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MANU ROAD

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# Species:589
# Excl Vagrants:589
# Endemics:17
# Near Endemics:63
Habitat: Temperate forest, cloud forest, subtropical forest

ABOUT THE BIRDING

Manu Road is a long access road that connects Cusco in the high Andes of Central Peru to Manu Biosphere Reserve in the Peruvian Amazon. The road goes through several high elevation passes before descending through various altitudinal zones of largely forested habitats. A birding traverse normally takes up to a week to give the notable birding locales sufficient attention. Some of these are as follows:

The high Andes passes at the beginning of the road outside Cusco are notable as possible places to see Andean Condors soaring overhead. Other high-elevation birds of special interest along Manu Road include the endemic Bearded Mountaineer, found in the shrubland near Cusco, the endemic Creamy-chested Spinetail and Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch, both found in shrublands of high mountain valleys between the cordilleras, the very locally distributed Line-fronted Spinetail and Scribble-fronted Spinetail, and the hard-to-see Puna Tapaculo and Diademed Tapaculo. Other birds along this part of the road include Spot-winged Pigeon, Andean Lapwing, Plum-crowned Parrot, Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Collared Jay, White-browed Conebill, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Yellow-collared Tanager, and Moustached Flowerpiercer.

Pillahuata is a roadside clearing located at an elevation of about 8300 ft. The habitat is upper montane humid forest and offers superb birding. Among the birds found there are Golden-headed Quetzal, Puna Thistletail, Undulated Antpitta Red-and-white Antpitta, Diademed Tapaculo, Masked Fruiteater, White-eared Solitaire, Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Blue-capped Tanager, Golden-collared Tanager, Tit-like Dacnis, and Moustached Flowerpiercer.

The transect between about 8000 ft and 5000 ft is surrounded by pristine cloud forest. At the lower end of this area Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge offers superb birding as well as excellent viewing of hummingbirds at their feeders. The area is protected by the Peru Verde and Selva Sur forest reserves. The lodge takes its name after one of it's most beautiful residents, the lek-breeding Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, which is readily seen there. Hummingbirds that come into the feeders at the lodge include Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Collared Inca, Violet-throated Starfrontlet, Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Purple-backed Thornbill, Scaled Metaltail, and White-bellied Woodstar. Some of the many birds found within reach of the lodge include White-throated Hawk, Solitary Eagle, Crested Quetzal, Golden-headed Quetzal, Masked Trogon, Highland Motmot, Black-streaked Puffbird, Buff-thighed Puffbird, Blue-banded Toucanet, Olive-backed Woodcreeper, Spotted Barbtail, Uniform Antshrike, Variable Antshrike, Yellow-rumped Antwren, Slaty Antwren, Slaty Gnateater, Chestnut-crested Cotinga, Scaled Fruiteater, Bolivian Tyrannulet, Inca Flycatcher, Yungas Manakin, Cerulean-capped Tanager Uniform Antshrike, Fulvous-breasted Flatbill, Saffron-crowned Tanager, Blue-naped Chlorophonia, and Deep-blue Flowerpiercer.

Below Cock-of-the-Rock Ledge, Manu Road descends through pristine sub-tropical forest. It's worth spending an entire day birding along the road before reaching the Amazonia Lodge, which is located at about 1600 ft. elevation. Some of the birds to be found along this section of Manu Road include Rufous-breasted Wood-Quail, Plum-crowned Parrot, Chestnut-collared Swift, Peruvian Piedtail, Long-tailed Sylph, Lanceolated Monklet, Versicolored Barbet, Russet Antshrike, Slaty Antwren, Amazonian Umbrellabird, Cerulean-capped Manakin, Rufous-lored Tyrranulet, Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant, Fulvous-breasted Flatbill, Golden-crowned Flycatcher, Chestnut-breasted Wren, Black-faced Tanager, White-winged Tanager, Orange-eared Tanager, Yellow-throated Chlorospingus, Swallow-Tanager, Golden-collared Honeycreeper, and Dusky-green Oropendola.

The Amazonia Lodge is situated on a converted tea plantation that is reverting back to forest. It offers a whole new set of species since the climate at this elevation is much more tropical. Among the many species found there are Black-capped Tinamou, Blackish Rail, Hoatzin, Buckley's Forest-Falcon, Wattled Guan, Military Macaw, Blue-headed Macaw, Pheasant Cuckoo, Koepcke's Hermit, Rufous-webbed Brilliant, Rufous-crested Coquette, Golden-tailed Sapphire, Bluish-fronted Jacamar, Chestnut-capped Puffbird, Fine-barred Piculet, Red-billed Scythebill, Dark-breasted Spinetail, Dusky-cheeked Foliage-gleaner, Bamboo Antshrike, Chestnut-backed Antshrike, Amazonian Antpitta, Rusty-belted Tapaculo, Mottle-backed Elaenia, Red-billed Tyrannulet, Johannis' Tody-Tyrant, Yellow-browed Tody-Tyrant, Ornate Flycatcher, Golden-bellied Warbler, Magpie Tanager, Hooded Tanager, Masked Crimson Tanager, and Black-faced Dacnis.

The Amazonia Lodge is essentially the end of Manu Road transect. From there, groups generally travel by boat into the Manu Biosphere Reserve. The boat trip takes most of a day because there are many birds to see en route.

LOCATION OF SITE

The Manu Road begins in Cusco, located in the central Andes of Peru, and continues down the eastern slope of the Andes to the lowlands of the Peruvian Amazon. Cusco is usually reached by air from Lima. Most flights arrive and depart Cusco in the morning because of the prevailing wind conditions in the high Andes.