The Amazon rainforest is a treasure trove of all things nature.
There are a host of ecosystems in the world, all bustling with life of different kinds. However, no place on Earth comes close to the Amazonian ecosystem in terms of the sheer biodiversity the place exhibits.
Spanning nine South American nations, the Amazon rainforest is the world’s most significant biodiversity hotspot. Over 16000 tree species, some 430 mammal species, and 2.5 million insect species inhabit the Amazon rainforest! It’s no wonder why the region brims with unparalleled magnificence.
Unsurprisingly, this magnificence also comes from the 1300 species of birds that find a home in this ecologically diverse zone.
The Amazonian avifauna comprises birds of all kinds. Large birds, small birds, birds of prey, birds with vibrant colors, and even birds that stink. Many of these birds are so rare they do not exist anywhere but here. Truly, Amazonia is a haven for exotic birds and heaven for birdwatchers!
If you are a bird lover, we have something special for you – a list of birds found only in the Amazon rainforest! Keep reading to learn about eight of these beautiful creatures endemic to Amazonia.
Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin)
Hoatzin mainly inhabits marshlands and swampy areas of the Amazon River Basin. A characteristic spiky crest adorns the head of this pheasant-sized bird. It has a long neck and a large body with broad, dark brown wings.
However, you would never see these birds flying high, as they can’t fly high or for long distances. Instead, they fly from one tree to another and make weird sounds, mainly groans, croaks, and grunts. Hoatzins are folivorous, so they chiefly feed on plant leaves.
Oh, and did we tell you that hoatzins stink? Yes, the unique digestive process of these stinkbirds produces a strong, pungent odor you won’t like smelling. Not that they care, though.
Scarlet-banded Barbet (Capito wallacei)
Scarlet-banded Barbet is a rare bird species in the Amazon. It is endemic to northern Peru and inhabits southwestern Loreto’s humid montane and sub-montane forests.
The top of its head is covered in a scarlet hue, and a scarlet band runs across its breast. The neck is white, while the flank and abdomen are bright yellow. A black strip runs through their eyes and spreads throughout the wings to the tail. With such a vibrant mix of colors, these little cuties are a treat to watch!
Scarlet-banded Barbets forage in small groups, feeding on seeds and fruits in the forest canopy with their short, curved beaks. Once you are in their region, you can hear their low-pitched trills if you pay attention.
Golden-headed Manakin (Ceratopipra erythrocephala)
Consider yourself a true bird lover? Then be prepared to have a newfound love in Golden-headed Manakins. We bet you can’t take your eyes off them!
These little birds are just over 9 cm long and have a golden head that gives them their name. The rest of the body is largely black. The thighs are furry white, with traces of red near the bottom.
However, this description only applies to adult males. The females and immature males have rather dull features, with a smaller body and an olive-green coloration throughout.
Spread across the northern part of Amazonia, Golden-headed Manakins are omnivores that eat fruits, insects, and spiders.
Spix’s Guan (Penelope jacquacu)
Spix’s Guan is a large cracid endemic to the Amazonian lowlands. You will find them in the western and northern reaches of the Amazon and Orinoco basins, respectively.
The upper part of their body – including the head, wings, and tail – is bronze to olive green. But their underparts have a lighter shade, more of a reddish-brown color. Nevertheless, their throat remains the most striking part, with bright red skin on the underside.
Spix’s Guans are sedentary and solitary, as they don’t move much and mostly forage alone or in pairs. Their main diet includes fruits and seeds, though they may occasionally attack insects.
Great Potoo (Nyctibius grandis)
Although the Great Potoos mainly inhabit the Amazon rainforest, you can also find them in some parts of Central America. But let us tell you, finding them is not so easy.
These owl-like birds are similar to owls in many ways. They have a set of large eyes that can be yellow or brown. These powerful eyes enable them to prey on beetles, termites, and other insects at night. However, spotting or hunting Potoos is not easy as they can camouflage themselves among tree branches.
Their large eyes, short, broad beaks, and a shrill haunting voice make these birds pretty unsettling. Hence, they are also called ghost birds!
Long-whiskered Owlet (Xenoglaux loweryi)
We talked about an owl-like species, but there is another species that needs attention. Not because it is actually an owl, but because it is very rare.
Long-whiskered owlets are one of the rarest species of owls currently existing only in a small region of the Andes mountains in northern Peru.
They are among the smallest species of owls, around 13-14 cm long and 47 ounces in weight. Their large round eyes and the small curved bill give them the signature owl look, but the long whiskers around the eyes and bill distinguish it from other owls.
The long-whiskered owlet has recently caught professional attention, and much is yet to be known about its habits. Nevertheless, it is assumed the owlet feeds on insects.
Blue and Gold Macaw (Ara ararauna)
No list of Amazonian birds is complete without the honorable mention of these beautiful parrots! After all, they are among the most popular birds in the world, and not without reason.
Blue and Gold Macaws are sweet, sociable birds that can be great pets for any bird lover. Their vibrantly colored body is blue (nape, back, wings, and tail) and golden (throat, chest, and belly). Moreover, there is also a shiny green forehead.
Not only are they a treat to the eyes, but they are also great at learning words! They can learn up to 20 distinct words and mimic them efficiently. These friendly birds feed on a variety of seeds, fruits, and nuts.
Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja)
We have talked about different kinds of birds – small and large, carnivorous and folivorous, colorful and camouflaged. However, none of them match the majesty of the great Harpy Eagle – king of birds of Amazonia.
The features of this massive bird of prey are no different from those of other eagles. Shades of white, gray, and black give them a unique look.
Black appears as a band around the neck but spreads throughout much of their upper parts. Their head is gray, while the flanks and underparts are white. The lower part of the wings and tail are striped black and white.
One of the largest and strongest birds in the Amazon region, the Harpy Eagle is an apex predator. Thanks to their exceptionally large talons, they can grab and kill mammals and birds about their own weight!
The birds are calling you!
After going through this list of rare Amazonian birds, are you thinking about what to do next? Let us help you with some birdy ideas.
The Amazon Forest bustles with an unrivaled multitude of many more exotic birds. So, if birds interest you, you can read and learn more about these cute little creatures from across the web!
Once you do that, you can set sail – or better, fly – to the Amazon for an unforgettable twitching experience. Don’t forget to take your binoculars, though!
Moreover, if you love wildlife and nature, hop into the Flora and Fauna section to find some amazing pieces on all things nature. Rest assured, you are going to love all of them.