There are about 1486 species of bird found in the Amazon Tropical Rainforest. Of these, 10% of the birds belong only to the Amazon or have evolved into something quite unique and separate from their cousins you might find around the world.
So let’s have a look at our favourite birds of the Amazon Tropical Rainforest, and along the way, some videos about them.
The family known as Psittacidae, which is commonly called Parrots contains more than 300 different species of birds in the Amazon rainforest. This family also has members throughout South America and Central America.
Hummingbirds are very interesting creatures because they are constantly moving yet not really going anywhere. They fly backward, sideways, up & down while hovering over one small spot with their beaks often darting into flowers for food several times a second! They flap their wings 53-80 times per second on average, but during courtship flights, it can be as high as 200 times/sec.
There are ten families of hummers in the Amazon. The smallest is called the bee hummingbird and weighs less than a penny! They have larger cousins that are almost twice that size.
The owls are another interesting group of birds to watch because they hunt during daylight hours more often than nocturnal hunters do. There are about 50 different types of Owls throughout the amazon rainforest. Most people know Barn owls and Screech owls by their common names, but there are also Spectacled owls, Spotted owls, Frilled owls and many more.
This group of birds is unique in that they have a very long tongue which they can retract into their beak while drilling holes in the trunks of trees to find insects for food & sometimes even nest! The entire head acts as a hammer to help them drill through bark and wood.
The Toucan or Tucan is a large bird with a huge colorful bill much like the figure shown here on this page. They play an important role in seed dispersal because when they fly from tree to tree, they drop seeds. We call this process ‘hatch, match, and dispatch’ because they not only hatch them out of their beaks, they find a mate and then drop the seeds as they fly to another tree!
The Kingfisher is a rather interesting type of bird that many people may not even realize exist. They are often seen flying along rivers or over water where you can observe them diving into the water for fish. Dozens of those types of birds have evolved throughout the Amazon rainforest & most are brightly colored and beautifully patterned.
As with all species in nature – some members of this group became extinct about 10 thousand years ago at the end of the last ice age when glaciers retreated.
The majority of the species you will find in the Amazon today are still living & thriving today. As with all species, some members of this group became extinct about 10 thousand years ago at the end of the last ice age when glaciers retreated.
The Harpy Eagle is the largest predator in all of the Americas. It hunts by flying above the treetops & then diving down quickly to grab monkeys, sloths, or other animals that may be resting on a branch at any level of the rainforest.
King Vulture – Yellow Necked Stork
There are four species of vultures found throughout South America & Central America. The King Vulture has a very large wingspan & often feeds on dead mammals such as horses and cattle that farmers may leave behind when they clear land for coffee plantations or farming. This is not only an interesting bird with its bald head and white neck, but it is also respected as being one of those primary predators.
The Hoatzin is a very unique bird that some say resembles an ‘old world’ dinosaur! It has claws on its wings which it uses to help it climb trees like an ape. It also has spurs on its wing joints much like the roadrunner in the old Bugs Bunny cartoon series. They are very territorial birds who make loud, screeching calls when they spot other birds flying over their territory.
Mealy Amazon Parrot
There are eight species of parrots found throughout South America & Central America. The creatures you see here exist only in the Amazon rainforest and surrounding areas. These large brightly colored parrots can be seen nesting high inside hollow tree trunks or in holes dug into the ground by other animals. This is a very smart bird with the ability to mimic human voices and other noises it hears in its environment such as chainsaws & barking dogs
There are many types of cotingas found throughout the Amazon rainforest. The one shown here is actually from Costa Rica’s Rainforest, but it is very colorful with a unique butterfly-shaped crest on its head & unusual patterning on its wings. They are quite shy, so you’d have to be extremely lucky to get this close for a photograph.
This beautiful bird can be seen more often in the treetops than it does on the forest floor like most other jays. There are 30 species of this type found throughout South America & Central America
The Curve-billed Scythebill inhabits dry areas of thornbush where they feed mainly by gleaning insects off of shrubs. You might be surprised to find out that they also eat fruit, seeds, and even nectar from flowers. This is a very curious bird that doesn’t mind you being just a few feet away as long as you don’t try to get too close!
South American Pygmy Owl
The South American Pygmy-Owl gets its name because it is the smallest owl found throughout all of South America. It can be observed perching on branches or wire fences looking for small rodents such as mice, rats & sparrows. The majority of these owls have large eyes which helps them see in very low light conditions at night when they are actively hunting.
This type of toucanet is mostly black with touches of gray along its wings, tail and head. There is however one yellow marking on each side above its eyes which gives it both its name and also its scientific name. The toucanet is a very agile bird that is capable of flying rather swiftly in search of small nectar-feeding birds such as honeycreepers, flower piercers and sunangels.
This unique-looking bird has feathers that come in shades of olive green, blue and turquoise with touches of yellow on its underparts. It has a short tail with white tips on the underside and one long white-tipped tail feather which it can raise up when it feels threatened or is trying to impress a potential mate. This toucanet type lives only in the cloud forests at elevations between 5,000ft & 11,000ft where they make their nests in holes dug out by woodpeckers and other large birds.
The Cock-of-the-Rock gets its name from the brilliant colors of its feathers which resemble a male bird’s bright red facial wattles. This very large toucanet type lives in flocks inside the Amazon rainforest & surrounding areas. It is a very shy bird that usually spends most of its time on the forest floor, but will fly into trees to escape predators such as eagles.
The potoo is strictly nocturnal which means it will only come out after dark when it perches on a branch or wire fence looking for insects, lizards, mice and other small rodents. There are several species of this bird found throughout the Amazon, but they all have a very distinctive look with a large head and bill along with a long tail that helps them move around in the darkness.
Eastern Long-tailed Hermit
The Eastern Long-tailed Hermit is one of nine different types of this hermit-type hummingbird found throughout Central America & South America. It is characterized by its green body color, red throat patch, and long pinkish/red tail feathers which can grow to be nearly 9inches long. It is rather shy and will usually only come out at first light.
This type of hummingbird also has green feathers along with a bright blue throat area that makes it easy to identify! You can find them flying through the rainforest typically under cover of dense vegetation which helps protect them from predators. They are very territorial birds & will fly to the ends of branches to chase away other hummingbirds that get too close!
This bird is actually from Panama, where it is also found:
The Chestnut-Breasted Coronet gets its name from the bright red feathers that cover the head, throat and underparts along with a streak of deep purple which is found in the center of its white chest feathers. It is also known to have a distinctive crest which it raises when it becomes excited or agitated.
The bird is named after the large umbrella-shaped crest on its head that can be raised or lowered depending upon its emotions at any given time! This very showy bird is found throughout the Amazon Basin where it spends most of its time in the high canopy.
This distinctive-looking bird has a black head and underparts along with white feathers on its back. It also has a dark brown crest that is raised when the bird becomes excited or agitated. They typically eat eggs, small birds, lizards & snakes in addition to carrion which they find by walking on the forest floor. There are several different types of Caracara found throughout the Amazon Basin, but they all have similar characteristics.
The Banner-Tailed Oropendola has beautiful black feathers along with yellowtail feathers and a distinctive red crest on top of its head. What makes this bird so unique is that it will actually raise its tail feathers in an arch when it feels threatened or wants to show off to potential mates!
This beautiful bird with colorful feathers is the largest type of toucan, but it has a very small bill that is no larger than the size of a human thumb. They have a loud call which makes them easy to hear throughout the rainforest, but they are also very difficult to spot as they spend most of their time high up in the dense canopy of the rainforest.
This type of toucan is usually seen flying through the rainforest undergrowth in search of fruit, insects & small reptiles to eat! You can often tell which sex it is by its eye color as males have a dark gray around their eyes whereas females have more reddish-brown colors around their eyes.
This type of toucan has distinctive green feathers along with a large beak that is slightly curved near the end. As you can imagine, it feeds mainly on fruit which it stores in its throat pouch to eat later! It will also eat insects & sometimes even small lizards when fruit is not abundant in the area where it lives.
The Chestnut-Mandibled Toucan has a large black beak which its name refers to along with colorful feathers that can vary from green, yellow & red depending upon the region in which it lives. It is very common throughout the Amazon Basin where it is typically seen flying through the rainforest undergrowth in search of fruit, insects & small reptiles to eat.
This type of piculet has olive-colored feathers along with a black head and beak that looks like an upturned parrot! It spends most of its time in the rainforest undergrowth in search of insects to eat.
The cinnamon becard is known for its beautiful black & cinnamon red feather pattern which it displays when it feels threatened or wants to show off to potential mates! It has a very loud call which makes it easy to find throughout the Amazon Basin, but it spends most of its time high up in the dense canopy.
The Masked Tityra has a distinct black head, white throat & brown underparts along with chestnut-colored upperparts. They are very large songbirds that travel through the rainforest usually by hopping on the ground instead of flying. It is typically seen in pairs or small groups in the Amazon Basin where it eats berries, fruits & occasionally even insects in addition to leaves.
This beautiful tanager has blue feathers on its back that look like they are sparkling in the sunlight! It also has a yellow underpart with orange stripes along the side of its body which helps to make it stand out even more. They live in pairs or small groups & spend most of their time high up in the dense canopy of the rainforest where they eat primarily fruit.
This large bird lives high up in the canopy of the Amazon rainforest where it is very difficult to spot! It has chestnut-colored upperparts with a gray underpart that helps to camouflage it against the leafy floor of the rainforest. They are very hard to find, but can be heard calling out at nightfall.
This is the second-largest type of guan in the world, but it has never been seen in zoos! It is a very shy bird which makes it even harder to find in the rainforest. Its upper parts are green with chestnut-colored lower parts & long black tail feathers that look like whips.
There are four species of curassow that can be found in the Amazon rainforest, but they all have black & white striped feathers along with a distinct sharp crest on their head. The three smaller types which include the smaller red-billed and yellow-knobbed curassows feed mainly on fruit while the larger Andean curassow will eat leafy greens in addition to fruit.
The red-billed curassow is the smallest type of curassow in the Amazon Basin where they are typically seen hiding amongst the dense undergrowth in search of fruit, insects & sometimes even small lizards. They spend most of their time on the ground or high up onto low-hanging trees or branches which makes them easy prey for predators including snakes!
This type of curassow is much larger than its relatives with black feathers along with a bright yellow crest on its head. It has a distinctive white spot under each eye which helps to make it stand out even more from other types of curassows. They are known for feeding on fruits, berries & even small mammals in addition to leaves which makes them one of the most sought-after game birds throughout South America!
This type of curassow has black feathers along with a yellow crest on its head that curves upwards slightly. It also has distinctive yellow “knobs” which grow out from around the base of its beak making it very easy to recognize because it never straysfar from its native habitat in the Amazon rainforest!
This is a very shy type of antshrike that is most active at night when it hunts for its food with the help of its excellent sense of hearing. It has beautiful chestnut-colored upperparts that blend in perfectly with the floor of the rainforest during the day with black markings around its eyes which help it to see even when hunting in low light conditions!
This is another species of antshrike species that takes cover on the forest floor during the day by blending in perfectly thanks to their brown coloration and black spots all over their back. They use echo-location throughout their territory which helps them to remain unseen until they feel threatened or want to defend themselves.