Parrots and macaws on a claylick in Tambopata, Peru

Clay licks for macaws, parrots and tapirs too!

The mineral-rich Amazon clay licks attract thousands of dazzling macaws and parrots in a feeding frenzy that has to be seen to be believed, plus the chance to see elusive tapirs at a forest lick.

Parrots and macaws on a claylick in Tambopata, Peru

© Shutterstock

Pinch yourself to make sure it’s really happening!

Witness a profusion of colour, sound and activity as countless numbers of parrots and macaws throng to the lick to feast on the nutritious clay, possibly a kind of detox. It verges on the riotous as they jostle for position, compelled by an irresistible instinct to consume. Not that they are alone. Mammals also visit clay licks and in Peru you can see the otherwise elusive tapir revelling in the clay, a rare privilege.

  • Flapping wings, screeching and squabbling
  • Excellent photo opportunities
  • Spot numerous macaw and parrot species
  • See rare tapirs at close range
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Wildlife goes wild!

Dining etiquette is out of the window as birds and animals compete for the health-bestowing clay providing a natural spectacle for your entertainment.

Claylick at Tambopata, Peru © GQMarks

Elsewhere in Tambopata

There are clay licks near other Amazon lodges where you can enjoy the same exhilarating experience. You need to rise early, the birds can’t wait to get at the clay. Usually one of two intrepid birds arrive first, followed by the flocks as the frenetic feast begins in earnest.

At Heath River you watch from the comfort of a floating hide just 40m from the birds, ideal for photography, and Chuncho is another of Tambopata National Reserve’s popular clay licks. Weather has an impact with rain deterring the birds while clear, sunny days bring them out in force.

Meanwhile in Manu

From Manu Wildlife Centre it’s a short boat ride and forest walk to the hide. Pull up a chair, position your camera and wait for the action to commence. This is the perfect ringside seat for the avian show as hundreds of parrots and macaws descend on the bare banks.

That’s the morning, but in the afternoon tapirs take to the stage at the world’s largest tapir clay lick. You watch from a platform five metres above the forest floor as they arrive for their feast, extracting clay beneath tree roots. It’s the perfect vantage point for photographing these little-seen creatures.