Trip report – Ornitravel

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irding Trip report
Central Peru

including Santa Eulalia, Oxapampa, Villa Rica

and Satipo road

November 3rd to 12th 2007

Leader, report redaction : Fabrice Schmitt

Participants : Elisabeth Hassler and Renate Kalz

Driver/cook : Julio Benites

In November 2007, I guided a birding trip for the German Ornitravel company Logistics were done by Kolibri Expeditions

The main part of the trip was 10 days in the central Peru, known to be one of the best place to find restricted range species. We visited the dry Santa Eulalia valley, the coffee plantations around Villa Rica, the Cloud Forest of Oxapampa, the famous Satipo road (cloud and elfin forest) and the fantastic dry valley around Comas surrounded by puna grassland.
Many wonderful birds are present is this seldom birded area: Black-and-chestnut Eagle, Diademed Sandpiper-plover, Cloud-forest Screech-owl, Fire-throated Metaltail, Creamy-bellied Antwren, Red-billed and Peruvian Tyrannulet, Scarlet-bellied, Yellow-scarfed and Blue-browed Tanager, Rufous-breasted Warbling-finch, and so many more...
Two very interesting sightings have been done during this trip:

First of all, the discovery of a singing male of Black-billed Seed-finch (Oryzoborus atrirostri) on the way to Villa Rica. According to the wonderful Schulenberg et al. book of Birds of Peru, this would be the first record for the Junin department.

Unfortunately, I don't have any proof (picture, sound recording) to document this record.

This bird was found in a small marsh few kilometers after the turn-off from the main paved road San Ramon-Satipo, about 500 meters after a botanical garden (10°56'53''S - 75°17'20W - 670 m according to Google Earth). This marsh is very interesting and many good birds can be seen here. I would be interested to know if other birder find the Seed-finch again.

The second interesting sighting, much more exciting, was the discovery of a undescribed mammal, belonging to the Monodelphis genus (Short-tailed Opossum).

We found this small mammal above Villa Rica in cloud forest.

In fact, this animal was already discovered by Peruvian mammalogist (that we didn't know when we found it!!) and will be formally described soon.

Peru is one of these few countries where you can find an undescribed species during your holidays!! So exciting!

A new species of Monodelphis found near Villa Rica!


November 3rd

We left the Melodía Hotel at 4:30 am to the Santa Eulalia valley. For our first stop, Elisabeth quickly found a Great Inca-finch. A wonderful view on this first Peruvian endemic of the trip!!

We also found there few groups of Mountain Parakeet, Bare-faced Ground-dove, 2 Black-chested Buzzard-eagle and several Purple-collared Woodstar.

During our second stop, we added a pair of Peruvian Pygmy-owl, 1 Black-necked Woodpecker, 1 Andean Tinamou and few Golden-bellied Grosbeaks.

We then drove to the Huachupampa area where we found very easily 2 Rufous-breasted Warbling-finch, 1 Bronze-tailed Comet, few Rusty-bellied Brush-finch, and 1 Giant Hummingbird.

At 8:30 am, we already saw most of the specialties of the lower Santa Eulalia valley!! We merited a nice breakfast with a wonderful landscape and 3 Andean Condors flying overhead!

During the rest of the day, we slowly drove back to Lima, adding always more species to our list, as Black Metaltail, Canyon Canastero, Pied-crested Tit-tyrant or Collared Warbling-finch.

In Lima we stopped one hour in a nice hotel for an appreciated shower, and after dinner, we took a public bus for a night drive to San Ramon.

November 4th

Our driver, Julio Benites, is waiting us at 6:30 am in San Ramon. We directly drove to the Villa Rica/Oxapampa cross-road where we had our breakfast, close to a botanical garden where we saw our first Bluish-fronted Jacamar, White-eyed Parakeet, and Blue-headed Parrot. We also heard a Tataupa Tinamou without finding it.

This first morning was amazing; all the birds we found belong to another species!! Barred Antshrike, Chestnut-bellied Seedeater, Yellow-browed Sparrow, Little Woodpecker, Chestnut-eared Aracari, Long-tailed Tyrant, Plumbeous Kite, Magpie Tanager, Common Tody-flycatcher, and many many more!!

We even found the rare and localized Black-billed Seed-finch, a new species for the Junin department!

We stopped for lunch in a coffee plantation where the activity was absolutely incredible! One of the first bird we found was a Creamy-bellied Antwren (endemic to Peru), in a flowering tree full of Sparkling Violet-ear and White-bellied Hummingbird!

On our way to Oxapampa, we also added some wonderful birds as Swallow-tailed Kite or Blue-banded Toucanet.

We arrived in our very nice hotel in Oxapampa at 5 pm.
November 5th

We left the hotel at 4:00 am to drive directly to the Antenna road, where we tried the Cloud-forest Screech-owl. Unfortunately, he didn’t play the game and we dipped on this rare endemic.

Anyway, we found some other interesting species as Striated Treehunter, Long-tailed Antbird, Collared Inca and we even had a great view on a White-crowned Tapaculo.

After our breakfast in this wonderful pristine forest, we walk down a part of the antenna road, where we found many orchid species (Renate is an orchid specialist!!) and few birds as Yellow-scarfed Tanager, Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Tricolored and Slaty Brush-finch.

After picking up Elisabeth who stayed at the hotel this morning, we drove to Pozuzo via the Yanachaga-Chemillen NP.

Again, many nice species on the way, as Blue-headed Macaw, Gilded Barbet, Mottle-backed Elaenia, Lemon-browed Flycatcher or Speckled Chachalaca.

We arrived in the late evening in our comfortable hotel in Pozuzo, owned by a descendant of Austrian immigrants.
November 6th

Again, an early morning in the field. We drove on a very bad and wet road to reach a Cock-of-the-Rock lek. We saw there around 15 males displaying, but unfortunately the weather was bad and the rain obliged us to leave the place…

This lek is in the yard of an Austrian-Peruvian family. In fact, the Pozuzo and Oxapampa area is known for his Austrian-german community arrived in Peru around 1850. The people belonging to this community still speak the Tyrolian dialect… as do Elisabeth and Renate!! It was just incredible for them to travel thousands of kilometers, to arrive in tropical forest and speak the same dialect than at home!!

After a nice breakfast surrounded by birds in the garden of our hotel, we drove back to Oxapampa. On the way, we saw a wonderful Solitary Eagle carrying a snake, Blue-crowned Motmot and so many Roadside Hawks. We also saw our first monkeys: two groups of Brown Capuchin Monkey, and a nice group of Whooly Monkey who stayed close to us during our lunch.

November 7th

We left the hotel at 3:30 am for a second try for the Cloud-forest Screech-owl. Unfortunately, as soon as we arrived close to the antenna, we had rain that obliged us to stay in the minibus for two hours. We drove back to Pozuzo where we stayed all the morning, waiting the rain stop.

The weather changed in the end of the morning, and allowed us to bird a little bit on the way to Villa Rica. Rufous-capped Thornbill, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Hook-billed Kite, Long-tailed Sylph and Peruvian Tyrannulet were some of the best birds, but the bird of the day is definitely a wonderful adult of Black-and-chestnut Eagle landed close to the road!!

This afternoon, we had the incredible surprise to discover a new species of mammals!!

On the border of the road we where birding, we found this small "Shrew-like" mammal while it was looking for food in the vegetation. We took many pictures of this nice "mouse", in fact a short-tailed Opossum, and back home Fabrice discovered it was an undescribed species!! Other individuals have already been found in 3 places of Peru, and the description of this species will be published soon.

In the late evening, we birded the Oconal lagoon where we saw many wetlands species as Least Grebe, Wattled Jacana, Blackish Rail, Cocoi Heron, and Purple Gallinule.

November 8th

We spent all the day around Villa Rica, where we had excellent birding in the coffee plantation. The activity is just amazing, and we never stopped to add new species.

The bests of the birds we found this day were Red-billed Tyrannulet, Chestnut-backed Antshrike, White-winged Tanager, Ocellated Piculet, Lineated Woodpecker, Streaked Xenops, Stripe-chested Antwren and Swallow Tanager.

We also found many boreal migrants as Canada or Blackburnian Warbler, and Swainson Thrush.

At 3 p.m., we again had rain stopping the birding for the end of the day.

After dinner, as rain stopped, we looked for owls and had a wonderful close view on a Band-bellied Owl.

November 9th

Early morning for a couple of hours birding in the coffee plantation close to Villa Rica, and we then drove to Satipo.

On the way we stopped for few nice birds as White-browed Antbird, a small flock of Swallow-tailed Kite close to the minibus, and Blue-crowned Motmot.

The habitat around Satipo is degraded and mostly dedicated to the citrus fruits culture, where we only saw some common and widespread species as Chestnut-bellied and Yellow-bellied Seedeater, Streaked Flycatcher, Silver-beaked Tanager or Black-billed Thrush.

November 10th

We spent all the day below the village of Calabaza where good subtropical forest still exists. Anyway, the activity was fairly low and we found few mixed species flocks.

The good birds of the day where Torrent Duck, White-backed Fire-eye, 1 Amazonian Umbrellabird, 1 Inca Flycatcher, few Golden-crowned Flycatcher, Blue Dacnis and Dusky-green Oropendola. We also had excellent view on 2 Black Spider Monkey.

We also had several views of Black-throated Toucanet, a probable forthcoming split of the Emerald Toucanet.

At the end of our day, we even spotted a Ferrugineous Pygmy-owl in a Cecropia tree.
November 11th

A long day today as we had to drive 250 km on a unpaved road and we had lot’s of birds to see on the way!!

For breakfast, we already had good flocks, including several species of Hemispingus and Tanager (even the rare Blue-browed Tanager!) and a nice view of a full grown chick of Black-and-chestnut Eagle on his nest.

We did a short stop at the Atalaya community; with witch Kolibri Expedition is starting an ecotourism project. Elisabeth and Renate gave some educational materials to the school, very appreciated by the teacher.

Around Carrizales, in the elfin forest, we found the endemics Eye-ringed Thistletail and Fire-eyed Metaltail, the beautiful Scarlet-bellied Mountain-tanager, a Moustached Flowerpiercer and the sapphiropygia subspecies of Sapphire-vented Puffleg that will probably be split as Coppery-naped Puffleg.

After lunch we still have a long way to drive, and so few time to stop for the birds. The landscapes were absolutely amazing and we drove through very typical Andean villages. As we left the cloud forest, we found completely different bird species almost all named as “Andean” : Andean Goose, Andean Flicker, Andean Gull, Andean Ibis, Andean Duck, Andean Lapwing, etc… but also Striated Earthcreeper, Peruvian Sierra-finch, Paramo Seedeater, Puna Hawk, Giant Coot…

Just before to reach Concepcion where we spent the night, we even found a Magellanic Horned Owl!!
November 12th

We have a little bit more time today to have a better look on all the species we saw briefly the day before.

On the Ticlio bog, we found a huge group of 23 Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe, 1 Gray-breasted Seedsnipe, few White-fronted Ground-tyrants, 2 White-fronted Ground-tyrant and of course the specialty of the place: the endemic and endangered White-bellied Cinclodes whose total population is probably less than 500 birds!

On another bog we found a pair of Diademed Plover, one of the most sought-after species in Peru.

Slender-billed Miner, Plain-breasted Earthcreeper, Black Siskin, Junin Canastero, Ash-breasted Sierra-finch and Taczanowski’s Ground-tyrant are some of the other species seen that day.

We arrived at Lima at 5 p.m. for a merited rest.

Bird List
The * indicates a species whose total range is less than 50.000 km²

The species in bold are globally endangered species. The abbreviation in front of the species name indicate the threat level (nt: near-threatened, Vul: Vulnerable, End: Endangered, Crit: Critical)

The German names come from the Avibase WebPages.

Brown Tinamou - Crypturellus obsoletus - Kastanientinamu

Heard only in the Yanachaga-Chemillen NP and on the Satipo road
Tataupa Tinamou - Crypturellus tataupa - Tataupatinamu

Heard only, near the Oxapampa junction and near Satipo.

Andean Tinamou - Nothoprocta pentlandii - Andensteißhuhn

1 seen in the Santa Eulalia valley


Least Grebe - Tachybaptus dominicus - Schwarzkopftaucher

At least 50 birds on the Oconal lagoon. Many of them are displaying or incubating.
Silvery Grebe Podiceps occipitalis Inkataucher

1 on a small piece of water, before the Ticlio pass.

PELECANIFORMES: Phalacrocoracidae

Neotropic Cormorant - Phalacrocorax brasilianus - Olivenscharbe

Fairly common in the lowland to 1500 m.

Cocoi Heron - Ardea cocoi - Cocoireiher

10-20 birds in the Oconal lagoon.
Great Egret - Ardea alba - Silberreiher

Seen around Lima, in the Oconal lagoon and around Satipo.

Snowy Egret - Egretta thula - Schmuckreiher

2 on the Oconal lagoon

Cattle Egret - Bubulcus ibis - Kuhreiher

2 near Satipo

Striated Heron - Butorides striata - Mangrovereiher

Common on the Oconal lagoon. Also seen around Satipo.

Black-crowned Night-Heron - Nycticorax nycticorax - Nachtreiher

10+ on the Oconal lagoon, and 4 birds before the Ticlio pass at around 4000 m. elevation.

Fasciated Tiger-Heron - Tigrisoma fasciatum - Streifenreiher

Few sightings near Pozuzo and on the way to Satipo.

CICONIIFORMES: Threskiornithidae

Andean Ibis - Theristicus branickii - Schwarzzügelibis

2 birds in the puna, in the highest part of the road between Satipo and Concepcion.
Puna Ibis - Plegadis ridgwayi - Punaibis

10 at the Ticlio pass.


Andean Goose - Chloephaga melanoptera - Andengans

Fairly common at high elevation
Torrent Duck - Merganetta armata - Sturzbachente

1 male on the way to Pozuzo, and 1 female on the Satipo road.

Speckled Teal - Anas flavirostris - Andenente

10 on a small piece of water before the Ticlio bog. These ones belong to the oxyptera subspecies that will perhaps be split in the future (sometimes called “Yellow-billed Teal”)

Crested Duck - Anas specularioides - Schopfente

Few seen on the way to Concepcion, and at least 30 before the Ticlio pass.

Andean Duck - Oxyura ferruginea - Schwarzkopf-Ruderente

4 on the high altitude lagoon before Concepcion.


Black Vulture - Coragyps atratus - Rabengeier

Common around Lima. A group of 30+ is sunbathing on a river shore close to Satipo.
Turkey Vulture - Cathartes aura - Truthahngeier

Common in the east foothill.

nt - Andean Condor - Vultur gryphus - Andenkondor

3 ad. in the Santa Eulalia.


Hook-billed Kite - Chondrohierax uncinatus - Langschnabelweih

1 female on the Antenna road close to Oxapampa, and 1 male between Oxapampa and Villa Rica.
Swallow-tailed Kite - Elanoides forficatus - Schwalbenweih

Named the “lunch bird” by Renate, as we saw small groups of this species during almost each of our lunch, around Villa Rica, Oxapampa and Pozuzo.

Plumbeous Kite - Ictinia plumbea - Schwebeweih

Few groups on the way to Satipo.

Plain-breasted Hawk - Accipiter ventralis - Andensperber

1 seen near Villa Rica

Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle - Geranoaetus melanoleucus - Agula

5 in the lower part of the Santa Eulalia, and 2 in the dry valley around Comas.

nt - Solitary Eagle - Harpyhaliaetus solitarius - Einsiedleradler

1 ad. seen carrying a snake in the Yanachaga-Chemillen NP.

Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris Wegebussard

Common on the road sides…. Below 2000 m in the foothills.

White-rumped Hawk - Buteo leucorrhous - Weißbürzelbussard

1 ad. between Villa Rica and Oxapampa at around 2000 m.

Short-tailed Hawk - Buteo brachyurus - Kurzschwanzbussard

1 on the way to Villa Rica on day 2.

Puna Hawk - Buteo poecilochrous - Punabussard

1 excellent view of an ad. rufous morph above Carrizales on the Satipo road.

Zone-tailed Hawk - Buteo albonotatus - Mohrenbussard

1 seen flying over the coffee plantations close to Villa Rica.

nt - Black-and-chestnut Eagle - Oroaetus isidori - Isidoradler Kurz vor der Bedrohung

1 incredible view of an ad. on the road side, in a coffee plantation close to Villa Rica. Unfortunately the bird didn’t stay and we were unable to take pictures…

We also found a full growth juvenile on a platform nest, on the Satipo road. The same nest was already used in 2005.


Red-throated Caracara Ibycter americanus Rotkehlkarakara

3 seen on the way to Villa Rica, and 3 near Oxapampa
Mountain Caracara Phalcoboenus megalopterus Bergkarakara

At least 5 birds seen in the highlands, on the way to Concepcion.

American Kestrel Falco sparverius Buntfalke

Fairly common in the lower Santa Eulalia valley.


Speckled Chachalaca - Ortalis guttata - Tüpfelguan

Fairly common in the foothill where his call is heard every morning and evening. Several groups have been seen, even in the garden of our hotel in Pozuzo!
Andean Guan - Penelope montagnii - Andenguan

1 near Pozuzo and 2 on the Satipo road.


Rufous-sided Crake - Laterallus melanophaius - Rothalsralle

Only heard, in the Oconal lagoon and near Satipo.
Blackish Rail - Pardirallus nigricans - Trauerralle

2 glimpses in the Oconal lagoon, where more were heard.

Purple Gallinule - Porphyrio martinica - Zwergsultanshuhn

We found at least 10 in the Oconal lagoon.

Common Moorhen - Gallinula chloropus - Teichhuhn

Oconal lagoon

Giant Coot - Fulica gigantea - Riesenbläßhuhn

6 on the high altitude lake before Concepcion, and 2 building a nest in a small piece of water before the Ticlio pass.

GRUIFORMES: Eurypygidae

Sunbittern - Eurypyga helias - Sonnenralle

A very good scope view between Oxapampa and Pozuzo.

Wattled Jacana - Jacana jacana - Rotstirn-Blatthühnchen

Common at Oconal lagoon

Andean Lapwing - Vanellus resplendens - Andenkiebitz

Common in the highlands
nt - Diademed Sandpiper-Plover - Phegornis mitchellii - Diademregenpfeifer

2 on the “usual” bog in the upper Santa Eulalia valley, where a pair is breeding and present all year round.


Spotted Sandpiper - Actitis macularius - Drosseluferläufer

1 below La Merced at more or less 800 m elevation, and 4 near Satipo.
Greater Yellowlegs - Tringa melanoleuca - Großer Gelbschenkel

1 at Oconal lagoon and 6 in a rice field near Satipo

Pectoral Sandpiper - Calidris melanotos - Graubrust-Strandläufer

1 at Ocopa lagoon


Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe - Attagis gayi - Rotbauch-Höhenläufer

A group of 23 at the Ticlio bog!! A record for this place!
Gray-breasted Seedsnipe - Thinocorus orbignyianus - Graubrust-Höhenläufer

1 at the Ticlio bog


Andean Gull - Larus serranus - Andenmöwe

1 at the Oconal lagoon at only 1500 m elevation (an interesting record for this species), and few birds at high elevation.


Rock Pigeon - Columba livia - Felsentaube

Feral species found in many places.
Band-tailed Pigeon - Patagioenas fasciata - Bandtaube

Groups of more than 20 birds in the Yanachaga-Chemillen NP, and 5 on the Satipo road.

Eared Dove - Zenaida auriculata - Ohrflecktaube

Common in the lower Santa Eulalia valley, and around Concepcion.

Pacific Dove - Zenaida meloda - Perutaube

Common around and in Lima.

Ruddy Ground-Dove - Columbina talpacoti - Rosttäubchen

2 on the way to Satipo

Bare-faced Ground-Dove - Metriopelia ceciliae - Nacktgesichttäubchen

Small groups for a total of more than 30 in the lower Santa Eulalia.

Black-winged Ground-Dove - Metriopelia melanoptera - Weißbugtäubchen

Just 3 near the Huachupampa junction, in the Santa Eulalia valley.

White-tipped Dove - Leptotila verreauxi - Blauringtaube

Common in the lower Santa Eulalia valley, and fairly common around Villa Rica and Oxapampa.


Blue-headed Macaw - Primolius couloni - Blaukopfara Gefährdet

An excellent scope view on 5 birds landed close to the Yanachaga-Chemillen NP (coming from Pozuzo).
Scarlet-fronted Parakeet Aratinga wagleri Columbiasittich

A group of 6 birds flying in the late afternoon in the lower Rimac valley.

White-eyed Parakeet - Aratinga leucophthalma - Pavuasittich

Around 10 on a clay lick at the botanical garden o the way to Villa Rica and Oxapampa, and around 20 near Satipo.

Mountain Parakeet - Psilopsiagon aurifrons - Zitronensittich

3 small group for a total of more than 25 birds in the lower Santa Eulalia. A good scope view permitted us to see the yellow underpart of the aurifrons subspecies involved here.

Blue-headed Parrot - Pionus menstruus - Schwarzohrpapagei

Several small groups of 4-10 birds seen around Villa Rica, Oxapampa, Pozuzo and Satipo.

Speckle-faced Parrot - Pionus tumultuosus - Purpurstirnpapagei

An excellent view on 5 birds between Villa Rica and Oxapampa (below the pass, in fairly degraded forest).

Scaly-naped Parrot - Amazona mercenaria - Soldatenamazone

6 birds at the Antenna road near Oxapampa.


Squirrel Cuckoo - Piaya cayana - Eichhornkuckuck

Few seen on the Satipo road.
Smooth-billed Ani - Crotophaga ani - Glattschnabelani

Common in the east Andean foothill.

Groove-billed Ani - Crotophaga sulcirostris - Riefenschnabelani

2 in the lower Santa Eulalia.

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