Birds, orchids and archeology: an expedition to northern Peru

birds orchids and archeology

Peru has a treasure of natural and cultural resources which have great interest worldwide. This article is about an expedition we made through 4 regions of northern Peru, with our friends Jeff and Patricia, a couple, who were interested in bird and orchid watching, and visiting archaeological sites.

Expedition Design

Jeff and Patricia Harding are a couple of friends from Oregon, USA.

In July 2019, they participated in an international orchid event that took place in the city of Moyobamba, so they decided to make a previous expedition with the interest of observing birds, Jeff’s favorite activity, observing wild orchids, Patricia’s specialty, and visiting archaeological sites.

We designed an itinerary for them that included the following activities:

  • Lambayeque: Visit to museums and archaeological sites of the Moche culture (Sipán and Sicán) and bird watching in the dry forests of the area.

  • Cajamarca: Visit to Kuntur Wasi archaeological complex, Cumbemayo archaeological complex and bird and orchid watching.

  • Amazonas: Visit to Leymebamba museum, Kuelap archaeological complex, bird and orchid watching along the Utcubamba valley.

  • San Martin: Bird and orchid watching in the Alto Mayo valley, mainly in the Alto Mayo Protected Forest.

The total route was approximately 850 km, from 0 to 4326 m.a.s.l., covering diverse ecosystems such as coastal desert, dry forest, Andean scrubland, yunga forests, among others.


Patricia & Jeff Harding 2019 trip


Main results of the expedition to Northern Peru

  • Duration: 10 days.

  • More than 400 species of birds were observed, including 18 endemic species. In addition, approximately 70 species of orchids.

  • Main birds observed: Peruvian plantcutter, White-winged Guan, Yellow-faced Parakeet, Rufous-backed Inca finch, Marvelous Spatuletail, Black-necked woodpecker, Johnson’s Tody-flycatcher, among many others.

  • Main orchid species observed: Cochlioda noezliana, Epidendrum christensonii, Lepanthes katleri, Ida reichenbachii, Maxillaria striata, Cyrtochilum pastasae, Maxillaria sanderiana, Phragmipedium kovachii, Phragmipedium caudatum and Masdevallia weberbaueri.

“We wanted to see orchids, birds and archaeology, starting in Chiclayo and ending in Moyobamba. The itinerary planning was customized; it was a wonderful 10 days, through special natural habitats and archaeological wonders of northern Peru.” Jeff & Patricia Harding.