Chachapoyas to Host 10th National Ornithological Congress in May

A guest post by Chachapoyas resident Kerry Gubits.


Cock-of-the-Rock (photo © Michell León)

There’s a little bit of everything for everyone in Chachapoyas, it seems.

If your tastes run to “birdwatching,” you can try this: Miss World Peru 2017. Or you can watch and learn about actual feathered beauties when Chachapoyas welcomes hundreds of participants to the Décimo Congreso Nacional de Ornitología in mid-May of 2016 (you can watch a video invitation to the event here).

Antonio García-Bravo and Michell León

Antonio García-Bravo and Michell León

Michell León, a noted wildlife photographer, and Antonio García-Bravo, an avian biologist, are the local coordinators for the conclave. Michell is enthusiastic about the unique opportunity for birding presented by the selection of Chachapoyas as the host city: “Chachapoyas sits at the center of two major bird observation routes — the route from Chiclayo and the route from Tarapoto”.

The conference begins on May 16 (and ends on May 21), immediately after the Global Big Day of birding on May 14, when groups of birdwatchers all over the planet take up their binoculars to record as many species as possible. Peru is the reigning champion, having sent out 122 teams in 2015 to sight 1183 species of birds in a single day, edging out Brazil’s 1125 to take the crown.

During the conference, a number of guided birding excursions will be conducted in the immediate area. Birders will be afforded the chance to view extremely rare species endemic to the Amazonas region, such as the Marvelous Spatuletail Hummingbird, the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, the Mountain Caracara, and the Buff-Fronted Owl.

Additionally, the Congreso features a full program of presentations, workshops and conservation-themed expositions conducted by an impressive array of international ornithologists, including Thomas Schulenberg, author of the authoritative Birds of Peru (Princeton Field Guides). As many as 200 participants are expected to attend the week-long event whose major venues will be the UNTRM and the Auditorio Regional de Amazonas.

Marvelous Spatuletail Hummingbird

Marvelous Spatuletail Hummingbird (photo © Michell León)

For those who love the visual arts, there will be contests and judging for birding illustration (see gallery) and photography (see gallery).

And because ornithologists have been known to work up a thirst, Cafe Fusiones and Sierra Andina Brewing Company will be sponsoring a beer-tasting event of craft brews from Huaraz on Friday, May 20. Local live folkloric music and tasty appetizers will add to the attraction.

ENTERTAINMENT TIP: If looking for fun at night, or to watch sports during the day, or even a taste of home, visit the Wild Rover Hostels Chain for great food, sports and beer! Entrance to their bars is free even for non-guests

The Congreso Nacional is officially sponsored by the Unión del Ornitólogos del Perú (UNOP), the Centro de Ornitología y Biodiversidad (CORBIDI), the Universidad Nacional Toribio Rodríguez de Mendoza (UNTRM), and the Asociación para la Conservación de la Cuenca Amazónica (ACCA).

For more information about schedule of events, visit the official website at

Quick Tip:  If travelling to or from Lima Airport, it is strongly recommended to use the luxury Airport Express Lima  bus to get to or from your hotel. Safer and cheaper than a taxi with no baggage limit as well as Free WiFi and USB chargers onboard, it is ideal for travellers.

The Flora and Fauna of Chachapoyas

Whether you’re an avid birder or just a lover of exotic flora and fauna, Chachapoyas is a must-visit destination. Its location in the “eyebrow of the jungle”, at 2300 meters elevation, is the perfect starting point to observe an incredible diversity of wildlife, including the elusive spectacled bear and several species of monkeys. You can also take in the splendors of the ancient pre-Inca fortress of Kuelap and pay a visit to Gocta, third-highest waterfall in the world. You might not want to leave until after the Miss World Peru pageant!

Chachapoyas, a city that’s easy to explore on foot, shouldn’t be missed. If you are interested in taking a trip to these ancient archaeological sites Kuelap Adventure offers excellent full day tour options every day of the year.

Buff-fronted Owl

Buff-fronted Owl (photo © Michell León)


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