Ecuador is renowned for its bird life, boasting more species than the entire North American continent combined. Most of these live in the Amazon and the best place to spot them is in the world famous Yasuní Biosphere Reserve whose ideal natural habitat creates the perfect environment for some 600 different species. La Selva Amazon Eco Lodge lies on the edge of the reserve and has specially built observation towers as well as highly regarded bird watching programs.
La Selva Amazon Ecolodge & Spa, Garzacoha, Ecuador +593 2-254-0427
Not far from Yasuní is the other big name in the Ecuadorian bird watching scene, the Cuyabeno Wildlife Preserve. Despite being less famous than its neighbor, Cuyabeno still boasts an impressive 580 confirmed species and counting. Sani Lodge offers custom bird watching tours in which up to a hundred species can supposedly be ticked off the list on any given stay.
This specially designated eco-reserve located near the Brazilian town of Alta Floresta is Brazil’s premier birding destination, home to 586 reported species with many more being added all the time. Able to accommodate all budgets, the Cristalino Lodge offers both luxury private and shared dormitory rooms. When not out exploring the region on foot or by motorized canoe, travelers can admire a wide range of bird life from the in-house observation towers.
Cristalino Lodge, Alta Floresta, State of Mato Grosso, Brazil +55 11 3071-0104
Aside from the usual sightings of exotic airborne aves, Tambopata is most famous for having the highest concentration of clay licks in the Amazon. Here, an abundance of colorful bird life, most notably the rainbow colored Macaw parrots, come to feast on the mineral rich deposits in a frenzied and colorful display. The Tambopata Research Center is conveniently situated between the best licks and has numerous expert birding guides on hand.
Colombia has the highest diversity of birds on earth, with some 2,000 confirmed species calling the country home. Many, however, actually reside outside the Amazon in cloud forests or the tropical lowlands along the Caribbean coast. The best bet within the great rainforest is the renowned Amacayacu National Park which is easily accessible from Leticica and home to some 450 species.
Not technically part of the Amazon, but too important to leave off the list. Brazil’s Pantanal is the world’s largest wetlands, home to an impressive array of wildlife including 1,000 species of bird. Although diversity may be lower than the Amazon, spotting our feathered friends is all too easy due to the fact the area is largely devoid of thick vegetation. Birding Pantanal offer excellent tours throughout the region.