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How to See Exotic Birds in the Peruvian Amazon

Pat ODonnell

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.

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Curl-crested Aracari, one of seven toucan species that occur near our lodges.

Actually, most are hiding, including the birds, many of them in plain sight. Since so many animals in the Amazon rainforest are always trying to prey upon or escape from each other, just about everything is camouflaged or knows how to stay out of sight. With that in mind, here are a few tips to see more exotic, beautiful bird species when visiting our lodges:

Spend some time in a canopy tower: Most of the colorful species like toucans, tanagers, and cotingas live in the upper reaches of the forest. It's amazing how much easier it is to see these and dozens of other birds from the top of a canopy tower.


Female Golden-collared Toucanet by Frank Pichardo, our wildlife photographer workshop instructor.

Look, listen, and wait: Birds in the forest can't be obvious or they would be caught by a predator. This just means that we have to spend a bit more time carefully looking for any movement, listening for their calls, and taking the time time to find them.

Bird with an experienced guide: Nothing facilitates finding rainforest birds more than hiking with someone who knows how to find them. A guide trained in finding birds will know their vocalizations, which microhabitats are used by certain species, and how to look for them.

Hike our trails through beautiful rainforest with one of our trained guides and see how many bird species you can find!

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