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CENTRAL PERU

The Ultimate Peruvian Endemics Tour

Birdquest's Central Peru birding tour is one of a series of Peru birdwatching trips we offer. This exciting tour focuses on the many species found in the central part of Peru, home to numerous specialities, ranging from Junin Grebe and Diademed Sandpiper-Plover to White-cheeked Cotinga and Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager, and finishes off with an exciting pelagic out into the cool waters of the Humboldt Current.

Sunday 11th November — Thursday 29th November 2018
(19 days)


Leader: Eustace Barnes

Group Size Limit: 8

Tour Category: Easy or moderate walking for the most part and mostly comfortable accommodations (but 3 nights camping)

Our Central Peru circuit holds a surprising number of endemics. The superb Golden-backed Mountain Tanager is one of the best! (Pete Morris)

Our Central Peru circuit holds a surprising number of endemics. The superb Golden-backed Mountain Tanager is one of the best! (Pete Morris)

Forming a huge block of land on the western side of South America, Peru is one of the continent’s most mountainous countries, where isolated valleys and cordilleras have seen avian evolution in full swing. Not only boasting an amazing avifauna of about 1800 species, it also holds a considerable number of little-known and highly localized endemics, several dozens of which have only been discovered in the last few decades.

Designed as the ultimate itinerary for Peruvian endemics, this fabulous journey takes us through a wide range of habitats across the topographically complex Peruvian Andes.

We start our journey in Lima, from where we will head up the arid Santa Eulalia Valley to look for Bronze-tailed Comet, Canyon Canastero, Rufous-breasted Warbling-Finch and many other interesting birds.

Next we will visit the high Andean bogs of Marcapomacocha, the haunt of the legendary Diademed Sandpiper-Plover and a handful of exciting endemics including the critically-endangered White-bellied Cinclodes. Farther inland lies Lago Junín, the second largest lake in the country, and home to the endangered Junín Grebe.

From here we will continue our journey to Huancayo (after which the famous Peruvian dish ‘papas huancainas’ is named) to explore some seldom-visited mountains and valleys where our main targets will be several more endemics: Fire-throated Metaltail, Eye-ringed Thistletail, Black-goggled Brush-Finch and a newly discovered but as yet undescribed tapaculo, and likewise a new wren.

Next we shall descend to Huanuco, our base for exploring the rich and bromeliad-laden cloudforests of the Carpish Mountains and the Paty Trail. An enticing set of multi-hued tanagers and shimmering hummingbirds will await us here, as well as such secretive forest-floor endemics as Bay and Chestnut Antpittas, and a superb supporting cast of other cloudforest birds.

One of the highlights of the tour will undoubtedly be our stay at the remote Bosque Unchog, where will camp for three nights. Only first visited by ornithologists in the 1970s, this land of misty paramos and contorted elfin forests is where we shall seek out some of Peru’s most wanted endemics, including the enormous Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager, the smart Bay-vented Cotinga, the awkward Pardusco and the elusive Rufous-browed Hemispingus.

The penultimate leg of our journey will be through the breathtaking Cordillera Blanca, not only the setting for some of the continent’s most spectacular scenery but also home to yet another set of exciting endemics. Here we will search high-elevation Polylepis woodland, shrubby gullies and boulder-strewn slopes for such interesting birds as Ancash Tapaculo, White-cheeked Cotinga, Plain-tailed Warbling-Finch and Rufous-eared Brush-Finch, whilst the awesome contours of Huascaran, Peru’s highest mountain, constantly loom in the background.

Finally we will visit the Lomas de Lachay and their characteristic ‘fog vegetation’, inhabited by such desirable endemics as Coastal and Thick-billed Miners, Cactus Canastero and Raimondi’s Yellow-Finch.

At the end of the tour there will be an exciting pelagic excursion to the rich waters of the Humboldt current. We will make a full day excursion to the deep waters where two rare and localized species, Markham’s and Ringed (or Hornby’s) Storm Petrels can be found. As well as these there’s an excellent supporting cast which may well include White-vented and Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrels, Waved Albatross, Peruvian Diving-Petrel and Swallow-tailed Gull amongst others. It is also likely that we will see some cetaceans during the day.

Birdquest has operated tours to Peru since 1982.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels/lodges are mostly of good or medium standard but there will be a few nights in simple or basic guesthouses. Road transport is by small coach and roads are decidedly variable in quality (rough in some areas).

Walking: The walking effort is mostly easy or moderate, but there are two or three more strenuous hikes.

Climate: Rather variable. At low and middle elevations many days are warm or hot, dry and sunny, though on other days it can be cool and overcast. A large part of our time will be spent at high altitudes, where conditions range from warm or cool to decidedly cold. It may well rain at times and it will be rather humid in the Carpish Mountains and at Bosque Unchog.

Bird Photography: Opportunities are quite good.

Can be taken together with: AMAZONIAN PERU: IQUITOS

Tour Price: £5090, €5800, $6670 Lima/Lima. Single Room Supplement: £414, €471, $542. Deposit: £650, €780, $850.

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.

Bosque Unchog is a legendary site with a suite of poorly-known specials including the superb Rufous-browed Hemispingus (Pete Morris)

Bosque Unchog is a legendary site with a suite of poorly-known specials including the superb Rufous-browed Hemispingus (Pete Morris)

Bay-vented Cotinga is another speciality of Bosque Unchog (Pete Morris)

Bay-vented Cotinga is another speciality of Bosque Unchog (Pete Morris)

The critically endangered Junin Grebe (Pete Morris)

The critically endangered Junin Grebe (Pete Morris)

The impressive White-bellied Cinclodes is one of the rarest furnarids in the world, though is fortunately quite easy to find. Our central Peru tour targets an excellent suite of spectacular and localized endemics (Pete Morris)

The impressive White-bellied Cinclodes is one of the rarest furnarids in the world, though is fortunately quite easy to find. Our central Peru tour targets an excellent suite of spectacular and localized endemics (Pete Morris)

As well as the endemics our Central Peru circuit holds a good number of other specialities such as the much-wanted Diademed Plover (or Sandpiper-Plover). It's always a favourite as it quite literally hops across the bogs! (Pete Morris)

As well as the endemics our Central Peru circuit holds a good number of other specialities such as the much-wanted Diademed Plover (or Sandpiper-Plover). It's always a favourite as it quite literally hops across the bogs! (Pete Morris)

Orange-breasted Falcon is another rare species we have a great chance of seeing (Pete Morris)

Orange-breasted Falcon is another rare species we have a great chance of seeing (Pete Morris)

Other localized endemics include the smart Fiery-throated Metaltail (Pete Morris)

Other localized endemics include the smart Fiery-throated Metaltail (Pete Morris)

... the cracking Great Inca Finch (Pete Morris)

... the cracking Great Inca Finch (Pete Morris)

... the strange and only recently-discovered Pardusco (Pete Morris)

... the strange and only recently-discovered Pardusco (Pete Morris)

... the pretty Creamy-crested Spinetail (Pete Morris)

... the pretty Creamy-crested Spinetail (Pete Morris)

... and Ancash Tapaculo, one of several tapaculos we'll be looking for (Pete Morris)

... and Ancash Tapaculo, one of several tapaculos we'll be looking for (Pete Morris)

Unlike most antpittas, the smart Stripe-headed Antpitta is at home hopping about on rocky, treeless slopes! (Pete Morris)

Unlike most antpittas, the smart Stripe-headed Antpitta is at home hopping about on rocky, treeless slopes! (Pete Morris)

In the same areas, high patches of Polylepis forest hold Giant Conebill (Pete Morris)

In the same areas, high patches of Polylepis forest hold Giant Conebill (Pete Morris)

... and the rare Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant (Pete Morris)

... and the rare Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant (Pete Morris)

Along the coast we'll find goodies such as Peruvian Pelican (Pete Morris)

Along the coast we'll find goodies such as Peruvian Pelican (Pete Morris)

... the remarkable Inca Tern (Pete Morris)

... the remarkable Inca Tern (Pete Morris)

... the smart Peruvian Thick-knee (Pete Morris)

... the smart Peruvian Thick-knee (Pete Morris)

... and the endemic Peruvian Seaside Cinclodes (Pete Morris)

... and the endemic Peruvian Seaside Cinclodes (Pete Morris)

Expect incredible scenery, almost throughout! This is the Llanganuco Lakes (Pete Morris)

Expect incredible scenery, almost throughout! This is the Llanganuco Lakes (Pete Morris)

The amazing giant Puya raimondi is always worth a picture! (Pete Morris)

The amazing giant Puya raimondi is always worth a picture! (Pete Morris)

Other rare and desirable endemics we'll be looking for include White-cheeked Cotinga (Pete Morris)

Other rare and desirable endemics we'll be looking for include White-cheeked Cotinga (Pete Morris)

... Yellow-scarfed Tanager (Pete Morris)

... Yellow-scarfed Tanager (Pete Morris)

... Brown-flanked Tanager (Pete Morris)

... Brown-flanked Tanager (Pete Morris)

... Black-necked Woodpecker (Pete Morris)

... Black-necked Woodpecker (Pete Morris)

... and even the rare Junin Rail! (Pete Morris)

... and even the rare Junin Rail! (Pete Morris)

High in the Andes, we can expect to find plenty of Andean Geese (Pete Morris)

High in the Andes, we can expect to find plenty of Andean Geese (Pete Morris)

Remote lakes hold breeding Giant Coots (Pete Morris)

Remote lakes hold breeding Giant Coots (Pete Morris)

... and the smart Andean Ibis (Pete Morris)

... and the smart Andean Ibis (Pete Morris)

A whole suite of montane hummingbirds await us with such glorious names as Shining Sunbeam (Pete Morris)

A whole suite of montane hummingbirds await us with such glorious names as Shining Sunbeam (Pete Morris)

... Coppery Metaltail (Pete Morris)

... Coppery Metaltail (Pete Morris)

... Black-breasted Hillstar (Pete Morris)

... Black-breasted Hillstar (Pete Morris)

... and Coppery-naped Puffleg (Pete Morris)

... and Coppery-naped Puffleg (Pete Morris)

Fruiteaters are a feature of the famous Paty Trail, with Masked Fruiteater (Pete Morris)

Fruiteaters are a feature of the famous Paty Trail, with Masked Fruiteater (Pete Morris)

... Band-tailed Fruiteater (Pete Morris)

... Band-tailed Fruiteater (Pete Morris)

... and the distinct Huanuco form of Green-and-black Fruiteater all being possible (Pete Morris)

... and the distinct Huanuco form of Green-and-black Fruiteater all being possible (Pete Morris)

Crimson-mantled Woodpeckers inhabit the higher montane forest (Pete Morris)

Crimson-mantled Woodpeckers inhabit the higher montane forest (Pete Morris)

The seldom-seen Tit-like Dacnis is found in the highest Polylepis patches (Pete Morris)

The seldom-seen Tit-like Dacnis is found in the highest Polylepis patches (Pete Morris)

Likely owls include the cute Pacific Pygmy Owl (Pete Morris)

Likely owls include the cute Pacific Pygmy Owl (Pete Morris)

... and Burrowing Owl (Pete Morris)

... and Burrowing Owl (Pete Morris)

It's a good trip for tinamous, with Ornate Tinamou... (Pete Morris)

It's a good trip for tinamous, with Ornate Tinamou... (Pete Morris)

... and Andean Tinamou being two of the more likely (Pete Morris)

... and Andean Tinamou being two of the more likely (Pete Morris)

Seedsnipes include Least Seedsnipe along the coast (Pete Morris)

Seedsnipes include Least Seedsnipe along the coast (Pete Morris)

... and, at highest elevations, Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe (Pete Morris)

... and, at highest elevations, Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe (Pete Morris)

Along the coast, we'll look for the rare Peruvian Tern (Pete Morris)

Along the coast, we'll look for the rare Peruvian Tern (Pete Morris)

... and the localized Belcher's (or Band-tailed) Gull amongst others (Pete Morris)

... and the localized Belcher's (or Band-tailed) Gull amongst others (Pete Morris)

The optional pelagic at the end of the tour is surely the best pelagic anywhere for storm petrels! We have a great chance of Hornby's Storm Petrel (Pete Morris)

The optional pelagic at the end of the tour is surely the best pelagic anywhere for storm petrels! We have a great chance of Hornby's Storm Petrel (Pete Morris)

... Markham's Storm Petrel (Pete Morris)

... Markham's Storm Petrel (Pete Morris)

...Wedge-rumped Storm Petrel (Pete Morris)

...Wedge-rumped Storm Petrel (Pete Morris)

... and Elliot's Storm Petrel (Pete Morris)

... and Elliot's Storm Petrel (Pete Morris)

... and with luck we'll see an amazing Waved Albatross! (Pete Morris)

... and with luck we'll see an amazing Waved Albatross! (Pete Morris)

... or a Swallow-tailed Gull, wandering from the Galapagos (Pete Morris)

... or a Swallow-tailed Gull, wandering from the Galapagos (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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