Birding Tour in the Eastern Bolivia Lowlands
This is an 8-day Bolivia Birdwatching Tour in the Eastern Lowlands of Bolivia, taking in some of the most famous natural sights of eastern Bolivia while exploring a surprising variety of habitats along the way. Focus on the wildlife-rich lowlands east of the Andes for a superb introduction to Bolivia’s diverse habitats, birds, landscapes and culture.
Explore the Gran Chaco Dry Forest in South East Bolivia
Our Bolivian adventure starts out, as most do, in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, but unlike most tours, we start off by heading south to the Chaco of Southern Santa Cruz department for Chaco specialized birds.
We will explore the Dry Chiquitania forests of the department of Santa Cruz, searching for such habitat distinct birds as the Red-legged Seriema, Greater Rhea, Red-billed Scythbill, Long-winged Harrier, Bicolored Seedeater, and the near endemic Bolivian Slaty-Antshrike – most birders only see this species in Bolivia.
We then travel south to the Bolivia Chaco, only shared with Paraguay and Argentina. Many of the birds in this habitat are only seen in Bolivia. The open habitat will assist us in getting some great looks, and some rare looks at Chaco Chachalaca, Black-legged Seriema, Larklike Brushrunner, Brown Cacholote, Crested Hornero, Chaco Earthcreeper, and Many-colored Chaco-Finch among others.
Explore the Beni Wetlands of North East Bolivia
From there we will travel to the north and the seasonally-flooded savannas in the Beni area (technically defined as the Llanos de Moxos habitat), where a spacious mix of grasslands, marshes, dry forest and tall gallery forest (also generally called 'pampas') await us. Trinidad is a great birding town and the surroundings offer some spectacular birding spots, not the least because of the endemic and critically endangered Blue-throated Macaw.
Until now, experiencing Bolivia's avian riches required a minimum of 3-4 weeks of exhilarating and exhausting travel. We've designed this Bolivia birdwatching tour to be more affordable than those marathon trips while experiencing the highlights of the Bolivian Lowlands and their surprising diversity. Here is your opportunity to explore in the most important birding ecosystems in Bolivia and the best birds the country has to offer in just eight days.
This Bolivia birding tour focuses on birding from Santa Cruz de la Sierra and south to the Gran Chaco habitats along the foothills of the Andes, and then to Trinidad further north in the Bolivian Lowlands.
Bolivia Birdwatching Tour highlights include:
- Many different habitats, visited at a relaxed pace
- Minimum of two nights in most areas
- Easy to moderate walking; some hill-climbing
- Simple but comfortable accommodation
- Expect to see over 300 bird species during this birding tour in eastern Bolivia
Like the look of this birdwatching tour in Bolivia and keen to extend your stay in the highlands? Take a look at this Birding Tour in the Highlands of Western Bolivia
Alternative Tour Name: Birding Eastern Bolivia
Tour departs from Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. Bird the local savannas and forest islands around Santa Cruz. One night at local hotel in Santa Cruz.
Our birding begins at the renowned Santa Cruz Botanical Gardens where we’ll be looking for Blue-crowned Trogons, Amazonian Motmots, Rufescent Tiger Heron, and the two most important species of this birding site: Fawn-breasted Wren and Bolivian Slaty Antshrike.
Other birds here include White-wedged Piculet, Golden-green Woodpecker, Little Woodpecker, Gilded Hummingbird, Black-capped Antwren, Yellow-olive Flatbill, Rufous Casiornis, White-bellied Tyrannulet, Straneck’s Tyrannulet, Tropical Parula, Flavescent Warbler, Golden-crowned Warbler, Orange-headed Tanager, Grey-headed Tanager, Variable Oriole, and Purple-throated Euphonia, Undulated Tinamou, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Blue-crowned, Yellow-chevroned, and Green- cheeked Parakeets, Olivaceous, Black-banded, and Buff-throated Woodcreepers.
Quite a parade of colors and sounds to start off the tour!
Today we will explore several types of well-preserved habitats in the area known as Lomas de Arena, including savannas, dry forest, marshes and large water bodies.
Over 240 birds have been recorded in the park. Here's your chance to see a number of localised species hard to see elsewhere including Red-legged Seriema, Chaco Puffbird, White Woodpecker, Chalk-browed and White-banded Mockingbirds, Peach-fronted Parakeet, Narrow-billed Woodcreeper, Rufous-fronted Thornbirds, Guira Cuckoo, Burrowing Owl, and many other fun, open country, species.
The area is also a stop over and wintering ground for many Austral and Boreal migrants.
Heading south from Santa Cruz, we will enter the fairly widespread, mixed scrub of Chiquitania woodland before gaining some slight elevation, paralleling the foothills of the Andes, with a few access points into some very interesting dry forest.
This is but the first interesting habitat on our Chaco-focused portion of the tour which may well yield, in the end, over 100 species in the dry woodlands of relatively species-poor (i.e. low-diversity) habitats!
Sneaky Tataupa Tinamous, confiding Chaco Puffbird, numerous Chaco Chachalaca, graceful Red-legged Seriemas, noisy Chotoy Spinetails, Greater Thornbird, Toco Toucan, Blue-crowned Trogons, White-barred Piculet, White Monjita, Rufous Casiornis, Plain Tyrannulet, Plush-crested Jay, White-banded Mockingbird, Screaming Cowbird, Saffron-billed Sparrow, White-bellied Seedeater, Ultramarine Grosbeak, and several other fine species can be expected in the variety of habitats en route to the Chaco habitats.
Other species we may find here include Brown-backed Mockingbird, Dusky-legged Guans, Bicolored Hawk, Golden-collared Macaw, Ocellated Piculet, Black-banded and Tschudi’s Woodcreepers, Ochre-cheeked Spinetail, Straneck’s and Sclater’s Tyrannulets, Ochre-faced Tody-Flycatcher, and Green-backed Becards.
The Chaco habitat is a low, closed mix of short to medium trees and dense spiny shrubs that undergoes an extreme dry season. This extreme habitat has produced an extremely low diversity of resident birds compared to other Bolivian lowland areas.
This habitat distinction has made some species to be highly specialized to these conditions. Around four hundred species are known to occur in the Bolivian Chaco, and many of those are seasonal and/or migrants.
Four Bolivian specialty birds await us here: Chaco Chachalaca, Crested Hornero, Fawn-breasted Wren and Many-colored Chaco-finch.
Other Chaco species present are Lark-like Brushrunner, Spot-winged Falconet, Short-billed Canastero, Chaco Earthcreeper, Little Thornbird, Black-legged Seriema, Little Nightjar and Cream-backed Woodpecker.
If (very) lucky, see another couple of Bolivian specialties: Black-bodied Woodpecker and Chaco Owl.
The dense, thorny, resilient plant life of the Chaco that extends from the base of the Southern Andes of Bolivia clear across Paraguay and into Argentina harbours a number of species adapted to a harsh existence.
While not all the Chaco habitat endemics can be found in Bolivia, a great many can be.
Such is our quest to obtain views of as many of these range-restricted specialties as we can, given this extra days in proper habitat.
The more exciting birds we’ll manage to look for include Blue-tufted Starthroat, Checkered Woodpecker, Crested Hornero, Little Thornbird, the charismatic Lark-like Brushrunner, Short-billed and Sharp-billed Canasteros, Suiriri Flycatchers, Cinereous Tyrants, Hudson’s Black Tyrants, and Many-colored Chaco Finch.
Black-legged Seriema is ridiculously easy on most of our tours while Cream-backed Woodpecker, Crested Gallito and Chaco Earthcreeper are harder to get.
Today a flight takes us to the small city of Trinidad located north of Santa Cruz, where the birds tend to be plentiful and easy to see.
The area is synonymous with the Blue-throated Macaw; presumed extinct until it was rediscovered in 1992. We will visit a private ranch where the provision of nest boxes has allowed it and its larger Blue-and-Yellow cousin to thrive.
The vegetation is full of woodcreepers, antwrens and toucans as one would expect in this part of the world. We will also look for Yellow-collared and Chestnut-fronted Macaws, White-eyed and Dusky-headed Parakeets, Unicoloured Blackbird and Rufous Cacholote around the city.
The open savannas outside Trinidad are comparable to the Pantanal in the wonderful abundance and visibility of their birds and other wildlife.
Here we may see Southern Screamer, Laughing Falcon, Savanna and White-tailed Hawks, Southern Lapwing, Peach-fronted Parakeet, Toco Toucan, White Woodpecker, Great Rufous Woodcreeper and truly impressive concentrations of storks, herons, egrets, spoonbills and ibises.
In the evening we will visit a roost site for the Blue-throated Macaw where, in addition to our target species, we will have a good chance of seeing Blue-and-yellow and Red-and-green Macaws.
Bird the open savannas and wetlands and forest islands outside Trinidad.
In case we missed the macaws the previous evening, this morning we will revisit their roost.
The rest of the day will be spent exploring the fantastic savannas, wetlands and forest islands in the area in the hope of seeing Black Howler Monkey, Hoatzin, Swallow-tailed Hummingbird, Plain Softtail, Hudson’s Black-tyrant, Grey, White and White-rumped Monjitas, Spectacled Tyrant, Black-backed Water-tyrant, White-headed Marsh Tyrant, Red-crested and Red-capped Cardinals, Velvet-fronted Grackle, Scarlet-headed Blackbird and many other species.
We will drive back to Trinidad, stopping along the way for roadside birds and to watch the capybaras and caimans that crowd around every roadside pool.
From Trinidad, a short flight takes us back to Santa Cruz in the afternoon, where the tour ends.
Some of the star species you may encounter on this Bolivia Birding Trip:
Hudson’s Black Tyrant
Savannah and White-tailed Hawks
Great Rufous Woodcreeper
Storks, herons, egrets
Spoonbills and ibises
Gray, White and White-rumped Monjitas
Red-crested and Red-capped Cardinals
Velvet-fronted Grackle Blackbird
among many other species.
What is included?
- Local transfers and all ground transport throughout the tour
- Internal flights where applicable
- All accommodation or lodgings based on double occupancy
- Single occupancy available for an additional charge/cost
- Professional English-speaking guide(s) and support staff
- Specialist guide fees
- Entrance fees to all National Parks, Nature Reserves and/or use of Hides where applicable
- All meals
- Snacks throughout the tour
- Water throughout the tour
- All activities as specified within the tour itinerary
- Personalised checklists
- All Applicable Taxes
What is not included?
- All international or domestic airfares
- Visa Fees (if applicable)
- Travel & medical insurance (incl. personal equipment and repatriation)
- Airport departure taxes or visa fees
- Bank transfer charges
- Items of a personal nature such as alcoholic drinks
- If providing binoculars and telescopes then add within above
- Laundry & telephone Charges
- Gratuities and extras (phone calls, laundry, etc.)
- Optional tour extensions where applicable
- Any other drinks not mentioned above
- Anything else not mentioned in “What is included”
Bolivia Naturally is one of the leading local birding companies based in Bolivia offering birding with a lot of fun, lead by a team of naturalist guides and ornithologists. Bolivia Birding offers specialised birding tours and a number of other wildlife experiences including nature and bird photography adventures directly to the independent traveller while also working as a specialised ground operator for a number of international birding companies.
We stay in hotels with en suite bathrooms in cities and very simple rural lodging in the backcountry. Expect simple but comfortable ecolodges with relatively good comfort and hot showers. We also provide great local food and a nice variety of snacks and unlimited bottled drinking water throughout the trip. Most of the tour will be done in either a 7-seat or 17-seat vans depending on number of people on tour. Some sites require use of 4x4 vehicles, in which case we use Toyota Land Cruisers. In some cases Jeep Willys are used.
This tour involves ground transportation, be it in a van or smaller 4x4 vehicle. Internal flights are also included in the price of the tour. International flights to/from Bolivia are not included.
We have the lowest group size in the industry with a maximum of 8 birders per group!
Yes, all airport transfers are included.
Yes, don't hesitate to contact us.
Yes, all meals from lunch on the first day to lunch on the last day are included. We also include snacks and bottled water throughout the trip.
This tour is great year-round. Rain can (and does) occur at any time in the Bolivian rainforest (rains are much heavier during the rainy season from Dec to Feb), but participants should expect some rain, regardless of the time of the trip, as the Andes foothills, generally, receive fairly high rainfall. However, this does not impact the quality of the birding.
We hope our travelers are able to walk 1 – 3 miles daily. This tour birds lightly travelled roads with support vehicles nearby.
There is wi-fi in all hotels and lodges. PLease keep in mind that wi-fi is only available in common areas in some places and that in more rural areas the connection is not always 100% reliable.
Bolivia Naturally supports the local communities we visit in many ways. First, it is our policy to always hire local guides when available and make use of the services provided by the locals (meals, transportation, feeder sites, etc). Secondly, we support various programs and work closely with partners such as Bolivian NGO Fundacion Armonia in the areas we visit to promote conservation and bird tourism and to provide outreach and training in the local communities we visit.
Yes, just let us know!
No. We suggest you purchase trip cancellation insurance and your own travel insurance or make sure your insurance covers you while travelling.
A deposit of $1,000 USD (non-refundable) per person is due to confirm the trip and full payment is due 60 days prior to the start date of the tour. You can pay by wire transfer or by Credit Card.
The tour can be rescheduled within 1 year (no additional fees)
If you cancel before final payment is due a cancellation fee of your deposit will be charged. If you cancel after final payment is due there is no refund but you can reschedule the tour within a year at no extra charge.
General Packing List: Documents and Money: • Passport • Cash and credit cards • Airline tickets or E-ticket confirmation Clothing: • Waterproof rain jacket • Sweater or medium weight jacket • Two pairs of pants, at least one lightweight, plus cool long pants and shorts • Two or three long-sleeved shirts • Two or three T-shirts • Four or five pairs of underwear • Four or five pairs of socks • 1 pair of comfortable walking shoes • 1 pair of waterproof boots • Shade hat and 1 bandanna • Pyjamas • Bathing suit Toiletries: • Toiletries and washcloth • Personal first aid kit • Prescription drugs • Sunscreen • Lip balm with sunscreen • Soap for hand washing and universal sink stopper • Insect repellent (chiggers, no-see-ums and mosquitoes) and anti-itch ointment Gear: • Binoculars • Spotting scope • Camera • Daypack - for rain gear and water on walks • Plastic bags to put wet gear in case of rain • Sunglasses and extra prescription glasses • Reusable water bottle – to refill throughout the trip • Alarm clock • Flashlight and extra batteries Optional: • Sandals • Field guides • Map • Spanish dictionary • Writing materials, paper, and pens • Laundry bag and a few clothespins
Field Guide to the Birds of Bolivia by Sebastian K Herzog, Asociacion Armonía Editors, 2016. Serious birders will definitely also want Volume 1 and Volume 2 of The Birds of South America by Robert S. Ridgely and Guy Tudor. If you have an interest in bird songs, the Bird Sounds of Bolivia CD-ROM by Sjoerd Mayer is a very useful tool.