The Amazon Rainforest – A Natural Wonder of the World

The Amazon Rainforest is the habitat of hundreds species of animals and plants, many of them are unique of the region. For example, there are more than 1,000 different types of birds living in the Amazon Rainforest. There are more than 2,500 species of trees that, according to scientists, at least half cannot be found anywhere else on earth.

As well is the home of Amazon tribes groups of people who live in isolated communities on the rainforest. They are often self-sufficient and rely on hunting and gathering food.

Where is located the Amazon Rainforest?

Located in South America, the Amazon Rainforest covers more than 7 million square miles (18 million km2) of land. It is bordered by Brazil to the north, Bolivia to the west, Peru to the south, and Colombia to the east.

The Amazon Rainforest is the largest tropical forest in the world. It has been called the “lungs of the planet” because it absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and releases oxygen into the air. It is also known as the “lungs” of the earth because it helps regulate global temperatures. The Amazon Rainforest is considered to be the richest ecosystem on Earth. It contains more than 10% of the world’s biodiversity. There are more than 2,500 different types of trees in the Amazon Rainforest. Some of them include the Iron Wood Tree (Dipteryx micrantha), Kapok Tree (Ceiba pentandra), Brazilian nut (Bertholletia excelsa), the Rubber Tree (Hevea brasiliensis), dragon blood tree (Croton lechleri), the walking palm (Socratea exorrhiza), the moriche palm (Mauritia flexuosa), and many others.

It’s home to over half of the world’s plant and animal life.

The Amazon Rainforest is home to an incredible variety of plants and animals. There are over 1,000 species of birds alone, as well as hundreds of different mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects, and other invertebrates.

Some animals and predators of the Amazon Rainforest.

Jaguar (Panthera onca)

The Jaguar is one of the strongest and most powerful predators in the Amazon Rainforest, with a solitary, carnivorous and mostly nocturnal behavior; adult males weigh between 50 and 130 kg. and its size ranges between 147 and 180 cm. length.

They have the strongest bite in the world capable of piercing the skin of caimans and turtle shells. Locally it is called Otorongo which means “the one who kills with one jump”, it is considered the protector of the Amazon and is highly respected and revered by the native communities.

Jaguar photo by cuatrok77

Black Caiman (Melanosuchus niger)

It is another of the largest predators in the Amazon, mostly nocturnal, spending more time in the water, calm and
camouflaged ready and waiting for their prey, normally we can find individuals of 3-4 meters but some researchers found more than 6 meters long.

Sex determination depends on the temperature in the eggs, the ideal temperature is around 37°C but if they are incubated at a lower temperature they will be mostly small females.

They were hunt near extinction between the 1940’s and 1970’s for their appreciated skin, which was value for making shoes, belts, and bags, and also their tail fat, considered medicine for different diseases.

Fortunately, today this specie is protect by strong state laws, its hunting and commercialization of its skin being totally illegal.

Now it is possible to find them in the oxbow lakes of the Manu National Park and Tambopata Reserve.

Caiman photo by kradlum

Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja)

Considered one of the largest and most powerful birds of prey in the world, they inhabit the Amazon and feed mainly on monkeys, sloths and opossums.

They measure more than 2 meters with the wingspan and their claws are the same size as a grizzly bear, being able to carry prey of almost their own weight (5-7 kg.).

They nest mostly on the emergent trees of the Amazon Rainforest, such as the Red Iron Tree, building a platform with sticks, their reproduction is each 2-3 years and the female lays up to 3 eggs but only 1 incubates.

Its vulnerable state is because for many years the emergent trees were fell for their quantity and quality of wood, thus destroying their habitat.

They are monogamous, they choose a partner for life, they can live between 30-45 years, generally the female is bigger than the male and hunt bigger prey as well.

Harpy Eagle photo by Allan Hopkins

Giant River Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis)

The largest River Otter in the world lives in the Amazon Rainforest, they establish family groups where they hunt together and protect each other from other predators such as the Jaguar and Caimans who are sometimes attack by a group of Giant River Otters.

Their diet consists basically of fish and some snakes. They eat up to 4 kg. of fish per day, which they find in the Oxbow Lakes “Cochas”, they prefer to live there because its clear, calm waters and full of fish.

They can reach almost 2 meters long, have webbed feet and a powerful tail that serves as a propeller to swim.

For many years people hunted to near extinction for their prized pelt, now only small family groups can be find on state-protected reserves.

Giant River Otter photo by Tambako

Tapir (Tapirus terrestris)

Tapir is one of the big herbivorous of the Amazon Rainforest also consider an excellent seed dispersers, they can measure up to 2 meters and weigh around 200 kg. They travel long distances in search of grass and fresh fruits to eat.

Tapirs are related to the horse and the rhinoceros, they live about 20 years in nature.

There are 5 different species of Tapirs in the world and we can find 4 of them in Central and South America.

Its reproduction is quite slow, they only have 1 breeding season each 2 years.
They are prey mainly of the Jaguar and currently is in a vulnerable state due to the destruction of their habitat and illegal hunting.

Andean Cock of the Rock (Rupicola peruvianus)

Considered the national bird of Peru, the Andean Cock of the Rock or “Tunki” in Quechua is one of the charismatics birds due to its colour, song and their dance, especially when they are in breeding season.

The males are bright red and the females are dark brown. This is because the females are in charge of preserving the species and taking care of the eggs and chicks, that’s why they have to go unnoticed by predators.

They nest mostly in rock cracks, building their nests near cliffs and rivers.
During the breeding season, the males gather in the LEK where one by one they make an exhibition of their bright colors, singing and dancing, where the winner is the best dancer.

Wolly Monkey (Lagothrix)

They have a diurnal behavior, they go in groups of 10 to 70 individuals through the forest searching fresh fruits, leaves, seeds and some insects.

Considered one of the large primates of the Amazon Rainforest, they use their prehensile tail to support themselves, important for the forest because they are very good seed dispersers.

Capuchin Monkey (Cebus apella)

Considered the most intelligent primate of the Amazon Rainforest, researchers observed that Capuchin Monkeys use “tools” like branches to extract ants and stones to crack nuts.

They have good vision and an alarm system against the threat of any predator, that’s why they are follow by other more fragile monkey species and susceptible to predators such as the Squirrell Monkey.

They have good vision and an alarm system against the threat of any predator, that’s why they have followers, other species of monkeys, more fragile and susceptible to predators, such as the Squirrel Monkey.

Rufous-crested Coquette (Lophornis delattrei)

Quite charismatic hummingbird for the color and plumage, especially the feathers on the head, where mostly the males have a crest-shaped feather and display it especially to attract the attention of the females.

Their distribution is in Central America and South America in the Amazon of Peru and Bolivia.

Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin)

Folivorous bird from South America with a crop microbial ecosystem that ferments dietary plants.

The Hoatzins are consider the stinkiest due to the type of digestion, also in their flight they are a bit clumsy since sometimes they collide with bushes and fall into the water.

They prefer to be on the banks of Oxbow lakes looking for fresh leaves, often to find them on the bushes making sounds similar of an asthmatic person.

Blue and Yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna)

One of the colorful birds of the Amazon Rainforest present in South America, they are from the family of the psittaciformes, they nest especially in the crown of the moriche palm trees where they feed on their fruits and sometimes use the abandoned nests of woodpeckers.

They can live more than 60 years, they are monogamous, that is, they choose a partner for life, that’s why we can see them always in pairs.

Amazonian Horned Frog (Ceratophrys cornuta)

One of the frogs of the Amazon Rainforest with strange shapes and colors on its body, since they have protuberances above their eyes like horns, scientists are unsure what purpose the frog’s namesake horns serve, but it is likely they aid in camouflage to avoid predators.

Very territorial toads being able to attack each other, they feed on lizards, insects, mice, other toads and frogs.

Travel to the Amazon Rainforest is a totally unique experience, it is like visit a different world, where everything is constantly changing and evolving, during the day and night everything changes, it is definitely an experience that you must live!

We recommend to hire a legal and authorized Travel Agency with professional Guides.
If you are planning to travel to the Amazon Rainforest, we can help you with suggestions and the different options to have a great time.

Manu National Park
Tambopata Reserve
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