Rarest birds spotted on an Amazon cruise

One of the best things about the Amazon jungle is that passengers on a river cruise can experience the wonder of the natural world without even leaving the comfort of their boat.

Pink dolphins swim in the swirling waters, monkeys relax in the nearby canopy and exotic jungle birds crisscross the skies overhead. For keen twitchers and amateur ornithologists, this wealth of avian life is a dream come true, with many of the local rainforest species among the rarest in the world.

So, if you’re about to set off on one of the Amazon Jungle expeditions available in the region, here are some rare birds to keep a look out for.

Harpy eagle

Despite being the largest eagle in the Americas, the harpy eagle is very illusive. Unlike other birds of prey who fly high above the ground searching for prey, the harpy eagle prefers to sit up in the jungle  canopy and wait for its dinner to pass by, drastically reducing the chances of seeing one in flight.

Though they also inhabit parts of the Brazilian rainforest you’re most likely to spot this formidable hunter in the Peruvian Amazon where the Pacaya Samiria and Allpahuayo reserves are both known habitats of the harpy eagle.

Grey hawk

Another resident of the Peruvian rainforest, the grey hawk is most commonly spotted in the area of the jungle along the river’s banks.

As the name suggests, the hawk is grey in colour and mostly feeds on reptiles, small mammals and amphibians. You’ll have to be quick if want to spot the grey hawk though as it’s well known for its ability to manoeuvre at high speed through the jungle.

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Iquitos gnatcatcher

There is a staggering amount that scientists still need to learn about the Amazon jungle, and the fact that the Iquitos gnatcatcher was discovered as recently as 2005, proves just that.

This tiny grey bird is critically endangered, and is only found in a small geographic area. Feeding mostly on small insects, spot the Iquitos gnatcatcher now before it’s too late.

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Amazonian Parrotlet

With a habitat stretching from southern Peru to north west Bolivia, you’d expect the Amazonian parrotlet to be fairly well documented, however the species was only discovered in 1985, proving again how much we still have to learn about the Amazon Jungle.

Also known as the Manu parrotlet, the bird is normally found in lowland forest areas close to riverbanks in areas all about the Amazon jungle.

In general the best places for seeing these rare and endangered species are in and around the many natural reserves located within the jungle, however, if you keep your eyes peeled, you could spot one of these illusive birds from the comfort of your deck chair.

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