↑NEOTROPICS">
NEOTROPICS↑

↑PERU">
PERU↑

SPECIALTIES">
CHECKLIST

MACHU PICCHU

green-slate

PERU
LOCALE

Altitude (m):2430
# Species*:266
# Excl Vagrants*:266
# Endemics*:13
# Near Endemics*:32
*Based on partial or incomplete data.
Habitat: Temperate forest, bamboo

ABOUT THE BIRDING

Aguas Calientes is the nearest town and main access point to Machu Picchu. From the town a train takes visitors up to Machu Picchu. There is good birding around the town, including along the river and around the town.

Machu Picchu was the last refuge for the Incas following the incursion into Peru by Spanish Conquistadores. Archaeaologists don't know when or why the city was built, but it's location was unknown to the outside world until it was found by a Yale Archaeologist in 1911. Certainly, the major attraction is the Inca ruins to birders and general tourists alike. Indeed, Machu Picchu is the main reason many people, other than birders of course, go to Peru at all. Even birders should not miss the opportunity to take a tour through the site during their visit.

The landscape around Machu Picchu is rugged and mountainous. The deep Urubamba River valley is accessed by a steep trail but offers excellent birding opportunities. Some of the specialty birds found on the forested slopes and the valley below are Gould's Inca, Ocellated Piculet, Sclater's Tyrannulet, Mottle-cheeked Tyrannulet, the endemic Masked Fruiteater, White-eared Solitaire, and the normally scarce Silver-backed Tanager that is often seen there. Not many birds are found around the ruins themselves, although alert birders should find White-tipped Swifts soaring overhead. Birds found in the bamboo stands near the ruins include Inca Wren as well as the endemic Puna Thistletail and Parodi's Hemispingus. The endemic Green-and-white Hummingbird is commonly seen in the Inga trees located below the ruins. Since Machu Picchu is located in the high Andes, it is a good idea to always be on the lookout for the occasional Andean Condor that may be soaring overhead.

LOCATION OF SITE

Machu Picchu is reached by flying from Lima to Cusco, then taking the train or car from Cusco via Urubamba and Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes. Access to Machu Picchu itself is via train from Aguas Calientes. The best views are on the left side of the train.