[Tweeters] RFI: Birding and sightseeing in Peru in May

Mark Egger m.egger at comcast.net
Sun Nov 26 15:44:11 PST 2006

Vicki and all,

I decided to reply to the list, as others may be planning trips to
Peru as well. I visited northern Peru (Depts. La Libertad & Cajamarca
+ one day around Lima) for two weeks in April, 2005. My time was
spent intensively looking for plants in the Pacific slope Andes out
of Trujillo, the northernmost & 3rd largest major city in the
country, in company with a group of Peruvian botanists from a
university in Trujillo -- but I managed to do a fair bit of birding
around the edges.

As to your questions, I would still take the Clements & Shany book (A
Field Guide to the Birds of Peru) -- despite its very real
shortcomings, as it is still the only book covering most species in
Peru. While the Ecuador books are awesome, they have a lot of
Ecuadorian endemics to confuse things and are missing a lot of
Peruvian endemics you may encounter. Another book you should
definitely take is Thomas Valqui's "Where to Watch Birds in Peru, and
great site guide book. It is a bit quirky and in bad need of
proof-reading, but it is a GREAT resource in many ways. If you have
trouble locating it after you try the internet & Flora & Fauna, let
me know & I'll try to track down how I was able to order a copy (it's
independently published). It was published in 2004, so it is still
reasonably up to date.

Another resource you should definitely check out is Gunnar Engbloom
and his excellent website:


He is a tour operator but much more. His prices are very reasonable,
and, if he has the time, he can design customized trips of any
length. He runs the business mostly to finance his own fanatical
devotion to the country's avifauna, and he is deeply involved in
conservation and ecotourism in the purist sense of the word. We hired
him for a day of birding around Lima, and we went to some very cool
spots that are definitely not on the standard bird tour agenda! Even
if you don't hire him (I have no "tie" to his business), I'd highly
recommend thoroughly exploring the website. He also runs a list-serve
on Peruvian birding that is fairly active and is read by many of the
top birders & ornithologists in Peru.

Peru is an amazing country -- rugged and wild, once you leave the
main tourist routes. I would urge you to explore beyond the tourist
areas, if you can. Pay attention to advice you read in the tourist
books about night travel and caution in cities, especially. It is a
VERY poor country and has much more of a "frontier" feel to it than,
say, Mexico or Costa Rica. Most of the population live in what we
would consider very squalid conditions, and the disparity between the
have & the oceans of have-nots is as evident here as anywhere in
Latin America. The role of US & multinational mining outfits in the
environmental and social destruction in the Andes is sobering to say
the least. Also, be prepared for altitude sickness, esp. if you go
directly from Lima to Cuzco or other high elevation areas. I went
from sea level to over 9000' the first day & felt pretty sick for
several days. Eventually we went about 14,500' on some of the high
back roads...

Let me know if you have any other questions...



>We are planning a trip to Peru for most of May and I am looking for

>advice and recommendations for birding destinations/guide services

>and other sightseeing. Other than surfing the net, we've got the

>Rough Guide to Peru and I've read two very helpful trip accounts on

><http://Surfbirds.com>Surfbirds.com. We plan to visit the Cusco

>area and hope to make the trek to Machu Pichu. The Manu reserve is

>high on our list if we can figure out how to do so affordably.

>Based on what I've read about the shortcomings of the field guide to

>birds of peru, would we be better taking the field guide to the

>birds of Ecuador? If you have any suggestions, please send them

>along off-line.


>Thanks in advance,

>Vicki King, Seattle

><mailto:vkbirder at gmail.com>vkbirder at gmail.com

Mark Egger
Seattle, WA
mailto:m.egger at comcast.net

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