A fabulous male Crimson Fruitcrow by Dubi Shapiro.
Widespread Ariel (Channel-billed) Toucan (Amazonia and east) and Ochre-backed Woodpecker (lower Amazon and northeast).
East Amazonia 17 White-crested Guan, Chestnut-headed Chachalaca, Ash-bellied Hermit, Black-winged Trumpeter, Eastern Red-necked Aracari, Varzea Piculet, Santarem Parakeet, Golden Parakeet, Bananal Antbird, Xingu Scale-backed Antbird, Snethlage’s Antpitta, Spix’s Woodcreeper, Xingu Scythebill, Layard’s Woodcreeper, White-tailed Cotinga, Para Oropendola and Rose-bellied Chat.
Amazonia 28 Tapajos Hermit, Scaled Ground-cuckoo, Olive-winged Trumpeter, Chestnut-headed Nunlet (tiny range), Brown-chested Barbet, Bald Parrot, Diademed Amazon, White-faced Amazon (Kawall’s Parrot), Green-thighed (White-bellied) Amazon, Eastern Ornate Stipplethroat (Antwren), Klage’s Antwren, Glossy Antshrike, Spix’s Antwarbler (Warbling Antbird), Tapajos Scale-backed Antbird, Pale-faced Bare-eye, Bare-eyed Antbird, Harlequin Antbird, Rufous-faced Antbird, Black-breasted (Chestnut-belted) Gnateater, Black-bellied Gnateater, Tapajos Antpitta, Brigida’s (Red-billed) Woodcreeper, Tapajos Scythebill, Para Foliage-gleaner, Golden-crowned Manakin, Buff-cheeked Tody-flycatcher, Para Gnatcatcher and Crimson-fronted Cardinal.
West Amazonia 5 Ochre-winged Trumpeter, Yellow-tailed (White-bellied) Amazon, Bonaparte’s Parakeet, Predicted Antwren and Alta Floresta Antpitta.
Southwest Amazonia 12 Green-winged Trumpeter, Rondonia Bushbird, Aripuana Antwren, Manicore Antwarbler (Warbling Antbird), White-breasted Antbird, Hoffmann’s Woodcreeper, White-tailed Tityra, Chico’s Tyrannulet, Campina (Azure-naped) Jay, Inambari (Guianan) Gnatcatcher, Grey Wren and Cone-billed Tanager.
Near-endemics - not all of these occur in the central Amazon region
Brazil, Venezuela and Guyana 35 Roraiman Nightjar, Tepui Swift, Tepui Goldenthroat, Peacock Coquette, Velvet-browed Brilliant, Rufous-breasted Sabrewing, Copper-tailed (Green-bellied) Hummingbird, Tepui Parrotlet, Roraiman Antwren, Streak-backed Antshrike, Roraiman Antbird, Tepui Antpitta, White-throated Foliage-gleaner, Roraiman Barbtail, Tepui Spinetail, Olive Manakin, Scarlet-horned Manakin, Orange-bellied Manakin, Rose-collared Piha, Green-cheeked (Green-backed) Becard, Black-fronted Tyrannulet, Chapman’s Bristle-tyrant, Sierra de Lema (McConnell’s) Flycatcher, Ruddy Tody-flycatcher, Tepui Elaenia, Flutist Wren, Tepui Wren, Pantepui (Black-billed) Thrush, Tepui Brush-finch, Golden-tufted Grackle, Roraiman (Two-banded) Warbler, Tepui Whitestart, Olive-backed Tanager, Greater Flowerpiercer and Black-hooded Tanager.
Brazil, Venezuela and Guianas 36 Guianan Puffbird, Tepui Toucanet, Guianan Toucanet, Green Aracari, Black-spotted Barbet, Caica Parrot, Painted Parakeet, Northern Red-shouldered Macaw, Brown-bellied Stipplethroat (Antwren), Spot-tailed Antwren, Todd’s Antwren, Black-throated Antshrike, Guianan Antwarbler (Warbling Antbird), Ferruginous-backed Antbird, Red-billed Woodcreeper, Chestnut-rumped Woodcreeper, Lineated (Guianan) Woodcreeper, McConnell’s Spinetail, Tiny Tyrant-manakin, Crimson-hooded Manakin, White-throated Manakin, Guianan Red-cotinga, White Bellbird, Dusky Purpletuft, Glossy-backed Becard, Olivaceous Schiffornis (Mourner), Smoky-fronted Tody-flycatcher, Painted Tody-flycatcher, Guianan Tyrannulet, Olive-crowned Greenlet, Tepui Vireo (not French Guiana), Cayenne Jay, Finsch’s Euphonia, Golden-sided Euphonia, Red-and-black Grosbeak and Blue-backed Tanager.
Brazil and Venezuela 6 Buff-breasted Sabrewing, Sapphire-spangled Emerald, Caura Antbird, Black-chested Tyrant, Great Elaenia (likely to occur in Guyana) and Scaled Flowerpiercer.
Brazil and Guianas 6 Northern Long-tailed Woodcreeper, Olive-green Tyrannulet, Boat-billed Tody-tyrant, Todd’s Sirystes, White-throated Pewee (not Guyana) and Guianan Gnatcatcher.
Brazil and Guyana 4 Sun Parakeet, Rio Branco Antbird, Willis’s Antbird and Hoary-throated Spinetail.
Brazil, Guyana and Bolivia 1 Pale-bellied Tyrant-manakin.
Brazil and Suriname 2 Sulphur-breasted Parakeet and Pelzeln’s Tody-tyrant.
Brazil, Suriname and Bolivia 1 Horned Sungem.
Brazil and French Guiana 1 Sooty Barbthroat.
Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia 7 Orinoco Piculet, Yapacana Antbird, Grey-bellied Antbird, Yellow-throated Antwren, Brown-headed Greenlet, Azure-naped Jay and Rio Negro Gnatcatcher.
Brazil and Colombia 1 Chestnut-crested Antbird.
Brazil, Colombia and Peru 2 Plain-breasted Piculet and Varzea Thrush.
Brazil, Ecuador and Peru 1 Orange-crested Manakin.
Brazil and Peru 6 Fine-barred Piculet, Acre Antshrike, Manu Antbird, Black-tailed Antbird, Elusive Antpitta and Acre Tody-tyrant.
Brazil, Peru and Bolivia 39 Brazilian Tinamou, Purus Jacamar, White-throated Jacamar, Blue-necked (-cheeked) Jacamar, Bluish-fronted Jacamar, Semi-collared Puffbird, Rufous-necked Puffbird, Fulvous-chinned Nunlet, Rufous-capped Nunlet, Black-throated (Emerald) Toucanet, Green-billed (Golden-collared) Toucanet, Brown-mandibled Aracari, Flame-throated (Lemon-throated) Barbet, Amazonian Parrotlet, Black-legged Parrot, Rose-fronted Parakeet, Black-capped Parakeet, Blue-headed Macaw, Southern Red-shouldered Macaw, Sclater’s Antwren, Ihering’s Antwren, Saturnine Antshrike, Bluish-slate Antshrike, Bamboo Antshrike, White-lined Antbird, Goeldi’s Antbird, Rufous-fronted Antthrush, Ocellated Woodcreeper, Inambri Woodcreeper, Flame-crested Manakin, Red-headed Manakin, Round-tailed Manakin, Black-faced Cotinga, Rufous Twistwing, Long-crested Pygmy-tyrant, Flammulated Bamboo-tyrant, White-cheeked Tody-flycatcher, Yellow-crested Tanager and Pearly-breasted Conebill.
Brazil and Bolivia 30 Red-throated Piping-guan, Long-tailed Ground-dove, Cinnamon-throated Hermit, Buff-bellied Hermit, Dot-eared Coquette, Eastern Striolated Puffbird, Gould’s Toucanet, Lettered Aracari, Western Red-necked Aracari, Black-girdled Barbet, White-wedged Piculet, Cryptic Forest-falcon, Yellow-faced Parrot, Crimson-bellied Parakeet, Madeira (Santarem) Parakeet, Rio Madeira Stipplethroat (Antwren), Large-billed Antwren, Natterer’s Slaty Antshrike, Rondonia Antwarbler (Warbling Antbird), Humaita Antbird, Double-collared Crescentchest, Campo Miner, Uniform Woodcreeper, Dusky-capped (Rondonia) Woodcreeper, Snow-capped Manakin, Snethlage’s Tody-tyrant, Chapada Flycatcher, Tooth-billed Wren, Blue Finch and Black-and-tawny Seedeater.
Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay 13 Rufous-faced Crake, White-winged Nightjar (small range), Hyacinth Macaw, Black-bellied Antwren, Rufous-winged Antshrike, Bolivian Slaty Antshrike, Mato Grosso Antbird, White-lored Spinetail, Helmeted Manakin, White-rumped Monjita, Curl-crested Jay, Fawn-breasted Wren and White-bellied (Golden-crowned) Warbler.
Other specialities Pavonine Quetzal, Bronzy Jacamar, Varzea Piculet, Amazonian, Blackish-grey and Glossy Antshrikes, Cherrie's, Klage's and Leaden Antwrens, Pompadour, Purple-breasted and Spangled Cotingas, and Fulvous Shrike-tanager, as well as river island forms of Band-tailed Nightjar, Plain Softtail and Streaked Flycatcher. Also a chance of Agami Heron, Harpy Eagle, Black-faced Hawk, Sunbittern, Long-tailed, Rufous and White-winged Potoos, Racket-tailed Coquette, Crimson Fruitcrow and Amazonian Umbrellabird.
Horned Screamer, Muscovy Duck, guans, Capped and Boat-billed Herons, King Vulture, American Swallow-tailed Kite, Sungrebe, Wattled Jacana, Large-billed and Yellow-billed Terns, Black Skimmer, Blue-and-yellow, Red-and-green and Scarlet Macaws, Hoatzin, Common and Great Potoos, trogons, hummingbirds such as Black-eared Fairy and Crimson Topaz, all five South American kingfishers, Great, Green-tailed and Paradise Jacamars, Spotted Puffbird, Swallow-wing, aracaris, toucans, woodpeckers, spinetails including Red-and-white, Point-tailed Palmcreeper, foliage-gleaners, woodcreepers including Long-billed, antshrikes, antbirds including Black-and-white and White-plumed, antthrushes, tyrannulets, tody-tyrants, Lesser Wagtail-tyrant, flycatchers, Spotted Tody-flycatcher, Screaming Piha, Bare-necked Fruitcrow, Golden-headed and Wire-tailed Manakins, Slaty-capped Shrike-vireo, Black-capped Donacobius, Musician Wren, tanagers, Black-faced and Yellow-bellied Dacnises, honeycreepers, oropendolas, Oriole Blackbird and Orange-backed Troupial.
Bald and Golden-backed (Spix's Black-headed) Uakaris, Grey (Tucuxi) and Pink (Boto) River Dolphins, Giant Otter, Brown-throated and Pale-throated Three-toed, and Southern Two-toed Sloths, Gold-and-white, Maues, Santarem and Satere Marmosets, Pied (Bare-faced) Tamarin, Golden-faced, Gray's Bald-faced and Guianan Bearded Saki Monkeys, Brown-tufted, Humboldt's (White-faced/fronted) and Spix's White-fronted Capuchin Monkeys, Spix's Night Monkey, Black and Red Howlers, Bare-eared and Humboldt's (Common) Squirrel Monkeys, Ashy-grey, Chestnut-bellied, Hoffmann's and Lake Baptista Titi Monkeys, Grey Four-eyed, Little Rufous Mouse, Southern (Common) and Western Woolly Opossums, Common Vampire Bat, and Greater and Lesser Fishing Bats. Also a chance of Southern Tamandua, Golden-handed Tamarin, and Black-tailed Hairy Dwarf, Dwarf and Prehensile-tailed (Brazilian) Porcupines.
Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish
Numerous butterflies including several species of Morpho and a multitude of insects including nomadic columns of Army Ants which eat every animal in their path up to the size of small snakes and are often followed by birds such as antbirds, foliage-gleaners and woodcreepers which pick off fleeing insects.
Possibly the greatest diversity on Earth; a single hectare (2.5 acres) may support 480 tree species.
The River Amazon is the largest river in the world by far and the second longest river in the world at 6515 km (4050 miles), just 180 km (110 miles) short of the River Nile at 6695 km (4160 miles), although some scientists argue that the Amazon is the longest. It has over a thousand tributaries which together with the main river hold about 20% of the planet's fresh water, and the Amazon Basin is the largest drainage basin of any river in the world at over 5 million sq km (2 million sq miles).
Solimoes-Negro interfluvium ('The Meeting of the Waters') Near Manaus, 2250 km (1400 miles) inland from the River Amazon's mouth at the Atlantic Ocean, the two largest rivers in South America meet. Ten km (six miles) downstream from Manaus the warm, dark water of the Rio Negro, on which the city is situated, meets the cooler, muddy water of the Amazon (called Solimoes to the west) and they flow side by side and do not mix completely for several kilometres (miles).
The River Amazon usually floods between June and October after the wet season which usually lasts from November to April, with water levels reaching a peak in mid-June the best time to look for primates because the flooded forest (up to 15 metres higher than before the flood) is more accessible. This is also true of September-October the best time to look for birds. Alas, heat and humidity also peak between June and October.
Birds of Brazil by K Zimmer and A Whittaker. PUP, due 2020+.
A Field Guide to the Birds of Brazil by B van Perlo. OUP, 2009.
Birds of Venezuela by D Ascanio, G Rodriguez and R Restall. Helm, 2017.
Birds of South America: Non-Passerines by J R Roderiguez Mata et al. Harper Collins, 2006 hbk/Princeton University Press, 2006 pbk.
Birds of South America: Passerines by R S Ridgely and G Tudor. University of Texas Press/Helm, 2009 (Updated paperback edition of books listed next with 400 more illustrations).
The Birds of South America: Passerines by R S Ridgely and G Tudor. University of Texas Press, 1989 and 1994 (Two volumes).
Birds of Northern South America by R Restall, C Rodner and M Lentino. Helm, 2006 (Two volumes).
Mammals of South America by R D Lord. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.
Globetrotter Wildlife Guide: Brazil by J Malathronas. New Holland Publishers, 2008.
All Birds Northern Brazil by Bloomsbury/Sunbird Images.
Birds of Brazil.
Where to watch birds in South America by N Wheatley. Helm, 1994.
Don’t know which country/countries to visit in South America? Then it may be worth considering taking a look at this book, written by this website’s author. It is many years old of course but it still provides a starting point, an overview and a guiding light to the best birds and the best places to look for them on the continent, and could save hours of searching for similar information on the internet. However, it is important to check more up-to-date sources for sites which have been opened up, sites and species which have been discovered, lodges that have been built etc. since the book was published.
Many trip reports, some for the Amazon, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to the Amazon. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to the Amazon' below.
The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.
There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.
While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and people with partners with different interests. Individuals and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more than the price of an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.
Tour companies who run organized tours or can arrange custom tours to the Amazon include the following.