Peru’s Manu Road – The Upper Elevations

A Barred Fruiteater on the Manu Road, Peru

by Rich Hoyer on June 16, 2011 · 4 comments

in Birding Neotropics

In looking ahead to my tour this coming October, I’m taking a look back on last year’s visit to this amazing birding road.

We are lucky to stay at Wayqecha Biological Station at the highest elevations on the Manu Road. Formerly we had to camp here to sample the exciting bird life that prefers this zone, and should the biological station be closed to birders once again, we’ll have to revisit that option. In the meantime, we plan on a couple nights here.

The forest is shorter there than farther down the road, and with greater sunlight penetration the hummingbird numbers and diversity here is high.

Last year one of the top birds was this Chestnut-crested Cotinga. We ended up with a few of them, with something of an irruption going on. In the previous nine years, our tour itinerary had never recorded them here. Such is birding in the tropics.

The slopes are very steep here, and deep gorges slice through this young mountain range.

The builders of the highway had to be creative with limited resources.

You never know what exciting find is just around the bend. This Golden-headed Quetzal is one species we sometimes see as we peer into the mid-story looking down in the forest below the road.

We have a great crew that puts together delicious picnic lunches right where the birding is best.

If the afternoon warms up, even the higher elevations have some great butterflies. This Cloud Forest Firetip can be common at the pass.

This colorful Diotima Banner can be found visiting wet mud on the road, often with several other species.

Photo at top: Sometimes we’re lucky with a close Barred Fruiteater at close range.

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  • Tom McK

    Amazing Rich. We went to Manu in 2006. The tanager flocks around San Pedro were incredible. I remember a Tiny Hawk came crashing straight into the centre of one of the flocks and just smashed everything all over the place, eventually flying off with a siskin. Somewhere we’ll definitely go back to.

  • Birdernaturalist

    Yes, San Pedro is really awesome. I’ll be sharing some pictures from there in next week’s blog.

  • https://www.limogesboxcollector.com Lily

    Thank you for sharing this great post.  The photo of the bus through the tunnel made me crouch down!   The birds and the butterflies are amazing.

  • Rob Williams

    Hi Rich

    Great post – where are you getting your English names for the butterflies from and what ID guide do you use for those now?  Thanks and best wishes Rob

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