When it comes to bird species diversity, just look no farther than the top six countries in South America – Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, and Ecuador. About a third of all the birds in the world is living right here in South America. And when it comes to discovery of new bird species, more species were discovered in Peru than in the rest of the world combined.
We can proudly say that Peru has the most extensive diversity of bird species in the world, not to mention remarkable historical sites and breathtaking landscapes linked to the famous bird watching routes. Bird watching has become a specific sector in Peru’s tourism, which is why Peru will continue to harness this enormous potential in the future.
Peru as the Most Spectacular Bird-Watching Destination
Peru is the only place on earth where you can see different bird species, such as condors, hummingbirds, flamingos, and penguins. Even though Peru is famous for its cultural, archaeological, and Andean tourism, even people who are not bird watchers know about Peru’s bird-watching routes. Two renowned ornithologists, Scott Robinson, and Ted Parker set a world record in 1982 for most bird species seen in a single day. Without using any motorized vehicles, they spotted 331 bird species in the heart of the Manu National Park (the area around the Cocha Cashu Biological Station.) In 2014, a birding team from LSU broke the record with 354 bird species seen in a day.
The Symbolism of Birds throughout Peruvian History
There’s the legend of Manco Capac, the Incan emperor, who carried an Aplomado falcon as a symbol of divinity and power. Then, we have the Nazca Line geoglyph of a hummingbird etched on the Nazca desert floor (more than 50m in length.) A large number of bird images are carved in the rocks of Toro Muerto. In the Mochican religion, some birds played the role of god, like the Owl Priestess, the Duck Man, and the Owl Warrior. Boobies, pelicans, and cormorants had a significant influence on Chancay, Chimu, Paracas, and other pre-Hispanic coastal civilizations. The birds were used for fishing and their droppings as a fertilizer. The regal Nazcas wove feathers from cotingas, macaws, and other vividly colored birds in their clothing.
Regions in Peru with Rich and Peculiar Birdlife
In Peru, four large areas are running parallel to the Andes – the coast, the highlands, the cloud forests, and the Amazonian plain. Each of these regions has its beautiful, vibrant, and diverse birdlife. When seen in satellite images, the Amazonian plain appears uniform. In reality, it is made up of a complex structure of spaces. That explains why half of the birds of Peru live right there. In one area, you can find up to 160 territories of different bird species overlapping. For comparison, in the richest North American forests, the number of overlapping regions is 40 (at best.)
The main routes for bird watching in Peru are:
● The classic historical route – Southern Andean Circuit (has a good tourist service infrastructure and is easier for travelers)
● Center Circuit (an eight-day route beginning in Lima)
● The specialists’ route – North Amazonian Circuit (starting at the city of Chiclayo)
Discover the birdlife diversity at its best,in Peru