Machu Picchu & Abra Malaga, Peru 2024 with Maine Audubon

November 13-22, 2024

with Jesse Fagan & Doug Hitchcox

Click here to see the PDF itinerary for this tour.

Torrent Duck by participant Bob Speare

Important Note: We look forward to birding with you! To see the most recent update of our pre-tour and on-tour protocols and our requirements for travel, please visit our health protocols page.

Perched imposingly atop a high ridge surrounded by rugged, forested mountains, the ruins at Machu Picchu tower above the rushing waters of the Rio Urubamba snaking its way fifteen-hundred feet below. By staying two nights (at 6500 feet, on the outskirts of Aguas Calientes), we will be able to experience the site both culturally and for its great birding. And though the ruins alone are worth the visit, the subtropical slopes and the narrow gorge below are surprisingly good for birds.

We regularly see such knockouts as Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Highland Motmot, Lyre-tailed Nightjar, White-eared Solitaire, Inga trees full of hummingbirds (including the endemic Green-and-white), numerous vivid tanagers (including the scarce Silvery), and the endemic Masked Fruiteater.

We will also work both sides of the eastern cordillera, traveling to the high pass at Abra Malaga along the trace that crosses the Andes on its way to the Amazonian lowlands. Buffering the upper limits of these habitats is the starkly beautiful puna grassland dotted with llamas, alpacas, and the very occasional cluster of stone houses, corrals, and fences erected by Quechua-speaking families.

The birding is impressive on both sides of the pass including Peruvian Sierra-Finch, Junin Canastero, Puna Thistletail, and often large mixed-species flocks on the more humid east slope (where we may run into the endemic Parodi’s Hemispingus). The last day will find us at the pass, with the lovely Cerro Veronica as backdrop, birding the Polylepis forest in hopes of specialties such as Tawny Tit-Spinetail, Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant, and Giant Conebill. Royal Cinclodes, a Hail Mary longshot, lurks in the area.

Your guides for this tour will be Field Guides’s Jesse Fagan with your Maine Audubon host-guide Doug Hitchcox.

Read more in our itinerary linked below…

Click here to see the PDF itinerary for this tour.