Birding in Peru, Vietnam and Cambodia with Aqua Expeditions

From the Peruvian Amazon to the Mekong, Aqua Expeditions 5-star vessels provide guests with world-class birding and wildlife viewing during their voyage on two of the world’s greatest rivers.

Peru, a country with over 1,800 different bird species, 120 of which are found nowhere else in the world, is one of the prime worldwide destinations for bird watching. Each guest embarking on an Aqua Expeditions Amazon cruise receives a complimentary copy of our Amazon Wildlife and Bird List so they can check off and share their daily bird finds with fellow birding enthusiasts during and after their trip.

Whether you are sailing aboard the Aqua Amazon or Aria Amazon or learning about local birds from guides on skiff excursions on the Amazon River, guests can expect to see Speckled Chachalaca, Black-crowned Nigh Heron, Jabiru Stork, Grey-headed Kite or the Lesser Yellowlegs, as well as rare wading birds, parrots, nighthawks, vultures, hummingbirds and toucans.

Our Amazon region naturist guides are trained by biologist and Outreach Community Manager Juan Diaz and biologist Marcos Rios in the species, habitats and behaviors of Amazon birds.  Some of the river habitat species they covered included Short-tailed Parrot; Tui Parakeet; Olive-spotted Hummingbird; Plain-breasted Piculet; Lesser Hornero; White- bellied, Parker’s, and Red-and-white spinetails; Leaden Antwren; Black-and-white Antbird; River Tyrannulet; Lesser Wagtail-Tyrant; Riverside Tyrant; and Pearly-breasted Conebill. Other species we see on or in the vicinity of river islands on the Amazon River include Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture; Canary-winged Parakeet; Ringed and Amazon kingfishers; Spotted Tody-Flycatcher; Orange-headed, Blue-gray, and Silver-beaked tanagers; Grayish Saltator; Red-capped Cardinal; Russet-backed Oropendola; Yellow-rumped Cacique; Yellow-hooded Blackbird; and Lesson’s, Chestnut-bellied, and Caquetá seedeaters. The Pacaya Samiria Reserve, also located within the Amazon rainforest and only accessible by water, showcases some of the most alluring Amazon birds, such as the heron and hawk living in their habitats alongside other wildlife in the Reserve.

Here is a sampling of the birding which can be had on our Aqua Expeditions cruises:


Scarlet Macaw:


Capped Heron:

Capped heron

Yellow Hooded Blackbirds:

Yellow hooded blackbirds

Black Collared Hawk:

Black Collared Hawk with fish



Yellow Headed Caracara:

Yellow headed Caracara

Amazon Kingfisher:

Amazon kingfisher

Roadside Hawk:

Roadside Hawk

White Winged Swallow:

White Winged Swallow

Lesser Hornero:

Lesser Hornero

Horned Screamer:

Horned Screamer


Toucan thumb

White-Eared Jacamar:

White Eared Jacamar

Great Egret:

Great Egret


The Mekong River with its monsoon based annual flood cycle supports a biological diversity second only to the Amazon in numbers of fish, mammals and birds with over 1,200 species recorded.  As many as 1,300 species of fish may be found in the Mekong, making it the richest in species per square km the in total number after the Amazon and the Congo, giving birdlife ample feeding opportunities.

The ecosystem of Tonle Sap in Cambodia is well known for its bio diversity. Prek Toal, on the lake’s northwestern tip is known for its populations of larger water birds. Other species prevalent in Tonle Sap include the globally threatened greater adjutant, lesser adjutant, bengal florican, ibus, milky stork and the globally near-threatened grey-headed fish eagle, darter, painted stork (pictured below), black-necked stork and black-headed ibis.

While cruising on the Aqua Mekong, guests can explore along the Mekong’s riverbanks led by experienced river guides on foot or by bicycle. We also offer visits to the 22,000 hectare Prek Toal Core Bird Reserve in Cambodia. Guests can watch for beautiful spot-billed pelicans and flocks of painted storks displaying themselves amidst the birdlife living along the Mekong’s shores.

Black Crowned Night Heron:

Black Crowned Night Heron

What are you waiting for? Grab your Peru or Southeast Asia bird list and book your cruise!