Machu Picchu Species Accounts Part 6 Birds Watching in Peru
BIRD FAMILIES OF MACHU PICCHU: TROGONS AND QUETZALS – Trogonidae.
Related to the Kingfishers, Trogons and Quetzals are easily recognized by their striking metallic colors. The under-tail has distinct black and white pattems important for field Identification. They are solitary forest birds that sit motionless for long periods on horizontal branches, occasionally hawking out for a passing large insect. They feed on fruits and berries as well often hover gleaning in the canopy. They nest in holes in trees or old termite nests.
1.- Birds Watching: Crested Quetzal – Pharomachrus antlslanus.
32 cm. Male: Bill orange-yellow. Short crest on fore-head projects over the bill. Mostly bright metallic green with a red lower breast and belly. Wing and upper tail coverts elongated. Tail coverts project about 2.5 cm. beyond the tail. 3 outer tail feathers white, rest black (tail looks all white at rest from underneath). Female: Bill brown. Head and throat dull brown, otherwise bronzy green above, breast brownish gray, chest washed green, belly red and flanks brownish. Underside of tail black, outer feathers barred black and white on the outer web, does not show elongated crest or coverts. Found in thick epiphyte and moss laden humid pre-montane forest. Perches quietly in the canopy and attends fruiting trees. The distinct call is a rolling ’way-way-wayoo’ and ’wheeoo’. Occurs between 1400 and 2100 meters. Can be seen near Puente Ruinas railway station.
2.- Birds Watching: Golden-headed Quetzal – Pharomachrus auriceps.
33 cm. Bill yellow. Very similar to the preceding species. Male differs in having a much shorter frontal crest, crown golden-bronze contrasting with bright green. Underside of the tail black (shows no white). Female differs from Crested Quetzal in the uniformly black under-tall. Found in humid montane and pre-montane forest and forest edge, generally at lower elevations than the Crested Quetzal but there is much overlap. Encountered alone or in pairs in the mid-strata and sub-canopy of trees. In fruiting trees hover gleans to pluck fruits. When not feeding perches motionless and can be difficult to see. The frequently heard call is a mellow ‘wi-dwyyi’ repeated at regular intervals. Found at elevations of between 1500 and 2800 meters. Can be seen along the Inca Trail between Wiñay Wayna and Intipunku.
3.- Birds Watching: Masked Trogon – Tragón personatus.
25 cm. Pale yellow bill and orange eye-ring. Male: Black mask. Mostly metallic-bronze shading to bluish green on the anterior parts, back and upper side of the tail. Wings barred minutely black and white. Green breast separated from scarlet belly and vent by white bar. Underside of tail densely barred black and white with broad white distal bar on each feather. Female: Differs from male in being sandy brown instead of green and with a less red belly. Found alone or in pairs in -umid-montane and pre-montane forest, where there is a broken canopy. Sits quietly for long periods in the mid-canopy then flies fairly long distances to a new perch. Hover gleans fruit and sallies for insects. Sometimes joins mixed feeding flocks. Song is a far-carrying ‘zooorh-hr-hri repeated at regular intervals. At elevations of between 1500 and 3000 meters. Can be seen along the Inca Trail between Phuyupatamarca and Wiñay Wayna.
BIRD FAMILIES OF MACHU PICCHU: MOTMOTS – Momotidae.
Mostly a lowland Amazonian family they are characterized by their long, often racket-tipped tails, which they frequently swing from side to side. Motmots are sluggish inconspicuous birds of forest and forest edge. They are omnivorous, feeding on a variety of insects, small mammals and fruits. They nest in burrows in banks and lay two white eggs.
1.- Birds Watching: Highland Motmot – Momotus aequatorialis.
41 cm. Long (25 cm.) tail feathers narrow before tail tip, and become bare-shafted after wear and much preening, so that terminal rackets are separated off from the rest of the tail. Crown turquoise, with black central patch. Mask through the eye is black, tapering backwards and narrowly outlined in turquoise. Rest of plumage mostly light-green grading to cinnamon-rufous below. Found in humid pre-montane forest, mostly at the edge and ¡n glades, also in lighter woodland and gardens. Usually encountered alone or in pairs. Sits quietly at mid-elevations, often swinging its tail from side to side. Sallies quickly from perch to foliage, branches or the ground to pounce on prey. The call is a soft, tremulous ’hroooo’. Found at elevations between 1500 – 2400 meters. Quite common along the Urubamba River near Aguas Calientes e.g. the grounds of the Hotel El Pueblo.
BIRD FAMILIES OF MACHU PICCHU: PUFFBIRDS – Bucconidae.
Puff birds are strictly American. They are heavily built with short necks, large heads and loose plumage. They are lethargic, quiet and unobtrusive. They feed on large invertebrates, and nest in old termite nests or a burrow in the ground. They lay white eggs.
1.- Birds Watching: Black-streaked Puff bird – Malacoptila fulvogularis.
19 cm. Bill black. Eye red. Mostly dark brown boldly striped all over with whitish striations, bordered by black. Wings warmer brown, less streaked. Tail uniform brown. Throat and center of breast buff, lacking streaks. Inhabits humid pre-montane forest and edge where ¡t sits quietly ¡n separated pairs, motionless for long periods, at mid to low levels. Sallies, after long intervals of sitting quietly, to a branch or foliage to snatch prey, mostly large invertebrates. The call ¡s a high-pitched fruiteater- like ‘sweeeiiii’ repeated at two second intervals. Found mostly below 2000 meters and only likely to be encountered in the lowest parts of the Sanctuary, such as the Aobamba or Mandor valleys.
BIRD FAMILIES OF MACHU PICCHU: BARBETS – Caoitonidae.
A pan-tropical family with more species in Africa and Asia than in the Americas. They are thick set birds with short necks and legs and heavy bills. They are mostly brightly colored. They feed off fruit and insects and nest in tree cavities they lay white eggs.
1.- Birds Watching: Versicolored Barbet – Eubucco versicolor.
7 cm. Bill yellowish horn. Male: Head scarlet. Broad blue moustachial streak and band surroundlng red of head and throat. Upper-parts grass-green. Under-parts mostly yellow with a red chest band and black streaking along the flanks. Flight feathers yellowish. Female: Similar to male but under- parts greenish and head yellowish-gold. Face and throat bluish. Found In humid pre-montane forest and forest edge. Usually encountered alone or in pairs at medium heights, accompanying or away from mixed feeding flocks. Perches quietly but also actively forages for fruit and rummages inside bromeliads. Found mostly below 2000 meters and only likely to be found in the lower elevations of the Sanctuary.
BIRD FAMILIES OF MACHU PICCHU: TOUCANS – Ramphastidae.
Mostly tropical but several species range up into humid montane and pre-montane forest. Easily recognized by enormous, colorful bills, which are surprisingly light. They are usually found in pairs or small groups. When a group decides to fly, one will fly first and then the others follow one by one. Toucans fly directly with fast wing-beats, often gliding between each beat. Mostly frugivorous they will sometimes eat other things including nestlings and eggs of other birds. They nest in natural or woodpecker made holes in trees.
1.- Birds Watching: Emerald Toucanet – Aulacorhynchus prasinus.
34 cm. Mostly bright grass green with tips of tail feathers and vent tawny-rufous. Note the black bill with yellow upper ridge. The race at Machu Picchu has a dark throat. Mainly a bird of humid pre-montane forest but will wander into nearby man-made clearings and lighter woodland. Typically in pairs or small family groups. Most often seen eating small fruits. The call is a series of low pitched ‘churt’ notes. This small green Toucan is rare at Machu Picchu and only likely to be seen at the lowest elevations, below 2100 meters. Best looked for in the lower Mandor and Aobamba valleys.
2.- Birds Watching: Blue-banded Toucanet – Aulacorynchus coeruleicinctus.
40 cm. mostly dull green, palest below. Throat white. Cheek and short super cilium light blue. Lower breast has an indistinct blue band. Rump red. Vent green. Tall green tipped chestnut. Bill mostly bluish-gray with brownish tip. Behavior and habits similar to previous species but the call is a rather different ‘kirrit it.. kirrit ik ik’etc. More confiding and generally replaces Emerald Toucanet at higher elevations and can be seen between 1700 and 2500 meters.
3.- Birds Watching: Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan-Andigena hypoglauca.
48 cm. Note the large colorful beak, with a red tip and base and yellow ridge separated by black. Blue-gray collar contrasting with a black hood. Back olive-brown, wings blue -green. Under-parts grayish-blue with a hint of yellow on the flanks. Rump yellow, very prominent in flight, contrasting with the black tall. Inhabits humid montane and pre-montane forest and wooded ravines at elevations from almost tree line at 3400 meters, down to 2000 meters. Omnivorous. Found in pairs or small family groups. The call is a nasal cat-like ’kuaaaaaa’ and a Sharp ’kip-kip-kip-kip’. Most frequently encountered along the Inca Trail between Phuyupatamarca and Intipunku.
BIRD FAMILIES OF MACHU PICCHU: WOODPECKERS – Picidae.
A cosmopolitan family found worldwide except for Australia. A few species are adapted to treeless environments but most are characterized by their habit of excavating holes in trees and ’drumming’ on resonant parts of trees as part of territorial advertisement. Most have stiff tails adapted for support to aid the climbing of trees. Invertebrates are found by excavating and tapping on decaying wood. Some seeds and berries are also eaten. Woodpeckers fly with a characteristic undulating flight. They nest in excavated holes in trees and some (Flickers), excavate holes in banks and old adobe buildings.
1.- Birds Watching: Ocellated Piculet – Picumnus dorbygnianus.
10 cm. Small with a pointed bill and distinctly scaled under-parts. The only piculet in the Machu Picchu Sanctuary and therefore unlikely to be confused. Graylsh above with narrow barring, whitish below distinctly scaled (ocellated). Crown-and nape feathers tipped black with male showing red tips to the feathers of the fore-crown (lacking ¡n the female). Tail blackish with three prominent white stripes. Behaves like a nuthatch, hanging upside down on branches looking for invertebrates usually seen singly or ¡n pairs, often accompanying mixed species flocks, ¡n humid montane and sub-montane forest with lots of epiphytes. The song is typical of the genus – a high-pitched trill. Mostly occurs below 2500 meters and quite common along the road and railroad track between Aguas Calientes and the Mandor valley.
2.- Birds Watching: Bar-bellied Woodpecker – Venilionis nigriceps.
19 cm. A small woodpecker heavily barred below with buff and blackish. Upper-parts bronzy. Cheeks and ear-coverts olive-brown slightly streaked, with narrow white line above and below. Top of head red and the male shows red nape (lacking in the female). Seen singly or in pairs, sometimes with mixed species flocks, in humid montane and elfin forest with an under-story of scrub and particularly bamboo (Chusquea spp.) for which it shows a preference. The call is a high-pitched, descending ‘kzzrr’. Found at elevations from 2000 to 3400 meters, right up to tree line. Fairly common throughout the humid forests of the Sanctuary.
3.- Birds Watching: Golden-olive Woodpecker – Piculus rubiginosus.
23 cm. A medium-sized woodpecker with a bright crimson crown and nape, golden-olive upper- parts and sides of head white, bordered by red (male) or black (female). Usually single birds are seen, often accompanying mixed feeding flocks, in the mid-story or canopy of humid montane and sub-montane forest and borders. Feeds by chiseling and hammering on limbs and vines. Also probes into mossy growths. Makes a variety of harsh calls. Not likely to be seen above 3000 meters and most commonly encountered in heavy, tall forest. Can be seen near the Puente Ruinas railway station.
4.- Birds Watching: Crimson-mantled Woodpecker – Piculus rivolii.
28 cm. Another medium sized woodpecker, unmistakable with its almost all crimson upper-parts. The female has a black cap rather than red as in the male. Sides of the head pale yellow with red (male) or black (female) whisker. Throat and breast appear black at any distance but closer views will reveal a scalloped pattern of red, black and white. Lower under-parts yellow with some black spotting. Seen singly or in pairs, often accompanying mixed feeding flocks. Feeds by probing and searching rather than hammering, at all levels of the forest and sometimes on the ground. A bird of montane and pre-montane forest that can be found wherever there are trees within the Sanctuary, sometimes right up to tree-line at 3400 meters, and also down to 1000 meters. Can be seen between Phuyupatamarca and Wiñay Wayna along the Inca Trail.
5.- Birds Watching: Andean Flicker – Colaptes rupicola.
30 cm. Striking, mostly terrestrial Woodpecker, with a special place in local mythology. Very long slightly de-curved bill. Light cinnamon-colored, with dense gray-brown barring on wings and back. Crown gray. Red moustachial stripe in both sexes and the male shows red nape. Prominent bright golden rump in flight. Quite gregarious and loose flocks move across open country, mostly amongst rocks and small cliff faces but will use scattered trees if present, probing into crevices and cracks and digging into the ground with its long beak. Very vocal. Calls include ‘chew-chew-chew’, kuaa- ap-kuua-ap’ and a loud ‘keek’. Nests in holes in banks and old adobe buildings. A bird of the high puna grasslands and avoids wooded areas. Often encountered by hikers in the high country and a common sight along the higher parts of the Inca Trail, seldom descending below 2500 meters in our area.
6.- Birds Watching: Crimson-bellied Woodpecker – Campephilus haematogaster.
33 cm. Large, striking, mostly black woodpecker with a crimson belly, rump and lower back. Male has entire crown, pointed crest and neck red. Sides of throat and upper throat black with a broad yellowish-white stripe from the bill to behind and below the eye. Female similar but the neck is black and the stripe from the bill continues down sides of the neck. The only member of this genus to occur at Machu Picchu. Found alone or in pairs in mature humid sub-montane forest, often quite low down. Searches for invertebrates on large tree trunks, hammering and probing in crevices. Rare in the Sanctuary and most likely to be seen in the Mandor and Aobamba valleys. Does not occur much over 2000 meters and is only likely to be encountered in the lowest, more isolated reaches of the Sanctuary.
BIRD FAMILIES OF MACHU PICCHU: OVENBIRDS – Furnariidae.
A large, interesting and diverse family, found exclusively in the neo-tropics, reaching its highest diversity in the Andes of Peru. Ovenbirds occupy almost all habitats from lowland Amazonian rainforest up to snow line in the Andes. Now usually deemed to include the Woodcreepers (see introductory notes on that sub-family below). Most are a shade of brown and their short rounded tail and primitive tail feathers reflect their poor flying abilities. Sexes are similar and they are monogamous, keeping in close pairs. Both sexes sing, build nests and take care of fledglings. Most species have large rounded nest structures with a side entrance.
1.- Birds Watching: Common Miner – Geositta cunicularia.
15- 17 cm. A mostly brown bird with rufous remiges and buffy upper-tail coverts conspicuous in flight. Note the long rufous wing panel in the wing when at rest. An inconspicuous bird of open country, this species crouches to avoid detection but flies long distances when flushed. Most often found in rolling open country, but likes some cover such as rocks or small bushes. True to their name, they excavate and nest in tunnels in banks but contrary to their name they are not common in the Machu Picchu area with only a handful of records. Likely only above 3500 meters.
2.- Birds Watching: Slender-billed Miner – Geositta tenuirostris.
18-19 cm. Long, slender, slightly de-curved bill identifies this bird from other Miners and its short tail from the earthereepers. Above-gray brown, crown and back faintly mottled darker. Super cilium buffy-white. In flight shows lots of rufous in the wing and tail and a long rufous patch in the closed wing, when at rest. No white on the rump or tail. Found on puna grasslands and meadows, often feeding in adjacent ploughed fields and corrals, alone or in pairs, on the ground. Walks with a waddling gait. Males fly high during display uttering a high-pitched, repetitive ‘tji”-‘tji’- ’tji’- ’tji’. When flushed gives a surprised ’eeek’. Likely only above 3000 meters at Machu Picchu. Can be seen along the Inca Trail above Wayllabamba.
3.- Birds Watching: Plain-breasted Earthcreeper – Upucerthia jelskii.
19 cm. Bill long and de-curved. Fairly long tail. Above earth brown with a buff superciliary. Under- parts plain buff. Tail rufous-chestnut, tinged dark brown, often half-cocked as the bird (usually solitary) runs and hops across the ground. Poor flyer, preferring to hide behind grass tussocks or rocks to avoid detection. Excavates holes in banks to nest. The song is delivered from the top of a rock or stone wall and consists of a weak trill. The call is a harsh ‘chick’. They feed by probing their sickle-shaped bill into loose, soft soil. Found mostly above 3000 meters in open grassland with rocks and banks. Fairly easily seen near the Inca canal at the village of Pampacahuana.
4.- Birds Watching: Bar-winged Cinclodes – Cinclodes fuscus.
16-17 cm. A fairly common bird. The race here is mostly brown above, dirty white below with buffy flanks. Distinctive off-white wing band shows in flight. Comer tips to tail feathers usually show some cinnamon color. The commonest cinclodes and one to learn well so as to compare it with the following two species. Usually encountered alone or in pairs. Highly territorial and often seen chasing each other with much tail cocking and wing-raising. Sings from the top of a rock whilst wing-raising – a short fast trill, one of the most familiar bird songs of the high country. Inhabits open grassy areas, almost exclusively along streams or wet bogs, often in quite bushy country and farmlands. A familiar bird within the Sanctuary, occurring mostly above 2500 meters up to permanent snow-line.
5.- Birds Watching: White-winged Cinclodes – Cinclodes atacamensis.
19-21 cm. Larger than the preceding species, with a longer bill and quite rufous-brown above, with a strong white superciliary. Large extensive white wing patch and band, on the primary coverts, especially prominent in flight, but easily visible on the closed wing. Note white comer tips to tail feathers contrasting with the rest of the blackish tail. Under-parts pale buffy-gray with warm-brown flank and vent. Throat white. Behavior is as for the preceding species and song similar if somewhat louder than that of the Bar-winged Cinciodes. This species is much more restricted to clear running streams, almost never being found away from them. Mostly encountered above 3000 meters up to snow-line. Can be seen at Sisaypampa above Pampacahuana.
6.- Birds Watching: Royal Cinciodes – Cinciodes aricomae.
23 cm. Peruvian endemic. A large, dark cinciodes with a distinctive long, heavy, de-curved bill dirty brown under-parts and rufous wing-band. Not likely to be confused with other cinciodes species in the Machu Picchu area and its habitat differs markedly. Exclusively found in patches of Polylepis spp. woodland on steep, rocky slopes. Seems to need mossy rocks and branches to feed, where it flakes off large pieces of moss, searching for insects and grubs. Sings from a branch or top of a bush. The song is a very loud trill. Only known from the right bank of the Urubamba River, above Torontoy and not recorded in recent years, but doubtless exists in isolated Polylepis fragments near the Wakay Wilca and Salcantay massifs above 3600 meters. A rare, globally threatened species, that deserves further research within the Sanctuary.
7.- Birds Watching: Tawny Tit-Spinetall – Leptasthenura yanacencis.
17 cm. A long-tailed bird with uniform tawny-brown upper-parts and bright cinnamon under-parts. In the Machu Picchu area, it is restricted to isolated patches of Polylepis woodland, where it is encountered in pairs or small family groups. Typically feeds from inside a bush, working its way to the outermost tips of the branches. The song is often heard, consisting of a variety of trills and chatters. A rare, globally threatened species, likely to be found in isolated Polylepis woodlands off the beaten track. Elevational range 3300 to 4600 meters.
8.- Birds Watching: White-browed Tit-Spinetail – Leptasthenura xenothorax.
15 cm. Peruvian endemic. Quite different from the above species, being grayish above with whitish and black streaks, rufous crown and white and black checkered throat contrasting with plain gray under-parts. Found usually in small groups feeding on larger limbs of trees. The song is a high- pitched two-second trill – ’trrrrrrrrrrrr’. Contact call is a sharp ’chit’. This is another Polylepis woodland specialist with a very restricted range. Found at elevations of 3800 – 4500 meters. Occurs within the Sanctuary in isolated Polylepis patches near the Wakay Wilca and Salcantay massifs.
9.- Birds Watching: Puna Thistletail – Schizoeaca helleri.
18 cm. Another small, long-tailed furnarid. Rufous-brown above with uniform grayish under-parts contrasting with a rufous chin-spot and blackish throat, flecked with gray. The tail is long and untidy and has a decomposed look to it. Found singly and in pairs hopping through dense vegetation with tail cocked. Does not associate with mixed feeding flocks. The call is a repeated ’preek. The song is a high-pitched descending trill. Fairly common in the undergrowth of humid montane and elfin forest near tree line within the Sanctuary. Found at elevations of 3000 – 4000 meters. Can be seen along the Inca Trail between Sayacmarca and Phuyupatamarca.
10.- Birds Watching: Azara s Spinetail – Synallaxis azarae.
17- 18 cm. above olive-brown with a contrasting rufous crown. Most of wing and long, pointed tail rufous. Under-parts gray except the throat which is mixed black and white. The only member of its genus in the Machu Picchu Sanctuary. Found usually in pairs, this species inhabits dense undergrowth, grass and ferns close to the ground in humid montane and pre-montane forest, and is rarely seen higher. Difficult to see and rarely perches in the open for more than a second. Most often detected by the monotonous repeated call note -’ka-week’given throughout the day as the bird moves undetected through dense vegetation. Found ¡n bushy country and forest edge at elevations of between 1700 and 3500 meters. Can be found along the railway track from Aguas Calientes to Puente Ruinas.
11.- Birds Watching: Marcapata Spinetaíl – Cranioleuca marcapatae.
14.5 cm. Peruvian endemic. Rufous above with grayish-olive rump. Throat white, rest of under- parts buffy-gray. Rufous crown outlined ¡n black and with a whitish super cilium. Sides of head and nape grayish. This species has only been recorded on the right bank of the Urubamba river (nomínate marcapatae race) but further studies could reveal that the white crowned weskei race occurs on the left bank. Found singly and in pairs, often accompanying mixed species flocks, in lower growth and edges of humid montane and elfin forest, showing a particular liking for Chusquea spp. bamboo, to which it may be closely tied. Hops and hitches along small branches and limbs searching and probing for insects. The song is a thin descending trill. Found between 2500 and 3400 meters but difficult to see in the Sanctuary.
12.- Birds Watching: Creamy-crested Spinetail – Cranioleuca albicapilla.
17 cm. Peruvian endemic. An unmistakable spinetail with a prominent creamy-white crown. Olivaceous gray above and ochraceous below, whiter on throat. Found singly and in pairs, this species (in general) avoids moist montane forest and is found almost entirely in semi-arid woodland, being quite tolerant of disturbed cultivated areas. Feeds by hopping and clinging to the underside of branches in thick bushes, looking for insect. Often raises crest especially when agitated. The song is a loud, laughing, descending series of notes – ‘kjeep, kjeep, kjeep, kjeep, kjeep’ ete., lasting for 5-7 seconds. At elevations of 2400 – 3650 meters. Most easily seen along the Inca Trail which follows the Cusichaca river near Llactapata ruins.
13.- Birds Watching: Rusty-fronted Canastero – Asthenes ottonis.
18.5 cm. Peruvian endemic. Wings and long, thin, graduated tail rufous-chestnut. Forehead rufous. Rest of upper-parts brown, below gray brown with tawny flanks and vent. Found alone or in pairs close to the ground in bushes and small trees, sometimes running across the ground or rocks with tail cocked. Not likely to be found in humid montane forest and prefers semi-arid scrub and bushes. The song is a buzzy descending ‘bzee-bzee-bzee-bzee-zee-zee-dd-dd-ddddddd’ delivered from the top or inside of a bush. Found between 2800 and 3600 meters at Machu Picchu and most easily seen in the Cusichaca valley between the Llactapata ruins and Wayllabamba on the Inca Trail.
14.- Birds Watching: Cordilleran Canastero – Asthenes modesta.
14.5-15 cm. Above gray-brown with a narrow buff superciliary. Wings a warmer brown. Below whitish but with dusky streaking on the lower throat and sides of the head. Chin spot orange-rufous. Long, often cocked tail, looks rufous and dusky (outerwebs rufous, inner dusky). No streaking on the upper-parts. Mostly terrestrial and mostly observed alone. Walks and runs with tail cocked, between rocks, bunch grass and small bushes. Sings from the top of a small bush or rock – a monotonous Sharp descending trill. Found in open grassy areas, with some rocks, above 3000 meters up to snowline. Can be seen at Llulluchapampa along the Inca Trail.
15.- Birds Watching: Streak-throated Canastero – Asthenes humilis.
15 cm. Similar to above species but with all brown tail, and faint streaks on upper-parts, which are grayish-brown. Chin spot orange-rufous with distinct whitish streaking on head, neck and throat. Almost entirely terrestrial, hops along the ground between and under grass tussocks wagging its tail. Does not cock its tail. Song is a repeated ’trrr-trrr’ trrr-trrr’ trrr-trrr’ delivered from a grass tussock. Also ‘pit-pit-pit’. Found alone or in pairs on high puna grasslands with grass tussocks, often near water at elevations of between 3000 and 4800 meters.
16.- Birds Watching: Streak-backed Canastero – Asthenes wyatti.
15.5 cm. Similar to the preceding two species but brown above with broad blackish streaks and wings with conspicuous chestnut patch. Shows a strongly rufous-sided tail in flight, with the central feathers being dusky brown. Under-parts dull buff. As with Its congeners, mostly terrestrial, running between tussocks and rocks with tail half-cocked. The song is a fast ascending trill delivered from the top of a rock or bush. Rare within the Sanctuary, occurring in high puna grasslands at elevations above 3000 meters, in tussock grass (Ichu spp.) with some rocks or bushes.
17.- Birds Watching: Line-fronted Canastero – Asthenes urubambensis.
16-16.5 cm. The nomínate urubambensis race is present within the Sanctuary. Upper-parts dark plain brown, with pale streaking on sides of the head and fore-crown. Chin spot orange and under- parts heavily streaked whitish and brown. Tail dark brown. More arboreal than other members of the genus, hopping along branches with tail slightly elevated, but when on the ground walks like a pipit probing mossy clumps. The song is a thin ascending trill. Usually solitary, inhabiting Polylepis spp. graves, elfin forest and mossy slopes with small bushes. Found above 3100 meters and up to 4300 meters in Polylepis.
18.- Birds Watching: Junin Canastero – Asthenes virgata.
17-17.5 cm. Peruvian endemic. Heavily streaked blackish and whitish above and below with center of belly whitish. Orange chin spot. Only outer webs of tail feathers rufous. Behavior like others ofthe genus – individuals or pairs run quickly between grass tussocks and small bushes. The song is typical also, a descending series of buzzy notes – ‘tzee-tzee-tzee-tzee-tzee-tree-trreeeeee’, delivered from atop a small bush or tussock. Found at tree line where elfin forest or semi-humid scrub grades into grassland with small bushes and ferns, or in lush ungrazed tussock grass. Within the Sanctuary known only from the right bank of the Urubamba river, above Torontoy. At elevations of 3350 – 4500 meters.
19.- Birds Watching: Spotted Barbtall – Premnoplex brunnescens.
13-14 cm. A smallish, obscure, dark brown furnariid with a light buff superciliary, buff throat and brown under-parts spotted with large oval, buff spots bordered with black. Can be found alone or with mixed species flocks. Climbs trunks and branches in dark forest undergrowth. The infrequently heard song is a fast high-pitched trill. Inhabits humid montane and sub-montane forest up to about 2500 meters. Best looked for in the Sanctuary in the Mandor and Aobamba valleys.
20.- Birds Watching: Pearled Treerunner – Margarornis squamiger.
14-15 cm. Upper-parts and wings a rich chestnut. Distinct creamy-white superciliary. Under-parts plain brown profusely dotted with large oval-shaped whitish-yellow, black-edged spots. Usually found with mixed species flocks in groups of 1-8 individuals and is one of the more conspicuous members of these flocks. The infrequently heard song is a simple weak trill or spaced single notes. Hitches along mossy trunks and limbs in wet montane and elfin forest at mid-levels at elevations of 2000 to 3600 meters, seemingly commoner at higher elevations. A rather common bird of the humid temperate forest, often seen along the Inca Trail between Sayacmarca and Phuyupatamarca.
21.- Birds Watching: Streaked Tuftedcheek – Pseudocolaptes boissonneautii.
20-21 cm. A large distinct furnarid. Upper-parts brown, streaked with buff. Rump and tail rufous. Distinct, elongated tuft of white feathers on the side of the neck. Under-parts buffy-white with brown scaling on the breast, gradually deepening to fulvous on the belly. Usually encountered singly within mixed species flocks and invariably investigating the centers of epiphytes for invertebrates, where they often stay for long periods, hammering and rummaging. The call is a harsh, Sharp ‘chit’ and the song is a combination of two ‘chit’ notes followed by a fast trill. Usually well above the ground in humid montane and elfin forest mostly at elevations of 2300 – 3400 meters. Can be seen throughout the Sanctuary in suitable habitat.
22.- Birds Watching: Montane Foliage-gleaner – Anabacerthia striaticollis.
16 cm. The only foliage-gleaner found within the Sanctuary. Mostly brown with a bright rufous tail and conspicuous whitish eye-ring and narrow post-ocular streak, giving the bird a ‘spectacled’ appearance. A fairly easily-observed bird of sub-montane forest and forest borders and edge. Forages in an active manner at mid and upper levels, often hanging upside down as it probes into dead leaf clusters, on which ¡t appears to specialize. Often accompanies mixed species flocks but is just as likely to be encountered alone or in pairs. The call is a sharp ’pick’ note and the song is a nondescript dry series of notes given at dawn. Found up to 2400 meters in elevation and thus only likely to be encountered in the lower pairs of the Sanctuary such as in the Mandor and Aobamba valleys.
23.- Birds Watching: Peruvian Treehunter – Thripadectes scrutator.
22-24 cm. A large, dark, robust furnarid with a heavy black bill and heavily streaked on the crown, upper back and under-parts. Wings and tail chestnut. Hard to see and seldom encountered. Always alone away from mixed flocks, foraging in the undergrowth of humid montane forest, often were there are large stands of Chusquea spp bamboo. Birds move slowly, working their way along stems, often flicking their wings. The song is a loud descending rattle which accelerates towards the end. Found between 2500 meters and tree-line. Rare or overlooked.
24.- Birds Watching: Striped Treehunter – Thripadectes holostictus.
20-21 cm. Very similar to the preceding species but found at lower elevations. Above dark brown heavily streaked with buff, wings more rufescent. Rumps and tail rufous chestnut. Below brown with blurred buff streaking on the throat and breast. Equally difficult to see and seldom seen. Differs from Peruvian Tree hunter by streaking on upper-parts extending down onto lower back. Behavior and habitat similar to that species, but seems more likely to be found with mixed species flocks. The song ¡s a fast, slightly descending trill. Likely to be encountered in dense forest up to 3000 meters in elevation, but mostly below 2500 meters.
25.- Birds Watching: Streaked Xenops – Xenops rutilans.
12 cm. The only xenops at Machu Picchu. A small arboreal furnarid with a distinct upturned lower mandible. Prominent silvery-white malar streak. Mostly brown with a rufous tail, prominently streaked on the under-parts, crown, neck and upper mantle. Found in humid pre-montane forest and forest edge as well as second-growth and lighter woodland. Forages in the mid to lower story by working along or underneath slender branches, swiveling from side to side, flaking off dead wood or bark. Often with mixed species flocks. The call is a thin series of descending notes. Occurs at elevations up to 2500 meters and only likely to be seen in the lower parts of the Sanctuary. Not uncommon along the railway track near Puente Ruinas railway station.
Birds of Machu Picchu Classification
- Birds of Machu Picchu Species Accounts Part1
- Birds of Machu Picchu Species Accounts Part2
- Birds of Machu Picchu Species Accounts Part3
- Birds of Machu Picchu Specied Accounts Part4
- Bird Watching in Machupicchu Species Accounts Part5
- Machu Picchu Species Accounts Part 6 Birds Watching in Peru
- Return to Birds of Machu Picchu Classification