Birds of Peru | Peru Unbound

Birds of Peru

Peru is home to more than 1,800 bird species. 120 of these species are found nowhere else in the world.

Andean Cock of the Rock

ANDEAN COCK OF THE ROCK     

The Andean cock of the rock is the national bird of Peru. It dwells in the Andean cloud forest. It eats a diet of fruit, supplemented by insects, amphibians, reptiles, and smaller mice. The cock of the rock is general a shy and inconspicuous bird, often seen only briefly after being flushed out or while swiftly flying down a valley.

The male of the species has nothing to do with nesting once mating is done. His energy is devoted instead to very elaborate display rituals that show off his magnificent plumage. This consists of facing another male while bowing, jumping, and flapping their wings, sometimes even snapping their bills, and at the same time giving off various squawking and grunting calls. They ramp up the intensity when a female is around.

The female cock of the rock builds the nest entirely on her own. She uses mud plastered to cave entrances or rocky outcrops in forest ravines. The female typically lays two white eggs and incubation can take 25 to 28 days.

Andean Condor

ANDEAN CONDOR 

The Andean Condor is found in the Andes mountains and adjacent Pacific coasts. It is the largest flying bird in the world. It has a maximum wingspan of 10 ft 10 inches.

The condor is a vulture, primarily a scavenger that feeds on carrion. It prefers large carcasses like deer or cattle. It prefers relatively open, non-forested areas which allow it to spot carrion from the air.

The condor soars with its wings held horizontally. It does very little flapping while in the air, relying on heat thermals to stay aloft. It prefers to roost on high places where it can launch without major wing-flapping effort.

During courtship, the male approaches the female with his neck outstretched, changing from dull red to bright yellow, and inflates. He reveals his inflate neck and chest patch while hissing. Then he extende his wings and clicks his tongue.

The Andean condor nest consists of a few sticks placed around the eggs for protection. It’s created on inaccessible ledges of rock. On the coasts of Peru the Andean condor uses partially shaded crannies scrapes out against boulders on slopes to roost. The female will usually lay one or two bluish-white eggs weighing just under 10 ounces each. Both parents are responsible for incubation. If the chick or egg is lost or removed, another egg is laid to take its place.

The Andean condor matures slowly. It takes six months before the chicks are able to fly. They continue to roost and hunt with their parents until age two, when they are displaced by a new clutch.

Harpy Eagle

HARPY EAGLE 

The harpy eagle is the largest raptor in the Amazon rainforest and one of the biggest eagles in the world. There are healthy populations of this majestic bird in the Peruvian rainforests, but they are very difficult to see.

Harpy eagles share the top of the good chain with jaguars and anancondas. The jaguar rules the forest floors, the Anaconda is king of the swamps and lakes, and the harpy eagle dominates the canopy of the rainforest.

They catch and eat a variety of animals. They take sloths, monkeys, large birds like toucans kinkajous and will even kill a brocket deer. They have an oversized beak and talons. The legs of the harpy eagle can also be nearly as thick as the wrist of a person.

 

Macaws

MACAWS 

Macaws are associated with forests, especially rainforests, but some prefer woodland or savannah-like habitats. They have larger beaks and long tails that distinguish them from other parrots. A macaw’s facial feather pattern is as unique as a fingerprint. Their first and fourth toes point backward.

Macaws eat a variety of foods including seeds, nuts, fruits, palm fruits, leaves, flowers, and stems.

Blue Footed Booby

BLUE-FOOTED BOOBY

The blue-footed booby is a marine bird that lives on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. It is recognizable by its distinctive bright blue feet. The shade of the feet fade with age and females seek out the younger males this way when it comes to mating.

This bird’s food consists of fish, which it obtains by diving and sometimes swimming underwater in search of its prey. It hunts alone at times, but usually in groups.

The blue-footed booby usually lays one to three eggs at a time. The species practices asynchronous hatching, in contrast to many other species where incubation begins when the last egg is laid and all chicks hatch together. This results in a growth inequality and size disparity between siblings, leading to facultative siblicide in times of food scarcity.

Toucan

TOUCAN 

The toucan is a medium-sized to large bird with an over-sized bill. They are sometimes referred to as the flying banana when they take to the air. They glide between the crowns of rainforest tree and add color to the canopy with striking plumages highlighted by black, white, red, and yellow. Striking and exotic in appearance, toucans are an essential part of any Peruvian rainforest adventure. 

The Tambopata region is especially rich in toucan species. Toucans forage for a variety of fruits, insects, and small vertebrates like lizards. They also take bird’s eggs and nestlings.

Toucans are highly social and are rarely seen alone. The beaks of males are bigger than females. The difference is very apparent when a male and female are spotted together.

Toucans seem to be quite intelligent. They can learn to do tricks and have been reported to tease family pets in captivity. They act a lot like crows and jays.

Your greatest chances for seeing toucans during your visit to Peru is to watch from a canopy tower. Most toucans are true canopy specialists and rarely descend into lower levels of the rainforest. They often perch on and display from the tallest of canopy snags. Traveling by boat on the Tambopata River is another great way to see toucans. Watch the treetops and you’ll see toucans perch in treetops and fly across this lowland rainforest waterway.

Try and spot these birds on our Peru Unbound Tour.