The Highlands of Bolivia
Rufous-faced Antpitta – © 2005 Lelis Navarrete
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Starting in the Central Highlands of Bolivia and finishing in the Highlands of Northern La Paz, this 10 day trip will present us with the wonders of the High Bolivian Andes: the Puna Grassland and the Titicaca Lake, and with the lush biodiversity of the Bolivian Yungas.
Amidst the views of the magnificent Bolivian Andes, the Puna Grassland: home of Brushland Tinamou and Darwin's Nothura, flourishes while the majestic Titicaca lake cradles the endemic Flightless Grebe (E).
Meanwhile, on the warmer lands of the flanks of the Andes, the Bolivian Yungas: the name given to the Temperate and Cloud forests covering these areas, harbor species like Large-tailed Dove, Black-winged Parrot, Andean Swift, Black-hooded Sunbeam (E), Rock Earthcreeper, Black-throated Thistletail (E), Maquis Canastero (E), Berlepsch´s Canastero (E), Yungas Antwren (E), the very rare Yellow-rumped Antwren, White-throated Antpitta, Rufous-faced Antpitta (E) and Cochabamba Mountain-Finch (E).
These are just some of the species that are waiting for us in the Bolivian Highlands.
Note: (E) marks all the endemic species. Text editing: Gustavo Cañas-Valle
After our connecting flight to Cochabamba, we will have the afternoon birding in the Lake Alalay where we will look for Crested Duck, Ruddy Duck (Andean), White-tufted Grebe, Plumbeous Rail, Wren-like Rushbird, Many-colored Rush-Tyrant, and White-tipped Plantcutter, among others.
Sunrise on the Cerro Tunari above Cochabamba will find us birding the lower slopes in search of Grey-hooded Parakeet, Red-tailed Comet, Grey-bellied Flowepiercer, Band-tailed Seedeater, and the endemic Bolivian Blackbird.
At slightly higher elevation, on the lower edge of the Polylepis forest we will hope to see Giant Hummingbird, Rock Earthcreeper, Rufous-bellied Saltator, Rufous-sided Warbling-Finch, Giant Conebill and three endemics: Bolivian Warbling-Finch, Cochabamba Mountain-Finch and Wedge-tailed Hillstar.
Higher up, at the top of the Polylepis forest and entering the Puna we will look for Andean Hillstar, Tawny Tit-Tyrant, the endemic Maquis Canastero, Plain-breasted Earthcreeper, White-winged Cinclodes, Plumbeous and Black-hooded Sierra-Finches, Bright-rumped Yellow-Finch and several ground-tyrants. Overnight: Hotel Casa Campestre.
Full day birding the new road to Santa Cruz in the Miguelito Area.
Here the outstanding forest is home of species like: Solitary Eagle, Black-and-Chestnut Eagle, Blue-banded Toucanet, Versicolored Barbet, Buff-browed Foliage-Gleaner, Upland Antshrike, Yellow-rumped Antwren, Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Bolivian Tyrannulet, Yungas Tody-Tyrant (E), Unadorned Flycatcher, White-eared Solitaire, Slaty Tanager, and Straw-backed Tanager, among others.
A new visit to the same new road to Santa Cruz, but at a much higher elevation to the area known as Tablas Monte, will take us on the altitudinal range of species like Stripe-faced Wood-Quail, Great Sapphirewing, Crested Quetzal, Hooded Mountain-Toucan, Black-throated Thistletail (E), Rufous-faced Antpitta (E), Ochraceous-breasted Flycatcher, Orange-browed Hemispingus, Three-striped Hemispingus, Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Chestnut-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Golden-collared Tanager and White-browed Conebill.
Birding transfer from Cochabamba to Oruro.
Today sees us leave Cochabamba en route to the Altiplano (High altitude plateau) city of Oruro, looking along the way for Cinereous Harrier, Mountain Parakeet, Golden-spotted and Black-winged Ground-Doves and a selection of ground-tyrants, pipits, yellow-finches and sierra-finches. Once we reach Oruro we will visit Lake Uru Uru, near the city, which is an excellent site for Crested Duck, Andean, Puna and Chilean Flamingos, Andean Avocet and Puna Plover. Night in Oruro.
Birding transfer to La Paz. Today a drive of several hours takes us to the wonderful city of La Paz through beautiful Altiplano habitats which are home to Puna Snipe, Spot-winged Pigeon, Giant Hummingbird, Andean Swift, Plain-mantled and Brown-capped Tit-Spinetails, Rusty-vented Canastero, D'Orbigny's Chat-Tyrant and Bolivian Warbling Finch. Night in La Paz. Overnight: Residencial Rosario.
Full day birding the road to Coroico and descending to Chulamani.
Early this morning we leave La Paz and head up into the Cordillera Real. We will stop at the top of the road to Chulumani where flocks are exciting and multicoloured and can hold Moustached Flowerpiercer, White-browed Conebill and Mountain Cacique. Here we may see the numerous hummingbirds including Great Sapphirewing, Violet-throated Starfrontlet and the amazing endemic Black-hooded Sunbeam.
Our next stop at Cotapata may provide us with Rufous Antpitta, Diademed Tapaculo, Golden-collared Tanager and the endemic Black-throated Thistletail. We then make the long descent of the notorious Yungas road to the warm foothill town of Chulamani. Overnight: San Bartolome.
Full day birding Apa apa area.
The Apa Apa ecological reserve is a site that has only recently begun to gain recognition and popularity among ornithologists who live in and visit Bolivia. The site is special as it represents one of the last stands of primary "Yungas" forest, composed of nearly 2,000 acres of humid montane forests. Vegetation is lush, and the birdlife is incredible, indeed this is probably one of the best birding sites in Bolivia, home of the Plum-crowned Parrot, Rufous-faced Antpitta (E), Chestnut-crested Cotinga, Band-tailed Fruiteater, the very rare Scimitar-winged Piha, Slaty Tanager and many others. Overnight: San Bartolome.
Birding back to La Paz. This day will be devoted to look for some species we may have missed in the previous days and in the way back to La Paz. If the conditions are proper, we will stop in at Pongo. This high altitude site has Stripe-headed Antpitta, Puna Tapaculo, Scribble-tailed and Line-fronted Canasteros, Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant, Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant and Peruvian Sierra-Finch. Overnight: Residencial Rosario.
Full day birding around Lake Titicaca and Sorata.. Today we visit Lake Titicaca and, in addition to admiring the lake´s great beauty, we have a good chance of seeing Titicaca Flightless Grebe, White-tufted Grebe, Puna Teal, Andean Ruddy Duck, Andean Negrito, Black Siskin and Yellow-winged Blackbird. From Titicaca we drive on towards Sorata in the hope of seeing Giant Coot, the endemic Berlepsch's Canastero and several ground-tyrants. Overnight: Residencial Rosario.
Transfer to International flights.