Home Animals 25 Incredible Bird Species Of The Amazon
Animals By Monica Gray -

The Amazon Rainforest stretches across several countries, including Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Suriname, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana, and French Guiana. It’s the world’s largest tropical rainforest, and home to thousands of different species of snakes, spiders, monkeys, and birds, just to name a few. Many animals in the Amazon are microscopic but powerful and poisonous enough to kill a human being with one sting or bite. Luckily, birds aren’t as dangerous as some of the frogs, spiders, and snakes we see in the Amazon. We’ve curated a list of birds of the Amazon that are so incredible, that it may spark your interest to travel there and see them for yourself.

25 Incredible Bird Species Of The Amazon
Two Hoatzins perched on a dead branch in water. Photo Credit: Morten Ross/Shutterstock

Hoatzin

Let’s take a look at possibly one of the strangest birds of the Amazon. The Hoatzin has many different names, including the Canje Pheasant, or punk-rock bird. While scientists debate their evolutionary connections to other bird species, they’re usually enigmatic to the Amazon. In some ways, they’re more similar to cows, since they have two stomachs. They make a loud call and smell like fresh cow manure or sweet-smelling hay, because of its unusual diet. At the end of their wings is a big claw, which they use to protect themselves (Mongabay).

25 Incredible Bird Species Of The Amazon
Colorful Costa Rica bird, King Vulture with its amazing feathers. Photo Credit: Ercan Uc/Shutterstock

King Vulture

As one of the largest species of vulture out of four found in the Peruvian Amazon, the King Vulture is certainly the most beautiful. They have red, orange, blue, and yellow feathers and bright red-orange skin hanging over their beak. King vultures can keep a strong grip on their prey with their mighty claws, and they can grow to be 32 inches long. Like any other vulture, they feed on the carcasses of other animals that are already dead (Rainforest Alliance).

25 Incredible Bird Species Of The Amazon
Amazon Kingfisher sitting on a branch. Photo Credit: Artush/Shutterstock

Amazon Kingfisher

Throughout the American tropics and the Amazon, the Kingfisher is a beautiful bird that can grow up to 12 inches long. They have shady crests, oily green heads, and white collars. You’ll either find them by themselves or in pairs, splashing along the sides of lakes and ponds. Even though their bills might seem disproportionate to their bodies, they’re used for strategically capturing prey (Earth Life).

25 Incredible Bird Species Of The Amazon
Puff-throated Babbler Doi Intanon Chaing Mai. Photo Credit: sommai patpan/Shutterstock

Puffbirds

These shy, secretive birds are the Amazon’s best-kept secret. They’re tropical, tree-dwelling birds that love forested habitats. Even though they may lack the feather color and vibrancy of other birds on this list, they have brightly colored bills and short tails that give them their beauty. Instead of chirping and vocalizing their appearance, they prefer to sit still and wait for insects. If you listen closely during dawn and dusk, you might hear their repeated, high-pitched whistles (Fatbirder).

25 Incredible Bird Species Of The Amazon
Beautiful close-up capped heron portrait in natural habitat rainforest. Photo Credit: Photo Spirit/Shutterstock

Capped Heron

You’ll find these colorful birds perched in wetland habitats, along rivers, freshwater lakes, and swamps. Their blue and pink beak and cream feathers stand out against the dark green and brown colors of the Amazon. It also has long, skinny plumes sticking out of its head. During mating season, their plumage becomes bright yellow to help them attract a mate (Heron Conservation).

25 Incredible Bird Species Of The Amazon
Horned Screamer bird from Amazonian rain forest. Photo Credit: Jiri Hrebicek/Shutterstock

Horned Screamer

These birds are the unicorns of the bird world. They’re more closely related to swans and geese, hence their massive size. Despite their size, it’s more likely you’ll hear them before you see them, and it’s all thanks to their loud, echoing call. They’re mostly black with white specks and have a horn-like structure that sticks out of their crown. Besides their calls, it makes them incredibly unique. It’s loosely attached to their skull and grows and breaks continuously, once it gets too long, similar to human nails. They don’t use their horn as a weapon, and scientists believe it’s for more of an ornamental purpose than anything else (National Geographic).

25 Incredible Bird Species Of The Amazon
Scarlet Macaws are large beautiful colorful parrots from Central America. Photo Credit: David Havel/Shutterstock

Scarlet Macaws

There are numerous species of Macaws in the Amazon Rainforest and these range from the Scarlet Macaws to the Chestnut-Fronted Macaws. Of all the parrots in the Amazon, the Macaws are the largest. These species of bird are some of the most colorful ones you’ll find in the Amazon, and they’re easily distinguishable from the rest. Before they come into sight, you’ll hear them squeaking in groups and feeding on fruits and leaves. You’ll find Scarlet Macaws that are blue, green, red, and gold, with distinct facial patches that are as unique as a human fingerprint. The Scarlet Macaws are the most colorful and have big personalities (The Spruce Pets).

25 Incredible Bird Species Of The Amazon
Scale-crested Pygmy Tyrant perched on a tree branch. Photo Credit: Gualberto Becerra/Shutterstock

Scale-Crested Pygmy Tyrant

If you happen to see one of these tiny birds in the wild, then consider yourself lucky. They’re incredibly difficult to spot since they prefer to search for food in the darker part of the forest. But these beautiful birds are named for the crest of feathers that are on display when they’re trying to attract a mate or protect themselves from a threat. They fly from branch to branch all day looking for food to catch with their sharp beaks. It’s more likely you’ll hear their call as they fly through the trees than see them (Mongabay).

25 Incredible Bird Species Of The Amazon
Dusky-headed parakeet, also known as Weddell’s conure or dusky-headed conure in aviculture. Photo Credit: Milan Zygmunt/Shutterstock

Dusky Headed Parakeet

This blue, green, and gray neotropical parrot loves to hang out in semi-open wooded habitats in the Western Amazon. You’ll find them in pairs or groups since these birds are the more social bunch of the birds of the Amazon. They love to feed on seeds, flowers, and insects and are quite energetic. You might even find these birds grazing coffee plantations. They’re often found in freshwater sources, and can live up to forty years in the wild (Bird Cages Now).

25 Incredible Bird Species Of The Amazon
Harpy Eagle horizontal profile closeup with dark background. Photo Credit: Leandro_Brito/Shutterstock

Harpy Eagle

This is one of the most feared birds of prey in the Amazon Rainforest, as it’s the most powerful raptor. The females are bigger than the males and can measure up to 40 inches long and weigh up to 22 pounds. The Harpy Eagle has powerful claws that are nearly as big as a Grizzly Bear. Their wingspan stretches and shocking seven feet! That’s taller than a human being. They have distinguishable white bellies, black tails, and pale gray, double-crested heads. The Harpy Eagle shares the top of the food chain with jaguars and anacondas, where they dominate the canopy of the Amazon. They mainly like to prey on sloths and monkeys, and even other birds like Toucans (Rainforest Expeditions).

25 Incredible Bird Species Of The Amazon
Hummingbird Green-crowned bird from Costa Rica flying next to a beautiful red flower. Photo Credit: Ondrej Prosicky/Shutterstock

Hummingbirds

If your favorite bird is the hummingbird, then you’re in luck in the Amazon Rainforest. There are more than a dozen species of hummingbirds fluttering through the canopies of the Amazon, with striking colors that capture nearly every color on the spectrum of a rainbow. You’ll get striking violet colors, blues, fuchsia, and aqua colors. These birds are frequently seen fluttering their powerful wings over colorful flowers and lapping up delicious, sweet nectar with their long, skinny beaks. Their pulse can beat up to 1,200 beats per minute, which is why they need so much nourishment. If you don’t like beetles, then you’ll love to learn that hummingbirds feed on these insects (Nathab).

25 Incredible Bird Species Of The Amazon
Turquoise-browed motmot, colorful tropical bird Momotidae with long tail. Photo Credit: Martin Pelanek/Shutterstock

Motmots

These neotropical forest-dwellers stand out against the crowd, all thanks to their long bills, long tails, and colorful plumage. Some birds have a racket-like tip that they use to wag at predators or attract mates. These solitary birds live in colonies of up to 40 paired individuals and tend to nest in riverbanks. The Motmots can also live in a wide range of altitudes, including sea level and up to 3,000 meters, or roughly 9,800 feet. Their tails are long and blue (My Animals).

25 Incredible Bird Species Of The Amazon
Golden-headed Manakin bird close up. Photo Credit: renatoprado.lima/Shutterstock

Golden-Headed Manakin

In the Amazon Rainforest, there are roughly 60 species of Manakin. This colorful cutie measures about 3.7 inches long and weighs less than half an ounce. Adult males are typically black-bodied and have red and white thighs. If you’re lucky enough to see their mating ritual, then you’ll catch them doing a jumping, sliding, buzzing, mating dance. Scientists are calling it the Amazon’s first hybrid species. Interestingly enough, this species was first discovered in 1957 but disappeared until 2002, when it was first spotted again. It’s a mix between the snow-capped and opal-crowned manakins (Sci).

25 Incredible Bird Species Of The Amazon
Keel-billed Toucan, bird with big bill sitting on a branch in the forest. Photo Credit: Ondrej Prosicky/Shutterstock

Toucans

With around 40 species of Toucan in the Amazon Rainforest, you’ll likely spot or hear at least one or two during your escapade. They have bright, colorful bills and bright markings on their body. You might have even grown up with the Toucan from your favorite breakfast cereal, Fruit Loops. They love feeding on fruits in the trees of the Amazon or nesting in hollows. Because they love hanging out in the canopy of trees, you might want to bring a pair of binoculars to spot them. They love eating the ripest fruits they can find in the trees (WWF Panda).

25 Incredible Bird Species Of The Amazon
A Jabiru stork in flight with its wings up. Photo Credit: Rob Jansen/Shutterstock

Jabiru Stork

This species has South America’s second-longest wingspan, right after the Andean Condor, and is the largest flying bird in America. They’re typically found throughout the Americas and in Argentina, in large groups. Most of the time, they feast on amphibians and fish. They’re known for their white-feathered bodies and vibrant red neck pouch. To them, building a nest is a major construction job, where they typically build it on a high tree in an open area, high above the rainforest (NatHab).

25 Incredible Bird Species Of The Amazon
Portrait of a Grey-Headed Kite. Photo Credit: bumihills/Shutterstock

Grey-Headed Kite

Found in open woodland and swamp-like forests, this beautiful raptor species has a blue bill, black upper body, white underbelly, and black tail. Oftentimes, they lurk on high perches to hunt for reptiles and insects. It’s uncommon to see these. They’re normally found in woodlands and swamp forests. Another bird related to them is the white-headed Kite, which is even more rare to spot (iNaturalist).

25 Incredible Bird Species Of The Amazon
Laughing Falcon perched in Cano Negro area. Photo Credit: Peter-Hg/Shutterstock

Laughing Falcon

This mid-sized raptor flocks the tropical lowlands. Their specialty is eating snakes, and love prowling around the tops of trees. They spend most of their time perched on these trees, staring at the ground. They’re considered peaceful birds of the Amazon, and scientists know them well from their distinctive call. They’re strategic when it comes to hunting, and swoop down behind the snake and bite down on their head to decapitate it. Who’s laughing now, snakes? (Tambo Pata Lodge).

25 Incredible Bird Species Of The Amazon
A spectacled owl gives a hard stare. Photo Credit: Gary C. Tognoni/Shutterstock

Spectacled Owl

What a spectacle the Spectacled Owl is, soaring across the skies of the Amazon Rainforest! These birds are the largest tropical owl species in the Amazon. It has blackish-brown upperparts, white facial markings, and white underparts, with yellow eyes. They permanently inhabit the rainforest of the Amazon basin and are the only owl species permanently known to do so. They get their name from their spectacles or the white feathers around their eyes and throat. Females have a screeching call that attracts males during the breeding season, while males sound more like a hammer hitting a hollow tree (TWY Cross Zoo).

25 Incredible Bird Species Of The Amazon
Close-up of a Yellow-headed caracara standing on a sandy river. Photo Credit: Giedriius/Shutterstock

Yellow-Headed Caracara

As a part of the falcon family, this bird of prey flies through the Amazon Rainforest scavenging for amphibians and reptiles. They have yellowish-brown heads, brown backs, and black eye streaks. They’re about 16-18 inches in length, and the female is bigger than the male, as we’ve seen in other bird species (Animalia).

25 Incredible Bird Species Of The Amazon
Black-collared hawk. Photo Credit: Erni/Shutterstock

Black Collared Hawk

These Amazonian birds love inhabiting tropical swamps. They’re known for their white head and back with black shaft stripes. They typically feed on rodents and fish. These birds sit on branches and wait for a fish to pass by. When they see one, they dive off the tree and swoop down to grab the fish with their long talons (Encircle Photos).

25 Incredible Bird Species Of The Amazon
Bright Blue Hyacinth Macaw. Photo Credit: Erika Kirkpatrick/Shutterstock

Hyacinth Macaw

As we’ve mentioned, macaws are some of the most colorful birds in the Amazon. The Hyacinth macaw is the world’s longest parrot, with a wingspan of 4 to 5 feet. They have a yellow patch of skin beside the lower bill and bare yellow eye-ring. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot their gorgeous cobalt blue feathers soaring through the sky. Most of them live in Brazil. One of its most striking features is that it seems to have a perpetual grin, thanks to its yellow feathers near its beak (One Earth).

25 Incredible Bird Species Of The Amazon
The maroon-tailed parakeet. Photo Credit: Helge Zabka/Shutterstock

Maroon-tailed Parakeet

These parakeets are found in several countries spanning the Amazon Rainforest, and have a green head with a brown crown and nape. They have a dark green chest and whitish feathers, which make them look scaly in appearance. You’ll find them nestled in the canopies and are generally sedentary (iNaturalist).

25 Incredible Bird Species Of The Amazon
Black-Fronted Piping-Guan standing on a branch. Photo Credit: imageBROKER.com/Shutterstock

Guans

These birds resemble turkeys. One species, the Spix’s Guan, has brown feathers speckled with white and red wattle. There’s also the Blue-throated Piping Guan, that’s mostly black with a gorgeous green shimmer. On moonlit nights, the Spix’s Guan is known to make frightening yelling noises. At dusk and dawn, the wings of the bird make a rattling sound, mainly to attract mates (Rainforest Expeditions).

25 Incredible Bird Species Of The Amazon
Great Potoo sleeping on a tree branch during the day. Photo Credit: FotoRequest/Shutterstock

Potoos

If you want to find the Potoos, you’ll probably need binoculars. These owl-like birds are great at camouflaging, despite their large heads. It’s all thanks to their mottled brown and gray feathers that allow them to spend the day perched on stumps and branches. When they open their truncated beaks, they have large mouths that are quite unsettling to look at (Tambo Patalodge).

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