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Bolivia

Titicaca Flightless Grebe Rollandia microptera ©Pete Morris of Birdquest www.birdquest-tours.com

Whatever mental images that you have of Bolivia, and get rid of them. Pretend that you have never even heard the name before. Now that you have no preconceptions I will try to put the pieces of a new jig-saw together to create a completely new picture of Bolivia for you.

First imagine hundreds of kilometres of hot and humid Rainforest with Parrots, Toucans, Ovenbirds and Antbirds abounding. File this in your archive. Now imagine a vast area of hot tropical, varied grasslands with palms trees, and river-edge tropical forest, and dry thorny forest patches. Imagine the Jabiru, Storks, Ibises, Ducks, and Herons in abundances beyond counting - they seem to be everywhere. Add 7 species of Macaw (including one of the world's rarest Parrots and endemic to this region - the Blue-throated Macaw); Rheas and Crane Hawks. Now go southeast from these Semi-inundated Beni Pampas to the flooded marshes of the Pantanal, with its awesome Hyacinth Macaw. Here are Giant River Otters and marsh birds flitting through the reeds.

Now imagine these open areas flooded with Austral migrants from Argentina - massive mixed flocks of Seedeaters. Add to this image under our label Bolivia, a massive extension of dry Chiquitania forest, which spreads south to the open dry forests of the Chaco. And now, after covering 60% of the country we reach the Andes Mountains. Imagine yourself at the lowland base of the Andes, ready to slowly drive up the slope to experience the altitudinally arranged bird communities, from 500 to 1000m, to 1000m to 2000m, to 3000m to 3600m. But before you start your climb you can see the humid wet yungas bird community, or would you rather climb the dry edge with cactus and scrub and highly adapted birds to these regions. Finally (and it should be the final part to any real visit to allow your body to adjust to the altitude changes) add cold, clear-air sites of the high Andean altiplano, the 3 flamingo species of Lake Ururo, and the Flightless Grebe of Lake Titicaca. And place on top of these images, the high altitude threatened Polylepis forests of Bolivia such as San Miguel with 8 endemic species - creatures adapted to a species of tree that is going extinct as it is cut down for firewood.

Add to this habitat diversity, a gentle, kind diversity of people. A population of less than 9 million, Bolivia is still 80% undeveloped. Travel through indigenous cultures, many different local languages, clothes, faces and shapes adapted to the varying climates the country offers. Each new bird community holds a habitat change that adds a new dish to the local menu. High Andean cactus fruits down to Lowland tropical fruits like Chirimoya, Mango, Guineo, Leche de majo, and many more.

The Bolivian novice should first come for a sample trip. Beginning from the city of Santa Cruz, visiting the dry Andes, the temperate foothill forest, the dry forest and the open areas with Chaco influence of Santa Cruz's city park Lomas de Arena. Fly to Cochabamba (middle height) to drive down the wettest Yungas of Bolivia, down, down into the hot heat. Go see the Oilbirds, and try to find a Cock-of-the-Rock. Spend a night in Cochabamba to head to the Polylepis forest in Tunari Park for a day - and don't leave without seeing the Cochabamba Mountain-Finch - since that is the only place you can see it. Fly to La Paz, and spend a day at Lago Titicaca, and another few days back down Yungas. Fly to Trinidad and wow at the exaggerated abundances of these tropical open area birds. And then fly to Santa Cruz to finish the trip.

Bolivia is the ideal place to start to learn the birds of South America. After a trip in Bolivia, you will know all the major habitat types South America has to offer. For some the humidity is too much, for some the thin cold air is draining, for some the dry forest bugs are intolerable and for some it is all just beautiful.

Contributor

A. Bennett Hennessey

Coordinador Nacional - Areas Importantes para las Aves (IBA) Armonia/ BirdLife

Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia

Tangara@unete.com

http://www.birdbolivia.com

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 1448

National Bird: Andean condor Vultur gryphus

Endemics

Number of endemics: 25

Non-passerines:
Blue-throated Macaw Ara glaucogularis Red-fronted Macaw Ara rubrogenys Cliff Parakeet Myiopsitta luchsi Coppery Thorntail Popelairia letitiae Wedge-tailed Hillstar Oreotrochilus adela Black-hooded Sunbeam Aglaeactis pamela

Passerines:
Yungas Tody-Tyrant Hemitriccus spodiops Scimitar-winged Piha Lipaugus uropygialis Ashy Antwren Myrmotherula grisea Bolivian Earthcreeper Upucerthia harterti Bolivian Spinetail Cranioleuca henricae Black-throated Thistletail Schizoeaca harterti Iquico Canastero Asthenes heterura Berlepsch's Canastero Asthenes berlepschi Bolivian Recurvebill Simoxenops striatus Rufous-faced Antpitta Grallaria erythrotis Masked Antpitta Hylopezus auricularis Zimmer's Tapaculo Scytalopus zimmeri Unicolored Thrush Turdus haplochrous Bolivian Brush-Finch Atlapetes rufinucha Bolivian Warbling-Finch Poospiza boliviana Cochabamba Mountain-Finch Poospiza garleppi Citron-headed Yellow-Finch Sicalis luteocephala Grey-bellied Flower-piercer Diglossa carbonaria Bolivian Blackbird Oreopsar bolivianus

Useful Reading

An Annotated List of the Birds of Bolivia

JV Remsen and MA Taylor 79 pages, tabs, maps. Harrell Books 1989

ISBN: 0931130166

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Voices of Andean Birds: Volume 1

Voices of Andean Birds: Volume 1 Birds of the Hill Forest of Southern Peru and Bolivia Thomas S Schulenberg Series: VOICES OF ANDEAN BIRDS Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology 2000

ISBN: 123197

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Voices of Andean Birds: Volume 2

Birds of the Hill Forest of Southern Peru and Bolivia Thomas S Schulenberg Series: VOICES OF ANDEAN BIRDS Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology 2000

ISBN: 123198

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Where to Watch Birds in South America

Nigel Wheatley Paperback - 336 pages (27 October, 1994) Christopher Helm

ISBN: 0713639091

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Useful Information

Associacion Armonia

Calle Mdxico 110, esquina Ecuador, Casilla 3081, Santa Cruz de Ia Sierra Bolivia. + 591 3 371 005; armonia@scbbs-bo.com

Birder's Guide to Bolivia

Downloadable Guide: http://www.birdtours.co.uk/tripreports/bolivia/bolivia5/birdersguide.pdf

Organisations

Armonia

Website

A. Bennett Hennessey - Coordinador Nacional Areas Importantes para las Aves (IBA) - Armonia/ BirdLife Int. E-mail address: tangara@unete.com Home address: Casa 22, Calle 22, Barrio Forteleza, El Palmar, Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Reserves

Amboro National Park

Information

Satellite View

An ecological masterpiece with over 700 birds, jungle cats and the rare spectacled bear…

Beni Biological Station Reserve

Information

Satellite View

Welcome to this web site. Information found here focuses on the Beni Biological Station Reserve where many years of research have been undertaken on savanna bird species. This site deals primarily with the project and its discoveries, conservation issues, and a feature on the birds of conservation importance and interest found in the reserve…

Biosphere Reserves in Bolivia

Information

Estacion Biologica Beni; Parque Nacional Pilon-Lajas and Reserva Nacional de Fauna Ulla Ulla Biosphere Reserves

Madidi National Park

Information

Satellite View

National Geographic has rated 1,895,750-he Madidi National Park with its 988 listed species as one of the world's most extensive biodiversity reserves. Its humid tropical climate has spawned one of Bolivia's richest woodlands…

Ramsar Wetlands in Bolivia

Website

Searchable database…

Trip Reports

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2007 [November] - Matt Denton

Report

Bolivia’s location near the centre of the ‘bird continent’ makes it a must for anyone who loves tropical birdlife. This placement at the ornithological crossroads of the continent means a tremendous topographic diversity and a great variety of habitats, ranging from the altiplano to Yungas cloud forest, arid interior valleys rich in endemism and Pantanal-like savannah…

2010 [August] - Matt Denton

Report

…These included the flightless Titicaca Grebe; endemic Red-fronted and Blue-throated Macaws; the localized Cliff Parakeet; twenty-eight species of hummingbirds including Wedge-tailed Hillstar, Swallow-tailed Hummingbird and the endemic Black-hooded Sunbeam; the endangered Bolivian Spinetail; localized Maquis and Scribble-tailed Canasteros; the always impressive Giant Antshrike; the shy Rufous-faced Antpitta; the recently described Diademed Tapaculo; and the often hard-to-find Citron-headed Yellow-Finch…

2012 [December] - Clayton Burne

Report

…The town of Coroico is a useful staging point was you have birded down the Yungas Road. If you continuing down Ruta 3, this would be a good place to take a rest before the next assault. The hilltop hotels have an interesting mix of birds, hence I am very happy to recommend staying at the Hotel Esmeralda where I was able to add many species from the balcony. Versicolored Barbet is very easy here….

2012 [November] - Glenn Bartley

Report PDF

Bolivia is an extremely diverse country when it comes to birds. In fact, some say that if it wasn’t land-locked it would have more species than any other country. Endemism is not especially high but there are some stunners to search for such as the Red-fronted Macaw and Black-hooded Sunbeam…

2012 [October] - Barry Walker

Report PDF

…Macaw day! And what a show – we drove down to San Rafael and the Rio Misque near Saipina and were treated to 40+ Red-fronted Macaws – wow. Morning birding here and return to Comarapa for lunch and then afternoon birding above Torrecillas at 2800-2850 meters. Night Comparapa…

2012 [September] - Dan Lane & Willy Perez

Report

…We began in the Santa Cruz lowlands enjoying such things as Red-legged Seriema, White-eared Puffbird, and a surprise Stripe-backed Antbird, among others. As we entered the foothills, where the last gasps of Amazonia just reach their limits, we spied Masked Ducks, Military Macaws, and the smart Yungas Manakin…

2012 [September] - Dan Lane & Willy Perez

Report

…“Lake Beni” was inhabited by the Amazon River Dolphin, but because of the continued presence of the rocky arch on the Rio Madeira, forming rapids today, the Beni population and that in the Amazon proper have became isolated, and now two taxa exist: species in the eyes of some mammalogists. Similar things happened to several birds such as Plain Softtail, Velvet-fronted Grackle, Varzea and Unicolored thrushes, and a pair of macaws with blue and yellow plumage….

2013 [September] - Dan Lane

Report

…the pair of Andean Avocets resting in an altiplano marsh, the graceful Swallow-tailed Kites enjoying thermals over humid montane forests, the surprisingly colored Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, the Giant Conebill pair that showed up out of nowhere and sang away as we gawked….

2013 [September] - Dan Lane

Report

…Rusty-winged Savanna Hawks, giant Jabiru storks, flocks of Roseate Spoonbills, gobs of Limpkin, and oodles of parakeets were among the many sights we enjoyed…

2013 [September] - Eustace Barnes

PDF Report

…The cloud forests at both Siberia and on the Chapare road were outstanding with one morning producing Barred and Band-tailed Fruiteaters, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Crested Quetzal, White-eared Solitaire, Black-winged Parrots, Hooded Mountain Toucan and the rare Rufous-bellied Bush- Tyrant…

Guides & Tour Operators

Bird Bolivia Tours

Tour Operator

Bird Bolivia offers quality birding tours for non-twitchers. These tours are designed for the pleasure of nature and not the sport of collecting bird numbers. If you are a person whose main priority is to see as many birds as possible, Bird Bolivia tours will not appeal to you.

Birding Pal

Information

Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

BirdQuest

Tour Operator

Birdquest's Bolivia birding tour explores one of South America's less-well-known birdwatching venues, but one that surely deserves more recognition given its superb avifauna and wonderful scenery. Our Bolivia tour achieves comprehensive coverage and records many great specialities, including both Red-fronted and Blue-throated Macaws…

Manu Expeditions

Tour Operator

Manu Expeditions is a professional company based in Peru with 25 years experience, offering bespoke birding trips to that country as well Bolivia, Chile and Colombia, specialing in catering for serious bird watchers and photographers…

Neblina Forest

Tour Operator

This tour features areas with relatively rich and diverse avifaunas and the spectacular scenery found in Noel Kempff Mercado National Park…

Places to Stay

Bird Bolivia

Accommodation

Bird Bolivia is a tourism agency that strives to offer quality, punctual and professional services, while supporting conservation and local communities (including training, lodge promotion…). We have specialized Englsih speaking local bird guides fluent well trained on endemic and threatened species. Click on the graphics below to find out about our organized bird tours. Write to birdbolivia@birdbolivia.com if you need a specific tour, or help with reservations…

Chalalan Ecolodge

Accommodation

San Jose de Uchupiamonas, an indigenous village lying within Bolivia's Madidi National Park envisioned a rain forest lodge as a way to protect their land and create jobs that would keep the forest standing. Chalalan--a premier community ecolodge for exploring Bolivia's Amazon region--is the result of the village of San Jose de Uchupiamonas's vision. Visitors to the Chalalan Ecolodge stay in comfortable thatched-roof cabins overlooking a beautiful lake, surrounded by a vast expanse of jungle. Local guides lead guests through pristine forests where they can spot troops of monkeys, herds of wild peccary, nesting macaws, and tapirs.

El Puente Lodge

Accommodation

Located in the exuberant world of the most humid tropical forest on Earth, on the edge of the the Carrasco National Park, El Puente Lodge is set among 40 hectares (100 acres) of preserved rainforest. You can explore self-guided paths to streams of crystal water and natural pools while looking at dozens of rare birds, butterflies, and glittering insects…

Madidi - Chalalan Ecological Reserve in the Bolivian Amazon

Accommodation

This small lodge (7 double rooms) is set deep in the heart of the Madidi Rainforest Reserve. Access involves a flight from La Paz to Rurrenabaque (230m above sea level) in the lowlands, followed by a 5 hour trip by motorised canoe upstream on the Tuichi river to Chalalan Lodge (321m a.s.l.).

Other Links

Bird Bolivia

Website

Sites, research, tours, etc. etc.

Birds of Bolivia

Website

It took four years, but the second version of our Bolivian Birds CD-ROM is out, to general acclaim! (see the reviews) It contains 2530 sound recordings (over 19 hours, thanks to MP3 compression) of 941 bird species, all occurring in Bolivia, with accompanying texts and identifications of all background species. And the CD-ROM now has photographs: 1390 of 756 species (639 occurring in Bolivia and an additional 117 species from northern Peru and Ecuador).

Bolivia and the Blue Throated Macaw

Website

In nineteen ninety nine and we decided to go to Bolivia on our annual parrot spotting trip. Sparsely populated and landlocked Bolivia includes territory from the Andes to the Amazon basin, from glaciers to jungle and from desert to swamp. Twenty five percent of all species of birdlife lives here…

Bolivian Birding Localities

Website

There are also some site descriptions and trip reports on this site: see two birding sites near La Paz (La Paz); Vallegrande - Masicuri (Santa Cruz); Narvaez - Villa Charcas (Chuquisaca and Tarija); and Tariquia (Tarija).There are maps on the pages about La Cumbre, the Choquetanga valley, and Cotapata (La Paz); about Inquisivi (La Paz) and about Riberalta (Beni).

Checklist Birds of Bolivia

Checklist