The Best Bird Watching Spots in Bolivia

Birdlife in Bolivia
Birdlife in Bolivia | © Rodrigo Soldon 2 / Flickr
Photo of Harry Stewart
25 April 2018

Boasting large swathes of pristine Amazon rainforest and a series of stunning high altitude lagoons, Bolivia is a brilliant bird watching destination that is all too often overlooked. Minimal government marketing and poor infrastructure drive many birders away, yet those intrepid enough to make the journey will discover a fascinating country awash with exotic birdlife.

Here are the best places to spot birds in Bolivia, all of which and more can be booked through Nick’s Adventures.

Chalalan Lodge

Park
Map View
Chalalan_Ecolodge
Chalalan Eco-lodge | Chalalan Eco-lodge 
A tropical birders paradise, Madidi National Park is home to a whopping 1,110 bird species which represents some 14% of the entire global population. Most opt to stay in Chalalan Lodge, a well-managed community-run project which donates a large portion of their profit to the local community. Interested in other animals too? Then combine a trip to Madidi with the nearby wildlife-rich grasslands known as the Pampas.

Sadiri Lodge

Eco-Lodge
Map View
Military Macaw
Military Macaw | Military Macaw

Another excellent Madidi option, Sadiri Lodge is located within the remote Community San José de Uchupiamonas, a seldom explored section of the park where indigenous Amazonian culture is still alive and well. But it’s the birds that we’ve all come to see, which include Military Macaws, Tanganers, and the native Yunga Tyrannulet, just to name a few. A series of lush hiking trails provide ample opportunity to spot all these exotic species and more.

Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve of Andean Fauna

Skate Park
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Pink flamingos
Pink flamingos | Pink flamingos
Typically visited as part of a three-day Salar de Uyuni tour, the Eduardo Avaroa Reserve is a birder’s dream for its huge flamboyance of colorful pink flamingos which come to feast on the algae-rich waters of these technicolored lagoons. Birdlife aside, the region is rife with snow-capped volcanoes, gushing geysers, and hallucinogenic deserts.

Noel Kempff Mercado National Park

Park
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Birding Bolivia
Parque Nacional Noel Kempff Mercado | Parque Nacional Noel Kempff Mercado
To the far north of the country lies the remote Noel Kempff Mercado National Park, one of the last truly untouched wilderness regions on Earth. Facilities are basic and the required charter flight expensive, though birders who do make the journey will be treated to a dazzling array of avian life in utter isolation. Stunning jungle views greet travelers at every turn while a respectable array of wildlife can be spotted in the region as well.

Samaipata Condor Nest

Park
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A male Andean condor in flight | A male Andean condor in flight

With an impressive wingspan of up to 3 meters (10 feet), the Condor is central to Andean mythology and a must-see for any birder in the region. Most tourists spot this giant vulture in Peru’s Colca Canyon, but the more remote Conder Nest near Bolivia’s Samaipata is a better option to escape the crowds. Granted, this requires a tough uphill hike of some 5 kilometers (3 miles) so it’s not suitable for everyone. Nevertheless, those who make it will be able to marvel at some 30 odd condors as they soar through the air.

Barba Azul Nature Reserve

Eco-Lodge
Map View
Birding Bolivia
Blue-throated Macaw | Blue-throated Macaw

Well off the beaten track, the Barba Azul Nature Reserve is a great place to go for birders who wish to spot the critically endangered Blue-throated Macaw. The largest congregations in the world of this exotic bird can be found in these remote lands, meaning tourists are virtually guaranteed to spot a species which has less than 350 left on Earth. Other incredible birds include the Cock-tailed Tyrant, the Black-masked Finch, and the migrant Bobolink.

Red-fronted Macaw Lodge

Eco-Lodge
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Bolivia birding
Red-fronted Macaw | Red-fronted Macaw

Situated half-way between Santa Cruz and Cochabamba, the Red-fronted Macaw Lodge offers birders easy access to observe and help preserve this endangered endemic species. True to its name, the lodge is surrounded by the largest surviving population of the Red-fronted Macaw in the world, not to mention the lush Mizaque River which attracts a constant stream of other avian life. It’s not exactly luxurious, but know that a percentage of the proceeds go towards conserving the Red-fronted Macaw.