Bird Watching in Peru


Introduction to Bird Watching in Peru

Peru is home to some 1780 species of bird (18.5% of all the bird species in the world and 45% of all neotropical birds). There are 125 true endemic birds. The political violence of the 80's and the beginning of the 90's has come to an end now. Peru has recently also subdued Coca-growing in many areas, which is why suddenly, practically the whole country lies open for birding and is safer than most places of South America. A birding trip is possible during any month as birds breed all year round.

There are many important sites, but the key ones are:

  • Manu
  • Tambopata & Madre de Dios
  • Abra Malaga
  • Iquitos
  • The Ballestas Islands.


Peru's Manu Biosphere Reserve has the highest concentration of bird life on Earth. At the time of writing approximately, 925 species have been recorded. Ornithologists expect this figure to break the 1000 mark in the near future as remoter areas of the reserve are explored. There are a little under 9000 species of birds in the world, meaning Manu holds one in every nine species found on the planet. No other protected area on Earth contains so many birds. The mountainous region is accessed with high clearance vehicles with the final destination of Amazonia or Pantiacolla Lodge both of which hold over 500 species of birds. This is also the port of lowland Manu. Manu Wildlife Centre is the best lodge for birding and situated actually outside of the national park. It is the variety of microhabitats, including good bamboo areas as well as easily accessible terra firma and heliconia thickets, as well as an excellent canopy tower that makes this one of the top lodges on the continent. It is however quite expensive and you have to arrange for a boat to get there in advance, or fly in and out from Cusco to Boca Manu or buy a package. Click here for more information about Manu

Tambopata & Madre de Dios

There are many more easily accessible lodges from Puerto Maldonado with much the same birds as Manu Wildlife Centre, but maybe not as birder friendly albeit less expensive. The most famous one - Explorer's Inn still holds the world record lodge list (close to 600 species) as well as the world record for a big day (Ted Parker and Scott Robinson 331 species).
This reserve is an ecosystem that has had an unchanging evolution throughout thousands of years, housing one of the biggest variety of flora and fauna in the world. It is estimated that there are more than 1,000 bird species in the park and over 200 mammals. There are between 2,000 and 3,000 plant species, 10% of which are still unknown by scientists. Click here for more information about Tambopata

Abra Malaga (Cusco)

Conservation of fragmented forest patches with extremely threatened birds is difficult. At Abra Malaga in south-east Peru in the Cusco department there is 10 hectare area of Polylepis woodland at 4000-4300m and some adjacent smaller patches. Among the critically threatened and endangered birds there are White-browed Tit-Spinetail Leptasthenura xenothorax, Royal Cinclodes Cinclodes aricomae and Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant Anairetes alpinus. The locality is very close to the road at the pass on the Cusco-Quillabamba road.


Near Iquitos ACEER has the famous half-mile canopy walk way, worth a visit. Other good areas - recently opened - for lowland birding include Pucallpa, Tarapoto, Villa Rica-Puerto Bermudas road and Satipo. Birders still have to find the way here, but prices are lower and birds are plentiful. Click here for more information about Iquitos

Tour Operators specializing in birding trips in Peru

Manu Expeditions
Rainforest Expeditions
Tanager Tours
Kolibri Expeditions
Pantiacolla Tours

Also see our webpage Recommended Amazon Rainforest Tour Operators

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