Category: PERU
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MANU area 


Lat:12o00´S/71o30´W 1,532,806ha 400-4,000m lowland tropical forest and all main habitats up to puna (Compass) 
Protected/registered status 
Best Time for visit


Birding Site Guide

This account includes areas both inside and outside the MANÚ NATIONAL PARK, including the Manú road ‘Cultural Zone’, the ‘Experimental Zone’ and the rivers of Madre de Dios and Manú. 

The places to stay include 3 along the Manú road cultural zone: Amazonia, Erika and Pantiacolla lodges. two in undesignated area; Manú Wildlife Centre and Macaw Lick Lodge, one in the experimental zone; Manú Lodge, and one area inside the national park; Cocha Cashu. Most birders visiting Manú would given enough time bird the Manu road, which begins in the arid mountains on the outskirts of Cuzco (Pisaq) at 3,400m and drops to 500m at Ithahuania on the Rio Madre de Dios, heading ne. This is a distance of c.238km. This altitudinal gradient and stretches of good habitat in most zones makes for excellent birding. To carry on towards the park requires catching a boat before the end of the road at Atalaya to Boca Manú. Alternatively it is possible to miss the road and fly to Boca Manú which sits at the confluence of the Rio Madre de Dios and Rio Manú. 

Manú Wildlife Centre 12 12’S 70 50’W 410m, 
Macaw Lick Lodge 12 22’S 70 40’W 400m, 
Manú Lodge 12 10’S 69 59’W 400m. 
Other lodges are along Manu Road.

MANU ROAD all below by Charles Hesse (1st-8th May, 2006) (Acjanaco to San Pedro and Dos Cinquenta) 

The Manu Road can be reached from Cuzco by bus. The 'Gallito de las Rocas' company has buses to Pilcopata Monday, Wednesday and Friday leaving their office on Angamos at 8:30am (15 soles). I got off this bus at Acjanaco (3487m) where it arrived at 2:30pm. At this altitude there is some elfin forest but when I was there it was very foggy and I saw very few birds. If you're interested in birding this area, it might be worth spending the night here. We walked down to the first small settlement of Esperanza (2,850m) but it took us 4 hours with birding and we arrived after dark. There is a sign for Esperanza on the right side and a wooden hut on the left. After this there is a path up to the left to a flat, grassy area which makes a good place to camp. The area below here had excellent birding in the morning.

On our second day we walked down, past Pillahuata (2,600m), to a beautiful area of lush forest. After a steep bend in the road where a stream comes down, there is a waterfall on the left. Just before a stream runs across the road, there is a little path leading right to a flat area hidden from the road just big enough to pitch a tent (2,400m). We spent our second night here. 

On the third day we walked down, past a house a Rocotal (where you could also camp) to the abandoned buildings at Suiza (about 2,100m). Apparently there used to be a little shop here but there were no people there when we arrived. There is flat ground behind the buildings that makes a good place to camp and a nearby stream with good water. At the last stream before Suiza we saw Woolly Monkeys. 

Our last day we walked from Suiza to Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge (1600m). This was the best day's birding and had some beautiful species including Andean Cock-of-the-Rock which was common between Manu Cloud Forest Lodge (1800m) and Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge. There was also a trail from the main building at the latter lodge that ran down towards the river. Here I heard was good for Black Tinamou but I didn't see it. 

We took a bus to Atalaya the next day where we stayed the night and boarded the boat to Manu Wildlife Centre. A few birds can be seen around Atalaya including macaws across the river. Coming back from Manu Wildlife Centre we got a boat to 'Dos Cincuenta' and from there we came back by land. There is a guard station there called Punto Vigilancia (PV) Santa Cruz where park guards stay. It should be possible to stay here. A bus passes here in the mid-morning, daily (?) from Shintuya to Salvacion (where there is accomodation and internet). This may continue onto Pilcopata on Mon/Wed/Fri when a bus goes to Cuzco. The area from PV Santa Cruz to Pilcopata has some nice secondary forest and lots of birds and would be worth exploring more thoroughly. Trucks also here going to Pilcopata and Cuzco and we took one of these logging trucks back to Cuzco. I saw 169 species including 37 lifers. 

Species seen


Packages to Manu Wildlife Centre can be booked through InkaNatura or Manu Expeditions. I wanted to bird the Manu Road first and met up with a group at the Cock-of-the-Rock lodge and took a boat with them from Atalaya. The boat takes about 6 hours downstream (more up) and I saw many good water birds. MWC has a very extensive set of trails some better for certain species than others. The trail towards the canopy platform was good for mixed understory flocks of antshrikes, antbirds and antwrens, whilst the canopy platform was excellent for canopy flocks of tanagers. The Collpa trail was good for foliage-gleaners. The bamboo area near the lodge and the area of bamboo on the island had a few bamboo specialists. Other common birds could be seen around the lodge gardens, by the dock and in the camp on the island. See the following list for where I saw various species. The canopy platform can be excellent in the mornings and with a scope you could see many species better. The macaw lick and the Rufous-fronted Antthrush site can be reached by boat but I didn't get there. The latter species can also apparently be seen in the forest surrounding the Boca Manu airport. I saw 173 species including 56 lifers.

Species seen

Other Fauna 
A total of -- species of mammals. 

There are -- recorded species of amphibians and reptiles. 

Manu holds possibly the world record for number of tree species per hectare at 650

Author: BSG, Charles Hesse