The sheer area and height of the Bolivian Andes Mountains offers an incredible diversity of birds and habitats. Each 500 m (1,600 feet) increase in altitude contains new birds adapted to the temperature change- and this happens eight times in Bolivia as we travel up the Andes visiting the high plains at 4,000 m (13,000 feet). We actual travel higher than that to reach some isolated forest patches with great birds. We have designed the tour to cover the variation in Bolivia, visiting different altitudinal cloud forests, and then revisiting similar habitat at different longitudes, and also similar altitudes, but with different rain levels. If the point is not clear already- the idea is bird diversity! The Bolivian Andes are full of it, and this tour has been designed to cover all the little patches.
Our Bolivian Andes tour is the third part to our complete Bolivia tours including the Bolivian Humid Lowlands and Bolivian Dry South. We start in the lower cloud forest of Bolivia working our way down from Cochabamba. We head to the wettest region in Bolivia. Along our drive up and down the cloud forest we will visit forests in different altitude ranges to see such characteristic birds as the Hooded-mountain Toucan, Cock-of-the-rock, Red-crested Cotinga, Green-throated Tanager, the near-endemic Yungas Tody-Tyrant and Upland Antshrike, and Blue-winged Mountain-tanager.
We then spend a day further up the drier Andes to visit the threatened Polylepis high altitude forests for the Bolivian endemic Cochabamba Mountain-finch, and Maquis Canastero. Here we will also search for Red-tailed Comet, Wedge-tailed Hillstar, Cone-billed Tanager, Rufous-bellied Saltator, Brown-backed Mockingbird and the Andean Hillstar.
We then travel further north for a day to visit Lake Titicaca and surrounding Puna habitat. We will be searching for the Titicaca Flightless Grebe, and the Bolivian Endemic Berlepschi’s Canastero.
From here, we travel again down, through lush cloud forest with several stops, to spend a day in the well preserved Apa Apa cloud forest. This region is famous for protecting the Scimitar-winged Piha, a very rare bird. But the forest is excellent for cloud forest birds, including the recently described Marshal’s Screech-owl. We will search for the Versicolored Barbet, Crested Quetzal, and Blue-banded Toucanet, along with large foraging flocks of colourful Andean tanagers. Other specialties include the endemic Black-throated Thistletail, Deep-blue Flowerpiercer, Scaly-naped Parrot, Light-crowned Spinetail, Crowned Chat-Tyrant, and Stripe-faced Wood-Quail.
We end the trip, with two nights in the crisp high Andes Altiplano, searching for the Diademed Sandpiper-plover, three species of Flamingos, and other Polylepis forest and puna species.
We expect to see 350 to 400 bird species.