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Bountiful Bolivia - Endemics and other Special Birds NEW!

AT A GLANCE

FOCUS

A fundraising tour for the Neotropical Bird Club targeting the endemic birds of Bolivia (E) and other range-restricted species (RR) with some spectacular mountain scenery.

WHERE?

Bolivia-from Santa Cruz to La Paz via Trinidad. (Optional extension to Riberalta in the far north)

CLIMATE

Very warm to hot in the lowlands and some cold days in the Andes.

ACCOMODATION

Comfortable hotels and lodges (some simple but clean), all rooms with private facilities

SAMPLE WILDLIFE

Key targets include Flightless Titicaca Grebe, Orinoco Goose (RR), Black-hooded Sunbeam (E), Blue-throated (E) and Red-fronted (E) macaws, Wedge-tailed Hillstar (RR), Bolivian Earthcreeper (RR), Berlepsch’s Canastero (E), Bolivian Spinetail (E), Palkachupa Cotinga (E), Yungas Tody-Tyrant (RR), Bolivian Blackbird (E), Grey-bellied Flowerpiercer (E), Bolivian Warbling-Finch (RR) and Cochabamba Mountain-Finch (E).

This is a special birding tour, designed with the assistance and support of WildWings and Barry Walker of South American operator Manu Expeditions Birding Tours, to raise funds for the Neotropical Bird Club (a UK charity whose purpose is to promote the conservation of Neotropical birds).

Bolivia stretches across the widest part of the Andean mountain chain and is one of the highest and most isolated of Latin American republics. Its varied topography -ranging from steaming Amazonian rainforest, high saline lakes and high steppe desert, rolling tropical savanna to snow covered peaks and glaciers of the High Andes- makes for many habitat types and consequently one of the largest bird lists for a landlocked country. While we will not neglect the quantity of birds, our trip will focus on quality endemic, near endemic and range-restricted birds. Reasonable roads, good hotels throughout and field breakfasts and lunches in shady spots with great birds will make for a comfortable and birdy trip- all in aid of Neotropical bird conservation.


The birding begins in the dry woodlands, riparian gallery forest and palm savanna close to the bustling town of Trinidad in the Department of Beni. This is home to the endemic and critically endangered Blue-throated Macaw (total population less than 1,000 birds). Also, here are the “Beni endemics” which one day might make it to species rank and include Plain (Beni) Softtail and the boliviensis race of Velvet-fronted Grackle. Other prospects include the rare Orinoco Goose, Southern Screamer and Hudson’s Black-Tyrant (a migrant from central Argentina).


Moving south we visit a number of sites between Trinidad and Cochabamba. At Refugio Los Volcanes, surrounded by spectacular forest-clad sugarloaf peaks, our targets include Bolivian Tapaculo and Slaty Gnateater. One day should see us in cultivated fields waiting for the dawn flyover of the rare and endemic Red-fronted Macaw. Another site has the almost endemic Bolivian Earthcreeper and yet another a “new” endemic: Cliff Parakeet.

Cochabamba is an excellent access point to some wonderful habitats. In remnant Polylepis woodland possibilities include Giant Conebill and the endemic Grey-bellied Flowerpiercer. Amongst upper grasslands there is Puna Canastero and Citron-headed Yellow-Finch (near endemic). As for the Yungas (temperate forest) this might yield Great Sapphirewing, Hooded Mountain-Toucan, Light-crowned Spinetail and the endemic Cochabamba Thistletail. Finally, a nearby dry Andean valley hosts two endemics-Cochabamba Mountain-Finch and Bolivian Blackbird- and two near endemics-Wedge-tailed Hillstar and Bolivian Warbling-Finch.


Between Cochabamba and La Paz lie a number of birding hotspots. Some high Puna grasslands might reward us with Puna Hawk, Andean Flicker and Bright-rumped Yellow-Finch. Iquisivi is our location for two potential endemics: Black-hooded Sunbeam and Bolivian Spinetail. Close to Apa Apa one of our targets will be the hard to find and range-restricted Scimitar-winged Piha. In lower cloud forest we may encounter the unobtrusive, near-endemic Yungas Tody-Tyrant. As we walk some upper temperate forest we hope for the beautiful Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager.


We then make our way to Apolo and Lake Titicaca. Apolo is a unique place because here remains some Bolivian Andean ‘cerrado’. As we work the woodland and scrub for the lovely Palkachupa Cotinga we might also locate Yungas Antwren and Green-capped Tanager. Based near Lake Titicaca we will seek the eponymous Flightless Grebe and our last endemic: Berlepsch’s Canstero. The tour ends at La Paz international airport. (Please note this tour will include time at high altitude-up to a maximum of around 4000 metres above sea level. However, the trip is planned to start in the lowlands and so we have over two weeks to acclimatise gradually as we slowly gain altitude.)


A three-day post-tour extension will be run to the little visited northern town of Riberalta, if there is sufficient interest. Close to town is the site for the endemic Masked (Riberalta) Antipitta. Other exciting possible birds here include White-browed Hawk, Purus Jacamar, Riparian and Silvered antbirds, Black-spotted Bare-eye, Amazonian and Natterer’s Slaty antshrikes. An excellent patch of cerrado habitat could produce Chaco Eagle, Horned Sungem, Rufous-sided Pygmy-Tyrant and Ocellated Crake.

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A more detailed itinerary can be found here

General information can be found here

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Day 1: Arrive at the tour hotel in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
Day 2: Flight to Trinidad. Birding around the lakeside hotel.
Days 3 & 4: Two full day’s birding in search of the totemic Blue-throated Macaw and other special birds of the Beni savanna and gallery forest.
Day 5: Full day’s drive from Trinidad to Refugio Los Volcanes (RLV) via Santa Cruz.
Day 6: A day to enjoy RLV’s spectacular setting of forest clad sugarloaf peaks and cascading waterfalls… and go birding! Around 300 species have been recorded here.
Day 7: A morning search for Alder Parrot along a road to Vallegrande and then birdwatching along the road to Tambo.
Days 8 & 9: Two days to explore a variety of habitats including a cultivated area where the targets include two endemics: Red-fronted Macaw and Cliff Parakeet.
Day 10: A day’s drive from Comarapa into the fertile Cochabamba valley with stops for woodland and grassland bird species and hopefully the near endemic Wedge-tailed Hillstar.
Days 11 & 12: Two full days birding based at Cochabamba, where the local habitat varies from cloud forest to arid canyons and is the place for a number of endemic birds including the eponymous Thistletail and Mountain-Finch.
Day 13: Long drive from Cochabamba to Oruro through high Puna grasslands with numerous short birding spots with possible Ornate Tinamou and the endemic Bolivian Blackbird.
Day 14: Long drive to Chulumani with birding stops offering the chance for three restricted-range endemics: Black-hooded Sunbeam, Iquico Canastero and Bolivian Spinetail.
Day 15: Morning at the Apa Apa private reserve looking for the little-known Scimitar-winged Piha. In the afternoon drive to Coroico.
Day 16: A full day’s birding in lower cloud forest for antbirds and tyrant-flycatchers.
Day 17: A day’s drive with several stops from Coroico via Chuspipata to Lake Titicaca with short diversions to explore upper temperate forest such as Orange-browed Hemispingus, Light-crowned Spinetail and Hooded Mountain-Toucan.
Days 18 to 20: Having driven from Titicaca to Apolo, two days devoted to locating the endemic Palkachupa Cotinga and perhaps the rarely seen Green-capped Tanager.
Day 21: A full day’s drive returning to Lake Titicaca with birding stops on the way.
Day 22: A short drive to the picturesque town of Sorata home to the endemic Berlepsch’s Canastero and then back at Titicaca for some time along the shore for the Flightless Grebe.
Day 23: Transfer to La Paz International airport (in El Alto) in the morning. Tour ends around midday.
NB: You may need to overnight in La Paz (or fly back to Santa Cruz and overnight) before taking flights home.
Riberalta Extension 
Day 23: Flight from El Alto to Riberalta. If time permits an afternoon visit to a low-lying area for our first attempt at the endemic Masked (Riberalta) Antpitta.
Day 24: A full day in savanna and heavy forest for the special birds of the cerrado savanna.
Day 25: Flight to El Alto and overnight in nearby La Paz.
Day 26: Tour ends at breakfast at the tour hotel.

NB: You may need to overnight in La Paz (or fly back to Santa Cruz and overnight) before taking flights home.


Please note: The itinerary is subject to weather, local conditions and permissions.

____________________________________________

A more detailed itinerary can be found here

General information can be found here

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Please note: All itineraries are subject to weather, local conditions and final approval by the relevant authorities.

Dates: 3rd – 25th September 2020 (Optional extension 25th – 28th September 2020)
Leaders: Barry Walker assisted by co-leader and local guides.


US$8600    per person sharing a twin room.
US$450     - Single supplement


NB: The single supplement does not include two nights where all participants must share a room. A few single rooms may be available for those two nights, please ask if they remain available when booking. In which case a further supplement will apply of US$40.

Post-tour optional Extension        US$1200 plus c$400 domestic airfare sharing a twin.
Extension Single supplement        US$150.
Deposit (main tour / extension).  US$1750 / US$250

Group size: 6 - 10 plus leader and guides.


NB: Sterling pricing will be confirmed in April 2019 (due to Brexit). At current exchange rates (22/1/19) Main Tour £6880pp twin share, single supp £360. Optional extension £960pp twin share, domestic flight £320, single supp £120. Deposits £1400 / £200. Please contact us in the meantime to reserve your place/s!


If you live outside of the UK/EU, you may of course pay in US Dollars for this tour, by bank/wire transfer. Details will be provided at the time of booking.


Price includes: Domestic flight Day 2, all ground transportation, accommodation throughout in rooms with private facilities, and most meals (see detailed itinerary), bottled water, park entry fees, services of WildWings leader and local guides. Bird checklist for use on tour.

Price excludes: Flights to and from Bolivia (UK – Bolivia from approx.£750 return), arrival airport transfer (Santa Cruz), domestic flights for the extension, travel insurance, other drinks, gratuities, laundry and any other items of a personal nature.

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A more detailed itinerary can be found here

General information can be found here ____________________________________________

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