Birding trip report Bolivia Sep/Oct 2000
Photos of the birding sites

John van der Woude, The Netherlands - report at   -   see also introduction of this report
Lomas de Arena reserve near Santa Cruz. A varied landscape, open, sandy, with chaco woods and a small stream and a few pools. A large (15) group of Guira Cuckoo was sunbathing on the sand ridge right.
The actual Lomas de Arena sand dunes at the end of the dirt road. Impressive but we saw no birds here (didn't expect either).
Open chaco woods near the entrance of the Lomas de Arena reserve, with a Burrowing Owl.
The tallest part of the chaco forest that comprises the major part of the (new) Botanical Garden of Santa Cruz. This is along the track that you follow all the way to the backside of the 'garden'. On this spot we had a flock with a/o Straight-billed Woodcreeper, White-backed Fire-eye.
Just beyond the gorge at Angostura, along the old road from Sta. Cruz to Cochabamba. This rise marks the start of the Andes proper along this road.
The basin of Samaipata. This village has a nice gradual transition to the surrounding semi-arid bushes and the moistier meadows/fields below. Mountains of Amboro NP in the background.
The garden and one of the cabañas of La Vispera lodge at the border of Samaipata village. Many birds here, the most conspicuous being the Golden-billed Saltator. More about this lodge/farm at
About 1 km into the Cuevas valley. The cliffs hold Ashy-tailed and White-tipped Swift, numerous parrots, and according to a local inhabitant Golden-collared macaw in November/December. The dirt road into the Cuevas valley starts at Km 100 from Santa Cruz towards Samaipata (Green-cheeked Parakeet and Lineated Woodpecker right at the start).
The moist subtropical forest remnants at aboyt 6 km into the Cuevas valley. Yellow-olive Flycatcher, White-necked Thrush, Crimson-crested Woodpecker etc.
In the Siberia temperate forest, at the start of the side road going down to Kuahari. Andean Condor, Swallow-tailed Kite, Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant, Pale-edged Flycatcher, Masked Flowerpiercer, Andean Guan, Band-tailed Pigeon, etc.
Along the same side road, further down. White-eared Solitaire right here, Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager in display flight, Crested Becard, Barred Forest-falcon, Slaty Thrush, Andean Tyrant, Rufous-faced Antpitta, etc.
Central garden of the Tambo Mission School near Comarapa. The guest rooms are simple but adequate, and there is a friendly atmosphere. White-tipped Plantcutter, Black-backed Grosbeak, and others.
A lush river valley amidst the semi-arid environments near Comarapa and Tambo. Red-fronted Macaws flew around here in the morning. Greater Wagtail-Tyrant, Grey-crested Finch and several others in the woods.
Semi-arid shrub at 5 km from Tambo towards Comarapa. Here we had several specimens of the endemic Bolivian Earthcreeper. Also Scissor-tailed Nightjar at dawn.
Flowering cactus near Tambo. A rare sight in the period we were there. On cactuses like this we had White-fronted Woodpecker.
Fresh snow had fallen in mid October on the mountains near La Paz. This and the next photo are taken from a bit below the Cumbre, the pass at about 4600 m above sea level, in the road from La Paz to the Yungas of Coroico and Chulumani.
The valley eastward of the Cumbre. The main road, asphalted now to Cotapata, is well visible on the opposite side. Some minor roads go to the fields alongside the small river: White-winged Diuca-Finch, Black Siskin, D'Orbigny's Chat-Tyrant, Puna Ground-Tyrant.
The very birdy temperate forest left above the garage of Cotapata, which is on the road from the Cumbre (La Paz) to Coroico. This is several kms beyond the turn-off to Chulumani. Easy ticks of Tufted Tit-Tyrant, Great Sapphirewing, Black-throated Thistletail, Diademed Tapaculo, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Blue-backed Conebill, Three-striped and Orange-browed Hemispingus, Pearled Treerunner, Moustached Flowerpiercer.
Steep forested subtropical Yungas forest on the opposite side of the valley down to Chulumani. Of course the better forests are always harder to get into. Rufous-breasted Woodquail heard from across the valley, and several typical species seen on this (more open) side as well: Collared Inca (here with brownish collar in stead of white), Plumbeous Pigeon, White-necked Thrush, Green Violetear. Scale: the tallest trees on the slope are about 20 m high.
Hotel Tamampaya on the opposite slope - the white dots slightly left of the centre of the photo. This is at 1300 m above sea level, well down into the Yungas, and 1 hour driving before Chulumani. Our too limited birding around the hotel produced a/o Plain Antvireo and Slaty Gnateater, two good subtropical species.
The upper part of the Apa Apa forest reserve near Chulumani in the Sud Yungas of La Paz province. A very interesting mixture of subtropical and lower-temperate forest. The 4WD-track follows the slope about midway on the photo. Many Yungas Manakin along this track.
The Cock-of-the Rock site above Puente Villa, tha hamlet just beyond hotel Tamampaya along the road to Chulumani in the Sud Yungas. A wonderful subtropical scenery, found by driving or walking up valley from Pte. Villa for maybe 3 kms and then walking the trail (visible left on the photo) for another 20 mins. Scale: the wooden bridge is about 4 m long. Cliff Flycatcher, Rufous Casiornis, Plumbeous Kite, but not many others.
The altiplano between La Paz and Titicaca lake, with the snow-capped Cordillera Real in the background. Life here at 4500 m above sea level is harsh and primitive.
The southern small part of Titicaca lake, with a view on the much bigger northern part through a gap in the distance. Titicaca Flightless Grebe (also more prosaically called Short-winged Grebe) near the lake border vegetation.
A typical roadside habitat near Trinidad in the eastern lowlands: small marshy ponds, low woods, scattered palms, savanna grassland. Good for many species, like Southern Screamer, Yellow-billed (and Red-billed) Cardinal, Rufous Cachalote, Troupial.
Continuing the airport road from Trinidad leads to a small village overlooking this river bend. Driving the track along the river bank to the right, leading through the riverine forest in the sun, produced White-bellied Seedeater, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Black-fronted Nunbird, Blue-crowned and Black-tailed Trogon, Sooty-fronted Spinetail, White-chinned Sapphire, etc.
Savanna palm woods North of Trinidad, along the road to the sites for the Blue-throated Macaw. Jabiru on the foreground. Other species here: White and White-rumped Monjita, White Woodpecker, Toco Toucan, Maguari Stork, and many others.
The children of the farm before the last leg to the Blue-throated Macaw. They hold two chicks of Greater Rhea. The 7-year old girl above right was our guide to the macaws.
The final walk, guided by that little girl (see previous photo), to the palm island (the left one) with the Blue-throated Macaws. Display flights of Yellow-browed Sparrow in the grass savanna. Toco Toucans in the same scope view as the pair of Blue-throated Macaws at the border of the palm island.
Idyllic river view from our unintentional but comfortable lodge on the Blue-throated Macaw excursion. Several river dolphins cruised back and forth. Birds observed from this photo point: Sunbittern, Grey Antbird, Undulated Tinamou, Blue-and-yellow Macaw, Large-billed Tern, and many others.
Main road into Riberalta, the motorbike town in the isolated Amazonian tropical lowland corner of eastern Bolivia. Many of the motorbikes serve as taxi, providing a permanent cool breeze, but also dust if it has not rained for more than a day or so…
Wooden bridge across a tropical forest stream just before the hamlet called Siete Julio, near Riberalta. In the woods alongside the stream were Sulphur-bellied Tyrant-Manakin, Iherings Antwren (probably the first observation in Beni province and the second only for Bolivia), Rose-breasted Chat, Green-and-Rufous Kingfisher, and others.
The inner courtyard of hotel Colonial in Riberalta. We had Pale-tailed Barbthroat foraging on the stem of the big tree in the background.
Lake Tumichucua, 30 minutes motorbike ride from Riberalta. The forest left is an island in this big lake. This (touristic) site is probably not very special for birding but canoeing around we got some nice trip ticks here, like White-eyed Attila, Horned Screamer, Osprey, and typically a Yellow-winged Cacique colony around a wasp nest.
One of the numerous meandering river beds to be seen from the air on the flight from Riberalta back to Trinidad. This is a wide (old) meander bend through tropical forest, and inside the floodplain is a newer and smaller meandering river. An expedition into this far-away region might be an ornithological dream.