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  • Where to watch BIRDS and

  • other wildlife in the world
  • Photograph of Blue-throated Macaws

    Blue-throated Macaws by Paul Jones.

    BOLIVIA

    Photograph of Puma


    Photograph of Jaguar

    Puma and Jaguar in Kaa-Iya by Nick's Adventures Bolivia.

    Best Wildlife in Bolivia

    Mammals
    Capybara. Also a chance of Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth, Black-tailed Marmoset, and Black (Paraguayan) Howler, Tufted Capuchin and White-eared Titi Monkeys, and an outside chance of Big Hairy Armadillo, Azara’s Night Monkey, Southern Mountain Viscacha and Common Yellow-toothed Cavy.

    Birds

    Endemics
    The 14 endemics which are possible to see on the main circuit are Red-fronted Macaw, Cliff (Monk) Parakeet, Black-hooded Sunbeam, Bolivian Earthcreeper, Bolivian (Stripe-crowned) Spinetail, Black-throated Thistletail, Berlepsch’s Canastero, Bolivian Recurvebill, Rufous-faced Antpitta, Yungas (Ashy) Antwren, Yungas Tody Tyrant, Bolivian (Rufous-naped) Brush Finch, Cochabamba Mountain Finch and Bolivian Blackbird. (Blue-throated Macaw and Unicoloured Thrush (as well as the potential endemic Bolivian (Velvet-fronted) Grackle) are only possible off the beaten track at Llanos de los Moxos, Masked (Spotted) Antpitta is only likely at Riberalta, accessible by air from La Paz, the best place for Horned Curassow, on the edge of Amboro National Park, was inaccessible in the mid-2010s, Palkachupa (Swallow-tailed) Cotinga can be seen near Aten in the Apolo Valley reached by road from Huarina, and Coppery (Letitia's) Thorntail is known only from two specimens from the 1800s.)

    Near-endemics and other specialities
    Short-winged (Titicaca) Grebe, Black-legged Seriema, Red-tailed Comet, Wedge-tailed Hillstar, Hooded Mountain Toucan, Great Rufous Woodcreeper, Light-crowned Spinetail, Maquis Canastero, Bolivian Slaty Antshrike, Yellow-rumped Antwren, White-throated Antpitta, Olive-crowned Crescentchest, White-tipped Plantcutter, Grey-bellied Flowerpiercer, Bolivian Warbling Finch, Citron-headed Yellow Finch, Great-billed Seed Finch, Grey-crested and Short-tailed Finches, and Rufous-bellied Saltator. Also a chance of Scimitar-winged Piha.

    Photograph of Red-fronted Macaws

    Red-fronted Macaws by Nick's Adventures Bolivia.

    Others

  • This list includes birds possible only at Llanos de los Moxos where the endemic Blue-throated Macaw occurs.

  • Greater Rhea, tinamous including Red-winged, White-bellied Nothura, Southern Screamer, Orinoco Goose, ducks including Torrent, Chaco Chachalaca, herons, ibises, storks, Andean Condor, King Vulture, Cinereous and Long-winged Harriers, Great Black and Savanna Hawks, Black-chested Buzzard Eagle, Mountain Caracara, Spot-winged Falconet, Aplomado Falcon, Grey-necked Wood Rail, Rufous-sided Crake, coots including Giant, Red-legged Seriema, Andean Lapwing, Andean Avocet, Puna Plover, Puna Snipe, Grey-breasted Seedsnipe and other shorebirds including Wilson’s Phalarope, Andean Gull, pigeons and doves, Blue-and-yellow, Red-and-green, Scarlet, Chestnut-fronted and Golden-collared Macaws, parrots, Blue-winged Parrotlet, parakeets, Hoatzin, Nacunda Nighthawk, Scissor-tailed Nightjar, Common and Great Potoos, swifts including Andean, hummingbirds including Giant Hummingbird and Violet-throated Starfrontlet, Crested and Golden-headed Quetzals, Blue-crowned and Black-tailed Trogons, Amazonian and Andean Motmots, puffbirds, Versicoloured Barbet, Black-mandibled and Toco Toucans, Blue-banded and Chestnut-tipped Toucanets, Chestnut-eared Aracari, woodpeckers including White, and Andean and Campo Flickers, spinetails, canasteros, thornbirds, Brown Cachalote, Lark-like Brushrunner, woodcreepers, antbirds including Mato Grosso, antshrikes including Great, Slaty Gnateater, numerous tyrant flycatchers including Spectacled Tyrant, Greater Wagtail Tyrant, Hudson's Black-Tyrant, Many-coloured Rush Tyrant, ground tyrants, White and White-rumped Monjitas, chat tyrants, Band-tailed and Barred Fruiteaters, Red-crested Cotinga, Band-tailed, Round-tailed and Yungas Manakins, Plush-crested and Purplish Jays, swallows, wrens, Black-capped Donacobius, thrushes, Blue-winged and Chestnut-bellied Mountain Tanagers, other tanagers including Black-goggled and Golden-collared, hemispinguses, flowerpiercers including Moustached, Giant and White-browed Conebills, Black-hooded and Peruvian Sierra Finches, Many-coloured Chaco Finch, warbling finches, yellow finches, seedeaters, oropendolas, Orange-backed Troupial, blackbirds including Scarlet-hooded, and Black Siskin. Also a chance of Blue-throated Piping Guan, Rufous-breasted and Stripe-faced Wood Quails, Fasciated Tiger Heron, Black-and-chestnut and Solitary Eagles, Sunbittern, Band-bellied Owl, Oilbird, Military Macaw, Alder Parrot, Blue-capped Puffleg, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Short-tailed Antthrush, Rufous and Undulated Antpittas, Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Amazonian Umbrellabird, Chestnut-crested Cotinga, Screaming Piha, White-eared Solitaire, Brown-backed Mockingbird, Paradise and Straw-backed Tanagers, Plushcap and Short-tailed Finch.
  • Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish
    Spectacled Caiman.

    Other Natural Wonders in Bolivia

    Best Sites for Wildlife in Bolivia

    It is best to start in the lowlands of the east and travel west from Santa Cruz, stopping to bird and acclimatize to the high altitudes to come, on the way up the Andes.

    Best Times for Wildlife in Bolivia

    April to November is usually the driest time of the year, with the end of this period, from early September to early November, usually being the driest and best for birds. The wet season normally lasts from January to March. It is usually coldest at night at high altitude from June to August.

    Recommended Books etc. for Bolivia

    Birds of Southern South America and Antarctica (including Bolivia) by M R de la Pena and M Rumboll. Collins, 1998.

    Birds of Peru by T S Schulenberg et al. Helm, 2010 (Second Edition).

    Birds of South America: Non-Passerines by J R Roderiguez Mata et al. Harper Collins, 2006.

    The Birds of South America: Passerines by R S Ridgely and G Tudor. University of Texas Press, 1989 and 1994 (Two volumes).

    Mammals of South America by R D Lord. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.

    Where to watch birds in South America by N Wheatley. Helm, 1994.

    Don’t know which country/countries to visit in South America? Then it may be worth considering taking a look at this book, written by this website’s author. It is many years old of course but it still provides a starting point, an overview and a guiding light to the best birds and the best places to look for them on the continent, and could save hours of searching for similar information on the internet. However, it is important to check more up-to-date sources for sites which have been opened up, sites and species which have been discovered, lodges that have been built etc. since the book was published.

    Trip Reports for Bolivia

    Many trip reports, some for Bolivia, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to Bolivia. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Bolivia' below.

    Local Guides and Tours in Bolivia

    The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.


    Accommodation in Bolivia

    Some Organized Tours to Bolivia

    There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.

    While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and people with partners with different interests. Individuals and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more than the price of an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.

    Tour companies who run organized tours or can arrange custom tours to Bolivia include the following.