HUANUCO (Compass)

Lat:00o00´S/00o00´W ha topography msl 
Protected/registered status 
Best Time for visit (5-7th June, 2006)


Birding Site Guide

Bosque Unchog is an excellent area of patchy elfin forest fairly close to Huanuco. It is best to spend a couple of days up there and camp, although at over 3,600m it gets very cold at night and in the morning our tent was frozen solid. It is easy to reach the town of Cochabamba by public transport from Huanuco but a little more complicated getting back. Trucks and collective taxis leave from the small terminal near Mercado Viejo in central Huanuco. We went up in a car for 5s which left at about 11:30am. A truck costing 3s left at 1pm. It takes about 2-3 hours depending on the state of the vehicle. It is about 8km from Cochabamba to the end of the road and we negotiated with the driver to take us there for an extra 10s for 2 people. He claimed to run out of petrol half way up but I don't think he was happy about the state of the road. At the end of the road you cross a little bridge and enter an open valley with many places to camp. We found a sheltered spot next to a small stream with good water. 

Getting back is more difficult. Unless you can persuade someone reliable to come and pick you up, you will have to walk back down to town. Another problem is that cars usually leave Cochabamba for Huanuco at 6am. The road winds all the way down and there are several good short cuts that save you a lot of time. From Unchog (above 3,600m) to Shihualli (about 2,200m) at the bottom is probably more than 20km but using the short cuts we made it down in 3 hours. From Shihualli there are a few cars and trucks passing that will take you back to Huanuco for 3s or you can walk an extra 6km to the highway and take a minibus for 1s. There is a small charge for vehicles using the road to Cochabamba and Valqui recommended giving a small donation to the school. Ask around for the 'Presidente' of the community. 

Between Shihualli and Cochabamba I saw many common andean species plus Fasciated Wren (in gardens around the junction), White-bellied Hummingbird and Black-and-White Seedeater. Between Cochabamba you start to see some more interesting species such as Brown-flanked Tanager, Plain-colored Seedeater, Black-throated Flowerpiercer and Mountain Caracara. In the upper areas of elfin forest aroun 3600m I saw Andean Snipe, Coppery Metaltail, White-chinned Thistletail and Slaty Brush-Finch. In the open area to the right, Andean Lapwing, Mountain Caracara, Speckled teal and Bar-winged Cinclodes. You pass the highest point on the trail about 3,650m and after this the trail goes down. On the next level down there was a small open area on the left (3,620m) with Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant, Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant and Line-fronted Canastero. A little further down was a small, narrow patch of scrub (3,580m) great for flocks including Pardusco, Pearled Tree-runner, Gold-collared and Yellow-scarved Tanagers, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-tanagers and Blue-backed Conebill. The next interesting area was where the trail went down steeply through a small patch of good forest (3,470-3,550m) . Here I saw Rufous Antpitta, Bay-vented Cotinga,..... I saw 65 species including 8 lifers.

Species seen

  • Puna Ibis Plegadis ridgwayi
  • Speckled Teal Anas flavirostris
  • Mountain Caracara Phalcoboenus megalopterus
  • American Kestrel Falco sparverius Seen near Cochabamba
  • Andean Lapwing Vanellus resplendens
  • Puna Snipe Gallinago andina
  • Andean Snipe Gallinago jamesoni
  • Band-tailed Pigeon Patagioenas fasciata
  • Eared Dove Zenaida auriculata Seen near Cochabamba
  • Sparkling Violet-ear Colibri coruscans Seen near Cochabamba
  • White-bellied Hummingbird Leucippus chionogaster Seen near Cochabamba
  • Sword-billed Hummingbird Ensifera ensifera
  • Amethyst-throated Sunangel Heliangelus amethysticollis
  • Coppery Metaltail Metallura theresiae Endemic
  • Bar-bellied Woodpecker Veniliornis nigriceps
  • Andean Flicker Colaptes rupicola
  • Bar-winged Cinclodes Cinclodes fuscus
  • White-chinned Thistletail Schizoeaca fuliginosa
  • Line-fronted Canastero Asthenes urubambensis Near-threatened
  • Pearled Treerunner Margarornis squamiger
  • Streaked Tuftedcheek Pseudocolaptes boissonneautii
  • Rufous Antpitta Grallaria rufula
  • Large-footed Tapaculo Scytalopus macropus Endemic Heard only
  • Red-crested Cotinga Ampelion rubrocristata
  • Bay-vented Cotinga Doliornis sclateri Endemic
  • White-throated Tyrannulet Mecocerculus leucophrys
  • White-banded Tyrannulet Mecocerculus stictopterus
  • Ochraceous-breasted Flycatcher Myiophobus ochraceiventris
  • Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans Seen near Cochabamba
  • Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca rufipectoralis
  • Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca fumicolor
  • Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant Cnemarchus erythropygius
  • Blue-and-white Swallow Notiochelidon cyanoleuca Seen near Cochabamba
  • White-capped Dipper Cinclus leucocephalus
  • Fasciated Wren Campylorhynchus fasciatus Seen near Cochabamba
  • Peruvian Wren Cinnycerthia peruana Endemic
  • House Wren Troglodytes aedon Seen near Cochabamba
  • Sedge Wren Cistothorus platensis
  • Great Thrush Turdus fuscater
  • Citrine Warbler Basileuterus luteoviridis
  • Cinereous Conebill Conirostrum cinereum
  • Blue-backed Conebill Conirostrum sitticolor
  • Grass-green Tanager Chlorornis riefferii
  • Superciliaried Hemispingus Hemispingus superciliaris
  • Drab Hemispingus Hemispingus xanthophthalmus
  • Brown-flanked Tanager Thlypopsis pectoralis Endemic Possibly seen
  • Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager Buthraupis aureodorsalis Endemic Vulnerable
  • Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager Anisognathus lacrymosus
  • Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager Anisognathus igniventris
  • Golden-collared Tanager Iridosornis jelskii
  • Yellow-scarfed Tanager Iridosornis reinhardti Endemic
  • Pardusco Nephelornis oneilli Endemic
  • White-browed Hemispingus Hemispingus auricularis Endemic
  • Plumbeous Sierra-Finch Phrygilus unicolor
  • Ash-breasted Sierra-Finch Phrygilus plebejus
  • Black-and-white Seedeater Sporophila luctuosa
  • Plain-colored Seedeater Catamenia inornata
  • Glossy Flowerpiercer Diglossa lafresnayii
  • Moustached Flowerpiercer Diglossa mystacalis
  • Black-throated Flowerpiercer Diglossa brunneiventris
  • Masked Flowerpiercer Diglossopis cyanea
  • Slaty Brush-Finch Atlapetes schistaceus
  • Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis
  • Golden-bellied Grosbeak Pheucticus chrysogaster Seen near Cochabamba
  • Hooded Siskin Carduelis magellanica Seen near Cochabamba

Other Fauna 
A total of -- species of mammals. 

There are -- recorded species of amphibians and reptiles. 


Author: Charles Hesse