Colombia is a paradise for bird watchers. Whether for scientific purposes or simply out of curiosity, it is an amazing destination.

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Birdwatching in the Amazon jungle

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Cream-colored Woodpecker (Celeus flavus) female

Cream-colored Woodpecker (Celeus flavus) female /Fot. Diego Calderón Franco/

The exuberant Amazon jungle covers the vastness of the lowlands of southern Colombia, in the departments of Amazonas, Vaupés, Caquetá, Putumayo, and Guaviare.

Our part of the Amazon jungle borders with northern Ecuador and Peru and with northwestern Brazil, where the huge Amazon River bathes Leticia, the capital of the department of Amazonas.

The tropical rainforest is the predominant habitat in the area, where up to 3.300 mm of rain may fall in a single year. The Amazon jungle is mega diverse in terms of fauna and flora, and is still home for quite a number of Indian communities. This is one of the regions with more IBAs and protected areas in the National Natural Parks System of Colombia.

Birding in the Amazon region

Hooded Tanager (Nemosia pileata)

Hooded Tanager (Nemosia pileata) /Fot. Diego Calderón Franco/

With over 750 bird species in the Colombian Amazon, the birding options are numerous. Logistically, Leticia and its surroundings are the easiest and most productive options.

The Amazon: home of the planet’s greatest biodiversity. 750 species for specialists to study and enjoy.

Groups of more than 20 species of parrots, parakeets and macaws, as well as antbirds following swarms of army ants, are easily found in the outskirts of Leticia.

Many other species are found on Amazon River islands, several of which are restricted to riverine habitats. Among them among, Castelnau's Antshrike (Thamnophilus cryptoleucus) and Zimmer's Woodcreeper (Dendroplex kienerii) stand out.

Yellow-billed Jacamar (Galbula albirostris)

Yellow-billed Jacamar (Galbula albirostris) /Fot. Juan David Ramírez/

Another wonderful birding area is in the Amacayacu National Park and Puerto Nariño area, where it is possible to find surprises like groups of some fifteen Gray-winged Trumpeters (Psophia crepitans).

In general terms, birding is easy and the landscape is breathtaking, with the magnificent Amazon River serving as a highway to move from one birding area to another. Overall, this is a paradise for watching toucans, cotingas and antbirds among many other birds.

Only one species is endemic to the Colombian Amazon, the Chiribiquete Emerald (Chlorostilbon olivaresi). Unfortunately the area it inhabits is distant from cities like Leticia and thus is difficult to reach.

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