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Birdwatching in Peru – What is Birdwatching called and where to go?
I live here in Peru for more than 4 years and one main reason why I love this country so much is because of its immense wildlife – especially the unbelievable variety of birds that can be found in Peru.
Peru is home to a total of 1861 different bird species, of which 139 species can only be found in Peru. This puts Peru in second place in the world after Colombia and is a paradise for ornithologists and wildlife photographers. I have to admit that I do not consider myself as a specialist at all.
However, the possibility of exploring so many birds in only one country made me become an absolute fan of birdwatching in Peru.
For the ornithologists, I’m sure that you will extract some interesting information from this post. If you have little idea of birdwatching, your interest may be aroused. Who knows, maybe on the next visit to Peru you will try to identify one or the other bird on your own.
If you have any further questions on your mind, feel free to write to us a comment. Well let’s get into it!
Birdwatching Definition – What is Birdwatching called?
First of all, we need to clarify what is considered birdwatching in the first place. When I was looking, I learned that birdwatching is also called “birding”.
It is a form of game viewing and it is a recreational activity. It can be done with the naked eye through devices such as binoculars and telescopes, by listening to bird sounds, or by viewing public web cameras. Birdwatching often requires an auditory component because many bird species can be recognized and identified more easily with the ear than with the eye.
“You must have the bird in your heart before you can find it in the bush.”
John Burroughs, Birds and Bees, Sharp Eyes and Other Papers
Here you can find more nice birdwatching quotes
What do I need for Birdwatching in Peru?
Since talking to one of our bidwatching specialists, I know that the most important thing for bird watching in Peru is not the equipment. Respect, patience and perseverance are the key attributes a birdwatcher requires.
You may not always be aware of it, but birds are all around us. All you have to do is raise your head, prick up your ears and keep an eye out. So what I did first was to leave my apartment in Lima and see which birds can be seen here.
And of course, you can already spot many different species of birds in the streets, gardens and parks of Lima. With a little luck and patience, also first “exotic” species such as hummingbirds (Amazilia) or the red-masked parakeets (Aratinga erythrogenys) can cross your way if you walk through the green areas of Lima.
The first thing we need to do for birdwatching in Peru is to use our personal characteristics. Let’s move on to the next point: equipment. There are a lot of tools that make it much easier to identify bird species.
The great thing about birdwatching is that you can even do it without any equipment. But it’s a lot more fun when you use more professional things such as binoculars. I learned that binoculars with eight or ten times magnification are mainly used in bird watching.
A lens diameter of 30 or 40 millimeters is completely sufficient. So it’s about type designations like 8×30 or 10×40. Sooner or later, almost all bird watchers buy a spotting scope. This is a telescope – which allows them to view and identify birds that are very far away.
Books and Apps
It is also helpful to purchase one or more bird identification books. Books with drawn, painted images are better than photo books. The reason: a photo shows a certain bird in a certain life situation in a certain place with a certain exposure in a certain mood. But the bird you see can present itself in a completely different situation and in a different light. A good bird painter does not paint a specific bird, but abstracts from a concrete individual and shows a general picture of a bird species. This is a time-consuming, strenuous work and therefore identification books with painted pictures are much rarer than those with relatively “cheap” bird photos. You can also use some applications such as E-Bird that will help you and make excursions more fun.
Finally, and maybe the most important advice: Stay positive, even if there is a day when it only rains – which is very likely if you visit the Peruvian Andes and/or the Amazon Rainforest;). So always start with a lot of enthusiasm and persevere even if things don’t go as expected.
What are the best places for Birdwatching in Peru?
As already mentioned, in Peru, as in other places, you don’t have to travel to extraordinary places in order to see and photograph impressive birds. Nevertheless, the attraction for travelers is of course to discover the very special birds that cannot be discovered anywhere else. And this is where the peculiarity of Peru comes into play.
Peru has three different landscape zones: the coast, the Andes and the rainforest. These conditions allow hundreds of different bird species to be observed in a very short time.
It is tough to say which are the best places for birdwatching in Peru. It depends a lot on which birds are your favorite ones.
For example, many travelers come to Peru in order to observe the majestic flight of the Andean Condor. The flight can be witnessed either in the Colca Canyon near Arequipa or near the village of Chonta around three hours far from Cusco.
Another often requested bird to watch is the National Bird of Peru: The Andean Cock of the Rock. The beauty of this bird can be seen in the cloud forests of Peru. For example in Aguas Calientes (with luck and patience), or more likely in the Manu National Reserve.
These are only four famous places for birdwatching in Peru but according to our Birdwatching specialists there are many more and one of his favorite places is the Huarcapay lagoon and the Abra Malaga near Cusco. I also found a great list published by the Peru Birds Organization where you can see every recommended places for birdwatching in Peru.
Which bird species in Peru are threatened by extinction?
Unfortunately, also in Peru animal extinction due to human greed or ignorance is a huge and permanent topic. Aggressive events against the habitat (mining, deforestation, global warming) or against the same species (poaching, killing for fun, searching and destruction of eggs) the list of threatened and endangered birds in Peru probably will grow.
At the moment already many bird species are threatened. These include for example the harpye, the Andean cock of the rock or the Andean condor.
In total, there are 122 bird species that are threatened in Peru and many more other animals. Here you can find a complete list by the IUCN. As a traveler, the protection of nature is always priority even if it is sometimes difficult to succeed. We need to accept days on which we cannot get any beautiful animal in front of your lens and instead of trying the hell out of it by actions that damage nature (motorboat ride, Deforestation, etc.) we need to be patient and try it once again on another day.
Source: Peru Birds
My recommendations for a Birdwatching Day or Birdwatching Tours in Peru?
As with every trip, the choice of tours or itinerary depends very much on how much time and budget we have. On a short trip through Peru (7-10 days) I recommend in any case to look out for marine birds on the coast in Lima.
You can also discover many species in the various parks of Lima. Since 90% of travelers visit Machu Picchu, the journey in most cases continues to Cusco. In addition to the visit to Machu Picchu via Aguas Calientes, the Laguna Huarcapay is a great addition for a day trip from Cusco.
Anyone who has more days should definitely take the opportunity and visit the national reserves that are easiest to reach. These include the regions of Puerto Maldonado, Iquitos and the Manu National Park. In each of those places you can either join small traveler groups or specific birdwatching groups always depending on availability.
With more time and budget there exist many more amazing options for Birdwatching tours in Peru. For example, you can not only go into the rainforest for 2-3 nights. You can also go much deeper including nights outdoors, where you can experience an even more intense experience.
Why do you need more days?
Because you will visit untouched rainforest, hike and sleep in tents in order to protect the environment. As you can see from the large number of locations on the list, it would take too long to explain each place in detail.
At Peruvian Sunrise we help you put together an exciting and 100% personalized trip so we can take literally create your dream birdwatching tour in Peru.
Where can I find Birdwatching News and what is next?
As mentioned, I am personally not a specialist in birdwatching. This why I had to consult many different sources from our team.
I came across very interesting information from our birdwatching specialists as well as external specialists / websites and would like to summarize, that I recommend starting with birdwatching.
Because it is very active, incredibly exciting and relaxing at a time. The fact of being able to find new species is something indescribable and wonderful.
In the last year fortunately we could also observe positive side effects of the pandemic. One of those was definitely that nature could breathe at least for a few weeks.
Unfortunately, this was short-lived and our job, both as organizers and as travelers, is to live and support sustainability. I want to emphasize that the most important thing is to respect nature.
We can not forget which impact birdwatching has on the environment. In our case we try to comply this by working as eco-friendly as possible.
Therefore, we only work with sustainable operators, lodges, guides and monitor that our partners limit their influence on nature as much as possible.
If you’re interested in reading more about birdwatching in Peru and see amazing pictures, I’ll be sure to stop by these three Instagram accounts.
I was also able to gain a lot of interesting information from the Audubon blog, which will surely help you too.
You cannot wait to start with birdwatching but travelling to your favorite place is not possible?
Here you will find a great guide of how to find birds near you and how to identify them: https://www.audubon.org/news/how-find-bird
I hope you liked this post about Birdwatching in Peru and we are happy to hear your comments and additional information.
And If you have already decided to come and do “birding”, contact us!