A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Machu Picchu & Abra Malaga, Peru I 2023

June 28-July 7, 2023 with Dan Lane guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
Although this is a birding tour, one of the star performers is undeniably the picturesque ruins of Machu Picchu! Photo by participant Cliff Hensel.

This tour, which visits one of the most famous of Peru’s landmark cultural sites (Machu Picchu, or “MaPi” for short), provides a great opportunity to experience some of Peru’s rich history, delicious food, and awe-inspiring landscapes… not to mention some pretty nice birding! We flew from the coastal capital city of Lima, a dusty gray megalopolis caught between one of the planet’s driest deserts and the super-rich eastern Pacific Ocean, up to Cusco, the center of the former Inca empire and present day tourism capital of South America. Upon arriving, we immediately headed to a wetland to the SE of the city called Huacarpay, and spent several hours birding the edges of the reedbeds, saline ponds, and arid scrub hillsides there. After lunch, we started down the road that parallels the Urubamba River to what is called the “Sacred Valley”—a stretch of the Urubamba valley that is the breadbasket for many of Peru’s temperate crops (corn, wheat, potatoes, quinoa, etc.), and is also awash with extensive historic significance. Quechua is spoken as much as Spanish, and many indigenous practices are maintained despite the imposition of religion and other cultural features from abroad. We spent a night in the town of Ollantaytambo, then took the train the next morning to Aguas Calientes, the jumping-off point to visit the ruins of MaPi. Shortly after arriving, we did just this, and this site never fails to strike awe into any visitor, no matter how many photos they’ve seen of the place! We then spent two nights at a comfortable hotel at the edge of Aguas Calientes, hiking the railroad bed downstream to the Mandor Valley one day, and birding the woodland around the hotel the following morning before taking the train back to Ollantaytambo. The next three days we spent visiting the other locality mentioned in the tour’s title: Abra Malaga. An “abra” is a mountain pass in Quechua, and this pass provided access from Ollantaytambo to the Andean foothills along the Urubamba River back in Inca times. Today, it is a road that connects to towns in the middle Urubamba valley, but we only got as far as the cloudforest on the far side of the pass. The mountains here are tall enough that the rainshadow is evident, and this fact allowed us to see different species of birds on the two sides of the abra. Our first morning was spent on the near (dry) side, our second day on the far (humid) side, and our final morning was spent on the ridge above the pass visiting a scrap of Polylepis woodland. Polylepis is a genus of tree in the Rosaceae (rose family) that grows higher than any other tree on planet Earth, over 5000 meters at some places. Here, we only got up to about 4500 meters, but it was high enough to give us an idea of what it’s like to live without oxygen (answer: not overly desirable). After this hike, we returned to our hotel, checked out, had a nice buffet lunch in the town of Urubamba, and then headed back to Cusco by way of a lake called Lago Piuray, which hosts a large concentration of Andean waterbirds. Folks had a morning to explore Cusco, and then we flew back to Lima where the tour ended.

This tour certainly provided many lasting memories for us all. Some ranged from the location, such as the majesty of the snow-capped Nevado Veronica that loomed over us every day we spent at the Abra, to the astounding scenery that assaulted our eyes at the Machu Picchu ruins. Local culture captured our attention, not least of which was doña Maxima’s offer of hot potatoes to us in the cold morning chill when we reached her restaurant at local sunrise. Local animals such as the cuy (or wild guinea pigs) we glimpsed at Huacarpay, or bizarre Viscachas that took refuge amid the rocks around the ruins. And who could forget our trusty posse of canines who accompanied us on our walk to Mandor and back led by Sleeves? Of course, birds also played a large role in our experience, with the favorites ranging from the humble Puna Tapaculo, hollerin’ from a boulder overlooking his Polylepis kingdom, the Taczanowski’s Ground-Tyrant that ran about in the puna grasses as we hiked to the crest of that high ridge, or the pair of rather unassuming Rusty-winged Barbtails that surprised us in the botanical garden at Mandor. These provided the “low end” of the “wow spectrum,” but the other end was loaded with some fantastic eye-candy such as the high-elevation tanagers like Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager and Golden-collared Tanager, Versicolored Barbets at the fruit feeders at Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, the stunning Masked Fruiteater in trees overhanging the railroad tracks, and the exotic Blue-mantled Thornbill hummingbird that gave us staggering views in the Polylepis grove. Endemism made a few species precious to us such as the loud Inca Wrens that came within arm’s reach at the edge of the ruins or the boldly-patterned Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch at Maxima’s. The bold Andean Motmot was a favorite… probably because of the hypnotic properties of its swinging-pendulum tail movement. The bold and noise Green (Inca) Jay warmed its way into our hearts at Mandor. The petite but feisty Many-colored Rush-Tyrants poked their heads out of the reeds at Huacarpay as one of the first birds of the tour, and we enjoyed every minute of them! The high elevation flocks were filled with stars such as Citrine Warbler, Moustached Flowerpiercer, and the muted Cuzco Brushfinch. The extroverted (for an antpitta!) Stripe-headed Antpitta gave us fine views, and even two chat-tyrants made the list: the lovely, if furtive, Maroon-belted and the bolder d’Orbigny’s chat-tyrants. All these and more are great reasons to visit this wonderful corner of Peru, and I hope you all agree.

So, thank you for joining me on this fine tour, and I hope you will consider more trips to Peru in the future, as it is a very rich and varied country in its landscapes, culture, food, and birds. Meanwhile, good birding and always keep your binoculars close at hand!

—Dan Lane

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

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

ANDEAN GOOSE (Oressochen melanopterus)

Rob got us on a pair of high fliers as we were up on the trail to the Polylepis at Abra Malaga. Later, we saw several on the shore of Lago Piuray.

TORRENT DUCK (Merganetta armata)

Our counts on the train rides were pretty good, both times >20 individuals! Entertaining ducks, for sure.

Field Guides Birding Tours
This male Torrent Duck looks late for an appointment upstream. Photo by Gregg Recer.

PUNA TEAL (Spatula puna)

CINNAMON TEAL (Spatula cyanoptera)


YELLOW-BILLED TEAL (Anas flavirostris)

ANDEAN DUCK (Oxyura ferruginea)

Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)

ANDEAN GUAN (Penelope montagnii)

Mostly along the railroad bed around Aguas Calientes.

Phoenicopteridae (Flamingos)

CHILEAN FLAMINGO (Phoenicopterus chilensis)

Some distant birds at Huacarpay were outdone by closer birds at Piuray.

Podicipedidae (Grebes)

WHITE-TUFTED GREBE (Rollandia rolland)

One at Huacarpay, but far better views at Piuray.

SILVERY GREBE (ANDEAN) (Podiceps occipitalis juninensis)

High densities and excellent views at Piuray satisfied us all.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia)

SPOT-WINGED PIGEON (Patagioenas maculosa)

Not rare in the drier Andean habitats, but we had great views at Piuray.

BARE-FACED GROUND DOVE (Metriopelia ceciliae)

Typically found around rocky slopes, but a pair showed well on the terraces at our hotel at Ollantaytambo.

WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi)

On the grounds of the MP Pueblo Hotel.


Great views of several birds in the gully upslope from our rooms at the MP Pueblo Hotel.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Often a difficult species to see, we had great luck with several White-throated Quail-Doves on this tour at the hotel at Aguas Calientes. Photo by Gregg Recer.

EARED DOVE (Zenaida auriculata)

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)


A female-plumaged bird gave a few fly-by glimpses to those who made an effort one evening at MP Pueblo Hotel.

Apodidae (Swifts)

CHESTNUT-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne rutila)

WHITE-TIPPED SWIFT (Aeronautes montivagus)

Around the MaPi ruins.

ANDEAN SWIFT (Aeronautes andecolus)

At our Ollantaytambo hotel.

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

SPARKLING VIOLETEAR (Colibri coruscans)

Seen most days.

BROWN VIOLETEAR (Colibri delphinae)

A bit of a surprise along the tracks between Aguas Calientes and Mandor Valley.

LESSER VIOLETEAR (Colibri cyanotus)

Only around Aguas Calientes.

AMETHYST-THROATED SUNANGEL (Heliangelus amethysticollis)

SPECKLED HUMMINGBIRD (Adelomyia melanogenys)

LONG-TAILED SYLPH (Aglaiocercus kingii)

Seen at MP Pueblo Hotel.

ANDEAN HILLSTAR (Oreotrochilus estella)

A nice male showed well in the Polylepis.


It took a bit of review, but the trainbearers we saw at Ollantaytambo were this species, not Black-tailed.

BLUE-MANTLED THORNBILL (Chalcostigma stanleyi)

Stonking views of a great male in the Polylepis patch!

TYRIAN METALTAIL (SMARAGDINICOLLIS) (Metallura tyrianthina smaragdinicollis)

Not rare at higher elevations of Abra Malaga.

SCALED METALTAIL (Metallura aeneocauda)

We encountered an individual of this treeline species on our first day of birding Abra Malaga around lunchtime.

SHINING SUNBEAM (Aglaeactis cupripennis caumatonota)

This was the sunbeam we encountered on the humid side of Abra Malaga.

WHITE-TUFTED SUNBEAM (Aglaeactis castelnaudii) [E]

This is the endemic sunbeam we saw on the dry (near) side of Abra Malaga our first morning birding there.

Field Guides Birding Tours
This coy White-tufted Sunbeam shows off the beam part of its name as it surveys its territory from the zenith of a tree. Photo by Gregg Recer.

BRONZY INCA (Coeligena coeligena)


The large, buffy-tailed hummer we saw on the humid side of Abra Malaga.

GREAT SAPPHIREWING (Pterophanes cyanopterus)

Paul and I saw this, the second-largest hummer in the world.

CHESTNUT-BREASTED CORONET (Boissonneaua matthewsii)

Perhaps the commonest hummer at the MP Pueblo Hotel feeders.


A recent split from Booted Racket-tail. This form is found from central Peru to Bolivia.

GIANT HUMMINGBIRD (Patagona gigas)

Seen only on our first day as it was flycatching over the Urubamba river.

GREEN-AND-WHITE HUMMINGBIRD (Elliotomyia viridicauda) [E]

An endemic that is common in the Aguas Calientes area, but is nearly identical to the White-bellied Hummingbird (that we didn't see on this tour).

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

PLUMBEOUS RAIL (Pardirallus sanguinolentus)

Seen at Huacarpay Lakes.

COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata)

SLATE-COLORED COOT (Fulica ardesiaca)

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

BLACK-NECKED STILT (WHITE-BACKED) (Himantopus mexicanus melanurus)

These are the southern South American form of the species with a whitish crown and hind-collar. Seen at Piuray.

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

ANDEAN LAPWING (Vanellus resplendens)

PUNA PLOVER (Charadrius alticola)

Thanks to Cathy for spotting four of these uncommon high-elevation plovers at Piuray.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We lucked upon four Puna Plovers at Laguna Piuray near Cusco. Normally, this can be a tricky species to encounter! Photo by Dan Lane.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes) [b]

The only migrant shorebird we encountered on the tour.

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

ANDEAN GULL (Chroicocephalus serranus)

Common in many habitats on the tour.

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Nannopterum brasilianum)

The only cormorant away from the coast of South America.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)

At Laguna Piuray.

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

PUNA IBIS (Plegadis ridgwayi)

Common in many wetlands of the area.

ANDEAN IBIS (Theristicus branickii)

Far rarer than the last, we had a couple on the grassy slopes above treeline on the far side of the pass at Abra Malaga the second day there.

Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

ANDEAN CONDOR (Vultur gryphus)

It was a bit far, but one was drawing lazy circles in the sky to the north of the Polylepis trail our last day.

TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)

Rare on this tour, where we regularly only get it on the plains near Laguna Piuray.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

BLACK-AND-CHESTNUT EAGLE (Spizaetus isidori)

Alright! A rare and beautiful eagle we saw circling over us as we walked the railroad bed to Mandor.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We saw an impressive number of Andean Motmots on the train ride down to Aguas Calientes, and later around town. So it's common, but it still looks pretty snazzy! Photo by Dan Lane.

CINEREOUS HARRIER (Circus cinereus)

Seen our first and last days over open marsh or puna grassland.

ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris)

WHITE-RUMPED HAWK (Parabuteo leucorrhous)

One or two circling over the railroad bed near Mandor was a nice find.

VARIABLE HAWK (Geranoaetus polyosoma)

BLACK-CHESTED BUZZARD-EAGLE (Geranoaetus melanoleucus)

One circling over Huacarpay caught our attention.

WHITE-THROATED HAWK (Buteo albigula) [a]

One of these Austral migrants was over the MaPi ruins and another was over us as we walked the rail bed to Mandor.

Strigidae (Owls)

LESSER HORNED OWL (Bubo magellanicus)

Acting on information I had received the previous year, we searched a stand of eucalypts for roosting Horned Owls, and successfully found one! This form, the southern Andean one, has been split off of the Great Horned, and is now called "Lesser Horned"... but I suspect more taxonomic changes among South American Horned Owls will still come.

Momotidae (Motmots)

ANDEAN MOTMOT (Momotus aequatorialis)

Seen on the train rides in and out, and around town at Aguas Calientes. An endearing bird!

Bucconidae (Puffbirds)

BLACK-STREAKED PUFFBIRD (Malacoptila fulvogularis)

Capitonidae (New World Barbets)

VERSICOLORED BARBET (Eubucco versicolor)

Jay got us on our first one, but we saw this colorful species daily around Aguas Calientes.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Cliff Hensel captured the beauty of a female Versicolored Barbet here in this shot from the feeders at the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel.
Ramphastidae (Toucans)

BLUE-BANDED TOUCANET (Aulacorhynchus coeruleicinctis) [*]

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

OCELLATED PICULET (Picumnus dorbignyanus)

GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus)

ANDEAN FLICKER (Colaptes rupicola)

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

MOUNTAIN CARACARA (Daptrius megalopterus)

AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)

SPECKLE-FACED PARROT (PLUM-CROWNED) (Pionus tumultuosus tumultuosus)

Nice views of this high elevation parrot on the walk to Mandor.

MITRED PARAKEET (Psittacara mitratus)

Mostly seen as they flew around the Urubamba valley in large flocks.

Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)

VARIABLE ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus caerulescens)

Seen well our final morning at the MP Pueblo Hotel.

Grallariidae (Antpittas)

STRIPE-HEADED ANTPITTA (Grallaria andicolus punensis)

Fine views of this rather lovely and extroverted antpitta on the slope below Maxima's.

URUBAMBA ANTPITTA (Grallaria occabambae) [*]

Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)

PUNA TAPACULO (Scytalopus simonsi)

One bounded into view in the Polylepis patch our last morning.

DIADEMED TAPACULO (Scytalopus schulenbergi) [*]

Heard only, but Bret Whitney, who discovered the species in La Paz, Bolivia, in the 90s swears up and down that this one should be considered an undescribed species. So there.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The group at Machu Picchu. Photo by Dan Lane
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)

MONTANE WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger)

A lightly-built woodcreeper we saw around the MP Pueblo Hotel.

STREAKED XENOPS (Xenops rutilans)

Seen on two days around Aguas Calientes. This is the montane xenops in Peru.

RUSTY-WINGED BARBTAIL (Premnornis guttuliger)

Wow! Not much to look at, perhaps, but a rare bird over most of its range, and apparently never recorded from the Urubamba valley around Aguas Calientes before! Nice record!

WREN-LIKE RUSHBIRD (Phleocryptes melanops)

Well named. We saw this one well at Huacarpay.

CREAM-WINGED CINCLODES (Cinclodes albiventris albiventris)

The common cinclodes.

WHITE-WINGED CINCLODES (Cinclodes atacamensis)

This is a larger cinclodes compared to the last, and is far more restricted to the edges of rivers. We had a pair along the upper Urubamba (thanks to Gregg for spotting them!) our first day as we departed Huacarpay and headed to the Sacred Valley.

PEARLED TREERUNNER (Margarornis squamiger)

This stellar furnariid was a member of flocks on the humid side of Abra Malaga.

TAWNY TIT-SPINETAIL (Sylviorthorhynchus yanacensis)

A pair showed well in the Polylepis patch.

WHITE-BROWED TIT-SPINETAIL (Leptasthenura xenothorax) [E]

This one also showed well in the Polylepis. It is an endemic of Peru.

STREAK-FRONTED THORNBIRD (Phacellodomus striaticeps)

A pair in the scrub on the slopes above Huacarpay gave us some views.

LINE-FRONTED CANASTERO (Asthenes urubambensis)

A bird gave us coy, over the shoulder views in the brushy "jalca" habitat above treeline on the far side of Abra Malaga.

Field Guides Birding Tours
This photo by Cliff Hensel suggests that the Line-fronted Canastero here was underwhelmed by us while we watched it at treeline at Abra Malaga.

JUNIN CANASTERO (Asthenes virgata) [E]

Gregg got us on a bird in the Ichu tussockgrass above the road before we reached the pass.


In nearly the same place as the last, this one was less responsive and we barely got a view.


The canasteros we saw below the road in the rocky area at the same stop as the previous two.

PUNA THISTLETAIL (Asthenes helleri)

Common and relatively easy to see at treeline on the humid side of the pass.

RUSTY-FRONTED CANASTERO (Asthenes ottonis) [E]

Shortly after lunch our first day at Huacarpay, a bird played hide and seek with us.

MARCAPATA SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca marcapatae) [E]

An attractive spinetail we saw in the bamboo on the humid side of Abra Malaga.

CREAMY-CRESTED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca albicapilla) [E]

This was the pale-headed spinetail we had at the White-tufted Sunbeam spot our first day at Abra Malaga.

AZARA'S SPINETAIL (Synallaxis azarae)

Some pretty good views around the bus parking area at the MaPi ruins.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Rarely so extroverted, Robb McNab managed to photograph this Azara's Spinetail below the ruins at Machu Picchu.
Cotingidae (Cotingas)

MASKED FRUITEATER (Pipreola pulchra) [E]

After a bit of work, a pair actually showed fairly well on our Mandor walk. A snazzy bird!

RED-CRESTED COTINGA (Ampelion rubrocristatus)

Several around the Sunbeam spot and Maxima's on our first day at Abra Malaga.

ANDEAN COCK-OF-THE-ROCK (Rupicola peruvianus) [*]

Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)

BARRED BECARD (Pachyramphus versicolor)

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

MANY-COLORED RUSH TYRANT (Tachuris rubrigastra)

The "siete colores" ("seven colors') is a very attractive tyrant flycatcher that acts more like a yellowthroat in the reeds around Huacarpay. We got our money's worth on this one!

STREAK-NECKED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes striaticollis)

Seen in the botanical garden at Mandor.

SLATY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon superciliaris)

INCA FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon taczanowskii) [E]

Another one we saw at the Mandor botanical garden.

MOTTLE-CHEEKED TYRANNULET (Phylloscartes ventralis)

A rather bland tyrannulet present around Aguas Calientes.

RUFOUS-HEADED PYGMY-TYRANT (Pseudotriccus ruficeps) [*]

COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum)

Small but mighty with an attractive color scheme. I believe we christened it the "Counterintuitive Flycatcher" on the tour.

YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (ANDES) (Tolmomyias sulphurescens peruvianus)

A species that is ripe for a major split-up (but the necessary study is still waiting to be done). This is the Peruvian Andean population that occurs from here into southern Ecuador. We had it in flocks on our Mandor Valley walk.

CINNAMON FLYCATCHER (Pyrrhomyias cinnamomeus)

WHITE-BANDED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus stictopterus)

Named for the white wing bands, this warbler-like tyrannulet is also white on the underparts.

WHITE-THROATED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus leucophrys)

Well-named as the white cottonball throat is a stand-out character. It was a flock member at treeline at Abra Malaga.

ASH-BREASTED TIT-TYRANT (Anairetes alpinus)

An attractive monochrome tyrant that we saw in the Polylepis. It acts a bit like a redstart with the white outer tail flashing to flush insects.

TUFTED TIT-TYRANT (Anairetes parulus)

A pair showed well for us at Maxima's, with their little recurved crests bobbing as they turned their heads.

UNSTREAKED TIT-TYRANT (Uromyias agraphia) [E]

After a bit of coaxing, this cute little endemic came in and shouted at us, exposing its yellow mouth interior.

HIGHLAND ELAENIA (Elaenia obscura)

Around the ruins at MaPi.

YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster) [*]

WHITE-CRESTED ELAENIA (Elaenia albiceps)

These were the ratty-looking flycatchers we saw in the pepper trees around Huacarpay. These are the coastal breeding birds that migrate to this area in the winter, obviously to molt, among other things!

SIERRAN ELAENIA (Elaenia pallatangae)

Seen on the humid slope of Abra Malaga.

TORRENT TYRANNULET (Serpophaga cinerea)

These little fellers were not hard to see on the big boulders in the Urubamba.

SCLATER'S TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias sclateri)

A locally common bird around Aguas Calientes.

ASHY-HEADED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias cinereiceps)

We had smashing looks at this little tyrannulet with the dark crescent on the cheek as we returned from the Mandor valley walk.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Never pass up an opportunity to photograph a tyrannulet! This beauty is an Ashy-headed Tyrannulet snapped by Dan Lane.

OLIVE FLYCATCHER (Mitrephanes olivaceus)

Great views of this mini-Pewee on the Mandor botanical garden trail.

SMOKE-COLORED PEWEE (Contopus fumigatus)

BLACK PHOEBE (WHITE-WINGED) (Sayornis nigricans latirostris)

ANDEAN NEGRITO (Lessonia oreas)

Whew! We managed to snag a view of this sometimes hard to see terrestrial tyrant at Huacarpay Lakes.

WHITE-WINGED BLACK-TYRANT (Knipolegus aterrimus)

Luckily, I think everyone eventually got on a bird or two at the MaPi ruins.

TACZANOWSKI'S GROUND-TYRANT (Muscisaxicola griseus)

The ground-tyrant we saw as we hiked up to the Polylepis.

PUNA GROUND-TYRANT (Muscisaxicola juninensis)

This was the ground-tyrant with the rufous-washed crown and no obvious eyebrow in the valley below the pass.

WHITE-BROWED GROUND-TYRANT (Muscisaxicola albilora)

This was with the last, but differed in having a more pronounced eyebrow.

RUFOUS-WEBBED BUSH-TYRANT (Cnemarchus rufipennis)

MAROON-BELTED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca thoracica thoracica)

A sharp-looking tyrant with that chestnut chest belt and white eyebrows that we saw at our lowest point on the humid side of Abra Malaga.

RUFOUS-BREASTED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca rufipectoralis)

BROWN-BACKED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca fumicolor)

A pair showed well in the Polylepis.

D'ORBIGNY'S CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca oenanthoides)

A very responsive pair at the schoolhouse below the road in the valley between Maxima's and the pass.

WHITE-BROWED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca leucophrys)

At Huacarpay.

SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis)

GOLDEN-CROWNED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes chrysocephalus)

Seen on the Mandor valley walk.

STREAKED FLYCATCHER (SOUTHERN) (Myiodynastes maculatus solitarius)

One of these was around the MP Pueblo Hotel our final morning.

TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of the more attractive tyrant flycatchers is this Many-colored Rush-Tyrant, or "Siete Colores" ("seven colors") as it's locally known. Photo by Robb McNab.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)

BROWN-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo leucophrys)

The Andes' answer to the Warbling Vireo. We had it on the Mandor valley walk.

CHIVI VIREO (Vireo chivi)

Until recently considered conspecific with Red-eyed Vireo, but this is now split. They look quite similar, however.

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

GREEN JAY (INCA) (Cyanocorax yncas yncas)

Nice views of this lovely jay at the Mandor valley.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca)

PALE-FOOTED SWALLOW (Orochelidon flavipes)

The swallow that darted over the trees on the humid side of the pass.

BROWN-BELLIED SWALLOW (Orochelidon murina)

The above treeline swallow at Abra Malaga.

Troglodytidae (Wrens)

GRAY-MANTLED WREN (Odontorchilus branickii)

Great views of this canopy wren that behaves like a Black-and-white Warbler on our Mandor valley walk.

HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)

MOUNTAIN WREN (Troglodytes solstitialis)

INCA WREN (Pheugopedius eisenmanni) [E]

Well that was easy! We had a family group come in and shout in our ears at arm's length as we started our hike around the MaPi ruins. That's the way to get an endemic!

GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucophrys)

Seen our days at Aguas Calientes.

Cinclidae (Dippers)

WHITE-CAPPED DIPPER (Cinclus leucocephalus)

Good views around Aguas Calientes.

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

ANDEAN SOLITAIRE (Myadestes ralloides)

Eventually we had a pretty good view of one on our Mandor valley walk.

GREAT THRUSH (Turdus fuscater ockendeni)

CHIGUANCO THRUSH (Turdus chiguanco)

Field Guides Birding Tours
This pair of d'Orbigny's Chat-Tyrant was covering all angles as they duetted in defence of their territory. Photo by Gregg Recer.
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)

PARAMO PIPIT (Anthus bogotensis)

After some distant views our first day at Abra Malaga, we had closer birds our second morning in the bushy jalca above treeline.

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

BLUE-NAPED CHLOROPHONIA (Chlorophonia cyanea)

An eye-catching finch we had coming to the fruit at MP Pueblo Hotel. Such colors!

THICK-BILLED EUPHONIA (Euphonia laniirostris)

Also coming to the fruit at the hotel.

ORANGE-BELLIED EUPHONIA (Euphonia xanthogaster)

Similar to the last, but the males have dark throats.

HOODED SISKIN (Spinus magellanicus)

Our best views were in the valley by the school before we reached the pass our first morning at Abra Malaga.

Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)

SHORT-BILLED CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus parvirostris)

A pair was in the mixed species flock at the Mandor valley botanical garden.


Seen on two days at Aguas Calientes.

RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis)

CUZCO BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes canigenis) [E]

A nice view of one of these Peruvian endemics at the flock we had at treeline our second morning at Abra Malaga. Thanks to Rob for spotting it!

Field Guides Birding Tours
This young male Thick-billed Euphonia shows off his namesake. Photo by Cliff Hensel.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)

DUSKY-GREEN OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius atrovirens)

These noisy blackbirds were a regular presence at the feeders at MP Pueblo Hotel.

YELLOW-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelasticus thilius)

Not easy to see, but present in the reedbeds at Huacarpay.

Parulidae (New World Warblers)

TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi)

THREE-STRIPED WARBLER (Basileuterus tristriatus)

This warbler was along the railbed on the Mandor valley walk.

CITRINE WARBLER (Myiothlypis luteoviridis)

Nice views of this large near-treeline warbler on our second morning at Abra Malaga.

PALE-LEGGED WARBLER (Myiothlypis signata)

Similar to the last, but found at lower elevations, such as along the tracks on the Mandor walk.

RUSSET-CROWNED WARBLER (Myiothlypis coronata)

SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus)

The lower elevation of the two redstarts.

SPECTACLED REDSTART (Myioborus melanocephalus)

Usually higher than the last, but they overlap at Aguas Calientes.

Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)

HEPATIC TANAGER (HIGHLAND) (Piranga flava lutea)

A flashy "tanager" that we saw well at the fruit feeders. This genus is now part of the Cardinal family, and no longer considered true tanagers.

BLACK-BACKED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus aureoventris)

A larger version of Rose-breasted or Black-headed grosbeaks, but with a yellow belly and rump. Not hard to find in the scrub around Ollantaytambo.

Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)

SLATY TANAGER (Creurgops dentatus)

A male was in a flock at the Mandor valley botanical garden.

OLEAGINOUS HEMISPINGUS (Sphenopsis frontalis)

The name may be more attractive than the bird. We saw it just outside of town as we started our walk to Mandor.

RUST-AND-YELLOW TANAGER (Thlypopsis ruficeps)

Cathy got on this one around the bus parking at the ruins.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Understated, sure, but the Paramo Pipit's streaks and subtle variation of browns is still eye-catching. Photo by Dan Lane.

SUPERCILIARIED HEMISPINGUS (Thlypopsis superciliaris)

We lucked onto a nice mixed flock after lunch on the humid side of the pass and saw some of these tanagers.

THREE-STRIPED HEMISPINGUS (Microspingus trifasciatus)

Another tanager on the humid side of the pass in a mixed flock.

SILVER-BEAKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus carbo)

BLUE-CAPPED TANAGER (Sporathraupis cyanocephala)


A flashy tanager we saw on our mornings birding the treeline at Abra Malaga.

GOLDEN-COLLARED TANAGER (Iridosornis jelskii)

Oooh, a real looker we managed to pull out on the humid side of Abra Malaga! A group fave.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Golden-collared Tanager was one of the favorites of the tour, and looking at it here, that ain't a surprise, is it? Photo by Paul Beerman.

BLUE-AND-YELLOW TANAGER (Rauenia bonariensis)

One of the few tanagers that are found away from humid forest on this tour.

BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus)

PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum)

GOLDEN-NAPED TANAGER (RUSTY-NAPED) (Chalcothraupis ruficervix inca)

One of the attractive "tangara tanagers" we saw at Aguas Calientes. This one looks like an Indigo Bunting with a rufous nape spot.

SILVERY TANAGER (Stilpnia viridicollis)

Common at Aguas Calientes.

BLUE-NECKED TANAGER (Stilpnia cyanicollis)

SAFFRON-CROWNED TANAGER (Tangara xanthocephala)

The form in southern Peru has a truly saffron-colored crown. Farther north, they are more yellow.

BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana)

WHITE-BROWED CONEBILL (Conirostrum ferrugineiventre)

A couple were in first few flocks we encountered on the humid side of the pass.

BLUE-BACKED CONEBILL (Conirostrum sitticolor)

In one of the last mixed flocks we saw on the humid side of the pass.

CAPPED CONEBILL (Conirostrum albifrons)

The black warbler-like conebills we saw around Aguas Calientes.

CINEREOUS CONEBILL (Conirostrum cinereum)

Mostly around Huacarpay and Ollantaytambo.


This attractive flowerpiercer sang to us at treeline on the humid side of Abra Malaga.

BLACK-THROATED FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa brunneiventris)

Right around our hotel at Ollantaytambo.

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of the big surprises of the tour was this Rusty-winged Barbtail, a species not previously reported from this part of the Urubamba valley! Photo by Dan Lane.

RUSTY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa sittoides)

Also at Ollantaytambo.


PLUSHCAP (Catamblyrhynchus diadema)

Gregg and Rob managed to get on this bamboo specialist on the humid side of the pass, but it was not an extrovert.

PERUVIAN SIERRA FINCH (Phrygilus punensis)

At Maxima's, this was the finch-like bird with an olive-yellow body and gray head, wings, and tail.

PLUMBEOUS SIERRA FINCH (Geospizopsis unicolor)

An all-gray finch we had at Maxima's.

ASH-BREASTED SIERRA FINCH (Geospizopsis plebejus)


A local endemic we saw well at Maxima's. Pot-bellied and boldly patterned, it's hard to miss!

BAND-TAILED SEEDEATER (Catamenia analis)

At Huacarpay and on the terraces behind our Ollantaytambo hotel.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Blue-mantled Thornbill is one of the few hummingbirds to occur in the Polylepis woodland above "normal" treeline. Photo by Dan Lane.

DULL-COLORED GRASSQUIT (Asemospiza obscura)

A brief view of one at the train turn-around area on the Mandor walk.

GOLDEN-BILLED SALTATOR (Saltator aurantiirostris)

Common and loud in the drier vegetation around Huacarpay and Ollantaytambo.


BOLIVIAN SQUIRREL (Sciurus ignitus)

Rob spotted this brown squirrel for us at the MP Pueblo Hotel.

GUINEA PIG (Cavia aperea)

Around Huacarpay lakes.

AGOUTI SP. (Dasyprocta kalinowskii)

This was the agouti we saw in the gully at MP Pueblo Hotel.


Several folks got looks at these sleepy rabbit-squirrels at the ruins.

MOUNTAIN COATI (Nasuella olivacea)

We saw a good-sized troop of these rare (and possibly undescribed?) coatis below the bus parking at the ruins.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The bulk of the distribution of Mountain Coati is in Colombia and Ecuador, but there is a small population in Cusco which may prove to be an undescribed species. They are regularly seen around Machu Picchu. Photo by Dan Lane.

Totals for the tour: 211 bird taxa and 5 mammal taxa