Bird Watching in Peru

Bird watching in Peru is an unbeatable experience and one that will leave even the most seasoned bird watcher awestruck. Peru is the destination of choice for many international birders, and for good reason. Peru is home to 120 endemic species of birds, with no fewer than 42 new species being recorded in the past 30 years. Over 1,800 bird species have been recorded to date – including the endemic species – and researchers believe that the list will continue to grow as they explore new areas.

Of the 104 different life zones that have been identified throughout the world, 84 occur in Peru. This land of contrasts – from dry forest and desert areas found at the coast to the various forests in the lowlands along the Amazon and the majestic snow-capped Andes Mountains – supports abundant, and often unique, flora and fauna. Some of the species that bird watchers exploring Peru can expect to encounter include 127 species of hummingbirds, 135 species of tanagers, 120 species of ovenbirds, 107 species of typical antbirds, 254 species of tyrant-flycatchers, 50 species of parrots and macaws.

Appreciating the natural treasures that exist in Peru, the authorities have established approximately 13% of the country as protected areas. These protected areas form a network of 58 reserves and sanctuaries. Environmental awareness is continually being promoted in Peru, with the result being that rivers and streams are being cleaned up and coastal lagoons are being reclaimed. An example of the benefits of these efforts can be seen in the Chaparri Ecological Reserve, which was established by the community of Santa Catalina de Chongoyape. This protected dry forest area has become home to a species of bird that was long thought to be extinct, the white-winged guan.

Serious birders that go to the effort of negotiating their way through a bog located at 14,000 feet in the Andes are likely to be rewarded with by sighting a rare white-bellied cinclodes – an exciting prospect, bearing in mind that researchers believe there are only 28 of these birds in the world. Patient bird watchers visiting the area of Cordillera Azul should look out for the rare and recently discovered scarlet-banded barbet. Migratory birds from as far away as Patagonia and the North Pole use areas of Peru as a stop-over or to spend the summer months. This proves to be an added bonus for bird watchers, as they stand a good chance of seeing additional bird species that are temporary residents.

The spectacle of a multitude of colorful noisy birds flitting from tree to tree, or a majestic Andean condor soaring overhead defies description, and the choice of where to go and what to see can be a difficult one. Certainly bird watching in Peru is never boring and is a rewarding way for any birder to spend their time.