Birding in Lima: Villa Wetlands and Pucusana Area

Birding in Lima: Villa Wetlands and Pucusana Area

One of the most popular tours for birders that have a spare day in Lima. A full-day that combines water birds and seabirds of Villa and Pucusana.

Pantanos de Villa

We start our tour early in the morning to avoid the rush hour and we head directly to the Pantanos de Villa Reserve. The Villa marshes are the only protected area within the city limits of Lima. It was declared a RAMSAR (International Convention of Wetlands) site in 1997. This complex of lagoons, pools and marsh areas made up of totora reed clumps, are part of a migratory corridor and resting point for several bird species along the Peruvian coast. More than 130 bird species have been recorded here, and at least 40 species can be seen on a single visit.

Plumbeous Rail | © Jean Paul Perret

Our first stop within the reserve take us to a coastal lagoon next to the beach where we will be looking for birds like Great GrebePied-billed GrebeCinnamon TealWhite-cheeked PintailAndean DuckGray-hooded Gull and Gray Gull. Depending on the season sometimes we found small numbers of Andean Gulls in this area. A quick scan from the seashore will allow us to observe species like Peruvian PelicanPeruvian BoobiesGuanay Cormorants flying by and sometimes even Peruvian Diving-Petrels.

As the day starts to warm up we move to our next location, a group of small ponds surrounded by totora reeds. This vegetation is the habitat of two species, the Many-colored Rush-Tyrant and the Wren-like Rushbird. After seen these targets we’ll try to find some hard to observe birds like Plumbeous Rail and Least Bittern. On the trail back to our car we will stop for a moment to look for Peruvian Thick-knees in an open area covered with grass.


Our next stop is the fishing village of Pucusana, about 60 Km (38 miles) south of Lima. Pucusana is located inside a small cove and protected by an island just in front of the town. From here we will take a boat to navigate the waters around the island where we will have close views of some of the Humboldt current specialties like Peruvian PelicanPeruvian BoobieGuanay CormorantRed-legged CormorantBlackish OystercatcherBelcher’s Gull, the endemic Surf CinclodesHumboldt Penguins and the stunning Inca Terns.

Red-legged Cormorant@ Jean Paul Perret

Continuing with the navigation we visit a small colony of South American Sea Lions. This rocky coast is also the habitat of the endangered Marine Otter, one of the smallest otter species in the world.

Bran-colored Flycatcher @Jean Paul Perret

After our pelagic trip we will have lunch at a local restaurant. Then we’ll move to our next location at the Lurin River. This area is home to the rufescens subspecies of Bran-colored Flycatcher that might be split in the future. Other species that we can observe in this area includes Croaking Ground-doveAmazilia HummingbirdPeruvian SheartailPurple-collared WoodstarLong-tailed MockingbirdScrub BlackbirdHarris’s Hawk and Peruvian Meadowlark.


The Peruvian coast is located in the middle of one of the driest deserts in the world, the Atacama Desert. Despite that, during the winter months (June to November) the atmosphere is saturated with high levels of humidity due to the condensation caused by the cold Humboldt Current. Rains are very uncommon here (except during “El Niño” events), but drizzle is present almost every day during the winter months. Temperatures ranges from 30°C (86°F) during the austral summer (December to March) to 13°C (55°F) from June to November.


  • During the winter months (June to November) dress in layers, a windproof jacket, fleece jacket and a T-shirt or a long sleeve shirt is a good combination. For the boat trip a windproof jacket is a must during winter and desirable even in the summer months as the combination of strong winds and cold waters creates wind chill conditions.
  • Between November and May sunny days are very common. Bring something to cover your head as the UV factor along the Peruvian coast is very high. Also a sunblock with good UV protection is important.
  • Mosquitoes are not a big problem at the Villa reserve and are not known to carry any diseases, but if you want to be sure you can bring some insect repellent.
  • If you suffer from any medical condition that requires special attention please let us beforehand.


1 PAX $550 per person
2 PAX $355 per person
3 PAX $280 per person
4 PAX $255 per person
5 PAX $230 per person
6, 7 or 8 PAX $220 per person

Prices include

  • Transportation from your hotel or the airport to the localities mentioned in the tour description.
  • Professional birding guide.
  • Entrance tickets to the Pantanos de Villa Reserve.
  • One-hour boat trip at Pucusana*.
  • Lunch at Pucusana.

*Storms are not very common along the Peruvian coast, but in the event of extreme weather conditions we might have to cancel this part of the tour. If this happens we have a land based spot where we can observe most of the species mentioned on the tour description.

Prices does not include

  • Alcoholic beverages at the restaurant.
  • Tips for the guide and driver.
Download program (PDF) Back to Birdwatching in Lima and Surroundings

I had an amazing day and I am delighted with the photographs I obtained of a wide variety of species.

Nick Plumb

Wildlife Photographer, Suffolk- UK

We hired Ecologistica Peru for two days of birding in the Lima area following a memorable trek on the Inca Trail.

Rene Laubach & Christyna Laubach

Rene Laubach , Audubon Society Wildlife Sanctuary Director – Retired, USA & Christyna Laubach, High School Science Teacher and Department head – Retired, USA.

We met Guillermo Knell when he was working on a Natural Habitat Peruvian jungle cruise, and enjoyed his presence.

Jerry Johnson and Dominique Bello

Retired Economist and Artist, Washington DC

Ecologistica Peru did a fantastic job providing three memorable days of birding in the Lima area. We visited Pantanos de Villa, Pucusana, Lachay National Reserve, and the Santa Eulalia valley.

Andrew Fix

Retired Scientist, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

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