Another brand new Zoothera tour will see us searching the Andes of central Peru for an impressive list of endemics, near-endemics, rare and extremely localised species. There's around 50 endemics to be found on this tour, but what makes this tour even more exciting is there are several as yet undescribed species and quite a few soon-to-be-split species. it is also a tour to an area of Peru that relatively few travelling birders have visited. Combine that with some of the most impressive scenery of any bird tour and you can see why we are so excited about it!
We begin at the coastal reserve of Lomas de Lachay searching for our first endemics including Cactus Canastero, Thick-billed and Coastal Miners and Raimondi's Yellow Finch before heading north to the Patavilca Valley. Here we will be looking for specialties such as Russet-bellied Spinetail, Streak-backed and Cordilleran Canasteros, Great Inca-Finch and the localised Bay-crowned Brush-Finch. Patches of bird-rich Polylepis forest in the shadow of the magnificent Cordillera Blanca are home to the endemic White-cheeked Cotinga, and there's plenty of other great birds to get our teeth into such as Stripe-headed Antpitta, Ancash Tapaculo, Black Metaltail, Rusty-crowned Tit-Spinetail, Line-cheeked Spinetail, Rufous-eared Brush-Finch and Plain-tailed Warbling-Finch, whilst we could also pick up Giant Conebill and Jelski's Chat-Tyrant. Possibly the highlight of the tour will be our time spent in Huascaran National Park and Bosque Unchog home to some of the rarest birds on the planet. We will have a few days to find a whole host of endemics such as he stunning Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager, as well as Spot-throated Hummingbird, Coppery Metaltail, Bay-vented Cotinga, Bay and Chestnut Antpittas, Pale-tailed Canastero, Inca Flycatcher, Neblina and Large-footed Tapaculo, Rufous-browed Hemispingus, Pardusco, and the list goes on...!
Lake Junin and it's namesake grebe are next up, with Black (Junin) Rail also here, whilst some lower elevation birding gives us a chance at the rare Creamy-bellied Antwren and Masked Fruiteater. Moving on to the incredible Satipo Road we'll bird an elevation range of 1000m-3600m and an extremely diverse range of species that usually associate in large mixed feeding flocks and we also visit the Andamarca Valley which gives us chances of Koepcke’s Screech-Owl, Fiery-throated Metaltail, “Mantaro” Thornbird (undescribed), Eye-ringed Thistletail, Striated Earthcreeper, Creamy-crested Spinetail, Marcapata Spinetail weskei race, an unsdescribed form of Azara’s Spinetail, “Milpo” Tapaculo (undescribed), Junin Tapaculo, “Mantaro” Wren (undescribed), and possibly the biggest prize of the lot, Black-spectacled Brush Finch (E). As if that isn't enough there's also the incomparable Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, which can be found at its favourite bog, along with the endemic Black-breasted Hillstar, superb White-bellied Cinclodes, Dark-winged Miner, Junin Canastero and Striated Earthcreeper. And we will finish in the Santa Eulalia Valley home to some great endemics: Bronze-tailed Comet, Black-necked Woodpecker, Canyon Canastero, Rusty-bellied Brush-Finch and Great Inca-Finch.
This is a side to Peru that has traditionally gone unnoticed but there's just so many truly great species to find here. It is a tour that requires some effort as we are birding at high altitudes but the rewards are definitely worthwhile. So why not join us on this exciting Andean adventure?