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Highlights of Birding Course at Tambopata Research Center

Patrick O'Donnell

March 2002

From March 2-10, Edwin Salazar, and myself, along with help from Renzo Zepilli, gave an advanced birding course to some of the guides at Rainforest Expeditions. Dr. Don Brightsmith, also helped out in the planning of the course. I say advanced birding course because we mostly focused on ID problems and bird vocalizations as well as providing information on mixed flocks, proper use of playback, and formulating a list of most wanted species at Tambopata Research Center (TRC) and Posada Amazonas.

The course was intensive with workshops on such groups as Dendrocolaptids, Furnarids, Thamnophilids, and Tyrannids, and of course lots of birding with a focus on learning vocalizations and how to locate mixed flocks. A Big Day competition was also attempted but got rained out by about 6:30AM.

Highlights: 306 species were recorded around TRC, Posada Amazonas, and Puerto Maldonado.

Tambopata Research Center

Grey and Black-capped Tinamous often heard. Black-capped still seems to be present in the bamboo despite the huge die-off that has recently occurred (happened a few months ago).

Blue-headed Macaw recorded daily -- flyovers, perched and visiting the colpa.

Amazonian Parrotlet recorded as a flyover and seen by tourists from Bench 2 during the course.

Amazonian Pygmy Owl seen well along the C trail.

Chestnut-collared Swift - group of 10 seen well from trail A -- possibly a rare visitor to TRC?

Festive Coquette!! - finally got it! 1 female came to inspect the hibiscus at the comedor. I yelled for Edwin and when he came running but it was too late ... male Fork-tailed Woodnymph could not resist chasing off the Coquette after which it was not found again.

Long-billed Starthroat - this widespread species was seen several times on trail A amidst the bamboo dieoff.

White-throated Jacamars - still seen from bench A although more often to the right of the bench.

Pied Puffbird - A bird recorded almost daily along trails A and B perched in emergents in the bamboo die-off area. Appeared to be at least 2 pairs, probably 3. This species was first recorded by Edwin Salazar at least a year ago. (unless Pepe [José Ignácio Rojas Moscoso] knows of any other records?).

Scarlet-hooded Barbet - recorded on river island across from the colpa -- seems to be most reliable spot for this sp..

Rufous-headed Woodpecker - recorded with much less frequency.

Picumnus sp. - On river island across from colpa, Picumnus sp. that most resembles Plain-breasted Piculet (P. castelnau) was heard several times but not seen. [Most likely it is Fine-barred Piculet Picumnus subtilis, according to Barry Walker.]

Crested Foliage-gleaner - heard in dead bamboo.

Brown-rumped Foliage-gleaner - present along trail B but not recorded in dead bamboo.

Bamboo Antshrike - recorded commonly in bamboo, possibly less often in die-off.

Manu Antbird - not recorded in dead bamboo. Previously a common sp. in same area when bamboo was alive.

White-lined Antbird - still a common bird in bamboo die-off.

Goeldi's Antbird - still a common bird in bamboo die-off.

Rufous-fronted Antthrush - not recorded during course, some of habitat at fish pond was flooded and so inaccessible.

White-cheeked Tody-Tyrant - recorded along C1, no longer in bamboo die-off.

Fork-tailed Flycatcher - many present, possibly moving through the area.

Blue-crowned Manakin - 1 female recorded along C trail near Catawa.

Progne sp. Martin - male all dark Proge sp. recorded along trail A, possibly Southern (P. modesta).

Black and White Tanager (Conothraupis speculigera) - groups recorded in bamboo die-off along trails A and B. Could be associated with bamboo die-offs in Madre de Dios? I noted this species in areas of dying bamboo in September. Most appeared to be hen-plumaged birds, with a few birds noted molting into male plumage. During the bird course, male and female plumaged birds were noted. Appear to form monospecific flocks and are very difficult to see in the dense, dead bamboo but vocalize frequently.

Silver-beaked Tanager - a common sp. of disturbed habitats that has appeared to have invaded the bamboo die off.

Chestnut-vented Conebill - as far as I know, new for the TRC list. At least two different birds seen well on the river island across from the colpa.

Scarlet Tanager - one male seen on the river island.


Although most of our time was spent at TRC, we had one full day of birding at Posada as well as an afternoon and morning. We mostly concentrated on the trail to Lago tres Chimabadas with the hopes of finding bamboo birds.

Bamboo birds recorded:

Peruvian Recurvebill

Bamboo Antshrike

White-lined Antbird

Goeldi's Antbird

Manu Antbird

Large-headed Flatbill

Dusky-tailed Flatbill! - where the trail meets the lake.

Flammulated Bamboo-Tyrant

From the tower, Amazonian Pygmy-Owl, and Grey Elaenia were birds of note.

Blue-headed Macaws have been recorded daily mostly as flyovers.

Overall the course was a lot of fun and appeared to be helpful to the participants involved.

Patrick O'Donnell

See Pat's report of birding at TRC and Posada Amazonas in 2001.

Copyright © 1992-2012 John Wall