Rare Species of the Andes and Amazon

In light of my upcoming trip to the Peruvian Amazon, I'll be shedding light on some of the coolest species to see in the area. I'll start with this blog, taken from the Our Amazing Planet website, about rare species dwelling in the Andes and the Amazon.

The Andes range is one of the longest on Earth, consisting of 4,400 mountainous miles that stretch through the western coasts of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. While the Amazon rainforest is the largest rainforest in the world, once covering almost half the South American continent. It once stretched across Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Suriname. The Amazon rainforest is being cut down daily and has shrunk to a fraction of its original size. The rapid rate at which it is disappearing makes an accurate range impossible to record.

Here is a gallery of some of the least protected, and some of the rarest, endemic species found in the Andes-Amazon basin of Peru and Bolivia. These shots were provided to OurAmazingPlanet by study researcher Jennifer Swenson of Duke University.

Credit: Proyecto Mono Tocon

An endemic species is one that is restricted to a specific area and is not found anywhere else. A multinational team of researchers analyzed records of the endemic species of the Andes-Amazon basin region of Peru and Bolivia, finding that a total of the 226 species (that we know of) have no national protection, while about half of the ecological systems have 10 percent or less of their range protected. Sad story for this guy.

This is the Andean Titi Monkey. It is so rare that it remained hidden in the tropical forests of Peru until 1990, when it was officially recongnized as a valid species. It is critically endangered because of deforestation and a lack of conservation efforts. It is thought that at least 60 percent of its original habitat has been lost.

Credit: Bruce Young | Nature Serve

This is the Black-faced Brush-finch. It is endemic to Peru. Although its habitat range is decreasing, it has not yet reached the threshold to be considered vulnerable by IUCN standards.

The Long Whiskered Owlet (he's been on my blog before) is found in the Andes of Peru, and is a fairly recent discovery (it was first discovered in 1976 but wasn't observed in the wild for the first time until 2007).

The species is endangered and its known range is extremely small. Very little is known about it, but its numbers are declining because of deforestation and loss of habitat.   

Credit: Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN), Feb. 2007 

Credit: Carlos Vargas

This is Peru's Yungas Valley, one of the places where researchers gathered information on these rare species. The region is in an almost critically endangered state due to agriculture, deforestation, selective cutting and gradual urban development. It's home to endangered and endemic species such as the hairy long-nosed armadillo, the yellow-tailed woolly monkey, spectacled bear, and many species of butterfly.

Spectacled bear
Photograph by Barbara von    Hoffman/Animals Animals-Earth Scenes

Hairy Long-Nosed Armadillo


Credit: © Giuliano Gerra & Silvio Sommazzi | justbirds.it

The colorful White-tufted Sunbeam hummingbird is another one of the least protected species, according to these researchers. Its population is decreasing, and it lives within a restricted range in Peru.

Credit: Pattrön (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

A stunning shot captruing the beauty of the Noel Kempff Mercado National Park in Bolivia. The area is home to many endangered and endemic species and has been declared a World Heritage Site.

This National Park is home to more than 600 species of birds, 139 mammal species, 74 reptile species, 62 amphibian species and 254 fish species.

Some of the highlights are the giant river otters, the jaguar, and pink river dolphins.

Tapir cooling off
 Photo from wayfaring travel guide website

Pink River Dolphin
Photo from wayfaring travel guide website

Our Amazing Planet describes a new species of bird recently discovered in the cloud forests of Peru.

Credit: Cornell University

Named the Sira barbet, the bird's habitat appears limited to a small section of the steamy, dense forests that crowd the high slopes of the eastern Andes. The species is closely related to the scarlet-banded barbet, a species it resembles. However, the newfound birds have even more bright-red coloring than their close cousins.

The scientists named the species for John W. Fitzpatrick, a renowned ornithologist who led field expeditions to Peru in the 1970s and 1980s, and whose work helped identify six bird species new to science. He is currently the director of Cornell University's Laboratory of Ornithology.

Peru has been a hotspot for new species in recent years, in part because the nation is home to such remote and wild ecosystems, which can pose huge challenges for scientists trying to mount field expeditions.


  1. Wow great I have read many post about this wild life and every time I learn something new so I appreciate your work and you are in the right track. Thanks for all of your hard work!

    Shopping Adventure


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