MANU BIOSPHERE RESERVE
|# Excl Vagrants:||575|
|# Near Endemics:||5|
ABOUT THE BIRDING
Manu Biosphere Reserve is one of the world's most biologically diverse places. The reserve encompasses a large area nearly the size of New Hampshire from 13,500 ft elevation in the Central Andes of Peru to the lowlands of the Peruvian Amazon. Over 1000 species of birds, some 10% of the world's total avifauna, have been found within the reserve. Of these, over 550 species have been recorded in the Amazon lowlands of the reserve. The higher elevation sites can be visited by taking the altitudinal transect along Manu Road. The Manu Road transect is described separately (see sidebar for link).
The lower elevation areas within the Amazon Basin are best reached by boat. Much of the reserve reserve is closed off to the general public. Birding tours to the Manu area are restricted to the cultural zone and private lands adjacent to the reserve.
The Amazon lowlands around Manu Wildlife Center encompass most of the habitat diversity found within the reserve in a relatively small area. The major habitats are seasonally flooded forests known as varzea forest, always dry forest known as terra firme forest, large stands of bamboo which are home to some specialty species found nowhere else, and mature transitional flood plain forest. These habitats are visited by dugout boats or by walking the extensive network of trails around the lodge. One of the major attractions is the Blanquillo Macaw Lick, where hundreds of parrots and macaws visit most mornings to eat clay they use to detoxify the fruits in their diets. The clay lick is on private land and the owner has been charging an exhorbitant fee (as much as $100) to visit it, so some tours no longer go there.
LOCATION OF SITE
The Manu Biosphere Reserve is located in the lowlands of the Peruvian Amazon. Birding groups typically reach the buffer zone around the reserve by spending a week birding Manu Road, spending a night at the Amazonia Lodge, and then taking a boat trip to lodges near the reserve. They return to Cusco by re-tracing their route back up the Madre de Dios River and Manu Road or continuing downstream to Boca Colorado and then by land transport to Puerto Maldonado.