Peru is a paradise for birdwatchers, with over 1800 species of birds found within its borders. From the colorful macaws of the Amazon rainforest to the majestic Andean condors of the high mountains, there is no shortage of fascinating and must-see bird species in this South American country. Here are 10 birds that you won’t want to miss on your trip to Peru.

1. Andean Condor

The Andean condor is one of the largest flying birds in the world, with a wingspan of up to 10 feet. These majestic birds are native to the Andes mountain range in South America. Condors usually soar above the peaks in search of carrion.

The Andean condor is a threatened species, with fewer than 10,000 individuals remaining in the wild. It is a scavenger, feeding primarily on the carcasses of large animals such as cows, sheep, and llamas. The Andean condor is an important cultural symbol in many South American countries. It is considered a national treasure in Peru. Also, the condor is known for its striking appearance. This bird features black feathers and a large, reddish-orange head and neck. The Andean condor is a long-lived species, with individuals living for up to 50 years in the wild.

Birds of Peru: 10 Fascinating & Must-See Species

2. Hoatzin

The hoatzin, also known as the “stinkbird,” is a pungent-smelling bird found in the Amazon rainforest of South America. It is a large bird, with a body length of up to 2 feet and a wingspan of up to 3.5 feet. The hoatzin has a distinctive odor, which is caused by the fermentation of the leaves it eats. It has brown and green plumage and a short, round tail.

The hoatzin is a non-migratory species, living year-round in the same area. It is a herbivorous bird, feeding on leaves, flowers, and fruit. Also, the hoatzin is a solitary species, with individuals living alone or in small groups. Hoatzins are not a threatened species. Nonetheless, the number of hoatzins is declining due to habitat loss.

Hoatzin - Birds of Peru: 10 Fascinating & Must-See Species

3. Inca tern

The Inca tern is a medium-sized seabird found along the coast of Peru and other parts of South America. It is a striking bird, with distinctive white feathers on its head and neck, which resemble a mustache. The rest of its plumage is black and white, with a long, pointed tail.

The Inca tern is a carnivorous bird, feeding on small fish, squid, and other marine animals. It is a skilled fisherman, diving into the water to catch its prey. Additionally, the Inca tern is known for its elaborate courtship displays, which involve singing, dancing, and presenting fish to potential mates. It is a colonial nester, with individuals living in large, noisy colonies. The Inca tern is not considered a threatened species. However, its numbers are declining due to habitat loss and overfishing.

Inca Tern

4. Keel Billed Toucan

The keel-billed toucan is a large and distinctive bird found in the tropical rainforests of South and Central America. The keel-billed toucan displays a colorful appearance, with a large, brightly colored beak and a variety of plumage colors, including yellow, green, and red.

Additionally, the keel-billed toucan is an omnivorous bird, feeding on a variety of fruits, insects, and small reptiles. Also, it has a large, expandable esophagus that allows it to swallow large prey whole. The keel-billed toucan is a social bird, living in small groups of up to a dozen individuals.

Keel-Billed-Toucan

5. Lapwing

The lapwing is a medium-sized bird found in grasslands and wetlands throughout much of the world, including Peru. It is a striking bird, with bright blue and green plumage and a distinctive crest on its head. The lapwing is a ground-dwelling bird, feeding on insects and other small invertebrates. The lapwing performs elaborate courtship displays, which involve singing, dancing, and wing-flapping.

Also, the lapwing is a non-migratory species, living in the same area year-round. It is a social bird, living in small flocks and forming large communal roosts at night. Additionally, the lapwing is not considered to be a threatened species. Nevertheless, some populations are declining due to habitat loss and pollution.

Lapwing

6. Macaw

The macaw is a large, brightly colored parrot found in the tropical rainforests of South and Central America, including the Amazon rainforest in Peru. It is known for its striking plumage, which can be a variety of colors, including red, blue, green, and yellow. The macaw is a social bird, living in small to large flocks and forming strong bonds with other members of its group.

It is an omnivorous bird, feeding on a variety of fruits, nuts, seeds, and insects. The macaw is also known for its ability to mimic human speech and other sounds, making it a popular pet. However, the macaw is a threatened species. Extinction is a real danger for macaws, due to habitat loss and illegal poaching for the pet trade.

Macaw

7. Osprey

The osprey is a large bird of prey found along the coast and inland waterways of Peru and other parts of the world. It is a skilled fisher, diving into the water to catch its prey with its sharp talons. The osprey has a distinctive appearance, with a white head and underparts, a brown back, and long, narrow wings. It is a medium-sized bird, with a body length of up to 2 feet and a wingspan of up to 5 feet.

The osprey is a migratory species, with some populations traveling long distances between breeding and wintering grounds. It is a solitary nester, with each pair of ospreys establishing its own territory. The osprey is not a threatened species, but some populations are declining due to habitat loss and pollution.

Aguila-Pescadora

8. Owlet-nightjar

The owlet-nightjar is a small, nocturnal bird found in the dry forests of Peru and other parts of South America. It is an elusive bird, spending the daylight hours roosting in tree cavities and coming out at night to hunt for insects. The owlet-nightjar has a distinctive appearance, with mottled brown and gray plumage, and large eyes that help it see in the dark.

It has a short, rounded tail and long, thin wings. The owlet-nightjar has a distinctive call, which sounds like a mixture of a hoot and a purr. It is a non-migratory species, living in the same area year-round. The owlet-nightjar is not a threatened species. However, its numbers are declining due to habitat loss.

Owlet-nightjar

9. Pheasant Cuckoo

The pheasant cuckoo is a large and striking bird found in the tropical rainforests of South and Central America, including the Amazon rainforest in Peru. It has a long, slender body and a distinctive, long tail. The pheasant cuckoo has a variety of plumage colors, including black, white, and brown.

It is a non-migratory species, living in the same area year-round. The pheasant cuckoo is an insectivorous bird, feeding on a variety of insects and other small invertebrates. Also, the pheasant cuckoo has a distinctive call, which sounds like a series of loud, sharp cuckoo calls. This bird is not a threatened species. Nonetheless, its numbers are declining due to habitat loss and deforestation.

Pheasant-Cuckoo

10. Swallow-tailed kite

The swallow-tailed kite is a medium-sized bird of prey found in the tropical rainforests of South and Central America, including the Amazon rainforest in Peru. It is a graceful bird, with long, forked tail and long, narrow wings. The swallow-tailed kite has a variety of plumage colors, including black, white, and gray. It is an agile flier, able to hover in the air while hunting for insects.

The swallow-tailed kite is a non-migratory species, living in the same area year-round. It is a solitary nester, with each pair of kites establishing its own territory. Generally, this bird is not considered a threatened species. However, its numbers are declining due to habitat loss and deforestation.

There are many other fascinating bird species to see in Peru, including the golden-plumed parakeet, the oropendola, and the violet-fronted brilliant. Whether you’re an experienced birder or just starting out, Peru is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in these amazing creatures.

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