The Endemic Blue-Throated Macaws and the Moxos Savannahs
Photographer: Rob Tizzard
The bustling Tropical town of Trinidad is located in the Department of Beni is located on the Moxos savannahs. We will spend 3 nights in our comfortable hotel commuting to the birds each day; this habitat is a mix of dry woodlands, riparian gallery forest, grasslands, and palm savannahs. It is seasonally flooded, and our visit is timed at the height of the dry season. It is in the palm savannah where the endemic and critically endangered (total population estimated to number about 350 birds) Blue-throated Macaw is found. For many years this spectacular macaw was known only from specimens and live birds in the possession of parrot collectors. It was only in the mid 1990’s that biologists and conservationists discovered where the few birds that remained still lived. One of the great things about this extension is we get to go to one of the most isolated and least visited places in South America. We’ll travel to the savannahs in an open truck, birding all the way, and the bird list here is very diverse. Some of our target birds that we’ll search for during our visit, besides the fabulous Blue-throated Macaw, are Chaco Eagle, Orinoco Goose, Plain Softtail, Cinereous-breasted Spinetail, Sulphur-bellied Tyrant-Manakin, Hudsonʼs Black-Tyrant, Dark-throated Seedeater, and the endemic boliviensis race of Velvet-fronted Grackle. Interestingly, some species from these parts of Bolivia differ from those found elsewhere in South America and may prove to be separate species. Accommodations area Air Conditioned and very comfortable
Day 1:Most International flights arrive at Viru-Viru airport in Santa Cruz early in the morning so we'll head out birding just north of the airport to some open grasslands and gallery woodland. We'll be looking for some of the following: White-bellied Northura, Red-winged Tinamou, Long-winged Harrier, Golden-collared Macaw, Bicolored Seedeater, White Woodpecker, and Greater Rhea amongst others. The afternoon we'll spend at a locality where we have had luck in the past with the strange Red-legged Seriema Here the birds we'll be looking for as well as the Seriema include Blue-crowned and Yellow-chevroned Parakeets, Picazuro Pigeon, Epaulet Oriole, Straight billed and Narrow-billed Woodcreepers, Spot-backed Puffbird. Lunchtime check in and then we’ll visit a regional park that has several interesting birds. This evening there will be time to repack and we’ll leave the bulk of our baggage at the Hotel as we have a 20 K limit on the flight to Trinidad to-morrow. Night at our comfortable air-conditioned hotel in Santa Cruz. L:D
Day 2:Morning flight from Santa Cruz to the bustling town of Trinidad situated in the flooded savannahs of Beni. On arrival at the airport we'll bird the road to Loma Suarez with a picnic lunch. This area is full of birds. Concentrating on a dry riverine gallery woodland, possibilities include Mato Grosso Antbird, Plain Softail, Undulated Tinamou, Straight-billed and Buff-throated Woodcreepers, White-eyed Attila, Short-tailed Pygmy-tyrant, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Golden-collared Macaw, White-tailed Goldenthroat, Golden-tailed Sapphire, Rufous Casiornis, Long-winged Harrier, Velvet-fronted Grackle and Hooded Tanager. Night at our air-conditioned hotel in Trinidad. B:L:D
Day 3:We'll drive to the savannahs near Loreto to-day concentrating on open flooded fields and scrubby pasture. We’ll travel to the area in an open truck, birding all the way, and the bird list here is amazingly long. Some of the goodies that we’ll search for during our visit, besides the fabulous Blue-throated Macaw, are Crowned Eagle (one of the best places we know of for this rare raptor), Orinoco Goose, Plain Softtail (the endemic nominate race fusciceps), Cinereous-breasted Spinetail, Sulphur-bellied Tyrant-Manakin, Hudsonʼs Black-Tyrant, Dark-throated Seedeater, and the endemic boliviensis race of Velvet-fronted Grackle. The food and birding are great here! Others include Plumbeous, Green, Buff-necked, Plumbeous and Bare-faced Ibis, Comb Duck, Roseate Spoonbill, Maguari Stork, Jabiru, Southern Screamer, Muscovy Duck, Scarlet-hooded and Unicolored Blackbirds, Greater Thornbird, 3 species of Monjita, Bicolored Seedeater, Toco Toucan, Great Rufous and Narrow-billed Woodcreeper, Rusty-margined Flycatcher, various Whistling Ducks, Little Cuckoo, Orange-winged Parrot, Azure Gallinule, Slender-billed Kite, Black-collared Hawk , Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher, Chotoy , Cinereous-breasted , Plain-crowned and Yellow-chinned Spinetails, Rufous Chachalote and Fawn-breasted Wren. Our main target is the rare Blue-throated Macaw. Night in Trinidad.
Day 4:Another morning to look for the Blue-throated Macaws should we have missed them the previous afternoon.. Birding here is dynamite with Rheas, Pale-crested Woodpecker, Gray-lined Hawk, Hoatzin, Turquoise-fronted Parrot, Gilded and Swallow-tailed Hummingbirds, Green-barred and Spot-breasted Woodpeckers and much, much more. The grasslands and seasonally flooded woodlands are reminiscent of the more open parts of the famous Brazilian Pantanal or of the Venezuelan llanos and harbour the same rich and spectacular variety of birds. The open habitat makes for easy viewing and during our stay here we should amass a splendid list. Many of the birds of the marshes, oxbow lakes, open meadows and pastures are widespread in the Neotropics, but we will of course be concentrating on the local specialities, and in particular the rare Orinoco Goose (here to be seen in flocks!), the rare Hudson’s Black -Tyrant (a migrant from central Argentina) and Dark-throated Seedeater. Additional species we may well see include the stately Greater Rhea, Undulated Tinamou, Anhinga, Cocoi, Whistling, Capped and Striated Herons. Gallery forest hold, as well as Black-tailed Trogon, the incredible Toco Toucan (with its bright blue eye), White-wedged Piculet, handsome Pale-crested and Crimson-crested Woodpeckers, Red-billed Scythebill, Mato Grosso Antbird, Euler’s Flycatcher, White-eyed Attila, Bare-necked Fruitcrow, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Rufous-crowned Greenlet, Orange-headed and Grey-headed Tanagers, Chestnut-vented Conebill and Golden-crowned Warbler. Night in Trinidad.
Day 5:Flight to Santa Cruz. Night in Santa Cruz.
Day 6:MAIN TOUR: Next day the main tour starts. We’ll head to the airport early morning to pick up anyone not taking the pre-tour extension. We’ll have a couple of hours to bird before lunch. Since you will have already visited this area on Day 1 of the extension, you may wish to take the morning or the day off.
INCLUDES AIR SANTA CRUZ – TRINIDAD – SANTA CRUZ