CUZCO (Compass)

Lat:00o00´S/00o00´W ha topography msl 
Protected/registered status 
Best Time for visit (April, 2006)


Birding Site Guide

Abra Malaga is about 45km past Ollantaytambo on the way to Quillabamba. It can be done in a day trip from Ollantaytambo (or even Cuzco!) using public transport but you arrive late and the bus back is a bit of a worry. The only buses up there are from Cuzco and several arrive in Ollantaytambo at about 10am. The is paved and in good condition most of the way but there were road works at svereal points. It took an hour and a half to get to the Abra which is at about 4200m altitude. Following directions in Valqui, walk back down the road towards Ollantaytambo and after a few hundred metres start walking up the hill to the right. There peaks very high up with a few trees visable. Aim to a lower part of the ridge to the right. It isn't too far but you should take it very slower with the altitude. On this side of the ridge I saw Mountain Caracara and White-collared Swift. Once at the top of the ridge look for a trail leading down diagonally to the right into the valley. It was misty when I was there but on a clear day, you should be able to see Polylepis down in the valley. This trail winds down into the valley and finally passes through scattered Polylepis. Walk through this area and look for areas with moss. A good place to see Royal Cinclodes is apparently by a natural, verticle wall. Although there are supposedly 3 pairs of Royal Cinclodes in this area, they are difficult to see and I failed to see the species. In this area I saw Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant and Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant. 
Continue down to the right and at the bottom of the valley beneath a big cliff is a very birdy polylepis patch. This had Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant, Puna Thistletail and Puna Tapaculo. White-browed Tit-Spinetail was common in any area with Polylepis. From here you can walk down the valley along the river. This area had Ash-breasted & Plumbeus sierra-finches and Plain-capped Ground-Tyrant. The valley has a few houses and the trail spits back out onto the main road 15km further down than the Abra. The final section of the trail has some good scrub where I saw Tufted Tit-Tyrant and Andean Parakeet. 
A bus back to Ollantaytambo and Cuzco supposedly passes here at 5pm but didn't come until after 6 when it was starting to get dark and we were starting to get very worried. A safer bet might be to get a taxi to come and pick you up. I saw 24 species including 2 lifers.


Species seen

  • Speckled Teal Anas flavirostris
  • Puna Hawk Buteo poecilochrous
  • Mountain Caracara Phalcoboenus megalopterus
  • Band-tailed Pigeon Patagioenas fasciata Seen on way Abra Malaga
  • Andean Parakeet Bolborhynchus orbygnesius
  • White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris
  • Blue-mantled Thornbill Chalcostigma stanleyi
  • Bar-winged Cinclodes Cinclodes fuscus
  • White-winged Cinclodes Cinclodes atacamensis
  • White-browed Tit-Spinetail Leptasthenura xenothorax Endemic Endangered
  • Puna Thistletail Schizoeaca helleri Endemic Possibly seen
  • Puna Tapaculo Scytalopus simonsi
  • Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant Anairetes alpinus Endangered
  • Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca fumicolor
  • Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant Cnemarchus erythropygius
  • Plain-capped Ground-Tyrant Muscisaxicola alpinus
  • Brown-bellied Swallow Notiochelidon murina
  • House Wren Troglodytes aedon
  • Great Thrush Turdus fuscater
  • Peruvian Sierra-Finch Phrygilus punensis
  • Plumbeous Sierra-Finch Phrygilus unicolor
  • Ash-breasted Sierra-Finch Phrygilus plebejus
  • Black-throated Flowerpiercer Diglossa brunneiventris
  • Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis

Other Fauna 
A total of -- species of mammals. 

There are -- recorded species of amphibians and reptiles. 


Author: Charles Hesse