The Bird Life Of Peru

On March 30, 2014 by Tim Newman

Birds Of Peru

Today I bring you a small selection of the impressively magniloquent and devastatingly handsome birds that chill out in Peru. Peru boasts around 1,879 bird species in total, 91 of which are globally threatened.

So without further ado let’s start this woefully inadequate list with Peru’s national bird…

Andean Cock-of-the-Rock

Birds Of Peru - Andean cock of the rock

If the name’s too hilarious for you then she also answers to Rupicola peruvianus, although, that’s still not 100% clean. Distributed throughout the Cloud Forests of the Andes these buggers will chow down on anything from lizards to fruits. The male, pictured above looks amazing, the lady (below) looks rubbish.

Birds Of Peru - Andean cock of the rock female

The male has little to do with mating and nesting, it spends its energy on looking electric. His headdress does however mean he’s a popular snack for anything that eats meat and lives in the forest.

Humboldt Penguin

Birds Of Peru - Humboldt Penguin

Didn’t see that coming did you? A Peruvian penguin. They breed off the coast of Chile and Peru and have been the victims of guano over-exploitation in the past. I know, I know, who wants penguin poo? Well it turns out guano in general is an awesome fertilizer. In fact control over guano played an important role in the Chincha Islands War (1864–1866) between Spain and the Peruvian-Chilean alliance. How about that?

You’ll be talking about ancient 6ft tall penguins next.

Birds Of Peru - Humboldt Penguin tokyo

Also, a Humboldt penguin romantically named #337 escaped from Tokyo Central Zoo by somehow scaling a 13ft high wall. #337 lived happily in Tokyo bay for 82 days until being recaptured and put back in its prison.

Animal Collection

Peruvian Booby

Birds Of Peru - Peruvian Booby

Come on, grow up, that’s what it’s called, or Sula variegata if you’re feeling fancy. On the topic of guano, the Peruvian Booby’s nest is made almost entirely of the stuff (below).

Birds Of Peru - Peruvian Booby nest

There were 3 million of these guys and gals in the middle of the twentieth century but after the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) of 1982-83 numbers dropped to just 0.2 million. Numbers are now back on the increase.

Boat-Billed Heron

Birds Of Peru - Boat-billed Heron

Who doesn’t like a nice heron? Idiots, that’s who. The boat-billed heron is a good-looking critter. This nocturnal bird lives in many of the swamps of South America. They’re about 50 cm long and fill their tum-tums with  fish, rodents, eggs, crustaceans, insects and amphibians.

Birds Of Peru - Boat-billed Heron 2

Apparently their calls include a deep croak and a high-pitched pee-pee-pee. LOL.


Horned Screamer

Birds Of Peru - Horned Screamer 2

No, I’m not making it up, Google it yourself doubting Thomas. The horned screamer is related to ducks, swans and geese but has a bill more like a game bird. Their entertaining name comes from that weird long spiny structure sticking out of its head and the fact that their call is piercingly loud.

Birds Of Peru - Horned Screamer

Horned screamers are pretty big birds, some can reach a metre in length and weigh 3.5 kg (that’s the approximate weight of 7 cans of lager). The bird remains fairly common and widespread in South America, but it died out in Trinidad and Tobago.

The horned screamer is the official bird of the Department of Arauca and the Municipality of Arauca in Colombia.

Red-Throated Caracara

Birds Of Peru - Red-throated Caracara

This beautiful bird of prey feeds on the larvae of bees and wasps, but will also take the adult insects, fruits and berries. The red-throated caracara is pretty wide-spread throughout South America en general. Although the population is decreasing there’s no cause for concern yet apparently. I guess any bird that makes its home in the forests of the world must be on the decline.

Birds Of Peru - Red-throated Caracara 2

If you’ve learned nothing else from this short list of Peruvian birds I hope you’ve seen just how immature and easily amused you are. If you’re digging the bird based banter have a go on THESE:





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