Cloud Forests of Northern Peru Pre-trip Feb 02—09, 2018

Posted by Andrew Whittaker


Andrew Whittaker

Andrew Whittaker, a senior member of the VENT staff, has led VENT tours since 1993 throughout Brazil, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, Argentina, Costa Rica, Panama, Europe,...

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WOW! This fabulous tour truly is the real Mecca of Andean Cloud Forest birding with almost 300 species recorded, including a staggering record-breaking 42 dazzling species of hummingbirds, many colorful mind-blowing tanagers, and some very exciting endemics! Voted top two birds of the trip (with outstanding views of both) were the outrageous Spatuletail and, of course, the magnificent looks at the rarely seen White-tipped Sicklebill, making it number one! Sadly, we were unable to try for the cute Long-whiskered Owlet this year after having such good luck in the past. I’m sure none of us will ever forget our drop-dead views of both of these outstanding endemics! 

White-tipped Sicklebill

White-tipped Sicklebill— Photo: Andrew Whittaker


This tour is always a terrific hummingbird and tanager bonanza as well (if you love them as much as I do, this is the trip for you). This year our tour produced a non-stop exotic iridescent kaleidoscope of colors at lodge feeders and several other private feeders and hummingbird gardens we visited. 

After our short flight from Lima, our adventure began when we arrived at Tarapoto airport where our trusty driver, Valdamir, picked us up and drove us to a nearby fine regional restaurant. There we enjoyed fine tropical fruit juices and wonderful freshly grilled Paiche steaks (one of the best tasting Amazon fishes, a true river monster getting up to 250 kilos and really delicious). 

Along the way to our lodge we had an unforgettable visit to the Oilbird cleft where we observed these odd birds well through the scope and also heard their odd calls as they flew around below us! Arriving at our lovely family-run Moyobamba Lodge, we headed into the lodge garden and hummingbird feeders which were alive as usual. Enjoying a great afternoon of hummingbird feasts from the well-constructed raised observation platform (in shade), we marveled over such close hummers affording excellent studies and wonderful photographic opportunities. Highlights included fabulous male and female Rufous-crested Coquette; the stunning Golden-tailed Sapphire; Black-throated Mango; Fork-tailed Woodnymph; Black-throated Hermit (uncommon this year); lots of Gray-breasted Sabrewings; Sapphire-spangled Emerald; Violet-headed Hummingbird; White-chinned Sapphire; and the tiny Amethyst (a lovely male) in the flower garden.

Read Andrew’s full report in his Field Report.