This weekend, Rainforest Expeditions is participating in a global event along with thousands of other people. Known as the "Gobal Big Day", this is the day of the year that probably sees more people watching birds than any other. At least that's one of the main goals of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the organization behind this major birding event.
There are literally hundreds of bird species waiting to be seen in Tambopata, Peru. Of those, many are common and easy to see, others hide in the forest, and a fair number are rare and little known birds of Amazonian rainforest habitats. For the serious birder, there are also a suite of bird species easier to see in Tambopata than other places. Such birds are often referred to as "target" species and the following are best looked for at the Tambopata Research Center (TRC):
The rainforests of Tambopata, Peru harbor more bird species than most places on this planet. With that in mind, it's always a challenge to say which species are the most colorful, which ten birds are the most common, and which birds happen to be the oddest ones in the jungle. Since we have more than 600 species to choose from, there's a lot of rare and bizarre to birds we could talk about. However, today, we might as well begin the conversation with five exotic and bizarre species found on the trails of Posada Amazonas.
For most of us, rainforests are synonymous with bizarre bugs and exotic creatures. Although many birds of the jungle actually have dull brown or gray plumages, and some of the bugs look kind of like ones at home, there certainly are a lot of animals with odd and spectacular appearances. The rainforests of Tambopata are no exception and host one of the most bizarre bird species on the planet, the Hoatzin.
The rainforests of the Amazona are home to several hundred bird species. At some bio-hotspots sites in western Amazonia, including our lodges, the bird list even jumps to 600 plus species identified in an area as small as southern New Jersey! Despite the incredible avian diversity, most first-time visitors to the Amazon wonder why they aren't seeing as many birds as expected. A walk in the rainforest is often quiet except for the calls of a few birds, and other animals also seem to be in hiding.
Literally hundreds of bird species live in the rich rainforest habitats of south-eastern Peru. However, the irony of that avian abundance is that many of those bird species are naturally rare and/or just hard to see. Our canopy towers and trained guides help in seeing more birds but the places where we look for them also play important roles.
There's much more than one type of habitat in the Amazon rainforest. Different types of forest grow in flooded areas compared to upland, hilly situations, and bamboo thickets and other microhabitats provide homes for different suites of plants and animals. The high rainfall in the Amazon as well as in the Andes also result in a variety of wetland habitats, one of the most interesting being oxbow lakes.