Despite living in Peru, this was my first "international" tour since the start of the pandemic. I couldn't have asked for a better group. Some of you started the trip off with a pre-tour visit to Lima with some unique coastal birding that included Inca Terns and Blackish Oystercatcher, among many others. The next day we flew to Cusco with a morning visit to Huacarpay Lakes before spending the evening in Ollantaytambo. We enjoyed spectacular views of the Urubamba River valley paralleling the Inca Trail as we made our way to Aguas Calientes by train. This would be our base for two nights as we explored the ruins of Machu Picchu and the Mandor Valley on foot. Both the culture and birds combined to create a unique experience for everyone. Our hotel in Aguas Calientes with its lush grounds and excellent food were also a highlight. The pisco sours weren't bad either! We returned to Ollantaytambo, and the lovely Pakaritampu Hotel, for our final three nights on tour. Here we birded the high pass of Abra Malaga including both the drier (western) and humid (eastern) side, as well as, the Polylepis forest at the pass. The weather cooperated (for the most part; check out the hailstorm video below!) and we enjoyed spectacular views of Cerro Veronica most days. The birding was excellent as in Aguas Calientes. Species highlights included Bearded Mountaineer, Andean Tinamou, Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Torrent Ducks, Andean Condor, Giant and Sword-billed hummingbirds, and Andean Cock-of-the-Rock. However, bird of the trip was Inca Wren. How fitting!
Thanks again for a fun adventure filled with smiles and lots of birds. I would love to travel with this group again. All the best for the remaining 2021 and more birds in 2022.
KEYS FOR THIS LIST
One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant
HOODED TINAMOU (Nothocercus nigrocapillus) [*]
Nice close looks at about 30 on a small pool in QENP.
ANDEAN TINAMOU (Nothoprocta pentlandii fulvescens)
Wow, like one of the first birds we saw on this tour! Fantastic close views of a feeding bird at Huacarpay Lake. Sometimes it pays to go to the bathroom! Hahaha.
ANDEAN GOOSE (Oressochen melanopterus)
A pair below the pass at Abra Malaga.
TORRENT DUCK (Merganetta armata)
We broke the record with 61 individuals seen on the train ride to Aguas Calientes. Nice work, team!
PUNA TEAL (Spatula puna)
CINNAMON TEAL (Spatula cyanoptera)
YELLOW-BILLED PINTAIL (Anas georgica)
YELLOW-BILLED TEAL (Anas flavirostris)
ANDEAN DUCK (Oxyura ferruginea)
ANDEAN GUAN (Penelope montagnii)
Good numbers during our birding at Aguas Calientes.
STRIPE-FACED WOOD-QUAIL (Odontophorus balliviani) [*]
CHILEAN FLAMINGO (Phoenicopterus chilensis)
Seen at Huacarpay Lake and again at Huaypo Lake. It is rare, but annual at these locations.
WHITE-TUFTED GREBE (Rollandia rolland)
Just one at Huaypo Lake.
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia)
SPOT-WINGED PIGEON (Patagioenas maculosa)
BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata)
BARE-FACED GROUND DOVE (Metriopelia ceciliae)
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi)
WHITE-THROATED QUAIL-DOVE (Zentrygon frenata) [*]
EARED DOVE (Zenaida auriculata)
LYRE-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Uropsalis lyra)
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris)
WHITE-TIPPED SWIFT (Aeronautes montivagus)
This is the species seen at mid-elevations over humid montane forest. We had good numbers in the Aguas Calientes area.
ANDEAN SWIFT (Aeronautes andecolus)
Seen at higher elevations over drier habitat like in the Sacred Valley.
GREEN-FRONTED LANCEBILL (Doryfera ludovicae)
One hit the window of the small cafe where we had lunch in the Mandor Valley. However, it was okay and we watched it fly off.
SPARKLING VIOLETEAR (Colibri coruscans)
AMETHYST-THROATED SUNANGEL (Heliangelus amethysticollis)
A couple of individuals responded to the pygmy-owl during our birding on the east slope of Abra Malaga.
SPECKLED HUMMINGBIRD (Adelomyia melanogenys)
GREEN-TAILED TRAINBEARER (Lesbia nuna)
Always difficult to separate from Black-tailed, but after reviewing the photos and getting better looks we decided that these were Green-tailed. Seen at our hotel in Ollantaytambo.
BLUE-MANTLED THORNBILL (Chalcostigma stanleyi)
BEARDED MOUNTAINEER (Oreonympha nobilis) [E]
One of my favorite birds in the world! I think others would concur. This endemic was seen very well at our hotel in Ollantaytambo.
TYRIAN METALTAIL (SMARAGDINICOLLIS) (Metallura tyrianthina smaragdinicollis)
SCALED METALTAIL (Metallura aeneocauda)
One buzzed our group on the east slope of Abra Malaga. Males are best separated from the previous species by the tail color (green vs. blue).
SAPPHIRE-VENTED PUFFLEG (COPPERY-NAPED) (Eriocnemis luciani sapphiropygia)
At least three seen on the east slope of Abra Malaga.
SHINING SUNBEAM (Aglaeactis cupripennis caumatonota)
WHITE-TUFTED SUNBEAM (Aglaeactis castelnaudii) [E]
Good numbers on the drier west slope especially around Maxima's house.
BRONZY INCA (Coeligena coeligena)
COLLARED INCA (GOULD'S) (Coeligena torquata omissa)
VIOLET-THROATED STARFRONTLET (Coeligena violifer)
The best field mark is the tawny flashes from the tail in flight.
SWORD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD (Ensifera ensifera)
Always a highlight. After identifying a potential flower, one visited it!
GREAT SAPPHIREWING (Pterophanes cyanopterus)
A large dark hummingbird seen well in flight at Penas below Maxima's house.
CHESTNUT-BREASTED CORONET (Boissonneaua matthewsii)
GIANT HUMMINGBIRD (Patagona gigas)
Seen well a few times including on the grounds of the Pakaritampu hotel.
WHITE-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia chionogaster)
GREEN-AND-WHITE HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia viridicauda) [E]
These last two hummingbirds separate by elevation and habitat. The endemic prefers more humid montane forest at mid-elevations, the previous species more semi-arid habitat at higher elevations. There are small differences in plumage, too.
PLUMBEOUS RAIL (Pardirallus sanguinolentus)
COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata)
SLATE-COLORED COOT (Fulica ardesiaca)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (WHITE-BACKED) (Himantopus mexicanus melanurus)
There looked to be two subspecies at Huaypo Lake. We def had several of this resident subspecies, but others that approached the northern populations (mexicanus)
ANDEAN LAPWING (Vanellus resplendens)
LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes)
ANDEAN GULL (Chroicocephalus serranus)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)
FASCIATED TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma fasciatum)
A pair seen along the Urubamba River during our train ride.
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)
PUNA IBIS (Plegadis ridgwayi)
ANDEAN CONDOR (Vultur gryphus)
This species is a definitely a most-wanted bird on any birding trip to the Peruvian Andes. This trip didn't disappoint. We enjoyed one pair soaring over the sharp ridges of Abra Malaga.
SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (PLAIN-BREASTED) (Accipiter striatus ventralis)
This is the resident subspecies in South America. Seen at Penas where it caused a panic in the local birds.
ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris)
WHITE-RUMPED HAWK (Parabuteo leucorrhous)
One soaring high over the ridge above our hotel Inkaterra in Aguas Calientes. We needed photos to i.d. it!
VARIABLE HAWK (Geranoaetus polyosoma)
YUNGAS PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium bolivianum)
PERUVIAN PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium peruanum)
The local pair at our hotel in Ollantaytambo showed well.
ANDEAN MOTMOT (Momotus aequatorialis)
BLACK-STREAKED PUFFBIRD (Malacoptila fulvogularis)
Fantastic looks at a pair during our walk in the Mandor Valley.
VERSICOLORED BARBET (Eubucco versicolor)
Another cool species that showed well several times in the Mandor Valley.
BLUE-BANDED TOUCANET (Aulacorhynchus coeruleicinctis)
A few folks got good looks at this species in the Mandor Valley. Often missed on this tour.
OCELLATED PICULET (Picumnus dorbignyanus)
Folks were happy to catch up with this small woodpecker. Seen well while birding the helipad at the Inkaterra hotel.
GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus)
ANDEAN FLICKER (Colaptes rupicola)
MOUNTAIN CARACARA (Phalcoboenus megalopterus)
AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)
APLOMADO FALCON (Falco femoralis)
A bird seen near dusk on the grounds of the Pakaritampu.
SPECKLE-FACED PARROT (PLUM-CROWNED) (Pionus tumultuosus tumultuosus)
MITRED PARAKEET (Psittacara mitratus)
VARIABLE ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus caerulescens)
SCALED ANTPITTA (Grallaria guatimalensis) [*]
STRIPE-HEADED ANTPITTA (Grallaria andicolus punensis) [*]
RUFOUS ANTPITTA (SOUTH PERUVIAN) (Grallaria rufula occabambae) [*]
TRILLING TAPACULO (Scytalopus parvirostris) [*]
PUNA TAPACULO (Scytalopus simonsi)
Finally caught up with seeing a tapaculo at Maxima's house. Awesome looks including in the scope.
DIADEMED TAPACULO (Scytalopus schulenbergi) [*]
SLENDER-BILLED MINER (Geositta tenuirostris)
Rare on this tour; I have only seen it once before. Heard calling by the guide on the AM ridge, and it responded well.
STREAKED XENOPS (Xenops rutilans)
SHARP-TAILED STREAMCREEPER (Lochmias nematura)
One of the highlights of the tour (at least for the guide!). Only the second record or so for the tour. Seen and heard at a small stream on the grounds of Inkaterra hotel.
WREN-LIKE RUSHBIRD (Phleocryptes melanops) [*]
CREAM-WINGED CINCLODES (Cinclodes albiventris albiventris)
WHITE-WINGED CINCLODES (Cinclodes atacamensis)
Very cool seeing this species nesting along the Urubamba River.
TAWNY TIT-SPINETAIL (Sylviorthorhynchus yanacensis)
WHITE-BROWED TIT-SPINETAIL (Leptasthenura xenothorax) [E]
This species and the previous were seen in the Polylepis forest on our last morning of birding at Abra Malaga.
LINE-FRONTED CANASTERO (Asthenes urubambensis)
Seen below the pass. Prefers paramo with scattered bushes.
JUNIN CANASTERO (Asthenes virgata) [E]
This endemic was seen in the paramo grassland on the west slope of AM.
STREAK-THROATED CANASTERO (Asthenes humilis)
This canastero prefers short open grassland with scattered rocks. It showed well.
PUNA THISTLETAIL (Asthenes helleri)
RUSTY-FRONTED CANASTERO (Asthenes ottonis) [E]
We finally caught up with this endemic near Maxima's house.
MARCAPATA SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca marcapatae) [E]
Fairly common in the subtropical forest on the east slope of Abra Malaga.
CREAMY-CRESTED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca albicapilla) [E]
One of my favorites. Seen near Penas and Maxima's house on the drier west slope.
AZARA'S SPINETAIL (Synallaxis azarae)
MASKED FRUITEATER (Pipreola pulchra) [E]
We finally caught up with this rare endemic on the grounds of the Inkaterra. It eventually showed well for everyone.
RED-CRESTED COTINGA (Ampelion rubrocristatus)
ANDEAN COCK-OF-THE-ROCK (Rupicola peruvianus)
Males and females were both seen during our time at Aguas Calientes.
BARRED BECARD (Pachyramphus versicolor)
MANY-COLORED RUSH TYRANT (Tachuris rubrigastra) [*]
STREAK-NECKED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes striaticollis)
MOTTLE-CHEEKED TYRANNULET (Phylloscartes ventralis)
COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum)
YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (ANDES) (Tolmomyias sulphurescens peruvianus)
Good numbers in the Mandor Valley. This taxon will certainly be split in the future. Most differences between populations are based on their calls and songs.
CINNAMON FLYCATCHER (Pyrrhomyias cinnamomeus)
WHITE-BANDED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus stictopterus)
This species and the next were found in the mixed-species flocks on the humid east slope of AM.
WHITE-THROATED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus leucophrys)
TUFTED TIT-TYRANT (Anairetes parulus)
UNSTREAKED TIT-TYRANT (Uromyias agraphia) [E]
We finally caught up with this species on the east slope of AM, but it took some time.
WHITE-CRESTED ELAENIA (Elaenia albiceps)
SIERRAN ELAENIA (Elaenia pallatangae)
TORRENT TYRANNULET (Serpophaga cinerea)
SCLATER'S TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias sclateri)
This species has a limited range, only being found in S Peru, Bolivia, and NW Argentina. However, Aguas Calientes is a good place to see this species.
ASHY-HEADED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias cinereiceps)
SMOKE-COLORED PEWEE (Contopus fumigatus)
BLACK PHOEBE (WHITE-WINGED) (Sayornis nigricans latirostris)
WHITE-WINGED BLACK-TYRANT (Knipolegus aterrimus)
PUNA GROUND-TYRANT (Muscisaxicola juninensis)
One at the pass.
CINEREOUS GROUND-TYRANT (Muscisaxicola cinereus)
One seen on the drier west side of Abra Malaga.
RUFOUS-BREASTED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca rufipectoralis)
We got a little tired of seeing this species on the east slope of AM.
D'ORBIGNY'S CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca oenanthoides)
WHITE-BROWED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca leucophrys)
A pair were on the grounds of the Pakaritampu hotel.
SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis)
GOLDEN-CROWNED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes chrysocephalus)
STREAKED FLYCATCHER (SOUTHERN) (Myiodynastes maculatus solitarius)
PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius)
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)
BROWN-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo leucophrys)
CHIVI VIREO (Vireo chivi)
We spent some time looking at this taxon. Birds singing and paired up were definitely the resident Chivi Vireo. However, one or two others may have been migrant/wintering Red-eyed Vireo.
GREEN JAY (INCA) (Cyanocorax yncas yncas)
Seen in the Mandor Valley.
BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca)
BROWN-BELLIED SWALLOW (Orochelidon murina)
BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia)
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)
MOUNTAIN WREN (Troglodytes solstitialis)
Seen on the east slope of AM.
SEDGE WREN (PUNA) (Cistothorus platensis minimus)
This has been split into several species. The individuals we saw in the paramo on the east slope of AM are now called Grass Wrens.
INCA WREN (Pheugopedius eisenmanni) [E]
Bird of the trip! Everyone agreed that this species seen at the ruins of Machu Picchu, and per its name, best represents the tour.
GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucophrys)
WHITE-CAPPED DIPPER (Cinclus leucocephalus)
ANDEAN SOLITAIRE (Myadestes ralloides)
WHITE-EARED SOLITAIRE (Entomodestes leucotis)
It was great to see this species on the grounds of Inkaterra hotel. Missed 50% of the time.
GREAT THRUSH (Turdus fuscater ockendeni)
CHIGUANCO THRUSH (Turdus chiguanco)
PARAMO PIPIT (Anthus bogotensis)
Seen around the pass at Abra Malaga.
BLUE-NAPED CHLOROPHONIA (Chlorophonia cyanea)
A striking bird seen on our walk feeding on Cecropia fruit n the Mandor Valley.
THICK-BILLED EUPHONIA (Euphonia laniirostris)
ORANGE-BELLIED EUPHONIA (Euphonia xanthogaster)
HOODED SISKIN (Spinus magellanicus)
BLACK SISKIN (Spinus atratus)
Unfortunately, a quick flyby at the Abra Malaga ridge.
SHORT-BILLED CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus parvirostris)
GRAY-BROWED BRUSHFINCH (Arremon assimilis)
Good looks in the bamboo on the east slope of AM.
CHESTNUT-CAPPED BRUSHFINCH (Arremon brunneinucha)
RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis)
DUSKY-GREEN OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius atrovirens)
YELLOW-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelasticus thilius)
TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi)
CITRINE WARBLER (Myiothlypis luteoviridis)
This species and the next are quite similar, but separate out by elevation. This species was seen at higher elevations on the east slope of AM. Pale-legged was lower down in the Mandor Valley.
PALE-LEGGED WARBLER (Myiothlypis signata)
RUSSET-CROWNED WARBLER (Myiothlypis coronata)
SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus)
SPECTACLED REDSTART (Myioborus melanocephalus)
Good numbers in the Mandor Valley and again on the east slope of AM.
HEPATIC TANAGER (HIGHLAND) (Piranga flava lutea)
BLACK-BACKED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus aureoventris)
Common on the grounds of Hotel Pakaritampu.
PARODI'S HEMISPINGUS (Kleinothraupis parodii) [E]
Good looks at this endemic on the east slope of AM.
OLEAGINOUS HEMISPINGUS (Sphenopsis frontalis)
RUST-AND-YELLOW TANAGER (Thlypopsis ruficeps)
THREE-STRIPED HEMISPINGUS (Microspingus trifasciatus)
SILVER-BEAKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus carbo)
SCARLET-BELLIED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Anisognathus igniventris)
FAWN-BREASTED TANAGER (Pipraeidea melanonota)
Always a treat to see this one.
BLUE-AND-YELLOW TANAGER (Pipraeidea bonariensis)
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus)
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum)
BLUE-CAPPED TANAGER (Thraupis cyanocephala)
GOLDEN-NAPED TANAGER (RUSTY-NAPED) (Chalcothraupis ruficervix inca)
SILVERY TANAGER (Stilpnia viridicollis)
Small numbers in the Aguas Calientes area.
BLUE-NECKED TANAGER (Stilpnia cyanicollis)
BERYL-SPANGLED TANAGER (Tangara nigroviridis)
More numbers than usual this year.
SAFFRON-CROWNED TANAGER (Tangara xanthocephala)
BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana)
WHITE-BROWED CONEBILL (Conirostrum ferrugineiventre)
A couple in the mixed-species flocks on the east slope of AM.
CAPPED CONEBILL (Conirostrum albifrons)
CINEREOUS CONEBILL (Conirostrum cinereum)
MOUSTACHED FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa mystacalis)
BLACK-THROATED FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa brunneiventris)
Fairly common in the Ollataytambo region.
RUSTY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa sittoides)
MASKED FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa cyanea)
PERUVIAN SIERRA-FINCH (Phrygilus punensis)
A pair were feeding near the small school above Maxima's house.
TIT-LIKE DACNIS (Xenodacnis parina)
WHITE-WINGED DIUCA-FINCH (Idiopsar speculifer)
PLUMBEOUS SIERRA-FINCH (Geospizopsis unicolor)
Nice comparisons were made between this species and the next. Plumbeous being larger, more rotund and darker overall.
ASH-BREASTED SIERRA-FINCH (Geospizopsis plebejus)
CHESTNUT-BREASTED MOUNTAIN-FINCH (Poospizopsis caesar) [E]
A striking endemic we saw near Maxima's house.
BRIGHT-RUMPED YELLOW-FINCH (Sicalis uropygialis)
BAND-TAILED SEEDEATER (Catamenia analis)
PLAIN-COLORED SEEDEATER (Catamenia inornata)
Seen feeding with the yellow-finches near the pass.
GOLDEN-BILLED SALTATOR (Saltator aurantiirostris)
BROWN AGOUTI (Dasyprocta variegata)
Totals for the tour: 202 bird taxa and 1 mammal taxa