Watch Bird – Cusco Apurímac 8D/7N

Watch Bird – Cusco and Apurímac .

Our itinerary “Birding Tour Peru: Cusco and Apurímac is designed to provide you with one of the best selections of endemic, range-restricted, and classic Andean species in one of the most popular and famous locations in South America and the world, Cusco – and in one week only. Cusco is visited by thousands of tourists every year due to its rich culture and archaeology, but few people know that the Cusco Region also possesses a large number of different ecosystems and holds several endemic birds that are only found here.
We will start our trip in Cusco, visiting the Huacarpay wetlands as an introduction to several Andean species and looking for our first endemic, Rusty-fronted Canastero. Then the trip will take us to the picturesque town of Ollantaytambo to stay at the comfortable Hotel Pakaritampu. The gardens of this beautiful, small hotel hold our second target of the day, the endemic Bearded Mountaineer. We will use the Hotel Pakaritampu as our base for the next three nights in order to explore the famous Abra Malaga Pass mountain area.
The Polylepis temperate forest is one of the most endangered ecosystems in the Andes, with only a few patches of forest remaining. We will spend a full day at the base of the snow-capped Veronica mountain, looking for the endemic and near endemic Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant, White-browed Tit-Spinetail, Tawny Tit-Spinetail, Creamy-crested Spinetail, Junin Canastero, White-tufted Sunbeam, and with luck the Critically Endangered (IUCN) Royal Cinclodes. Below the mountain pass the road descends into the cloudforest, where several flocks of mountain tanagers are often seen, including the endemic Parodi’s Hemispingus, and here we have our first chance for the endemic Inca Wren and Cuzco Brushfinch.
After three nights in Ollantaytambo we will take a train to Aguas Calientes (now officially Machu Picchu Pueblo) and visit Machu Picchu. We shall spend a couple of hours on the site for those who want to briefly visit and take pictures of the site, but, most importantly, we will have another chance for Inca Wren. Birding the lush tropical forest below Machu Picchu will provide also good chances for the endemic Masked Fruiteater and the range-restricted Slaty Tanager.
Finally, the Apurímac valley near Cusco provides excellent chances to add more endemic birds to the trip list, such as Apurímac Spinetail, Apurímac Brushfinch, Chestnut-breasted Mountain Finch, the localized Vilcabamba Tapaculo, and Koepcke’s Screech Owl. In addition to this amazing list of species you will be able to have close-up views of the majestic Andean Condor at the condor viewpoint at Chonta and a good opportunity for the mysterious Buff-fronted Owl.
This itinerary could easily be combined with custom dates for our Central Peru Tour, Northern Peru Tour, and Northern Ecuador Tour with one night in Lima required. Please ask us for details.

ITINERARY

Watch Bird – Cusco and Apurímac 8D/7N .

Watch Bird Day 01. Flight to Cusco, birding the Cusco area, transfer to Ollantaytambo

We will have an early flight from Lima to the city of Cusco and transfer to the Huacarpay Lake. We will explore the arid scrub surroundings, looking for the endemic Rusty-fronted Canastero. The reeds around the lake hold Yellow-winged Blackbird, Many-colored Rush Tyrant, and Wren-like Rushbird. Other birds include Band-tailed Seedeater, Blue-and-yellow Tanager, Chiguanco Thrush, Streak-fronted Thornbird, Andean Flicker,Green-tailed Trainbearer, Golden-billed Saltator, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Andean Lapwing, and several waterfowl such as Puna Teal, Yellow-billed Pintail, Yellow-billed Teal, Cinnamon Teal, White-tufted Grebe, Andean Coot, Puna Ibis, and others. We will then transfer to Ollantaytambo, where we will spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying the hotel gardens, looking for Black-throated Flowerpiercer and the endemic Bearded Mountaineer.
Overnight: Hotel Pakaritampu, Ollantaytambo

Watch Bird Day 02. Birding the Abra Malaga mountain pass .

We will have an early start to explore the famous Abra Malaga mountain pass at the base of the Veronica snowcapped mountain. This area is good for several range-restricted Polylepis species such as White-browed Tit-Spinetail, Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant, Giant Conebill, Line-fronted Canastero, Streak-headed Antpitta,Puna Tapaculo, Tit-like Dacnis,Junin Canastero, Tawny Tit-Spinetail, and with some luck the Critical Endangered (IUCN) Royal Cinclodes. Other birds in the area might include our first chance for Andean Condor,Andean Goose, Great Sapphirewing, the endemic White-tufted Sunbeam, Shining Sunbeam,Andean Parakeet, Short-billed Pipit, and Mountain Caracara.
Overnight: Hotel Pakaritampu, Ollantaytambo

Watch Bird Day 03. Birding the Quillabamba road

Today we will focus on species that occur at the lowest parts of the Abra Malaga mountain pass along the Quillabamba Road. We will look for the endemics Parodi’s Hemispingus,Inca Wren, Cuzco Brushfinch,Marcapata Spinetail, and Unstreaked Tit-Tyrant, and forGolden-collared Tanager, Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager, Grass-green Tanager, Plushcap,Black-eared Hemispingus, Three-striped Hemispingus, Puna Thistletail, Diademed Tapaculoand Yungas Pygmy Owl.
Overnight: Pakaritampu, Ollantaytambo

Watch Bird Day 04. Visit to Machu Picchu and birding the Area

After a 1.5-hour train ride from Ollantaytambo we will reach Aguas Calientes, the gateway to the world-famous Machu Picchu ruins. We will spend a couple of hours visiting the ruins and looking for the endemic Inca Wren and for Pale-legged Warbler. In the afternoon we will walk along the railway, looking for Highland Motmot, Torrent Duck, White-capped Dipper, Saffron-crowned and Blue-necked Tanagers, Azara’s Spinetail, Grey-breasted Wood Wren, Torrent Tyrannulet, White-bellied Hummingbird, Slate-throated Whitestart, and others.
Overnight: Casa Andina Classic Machu Picchu

Watch Bird Day 05. Birding the Mandor Valley, transfer to Cusco

We have a full morning to explore the lush forest on the way to the Mandor Valley near Aguas Calientes, looking for the endemic Masked Fruiteater, Versicolored Barbet, Golden-naped and Silver-backed Tanager, Blue-naped Chlorophonia, White-eared and Andean Solitaires, Ashy-headed, Plumbeous-crowned, Mottled-cheeked, and Sclater’s Tyrannulets,Ocellated Piculet, Chestnut-capped Brushfinch, Mitred Parakeet,Plum-crowned Parrot, Slaty Tanager, Barred Becard, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Capped Conebill, the endemic Green-and-white Hummingbird, and Dusky-green Oropendola. In the afternoon we will return to Ollantaytambo by train and then transfer to Cusco.
Overnight: Casa Andina Cusco Hotel

Watch Bird Day 06. The Andean Condor and Limatambo

We will drive to Limatambo and explore the condor viewpoint at Chonta, where we will have close-up encounters with Andean Condor. Other birds in the area include American Kestrel,Variable Hawk, Aplomado Falcon, and Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle. Our lodge grounds are good for the seldom-seen Buff-fronted Owl (which will be the main target here), Pacific Pygmy Owl, and the localized race of the endemic Koepcke’s Screech Owl (sometimes called Apurímac Screech Owl).
Overnight: Yoga Limatomba Guesthouse, Limatomba

Watch Bird Day 07. Birding the Mollepata Area

Today we will explore the Mollepata valley, looking for the localized and endemic Vilcabamba Tapaculo,Creamy-crested Spinetail, Apurímac Brushfinch, Apurímac Spinetail,Chestnut-breasted Brushfinch,Tyrian Metaltail, and others. Here we also will have a second chance for Buff-fronted Owl after dusk.
Overnight: Yoga Limatomba Guesthouse, Limatomba

Watch Bird Day 08. Departure tour

After an exciting week of birding in the Andes we will return to Cusco to connect with our domestic flight back to Lima, where the tour ends.
Please note that the itinerary cannot be guaranteed as it is only a rough guide and can be changed (usually slightly) due to factors such as availability of accommodation, updated information on the state of accommodation, roads, or birding sites, the discretion of the guides and other factors.

 

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