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North Peru: Marvelous Spatuletail display tour


The spatuletail leks occur between December and May. We have two lekking sites that are regularly surveyed. Of course this trip will not give the same guarantees as a proper expedition with longer available time, but there should certainly guarantee excellent footage of the most fabulous hummingbird in the world. Although filming/photographing the lek will be the main goal on this trip, we shall also see the a lot of the other special species in the area. Options will be given to go birding, while the keen photographers and videographers try to get yet another fantastic shoot.

See BBC's video of the lek with David Attenborough as the presenter.

Note that it is possible to upgrade the hotels in Pomacochas and Leimebamba. We have chosen budget hotels which work fine for purposes of birders. Yet, the alternatives are better.  See price information below to learn about the alterrnatives.

No Departures for this Tour

If the departure dates don't fit you, please suggest another date.

Day 0. Fly to Tarapoto.

At 20.10H we fly to Tarapoto and transfer to Hotel Cumbaza. 

Day 1. Birding Tarapoto-Pomacochas. Oilbird and Royal Sunangel

Marvelous Spatuletail. Photo: Alejandro Tello

We shall start the morning at some hummingbird feeders above town where it is possible to photograph Koepcke's Hermit. After a hearty field breakfast we shall continue towards Moyobamba. En route we shall stop to watch oilbirds where the road cross a deep shaft. This is probably the most accessible oilbirds in the world. We will take a picnic lunch at Afluentes in the subtropics. Afluentes is famous for its mixed species feeding flocks that can be found through-out the day that contain Montane Woodcreeper, Montane Foliagegleaner, Saffron-crowned, Bay-headed and Paradise Tanagers, Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant and Streaked Xenops. Among the special birds in this area they include: Speckle-chested Piculet, Equatorial Graytail, Gray-mantled Wren, Ecuadorian Tyrannulet, Foothill Antwren, Versicolored Barbet and the restricted range hummingbirds Ecuadorian Piedtail and Napo Sabrewing . Here it is possible to find splendid cotingas such as Cock of the Rock, Umbrellabird and Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Black-mandibled Toucan, and a wide variety of tanagers including the scarce Vermilion Tanager.

Later in afternoon we shall bird near Abra Patricia for species such as Lulu’s Tody-Tyrant and Royal Sunangel. We arrive to Pomacochas in the late afternoon to stay at simple but adequate Las Brisas Hotel.

Day 2. Birdwatching around Pomacochas all day. Marvelous Spatuletail.

Most of the day will be spent trying to get good footage of Marvelous Spatuletail. Our local guide Santos Montenegro knows of several lek places and will have these staked out.
We shall also visit the feeders at Huembo where a number of Hummingbirds apart from the Spatuletail come to feed. Among the rarer ones is Little Woodstar. Green Violetear, Sparkling Violetear, Purple-throated Sunangel, Speckled Hummingbird, Long-tailed Sylph, Green-tailed Trainbearer, Emerald-bellied Puffleg, Bronzy Inca, Collared Inca, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Purple-collared Woodstar, White-bellied Woodstar, White-bellied Hummingbird, and Andean Emerald are other hummers possible here. 

Other birds seen in the area include Rufous-capped Antshrike ssp. jaczewskii, Chestnut-crowned Antpitta, Cloud-forest Brush-Finch, Chestnut-crowned Cotinga and Buff-bellied Tanager. 
Night in Las Brisas Hotel, Pomacochas.

Day 3. Pomacochas-Kuelap-Leimebamba.

After an early morning photo session with the Marvelous Spatuletail the journey continues to Pedro Ruiz and up the Utcubamba valley. Flocks of Mitred Parakeets can often be found here.
We shall visit Kuelap. Kuelap is a fortress/citadel of the Chachapoyas culture - the people of the clouds from around 800-1300 AD. It is scenically located and many birds can be seen nearby such as the endemic Peruvian Pigeon and Marañon Thrush.

Night in Leimebamba at Hotel Laguna de los Condores or similar.

Day 4. Bird photography in Leimebamba. Purple-throated Sunangel

Most of the day at the feeders around KentiKafe. Apart from Marvelous Spatuletail, we also see Purple-Throated Sunangel, Rainbow Starfrontlet and Sword-billed Hummingbird on the feeders.

If people get tired watching for Hummingbirds at the feeders it is possible to go birding in the afternoon along the new track east that cuts through excellent subtropical cloud forest featuring Grey-breasted Mountain-Toucan, White-collared Jay and Northern Mountain Cacique.

We shall also make a visit to the excellent museum in Leimebamba covering the Chachapoyas Culture. Well worth a visit.

Day 5. Leimbamba-Pomacochas. Russet-mantled Softtail.

More hummingbirds at the KentiKafe or a visit up to Abra Barro Negro where we will look for Russet-mantled Softtail, Peruvian Thistletail (likely split from White-chinned Thistletail), Coppery Metaltail and intermedius form of Blackish Tapaculo (probably also a good species). In midmorning we shall start the return trip to Pomacochas.

Day 6. Continued birding near Pomacochas and Rio Chido trail for Pale-billed Antpitta.

Pomacochas shall be our base again. If there are still images needed for Marvelous Spatuletail we are in good position. We can also explore the Rio Chido trail, which is a good place for the enigmatic Pale-billed Antpitta. Night in Pomacochas.

Day 7. Long-whiskered Owlet Lodge at Abra Patricia.

After an additional morning with the Hummingbirds we move on to Abra Patricia which also has hummingbird feeders with Long-tailed Sylph, Bronzy Inca, Collared Inca, Emerald-bellied Puffleg and on sometimes Rufous-vented Whitetip. At night we shall be on the look-out for the mysterious Long-whiskered Owlet. Night at the Owlet Lodge.

Day 8. BIrding Abra Patricia-Moyobamba road with Ochre-fronted Antpitta.

Morning at the lodge again photgraphing hummingbirds or looking for the endmemic Ochre-fronted Antpitta. Later, we shall again be visiting the Afluentes area on our way to Moyobamba to be in closer position the following day when we travel back to Tarapoto.

Day 9. Moyobamba-Tarapoto. Flight back to Lima in the evening.

Near Moyobamba the Mishquiyacu area at Wayqecha there is some hummingbird feeders that shall be well worth checking out in the morning. The following hummers have been visiting. Reddish Hermit, Black-throated Hermit, Long-tailed Hermit, Green Hermit, Gray-breasted Sabrewing, White-necked Jacobin, Black-throated Mango, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Sparkling Violetear, Brown Violetear, Sapphire-spangled Emerald, Long-billed Starthroat, Golden-tailed Sapphire, White-chinned Sapphire and Rufous-crested Coquette.  

In the afternoon we continue to Tarapoto in the afternoon to reach our flight at 10pm. Let us know if you need earlier flights to Lima (most likely at a surcharge).



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Telephone: +51-1- 652 76 89. From the US: 011-51-1- 652 76 89. Cell: 988 555 938 (Gunnar) or 999 007 886 (Elia Gallo) - Email: kolibriexp@gmail.com