Central Highway to Oxapampa and Satipo road

This part of the Central Peru itinerary could well be named the Poor Man’s Manu road, because fo the extremely high biodiversity and prices that are very low in comparison.

Oxapampa, Villa Rica and Chanchamayo (La Merced and San Ramon) have numerous good hotels, and some lodges which provide good opportunities to watch birds in their gardens - some with feeders for tanagers and hummingbirds. For instance in this region we search for Cloud-forest Screech-Owl, the endemic Creamy-bellied Antwren and Black-winged Parrot.

The most exciting part of this itinerary is without doubt the old Satipo road between the town of Satipo and Concepcion. This road cuts through habitats at different altitudes much like the famous Manu road from Cusco to the Manu lowlands.

Here we find quetzals, trogons, toucans, tanagers, many hummingbirds and raptors like Solitary Eagle and Black-and-Chestnut Eagle. But also a number of endemics like Eye-ringed Thistletail. Many species are such as Junin Tapaculo and Black-spectacled Brush-Finch are recently described; and there are several species that yet need to be described and lack formal name. This is especially true at the dry side valley into the Mantaro drainage near Andamarca, where the not yet described “Mantaro Wren” and “Mantaro Thornbird” occur.

There is a lack of good birding lodges on Satipo road, but the local community have created a small basic hotel where groups of birders can stay. This initiative needs all the support it can get to get some momentum for conservation and ecotourism.

Text by Gunnar Engblom.