ABRA MALAGA & CARRIZALES
|# Excl Vagrants:||353|
|# Near Endemics:||32|
|Habitat: Polylepis woodland, montane scrub, puna grassland, bogs|
ABOUT THE BIRDING
Abra Malaga offers very productive birding in the high Andes between Cusco and Machu Picchu. The puna scrub and Polylepis forests around the pass are prime habitat for specialties. So also are the upper reaches of stunted cloud forest at somewhat lower elevation around Carrizales. Endemics found in these habitats include Royal Cinclodes, White-browed Tit-Spinetail, Tawny Tit-Spinetail, and Junin Canastero. Other birds found in these forests include Blue-mantled Thornbill, Bar-winged Cinclodes, White-winged Cinclodes, Line-fronted Canastero, Stripe-headed Antpitta, Andean Tapaculo, Thick-billed Siskin, and Giant Conebill.
Several additional endemics are found on the western side of the pass toward Carrizales. These are White-tufted Sunbeam, Creamy-crested Spinetail, Rusty-fronted Canastero, and Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch. Additional birds on this side of the pass include Andean Guan, Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Marcapata Spinetail, Pearled Treerunner, Red-crested Cotinga, Unstreaked Tit-Tyrant, Pale-legged Warbler, White-browed Conebill, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Tanager, Moustached Flowerpiercer, and Cusco Brush-Finch. Rarely seen but present is Gray-breasted Seedsnipe. Of course, Andean Condors are always a possibility as well.
One hopes that the weather is good during a visit. Fog is possible, especially later in the year around November and December. The weather is generally much better in the dry season from July-September, but snow is possible at the pass during July/August.
LOCATION OF SITE
Abra Malaga is a mountainous pass in the Andes Mountains of Central Peru near the town of Ollantaytambo between Cusco and Machu Picchu. It can be reached by road from Ollantaytambo.