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Birding Peru: Manu Road Photography Tour - 5 Days

Birding Peru: Manu Road Photography Tour

Birding and Photography Tour on the Manu Road

This 5-day Birding Peru: Manu Road Photography Tour is available as a set departure (or available request) on which you can expect to see around 250 species of bird, including a dozen or so endemics, and travel to prime birdwatching lodges at the edge of Manu National Park in southern Peru. The trip is great for bird photography, particularly the national bird of Peru, the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, and also many hummingbird species. All of the lodges along the Manu Road - Wayqecha Lodge, Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge, Villa Carmen and Amazonia Lodge - have specialist feeders and provide excellent photographic opportunities.

The Manu road is the most species-rich birding route in the world. More than 1000 species have been recorded there. Among the highlights you can expect to find are numerous species of tanagers, hummingbirds, trogons and toucans, as well as Hoatzin, Sungrebe, Sunbittern, Antbirds and Woodcreepers. There are also a number of endemic or restricted-range species available along the road.

When you are birding Peru you can look forward to seeing exciting species such as Red-and-White Antpitta, Rufous-capped Thornbill, Marcapata Spinetail, Black-backed Tody-Tyrant, Koepcke's Hermit, Black-capped Tinamou, Amazonian Antpitta and Pale-eyed Blackbird. Then there are the bamboo specialists such as White-cheeked Tody-Flycatcher, Bamboo Antshrike, Manu Antbird, Large-headed Flatbill, Rufous-headed Woodpecker, White-lined Antbird, Goeldi's Antbird and many more. It's a list to make your mouth water!

There are two service levels offered by Kolibri on this birding Peru tour. When we started running birding Peru tours on the Manu Road, over 20 years ago, none of the lodges had private baths. Now they are well equipped with beautiful cabins and rooms with private bathrooms and hot water showers, but prices have understandably risen.

However, the same lodges still offer a more budget option with shared baths. Our standard rates assume a shared bathroom but we also offer our MST premium service as outlined on our tour operator page. Please note that at Wayqecha Lodge and Villa Carmen there are two separate male and female dorms, often housing students doing research, so even if you opt for our budget tour pricing you may want to consider an upgrade just for these two places - this can easily be arranged.

Birding Peru: Manu Road Photography Tour highlights include:

  • Five days on the most species-rich birding route in the world
  • Great photo opportunities for Andean Cock-of-the-Rock and hummingbirds
  • Bamboo bird specialists such as White-cheeked Tody-Flycatcher
  • Many endemic and restricted-range species

Please note: The above from pricing is based on 5 travellers participating in this tour.  With just two people on the tour the surcharge is $500/person. With 3 people signed up the surcharge is $250, and with four just $90/person

If you like the look of this tour but are keen to experience a combination of culture and birdwatching, have a look at the Peru Birding and Culture Tour: Nazca, Titicaca and Machu Picchu.

Alternative Tour Name: Manu Road Birding Route Tour
Day 1
Day 1 - Birding Manu road from Cusco to Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge

A brief birding stop at Huacarpay Lake, specifically to look for the endemic Bearded Mountaineer. We continue over the highlands, and look for Andean Goose, Andean Lapwing, Mountain Caracara and Andean Flicker The Manu Road drops into the Amazon cutting through amazing habitats of cloud forest, ranging in altitude from 3,600m to 600m. In the afternoon we visit a Cock-of-the-Rock lek for some bird photography and spend the night at Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge

Day 2
Day 2 - Birding Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge to the Villa Carmen

The morning at the feeders at the Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge until lunch.

The veranda at Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge has a number of hummingbird feeders and plants that attract hummingbirds, and also fruit tables for tanagers making it one of the best places in Peru for bird photography and hummingbird photography in particular. Some hummingbirds include Violet-fronted Brilliant, Many-spotted Hummingbirds, Speckled Hummingbird, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Wire- crested Thorntail, Wedge-billed Hummingbird and with some luck, Buff-tipped Sicklebill. Among the tanagers there are Golden Tanager, Blue-necked Tanager and Paradise Tanagers often showing.

It is not unusual to see Brown Capuchin Monkey, Woolly Monkey, Tayra and Brown Agouti at Cock of the Rock Lodge.

The trail below the lodge is a good one to search for Yungas Manakin, Cerulean-capped Manakin, Slaty Gnateater, and Rufous-breasted Antthrush.

In the afternoon we travel to Villa Carmen, where there is good bamboo. Species like Bamboo Antshrike, Pavonine Cuckoo, Dot-winged Antwren and Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher, Ornate Antwren and, Bamboo Antshrike, Manu Antbird, Yellow-billed Nunbird, Pheasant Cuckoo, Large-headed Flatbill and White-cheeked Tody-Tyrant can be seen here. Additional species we shall be looking for here include Peruvian Recurvebill, Rufous-headed Woodpecker, White-cheeked Tody-Flycatcher, Flammulated Bamboo-Tyrant, Large-headed Flatbill and many more.

Night Villa Carmen.

Day 3
Day 3 - Birding Villa Carmen to Cocha Machu Wasi

Apart from the birds mentioned above, VIlla Carmen now has an Amazonian Antpitta coming to a feeding station, as well as a feeding station for Black-capped Tinamou, and other tinamous. There is also a small pond good for photographing Hoatzin and Sunbittern.

Mammals include Red Howler Monkey, Saddle-backed Tamarins and Squirrel Monkeys and Night Monkey.

We shall make an excursion to the small oxbow-lake of Machu Wasi to get closer to some waterbirds such as Horned Screamer, Pale-eyed Blackbird, Black-capped Donacobious and with some luck Sungrebe and Rufous-sided Crake.

Capibaras are often seen in the lake.

In 2020 there was a Harpy Eagle nest down the road, but in 2021 we have not heard of any reports.

Should it appear again, we shall likely make small changes in the itinerary to accomodate for a visit (and a small fee to the community and Harpy guardians)

En route to Cocha Machu Wasi there are two excellent feeding stations for hummingbirds (entrance fee paid on the spot - around US$ 10).

An enormous variety of hummingbirds can be seen such as Gould’s Jewelfront, Koepcke’s Hermit, Rufous-crested Coquette, Wire-crested and Black-breasted Thorntail, White-tipped Sicklebill, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Grey-breasted Sabrewing and many tanagers such as Magpie Tanager and Masked Crimson-Tanager.

Night at Villa Carmen

Day 4
Day 4 - Birding Villa Carmen to Wayqecha

After the morning's birding on the trails of Villa Carmen, we continue via Cock-of-the- Rock Lodge to the Wayqecha Cloud Forest Biological Station (2,900m) in the temperate cloud forest zone. We are closer to Cusco from here, and it will ensure that we have plenty time to reach Cusco, the following day, in case anyone has a late afternoon or evening flight. ..

The journey between Cock-the-Rock-Lodge and Wayqecha has often rewarded us with sightings of Andean Potoo.

At Wayqecha we’ll look for Swallow-tailed Nightjar at dusk.

Day 5
Day 5 - Birding Wayqecha to Cusco.

Wayqecha is managed by the conservation NGO ACCA. The cabins are comfortable and spacious. Departure from Wayqecha will be around 9.00 to allow for a few stops en-route. We’ll be at Cusco airport for a flight around 5:00 or 6:00 pm. The area near Wayqecha is very good for Red-and-White Antpitta and Rufous-capped Thornbill. There are also often good Tanager flocks which sometimes pass at close range for good photo opportunities. The flocks include Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Masked Flowerpiercer, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Pearled Treerunner and many more.

On the way to Cusco, if time permits we may visit a highland lake above San Salvador, where there are Giant Coot and Crested Duck. Lower down, and going into the Sacred Valley, we look for the endemic Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch and Bearded Mountaineer.

This trip is good to combine with our Machu Picchu and Abra Malaga 5 day program or our short North Peru trip with Marvelous Spatuletail combined with some day tours in Lima.

During our birding Peru tour we will be expecting to see some of the following species:

Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Hoatzin, Sunbittern, White-cheeked Tody-Flycatcher, Amazonian Antpitta

What is included?

  • Standard service (Kolibri Pro)
  • - Include lodges with rooms with shared baths (Cock of the Rock Lodge and Amazonia Lodge) and lodges with dorms (Wayqecha and Villa Carmen)
  • - All food
  • - Expert Guiding
  • - Transport
  • - eBird checklist at the end of the day
  • - Safe treated water (bring water container to fill up)
  • MST Premium Service (US$300 per person additional option)
  • - As per Standard service (Kolibri Pro)
  • - Double occupancy with private showers at all lodges
  • - One time entry at Andean Cock of the Rock Lek.
  • - Printed checklist for nightly list tally
  • - Free transfers at Lima airport

What is not included?

  • Bottled drinks (pro service)
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses.
  • Anything that is not mentioned in the itinerary and "what is included"

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Why book with Kolibri Expeditions?

Kolibri Expeditions is the only company that offers tiered pricing on some birding trips - our Manu road trips are among those. Manu road has gotten many premium lodges in recent year, and prices have soared. With us you can choose what comfort level you prefer. Our 5 day birding Manu road runs every Monday-Friday or on request. It is very time efficient program to maximise your birding time. If you have little time and a keen interest in hummingbirds and beatiful tanagers this is a trip for you. It is a suitable trip both for beginner birders and bird photographers, since the birds at the many feeders we visit are easy to see and to get photos of. It is also a great trip for serious traditional birders with little time, since there are many restricted range species and iconic birds on the route and very high species diversity. The serious birder will be pleased to know that there are no planned siestas during this trip. The guide will be available the whole time for birding. Some less intense birders may take advantage of taking it easy at the lodge and photography by the feeders, but those who want non-stop birding will get that. Serious traditional birders and listers should know that it is possible to add other programs before and after this trip. Don't hesitate to ask us for tips.

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14/11/2022 - 18/11/2022 guaranteed USD 1,545
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5 Days

Price & Availability

USD1,545 / per person
This tour is operated by: Kolibri Expeditions
4.76 based on 13 reviews

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Operator Review Summary

4.76 Based on 13 reviews

Tour Facts

  • Manu road with start and end in Cuzco
  • Set Departure
  • Multi-Day Tour
  • Birds
  • 5 days
  • 2 to 8px
  • Throughout the Year
  • + 5 years
  • Moderate
  • No
  • English, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, French, Portuguese, Italian + (Japanese and Mandarin with translator).
  • Cuzco
  • Cuzco