Biogeographic Bird Regions of Peru
:: BIOGEOGRAPHIC BIRD REGIONS OF PERU
EQUATORIAL PACIFIC COAST
This coastal region of beautiful deciduous landscapes and warm weather stretches from the border with Ecuador south to the department of La Libertad Together with the southeast of Ecuador this is one of the most important endemic bird-centers in the world, called the Tumbesian region, holding 54 range-restricted bird species. Many of these regional endemics are also peruvian endemics such as White-winged Guan, Tumbes Hummingbird, Coastal Miner, Surf Cinclodes, Piura Chat-Tyrant, Tumbes Tyrant, Rufous Flycatcher, Peruvian Plantcutter, and Bay-crowned Brush-Finch.
Basically no rain a year falls in this extremely dry region along the Pacific coast, making it the driest desert in the world together with the Atacama Desert with which it merges. This narrow strip of desert runs from Ancash south through Lima to the border with Chile. Besides some endemic Miners (Coastal, Common, and Thick-billed Miner) and some sea birds that nest in the desert (Peruvian Tern and Markham's Storm-Petrel), few birds can live here. However, the desert is crossed by 53 fertile, vegetated valleys with unique set of birds, some of which are endemic to Peru: Black-necked Woodpecker, Peruvian Sheartail, Cactus Canastero, and Slender-billed Finch, among others.
The rather dry or semi-humid mountains on the western (Pacific) side of the Andes have dramatic landscapes characterized by extreme elevational change. Such a complex topography, of course, has the potential for population isolation, and consequently several Peruvian endemics are found in these habitats, although overall species diversity is modest. Some of the species found here are Bronze-Tyrant, White-cheeked Cotinga, Rusty-bellied Brush-Finch, and Great Inca-Finch, among others.
Embedded between the eastern and western slopes of the Andes, this vast territory above 3000 m is dominated by puna grasslands but it has plenty of other habitats like montane scrub, wetlands, and Polylepis woodland. Birding here, so close to heaven, might be exhausting since you are often above 4000 m, but generally the birds can be watched from the roads, or within short walking distance to patches of forest. Birds that can be seen here include these Peru endemics: Black-breasted Hillstar, Dark-winged Miner, White-bellied Cinclodes, several canasteros, tit-spinetails, and brush-finches, as well as a number of Polylepis woodland specialists.
The upper Marañon Valley is in a rain shadow and is an island of deciduous forest within the humid Yungas. It also includes part of the dry middle Huallaga Valley. This "island" is an important dispersal barrier to many species of humid areas, adding to the complexity and richness of the region, another of the most important endemic bird areas in the world. Endemics to this area are Peruvian Pigeon, Yellow-faced Parrotlet, Purple-backed Sunbeam, Marvelous Spatuletail, Marañon Crescent-chest, four species of Inca-Finches, and several other species.
This region on the eastern slope of the Andes not only gets great amounts of rain, it also captures humidity that evaporates from all over the Amazon Basin. The Yungas forest, also known as mist or cloud forest, harbor the highest point diversity of birds of any region in the world. Birds inhabiting this region include the Peruvian endemics: Cloud-forest Screech-Owl, Long-whiskered Owlet, Yellow-browed Toucanet, Scarlet-banded Barbet, Speckle-chested Piculet, Pale-billed Antpitta, Peruvian Wren and Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager and Rufous-browed Hemispingus.
TROPICAL AMAZONIA NORTH OF THE AMAZON
The Amazonian lowlands of Peru are part of the vast Amazon basin, a region whose uniform green appearance conceals a complex and diverse pattern of lowland forest types, including white-sand forests, varzea, and river-edge forest. This highly diverse area has few Peruvian endemics (Allpahuayo Antbird, Black-headed Antbird, new species of Gnatcatcher) but lots of regional endemics such as Brown Jacamar, Brown-backed Antwren, Black-chinned Antbird, White-masked Antbird, Spotted Antpitta, Helmeted Pygmy-Tyrant, Golden-winged Tody-Flycatcher, Cinnamon-crested Spadebill, Great Crested Flycatcher, Pompadour Cotinga, Orange-throated Tanager, Bicolored Conebill and Ecuadorian Cacique.
TROPICAL AMAZONIA SOUTH OF THE AMAZON
This region encompasses the eastern lowlands south of the Amazon river, which is an important distributional barrier, including most of the department of Ucayali and most of the lowlands of the department of Junin. Another region of vast forests, with habitats similar to those found north of the Amazon. Peruvian endemics and other specialties in this region include: Blue-cheeked Jacamar, Rusty-backed Spinetail, Saturnine Antshrike, Amazonian Black-Tyrant, Three-striped Flycatcher, Purple-breasted Cotinga, Gray-chested Greenlet, Black-bellied Tanager, Dotted Tanager and Sira Tanager.
The eastern lowlands in the departments of Madre de Dios, lowlands of the department of Cuzco and southern part of the departments of Ucayaliand lowlands of Junin are part of Subtropical Amazonia, a region of lowland and lower montane forests with a marked seasonality. Noted for extremely high diversity of species and large percentage of protected surface, some of the specialties of this region are: Fine-barred Piculet, Peruvian Recurvebill, Bamboo Antshrike, Ihering's Antwren, Rufous-fronted Antthrush, Slaty Gnateater, Long-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, White-cheeked Tody-Tyrant, Spectacled Tyrant, Gray Monjita, Black-faced Cotinga, Flame-crowned Manakin, Black-masked Finch and Selva Cacique.
The Pacific Ocean off the Peruvian coast is the richest tropical ocean in the world thanks to the cold Humboldt Currents that produce the nutrient-rich upwelling on which all marine life is based. The edge of the Continental Shelf is relatively close, which makes pelagic birding possible not that far from the coast. Typical coastal species are Peruvian Tern, Inca Tern, Nazca Booby, Red-legged Cormorant, Markham's Storm-Petrel, Surf Cinclodes and some pelagic birds are Waved Albatross, Peruvian Diving-Petrel, and Ringed Storm-Petrel.