MANU BIRD WATCHING
Location: Madre de Dios
Superficie : 274 690 ha
attitudinal Rango: 450_600 msnm
OBJECTIVES OF THE AREA OF MANU PARK BIRD:
Protect a representative sample of biodiversity and landscapes of low jungle, jungle and the Andes of southeastern Peru. Encourage tourism and contribute to its development in the park and in their sphere of influence, based on ecological criteria and culturally compatible. Promote and facilitate research, education and recreation. Contribute to the preservation of archaeological heritage. -To contribute to the recognition and protection of cultural diversity and self-determination of indigenous peoples of the area, consistent with the other objectives
Official Guide | South Park Forest. Develop adequate management capacity, including participation and consultation of various stakeholders involved with the park manu bird
DESCRIPTION – MANU NATIONAL PARK BIRD :
The Manu National Park is one of the most important eco-regions of the country and an area of mega diversity; perhaps the park’s most biologically diverse protected the planet. It is one of the few territorial spaces ranging from frigid highlands, in excess of 4000 meters, rugged forested mountains that give rise jungle river wolves are like veins that nourish the immense living organism that is the Amazon of the manu bird
Complex river system. This diversity of ecosystems and low anthropogenic disturbance in a vast area, have made manifest biodiversity unique and splendid way, both flora and fauna and the magnificent scenery.
Manu Tropical forests are among the least by man, where ecological and evolutionary processes occur almost touched intervention, although this does not preclude it also has an enormous cultural wealth, represented by existing indigenous populations at different levels of contact with abroad, and an interesting archaeological heritage, not yet revealed the full extent.
Since 1977, the park holds the status of Biosphere Reserve, awarded by UNESCO, and circling the Territorial Reserve Kugapakori and Nahua ethnic groups, and the National Shrine Megantoni Communal Reserve Amarakaeri are; territories, along with the river basin Mapacho are intended to be integrated into the Manu Biosphere Reserve.
This huge park, full of life, was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, and next to Machu Picchu is one of our
HISTORY – MANU BIRD :
The history of this vast region Myth inseparable paititi the famous lost city is still jealous regret his impregnable saved by geography. After aparo: -. Petroglyphs Pusharo 192 “Considered a map would confirm its existence, several expeditions of all calibers have inspected the area without success.
The Inca presence in the area, highly probable and mentioned by chroniclers of the early years of the conquest, has been relatively confirmed by findings of several modern buildings in the Mameria not yet sufficiently studied.
In colonial times only two expeditions in 1567 would have been introduced in the Upper Madre de Dios. Just in 1861 Colonel Faustino Maldonado crossed the river Madre de Dios starting from Paucartambo and finding tragic end in Beni (Bolivia) river. In his honor, Fitzcarrald, lord of the rubber in the south, named the Union of the Tambopata river with as Puerto Maldonado. The latter, in turn, bandaged the area impassable Manu in 1890, discovering a 9 km association between the basins of Ucayali and Madre de Dios, since called Fitzcarrald Isthmus. Happily, the extraction of rubber and JS dire consequences concentrated in the Madre de Dios, south of its confluence with the Manu Park away from the present. In 1940, a forced landing in the Manu River near river Pinquén, Ignored reported a hamlet that was not on the maps the oldest member had reached Brazil in early 1900 in search of rubber Celestino Kalinowski, Peruvian biologist and son of a famous Polish naturalist who came to Peru in 1887, toured much of the Peruvian Amazon. What I observed in the vicinity of Manu, however, led him to urgently request the Peruvian State considers this place as a national park. Thus, in 1967, by the biggest lan Grimwood, English naturalist, returns to the area of Manu to show evidence of their proposal. A year later, the results of this expedition and a formal proposal, the Peruvian government declared the entire river basin Manu Reserved Zone, prohibiting the hunting and marketing of timber. In 1973, the reserve amounted to National Park status in 1977 was declared a Biosphere Reserve by Unesco and, ten years later, Natural Heritage
AMAZON BIRDS MANU FIELD /HOW TO LOOK FOR AND WATCH BIRDS IN MANU
The Manu area represents one of the greatest challenges for a birder. Armed with the new Birds of Peru amazon field guide and with a bit of homework behind you (on not only the distribution and plumage characteristics, but also the vocalisations) you will be able to identify a basket full of birds. However, some birds will go unidentified, and birders must have a healthy willingness to let such observations pass unidentified unless, of course, you have an experienced bird tour amazon leader with you. Ornithologists and birders who have lived and worked in Manu filed for long periods still see new species that have eluded them for many years, often in an area they have walked countless times before. Every excursion into the Manu Biosphere is a learning experience When choosing a tour to Manu,some factors should be taken into account. Is the area protected? Are the large indicator species such as currasows (Cracidae) or trumpeters (Psophilidae) still occur there? Does the tour have access to an ox-bow lake and canoes on the lake? Does it have access to the rainforest canopy in the form of canopy towers or walkways? Are there stands of bamboo that trails pass through and are there plenty of trails traversing different forest types? Is there a nearby macaw lick? Are the boats and vehicles reliable? Does the tour leader know the birds and their calls? If the answer to all these questions is yes, then you should have a very good birding tour. There are several lodges in the Manu amazon field that are superb birding locations to base yourself at and on a typical trip you would stay at 4 at least. Wherever you go, explore all the possible habitats at your disposal and make sure you walk through different parts of the forest on different trails. Try to visit seasonally flooded, terra firme and transitional floodplain forests,bamboo patches, ox-bow lakes, and river margins, and use any canopy towers or platforms available. Birds in the cloud forests and highlands are active through most of the day with no discernable peak in activity, especially if there is mist and light drizzle. In the lowland rainforests, birds are most active from dawn until about 10am and so early starts are essential (a small number of birds are even most vocal during the predawn chorus). It is probably wise to take a siesta during the heat of mid-day/early afternoon, and follow it with some late afternoon and night birding. Walk slowly and be alert for bird sounds. Importantly, learn to recognise the distinctive sounds of an approaching canopy or under-story flock (see below) and the special calls made by antbirds at an army ant swarm. Some birds only sing for a few weeks out of the year (this should be an integral part of your pre-tour homework) and even then many are very, very hard to see, for example the antpittas (Formicaridae) and the rails and crakes (Rallidae). Patience is needed for many of the species and, on a first trip to Manu, some of the smaller tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrranidae) and antwrens (Thamnophilidae) will initially go unidentified. Around lodge clearings, over rivers and along lake edges, many of the more prominent species such as herons (Ardeidae), parrots (Psittacidae), larger flycatchers and oropendolas (Icteridae)will be seen, but it is in the forest interior that the more enticingand mysterious birds such as antbirds (Thamnophilidae), ovenbirds (Furnaridae) and manakins (Pipridae)will be found
Canopy and Understorey Mixed Flocks
Many different species in the Amazon flock toge ther in mixed feeding flocks that forage through the forest together. There are two main categories: canopy flocks and mid-, or under-story flocks that both defend a communal territory against neighbouring rival flocks. Understorey flocks tend to roost near water and can often be found near quebrada’s at dawn and dusk. When the two kinds of flock join together, there can be as many as 80 species of birds together, with each species represented as a pair. Each flock has a leader, the cohesive element in the group, and it is always of the same species. In Manu for example, canopy flocks are led by White-winged Shrike-tanagers (Lanio versicolor) and under-story flocks are led by the noisy and highly active Bluish-slate Antshrike. The advantage of being part of a flock is that there are more pairs of eyes to look for predators such as forest-falcons (Micrastur sp.). All flock members have distinctive alarm calls that other participants recognise as warning signals. There is little competition for food amongst flock members. Each species uniquely partition food resources by subtle differences in their foraging ecology. For example, different Myrmotherula and Epinecrophylla antwrens glean the undersides of leaves or investigate dead leaf clusters but at differen the ights; woodcreepers probe into bark; foliage-gleaners rummage in dead palm leaves; tanagers search for small fruits; trogons for large arthropods; and flycatchers seek winged arthropods in the shady understorey. The list goes on and on. Learning to recognise the calls of the flock leaders will help greatly when trying to locate these species-rich flocks. Remember, in the Amazonb birds of a feather do not necessarily flock together!
Army Ant Followers
Obligate army ant followers are bird species whose ecology is tied closely to that of army ants. In fact they are rarely found away from them, unless it is to move or disperse between different ant swarms. These species don’t actually eat the highly carnivorous ants, which are full of formic acid and unpalatable, but prey on the fleeing grasshoppers, spiders, other arthropods and even frogs, that are trying to escape the marauding hoards of ants that carpet the forest at all levels. This is one of the great wildlife experiences of the Amazon and to watch an ant swarm in full swing with attendant birds is a wonderful bird-watching spectacle.Many of the species that attend the swarm belong to the typical antbird family, which, although consisting mostly of non ant-following species, derives its name from a few species of professional army ant followers, such as the White-throated Antbird and Black-spotted Bare-eye. Other antbird species only attend opportunistically at swarms. These include the Sooty, Plumbeous, and White-browed Antbirds.
Some of the most enigmatic Amazonian species are the Manakins. These compact and energetic birds can be difficult to see unless you find a display area. Most hover-glean for small fruits and many have modified flight feathers that make whirring and snapping sounds. They live mainly in the forest interior, sometimes coming to the forest edge for fruits. They have elaborate courtship displays that vary from species to species, where two or more brightly coloured males display at courtship arenas known as leks. These leks can be found scattered around the forest. Whilst in some areas of lowland Manu to amazon birds , three or four species may lek in close proximity to each other (e.g. Round-tailed, Blue-crowned and Blue-backed Manakins), there are subtle differences in the exact positions of the leks between species. Species select lekking sites based on topography, vegetation complexity at different heights, the proximity to food and other resources, the proximity to other leks, and probably the local abundance of females. In comparison to the gaudy and spectacular males, the females are much duller in appearance, being generally shades of olive. To illustrate just how complex manakin courtship displays can be, take a look at the Blue-backed Manakin. Two males perch on a gently sloping branch about a metre off the ground, giving a loud characteristic song throughout the day. When a female arrives, attracted by the singing, the males go into full display, cart-wheeling over each-other, with bouts of sliding along the display branch, whilst calling more and more rapidly until they suddenly stop dead. Then one of the male’s will emit a loud ‘swee..ee..eek’. After that only one male continues to display, crouching and singing softly and periodically making short, slow circular flights with rapidly fluttering wings. This may culminate in copulation.
Cotinga’s are another gaudy and brilliantly plumaged family that, like the manakins, are strictly American. Many species are showy, with deep reds and shades of mauve, purple and blue, such as the common group of lustrous blue cotinga’s. Cotingas are predominantly frugivorous and are largely confined to life in the forest canopy. Species typically found in Manu include the dazzling Spangled and Plum-throated Cotingas of the lowlands, and the furtive Barred and Band-tailed Fruiteater’s of the higher elevation cloud forests, which are also home to the Andean Cock of the Rock. Along with the strange looking Amazonian Umbrellabird with its crown of feathers and long bare wattle, these species are real prizes to be found and enjoyed by visitors and many can be seen with ease if you have access to the forest canopy via a platform or canopy tower.
Toucans, Aracaris and Toucanets (Ramphastidae)
Toucans and their allies, the aracaris and toucanets are often found feeding in the same fruiting trees as cotingas (cotingidae)and other frugivores. They are South American counterparts to the hornbills (tockus sp.)of the Old World and are readily recognised by their large colourful bills and the astounding ability to lay their tail flat over their backs. Raucous and brightly coloured, this family is a conspicuous member of the forest bird community from tree-line down. They nest in holes in trees and roam the forest in groups searching for fruit, supplemented with insects and not beyond raiding nests of other birds for nestlings and eggs. Aracaris, the smaller members of the toucan family, include chestnut-eared – perhaps the most familiar, ivory-billed, curl-crested,- with its curiously curled, plastic-like crown feathers, many-banded and lettered – named for the strange scribble-like markings along the cutting edge of the bill. Among the toucanets are the Andean, blue-banded and the croaking golden-collared. The sight of a Gray- breasted mountain Toucan perched amidst red bromeliads in the cloud forest will not be forgotten. The large toucans of the Amazon that are a characteristic sound of the late
The treetops are also the home of another typically American family, the tanagers. They are important distributors of
seeds of rainforest trees, shrubs and vines. The renowned ornithologist Alexander Skutch once wrote:“To stand in bright morning sunshine before a tree laden with ripening berries is one of the great delights of bird-watching in
tropical America. Among the constantly changing throng of birds that gather for the feast are brisk, tiny manakins, flycatchers large and small, plainly clad thrushes and vireos, wood-warblers and woodpeckers. But, nearly always, the tanager family provides the greatest number of species and individuals and most of the colour”, said renowned sage Alexander Skutch. Tanagers have perhaps reached their greatest diversity and gaudiness in the misty cloud fo
rests and foothills of the Andes, but they are well represented in the Amazon. They draw attention to themselves with distinct foraging calls as they move through the forest canopy, often accompanying other predominantly frugivorous and omnivorous species in mixed canopy feeding flocks or feeding aggregations at fruiting trees. Honeycreepers and Dacnis are specialised tanagers that are designed to extract nectar from flowers; their bills are thinner and longer than those of true tanagers and are well suited for probing the corolla of flowers and extracting nectar with a fr
inged tongue. They are brightly coloured little birds, the males being strikingly black and purple, deep blue, turquoise, green and bright yellow, although the females are duller. At a fruiting or flowering tree in the forests of the Manu Biosphere Reserve, the following might be seen in the same tree at the same time: green and gold, slaty, saffron-crowned, orange-eared, golden-eared, beryl-spangled, blue-cappped, blue and black and golden tanagers
, blue dacnis, orange-bellied euphonia and more,—a vision to whet anyone’s appetite for Amazonian birding.
Typical (Thamnophiidae) and Ground Antbirds (Formicariidae)
The majority of the antbird family are to be found occupying various niches in the forest away from ant swarms. They vary in size from small to medium sized birds and up to 30 or 40 species may be found at the same locality in the Amazon. They consist of several groups: antshrikes, antbirds, antwrens, gnateaters, anthrushesand antpittas. The latter two are terrestrial and comprise of the separate ground-antbird family. They are inconspicuous and shy and often only betray their presence with far carrying calls and songs. Antpittas are the stuff of legend and their names often reflect that—for example, the Elusive Antpitta! (Grallaria eludens) Antwrens, antshrikes and antbirds are more easily seen species, occupying a variety of microhabitats, often accompanying mixed species flocks. Most show marked sexual dimorphism with males being shades of grey and black and females exhibiting shades of brown, buff and rufous. They feed by gleaning foliage for arthropods at all levels from the ground to the sub-canopy. Some
are restricted to bamboo, such as the Ornate and Iherings Antwren; some to lake edges and swamps such as the Band-tailed and Silvered antbird. A number of species are highly arboreal and never descend far from the canopy, like the Chestnut-winged Antwren, the globally-threatened Yellow-rumped Antwren or Sclaters Antwren. Other
species show a distinct preference for the understorey microhabitat features such as White-browed and Black-faced Antbird, Dusky-throated Antshrike and Long-winged Antwren
Predators:Falcons, Kites and Eagles (Accipitridae)
Understorey birds have to deal with predators in the form of forest-falcons that lurk in vine tangles following mixed feeding flocks, just waiting for a chance to snatch an unwary bird. Birds of prey in general, have occupied virtually every rainforest niche. Plumbeous and Swallow-tailed Kites hawk above the rainforest canopyfor large flying invertebrates. Double-toothed kites follow monkeys, snatching arthropods flushed as the primates move through the forest. Accipiters such as Bicoloured and Plain-breasted Hawk dash through undergrowth also after smaller birds. The Snail Kite and Black-collared Hawk specialise in lake edge habitats. Ornate,and Black Hawk-Eagles share the canopy with other species such as the Short-tailed and Slate-coloured Hawk. The largest diurnal predators are the Black-and-Chestnut Eagle and Solitary Eagle of cloud forest habitats and the Harpy Eagle and Crested Eagle of the lowland forests. These eagles reach up to 40 inches in length and they feed on large arboreal mammals such as monkeys and sloths. Despite their size, the Harpy and Crested eagles are difficult to see as they seldom soar and usually keep within the tree crowns and usually only show themselves when crossing rivers or clearings.
Nocturnal Predators (Strigidae and Caprimulgidae)
At dusk, the diurnal hawks, eagles and falcons change shifts with the owls, while the nocturnal invertebrate population is also subject to predation by a number of spceis including nighthawks, nightjars and potoos. Owls (Stigidae) are most often heard rather than seen. Spectacled Owls give their long reverberating calls, screech-owls hoot around lodge clearings, the magnificent crested owl replaces the eagles hunting in the sub-canopy and the tiny Amazonian and Yungas Pygmy Owls trills in the canopy between insect-hunting bouts. The cosmopolitan nightjars and nighthawks occupy various niches, searching for insects and moths in the canopy, along rivers and in the under-story. Potoos , which have evolved in convergence with the Old World frogmouths, sit motionless all day mimicking dead tree limbs and they become active at dusk giving haunting cries as the sun sets or at full moon, and silently float through the forest catching moths during the night
.Along the Rivers and Oxbow Lakes
Many Amazonian birds are best looked for and foundalong rivers and oxbow lakes. As Amazonian rivers drop in level during the dry season between June and September,many birds take advantage of the exposed sandy beaches to raise their young. On littledisturbed rivers such as the Manu, Orinoco Goose, Muscovy Duck, Pied Lapwing,
Collared Plover and Sand-coloured Nighthawk can be found nesting. Two freshwater terns, the dainty Yellow-billed and the more powerful Large-billed Tern, share the fish according to size and take advantage of the beaches for breeding along with Black Skimmers. Hidden just a few metres inside the forest are the ox-bow lakes formed as the rivers meander and finally cut through the narrow neck of an exaggerated loop,leaving the old river bed as a lake. The su ccessional ‘life cycle’ of these lakes—from being newly created to eventually returning to forest after a lengthy process of colonisation by aquatic vegetation and colonial plants such as Cecropia sp followed by Ficus spp.,—can take several hundred years. Oxbow lakes create a distinct habitat that is used by the river–nesting terns and ducks, whilst numerous heron species are another common feature. The more conspicuous species, such as Snowy and Great Egrets,Cocoi Heron and Roseate Spoonbill are usua lly seen along the rivers, along with American Wood-stork and the giant yet improbable Jabiru! The more shy and unobtrusive species are, however, mostly found under the overhanging vegetation, along the shady shores of the ox-bow lakes. Agami Heron and both Striated and Boat-billed Heron find a home here along with Green Ibis and Anhinga, the latter often swimming with just its elongated neck show ing above the water while the body remains submerged, giving rise to another of its common names – ‘snake-bird’.One strange ox-bow lake inhabitant is the hoatzin, a prehistoric-looking turkey-like bird that grunts and hisses
in the lakeside vegetation. The Hoatzin, despite its looks,not prehistoric at all.It nests on flimsy stick platform
s in bushes above the water but its most unique characteristic are the ‘hooks’ situated and prot ruding from the bend of the wing of the young nestlings. This enables the young birds to clamber back up to the nest after they have ejected into the water to escape the attentions of a predator—a neat defence mechanism and a good survival strate
gy. The hooks become restigal when the birds reach adulthood.
Tyrant- Flycatchers (Tyrannidae)
The tyrant-flycatcher group is one of the most species rich Neotropical bird families including small tody-tyrants and tody-flycat chers, canopy Elaenia’s and tyrannulets,large noisy attilas and the obscure mourners. Many conspicuous species oftyrant-flycatchers are evident on the tranquil oxbow lakes and rivers, the most common being Tropical Kingbird, Social and Grey-capped Flycatchers, and both Great and Lesser Kiskadee’s. Not all, however, are found along the lakes and rivers. Indeed, the vast majority prefer forest interior habitats,occupying a rich diversity of niches from ground-level to the forest canopy. Some also specialize in bamboo thickets, such as the Dusky-tailed and Large-headed Flatbill, White-cheeked Tody-tyrant and Flammulated Bamboo-tyrant. Others, such as the Sulphury Flycatcher are dependent of palms. Many tyrant-flycatchers are canopy dwellers and they can be almost impossible to see andidentify until birders become familiar with their calls and song. The cloud forest particularly has a myriad of small flycatchers that pose many identification problems.
Parrots, Parakeets, Parrotlets and Macaws (Psittacidae)
Wherever you are in Manu – canoeing on an oxbow lake, taking a leisurely river trip or walking through the mosaic of forests ona sunny afternoon—the constant chatter of parakeets or the explosive cries of the macaws are a constant companion. Noisy,gregarious and gaudy, parrots such as the tin y Dusky-billed Parrotlet, flocks of White-eyed, Dusky-headed or Cobalt-winged Parakeets, and even the bigger, stockier Yellow-crowned, Scaly-naped or Mealy Parrots
are a common sight throughout Manu. The large macaws, and their smaller relatives -Chestnut-fronted and Red-bellied Macaws are an integral part of the makeup of Manu.No trip to the tropical forests of Manu would be complete without a visit to one of the great Neotropical wildlife spectacles: a macaw lick. Several clay-licks are known from the lowland Manu region and most are easy to visit. Great numbers of parrots gather at these traditional sites to eat clay, which is essential to their digestion, acting as a neutralising agent for the mild poisons that exist in the limited variety of fruits they are obliged to eat during the dry season from July to September. Just after dawn, huge numbers of Blue-headed, Mealy and Yellow-headed Parrots, are joined by a smaller number of gaudy Orange-cheeked Parrots (Pionopsitta barrabandi)gathering at the lick. On occasion, Dusky-cheeked and Cobalt-winged Parakeets may also be present,adding to the astonishing clamour. After they have fed sufficiently, there follows amassive coordinated response to a seemingly invisible signal, and fly from the lick in a breathtaking crescendo of noise and colour,circling briefly before heading into the forest, leaving an eerie silence in their wake.Now the macaws begin to gather. They arrive in pairs and family groups of three and four, calling in a subdued manner, and begin to gather in the trees above the lick.As the numbers grow they seem to gain in confidence and drop lower and lower until they are just above the lick. Suddenly, one brave individual drops onto the clay bank,signalling for all and sundry to join the party. For perhaps an hour the great colourful macaws caw and squabble on the bank as they get their bi-daily intake of clay.Suddenly, as with the parrots that preceded them, they leave the lick in a swirling multicoloured mass and break up into family groups and pairs to get on with their daily routine in the forest. The lick is then deserted and silent until the next day.Birding in Manu holds something for all and here we have mentioned only a few of the families and species to be found. There are plenty of easy-to-see and interesting birds for less intense observers and difficult identification problems to keep in-depth observers busy for years. There are still mysteries to be solved and too many questionsto be answered in a single lifetime. You will find yourself asking, why do they fly in large numbers over the river at dusk? What does that bird feed on? Why does it do that? Where does it nest and what does its nest look like? One thing is for sure, Manu will never lose its attraction and magnetism for birdwatchers, and ornithologists alike.
Birding Tools in Manu
Binoculars with good light gathering capabilities and close focusing in the 8x to 10x range are recommended. A spotting scope with a 25x–50x fixed wide angle lens can be useful for more lethargic species such as Trogons and Puffbirds, and a great asset if you have access to the rainforest canopy in the form static tree platforms. A telescope is a great help for scanning the distant tree crowns for Cotingas or observing feeding aggregations of birds at a distant fruiting tree. A recorder of some kind and a shotgun microphone can be a useful tool for enticing difficult species out of their tangledabodes, though experience and care is needed with this kind of equipment. For a trip to Manu layers of clothing are the way to go as you will be birding in the damp and cool cloud forests, and Andean grasslands as well as the hot and sticky Amazon rainforest. A fold away umbrella is recommended rather than rain jackets which are too hot in the lowlands. Insect problems are few and one bottle of repellent for the bamboo should do. Waterproof footwear (wellies or neos) are recommended for muddy trails. A good headlamp with spare batteries and bulb is essential for night-birding and dimly lit lodges.