LOCATOR GUIDE TO BOLIVIAN SPECIALTIES
By Lawrence Rubey and Bennett Hennessey- Updated Nov 2018
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The purpose of this section is to give the visiting birder some rough indications of the "best" or at least most promising spots to see some of the more sought after birds in Bolivian. See the Bolivian Specialities for a list of birds birdwatchers should try to see when in Bolivia.
Selecting the 200 or so species included here was admittedly a somewhat arbitrary task. However, the following combination of objective and subjective criteria for inclusion were used:
|1. Birds in the IUCN Red Data Book that are classified as criticaly endangered, endangered or vulnerable (BirdLife Int. 2000).
2. Birds endemic to Bolivia (e.g. found only within the political borders of Bolivia). By definition all geographical endemics are also range-restricted birds;
3. Birds that are "Restricted-range." In some sense, "Restricted-range" is a more useful category than endemic as these are birds that are restricted to a small area (50,000 ha2) even though the area may cross political borders. Many, due to accessibility, can only be observed in Bolivia.
4. Birds that are said to be are hard to find in rest of South America, but are relatively easy to find in Bolivia;
5. Especially charismatic, attractive or otherwise sought-after species.
The sites described below can all be found in the main text. Special note is made if the bird is a geographic Endemic to Bolivia, is Restricted-range (e.g. confined to Bolivia and a neighboring country), or is classified as critical, endangered or vulnerable.
Greater Rhea Rhea americana: Fairly common in the pampas of Beni. Possible to see during a days birding along the roads from the city of Trinidad or around Santa Rosa. Often seen along the grassy pampas of the Santa Cruz airport or at the golf course.
Puna Rhea Rhea (pennata) tarapacensis: This species was seen frequently between Sajama and Northern Chile, but in the last six years appears to have declined seriously- now being very rare- as populations are in sharp decline due to hunting pressure and egg collecting. Often loosely associates with vicuña herds.
Hooded Tinamou Nothocercus nigrocapillus: Will easily be heard calling at Apa Apa reserve during the breeding season, although getting a glimpse is a more difficult matter.
Puna Tinamou Nothoprocta pentlandii: In and near Sajama N.P., especially the arid scrub near the park entrance.
Titicaca Flightless Grebe Rollandia microptera Restricted-range: This grebe is almost exclusively confined to Lake Titicaca. The popular daytrip town of Huatajata on the shore of Lake Titicaca is a good place to begin scanning the reedbeds. The road between Copacabana and Yampupata is also very reliable.
Fasciated Tiger-Heron Tigrisoma fasciatum: Not as difficult to see as one might expect. Given the variety of montane rivers with forest edges, this species can be encountered in a variety of places including the department of La Paz the Zongo Valley, the Unduavi River on the road to Chulumani and roadside gorges between Santa Cruz and Samaipata. The rivers around Carrasco N.P. Oilbird caves often have a few present.
Chilean Flamingo Phoenicopterus chilensis: The common Flamingo in the altiplano, they can be found around water bodies and are frequently found at Lago Titicaca and Lago Alalay.
Andean Flamingo Phoenicopterus andinus Vulnerable: The Andean and Puna Flamingo are probably best seen on the Oruro lake near the town of Oruro. It is hard to predict, as the lake water levels are constantly changing, but from May to Oct. there are always large numbers of Flamingos on the lakes with all three species present. From June to Oct you may find these flamingos along any highland waterbody. There waterbodies in Sajama and North East Chile are good places for this time of year.
Puna (James) Flamingo Phoenicopterus jamesi: See Andean Flamingo.
Buff-necked Ibis Theristicus caudatus: Actually an easy bird to see in a day in the Beni savannas of the Barba Azul Nature Reserve and north of Trinidad around July. This species is rare in other parts of South America.
Black-faced Ibis Theristicus melanopis: No sure site for this species. Seek it out near moist highland areas off the Altiplano. Search for it on roads travelling up and over the moist Andes.
Maguari Stork Ciconia maguari: Quite an awesome bird and amazingly common around the Beni savannas like Barba Azul Nature Reserve and such areas. Can also be seen soaring almost anywhere.
Jabiru Jabiru mycteria: Like the Maguari Stork, one can see them within city limits of Trinidad all the way to the eastern end of the Bolivian pampas near Santa Rosa and occasionally along Tropical forest rivers.
Andean Condor Vultur gryphus: Although they can be seen almost anywhere in the highlands, best chances are along the old road between Santa Cruz and Cochabamba. Condors are frequently seen at the Red-fronted Macaw Ecolodge. The El Fuerte ruins near Samaipata are an idea place to set up a lookout with a picnic lunch. The area near Comarapa (Tambo) and the ascent out of Cochabamba on the road towards La Paz are also good spots.
Orinoco Goose Neochen jubata: This species is often hunted out of tropical forest areas, but left protected it can be quite common. Easy to see at Barba Azul Nature Reserve in Noel Kempff National Park and improving around the large rivers of Pilón Lajas B.R. and lower Beni rivers.
Muscovy Duck Cairina moschata: An indicator of low human hunting pressure, a rare bird in most of South America, and rare throughout most of Bolivia, but in well protected areas, like the Barba Azul Nature Reserve, the species is seen daily.
Comb Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos: A neat duck that is supposedly declining but still can be seen around water areas frequently in pampas of Beni. The species is seen along the lagunas in Lomas de Arena Park during fall austral migration.
Torrent Duck Merganetta armata: Likely on any undisturbed mountain stream in the La Paz or Cochabamba Yungas, especially in the Zongo Valley and outside of Sorata.
Puna Teal Anas puna: Common throughout the Bolivian Altiplano, including small, roadside marshes and at Lake Titicaca.
Solitary Eagle Harpyhaliaetus solitarius: This is one of the harder Eagles to see, though its size, jizz and colouration make it distinctive to identify. There are records in many forested areas in Bolivia, but probably Serranía Pilón in Pilón Lajas Biosphere Reserve is the only site where it has been seen on different occasions.
Crowned Eagle Harpyhaliaetus coronatus Vulnerable and Crested Eagle Morphnus guianensis: These are both wonderful eagles of low tropical forests. Large raptor numbers are declining all over Bolivia and South America. Both of these species are now very difficult to see and any records should be reported to Armonia/ BirdLife Int. and/or Bennett.
Harpy Eagle Harpia harpyja: This eagle is not going to survive without big well protected parks throughout South America. In Bolivia, your only chance of seeing this massive raptor is deep within Madidi or Noel Kempff National Park. From what I understand, if your really want to see this species, you are better off searching for it in Venezuala.
Black-and-Chestnut Eagle Oroaetus isidori: A rather rare resident, this eagle often shows up unexpectedly circling over Yungas forest, for example on the South Yungas Road in La Paz.
Red-faced Guan Penelope dabbenei: Restricted to southern Bolivia and northern Argentina. Sjoerd Mayer found this cracid "very common" in the mossy forest between Cerro Campanarios and Cerro Campamentito near Villa Charcas in the southern part of Chuqiusaca department (unfortunately an area not covered in this guide). Another site is Taraquia reserve near Tarija, especially the higher Polylepis-clad areas on the western slope of the reserve.
Sickle-winged Guan Chamaepetes goudotii: Known from only two sites in Bolivia on the Coroico Road: the Cotapata trail and at Chuspipata.
Horned Curassow Pauxi unicornis Endangered and Restricted-range (when the science is finished with this species- it will be found to be a Bolivian endemic and Critically Endangered): This species suffers from local hunting pressure along the borders of Carrasco and Amboro National Parks. Presently there is no easy spot to see this species. Where there are people and trails, the bird is hunted out.
Wattled Curassow Crax globulosa Endangered: There is only one known area for this globally threatened Cracid in Bolivia, down the Beni river from Rurrenabaque. As part of Armonia's conservation efforts in the area, they have created a Wattled Curassow Lodge.
Giant Coot Fulica gigantea: Once almost eliminated by hunting, this species has made a remarkable comeback in the border area near Chile. Abundant on Lake Chungara in Lauca N.P. in Chile, just across the Bolivian border. Also very common in the small ponds in Sajama N.P. in Bolivia. Close to La Paz, the Collana Dam holds a few pairs.
Horned Coot Fulica cornuta: Eduardo Avaroa N.P. in extreme southwestern Bolivia has a rather large population of this rare coot.
Red-legged Seriema Cariama cristata: This enigmatic terrestrial bird can be a real jinx species. It can be found in pampas grassy areas throughout Bolivia. Seen frequently near the tollgate entrance to the Viru Viru Santa Cruz airport and in the farthest grass fields of Lomas de Arena.
Pale-winged Trumpeter Psophia leucoptera: A large terrestrial bird, susceptible to over hunting, now limited to areas of difficult access, but in these areas somewhat common. Best sites would be the inaccessible Foothills of Pilón Lajas BR and Alto Madidi in Madidi N.P. One might be able to see them at Chalalan with a lot of luck.
Andean Avocet Recurvirostra andina: Can be scarce at times, but is relatively easy to see during the wet season in roadside ponds. Best bets are Villa Villa and Collana Dam on the La Paz-Oruro highway and the road to Sorata.
Puna Plover Charadrius alticola: Common at the shores of high Altiplano ponds. The Villa-Villa pond on the road to Oruro is a good spot. Any roadside ponds or bogs above 3500 meters are potential.
Diademed Sandpiper-Plover Phegornis mitchellii: Found during the winter (May-July) at the hot springs in Sajama N.P.. Also reported once from La Cumbre near La Paz, but very rare. Somewhat easier to see across the border in Chile in Lauca N.P. near the roadside at a spot called Las Cuevas.
Puna Snipe Gallinago andina: The La Cumbre cushion bog on the Coroico Road usually holds a pair or two (if there is water). Dawn or dusk is the best time unless you happen to flush a resting bird while exploring the cushion bog.
Golden-spotted Ground-Dove Metriopelia aymara: A common dove of the Altiplano, often in large flocks. Easily seen at Sajama N.P. and Oruro back roads (see Collana Dam and Pandura-Turco loop drive).
Hyacinth Macaw Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus Endangered: If you must try to see this species in Bolivia- when this really is a Brazilian species- probably the best way is by popping into Brazil from Puerto Suerez and visiting the Pousada Arara Azul. The Bolivian birds are a tough trip to see.
Blue-and-yellow Macaw Ara ararauna: This is one of the most common Macaws in the pampas of Bolivia and perfect example being the Barba Azul Nature Reserve. Flying pairs should be seen daily an hour outside of the city of Trinidad and along the road to Santa Rosa from Rurrenabaque.
Blue-throated Macaw Ara glaucogularis Endemic and Criticaly Endangered : The Blue-throated Macaw is a very rare species, mostly found in isolated pairs in widely dispersed private cattle ranches. The best place to see the species is in Asociacion Armonia's newly created Barba Azul Nature Reserve which protects the critically important strong hold for the species. Armonia is developing the reserve for tourism. Write to Bird Bolivia regarding a tour to the reserve.
Military Macaw Ara militaris Vulnerable: Usually a very rare macaw. The best place to see them is the 1200 m dry and lower foothill (900 m) forest of Machariapo Valley on the road from Apolo. The Military Macaw is very seasonal in other sites. There are records at Serrania Sadiri Dec-Feb. They are present in small numbers at Los Volcanes from May to August, and seen at Horned Curassow lodge in April and possible until August.
Red-fronted Macaw: Ara rubrogenys Endemic and Endangered: The Red-fronted Macaw is seen daily at the Red-fronted Macaw Reserve, a sustainable development program protecting the most important Red-fronted Macaw breeding cliff. They are also present from Cochabamba in the Rio Caine area south of Cochabamba. Less than 800 of these birds remain in the wild. Threats include capture for the pet trade and persecuted by farmers as the macaws feed on corn and peanuts in riverside plots.
Scarlet Macaw Ara macao: Much rarer in tropical forests of Bolivia than in Peru. The best spot to find this bird is around Flor de Oro in Noel Kempff N. P. Tropical forests in Pando department should have individuals as well.
Red-and-green Macaw Ara chloroptera: This is the most common of forest Macaws and often seen around Rio Tuichi, Rurrenabaque area. A trip to Chalalan should offer glimpses of this species. Many well-preserved tropical forest areas can have healthy populations like Noel Kempff, Madidi N.P. and Pilón Lajas Biosphere Reserve. They are also seen, but less frequently with the Macaws of the Beni pampas.
Gray-hooded Parakeet Bolborhynchus aymara: Common at Mecapaca (near La Paz) and throughout the valles of Cochabamba.
Cliff Parakeet Myiopsitta luchsi: A Bolivian Endemic species found in the Andean dry valleys in the department of Cochabamba. The easiest place to see them and with wonderful views is at the Red-fronted Macaw Reserve. The Parakeets are also found along the Rio Caine.
Black-winged (-eared) Parrot Hapalopsittaca melanotis Restricted-range: This is a high altitude yungas species seen occasionally at Tablas Montes and Cotapata trail, but frequently just fly-overs where knowledge of parrot flight jizz is important. This species could be seriously declining.
Tucuman Parrot Amazona tucumana: The most accessible spot is a site called Quirusillas, near Santa Cruz and part of a popular birding route, about two hours drive from Samaipata. It is probably easier to see the birds at Taraquia reserve in the southern department of Tarija is also a good area. We have no guide information on this site yet.
Yellow-faced Parrot Amazona xanthops Vulnerable: There were only two records of this Cerrado species until 2007 when Mauricio Herrera found a group in north west Beni foraging in Mango trees. Unfortunetly this site is very difficult to reach. A slight possibility exist in the Selvablue reserve with one record- but the habitat is correct.
White-winged Nightjar Caprimulgus candicans Endangered: With something like two records in all Bolivia, you had better make sure your Id notes and reputation are up to scratch to claim this species. It has been recorded thrice at Beni Biological Station.
Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo Neomorphus geoffroyi: This bird throughout South America is an almost impossible bird to see. But for some unkown reason, you can see the bird in a day on the trail between 1000 and 1800 m in the dry forest in the Machariapo Valley from Apolo. This Ground-Cuckoo is present in many tropical forests in Bolivia but almost never seen. There are records at Chalalan, Madidi N.P., Serranía Pilón, Serrania Sadiri, Pilón Lajas B.R. and Los Fierros, Noel Kempff N.P.
Yungas Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium bolivianum: Appears to be rather common in yungas forest, including Cotapata and Tablas Montes and often-heard calling in the early morning.
Subtropical Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium parkeri: This recently discovered species is a secretive bird found in a thin Middle Montane/ Foothill altitudinal belt between 700 to 1500 m. It is best found by its distinctive diurnal call. It has most frequently been seen at Serrania Sadiri.
Cloud-forest Screech-Owl Megascios marshali: Recently discovered in Apa Apa in the Bolivian Yungas by Frank Rheindt. Otherwise a rare very habitat specific Screech-Owl.
Oilbird Steatornis caripensis: One never stumbles on this species at night, but they are easy to see in their breeding caves, the best one being in Carrasco N.P. at the park office near Villa Tunari. The cave is open on weekends but it is best to make a reservation with Carrasco N.P., especially for weekdays. In the cave they are always active making an incredible din which really shouldn’t be missed if you are in the area. Project Turismo Indigena Mapajo out of Rurrenabaque also conduct tours to a less accessible Oilbird cave on Rio Beni near Serranía Chepete. Be warned: The caves are empty for a period between May and July. Oilbirds have been seen at dusk/sundown drinking water from a still pond at Apa-apa.
White-bellied Hummingbird Amazilia chionogaster: A common garden bird in Sorota town and often seen at flowering trees on the Chulumani Road.
Andean Hillstar Oreotrochilus estella: The Huni Pass on the Palca Road (outside of La Paz city) has been reliable. They seem to feed on plants growing in the small roadside pond at Huni Pass.
Wedge-tailed Hillstar Oreotrochilus adela Endemic: The San Miguel Polylepis forest (near Cochabamba city) is often cited as the best spot for this species. Seasonal occurrence is tied to the availability of flowering plants.
Black-hooded Sunbeam Aglaeactis pamela Endemic:Appears to follow flowering plants. The Takesi Trail and Sorata road in the rainy season are good locations.
Goeld's Inca Heliodoxa aurescens: A split from the Collared Inca found further north in Peru, Ecuador and Columbia. Goeld's Inca has a rufous (not white) patch on the breast. Restricted to southern Peru and Bolivia. Best found at Cotapata or Siberia (??) where the white flashing in the tail make it somewhat distinctive.
Violet-throated Starfrontlet Heliodoxa aurescens: A relatively common hummingbird of the humid Yungas forests, especially near the Corioco Road.
Red-tailed Comet Sappho sparganura: Fairly common in the dry valleys of Mecapaca near La Paz. The Cochabamba dry valleys (i.e. the road west out of Cochabamba city towards La Paz) also support a large population.
Scaled Metaltail Metallura aeneocauda Restricted-range: Uncommon in the La Paz Yungas cloud forests. Often confused with the similar Tyrian Metaltail.
Rufous-capped Thornbill Chalcostigma ruficeps: Generally very scarce, but rather common during the rainy season at about 2500 meters in the Zongo Valley near La Paz.
Olivaceous Thornbill Chalcostigma olivaceum: Pongo, can be seen feeding on ground!
Blue-mantled Thornbill Chalcostigma stanleyi: During the rainy season, can usually be found in the Polylepsis forest in the Choquetanga Valley near Pongo. Seems to move down to lower altitude Yungas forests (ie. Cotapata trail) during the dry winter months.
Swallow-wing Chelidoptera tenebrosa: This is a common Puffbird that can easily be missed when not aware of its behaviour. The species frequently perches on the tops of the highest canopy points on river edge trips- having a very distinctive rounded flight jizz. Common along rivers from Rurrenabaque, like the boat trip to Chalalan.
Versicolored Barbet Eubucco versicolor: A must see bird, a skulker but common in La Paz yungas around 2000 m. A good bird to learn its specific sound. Often seen in the lower forested part of Apa apa.
Blue-banded Toucanet Aulacorhynchus coeruleicinctis: Actually quite common where it occurs. Hard to miss in the Zongo Valley near La Paz and in the Apa-Apa reserve near Chulumani.
Curl-crested Aracari Pteroglossus beauharnaesii: Much less common than other Aracaris, this species prefers closed forest throughout Bolivia. No sure site to see the bird.
Spot-billed Toucanet Selenidera maculirostris: A specialty of Noel Kempff N.P. Much less common than its sister species the Golden-collared Toucanet. They sound the same.
Hooded Mountain-Toucan Andigena cucullata Restricted-range: Learning it's distinctive call will give you an edge up. Sparsely distributed throughout the La Paz and Cochabamba yungas forest, best bets include Chuspipata in La Paz and Tablas Montes in Cochabamba. This is a low odds bird at the best of times.
Rock Earthcreeper Upucerthia andaecola: Fairly common near Mecapaca (near La Paz) but also widespread in dry valles. Beware confusion with the following species.
Bolivian Earthcreeper Upucerthia harterti Endemic: Best seen along the road after Saipina to the Red-fronted Macaw Reserve. Birds actively respond to playback.
Royal Cinclodes Cinclodes aricomae Restricted-range and Endangered: This ovenbird was rediscovered in 1997 near Pelechuco in Madidi N.P. by Thomas Valqui after an absence of records in Bolivia since 1876, and that was the first record. A species considered endangered and restricted to Polylepis forests. Take good notes if you think you are seeing this species and make sure you report it to Armonia/ BirdLife Int. and/or Bennett.
White-winged Cinclodes Cinclodes atacamensis: More rare than generally thought as Bar-winged Cinclodes can show much white on the wings. Look for the larger size and white in the tips of the tail feathers. The White-winged Cinclodes also seems to be much more dependent upon flowing water.
Bolivian Spinetail Cranioleuca henricae Endemic: A new species described by Sjoerd Meyer, easily seen in the dry forest below Inquisivi (from La Paz) and Machaca (from Cochabamba).
Black-throated Thistletail Schizoeaca harterti Endemic: Quite common is the scrubby brush at the beginning of the Cotapata trail on the Coroico Road.
Berlepsch's Canastero Asthenes berlepschi Endemic: Restricted to the Mt. Illampu area near Sorata, often in introduced eucalyptus. A reliable site on the road to Sorata, in the first stand of eucalyptus on the left as you descend. The site (at 3450 meters) is 21.1 miles after the Achacachi military checkpoint or 11.0 miles before town of Sorata.
Maquis (Iquico) Canastero Asthenes heterura Endemic: Can be found in the San Miguel Polylepis forest near Cochabamba.
Puna Canastero Asthenes punensis: The start of the trailhead of the Takesi Trek and other similar high altitude sites (i.e. the Cochabamba puna zone) are good places to look for this drab Canastero.
Scribble-tailed Canastero Asthenes maculicauda: An easy find in the bunch grass in the Choquetanga valley above Pongo.
Plain Softtail Thripophaga fusciceps: The Bolivian Beni Softail, this gregarious noisy bird is easy to find just around the city of Trinidad. This species is most certainly a Bolivian endemic once some gets around to doing the science.
Bolivian Recurvebill Simoxenops striatus Endemic and Vulnerable: Found to be more common than historically perceived. This species is a skulker and hard to detect without a good study of its Ovenbird like sound, which it can give at any time of the day. The species has been seen at refugio Los Volcanes. It seems heavily dependent on seeding Bamboo in the area, where groups will not see or hear the bird in the area for over a year. It has also historically been recorded in the tropical hill forest (800 to 1300 m) of Carrasco N.P. along the main road.
Giant Antshrike Batara cinerea: Not a common bird to find. It is most easily heard at least on the road to Samaipata, especially lower down on the entrance road to “Las Ruinas”. Worth learning the call of this difficult to see skulker.
Upland Antshrike Thamnophilus aroyae Restricted-range: A fairly common restricted-range species found in the Hill Tropical/ Lower Mountain altitude ranges. This bird commonly sings and has been seen along the Chapare road and the La Paz Yungas roads at the appropriate altitude.
Striated Antbird Drymophila devillei: This is a problematic little bamboo specialist. Even when you find it, it is often hard to see. It can be best seen in the bamboo patches at Flor de Oro, Noel Kempff. N.P. but also occurs in tropical lowland bamboo in Madidi N.P. and Pilón Lajas B.R.
Yungas Antwren Myrmotherula grisea Endemic and Vulnerable: This is a small skulking understory foraging flock bird. The males are all grey and the females fit nicely under LBJ. The Yungas Antwren is a very rare Bolivian endemic. The best areas to see the bird are the humid valleys in the dry inter-Andean forest on the trail in the Machariapo valley between Apolo to Asariamas. The foothill habitat around Villa Tunari has also had a few records but it is very rare in the area.
Yellow-rumped Antwren Terenura sharpei Endangered and Restricted-range: We unfortunately cannot instruct one to where they may find this possibly disappearing species. There are records from the Hill tropical forest area of Carrasco N.P.
Stripe-headed Antpitta Grallaria andicola: Rarely seen, but a favorite spot on the streamside boulders near the Polylepis forest above Pongo on the Coroico Road. The Upper Coroico Road also offers a potential site (see text).
Rufous-faced Antpitta Grallaria erythrotis Restricted-range: The distinctive three-note call of this species is heard all over the La Paz and Cochabamba Yungas (between 3000 to 2000 meters) even in the heat of the day, but good views are harder to come by. A foray into dense bush, patience and tape playback are the key ingredients.
Masked Antpitta Hylopezus auricularis Vulnerable and Endemic: The bird is fairly easily detected 20 minutes walk from the centre of Riberalta in the site Mariguisal.
Bolivian-diademed Tapaculo Scytalopus schulenbergi Endemic: The best spot is still where this species was first discovered by Bret Whitney: a few hundred meters down the Cotapata trail on the Coroico Road. Unlike similar Scytalopus tapaculos, it has a white crescent on the forecrown (the "diadem"), but voice remains the best distinguishing characteristic. Use playback sparingly.
Collared Crescent-chest Melanopareia torquata: A cerrado habitat specialist and a stonker of a bird, specially considering it is related to the boring plumaged Tapaculo’s. Make your guide work for this one in the cerrado habitat off Los Fierros, Noel Kempff N.P, seen more frequently at the farthest edge of the cerrado from the lodge, at the cross roads.
Olive-crowned Crescent-chest Melanopareia maximiliani: Seen on the way to Inquisivi. Not an easy bird to find.
Bolivian Tyrannulet Zimmerius bolivianus Restricted-range: Common in the disturbed roadside forests at Tablas Montes and within the forest of Apa apa.
Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant Anairetes alpinus Endangered and Restricted-range: The only known site in Bolivia for this extremely rare bird is the Polylepis forest above Pongo called Choquetanga Valley.
Cinnamon-faced Tyrannulet Phylloscartes parkeri: This recently discovered foothill forest Tyrannulet is little known. The best place to see the species is in the foothill forest of Serranía Sadiri. Best found and ID tested with sound.
Yungas Tody-Tyrant Hemitriccus spodiops Endemic: A fairly common endemic once one is familiar with its odd call. It sticks rather faithfully to its 1500 to 800 meters altitude range and is often found near bamboo. The road through Serranía Pilón touches on its habitat and it should be present around Serranía Bella Vista.
Ochre-faced Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum plumbeiceps: Found easily in Apa apa between 2000 and 2500 meters once you know its distinctive, yet understated, call. In Argentina, its call is called pedo de abuelita (Grandma’s fart).
D'Orbigny's Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca oenanthoides: Easy to see above the San Miguel Polylepis forest near Cochabamba (see text). Also, found in drier areas near La Paz, such as Mecapaca.
Rufous-bellied Bush-Tyrant Myiotheretes fuscorufus Restricted-range: At least a couple pairs can be found near Chuspipata on the Coroico Road.
White-tailed Shrike Tyrant Agriornis andicola Vulnerable: Inexplicably rare and local, the best bet is near Parinacota, across the border in the Chilean Lauca N.P..
Puna Ground-Tyrant Muscisaxicola juninensis: La Cumbre on the Coroico Road, Sajama NP and roadside grasslands in Oruro are all typical areas for this fairly common species.
White-fronted Ground-Tyrant Muscisaxicola albifrons: Usually one or two at the cumbre before the descent into the Zongo Valley near La Paz.
Streamer-tailed Tyrant Gubernetes yetapa: A rare species in Bolivia, remarkably absent from much of the Beni Savannahs. The species is an uncommon resident in Barba Azul Nature Reserve.
Sharpbill Oxyruncus cristatus: Another species best located by it song. This species was found singing daily near the top of Serranía Sadiri in Madidi N.P. The Sharpbill is more common in the western Andean foothill and middle montane forests foraging with canopy foraging flocks.
Elegant (Buckley’s) Mourner Laniisoma elegans: A bird that might be a great cause for alarm, very rare or very good at hiding. This bird has been seen in Foothill habitat in Madidi N. P. and in Pilón Lajas B. R. but this species is very poorly known and has no tromping ground. There are only a few records for Bolivia.
Palkachupa Cotinga Phibalura boliviana: (some calling it Apolo Cotinga now) The flagship species for the highly threatened Bolivian Andean Cerrado. It is possible to see the species in distanct forest fragments around the general area of the town of Apolo. The healthiest habitat and population are around the town of Aten. Asociacion Armonia is working on protecting this species in the area.
Chestnut-crested Cotinga Ampelion rufaxilla: These rare species is declining in areas of Yungas forest disturbance. It historically was seen frequently near Miguelito and Tablas Montes in the Cochabamba Yungas, but now only seems to be dependable at Apa-Apa reserve.
Scaled Fruiteater Ampelioides tschudii: In the last few years this bird has been recorded in several sites along the western foothill forests of Bolivia. The best site is at the top of Serranía Sadiri at 900m in Madidi N.P. The species is best found listening for it call in the upper canopy. For such a larger bird, it is often hard to locate.
Scimitar-winged Piha Lipaugus uropygialis Vulnerable and Restricted-range: This rarely seen bird has been observed in Bolivia less than a dozen times (and maybe a half dozen times in Peru since 1980). Older reports exist from the Chapare Road (see Miguelito) and a site on the Coroico Road called "Sacramento Alto," several kilometers beyond Chuspipata. The old site of Apa Apa is no longer reliable because of forest destruction. In 2017, Jeffrey Cheney saw the species in the Choquetanga Valley "I saw the Scimitar-winged Piha in the gulch just below the rockslide. That rockslide was more or less at the beginning of the Machariapo Valley after you enter the national Park and head towards Peru."
Amazonian Umbrellabird Cephalopterus ornatus: This is another amazing Cotinga of the tropical forest lowlands. There are no tricks to this species, with most observations results of being in the right place at the right time. It has been seen more frequently near the Carrasco N.P. Cock-of-the-rock lek and in the forests of Flor de Oro, Noel Kempff N.P.
Cock-of-the-Rock Rupicola peruviana: Probably one of the easiest to see colorful big birds in South America, the Cock-of-the-Rock is often one of the more spectacular birds of Bolivia. The bird lives between 500 and 2000 m and can be randomly hit anywhere in that habitat in somewhat undisturbed forest. The best spot to see the bird is the small lek up the road from the Oilbird cave in Carrasco N. P.
Snow-capped Manakin Pipra nattereri Restricted-range. The only accessible area to see this bird is in the tropical forests of Los Fierros, Noel Kempff N.P.
Andean Swallow Stelgidopteryx andecola: Relatively common above 4000m, especially over water. Take care not to confuse immature Blue-and-white Swallows with this species.
Tooth-billed Wren Odontorchilus cinereus: This often very difficult to see canopy Wren has been seen frequently around the old Lago Caiman research camp near Flor de Oro lodge in Noel Kempff N. P. It is best to try and locate the species with familiarity to its song.
Rufous-throated Dipper Cinclus schulzi Restricted-range and Vulnerable: This species is only found in the department of Tarija in south-western Bolivia, shared with the north-west of Argentina. It is known to be common in certain rivers in the area between 2000 to 3000 m.
White-eared Solitaire Entomodestes leucotis: Often heard near Chojlla at the end of the Takesi Trek. Also found in the Apa-Apa forest near Chulumani and on the Chapare Road (Cochabamba). It's strange call is very easy to remember, although it is apparently less vocal outside of the breeding season.
Brown-backed Mockingbird Mimus dorsalis: A common bird at Mecapaca (near La Paz) and in the residential area just below San Miguel in Cochabamba, but is seldom seen elsewhere.
Curl-crested Jay Cyanocorax cristatellus: A difficult jay to see in most of Bolivia, except for Selvablue reserve, where the species are common and often forage around the lodge. The most difficult jay to see in Bolivia. Your only real chance is within Noel Kempff N.P. near the Los Fierros station. The best spot is on top of Serranía Huanchaca in the park, but this is only accessible by plane and seldom visited.
Black-hooded Sierra-Finch Phrygilus atriceps: Easily seen in the Polylepis woodlands in Sajama NP and undoubtedly in other arid areas with Polylepis.
Red-backed Sierra-Finch Phrygilus dorsalis: Most reliable at the Reserva Eduardo Avaroa in southwestern Bolivia where it is conspicuous foraging on the ground in the stark landscapes. Fjeldsa and Krabbe's Birds of the High Andes cites records from Lauca N.P. in Chile and suggests that because of inter-breeding with White-throated Sierra-Finch, Red-backed Sierra-Finch may best be considered conspecific with White-throated Sierra-Finch. However, Clements (2000) still considers them separate species.
White-throated Sierra-Finch Phrygilus erythronotus: Relatively common at Lauca N.P. in Chile, especially in wetter areas near Parinacota village.
Slaty Finch Haplospiza rustica Restricted-range: An eruptive species that follows seeding bamboo like Slaty-coloured Seedeater. Both of these are highly dependent on bamboo conditions and can be either impossible to find or very common.
Gray-crested Finch Lophospingus griseocristatus Restricted-range: Easily seen at the Red-fronted Macaw Reserve. It would appear to have seasonal movements and can be found in the dry season/ winter around Lago Alalay in Cochabamba.
White-winged Diuca-Finch Diuca speculifera: Common at any of the high altitude mountain passes into the Yungas (Zongo, Coroico Road, and Takesi Trek trailhead).
Short-tailed Finch Idiopsar brachyurus Restricted-range: Uncommon and often difficult to locate. There are several recommended roadside spots on the Coroico Road (see text), but the best bet for those so inclined may be hiking the Takesi trail.
Bolivian Warbling-Finch Poospiza boliviana Endemic: Found in the San Miguel Polylepis forest and Liruini area near Cochabamba, but also can be seen outside of Mecapaca near La Paz.
Rufous-sided Warbling-Finch Poospiza hypochondria : Often seen in the arid scrub at Mecapaca and also at the lagoon near Huni Pass (both sites near La Paz).
Cochabamba Mountain-Finch Poospiza garleppi Endemic and Endangered: This uncommon endemic is best found in the San Miguel Polylepis forest and Liruini area near Cochabamba. Tends to perch rather low and accompany mixed species flocks. Rather shy and often only offers fleeting glimpses.
Bright-rumped Yellow-Finch Sicalis uropygialis: Rather common in flat, arid areas near rivers or lakes. The Cumbre on the Coroico Road and the Panduro-Turco Road are good examples of sites prefrred by this species.
Black-and-tawny Seedeater Sporophila nigrorufa Vulnerable and Restricted-range: This seedeater only has a range of 118,000 km2 between Eastern Bolivia and South-Western Brazil, and it is believed to be a migrant within that. It is occasionally seen at Flor de Oro, Noel Kempff N.P. Any other observations should be reported to Armonia/BirdLife Int. or Bennett.
Slaty-coloured Seedeater Sporophila schistacea: A very difficult species to find as its population is directly related to the seeding cycle of Bamboo. The first records for Los Volcanes were in the year 2000 where it was abundant. Look for browned in seed bamboo.
Great-billed Seed-Finch Oryzoborus maximiliani: This rare species can be seen in many areas of the pampas of Beni, but it is most frequently seen at the pump station in the town of Buena Vista in Santa Cruz.
Rufous-bellied Saltator Saltator rufiventris Restricted-range: The San Miguel Polylepis forest near Cochabamba and the road to Inquisivi (near Quime) are good spots for this Polylepis specialty.
Orange-browed Hemispingus Hemispingus calophrys Restricted-range: Only known sites are on the Cotapata trail and at Chuspipata in the La Paz yungas, were small parties are occasionally seen foraging in forest borders.
Green-capped Tanager Tangara meyerdeschauenseei Restricted-range: The first record for this species in Bolivia was in 2000, but now it looks like it is widely distributed in the Apolo region. Always rare, but it can be seen in the Bolivian Andean Cerrado area of Aten.
Rust-and-yellow Tanager Thlypopsis ruficeps: A montane forest tanager that is often seen in second-growth edge habitats. Zongo Valley and Chojlla (Chulumani Road) in the dry season seems to be the best sites for this species.
Slaty Tanager Creurgops dentata Restricted-range: A fairly common member of foraging flock in Apa-Apa reserve near Chulumani.
Chestnut-bellied Mountain-Tanager Delothraupis castaneoventris: An often elusive tanager that seems equally at home in mixed foraging flocks and alone. Best seen on the Cotapata trail and at Chuspipata in the La Paz yungas.
Giant Conebill Oreomanes fraseri: The San Miguel Polylepis forests outside of Cochabamba city are a close to certain location for this quiet and much sought-after species.
Gray-bellied Flowerpiercer Diglossa carbonaria Endemic: One of the more common Bolivia endemics (although there are unconfirmed reports from southern Peru), found in diverse sites as Pongo village (see Coroico Road), San Miguel Polylepis forest and the Zongo Valley.
Brown-capped Whitestart Myioborus brunniceps: The San Miguel Polylepis forest near Cochabamba and the dry forest below Inquisivi are excellent sites for this attractive warbler.
White-browed Conebill Conirostrum ferrugineiventre: Seems to thrive in exotic pine plantations, such as those in the town of Pongo. Also found at border of the Polylepis forest in the Choquetanga valley near Pongo.
Bolivian Blackbird Oreopsar bolivianus Endemic: Commonly seen at the Red-fronted Macaw Reserve, they can also be seen along the first 30 km leaving Cochabamba to La Paz. Also worth looking for on the way to the San Miguel Polylepis forest outside of Cochabamba where the road forks to the right for Liriuni.
Thick-billed Siskin Carduelis crassirostris: Rather closely allied with Polylepis woodlands. One of the more common birds of the Polylepis forest at Sajama N.P. and other found at San Miguel near Cochabamba. The difference in bill size between this species and the more widespread Hooded Siskin is noticeable if good views are obtained.