Realities of Birdwatching in Peru
:: FACTS ABOUT BIRDWATCHING IN PERU
Peru has the second highest number of bird species in the world. Counting only breeding species, Peru ranks first.
More new species were described in Peru in the last 30 years than in any other country in the world, with about 2 new species on average described each year.
The official list of the birds of Peru has increased by about 200 species in the last 30 years, from 1601 species in 1972 to about 1800 species today. A combination of new records for Peru, taxonomic re-arrangement, and new species for science are responsible for this.
Right now, descriptions of at least 2 new species are already in press, at least another 5 new species are being described, and scientists estimate that more than 30 populations could be new species waiting to be described.
More than 400 of Peru’s birds have more than one subspecies in the country, adding 1003 subspecies to the 1800 species, for a total of over 2803 taxa.
Peru has the highest number of “range-restricted”* species in the Neotropics and is second in the world only to Indonesia.
* defined by Birdlife International as confined to a range of less than 50,000 square kilometres.
Peru holds the world record for number of bird species seen in a single day without the help of motorized vehicles, with 331 birds at Cocha Cashu in southeast Peru. This record was established by Ted Parker and Scott Robinson in 1982 and yet to be surpassed.
Tinamous are the most primitive of the Ratites (AN ANCIENT GROUP CALLED 'PALEOGNATHAE' a group that includes Ostriches, Rheas,Cassowaries, Emus, Kiwis and Tinamous, and belongs to the oldest lineage of birds), and that Peru has more Ratite species (28) than any other country in the world.
Peru has more flycatchers (family Tyrannidae, 248 species), more ovenbirds (Family Furnariidae, 121 species) and more finches (Emberizidae, 91 species) than any other country in the world.
Has both the world’s largest flying bird, the Andean Condor, and the next-to smallest, the Little Woodstar (only 1 mm larger than the smallest, the bee hummingbird of Cuba).
For nature lovers from North America, Peru offers by far the world's most economical, most accessible penguins---the endangered Humboldt Penguins of the Pacific coast of Peru, found near the cities of Lima, Pisco, and Arequipa.
Has more macaw clay licks than any other country.
The largest mixed flocks in the rainforest of southeast Peru gather as many as 103 species, with up to 70 species present at one time.
These flocks in southeastern Peru are the most complex multi-species assemblages of any group of organisms in the world, more so even than coral reef fish.
These mega-flocks, formed by an understory flock, a canopy flock and a fruiting tree flock, take a long time to form every morning, so that the best time to see them is between 11 am and 2:30 pm.
Parrots species take turns w hen visiting a clay lick but that up to 10 species of parrots can be seen at the same time at the best clay licks.
The largest numbers of macaws ever seen at clay licks are at the Tambopata Research Center lick (southeast Peru) and at the Pucani lick (central-eastern Peru), both in excess of 300 large macaws at the same time.
Workers in Peruvian coastal islands dug up to 80 metres (250 feet) deep into guano (bird dung) when they first started to exploit it as fertilizer in the 1800s.
There are 5 inca-finches belonging to the genus Incaspiza and that all five are endemic to Peru.
It has been recently discovered that Gray Gulls, a common gull along the coast of Peru, nests in the desert as far as 60 km inland. Until then, nobody knew where this common bird made its nests.
At least another 4 species of seabirds (storm-petrels and terns) also use the desert as a nesting ground in order to avoid predation.