Red-and-green Macaws at a clay ick in Manu National Park by Dubi Shapiro.
Bearded Mountaineer, Koepcke’s Hermit, Green-and-white Hummingbird, Peruvian Piedtail, Coppery-naped Puffleg, Fine-barred Piculet, White-browed Tit Spinetail, Puna and Vilcabamba Thistletails, Apurimac, Creamy-breasted and Marcapata Spinetails, Junin and Rusty-fronted Canasteros, Red-and-white Antpitta, 'Ampay' and Vilcabamba Tapaculos, Inca Flycatcher, Black-backed Tody Flycatcher, Unstreaked Tit Tyrant, Masked Fruiteater, Cerulean-capped Manakin, Inca Wren, Cuzco (Golden-bellied) Warbler, Parodi's Hemispingus, Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch, and Apurimac and Cuzco Brush Finches. Also a chance of Taczanowski's Tinamou, Rufous-webbed Brilliant, White-tufted Sunbeam and Vilcabamba Brush Finch.
Pale-winged Trumpeter, Razor-billed Curassow, Yungas Pygmy-Owl, Ocellated Poorwill, Andean Potoo, Blue-headed Macaw, Rose-fronted Parakeet, White-bellied Parrot, Green-fronted Lancebill, Festive and Rufous-crested Coquettes, Gould’s Jewelfront, Wire-crested Thorntail, Buff-thighed Puffleg, Rufous-capped Thornbill, Violet-throated Starfrontlet, Many-spotted Hummingbird, Andean Motmot, Bluish-fronted, Purus and White-throated Jacamars, Black-streaked and (Western) Striolated Puffbirds, Rufous-capped Nunlet, Curl-crested Aracari, Black-throated and Blue-banded Toucanets, Scarlet-hooded and Versicoloured Barbets, Ocellated and Rufous-breasted Piculets, Rufous-headed and White-throated Woodpeckers, Brown-rumped Foliage-gleaner, Plain Softtail, Ashy-breasted Tit-Tyrant, Pale-footed Swallow, Bamboo Antshrike, Goeldi's, Manu, Varzea, White-lined and Yellow-breasted Warbling Antbirds, Black-spotted Bare-eye, Yellow-rumped Antwren, Amazonian Antpitta, Rufous-fronted Antthrush, Diademed and Puna Tapaculos, Slaty Gnateater, Bolivian, Cinnamon-faced and Red-billed Tyrannulets, White-cheeked Tody Tyrant, Johannes's and White-bellied Tody Tyrants, Dusky-tailed Flatbill, Olive and Unadorned Flycatchers, Rufous-webbed Bush Tyrant, Band-tailed Fruiteater, Band-tailed, Fiery-capped, Round-tailed and Yungas Manakins, White-collared Jay, White-eared Solitaire, Hauxwell's Thrush, Tawny-faced Gnatwren, Fulvous Wren, Moustached Flowerpiercer, Golden-collared, Rust-and-yellow, Slaty and Yellow-crested Tanagers, Chestnut-bellied Mountain-Tanager, White-browed Hemispingus, Peruvian Sierra Finch, Black-billed Seed Finch, Pale-eyed Blackbird and Casqued Oropendola. Also a chance of Bartlett's, Black-capped, Cinereous, Grey, Hooded and Variegated Tinamous, Buckley's Forest Falcon, Rufous-breasted and Stripe-faced Wood Quails, Crested and Harpy Eagles, Uniform Crake, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Long-tailed Potoo, White-browed Hermit, Pavonine Quetzal, Royal Cinclodes, Peruvian Recurvebill, Rusty-breasted and Thrush-like Antpittas, Rufous-bellied Bush-Tyrant, Black-faced Cotinga and Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak.
Horned Screamer, Orinoco Goose, Muscovy and Torrent Ducks, Blue-throated Piping Guan, Fasciated Tiger Heron, Agami and Capped Herons, King Vulture, Black-and-chestnut and (Montane) Solitary Eagles, Grey-necked Wood Rail, Sunbittern, Sungrebe, Pied Plover, Andean Lapwing, Andean Gull, Yellow-billed and Large-billed Terns, pigeons and doves, Blue-and-yellow, Red-and-green and Scarlet Macaws, parrots, Hoatzin, Sand-coloured Nighthawk, Lyre-tailed and Swallow-tailed Nightjars, hummingbirds including Black-eared Fairy, Sword-billed, Long-tailed Sylph, Black-tailed and Green-tailed Trainbearers, Booted Racket-tail, Gould's Jewelfront and Giant, trogons, Crested and Golden-headed Quetzals, all five South American kingfishers, puffbirds, jacamars, barbets, Channel-billed and White-throated Toucans, Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan, Golden-collared Toucanet, Chestnut-eared and Ivory-billed Aracaris, woodpeckers including Crimson-bellied, foliage gleaners, Pearled Treerunner, Streaked Tuftedcheek, woodcreepers, many antbirds, tyrannulets, Short-tailed Pygmy Tyrant (the world's smallest passerine along with Black-capped Pygmy Tyrant), tody tyrants, tody flycatchers, flycatchers, ground tyrants, chat tyrants, Many-coloured Rush Tyrant, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Screaming Piha, Plum-throated, Purple-throated and Spangled Cotingas, Bare-necked and Purple-throated Fruitcrows, tityras, jays, Musician Wren, Black-capped Donacobius, Giant Conebill, many tanagers, Black-faced and Yellow-bellied Dacnises, honeycreepers, sierra finches, flowerpiercers, oropendolas and Orange-backed Troupial. Also a chance of Andean Condor, Military Macaw, Crested and Spectacled Owls, Chestnut-crested Cotinga, White-browed Purpletuft, Tit-like Dacnis and Plushcap.
Giant Otter, Saddleback Tamarin, and Red Howler, (Common) Woolly, (Black-headed) Night, Common Squirrel, Black (Peruvian) Spider, Dusky Titi, Brown Capuchin and White-fronted Capuchin Monkeys. Also a chance of Brazilian Tapir, Emperor Tamarin, Gray's Bald-faced Saki Monkey, Red Brocket Deer and Tayra, and an outside chance of Spectacled Bear (this great rarity is now seen with some regularity in the Chaparri Ecological Reserve near Chiclayo in Northern Peru).
Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish
Numerous spectacular butterflies.
Red-and-green Macaws at a clay lick in Manu by Dubi Shapiro.
Woolly Monkey by Marie-France Grenouillet.
Giant Otter by Chris Townend.
The dry season usually lasts from May to October and this is the best time to visit, especially August-September when activity usually peaks at the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock lek and the clay licks, which large flocks of parrots and macaws visit daily, are busy. These clay licks are usually used mostly during the dry season. During the wet season the most rain usually falls from January to March.
Travellers' Wildlife Guides: Peru by D Pearson and L Beletsky. Interlink Books, 2015 (Second Edition).
Bradt Wildlife Guide: Peruvian Wildlife by G Cheshire, H Lloyd and B Walker. Bradt Travel Guides, 2007.
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).
Where to Watch Birds in Peru by T Valqui. Valqui, 2004.
Mammals of South America by R D Lord. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.
Monkeys of Peru: Pocket Identification Guide by R Aquino Y et al. Conservation International, 2015.
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.
Many trip reports, some for Southern Peru, 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 Southern Peru. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Southern Peru' below.
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.
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 Southern Peru include the following.