A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Peru's Magnetic North: Spatuletails, Owlet Lodge & More 2022

June 18-30, 2022 with Dan Lane & Jesse Fagan guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
This was the star of the tour, and its namesake: the Marvelous Spatuletail… and no wonder it is so beloved! Participant Nancy Buck got this portrait.

Man, was it nice to get back to Peru tour leading! After two years’ hiatus, the Motmot and I finally were back in the saddle and the Marvelous Spatuletail tour was our first Peruvian outing… This tour is always a pleaser, so it didn’t disappoint. We were covering the Peruvian departments of San Martin and Amazonas, which both are biogeographically complex and diverse. We spent most of our time in San Martin, flying into Tarapoto, then heading up into the Mayo Valley by the city of Moyobamba where our first lodge, Waqanki, resides. This area is a relatively flat and broad valley that is approximately 1000 meters elevation, resulting in a very comfortable climate, and an interesting mixture of lowland and foothill birds. Added to that is the sandy soil which is responsible for short-stature woodlands and marshy areas, although much rice and pineapple agriculture has replaced these natural habitats.

After spending a few days in the Mayo valley, we continued west and upslope into the mountains at a region generally referred to as “Abra Patricia” by birders (an Abra is a pass, and this is one of the names for the pass that is along the highway just in front of the Owlet Lodge). The road passes from the Mayo up through subtropical and lower temperate cloudforest, peaking at about 2700 meters elevation at the Abra, and our second lodge sits here. The northeasterly view from the dining hall is incredible, viewing undisturbed forest on adjacent ridges and giving us an idea of what weather will arrive next. As it turned out, that proved important as we were dealt a rather wet hand during our days at higher elevations, but we managed to see a remarkable number of species just the same.

Finally, we got wind of road closures that might interrupt our itinerary, so we had to change plans and head back to Tarapoto two days earlier than originally planned. Whereas this meant we had less time to search for montane species, we were able to make up for some of this by visiting the semi-deciduous tropical forests along the middle Huallaga River (south of Tarapoto) for a day, then a full day in the Cordillera Escalera (“the Staircase Mountains”) to the northeast of Tarapoto, and finally a morning around Ricuricocha just west of Tarapoto. These outings topped up the list nicely and we came out well over 400 species in about 11 birding days!

The favorite birds list was a long one, but the runaway star was not unexpected: the diminutive but outlandish Marvelous Spatuletail. Our host, Santos Montenegro, who operates Huembo Reserve, took us up to a lek of these sprites and we all got our fill of them! Tying for second place was the lovely Yellow-scarfed Tanager (love that name!) and an event that really had us buzzing: a mega mixed-species flock along the Sunangel Ridge that was just chock full of tanagers, tyrannulets, antwrens, fruiteaters, and the like! It was an exhilarating 40 minutes of birding! Third place contained several contestants: The impressively proportioned Sword-billed Hummingbird was one, as was the very friendly Zimmer’s Antbird we saw at Morro de Calzada, the handsome Rufous-crested Coquette, the rare Green-throated Tanager that was one of the members of the megaflock mentioned above, the lek of Golden-headed Manakins, including watching them do swan-dives and “moonwalking” when the females showed up, and the girls’ volleyball game that Carol participated in at Aguas Verdes… The video and photos of that last were touching and fun! The list of runners up was long, ranging from the attractive Ornate Flycatcher, sporting its yellow rump, rufous tail, and white headlights on the forehead, the gaudy Paradise Tanagers that were a common sight at lower elevations, the very personably Foothill Screech-Owl that we saw one evening by Waqanki, the pair of Band-bellied Owls that Jesse locked onto the next day, the Oilbird canyon under the highway, the impressively-named Wire-crested Thorntail male that visited the verbena flowers at Arena Blanca, the startlingly pretty Johnson’s (or Lulu’s) Tody-Flycatchers, the petite Cinnamon Flycatcher that spent so much time scanning for morsels to snap up, the Chestnut-throated Spinetail (Snipetail?) that we actually got everyone on (!) by Waqanki, the cobalt blue Short-billed Honeycreepers that folks spotted on the roadside in the Escalera, the slightly less elaborate cousin of the spatuletail called Booted Rackettail, the goofy Hoatzins that huffed and puffed at Ricuricocha, the various “ant things” that we saw well over the course of the tour, including the Black-faced Antbird that behaved so well by the tunnel in the Escalera.

And THEN there were the non-bird memories that also stuck with us! One was the Sloth we rescued from crossing the road, getting it onto the nearest tree in a bit less time than it would likely have managed on its own (it was headed for a difficult roadbank with little clawhold!), the stellar bus crew that took such good care of us, the luxurious and varied forests that we passed through and birded at so many stops, that incredible night sky that almost made up for our not encountering the Long-whiskered Owlet, the trail on the slopes behind Waqanki and the many treasures it held, and (who could forget?) the negative covid test result that allowed us to breathe a sigh of relief about the status of our group!

These, and so much more, were memories we shared and took away from this tour. Jesse and I were so glad you joined us for them, and we hope you will consider another outing with us in the future!

Until then, keep them binoculars close at hand and an eye on the sky! Baile con Dios!


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

Tinamidae (Tinamous)

LITTLE TINAMOU (Crypturellus soui)

A pair of these little ratites were being bullied by a White-tipped Dove at Arena Blanca.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The stunted forests in the mountains here are home to a number of recently-described species including this Bar-winged Wood-Wren captured by participant Nancy Buck.
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

COMB DUCK (Sarkidiornis sylvicola)

After seeing a domestic individual along the Huallaga River, we saw hundreds at Ricuricocha on our last morning.

BRAZILIAN TEAL (Amazonetta brasiliensis)

A male at Ricuricocha was a nice surprise. These ducks have rapidly invaded lowland Amazonian Peru in the past couple of decades.

MASKED DUCK (Nomonyx dominicus)

An impressive group were at the little pond by Moyobamba, and appeared to be nesting.

Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)


ANDEAN GUAN (Penelope montagnii)

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis)

BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata)

PLUMBEOUS PIGEON (Patagioenas plumbea)

RUDDY PIGEON (Patagioenas subvinacea) [*]

RUDDY GROUND DOVE (Columbina talpacoti)

BLUE GROUND DOVE (Claravis pretiosa)

A scoped view at Morro de Calzada.

WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (DECOLOR) (Leptotila verreauxi decolor) [*]

This is the form found on the western side of Abra Patricia and west (Huembo, for example).

WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (BRASILIENSIS GROUP) (Leptotila verreauxi decipiens)

This was the form we saw at Arena Blanca and east.

GRAY-FRONTED DOVE (Leptotila rufaxilla) [*]

WEST PERUVIAN DOVE (Zenaida meloda)

Around Lima.

EARED DOVE (Zenaida auriculata)

Around Tarapoto.

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

GREATER ANI (Crotophaga major)

We had this large ani around Tarapoto.

SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani)

SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana)

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

RUFOUS-BELLIED NIGHTHAWK (Lurocalis rufiventris)

Jesse got on one of these large bat-like nightjars at Owlet Lodge.

BLACKISH NIGHTJAR (Nyctipolus nigrescens) [*]

COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis) [*]

RUFOUS NIGHTJAR (Antrostomus rufus)

Seen as eyeshine through leaves and a brief flyover at Morro de Calzada.

Steatornithidae (Oilbird)

OILBIRD (Steatornis caripensis)

One of the first birds of the tour. We stopped at the Quiscarumi slot canyon under the highway as we headed to Moyobamba.

Apodidae (Swifts)

WHITE-CHESTED SWIFT (Cypseloides lemosi)

This rare species and the next few were flying over our Waqanki lodge grounds on Day 2 of birding.

WHITE-CHINNED SWIFT (Cypseloides cryptus)

CHESTNUT-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne rutila)

WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris)

SHORT-TAILED SWIFT (Chaetura brachyura)

Seen over Ricuricocha our last day.

WHITE-TIPPED SWIFT (Aeronautes montivagus)

LESSER SWALLOW-TAILED SWIFT (Panyptila cayennensis)

How cool! Although we never had clear views of them in flight, a pair roosted in the nest under the cupola at Waqanki.

FORK-TAILED PALM-SWIFT (Tachornis squamata)

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora)

GREEN HERMIT (Phaethornis guy)

KOEPCKE'S HERMIT (Phaethornis koepckeae) [E]

A bird showed well for us at the tunnel in the Cordillera Escalera.

GREAT-BILLED HERMIT (Phaethornis malaris)

BLACK-THROATED HERMIT (Phaethornis atrimentalis)

GRAY-CHINNED HERMIT (Phaethornis griseogularis) [*]

REDDISH HERMIT (Phaethornis ruber)

BLUE-FRONTED LANCEBILL (Doryfera johannae)

Seen well at Arena Blanca and Koepcke's Hermit reserves.

SPARKLING VIOLETEAR (Colibri coruscans)

BROWN VIOLETEAR (Colibri delphinae)

LESSER VIOLETEAR (Colibri cyanotus)

BLACK-THROATED MANGO (Anthracothorax nigricollis)

At both Waqanki and Koepcke's Hermit feeders.


A bird around the Spatuletail lek was a nice find.

ROYAL SUNANGEL (Heliangelus regalis)

Only described to science in the 70s, this species can be hard to find, but a fine male showed well at Alto Nieva.

WIRE-CRESTED THORNTAIL (Discosura popelairii)

A male at Arena Blanca was shy, but eventually most everyone had seen it.

RUFOUS-CRESTED COQUETTE (Lophornis delattrei)

ECUADORIAN PIEDTAIL (Phlogophilus hemileucurus)

At the Llantaria feeders.

SPECKLED HUMMINGBIRD (Adelomyia melanogenys)

LONG-TAILED SYLPH (Aglaiocercus kingii)

GREENISH PUFFLEG (Haplophaedia aureliae)

Common at the Alta Nieva feeders.

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of the many “tangara tanagers” that add a dash of color to the cloudforest of the Andes, this Bay-headed Tanager really glows! Photo by guide Dan Lane.

MARVELOUS SPATULETAIL (Loddigesia mirabilis) [E]

Well as expected, this was the star of the tour. Santos took us up to a lekking area and the birds really performed well!

BRONZY INCA (Coeligena coeligena)

COLLARED INCA (Coeligena torquata)


Another striking hummer that we enjoyed at the Owlet Lodge feeders.

CHESTNUT-BREASTED CORONET (Boissonneaua matthewsii)

BOOTED RACKET-TAIL (Ocreatus underwoodii)

RUFOUS-VENTED WHITETIP (Urosticte ruficrissa)

Rare over most of its range, so a male that was visiting the Alto Nieva feeders was a real find!

BLACK-THROATED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa schreibersii)

A very shy bird came in to the Arena Blanca feeders a few times, but never showed all that well.

GOULD'S JEWELFRONT (Heliodoxa aurescens)

Fine views of several individuals at the Koepcke's Hermit reserve.

FAWN-BREASTED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa rubinoides)

VIOLET-FRONTED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa leadbeateri)

LONG-BILLED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster longirostris)

AMETHYST WOODSTAR (Calliphlox amethystina)

A lower elevation woodstar we saw at Arena Blanca.


Good views of a male at Huembo.

WHITE-BELLIED WOODSTAR (Chaetocercus mulsant)

Both at Owlet Lodge and Alto Nieva.

LITTLE WOODSTAR (Chaetocercus bombus)

A fine male at the flowers at Huembo brought smiles to the group.

BLUE-TAILED EMERALD (Chlorostilbon mellisugus)


Best views were at the Llantaria feeders.

GRAY-BREASTED SABREWING (Campylopterus largipennis)

FORK-TAILED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania furcata)

MANY-SPOTTED HUMMINGBIRD (Taphrospilus hypostictus)

ANDEAN EMERALD (Uranomitra franciae cyanocollis)

GOLDEN-TAILED SAPPHIRE (Chrysuronia oenone)


WHITE-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD (Elliotomyia chionogaster)

WHITE-CHINNED SAPPHIRE (Chlorestes cyanus)

Scope views at the trail at Morro de Calzada.

Opisthocomidae (Hoatzin)

HOATZIN (Opisthocomus hoazin)

Thanks to Orjan for spotting this bizarre bird at Ricuricocha.

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

SPOTTED RAIL (Pardirallus maculatus) [*]

PLUMBEOUS RAIL (Pardirallus sanguinolentus)

A very extroverted individual paraded around in front of us at the lakeshore of Pomacochas.

COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata)

PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinica)

Several at the Masked Duck pond and later at Ricuricocha.

OCELLATED CRAKE (Micropygia schomburgkii) [*]

Heard only at the Masked Duck pond.

RUSSET-CROWNED CRAKE (Anurolimnas viridis) [*]

RUFOUS-SIDED CRAKE (Laterallus melanophaius)

Stonking views of this often skulky species at Ricuricocha.

Aramidae (Limpkin)

LIMPKIN (Aramus guarauna)

Good views at Ricuricocha.

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus)

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

PIED LAPWING (Vanellus cayanus)

Distant birds along the Huallaga River.

ANDEAN LAPWING (Vanellus resplendens)

The usual birds at Pomacochas were there.

COLLARED PLOVER (Charadrius collaris)

Jacanidae (Jacanas)

WATTLED JACANA (Jacana jacana)

Quick views in rice fields along the drive were bettered by closer individuals at Ricuricocha.

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

PARAGUAYAN SNIPE (Gallinago paraguaiae)

Jesse volunteered to flush up a bird in a wet field at Pomacochas.

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

YELLOW-BILLED TERN (Sternula superciliaris)

This and the next tern species were along the Huallaga.

LARGE-BILLED TERN (Phaetusa simplex)

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

COCOI HERON (Ardea cocoi)

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)

LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)

STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata)

Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)

TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)

Pandionidae (Osprey)

OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) [b]

A surprising oversummering bird was taking a fish for a sight-seeing tour of the Ricuricocha area. Thanks to Orjan for spotting it!

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

HOOK-BILLED KITE (Chondrohierax uncinatus)

A rather ratty male was coasting over Upaquihua.

GRAY-HEADED KITE (Leptodon cayanensis)

A pair were performing flight displays at Ricuricocha.

Field Guides Birding Tours
“Can you see me?” wonders this day roosting Band-bellied Owl. Unfortunately for it, Jesse DID see it… and then so did everyone else! Photo by guide Dan Lane.

SWALLOW-TAILED KITE (Elanoides forficatus)

Wow, several birds were circling over the Masked Duck pond, as one or two were eating caterpillars!

SNAIL KITE (Rostrhamus sociabilis)

DOUBLE-TOOTHED KITE (Harpagus bidentatus)

PLUMBEOUS KITE (Ictinia plumbea)

ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris)

WHITE-RUMPED HAWK (Parabuteo leucorrhous)

BLACK-CHESTED BUZZARD-EAGLE (Geranoaetus melanoleucus)

One over Huembo was a nice bonus.

WHITE HAWK (Pseudastur albicollis)

What a great display by a pair as they sailed over and dived at the Escalera tunnel area.

SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus)

Strigidae (Owls)

TROPICAL SCREECH-OWL (Megascops choliba) [*]

FOOTHILL SCREECH-OWL (FOOTHILL) (Megascops roraimae napensis)

A nice experience with a responsive bird above Waqanki .

BAND-BELLIED OWL (Pulsatrix melanota)

Jesse really earned his keep when he spotted a day roosting pair above Waqanki!

FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium brasilianum) [*]

Trogonidae (Trogons)

GREEN-BACKED TROGON (Trogon viridis)

BLUE-CROWNED TROGON (Trogon curucui)

COLLARED TROGON (Trogon collaris)

A pair I first identified as Masked Trogon near the Llantaria turned out to be this lowland species instead. Note that they lacked the red eyering of the former species!

MASKED TROGON (Trogon personatus)

Momotidae (Motmots)

AMAZONIAN MOTMOT (Momotus momota)

Nice views of a bird at Upaquihua.

RUFOUS MOTMOT (Baryphthengus martii)

BROAD-BILLED MOTMOT (Electron platyrhynchum)

Lina spotted the bird at Morro de Calzada.

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata)

AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona)

Bucconidae (Puffbirds)


LANCEOLATED MONKLET (Micromonacha lanceolata)

"I don't see a monkey!"

RUFOUS-CAPPED NUNLET (Nonnula ruficapilla)

A rare puffbird we encountered at Upaquihua.

BLACK-FRONTED NUNBIRD (Monasa nigrifrons)

At Upaquihua.

WHITE-FRONTED NUNBIRD (Monasa morphoeus)

A group at the Koepcke's Hermit reserve performed well.

SWALLOW-WINGED PUFFBIRD (Chelidoptera tenebrosa)

Galbulidae (Jacamars)

BLUISH-FRONTED JACAMAR (Galbula cyanescens)

Capitonidae (New World Barbets)

GILDED BARBET (Capito auratus punctatus)

First at Waqanki, and later at the Koepcke's Hermit reserve.

VERSICOLORED BARBET (BLUE-COWLED) (Eubucco versicolor steerii)

Mediocre views near the Llantaria.

Ramphastidae (Toucans)

SOUTHERN EMERALD-TOUCANET (BLACK-BILLED) (Aulacorhynchus albivitta cyanolaemus)

CHESTNUT-EARED ARACARI (Pteroglossus castanotis)

GOLDEN-COLLARED TOUCANET (Selenidera reinwardtii)

A pair showed fairly well at Morro de Calzada.

CHANNEL-BILLED TOUCAN (YELLOW-RIDGED) (Ramphastos vitellinus culminatus) [*]

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

LAFRESNAYE'S PICULET (Picumnus lafresnayi)

Seen well at Waqanki.

SPECKLE-CHESTED PICULET (Picumnus steindachneri) [E]

A Peruvian endemic we saw well at Huembo.

YELLOW-TUFTED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes cruentatus)

SMOKY-BROWN WOODPECKER (Dryobates fumigatus)

Huembo produced some nice views of this understated woodpecker.

LITTLE WOODPECKER (Dryobates passerinus)

RED-STAINED WOODPECKER (Dryobates affinis)

Seen on several days in the Mayo valley and again at the Koepcke's Hermit reserve.

LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus)

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima)

Lina pointed out this odd falcon to us as we were departing from Ricuricocha.

BAT FALCON (Falco rufigularis)

Several folks spotted this diminutive but attractive falcon out the window of the bus as we ascended the Escalera.

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)

WHITE-WINGED PARAKEET (Brotogeris versicolurus)

Nice views of this Amazonian parakeet at Ricuricocha.

COBALT-WINGED PARAKEET (Brotogeris cyanoptera)

SPECKLE-FACED PARROT (WHITE-CAPPED) (Pionus tumultuosus seniloides)

BLUE-HEADED PARROT (Pionus menstruus)

SCALY-NAPED PARROT (Amazona mercenarius)

RIPARIAN PARROTLET (Forpus crassirostris)

Recently split from Blue-rumped Parrotlet. We had a small group at Waqanki.

MITRED PARAKEET (Psittacara mitratus)

Some folks squeaked out a sighting as we drove to Huembo.

WHITE-EYED PARAKEET (Psittacara leucophthalmus)

Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)

RUFOUS-RUMPED ANTWREN (Euchrepomis callinota)

A fairly rare warblerlike canopy antbird we saw in the megaflock on the Sunangel Ridge.

Field Guides Birding Tours
An example of the picnic meals we enjoy on this tour. Here we were having fried rice near Aguas Verdes, photo by participant Randy Beaton.

FASCIATED ANTSHRIKE (Cymbilaimus lineatus) [*]

GREAT ANTSHRIKE (Taraba major)

BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus)

RUFOUS-CAPPED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus ruficapillus)

Views of a pair at Pomacochas.

LINED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus tenuepunctatus)

A reluctant male eventually showed near the Llantaria.

PLAIN-WINGED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus schistaceus)

NORTHERN SLATY-ANTSHRIKE (PERUVIAN) (Thamnophilus punctatus huallagae)

Rather range restricted in Peru. We had a nice experience with a pair at Upaquihua.

VARIABLE ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus caerulescens)

A male around Owlet Lodge showed well in the rain.

RUFESCENT ANTSHRIKE (Thamnistes rufescens)

Wow! What spectacular views of this often very difficult species on the Escalera!

PLAIN ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus mentalis)

CINEREOUS ANTSHRIKE (Thamnomanes caesius)

FOOTHILL STIPPLETHROAT (Epinecrophylla spodionota)

Brief views through thick understory above Waqanki.

RUFOUS-TAILED STIPPLETHROAT (Epinecrophylla erythrura) [*]

STRIPE-CHESTED ANTWREN (Myrmotherula longicauda)

WHITE-FLANKED ANTWREN (Myrmotherula axillaris)

We had nice views of the undescribed form at Upaquihua.

WHITE-FLANKED ANTWREN (WHITE-FLANKED) (Myrmotherula axillaris melaena)

This northern Amazonian form was present at Morro de Calzada and again at Koepcke's Hermit reserve.

SLATY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula schisticolor)

Nice views of a pair in a small flock near the Llantaria.

RUSTY-WINGED ANTWREN (Herpsilochmus frater)

A very responsive male came down out of the canopy to serenade us at Upaquihua.

RUSTY-BACKED ANTWREN (Formicivora rufa)

A pair came roaring in to check us out at Upaquihua.

PERUVIAN WARBLING-ANTBIRD (Hypocnemis peruviana)

Eventually we had nice views of a pair of these attractive antbirds at Morro de Calzada.

BLACKISH ANTBIRD (Cercomacroides nigrescens aequatorialis)

GRAY ANTBIRD (Cercomacra cinerascens) [*]

WESTERN FIRE-EYE (Pyriglena maura) [*]

WHITE-BROWED ANTBIRD (Myrmoborus leucophrys)

Nice views at Waqanki and again Upaquihua.

BLACK-FACED ANTBIRD (Myrmoborus myotherinus)

It took some work, but a pair eventually availed themselves to us at the tunnel in the Escalera.

SPOT-WINGED ANTBIRD (Myrmelastes leucostigma)

Nice views of a small group on the Waqanki trail.

CHESTNUT-TAILED ANTBIRD (Sciaphylax hemimelaena)

A male showed well at Upaquihua.

ZIMMER'S ANTBIRD (Sciaphylax castanea castanea)

Wow, what great views at close quarters at Morro de Calzada!

SPOT-BACKED ANTBIRD (Hylophylax naevius)

Fair views at Waqanki.

COMMON SCALE-BACKED ANTBIRD (Willisornis poecilinotus)

Another bird that was reluctant at first, but eventually showed for all at Aguas Verdes.

Grallariidae (Antpittas)

RUSTY-TINGED ANTPITTA (Grallaria przewalskii) [E]

After hearing several, we got nice looks at a bird that came in to worms at Alto Nieva.

CHESTNUT ANTPITTA (Grallaria blakei) [E]

A nice experience with a bird coming in to worms at Owlet Lodge.

OCHRE-FRONTED ANTPITTA (Grallaricula ochraceifrons) [E*]

LEYMEBAMBA ANTPITTA (Grallaricula leymebambae)

Orjan got us on a bird we'd been playing phone tag with along the highway near the pass.

Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)

WHITE-CROWNED TAPACULO (Scytalopus atratus)

A surprisingly responsive bird showed off its white forehead blaze to us near the Llantaria.

RUFOUS-VENTED TAPACULO (Scytalopus femoralis) [E*]

Formicariidae (Antthrushes)

BLACK-FACED ANTTHRUSH (Formicarius analis) [*]

Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)


Some views of this skulker near the Escalera tunnel.

OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (AMAZONIAN) (Sittasomus griseicapillus amazonus)

"LONG-TAILED" WOODCREEPER (SAN MARTIN) (Deconychura sp. nov. 1)

All right! This is a bird I haven't had on the tour since 2006! This undescribed population is found in foothills from Colombia to southern Peru.

WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Glyphorynchus spirurus)

STRONG-BILLED WOODCREEPER (ANDEAN/NORTHERN) (Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus crassirostris) [*]

OCELLATED WOODCREEPER (TSCHUDI'S) (Xiphorhynchus ocellatus chunchotambo) [*]

ELEGANT WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus elegans) [*]

OLIVE-BACKED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus triangularis)


Nice views of this one at Upaquihua.

MONTANE WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger)

PLAIN XENOPS (Xenops minutus)

STREAKED XENOPS (Xenops rutilans)

PALE-LEGGED HORNERO (PALE-LEGGED) (Furnarius leucopus tricolor) [*]

MONTANE FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Anabacerthia striaticollis)

BUFF-BROWED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Syndactyla rufosuperciliata) [*]


SPOTTED BARBTAIL (Premnoplex brunnescens) [*]

Field Guides Birding Tours
This tour is a great one for seeing many hummingbirds, including some rather rare ones such as this Rufous-vented Whitetip we enjoyed at Alto Nieva’s feeders. Photo by guide Dan Lane.

PEARLED TREERUNNER (Margarornis squamiger)

RUFOUS-FRONTED THORNBIRD (Phacellodomus rufifrons)

A family group at Waqanki was nicely responsive.

ASH-BROWED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca curtata)

LINE-CHEEKED SPINETAIL (BARON'S) (Cranioleuca antisiensis baroni)

We brought in a pair at Pomacochas that performed nicely.

SPECKLED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca gutturata)

Poor views of a bird at Koepcke's Hermit reserve in the flock there.

PLAIN-CROWNED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis gujanensis)

This bird responded well at Upaquihua.

AZARA'S SPINETAIL (Synallaxis azarae)


We worked hard for this rare and local species, and it paid off!

Pipridae (Manakins)

SULPHUR-BELLIED TYRANT-MANAKIN (Neopelma sulphureiventer)

Quick but good views at Upaquihua at this underwhelming manakin.

PAINTED MANAKIN (Machaeropterus eckelberryi)

A young male played hide and go seek with us at Morro de Calzada, but most folks got on it eventually.

FIERY-CAPPED MANAKIN (Machaeropterus pyrocephalus)

Great views of this sharp little manakin at Morro de Calzada!

GOLDEN-HEADED MANAKIN (Ceratopipra erythrocephala)

It was a hike to get to the lek at Koepcke's Hermit reserve, but we had great views as a reward!

Cotingidae (Cotingas)


Several nice views of this handsome species.

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

Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)

WHITE-BROWED PURPLETUFT (Iodopleura isabellae)

Oooh, a nice find at Morro de Calzada!

GREEN-BACKED BECARD (YELLOW-CHEEKED) (Pachyramphus viridis xanthogenys)

A bird was flighty at the Escalera tunnel area, but I think we all eventually got on it.

BARRED BECARD (Pachyramphus versicolor)

CHESTNUT-CROWNED BECARD (Pachyramphus castaneus)

In the trees around our lodge at Waqanki.

WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus)

BLACK-AND-WHITE BECARD (Pachyramphus albogriseus)

One showed well in the scope along the highway by the pass at Abra Patricia.

Oxyruncidae (Sharpbill, Royal Flycatcher, and Allies)

BLACK-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Myiobius atricaudus)

A fairly hard bird to see, and one showed briefly at Upaquihua.

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

WING-BARRED PIPRITES (Piprites chloris)

A low-density canopy species we spied near the Llantaria.

STREAK-NECKED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes striaticollis)

OLIVE-STRIPED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes olivaceus)

OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus)

SEPIA-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon amaurocephalus)

SLATY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon superciliaris)

INCA FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon taczanowskii) [E]

In a flock near the pass at Abra Patricia.

MARBLE-FACED BRISTLE-TYRANT (Phylloscartes ophthalmicus)

Near the Llantaria, where we had nice views.

MOTTLE-CHEEKED TYRANNULET (Phylloscartes ventralis)

ECUADORIAN TYRANNULET (Phylloscartes gualaquizae)

Also near the Llantaria (and far from Ecuador!).

RUFOUS-HEADED PYGMY-TYRANT (Pseudotriccus ruficeps)

Great views at Owlet Lodge's entrance trail!

WHITE-BELLIED PYGMY-TYRANT (Myiornis albiventris)

A rare species on the tour, but it showed overhead above Waqanki.

SHORT-TAILED PYGMY-TYRANT (Myiornis ecaudatus)

Ranked the smallest passerine in the world, and we had it above Waqanki.

SCALE-CRESTED PYGMY-TYRANT (Lophotriccus pileatus)

DOUBLE-BANDED PYGMY-TYRANT (Lophotriccus vitiosus)

A bird at Koepcke's Hermit reserve eventually gave itself away.

STRIPE-NECKED TODY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus striaticollis)

Nice views at Morro de Calzada.

PEARLY-VENTED TODY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus margaritaceiventer)

Ricuricocha was the place to see this one on this tour.

BLACK-THROATED TODY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus granadensis)

On the entrance trail to Owlet Lodge.

JOHNSON'S TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus luluae) [E]

Also called "Lulu's Tody-Flycatcher"; we had a pair that behaved nicely near the pass on the highway over Abra Patricia.

BLACK-AND-WHITE TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus capitalis)

Two pairs along the trail above Waqanki was very nice!

RUSTY-FRONTED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus latirostris)

Close views of a very confiding bird at Upaquihua.

COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum)

YELLOW-BROWED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum chrysocrotaphum)

Over the hummingbird feeders at Koepcke's Hermit reserve.

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

Seen in one of the mixed flocks near the Llantaria. This is a species that will, some day, be split into something like 10 species (once the research is done), so pay attention to which ones you encounter where!


Paul put us on this bird at Morro de Calzada.

GRAY-CROWNED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias poliocephalus)

At Koepcke's Hermit reserve.

YELLOW-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias flaviventris)

At several sites in the Mayo valley, Upaquihua, and Escalera.

CINNAMON FLYCATCHER (Pyrrhomyias cinnamomeus)

A cute denizen of higher elevations.

CLIFF FLYCATCHER (Hirundinea ferruginea)

Great views near the tunnel in the Escalera.

ORNATE FLYCATCHER (Myiotriccus ornatus)

Nice views near the Llantaria.


SOUTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (SOUTHERN) (Camptostoma obsoletum maranonicum)


One showed well in the megaflock at Sunangel Ridge.

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of the unexpected highlights of the tour was the opportunity to save this Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth (say that three times fast!) from a slow highway crossing! Randy Beaton got it as it hurried up a tree we selected for it on the other side.



GREENISH ELAENIA (GREENISH) (Myiopagis viridicata viridicata)

A rare species in Peru, but which seems to breed in the Upaquihua area, where we saw it well.

HIGHLAND ELAENIA (Elaenia obscura)

At Huembo.

YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster)

WHITE-CRESTED ELAENIA (Elaenia albiceps) [a]

SIERRAN ELAENIA (Elaenia pallatangae)

ROUGH-LEGGED TYRANNULET (WHITE-FRONTED) (Phyllomyias burmeisteri leucogonys)

Hey, now this was a nice experience! A rare species anywhere in its range, and we had great views of a bird near the Llantaria.

BLACK-CAPPED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias nigrocapillus)

MISHANA TYRANNULET (Zimmerius villarejoi) [E*]

PERUVIAN TYRANNULET (Zimmerius viridiflavus)

FULVOUS-HEADED PYGMY-TYRANT (Euscarthmus fulviceps)

FLAVESCENT FLYCATCHER (Myiophobus flavicans)

EULER'S FLYCATCHER (Lathrotriccus euleri)

SMOKE-COLORED PEWEE (Contopus fumigatus) [*]

BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans)

LITTLE GROUND-TYRANT (Syrtidicola fluviatilis)

In the fields near Pomacochas.

RUFOUS CASIORNIS (Casiornis rufus)

A nice view of this local species in Peru while we were at Upaquihua. More widespread in Bolivia, Brazil, in the deciduous woodlands there.


PALE-EDGED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cephalotes)

A montane Myiarchus we had around the dining room at Owlet Lodge.

BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus)

At Upaquihua.

GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)

BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua)

SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis)

GRAY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes granadensis)

DUSKY-CHESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes luteiventris) [*]

STREAKED FLYCATCHER (SOUTHERN) (Myiodynastes maculatus solitarius)

TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)

Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)


OLIVACEOUS GREENLET (Hylophilus olivaceus)

A bird at the Llantaria patiently waited for us to see it.

ASHY-HEADED GREENLET (Hylophilus pectoralis)

Great views at Upaquihua!

SLATY-CAPPED SHRIKE-VIREO (Vireolanius leucotis)

A bird came way down to eyelevel at the tunnel of the Escalera for eye-to-eye views!

TAWNY-CROWNED GREENLET (Tunchiornis ochraceiceps)

An understory flock above Waqanki was being led by these drab vireos.

DUSKY-CAPPED GREENLET (Pachysylvia hypoxantha)

BROWN-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo leucophrys)

CHIVI VIREO (Vireo chivi) [a]

Seen at several sites, at least some of which were probably austral migrants.

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

WHITE-COLLARED JAY (Cyanolyca viridicyanus)

Fine views of this jay along the highway by the pass at Abra Patricia.

GREEN JAY (INCA) (Cyanocorax yncas yncas)

Views on several days.

VIOLACEOUS JAY (Cyanocorax violaceus)

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca)

WHITE-BANDED SWALLOW (Atticora fasciata)

SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis)

GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea)


WHITE-WINGED SWALLOW (Tachycineta albiventer)

Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)

CHATTERING GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus sticturus)

A recent split from Long-billed Gnatwren; we had a bird at Upaquihua.

TROPICAL GNATCATCHER (PARVIROSTRIS) (Polioptila plumbea parvirostris)

Troglodytidae (Wrens)

SCALY-BREASTED WREN (SOUTHERN) (Microcerculus marginatus marginatus)

Fair views for most at Morro de Calzada.

HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)

MOUNTAIN WREN (Troglodytes solstitialis)

CORAYA WREN (Pheugopedius coraya) [*]

SPECKLE-BREASTED WREN (MARA–NON) (Pheugopedius sclateri sclateri)

Nice views at Huembo.

BUFF-BREASTED WREN (Cantorchilus leucotis)

This species showed well to us at Upaquihua.

SHARPE'S WREN (Cinnycerthia olivascens) [*]

Field Guides Birding Tours
This moody image of a male Comb Duck shows the iridescent wing speculum at its maximum glory! Guide Dan Lane got this shot at Ricuricocha, where the species is abundant.

WHITE-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucosticta)

Eventually we saw this skulker near the tunnel at the Escalera.

BAR-WINGED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucoptera)

A local specialty in stunted forests. We had a responsive pair at the hummer feeders at Alto Nieva.

GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucophrys)

Cinclidae (Dippers)

WHITE-CAPPED DIPPER (Cinclus leucocephalus)

One of the birds we saw (thanks to Orjan!) appeared to be the white-backed northern form, which interbreeds with the dark-backed southern form here.

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

ANDEAN SOLITAIRE (Myadestes ralloides)


PALE-BREASTED THRUSH (Turdus leucomelas)

Good views at Morro de Calzada, which is one of the few spots in Peru where one can find the species!

HAUXWELL'S THRUSH (Turdus hauxwelli)

Seen our first evening at Waqanki.

WHITE-NECKED THRUSH (GRAY-FLANKED) (Turdus albicollis spodiolaemus) [*]

VARZEA THRUSH (Turdus sanchezorum)

A nice view of this recently-described species our final morning at Waqanki.

BLACK-BILLED THRUSH (Turdus ignobilis)

GREAT THRUSH (Turdus fuscater gigantodes)

GLOSSY-BLACK THRUSH (Turdus serranus)

A female at Owlet Lodge was our only sighting.

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

At Tarapoto.

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

PURPLE-THROATED EUPHONIA (Euphonia chlorotica)

GOLDEN-BELLIED EUPHONIA (Euphonia chrysopasta)

THICK-BILLED EUPHONIA (Euphonia laniirostris)

ORANGE-BELLIED EUPHONIA (Euphonia xanthogaster)

BRONZE-GREEN EUPHONIA (Euphonia mesochrysa)

HOODED SISKIN (Spinus magellanicus)

OLIVACEOUS SISKIN (Spinus olivaceus)

A few feeding on Cecropias at Owlet Lodge permitted views.

Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)

SHORT-BILLED CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus parvirostris)

COMMON CHLOROSPINGUS (NORTHERN ANDES) (Chlorospingus flavopectus hiaticolus)

YELLOW-BROWED SPARROW (Ammodramus aurifrons)

ORANGE-BILLED SPARROW (SPECTABILIS) (Arremon aurantiirostris spectabilis) [*]

CHESTNUT-CAPPED BRUSHFINCH (Arremon brunneinucha) [*]

RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis)

YELLOW-BREASTED BRUSHFINCH (YELLOW-BREASTED) (Atlapetes latinuchus latinuchus)

Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)

PERUVIAN MEADOWLARK (Leistes bellicosus)

Nice views of a male at Pomacochas.

RUSSET-BACKED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius angustifrons)

CRESTED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius decumanus)

SCARLET-RUMPED CACIQUE (SUBTROPICAL) (Cacicus uropygialis uropygialis)

Even the rain at Alto Nieva wouldn't keep these flashy blackbirds from showing off.


GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus)

ORIOLE BLACKBIRD (Gymnomystax mexicanus)

A nice view of a bird at Ricuricocha was a little surprising.

Parulidae (New World Warblers)

TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi)

THREE-STRIPED WARBLER (THREE-STRIPED) (Basileuterus tristriatus tristriatus)

CITRINE WARBLER (PERUVIAN) (Myiothlypis luteoviridis striaticeps) [*]

BLACK-CRESTED WARBLER (Myiothlypis nigrocristata)

At Pomacochas.

BUFF-RUMPED WARBLER (Myiothlypis fulvicauda) [*]

RUSSET-CROWNED WARBLER (Myiothlypis coronata inaequalis)

Nice views at Huembo.

SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus)

SPECTACLED REDSTART (Myioborus melanocephalus)

Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)

HEPATIC TANAGER (HIGHLAND) (Piranga flava lutea)

A couple at the tunnel in the Escalera.

CARMIOL'S TANAGER (YELLOW-LORED) (Chlorothraupis carmioli frenata)

Great views of this rather underwhelming relative of our Cardinal at the tunnel of the Escalera.

GOLDEN GROSBEAK (Pheucticus chrysogaster)

At Pomacochas.

Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)

RED-CAPPED CARDINAL (Paroaria gularis)

BLACK-FACED TANAGER (Schistochlamys melanopis)

MAGPIE TANAGER (Cissopis leverianus)

WHITE-CAPPED TANAGER (Sericossypha albocristata)

A flashy jay-like tanager we had on the ridge across the road from Alto Nieva.

RUFOUS-CRESTED TANAGER (Creurgops verticalis)

BUFF-BELLIED TANAGER (Thlypopsis inornata)

At Huembo.

YELLOW-CRESTED TANAGER (Loriotus rufiventer)

WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus)

Field Guides Birding Tours
Participant Lina Sjogren captured the beaming faces of a group that has just enjoyed the magnificence of a lek of Marvelous Spatuletails!


Brief views for some in the flock at Koepcke's Hermit reserve.

BLACK-BELLIED TANAGER (Ramphocelus melanogaster) [E]

This is the local replacement for the next species. Common in the Mayo valley.

SILVER-BEAKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus carbo)

Replacing the last around the Huallaga river.

BLUE-CAPPED TANAGER (Sporathraupis cyanocephala)

LACRIMOSE MOUNTAIN TANAGER (Anisognathus lacrymosus)

YELLOW-THROATED TANAGER (Iridosornis analis)

YELLOW-SCARFED TANAGER (Iridosornis reinhardti) [E]

A nice endemic that we had along the ridge above the entrance road into Owlet Lodge.

ORANGE-EARED TANAGER (ORANGE-EARED) (Chlorochrysa calliparaea bourcieri)

A very handsome bottle-green member of mixed flocks around the Llantaria.

BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus)

PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum)

YELLOW-BELLIED TANAGER (Ixothraupis xanthogastra)

SPOTTED TANAGER (Ixothraupis punctata)

SILVERY TANAGER (Stilpnia viridicollis)

GREEN-THROATED TANAGER (Stilpnia argyrofenges)

All right! This was a great find in the megaflock at Sunangel Ridge. A rare bird in much of its range.

MASKED TANAGER (Stilpnia nigrocincta)

BLUE-NECKED TANAGER (Stilpnia cyanicollis caeruleocephala)

BLUE-AND-BLACK TANAGER (BLUE-AND-BLACK) (Tangara vassorii branickii)

This and the next few were members of the megaflock along Sunangel Ridge.

BERYL-SPANGLED TANAGER (Tangara nigroviridis)

METALLIC-GREEN TANAGER (Tangara labradorides)

TURQUOISE TANAGER (Tangara mexicana)

PARADISE TANAGER (Tangara chilensis)

BAY-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara gyrola)

SAFFRON-CROWNED TANAGER (Tangara xanthocephala venusta)

FLAME-FACED TANAGER (Tangara parzudakii)

A real gob-smacker we enjoyed in the mixed flocks between Abra Patricia and Sunangel Ridge.

GREEN-AND-GOLD TANAGER (Tangara schrankii)

GOLDEN TANAGER (PULCHRA GROUP) (Tangara arthus pulchra)

BLACK-FACED DACNIS (Dacnis lineata)

BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana)


Randy and Orjan got us on a couple birds enjoying the afternoon light in a bare tree in the Escalera.

PURPLE HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes caeruleus)

GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza)

YELLOW-BACKED TANAGER (Hemithraupis flavicollis)

Orjan spotted this mixed flock member in the Escalera.

CAPPED CONEBILL (Conirostrum albifrons)



BLUISH FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa caerulescens)


GRAY-HOODED BUSH TANAGER (Cnemoscopus rubrirostris)

SAFFRON FINCH (Sicalis flaveola) [I]

An introduction around Tarapoto (native to the NW of Peru).


BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina)

CHESTNUT-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila castaneiventris)

BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola)

DULL-COLORED GRASSQUIT (Asemospiza obscura) [*]


BLUE-GRAY SALTATOR (Saltator coerulescens)

Until recently, considered part of the Grayish Saltator complex, but that has been split into three species with the present one being the Amazonian representative.

STREAKED SALTATOR (Saltator striatipectus peruvianus)

SLATE-COLORED GROSBEAK (Saltator grossus) [*]


SADDLEBACK TAMARIN (Saguinus fuscicollis) [*]


A small group behind the cabins at the start of the trail system at Owlet Lodge was a nice start to our brief night hike.

DUSKY TITI MONKEY (RIO MAYO) (Callicebus moloch oenanthe) [*]

BROWN CAPUCHIN (Cebus apella)


Well, this was a memorable experience! A new twist to the old "why did the sloth cross the road?" joke. Happily, we were able to help it get across and onto the nearest tree before traffic treated it unkindly! Gotta admit, it's kinda cool to hold a sloth...


Totals for the tour: 425 bird taxa and 6 mammal taxa