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Endemics - Peru Prepping Part 4

posted by Tim Avery at
on Friday, July 27, 2012 

White-tufted Sunbeam found in the highlands of south central Peru,
and one of a handful of endemic Hummingbirds here.
Photo Copyright Simon Valdez

So, in Peru there are 1879 species of birds (or somewhere in that arena), of which 139 are endemic (numbers are ever changing due to more research). A species that is endemic is unique to a specific geographic location, such as an island, nation or other defined zone, or habitat type. Endemic species are likely to develop in biologically isolated areas such as the Andes because of that geographical isolation.

Scarlet-hooded Barbet is mostly endemic 
to Peru and the lowland Amazon
Photo Copyright Fabrice Schmitt

139 species.  That's pretty amazing--in contrast, the Unites States has a total of just 13 species of endemic birds, 3 of which occur in Utah (Black Rosy-Finch, Brown-capped Rosy-Finch, and Gunnison Sage-Grouse).   Endemic birds are typically highly sought after by birders because you have to travel to a specific location to see them.  They are often rare, threatened, or endangered because of habitat and range requirements and in decline due to human factors.

Creamy-crested Spinetail is a highly sought
after high elevation bird found around Cuzco.
Photo Copyright Kristian Svensson

If I were going to Peru just for a birding trip, I would certainly plan a route that would put me in as many areas for the endemics as possible.  But since this is a touring vacation and the birding is just part of the overall experience I will take what I can get--which comes out to be somewhere around 34 possible endemics.  There are several other species/subspecies I left off the list because I'm not entirely sure of their status as full species. Below is a complete list, and below that I highlight a few of the more interesting endemics in my opinion.

Masked Fruiteater is a long shot on the east slope of the Andes,
but an endemic of a cool family of birds.
Photo Copyright Kristian Svensson

Taczanowski's Tinamou, Green-and-white Hummingbird, White-tufted Sunbeam, Bearded Mountaineer, Peruvian Sheartail, White-throated Jacamar, Scarlet-hooded Barbet, Fine-barred Piculet, Coastal Miner, Thick-billed Miner, Surf Cinclodes, White-browed Tit-Spinetail, Creamy-crested Spinetail, Marcapata Spinetail, Puna Thistletail, Rusty-fronted Canastero, Junin Canastero, White-lined Antbird, Rufous-fronted Antthrush, Red-and-white Antpitta, Vilcabamba Tapaculo, Masked Fruiteater, Black-faced Cotinga, Inca Flycatcher , Unstreaked Tit-Tyrant, White-cheeked Tody-Flycatcher, Inca Wren, Golden-bellied Warbler, Parodi's Hemispingus , Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch, Raimondi's Yellow-Finch, Cuzco Brush Finch, and Apurimac Brush Finch

Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch is another high elevation specialist,
and found in the south central highlands.
Photo Copyright Joel Rosenthal

If I can even come up with 1/3 of these birds that would be phenomenal--but hey the more the merrier right?  I say the more the merrier indeed!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very cool. I didn't know Brown Capped Rosy Finches were in Utah. Sibley only shows them in the Rockies.

July 27, 2012 at 11:22 AM  
Blogger Tim Avery said...

@anonymous: Brown-capped Rosy-Finches do indeed occur in extreme southeastern Utah during the winter months. They have rarely been reported, as the area is seriously under-birded at the time of year when present.

As with the comments from another anonymous poster yesterday, the field guides don't tell the whole story on where birds occur. Search for "Yard Birds" int eh search field in the right column and read the comments about bird distribution for more information.

July 27, 2012 at 1:43 PM  
Anonymous machu picchu hotels said...

Amazing post hoping that this bird still fly and explore the city of peru hope you post more images.

August 3, 2012 at 9:22 AM  

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