The Amazon rainforest contains an abundance of plants and animals that are unlike anything else in the world. Due to the sheer amount of biodiversity, there’s an equally large number of birds in the Amazon rainforest that you might not have heard of before, or that you might have thought went extinct long ago. Check out this list of 10 amazing birds in the Amazon rainforest—we bet you didn’t know they existed!
These fun-loving birds can be found across much of Central and South America, but they’re most common in Brazil. Toucans have long, pointed bills, which they use to tear apart fruit and to catch insects. Since their bills are so large, toucans have a tough time flying if there’s any breeze at all; for safety reasons, toucans will often stand on branches when winds pick up.
2) Helmeted curassow
Found in Central and South America, helmeted curassows are medium-sized, long-legged bird with a black crown and neck. They have white bodies and long tail feathers. Their distinct feature is an elongated plate of bone on top of their heads that looks like a helmet or horn. This helmet helps protect them from predators during territorial disputes (the birds will bob their heads down to scare off threats) as well as keep their large crest feathers in place.
3) Spix’s macaw
Native to Brazil and Bolivia, these birds are fairly large, weighing between 1.2 and 1.7 kg. They have a blue head, green wings and tail with a red throat, chest and lower belly. Like other macaws, their life span is 60 to 80 years. Their range includes eastern Peru, northern Bolivia and central Brazil north of the Amazon River in tropical rainforests.
4) Great tinamou
A tinamou is a ground-dwelling bird, meaning it forages for food on land as opposed to swimming in water. This means tinamous tend to be pretty heavy and cumbersome on their feet, but they make up for that with impressive wingspans—in fact, these birds have some of the longest wingspans relative to body size of any bird.
5) Red-legged seriema
It’s one of South America’s rarest birds, but it isn’t very famous. Why? Because despite its impressive size, looks and bird-of-paradise plumage, you probably wouldn’t recognize it if you saw it. These elusive critters live deep in South America’s rainforests, staying out of sight and mind until they’re spotted by a lucky explorer. Native to Brazil and Argentina, these gaudy ground birds are currently endangered due to habitat loss caused by deforestation.
6) Mealy parrot
The Mealy Parrot is a critically endangered species of parrot that inhabits only dry grassland and deciduous forest regions in Brazil. From afar, you would think that Mealy Parrots were plain green birds; however, if you look closely at their wings, you’ll notice that they are covered in white dots—giving them an awesome cotton-candy look. It is believed that between 250 and 300 of these beautiful birds still exist in the wild today.
7) Blue crowned hummingbird
Found in South America, they have brilliant blue feathers on their head and a yellow beak. They eat from tropical flowers that produce sweet nectar. This bird weighs around half an ounce.
8) Guianan cock-of-the-rock
This flashy songbird may be small, but its wacky color pattern sure doesn’t lack in visual appeal. Guianan cock-of-the-rocks (Rupicola rupicola) hail from Bolivia and southeastern Brazil, where males build elaborate clay nests that resemble giant flowers. Females lay two to three cream-colored eggs, which both parents incubate for about 21 days.