We are sure many of you out there can identify with the feeling of sheer elation when you have waited up late, or woken up early in the hope of finding an owl, and your hard work and perseverance have paid off. Well, this month we have an owl that should be high on most birders’ wish lists for many reasons. Placed in its own aptly named genus, the Xenoglaux, meaning ‘strangle owl’, the Long-whiskered Owlet is a miniscule bird averaging only 13-14 cm (about 5-5.5 inches) in size and weighing in at no more than about 45g! Aside from being placed in its own genus, it is also endemic to a very small area of the Andean cloud forest. Sadly, owing to the deforestation of its restricted habitat and its general localisation, it is currently listed by the IUCN as Endangered.
Fortunately for our Rockjumper followers, we are able to offer our birders the rare opportunity to bird the dense, high altitude Andean cloud forests of Northern Peru in the hopes of finding this incredible owlet. On top of this little-known, highly sought-after specialty, we will also be looking for perhaps the most attractive bird in the world, the incredibly adorned Marvellous Spatuletail. We can also expect to delight in sightings of the rare Koepke’s Hermit, Lulu’s Tody-Flycatcher, Yellow-scarfed Tanager, Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan, Critically Endangered White-winged Guan, Huallaga Tanager, localized Ash-throated Antwren and the elegant Swallow-tailed Nightjar! If that were not enough, we will search for up to 9 species of Antpitta, including the highly attractive and sought-after Pale-billed Antpitta. The visually stunning Marañon Valley plays host to the endemic Yellow-faced Parrotlet, a number of taxonomically aberrant Inca Finches and the beautiful Marañon Crescentchest while the coastal littoral may deliver Peruvian Plantcutter, Inca Flycatcher, Henna-hooded Foliage Gleaner and Cinereous Finch.