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North Peru Birding Tour: Mayo and Huallaga Valleys - 12 Days

North Peru Birding Tour: Mayo and Huallaga Valleys
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Mayo and Huallaga Valleys Birding Tour in North Peru

An intense 12-day Peru birding tour throughout the Northeastern part of the country.

The eastern slopes of the Andes in Peru are one of the most diverse places in the neo-tropics for birding tours in northern Peru. The most important places being the Huallaga valley near the city of Tarapoto and the Mayo valley, near the city of Moyobamba.

Our tour starts with a visit to the humid forest of the Cordillera Escalera Reserve. This is the perfect place to look for birds like Dotted Tanager, Plumbeous Euphonia, Koepcke’s Hermit, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, or the rare Blackish Pewee. We then go to the dry forest of the Upaquihua valley, the most reliable place in Peru for Planalto Hermit and Ashy-headed Greenlet.

The cloud forests of the Alto Mayo, between the city of Moyobamba and the forests of Abra Patricia are rich in bird diversity and endemic species. Indeed, these forests are the only places in the world to find “bird delicatessen” like Rusty-tinged Antpitta, Ochre-fronted Antpitta, Long-whiskered Owlet, Lulu’s (Johnson’s) Tody-Flycatcher, or Yellow-scarfed Tanager. As a bonus, we devote one day to the Rio Marañon area, looking after the famous Marvelous Spatuletail hummingbird. The forests of the Alto Mayo are not only about endemic birds but also home to more than 40 species of hummingbirds that can be seen at well-set feeding stations. The forest is full of mixed-species flocks with  Tanagers, Barbets, Flycatchers, Woodcreepers, and much more. Birding in north Peru can be the trip of a lifetime for hummingbird lovers.

As a bonus, at the beginning of the tour we include a day for birding around Lima, we don’t want you to miss sights of Humboldt’s Penguins, Peruvian Thick-knee or Inca Terns!

If you are thinking about your next birding adventure, a northern Peru birding tour might be your best option as will not dissapoint.

Day 1
Day 1 - Lima

Arrival in Lima and transfer to the hotel at the airport.

Overnight at Wyndham Lima Airport Hotel****.

Meals: None.

Day 2
Day 2 - Lima - Tarapoto

This morning we will take our way south of Lima for about two hours to the Pucusana fishing port where we will take a boat to search for Humboldt Penguin, Inca Tern, Peruvian and Blue-footed Boobies, Guanay and Red-legged Cormorants, and Surf Cinclodes. After lunch we will drive back to Lima, with a stop at the Villa Marshes, a protected area near the Pacific Ocean that is good for Great Grebe, White-tufted Grebe, Peruvian Thick-knee, Many-colored Rush-Tyrant, Wren-like Rushbird, Grassland Yellow-Finch, and lots of shorebirds.

Then we will be transferred to the airport to catch a flight to the city of Tarapoto.

Overnight at hotel La Patarashca***.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 3
Day 3 - Tarapoto

This morning we will take our way south of Lima for about two hours to the Pucusana fishing port where we will take a boat to search for Humboldt Penguin, Inca Tern, Peruvian and Blue-footed Boobies, Guanay and Red-legged Cormorants, and Surf Cinclodes. After lunch we will drive back to Lima, with a stop at the Villa Marshes, a protected area near the Pacific Ocean that is good for Great Grebe, White-tufted Grebe, Peruvian Thick-knee, Many-colored Rush-Tyrant, Wren-like Rushbird, Grassland Yellow-Finch, and lots of shorebirds.

Then we will be transferred to the airport to catch a flight to the city of Tarapoto.

Overnight at hotel La Patarashca***.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 4
Day 4 - Tarapoto

Early start to drive south of Tarapoto to the Upaquihua valley. This is the only place in Peru where Planalto Hermit and Ashy-headed Greenlet can be found. Other possible interesting birds in the area are Northern Slaty Antshrike, Rufous-fronted Thornbird, Plain-crowned Spinetail, Sulphur-bellied Tyrant-manakin, White-flanked Antwren, Rufous Casiornis, and more.

We will have lunch at Pumarinri lodge, located by the Huallaga river. We will spend the afternoon birding around the lodge, possible birds around the lodge are Black-fronted Nunbird, Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper, Ferruginous Pygmy-owl, Blue-crowned Trogon, Swallow-winged Puffbird, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Riparian Antbird, Spangled Cotinga, Purple-throated Cotinga, and much more.

Overnight at hotel La Patarashca***.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 5
Day 5 - Tarapoto - Moyobamba

In the morning you will be transferred to the city of Moyobamba, with one stop on the road to look for Oilbirds at Puente Quiscarrumi bridge.

By noon we will arrive to our next lodge near the city of Moyobamba.

We will spend the afternoon at the hummingbird feeders where the usual visitors are Black-throated Hermit, White-necked Jacobin, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, White-chinned Sapphire, the fantastic Rufous-crested Coquette, and another 20 species. The forest around the feeders can also produce Tataupa Tinamou, Green-backed Trogon; mixed flocks of tanagers with Paradise, Black-bellied, Blue-necked, Guira, Golden, and many other tanagers; Short-tailed Pygmy-Tyrant and Mishana Tyrannulet are also possible.

Overnight at Waqanki Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.In the morning you will be transferred to the city of Moyobamba, with one stop on the road to look for Oilbirds at Puente Quiscarrumi bridge.

After checking in at the hotel we will visit the Waqanki hummingbird feeders, where the usual visitors are Black-throated Hermit, White-necked Jacobin, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, White-chinned Sapphire, the fantastic Rufous-crested Coquette, and another 20 species. The forest around the feeders can also produce Tataupa Tinamou, Green-backed Trogon; mixed flocks of tanagers with Paradise, Black-bellied, Blue-necked, Guira, Golden, and many other tanagers; Short-tailed Pygmy-Tyrant and Mishana Tyrannulet are also possible.

In the afternoon we will make a short hike to visit a lek of Band-tailed Manakin. Several species of tanagers are also possible in this area.

Overnight at hotel Altavista***.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 6
Day 6 - Moyobamba

Early morning visit to Punta de Tahuishco, some 5 minutes from the hotel. The place is good for Blue-headed Parrot, Lettered Aracari, Yellow-browed Tody-flycatcher, Pale-breasted Thrush, Blue-necked Tanager, and more.

Then we will go to Morro de Calzada, where we look for Fiery-capped Manakin, Ringed Kingfisher, White-shouldered Tanager, White-eyed Parakeet, Lafresnaye’s Piculet, Cobalt-winged Parakeet, Swallow Tanager, Chestnut-eared Aracari, and many more.

Rest of the day exploring the rice fields of the Mayo valley looking for birds like Pale-eyed Blackbird, Point-tailed Palmcreeper, Rufous-fronted Thornbird, Chestnut-bellied Seedfinch, Red-capped Cardinal, Spotted Rail, Paint-billed Crake, and more.

Overnight at hotel Altavista***.

Meals: Picnic breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner.

Day 7
Day 7 - Moyobamba - Aguas Verdes - Agua Patricia

Early departure towards the mountains of Abra Patricia. We will make a couple of stops along the road to try to look for Andean-Cock-of-the-Rock.

Another important stop along the road is the “Arena Blanca Reserve”, where the hummingbird feeders attract Reddish Hermit, Blue-fronted Lancebill, Black-throated Brilliant, Rufous-crested Coquette, Blue-tailed Emerald, Wire-crested Thorntail, Many-spotted Hummingbird, and another 15 more species of hummingbirds. The Tinamou feeders are usually visited by Cinereous and Little Tinamous, along with Rufous-breasted Woodquail and Orange billed Sparrow. Other interesting birds in the area are Huallaga (Black-bellied) Tanager, Northern Chestnut-tailed Antbird, Peruvian Antwarbler, Dark-breasted and Cinereous-breasted Spinetails, and flocks of Tanagers.

Another important stop is before the town of El Afluente, a good spot to look for White-winged Tanager, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, the fantastic Andean Cock-of-the Rock, and a myriad of other tanagers, woodcreepers, antbirds, woodpeckers, flycatchers and more.

We also will make a brief stop at La Llanteria hummingbird feeding station for Green Hermit, Booted Racket-tail, and Ecuadorian Piedtail.

We will arrive to the Abra Patricia Owlet Lodge before it gets dark.

Overnight at Abra Patricia Owlet Lodge.

Meals: Picnic breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner.

Day 8
Day 8 - Abra Patricia

This morning we will try our chances at the antpitta feeding station, where the regular visitor is Chestnut Antpitta, a rare endemic bird of these mountains. Not far is the Rusty-tinged Antpitta feeding station, the only place where we will have some chances to see this secretive bird. In the gardens of the lodge you will have ample time to seat comfortably and enjoy the myriad of hummingbirds coming to the feeders: Green Violetear, Long-tailed Sylph, Speckled Hummingbird, White-bellied Woodstar, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Collared Inca, and many more.

Then we will walk the “Grallaria trail” that starts in the upper part of the lodge and goes down the hill for about two and a half hours. The trail goes through humid mountain forest where birds like Sharpe’s Wren, Chestnut-crested Cotinga, Bicolored Antvireo, White-fronted Nunbird, Golden-headed Quetzal, are quite common.

In the afternoon we can walk around the parking lot, looking for Lulu’s (Johnson’s) Tody-Flycatcher, Yellow-Scarfed Tanager, Grass-green Tanager, Black-throated Tody-tyrant, Rufous Spinetail, Drab Hemispingus, and many more.

Overnight at Abra Patricia Owlet Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 9
Day 9 - Abra Patricia

Today we spend the morning at the hummingbird feeders and the trails around the main house at Fundo Alto Nieva. Usual visitors to the feeders are Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Royal Sunangel, Booted Racket-tail, Greenish Puffleg, Rufous-vented Whitetip, and White-tailed Hillstar. The trails around the main house in Alto Nieva are good to look for Rufous-vented Tapaculo, Yellow-throated Tanager, Bar-winged and Grey-breasted Wood-wrens, and the rare Cinnamon-breasted Tody-tyrant.

We will drive back to the Owlet Lodge for lunch.

In the afternoon we will drive back down the road again to look for mixed species flocks with Flame-faced Tanager, Metallic-green Tanager, Blue-browed Tanager, Beryl-spangled Tanager, and more. White-capped Tanagers might also be in the area.

Then we will enter Fundo Alto Nieva again, this time for a visit to the Ochre-fronted Antpitta feeding station. Before hiking back to the car, we will spend a couple of hours looking for the legendary Long-whiskered Owlet. Since this is a very rare bird, we should keep our expectations low for this bird.

Overnight at Abra Patricia Owlet Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 10
Day 10 - Abra Patricia

This morning we will explore the Alto Mayo Protected forest. This is located at a lower elevation than Abra Patricia and holds a different set of birds.

At the Mirador area we will look for birds like Subtropical Cacique, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Sickled-winged Guan, Bar-winged Wood-wren, Andean Solitare, Metallic-green Tanager, Blue-browed Tanager, and Yellow-throated Tanager.

Afternoon walk along the “Tino trail”, looking for birds like Masked Trogon, Yungas Pygmy-Owl, Variable Antshrike, White-backed Fire-eye, and flocks of tanagers with Golden-naped, Beryl-spangled, Saffron-crowned and Flame-faced Tanagers. More difficult to find, but yet possible, are mammals like Yellow-tailed Wooly-Monkey, Kinkajou, and Andean Night-Monkey.

Overnight at Abra Patricia Owlet Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 11
Day 11 - Abra Patricia - Huembo

Morning transfer to Huembo for the Marvelous Spatuletail hummingbird. Others hummingbirds attending the feeders here are Andean Emerald, Brown Violetear, White-bellied Hummingbird, Purple-throated Woodstar, Purple-throated Sunangel, White-bellied Woodstar. The forest inside the reserve is good for Black-billed (Southern Emerald) Toucanet, Speckled-faced Parrot, White-sided Flowerpiercer, Silvery Tanager, and many others.

The Rio Chido road (about 15 minutes from Huembo) is good for Black-crested Warbler, Peruvian Citrine Warbler, Sickled-winged Guan, Lacrimose-mountain Tanager, Pale-eyed Thrush, and many more.

Overnight at Huembo Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch., dinner.

Day 12
Day 12 - Huembo - Jaén

Morning at the hummingbird feeders again for more chances to get good pictures of the Marvelous Spatuletail.

By mid-morning we will drive for about 4 hours to the town of Jaén. After a late lunch you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Lima.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch.

Some of the birds we expect to see in this trip:

Humboldt Penguin, Inca Tern, Guanay Cormorant, Red-legged Cormorant, Surf Cinclodes, Peruvian Thick-knee, Many-colored Rush-tyrant, Maroon-tailed Parakeet, Dotted Tanager, Plumbeous Euphonia, Lanceolated Monklet, Blackish Pewee, Koepcke’s Hermit, Black-throated Brilliant, Pale-tailed Barbthroat, Golden-headed Manakin, White-plumed Antbird, Planalto Hermit, Ashy-headed Greenlet, Northern Slaty Antshrike, Rufous Casiornis, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Spangled Cotinga, Oilbird, Rufous-crested Coquette, Paradise Tanager, Huallaga Tanager, Golden Tanager, Short-tailed Pygmy-tyrant, Mishana Tyrannulet, Humboldt’s (Lettered) Araçari, Red-stained Woodpecker, Pale-breasted Thrush, American Comb Duck, Crimson-crested Woodpecker, Cream-colored Woodpecker, Pale-legged Hornero, Black-and-white Antbird, Anhinga, Palmcreeper, Varzea Thrush, Blue-fronted Lancebill, Wire-crested Thorntail, Little Tinamou, Rufous-breasted Wood-quail, Andean Cock-of-the Rock, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Ochre-fronted Antpitta, Chestnut Antpitta, Chestnut-crested Cotinga, Golden-headed Quetzal, Long-whiskered Owlet, Lulu’s Tody-flycatcher, Yellow-scarfed Tanager, Grass-green Tanager, Botted Racket-tail, Royal Sunangel, White-capped Tanager, Masked Trogon, Rusty-tinged Antpitta, Northern Chestnut-breasted Wren, Golden-naped Tanager, Beryl-spangled Tanager, Saffron-crowned Tanager, Flame-faced Tanager, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Bar-winged Wood-wren, Andean Solitare, Metallic-green Tanager, Blue-browed Tanager, Yellow-throated Tanager, Olive-chested Flycatcher, Marvelous Spatuletail, Blue-cowled Barbet, Green Hermit, Grey-chinned Hermit, Masked Duck, Fiery-throated Fruiteater

What is included?

  • Lodging as described in the itinerary (some lodges, hotels, might change depending on room's availability).
  • Ground transportation and driver throughout the tour
  • English speaking bird guide
  • All entrance fees for nature reserves
  • Meals as mentioned in the program
  • Applicable taxes, fees, and licenses

What is not included?

  • International or domestic airfares
  • Airport departure taxes or visa fees
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Additional nights during the trip due to flight cancellations
  • Alcoholic beverages or bottled drinks
  • Snacks
  • Insurance of any kind
  • Laundry
  • Phone calls or messages
  • Reconfirmation of flights and items of personal nature

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Why book with Green Tours?

Green Tours, the trade name of Cheqa Peru SRL, is a Peruvian tour operator company stablished in 2006 with the objective to offer high quality ground services for tourism operations in Peru with innovation, comfort, safety, and commitment with our social and environmental responsibilities. The last few years Green Tours has established itself as an important Peruvian tour operator, providing ground logistics for American, Canadian and British birding companies like Wings, Paradise Birding, Sunrise Birding, Worldwide Birding Tours, Sierra Club, Avocet Tours, and Heatherlea. Green Tours is part of a Carbon Neutral partnership to offset the carbon footprint for its operations, with this partnership we are helping to improve the conservation efforts in the Tambopata National Reserve. Also, since 2016 we are supporting small conservation efforts in north western Peru for the conservation of the habitat of the tropical dry forest, specially the habitat of the Peruvian Plantcutter. Currently, our General Manager is the executive director of APTAE (the Peruvian Association for Eco and Adventure Tourism). Our Sales and Marketing Manager, Wilson Díaz, is an active birder and has been travelling with birding groups since 2001 providing logistic support for several companies. Also, we have created “Asociación Green Tours”, a non-profit organization aimed to support conservation initiatives for endangered species like Grey-bellied Comet and Peruvian Plantcutter.

What are your group sizes?

A minimum of 4 and a maximum of 8 people

Do you include internal flights costs?

No, but we can book the flights for you if requested.

Do you have any age restrictions to join this tour?

Do you have any age restrictions to join this tour?

Join Our Fixed Tour Starting Date

Tour DatesTour AvailabilityPriceSpaces Left
22/09/2020 - 03/10/2020available USD 3,305
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12 Days

Price & Availability

From 3,620
USD3,258 / per person
Based on twin/double room
This tour is operated by: Green Tours

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Tour Facts

  • Northeast Peru
  • Set Departure
  • Set Departure Tour
  • Birds
  • 4 to 8 pax
  • 12 days
  • Moderate
  • English
  • Lima airport
  • Lima airport