Bolivian Lowlands
By Bennett Hennessey

Red-and-green MacawThe lowlands of Bolivia offer three major habitat types for bird communities: The Tropical tall forest (often called Rain Forest), the Beni Flooded savannas, and the dry Cerrado. You can find all three in the Selvablue lodge in the department of Beni and within Noel Kempff Mercado Park.

The best Tropical forest habitat is found in the Rurrenabaque area, especially the site Alto Madidi (do it yourself camping). Around Santa Cruz you will find the furthest southern reaches of Amazonian forest, species poor with low abundances, but still worth a visit if it is your first time. Best to visit the foothill habitat like the Southern-Horned Curassow lodge and Los Volcanes for more regional specialities. In Santa Cruz there is also the Chiqatania Dry forest, only covered here with the Santa Cruz Botanical Gardens.

The Beni Flooded savannas, better defined as the Llanos de Moxos habitat, is a spacious mix of grasslands, marshes, dry forest and tall gallery forest-also generally called pampas. This habitat mostly makes up the department of Beni, but also in areas of Santa Cruz. The Department of Beni is cattle country and, fortunately, cattle are very compatible with this grassland habitat.  Some areas of the Beni Flooded Savannas are even comparable to  more famous Brazilian Pantanal.

The best site is the Barba Azul Nature Reserve. A taste of this habitat is found at Lomas de Arena Park, but can be best appreciated North east of Rurrenebaque (Santa Rose Beni Savannas), and around Trinidad (no site guide description as yet). The dry season (May-October) is best time to visit this habitat as much of the area floods in the rainy season and becomes all but impassible for vehicles (the Selvablue Ecolodge is an exception to this rule- which can be visited year round).  However, late in the dry season (September and October), ranchers set fire to the grasslands to induce new growth of grass and, at times, visibility can be sharply reduced.


The Cerrado habitat is more common in Brazi. The habitat in Bolivi exists in fragments along the northern edge between Beni Flooded Savannas and Tropical forest. Best sites for visiting intact Cerrado are Selvablue ecolodge and Los Fierros in Noel Kempff Mercado Park.