Bird Watching Iquitos Peru

by Captain Bill

Many-banded Aracari, bird watching, Iquitos Peru

Bird Watching Iquitos Peru

Iquitos Peru is the port of departure for the voyage to tropical bird watching paradise. We are positioned in the middle of the best tropical birdwatching on earth, surrounded by 560 species of neo-tropical birds.

You do not have to work hard or be an expert to appreciate the clear, ascending, flute-like whistle of the Giant Tinamou in the evening, or the “bob-white” call of the Common Tinamou during the day.

Wake up to the haunting, mournful call of the Common Poto just before dawn on a full moon night, or to the hysterical, laughing call of the Gray-necked Wood Rail at first light.

If anyone sleeps through all of this you will appreciate the deep, liquid, honking of the Horned Screamers later in the morning.

Please allow me share my enthusiasm and memories of my personal experiences birding the Amazon Rainforest near Iquitos Peru. Some of these may be once in a life time events, but you never know what to expect bird watching with Dawn on the Amazon.

I will never forget the amazement I felt with 10 or 12 Black-collard Hawks repeatedly swooping down catching ornamental fish within 25 yards of our riverboat on the Nanay River near Iquitos.

While birdwatching in Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve our riverboat was escorted by a migratory flock of hundreds of American Swallow-tailed Kites for several miles.

In a remote rainforest village, I held a baby Harpy Eagle in my hands.

On a night excursion my guide Alberto caught a Pauraque with his hands. After everyone had an opportunity to observe it up close, we released it.

Late one afternoon cruising up the Ucayali River, thousands of Parakeets flew out of Pacaya Samiria National Reserve and crossed the river over our riverboat as we relaxed on the observation deck.

Early one evening in Pacaya Samiria National Reserve one of my guests had a flirtatious conversation with a Tinamou. He called it right up to where our boat was tied. His wife was jealous.

I had never seen a Rufescent Tiger-Heron until we built the larger Dawn on the Amazon III. I am sure we passed many Tiger-Herons up close. Their best defense is to blend in with the thick aquatic vegetation, and let boats go past them, even a few feet away. Looking down from the top observation deck is the best way to spot them

We know that Jacana chicks hatch around April 22th to April 24th in this area, because we saw several tiny chicks scurrying along on top of the floating vegetation on the Yana Yacu River on April 28th. There were 3 or 4 to each clutch. The chicks followed the male, not the female. To observe Jacana courtship watch from the middle of March to late March. The female Jacana, mates with several different males, all competing for her attention.

Early one morning we woke up to the maniacal laughing call of a group of Gray-necked Wood-Rails within a few meters of our riverboat. Nothing sounds more like the jungle than a chorus of Gray-necked Wood-Rails.

I will never have a better sighting of a Capped Heron than the one I saw while bird watching in Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve. The bird was catching a fish from a log sticking out into the Blanco River in the late afternoon. As it flew up and toward us with the setting sun over my shoulder, the blue face and bill was pointed toward our group of bird watchers, and flying slowly past us every creamy feather of its plumage was displayed perfectly. The graceful bird in the golden light is a treasured memory of a wonderful rainforest birding expedition.

Blue-gray tanagers come to my balcony and kitchen to eat the ripe bananas nearly everyday.

We just returned from a great bird watching expedition through Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve. We watched and photographed four Many-banded Aracari, in a leafless tree. Then we spotted three toucanets up close, and then a toucan, all in less than an hour.

Why should you choose Dawn on the Amazon?

We bird watch leisurely. Unless you specifically say, “Bill, I want to go on a strenuous jungle hike,” we won’t. We take short easy hikes to varied habitat, but never long strenuous hikes.

I have learned my lesson. Take half a dozen noisy gringos on a jungle hike and most of the birds and animals will take cover or leave the area. You will see lots more birds my way.

We cruise along close to the shore going slow and easy until we spot a ripe fruit tree, a swarm of insects, or some other food source, and we tie the boat near that food source, in the shade if possible, and we get comfortable and wait for the birds to come to us. If we see some interesting species or flocks of species we maneuver the boat as close as possible for good viewing.

Our boats have bird watching built into the design with three separate areas appropriate for birding depending on the weather conditions. The figurehead is an eagle with a large fish in its talons, carved from blood wood. Other wood carvings in purple heart wood are of two macaws, a kingfisher catching a fish, an egret with a fish in its beak, two woodpeckers, a poto, and a couple of owls for good luck.

The library of Dawn on the Amazon III has four of the best books about neo-tropical birds, as well as books on mammals, reptiles and amphibians, fish, natural rainforest medicines, bromeliads, orchids and rainforest ecology.

Photography is one of my hobbies. Part of mine and my guide’s job is to take good photos of you during your birding expedition and to share those photos with you.

We make night excursions.

This is not a rice and bean and egg riverboat. Our food is gourmet and lots of it, washed down with fresh squeezed tropical juices. We serve cold beer and cool wine.

Birdwatching Iquitos Peru

If you have joined the many birding enthusiasts who have taken a bird watching vacation, or bird watching tour to Costa Rica, Panama, Vancouver Island, Canada, Malaysia, or Thailand, then your next birdwatching holiday should be Iquitos Peru.

My guides and I love birdwatching, and we make a good team. You do not have to be an expert to enjoy bird watching Iquitos Peru, with Dawn on the Amazon. Please visit my on-line photo gallery of over 70 photos of The Birds and Bees of the Amazon Rainforest, that I took while birding from the Dawn on the Amazon riverboats. I hope you enjoy the photos and feel inspired to join us for your own Amazon adventure, birdwatching Iquitos Peru.

Bird Watching Iquitos Peru

Bill Grimes, Welcome to Iquitos Peru, Bird Watching Iquitos Peru
Dawn on the Amazon Tours and Cruises

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dave Bonnett June 4, 2007 at 11:05 pm

Bill, What fantastic pictures! We can’t think of a better annual event than a trip on Dawn on the Amazon. I can’t wait until the next one. Tell Marmalita we’re pracicing on our pepper flowers. Dottie

2 Bill June 5, 2007 at 6:52 am

Hi Dave, Dottie, and Shirley

You can help verify how many Parakeets flew out of Pacaya Samiria National Reserve and over our river boat. I lost count and rounded it off at thousands. I would hate to underestimate the number. How many do you estimate? Marmelita wants to remind you, soaking the pepper flowers in ice water is one of the secrets to make them “bloom”. She sends you regards and hopes to see you soon. Thanks…

3 Leo Dimilo March 20, 2008 at 2:30 pm

Those photos are absolutely stunning, Bill. Are they creative commons for flickr? I would love to post a couple of these.

4 Anthony March 28, 2008 at 9:56 am

clook trook, clook trook, clook trook, trook trook trook clook
(gray necked woodrail)

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