Once you catch bird watching fever, the completion of your life list will become a dream. In that dream, there is little doubt that you will see the famous Amazon Rainforest.
Encompassing about 1,500 species in the land where the world's second longest river flows, the Amazon Rainforest is a unique birding habitat. This region of South America from the Peruvian Andes to the South Atlantic in Brazil is known as Amazonia.
The Amazon River and shoreline is a major destination for bird watchers with 4,000 miles of shoreline. It is estimated that about 15 percent of all known bird species in the world have their habitat here, which represents only 4 percent of the planet's land surface.
The Amazon Rainforest is a 7 million km square (1.2 billion acres) moist broad leaf forest from 9 nations, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana and Brazil, the country which encompasses 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest. The range of nations and the characteristics of the forest contribute to making this region home of the world's tiniest hummingbirds. The area includes such rare species as the hoatzin, toucan, and the umbrella bird.
Amazonia forest also represents over half of the planet's remaining rainforests, one of the few areas where bird watchers can find such life list necessities as exotic parrots, umbrella birds and trogons. The high diversity of Amazon species includes resident species, wintering in, migrating birds, or just passing though the region.
Few of the species are found throughout the vast rainforest. Instead, each has particular habitats in particular areas. Species at the base of the Andes are far different than those found closer to the vast Amazon River basin. In short, one has to have a thorough knowledge of specific species before simply heading down to South America on a birding expedition.
The Amazon Rainforest represents one of the last great ecological environments on our planet. Alas, humanity is encroaching on it every day, slashing and burning acre after acre. While it is nice to imagine this destruction will soon stop, it is best to pursue any birding trip in the next ten years or so. After all, the planet is changing and they think there may be trees growing on Antarctica in the next hundred years or so!