Peru is nirvana for bird watchers. From the Pacific coast through the High Andes to the Amazonian lowlands, Peru is home to more than 1,800 bird species, including 132 endemics.
More than 1000 of these species can be found in northern Peru and its varied habitats. Here’s a massively abridged list of some of northern Peru’s must-see birds.
1. Marvelous Spatuletail (Loddigesia mirabilis)
What makes species particularly “marvelous” are the long outer tail feathers of the adult male, which are tipped with purple-black rackets. This is the Jay Gatsby of hummingbirds.
2. Long-whiskered Owlet (Xenoglaux loweryi)
Xenoglaux means “strange owl”, and is perfect for this, the smallest owl in all of Peru. And yes, it has long whiskers, too.
3. White-winged Guan (Penelope albipennis)
This medium-sized, black bird was considered extinct, until it was rediscovered in 1977. Now it’s just Endangered. They can be seen flying during the first hours of the day, then they spend most of the day resting in the shadows.
4. Plain-tailed Warbling-Finch (Microspingus alticola)
Also considered Endangered, this small, brown finch is endemic to the northwestern Peruvian Andes.
5. Yellow-faced Parrotlet (Forpus xanthops)
This beautiful parrotlet (birder for “small parrot”) sports pastel colors, including a brilliant yellow head.
6. Gray-bellied Comet (Taphrolesbia griseiventris)
This hummingbird has a beautiful, metallic green and yellow tail, but is it named after that? No. Just its drab, grey belly.
7. Royal Sunangel (Heliangelus regalis)
Yes, it’s a tough name to live up to, but this striking, dark blue hummingbird seems to manage.
8. Lulu’s Tody-flycatcher (Poecilotriccus luluae)
The most attractive feature of this beautiful flycatcher is the strong contrast between the yellow breast, gray neck, white collar, and the vivid orange head.
9. Gray-winged Inca-Finch (Incaspiza ortizi)
“The Finch of the Incas” is, ironically, not a finch, but a tanager. Its orange beak provides a sharp contrast to its muted, gray feathers.
10. Peruvian Pigeon (Patagioenas oenops)
This pigeon is easily recognizable by its large size and its wine-colored plumage. They make lousy neighbors though, as they tend to be rather vocal early in the morning.