6 Days - Expedition to the Tambopata Research Center and Extraordinaire Macaw Clay Lick


If you are enthusiast naturalist or a self-proven birder this six days rainforest program is the right one for you. A productive, wildlife expedition in the extremely diverse rainforests of the southeastern Amazon of Peru. We have a great number of easily accessible lowland rainforest habitats rich in birds, butterflies, amphibians and monkeys, all close to our lodges Refugio Amazonas and the Tambopata Research Center.


NOTE: This Tour is recommended during all year around, But if you are looking to experience the Macaws breeding season and the field work of the Tambopata Macaw Project we recommend to visit the site from beginning of January through beginning of March. 


What is expected of You (Highlights)

On your visit to some of the richest biodiversity areas in the world, you will want to maximize the quality of your experience.  In lowland Amazonia, this means early starts that allow you to be in the field at dawn in some activities, when activity is at its peak.  On a typical day, you will have breakfast before sunrise and walk along trails. For the morning, returning to our lodge for lunch and a break during the heat of the day, before going back out for a while in the afternoon.

“Richard Amable is at font of knowledge and an astute and compassionate reader of the social landscape, explaining relationships in animal behavior, plant adaptions, ecology, and very importantly, sharing his knowledge of Peruvian culture, traditions, food, economics, and history of Peru.

The Colorado Clay lick is reputed to be the largest known clay lick in South America and we will get immerse on the majestic of it. To enjoy the nature and landscape from the canopy tower in Refugio Amazonas, you should be able to climb the stairways slowly and feel comfortable at great heights; there are protective railings, but we will be over 100 feet up, looking out and down.  Along the trails, some of which will doubtless be muddy with a few steep sections, and several of which will have some roots to step over, overhanging limbs to crouch under, and tree falls to go around or climb over, we'll typically move at a snail's pace, walking quietly, listening for the slightest growl that could betray the presence of any animal encounter. To negotiate the trails at a reasonable pace, you should have a good sense of balance and be capable of walking at a slow pace for three to five hours a day. There will be breaks. We will also have some short, steep climbs from the boats up the high cut banks of the river to reach our rainforest lodges and some of the trails. Our fastest pace will likely be on the way back to lunch!    Fortunately, at each of the Amazonian lodges, we are staying right in the forest, with good activities—including Night walks.  So we're likely to get good, long sleeps at night; it also means a wonderful option is always available to anyone who wants to take an afternoon off at the lodge. 



Day 1, Puerto Maldonado Airport to Refugio Amazonas Lodge. Upon arrival from Lima, we will welcome you at the airport and drive you ten minutes to our Puerto Maldonado headquarters. While enjoying your first taste of the forest in our gardens we will ask you to pack only the necessary gear for your next few days, and leave the rest at our safe deposit. This helps us keep the boats and cargo light. FromPuerto Maldonado we will drive to the Tambopata River Port. This forty five minute drive will take us along the road’s secondary forest scanning for birds, seen local farms and typical houses. At the port a boat with comfortable seats and a roof will drive us upriver to Posada Amazonas. As we eat lunch on the boat, we will search for: Pied Lapwing, Collared Plover, King Vulture, Bat Falcon, Olive and Russet-backed Oropendolas and Ringed Kingfisher and Amazon Kingfisher and others. The common mammals along river banks are Howler Monkey and Capybara (the largest rodent in the world, at shore White Caimans and Riverside Turtles can be seen from the boat as we ride.  Never knowing what may be seen around the next bend is part of the suspense of river travel in Amazonia.

Upon arrival, the lodge manager will welcome you and brief you with important navigation and security tips. 

Overnight at Posada Amazonas


Day 2, Refugio Amazonas Lodge to Tambopata Research Center. After a early breakfast the twenty minute walk takes us to this 30 meter tall scaffolding tower, which will add a whole new dimension to our Amazon wildlife experience: the forest canopy. Dusky Titi Monkey and Large-headed Capuchin and Howler Monkey frequent this level in search for food. We will wait for a canopy mixed flock to appear. The mixed flock is mostly all about tanagers: Paradise Tanager, Green-and-gold Tanager, Flame-crested Tanager, Turqoise Tanager, Opal- rumped Tanager and others. The tower also offers good opportunity for Gilded Barbet, Plum-throated Cotinga and Striolated Puffbird. Macaws and toucans are seen flying against the horizon, including the Chestnut-eared, Lettered, Emerald, Curl-crested, and Brown-mandibled Aracaries. We will see lonely raptors riding the thermals. This is your best chance for hawk-eagles and even harpy!.  After all we will go back to the lodge and them to the boat to be transfer to TRC. During the first three hours of the boat ride, as we enter the Tambopata National Reserve, we will focus on recapping and listing. Then the fun begins and it lasts for three more hours! Numerous Capybaras, White Caiman, Riverside Turtles. The different Egrets, Capped Heron, Cocoi Heron, Large and Yellow-billed Tern, Black Skimmer, the classic Horned Screamer, Razor Billed Currasow, Blue-throated Piping Guan and Orinoco Goose and during the dry season months, migrant shorebirds, are all possibilities for this portion of the trip. Every now and then macaws, toucans and raptors will be spotted above. The elusive Jaguar is frequent seem in this portion of river trip. We will have a boxed lunch as we ride. Two hours from Malinowski Station deep in the Tambopata National Reserve we will stop at the Chuncho claylick. After a brief walk (~5 minutes) we will have the chance to see dozens of large macaws feeding on the special sodium rich clays of the riverbank. The Chuncho claylick probably attracts more large macaws than any other claylick in the world and the sight of dozens of macaws taking flight is truly unforgettable. The details of our stopover will depend on the weather and the amount of macaw activity, as the birds don’t visit the clay lick when it is raining. 

Upon arrival, the lodge manager will welcome you and brief you with important navigation and security tips. After dinner Macaw resident scientists will provide an in depth look at the biology of macaws, their feeding habits, the theories for clay lick use, their breeding and feeding ecology, population fluctuations and the threats to their conservation. 

Overnight at Tambopata Research Center


Day 3, Tambopata Research Center Area.  At dawn we will cross the river and enjoy the largest macaw clay lick where hundreds of parrots and macaws of up to 15 species congregate daily. We can expect to see ten to twelve of the following members of the parrot family: Red-and-green, Blue-and-gold, Scarlet, Red-bellied, Chestnut-fronted and Blue-headed Macaws; Mealy and Yellow-crowned Amazons; Blue-headed, Orange-cheeked and White-bellied Parrots; Dusky-headed, White-eyed, Cobalt-winged and Tui Parakeets and Dusky-billed Parrotlets. We will go back for breakfast. 

We will explore the quintessential rainforest on the 5 mile Ocelot Trail and the 5 mile Toucan Trail systems. The Ocelot Trail is in the floodplain with ponds and streams forming during the rainy season. The Toucan Trail on the other hand is tall rainforest that rarely or never floods. Both of these trails represent the most speciose habitats for wildlife. Too many possibilities to list, this is habitat for Starred Wood Quail, Pale-winged Trumpeter, several Trogons, Foliage-gleaners, Black-tailed Leaftosser, many Woodcreepers, Antbirds, Flycatchers, Manakins, and much more. Mixed species flocks are especially diverse with understory flocks led by Dusky-throated Antshrike and Red-crowned Ant-Tanagers. They often contain 30-40 species (or more!) including: Plain winged Antshrike, Bluish Slate Antshrike, White eyed Antwren, Plain breasted Antwren, Thrush-like Antpitta, White winged Shrike Tanager, Amazonian Barred Woodcreeper and Spix’s Woodcreeper. The Ocelot trail also crosses some permanently flooded old ponds inhabited by Agami Heron, Rufescent Tiger-heron, Pygmy and Green-and-rufous Kingfishers, and Sunbittern. With all this field we will be ready to head back to lunch. 

After long hikes we can continue to bird within the confines of TRC. Species possible on the TRC clearing include: eventual canopy flocks, Squirrel Cuckoo, Masked Crimson Tanager, Cinammon- throated Woodcreeper, Speckled Chachalaca and Yellow-tufted Woodpecker. Each day trail will be a full and rewarding one, as the aesthetics of birding (and mammalian encounters) will fully absorb us. You will enjoy your days and nights at TRC. Again after dinner be prepare, we will venture out near the lodge to spot-light Pauraque, Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl, Great Potoo, Long tailed Potoo, Ocellated Poorwill and if we are lucky a Mottled Owl or Crested Owl. There is also the possibility of taking macro shoots of American Bullfrogs, Horned Frog, tree frogs. The night Monkey and other creatures of the night.

Overnight at Tambopata Research Center


Day 4, Tambopata Research Center Area. After breakfast, we will venture back into the beautiful rainforests at TRC. A large diversity of mammals live in these forest. Literally hundreds of bird species we see often, the different set of birds on the same trails as the day before. We will search for ants warms attended by such exciting species as Black-spotted Bare Eye, Black-banded Woodcreeper, Sooty Antbird, and maybe even a Rufous-vented Ground Cuckoo, and will keep an eye and ear out for uncommon ground birds like Tinamous, Striated Antthrush and Razor-billed Curassow. We will also look for such targets as the stunning Pavonine Quetzal, Black-bellied Cuckoo, Amazonian Pygmy Owl, Great Jacamar, Ringed Antpipit, Casque-headed Oropendola, Speckled Spinetail, big mixed flocks led by White-winged Shrike Tanager, and many other species. Rare surprises such as Crested or Harpy Eagle, forest falcons, and Yellow-bellied Tanager are also possible in these exciting rainforests. After lunch we will bird at the transitional forests above the clay lick. These were bamboo forests until they flowered and died out a few years ago. Now they are akin to riparian forests but will eventually grow into terra firme as they are not affected by yearly floods. Here we will spot White-throated Jacamar, Buff-throated Saltator, Grayish Saltator, Scarlet-hooded Barbet, Crested and Russet-backed Oropendolas, Piratic Flycatatcher, Yellow-billed Nunbird and others. While birding these spots we will have extraordinary views of the Tambopata winding its way from the highlands.

Overnight at Tambopata Research Center


Day 5, Tambopata Research Center Area. Today we will explore older river created habitats at the pond five minutes upstream from TRC – forests of Cecropia and Balsa Wood with a bamboo understory. This is the habitat of the legendary Rufous-fronted Anthrush, and the Lemon-throated Barbet, Spot-breasted Woodpecker, Cabanis Spinetail, Amazonian Antpitta, Blackish Antbird, Fuscous Flycatcher, Guira Tanager and Troupial. As we exit the pond’s forests, we will bird on grassy areas with Tessaria and young Cecropia trees. These are not very diverse for birds but are the main habitat for Plain-crowned and Dark-breasted Spinetails, Mottle-backed Elaenia, Spotted Tody-Flycatcher, Black-billed Thrush, Orange-headed Tanager, and Seedeater species among others. Ten minutes upriver from the lodge is a tiny pond with a platform in the middle. It is a great place to spot waterfowl such as Muscovy Duck, Sunbittern and Hoatzin along with the more of Woodpeckers, Oropendolas, Flycatchers and Parakeets that call this pond their home. After lunch we walk to the growing on the remains of an oxbow lake and providing both arboreal as well as terrestrial mammals with fruits throughout the year, the Aguaje palms are one of the most important food sources in the rainforest. Demand for these fruits and great conditions for planting rice, makes the palm swamp also one of the most threatened habitats.  A thirty minute hike from TRC in the Terra Firme forest leads a 17 meter scaffolding canopy tower.  From the top you will obtain spectacular views of the vast expanses of standing forest.  Toucans, parrots and macaws can be seen flying against the horizon.  Flocks of mixed species of birds can also be seen flying and landing in the treetops next to you. After dinner, we will venture out near the lodge to spot-light Pauraque, Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl, Great Potoo, Long tailed Potoo, Ocellated Poorwill and if we are lucky a Mottled Owl or Crested Owl. There is also the possibility of taking macro shoots of American Bullfrogs, Horned Frog, tree frogs. The night Monkey and other creatures of the night.

Overnight at Tambopata Research Center


Day 6, Tambopata Research Center to Puerto Maldonado, Very early and aftern breakfast we will be bransfer for three and half hours dawn river by boat to Puerto Maldonado and then to the airport for your flight to Lima or Cusco. Depending of the flight time we will bird around airport to look for common birds such Barred Antshrike, Black-throated Antbird, Short-tailed Pygmy-tayrant, Saffron Finch and others.



Field trip schedule for 2017

Departure from  

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Price per person based on two participants

Double  $ 1,250.00

Single    $ 1,585.00


Group size

Minimum number of participants is two and maximum is eight


About Your Guide

Richard Amable is a senior tour guide born in Peru, He follows the career in ecotourism, birding, and natural history of the Neotropics and North America also has been involved in nature and birding since a young age doing many volunteering works in projects of wildlife research and educational programs. He is an expert on parrots. He has the knowledge and understanding of the nature, and culture of many geographic regions in South America, Central America, and North America such as Perú, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Panama, and United States. In 2004. He founded the Jacamar Club – Perú, a birding group from Madre de Dios department in Perú. In 2014 Richard become a menber of the board of trusty for the Audubon Society of Ohio. He has stated, “My commitment is to learn from all natural regions and get to see all of the animals is possible. With that knowledge, I will teach and share my passion with others to help strategists for conservation.




Service include:

- A general introduction to the tour with description of the birding areas to be visited on the tour.

- Knowledgeable bird guide with listed equipment (Spotting scope, field guide to birds of Peru and songs library of the Peruvian Birds).

- All lodging from Day 1 through night of Day 6, all meals from lunch on Day 1 through breakfast on Day 6.

- All ground and river transportation, park entrance fees, lodge staff, boatmen and the guiding services of Richard Amable. 

- A species checklist for preparing and keeping track of the birds seen on the tour.


Service does not include:

- your airfare to and from Puerto Maldonado.

- Any alcoholic beverages, and optional tip to the guide, phone calls and laundry. 

- Does not include breakfast on the Day 1.

- Does not include lunch and dinner on Day 6 (some national flights leave before lunch).

- Other items of a personal nature.








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