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AMAZONIAN PERU: IQUITOS

Birdquest's Amazonian Peru: Iquitos birding tour explores some truly splendid South American birdwatching locations. This exciting tour focuses on the many species found in the northern part of the Peruvian Amazon, centred on the city of Iquitos. We visit Explorama, Explornapo, the Amazon Conservatory for Tropical Studies and remote Muyuna Lodge, as well as the 'white sand' habitats around Iquitos in search of many specialities and a host of more widespread Amazonian birds. Highlights include Nocturnal and Wattled Curassows, Black-faced Hawk, Pavonine Quetzal, the spectacular Black-necked Red-Cotinga, Zimmer’s Woodcreeper, Undulated Antshrike, Reddish-winged Bare-eye, Chestnut-belted Gnateater and Band-tailed Oropendola.

Sunday 28th October — Saturday 10th November 2018
(14 days)


Leader: Pete Morris

Group Size Limit: 8

Tour Category: Easy to moderate walking and mostly comfortable accommodations

The superb Collared Puffbird is one of many Amazonian species we'll try to find (Pete Morris)

The superb Collared Puffbird is one of many Amazonian species we'll try to find (Pete Morris)

Over millions of years in the Amazonian rainforest of the Iquitos region the process of evolution has progressed in response to climate change, the rise of the Andes, and the birth of the Amazon river with its multitude of tributaries. The result is an incredible array of habitats and soil types, each with a specialized flora and fauna. Modern research has proven that unique species are restricted to the more rare and distinctive of these Amazonian habitats. Overlooked by early 19th century ornithologists, interest in such fragile and unique ecosystems has occurred only recently with the discovery of several bird species new to science from the white sandy soil forests of Iquitos.

These discoveries are just a few examples of the incredibly high biodiversity of the Iquitos region. Its broad position at the shared boundary of the three major biogeographic centre of the South American continent are the cause for world records in numbers of reptiles, amphibians and tree species. With over 600 species of birds recorded from the surroundings of the city of Iquitos, this part of western Amazonia is known to be one of the richest areas for birds in the entire vast Amazonian basin.

Founded during the rubber and timber boom of the 19th century, this remote Amazonian city is surrounded by the Amazon, Itaya and Nanay rivers. It still has no road connections to the outside world, so access is by air and river only. This is one of the few places on our planet that we visit where roads are virtually non-existent!

Leaving the city far behind, five rainforest lodges will serve as our base for exploration of this diverse environment, the original Explorama Lodge, Explornapo Lodge, the Amazon Conservatory for Tropical Studies (ACTS) adjacent to the canopy walkway, and finally Muyuna Lodge. From carefully designed trails leading away from the lodges we shall seek some of the Amazon basin’s most exciting birds and mammals. Amongst the myriad of possibilities, specialities of the area possible on the tour include the legendary Nocturnal Curassow, Wattled Curassow, Black-faced Hawk, Pavonine Quetzal, the spectacular Black-necked Red-Cotinga, Red-billed Ground-Cuckoo (very rare), Undulated Antshrike, Reddish-winged Bare-eye, Chestnut-belted Gnateater, Band-tailed Oropendola and a rich variety of river island specialists including Zimmer’s Woodcreeper.

Two major rivers, the Ucayali and Maranon meet to form the majestic Amazon River not far from Iquitos, creating a complex mosaic of riverine habitats. Different-sized islands with vegetation in various stages of succession each host a slightly different avifauna wholly specialized and isolated from the mainland. Starting at Explorama, we will visit an older island for several island specialists as well as Amazonian Umbrellabird and Festive Parrot whilst the lodge’s surrounding floodplain forest has the recently described Orange-eyed Flycatcher and noisy Short-tailed Parrots.

Moving to ACTS, the incredible canopy walkway, the only one of its kind in the New World tropics, is one of the major attractions and highlights. This aerial bridge links twelve giant trees, stretching five hundred metres (one-third of a mile) through the rainforest canopy. Many of the birds show no fear of the unexpected company of human visitors 35 metres (115 feet) up in the canopy, allowing unparalleled views of mixed flocks with trogons, barbets, puffbirds and tanagers!

From the terra firma forests surrounding ACTS we will move to the nearby Explornapo Lodge where we will have easy access to several distinct island and varzea habitats. The lodge is surrounded by upper floodplain forest with Spotted Puffbird and Black-necked Red Cotinga possible just beyond the lodge clearing.

To complete our set of Amazonian lodges, we will visit Muyuna Lodge, where we have a very good chance at seeing Wattled Curassow, an endangered bird known from only a few sites in South America. The second ‘mega’ curassow we hope to see during our travels! Muyuna also features rich varzea forest, home to the near-endemic Black-tailed Antbird as well as Hoatzin, Rufous-sided Crake, Dot-backed Antbird, Johannes’s Pygmy-Tyrant and delightful Pygmy Marmosets.

The finale of this exciting tour will take place in the newly created Allpahuayo-Mishana Reserve. Protecting the largest concentration of white sand forest so far known in Peruvian Amazonia, newly discovered birds such as Ancient Antwren, Allpahuayo Antbird, Mishana Tyrannulet and Iquitos Gnatcatcher are easily accessible from our comfortable hotel in Iquitos.

Birdquest has operated tours to Peru since 1982.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotel in Iquitos and Muyuna Lodge are of good to medium standard. The Amazon Conservatory for Tropical Studies and Explornapo are fairly simple but comfortable jungle lodges with excellent food and attentive staff. Bathroom facilities at these two lodges are shared with latrine type toilets which are all kept very clean. All lodges lack electricity and lighting is by kerosene lanterns. Showers lack hot water but the water is not cold and feels refreshing after a day in the rainforest. We hardly travel on roads on the tour, but where we do use roads the transport is by small coach or minibus and the roads are mostly good.

Walking: The walking effort is easy or moderate.

Climate: Most days in the Iquitos region will be rather warm and humid, with a mixture of sunshine and overcast conditions. At least some rain should be expected, from brief showers to sometimes extended periods of heavy rain.

Bird Photography: Opportunities are worthwhile.

Can be taken together with: NORTHERN PERU or with CENTRAL PERU

Tour Price: £4190, €4770, $5490 Iquitos/Iquitos. Single Room Supplement: £520, €592, $681. Deposit: £500, €600, $650.

Includes surface transportation, accommodations, meals, water, entrance fees and tips/gratuities.

Base prices for this tour are in US Dollars. The exchange rates applied at the time of costing were: £1 = $1.310 and €1 = $1.150.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency will be pleased to arrange your air travel on request, or you may arrange this yourself if you prefer.

Two rare (and difficult to photograph!) curassows will be high on our want lists! Nocturnal Curassow (Pete Morris)

Two rare (and difficult to photograph!) curassows will be high on our want lists! Nocturnal Curassow (Pete Morris)

... and Wattled Currasow (Pete Morris)

... and Wattled Currasow (Pete Morris)

The incredibly diverse birdlife of the Iquitos area includes some rare endemics including Allpahuayo Antbird (Pete Morris)

The incredibly diverse birdlife of the Iquitos area includes some rare endemics including Allpahuayo Antbird (Pete Morris)

We'll work hard to see the spectacular Pavonine Quetzal (Pete Morris)

We'll work hard to see the spectacular Pavonine Quetzal (Pete Morris)

Golden-collared Toucanet is one of the many avian rainforest wonders we will hope to lure into view (Pete Morris)

Golden-collared Toucanet is one of the many avian rainforest wonders we will hope to lure into view (Pete Morris)

The spectacular Wire-tailed Manakin is not uncommon (Pete Morris)

The spectacular Wire-tailed Manakin is not uncommon (Pete Morris)

And with luck we'll find the unobtrusive Lanceolated Monklet (Pete Morris)

And with luck we'll find the unobtrusive Lanceolated Monklet (Pete Morris)

Other cracking birds we will hope to find include Chestnut-belted Gnateater (Pete Morris)

Other cracking birds we will hope to find include Chestnut-belted Gnateater (Pete Morris)

... Ringed Woodpecker (Pete Morris)

... Ringed Woodpecker (Pete Morris)

... and Point-tailed Palmcreeper (Eustace Barnes)

... and Point-tailed Palmcreeper (Eustace Barnes)

Whilst searching for Wattled Curassow, we'll come across some interesting wetland species such as Horned Screamer... (Pete Morris)

Whilst searching for Wattled Curassow, we'll come across some interesting wetland species such as Horned Screamer... (Pete Morris)

... and Green-and-rufous Kingfisher (Pete Morris)

... and Green-and-rufous Kingfisher (Pete Morris)

Among the mammals, we should see some fabulous Noisy Night Monkeys (Pete Morris)

Among the mammals, we should see some fabulous Noisy Night Monkeys (Pete Morris)

The amazing canopy walkway at ACTS is an incredible piece of engineering, offering amazing views over the canopy (Pete Morris)

The amazing canopy walkway at ACTS is an incredible piece of engineering, offering amazing views over the canopy (Pete Morris)

The views from the walkway are superb; the canopy stretches for miles! (Pete Morris)

The views from the walkway are superb; the canopy stretches for miles! (Pete Morris)

It's a great tour for puffbirds and their relatives... the rare Brown-banded Puffbird will be a target (Pete Morris)

It's a great tour for puffbirds and their relatives... the rare Brown-banded Puffbird will be a target (Pete Morris)

... as will the scarce Chestnut-capped Puffbird (Pete Morris)... Yellow-billed Nunbird should be straightforward (Pete Morris)

... as will the scarce Chestnut-capped Puffbird (Pete Morris)... Yellow-billed Nunbird should be straightforward (Pete Morris)

Yellow-billed Nunbird should be straightforward (Pete Morris)

Yellow-billed Nunbird should be straightforward (Pete Morris)

... but well need a bit of luck for Rusty-capped Nunbird (Pete Morris)

... but well need a bit of luck for Rusty-capped Nunbird (Pete Morris)

A fabulous variety of jacamars are possible including White-eared Jacamar (Pete Morris)

A fabulous variety of jacamars are possible including White-eared Jacamar (Pete Morris)

... Bluish-fronted Jacamar (Pete Morris)

... Bluish-fronted Jacamar (Pete Morris)

... White-chinned Jacamar (Pete Morris)

... White-chinned Jacamar (Pete Morris)

... Great Jacamar (Pete Morris)

... Great Jacamar (Pete Morris)

... and Yellow-billed Jacamar, amongst others! (Pete Morris)

... and Yellow-billed Jacamar, amongst others! (Pete Morris)

We should come across a few nightbirds too, such as the huge Great Potoo (Pete Morris)

We should come across a few nightbirds too, such as the huge Great Potoo (Pete Morris)

... or the rare Black-banded Owl (Pete Morris)

... or the rare Black-banded Owl (Pete Morris)

We'll see numerous parrot species such as Canary-winged Parakeet (Pete Morris)

We'll see numerous parrot species such as Canary-winged Parakeet (Pete Morris)

... and the local Short-tailed Parrot (Pete Morris)

... and the local Short-tailed Parrot (Pete Morris)

The scarce Slender-billed Kite is a distinct possibility along the waterways (Pete Morris)

The scarce Slender-billed Kite is a distinct possibility along the waterways (Pete Morris)

Riparian specialists include the poorly-known Zimmer's Woodcreeper (Pete Morris)

Riparian specialists include the poorly-known Zimmer's Woodcreeper (Pete Morris)

... Pearly-breasted Conebill (Pete Morris)

... Pearly-breasted Conebill (Pete Morris)

... and Olive-spotted Hummingbird (Pete Morris)

... and Olive-spotted Hummingbird (Pete Morris)

Orange-eyed Flycatcher (or Flatbill) is not spectacular, but it is rare! (Pete Morris)

Orange-eyed Flycatcher (or Flatbill) is not spectacular, but it is rare! (Pete Morris)

Black-tailed Trogons seem to comprise of two populations with quite different songs (Pete Morris)

Black-tailed Trogons seem to comprise of two populations with quite different songs (Pete Morris)

The strange Bare-necked Fruitcrow is often spotted from the canopy walkway (Pete Morris)

The strange Bare-necked Fruitcrow is often spotted from the canopy walkway (Pete Morris)

The Sunbittern is a monotypic family; a relict species whose closest relative is the Kagu of New Caledonia (Pete Morris)

The Sunbittern is a monotypic family; a relict species whose closest relative is the Kagu of New Caledonia (Pete Morris)

The social nesting Hoatzin is also an evolutionary wonder with its enlarged foregut able to microbially digest plant cellulose (Pete Morris)

The social nesting Hoatzin is also an evolutionary wonder with its enlarged foregut able to microbially digest plant cellulose (Pete Morris)

Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate

Birdquest Ltd is Registered in England, Company No. 01568270. The address of our registered office is Two Jays, Kemple End, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9QY

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