch a few minutes later where we all had extensive views of it. If that weren’t enough, we found it again over an hour later maybe a kilometer away while at the same time a Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle soared overhead and performed a upside-down dive display. We were pinching ourselves the rest of the day.


We did just a couple owling walks, but at Los Amigos we scored big, seeing Black-banded Owl, Tropical Screech-Owl, a Common Pauraque on a nest, two Black-headed Night Monkeys, and this Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl, all in about 45 minutes.

What surprises await us on our second tour to the jungle lodges on the Madre de Dios?

Posted: September 22, 2018