Few birding tours include Cordillera Blanca, which is a shame, as there are a number of birds that can more easily be seen here and a few that are endemic and the scenery is just stunning. One may drive from Lima or from Huanuco and stay in Huaraz the major climbing mecca in the Callejon de Huaylas valley or continue to one of the smaller towns such as Caraz - this way be closer to the main birding area of Laguna Llanganuco.
The targets here include White-cheeked Cotinga being easier here than at Santa Eulalia, Plain-tailed Warbling-Finch, Rufous-headed Brush-Finch, Apurimac Tapaculo, Giant Conebill, Stripe-headed Antpitta and many ducks and ground-tyrants.
In the valley there is cactus scrub with an undescribed form of Pale-tailed Canastero and further north close to Huaylas village both Great and Rufous-backed Inca-Finch occur.
If you have the time, the best way to sample Cordillera Blanca is to join a trek. There are many routes to choose from.
Central Peru has more endemic species than the northern and southern routes, and is easy to get to, yet few birders have explored the area. You could change that.
Text by Gunnar Engblom.