Birding Tour in the Lowlands of Central Bolivia
Explore a surprising variety of habitats on this 9-day Bolivia Birdwatching Tour in the Lowlands of Central Bolivia, taking in some of the most famous sights along the way. Focus on the wildlife-rich lowlands beside the foothills of the Andes for a superb introduction to Bolivia’s diverse habitats, birds, landscapes and culture.
Bolivia may be one of the less frequently visited birding destinations in South America, but it has truly great potential and magnificent birds. The country has more than 1430 bird species and there are at least 20 country endemic species. Add to that several range-restricted and 48 globally threatened birds that are very difficult to find elsewhere and you have an exceptional birding destination!
Bolivia's avian biodiversity comes from its varied habitats and ecosystems. From the Amazon rainforest to Yungas cloud forests to the high Andean mountains to Lake Titicaca, Bolivia is most arguably the most diverse landlocked country on earth. In fact, some say that if it wasn’t landlocked it would have more species than any other country.
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 Bolivia and its 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 over a week.
This Bolivia birding tour focuses on birding from Santa Cruz de la Sierra and west onward to Cochabamba along the foothills of the Andes in the lowlands of central Bolivia.
Tour highlights include:
- Expect to see over 200 bird species during this nine-day birding tour
- Full day birding in Amboró National Park West of Santa Cruz
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 Central 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.
The tour will begin this morning in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, a lowland city surrounded by native woodlands of Acacia-like trees and other xerophytic vegetation (the Chiquitania region) and vast grassland plains and savannas reminiscent of the Brazilian cerrado. This diverse area offers several bird species endemic to and typical of this ecosystem, such as Toco Toucan, White-wedged Piculet, Chotoy Spinetail, Chopi Blackbird, White Woodpecker, White-bellied Nothura, Red-winged Tinamou, Red-legged Seriema, Green-cheeked Parakeet, the near-endemic Bolivian Slaty Antshrike, and others.
Overnight: Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
Species possible around Santa Cruz de la Sierra:
Red-winged & Small-billed Tinamous, Long-winged Harrier, Yellow-chevroned Parakeet, Blue-winged Parrotlet, Guira Cuckoo, Thrush-like Wren, Masked Yellowthroat and Chopi Blackbird. Bolivian Slaty-Antshrike, Stripe-backed Antbird, Straneck’s (grey-crowned or monte) Tyrannulet, and many others including Blue-crowned Trogon, Amazonian Motmot, Buff-bellied Hermit, White-wedged Piculet, Red-billed Scythebill, Narrow-billed Woodcreeper, Stripe-backed and Mato Grosso Antbirds, Plush-crested Jay and many other species.
Open woodland & sand dunes around Santa Cruz:
White-bellied Nothura, Ringed Teal, and Whistling Heron.
Morning birding at Santa Cruz Botanical Gardens. Afternoon transfer to Amboró National Park west of Santa Cruz, where the dry forests of the eastern lowlands meet the humid Andean forests to the west. Two nights at a local lodge in Bermejo canyon.
From Santa Cruz, we start our drive towards the inter-Andean valleys, on the way passing through the lush tropical forest of the Bermejo canyon. Today we will seek out the species of the forest and canyon such as Bolivian White-crowned Tapaculo, Grey-throated Leaftosser, Military Macaw, Rufescent Screech Owl, Two-banded Warbler, Dusky-green Oropendola, and more.
Our accommodation is located on the border of the Amboro National Park and is a two-hour drive from the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Tucked away in a deep valley, we will have spectacular views of sandstone rock cliffs, as well as the tropical forests which surround the hotel.
Species possible at the southern edge of Amboro National Park [Los Volcanes]:
King Vulture, Andean Condor, Solitary Eagle (rare) and Military Macaw (increasingly rare), Bolivian Recurvebill (rare), Grey-throated Leaftosser, Slaty Gnateater, Bolivian Tapaculo, Yungas Manakin. More common and widespread species include Blue-headed and Red-billed Parrots, Grey-rumped, Chestnut-collared Swifts, Sparkling Violetear, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, White-eared Puffbird, Chestnut-tipped Toucanet, Chestnut-eared Aracari, Lineated and Red-necked Woodpeckers, Black-banded and Tschudi’s Woodcreepers, Plain Antvireo, White-backed Fire-eye, Sepia-capped and Slaty-capped Flycatchers, White-necked Thrush. Mixed flocks may well produce Tropical Parula, Slate-throated Whitestart, Guira, Black-goggled, White-winged, and Saffron-crowned Tanagers, Blue-naped Chlorophonia, and Thick-billed and Golden-rumped Euphonias. Higher elevation forests may produce the Short-tailed Antthrush. A beautiful crater lake, surrounded by dense reed beds, usually holds one or two family parties of Masked Duck, as well as Least and Pied-billed Grebes. Night birding in search of Rufescent Screech-Owl, Band-bellied Owl, Pauraque, Rufous Nightjar and Ocellated Poorwill, Subtropical Pygmy-Owl (rare).
Bird the hilly landscape and evergreen seasonal forest gradients around our lodge in Amboró National Park, lush with dense vegetation and fascinating birds.
This morning we will spend some hours birding around the lodge and Amboro National Park, looking for species like Two-banded Warbler, Black-goggled Tanager, Dusky-green Oropendola, Plush-crested Jay, Purplish Jay, Masked Duck, Green-cheeked Parakeet, Blue-throated Piping-Guan, and many others. With more than 270 species logged in the surrounding area, we will have plenty to look for in and around the park.
Located at the juncture of three major South American biogeographic regions, Amboro hosts species from all three including southern Amazonia, the central Andes as well as the Chaco. The area is diverse, a result of the variability of the forest, which ranges from completely deciduous on the driest slopes to nearly evergreen in the humid canyon. The varied habitats should offer some exciting birding!
Some species possible at the southern edge of Amboro National Park [Samaipata]:
Giant Antshrike, Bolivian Earthcreeper, Glittering-bellied Emerald, Blue-and-white Swallow and Blue-and-yellow Tanager as well as Blue-crowned Parakeet, White-fronted & Striped Woodpeckers, Stripe-crowned Spinetail, White-bellied Tyrannulet, Greater Wagtail-tyrant, Pearly-vented Tody-tyrant, White-tipped Plantcutter, Ringed & Black-capped Warbling-finches, Grey-crested Finch, Red Pileated Finch and Golden-billed Saltator.
Early-morning birding at our lodge and head west to Comarapa valleys, where the dry, cactus dominated vegetation has many great birds. Two nights in Comarapa.
Today we will explore all the dry valleys between Samaipata and Saipina in search of some very special birds. Several Bolivian endemics can be found here and we hope to find Bolivian Earthcreeper, Bolivian Blackbird, Cliff Parakeet, and the endangered Red-fronted Macaw. Other species include Dusky-legged Guan, Giant Antshrike, Grey-crested Finch, and Chaco and White-eared Puffbirds, among others.
Some species possible in the dry slopes of Comarapa and Siberia cloud forests on the southern edge of Amboro National Park [Comarapa]:
Star species include a number of endemics such as Bolivian Warbling Finch, Light-crowned Spinetail, Grey-bellied Flowerpiercer, Bolivian Warbling-Finch, Trilling Tapaculo, hummingbirds such as Red-tailed Comet, Violet-throated Starfrontlet, Scaled & Tyrian Metaltails, Bar-bellied & Montane Woodcreepers, Light-crowned Spinetail, Pearled Treerunner, Spot-breasted Thornbird, Grey-bellied Flowerpiercer, Montane Woodcreeper, Olive-crowned Crescent-chest, White-throated Tyrannulet, Andean Tyrant, Rufous-breasted Chat-tyrant, Scarlet-bellied & Chestnut-bellied Mountain-tanagers, Blue-backed Conebill, Rufous-naped Brush-finch, Buff-banded Tyrannulet, Light-crowned Spinetail, Bolivian Brush-Finch, Bar-bellied Woodpecker, and Band-tailed Fruiteater. Night birding may yield Scissor-tailed Nightjar, Tropical Screech owl among others.
Dry inter-Andean valleys and cloud forest of La Siberia from Comarapa.
Leaving the dry valleys behind, we will drive through the cloud forest of the Siberia area, where we will look for the endemic Black-hooded Sunbeam and Black-throated Thistletail, but also for other species such as Grey-hooded Parakeet, Olive-crowned Crescentchest, Trilling Tapaculo, Light-crowned Spinetail, Pearled Treerunner, and Fulvous-headed Brush Finch.
After a morning visit to La Siberia cloud forest, we will drive for the rest of the day to Cochabamba. Four nights in Cochabamba.
Today we will focus on birds of higher elevations like Black-throated Thistletail, Darwin Nothura, Thick-billed Siskin, Bolivian Brush Finch, the endemic Grey-bellied Flowerpiercer, and the endemic Wedge-tailed Hillstar.
Later in the day we will drive to Cochabamba.
The city of Cochabamba, in the center of the country at 2550 meters (8366 feet) above sea level, will be our base for the next few days to explore the slopes of the snow-capped Cerro Tunari, where several endemics occur, such as Cochabamba Mountain Finch and Bolivian Warbling Finch. We will have a chance to see the gorgeous Red-tailed Comet, Andean Condor and several Polylepis specialists including Tawny Tit-Spinetail, Brown-capped Tit-Spinetail, and Giant Conebill. The beautiful mountain scenery is a picture in itself with images of Andean Gull, Andean Goose, and Andean Lapwing.
Higher altitude habitats between Siberia and Cochabamba:
We’ll look for Black-throated Thistletail and Black-hooded Sunbeam at elfin forest patches as well as a variety of warbling-finches on the high Andean plateau. Other species include Wedge-tailed Hillstar, Rufous-bellied Saltator, Citron-headed Yellow-Finch, White-tipped Plantcutter and Great Pampa-Finch, Cinereous Harrier, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Tawny-throated Dotterel, Bare-faced Ground-Dove, Giant Hummingbird, Slender-billed Miner, Cream-winged Cinclodes, Brown-capped Tit-Spinetail, Creamy-breasted Canastero, Tufted Tit-Tyrant, Rufous-webbed Bush-Tyrant, Brown-bellied Swallow, Rusty-browed Warbling-Finch and Greenish Yellow-Finch.
Bird the upper fringes of Carrasco National Park (cloud forests of the Yungas del Chapare) east of Cochabamba.
The cloud forest and upper tropical foothills hold several range-restricted species that are otherwise found only in the extreme southeast of Peru and are hard to get there, such as Hooded Mountain Toucan, Orange-browed Hemispingus, and Yungas Tody-Tyrant. We will also look for the endemic Yellow-rumped Antwren, White-eared Solitaire, Straw-backed Tanager, Blue-banded Toucanet, Crested Quetzal, and more.
The Chapare area is home of several exciting birds, including Rusty-faced Antpitta, Black-throated Thistletail, Trilling Tapaculo, White-eared Solitaire, the localized Hooded Mountain Toucan, Masked Trogon, Superciliaried and Orange-browed Hemispingus, Band-tailed Pigeon, Barred Antthrush, and Streaked Xenops among many others.
Species possible around Chapare Road and the Yungas of Carrasco National Park [Cochabamba]:
The areas explored here are reminiscent of La Siberia on the other side of the Reserve. We’ll be looking for Black-winged Parrot, Golden-headed Quetzal, Blue-banded Toucanet, Hooded Mountain-toucan, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker and Hooded Mountain-tanager at higher elevation. If time enables, we may explore lower elevation for Crested Quetzal, Speckled Hummingbird, Long-tailed Sylph, Booted Racket-tail, Versicolored Barbet, Saffron-crowned, Straw-backed and Beryl-spangled Tanagers, White-eared Solitaire, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock and Green Jay. Other specialties we may see here include Black-throated Thistletail, Bolivian Tyrannulet, Black-winged Parrot, Blue-banded Toucanet, Band-tailed Fruiteater (near-endemic), Chestnut-crested Cotinga, White-eared Solitaire, the uncommon Straw-backed Tanager and Pale-footed Swallow as well as White-throated Antpitta. If we are lucky, we will find the remarkable Torrent Duck and the extraordinary Sword-billed Hummingbird.
Bird the Chapare road on the lower fringes of Carrasco National Park, east of Cochabamba.
Today we'll focus on lower elevation for Crested Quetzal, Speckled Hummingbird, Long-tailed Sylph, Booted Racket-tail, Versicolored Barbet, Saffron-crowned, Straw-backed and Beryl-spangled Tanagers, White-eared Solitaire, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock and Green Jay.
Other specialties we may see here include Black-throated Thistletail, Bolivian Tyrannulet, Black-winged Parrot, Blue-banded Toucanet, Band-tailed Fruiteater (near-endemic), Chestnut-crested Cotinga, White-eared Solitaire, the uncommon Straw-backed Tanager and Pale-footed Swallow as well as White-throated Antpitta.
If we are lucky, we will find the remarkable Torrent Duck and the extraordinary Sword-billed Hummingbird.
Slopes of Mount Tunari above Cochabamba where four endemic species are present. Return flight to Santa Cruz. End of trip.
Species possible in the Polylepis woodland near Cochabamba [Cochabamba]:
Star species here include Black-hooded Sunbeam, Wedge-tailed Hillstar, Maquis (or Iquico) Canastero, Rufous-bellied Saltator, Cochabamba Mountain-Finch, Citron-headed Yellow-Finch, Bolivian Blackbird. Other species we may find include Rufous-sided Warbling-Finch (relatively common), Rufous-bellied Saltator, Maquis Canastero and Rock Earthcreeper, Black-hooded Sierra-Finch. Puna grasslands at the highest elevations may yield Short-tailed Finch on rockiest slopes, Puna Canastero and a variety of Ground-Tyrant species in grassier areas.
If time enables, we’ll spend time at Laguna Alalay for waterfowl such as White-tufted Grebe, Cinnamon, Yellow-billed & Puna Teals, White-cheeked Pintail, Puna Ibis, Andean Lapwing, Andean Gull, Plumbeous Rail, Black-necked Stilt, Andean Avocet, Baird’s Sandpiper, Cream-winged Cinclodes, Wren-like Rushbird, Andean Negrito, Many-colored Rush-Tyrant and Yellow-winged Blackbird.
From Cochabamba, a short flight takes us back to Santa Cruz in the afternoon, where the tour ends.
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 tri-lingual guide 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”