Ecuador's native animals list is among the world's
In fact, Ecuador
is the world's smallest megadiverse country and has the world's greatest
biodiversity per hectare. This
diversity is the result of
It is one of the only 10 continental countries on the
equator, most of which are characterized by wet tropical conditions;
Being on the equator, most rainforests have
relatively little seasonal variety, allowing more species to survive than
in regions with more seasonal fluctuation in precipitation and temperatures;
The Andes divides the country in three zones,
each with different sets of species;
The coastal region of Ecuador is in the
transition from the world's wettest region in the world, the Choco in Colombia
and the southern Andean deserts that start in Peru with countless endemic
However, even though
having the greatest number of animal species, South
America - including Ecuador - has no terrestrial
macrofauna, like Africa and Asia. The largest
predator is the Jaguar and the largest hoofed animal
is the Lowland Tapir, a mid-sized ungulate.
On the other hand, with regard to birds and
reptiles, Ecuador holds its ground with the world's largest flying bird, the
Andes Condor and the giant tortoises of Galapagos. On this page you find the 25
animals and plants of the Amazon Basin, most of which in high resolution
photographs, which you can see at full size by clicking on the pictures.
Animals of the Ecuador Rainforest
There is quite a bit of confusion about the diversity of different habitats, the
greatest diversity is found in the wet lowlands, where the native
animals of Ecuador rainforest list is the longest. There is quite a hype
about the diversity of the Andes cloud forests, but in fact they are much less
diverse than the lowlands, and the number of species decreases dramatically with
elevation. Paramos are very species poor for tropical ecosystems. In fact,
about 1000 m, there are only a few fish species of one single genus. Also
Mangroves are notoriously poor in species diversity, even though the numbers of
some species may be quite large.
Endangered species of Ecuador
Being so species rich, there are countless endangered animals in Ecuador,
many not even known to science. That is why each protected area in Ecuador is so
The Cuyabeno Loop explores
the breathtaking scenery of lower Cuyabeno and Zábalo
Rivers and the Cuyabeno Lake. Watch the amazing birds and
wildlife. Pass 2 nights with the amazing Cofan Indians in
the Cofan Lodge and enjoy 2 nights of comfort in the famous
The Lagarto Cocha Expedition on hidden
creeks and lakes is the best Amazon journey in Ecuador!
Discover Indian tribes in Ecuador, Monkeys, Sloths,
Dolphins. No other Amazon rainforest in any of the
Amazon-Andean countries can match the wildlife viewing
of Cuyabeno and it is far better than Yasuní!
The Cuyabeno Lake Program
explores all the wild places surrounding the Cuyabeno Lake.
Bonsai-shaped Macrolobia trees with the whispering of the
mysterious prehistoric Hoatzin birds and the noisy Blue and
Yellow Macaws. Our Cuyabeno Lodge is on the best location,
because we were the first and chose the best location on a
seasonal island in the Cuyabeno Lake itself.
Our Northern Andes Tour lets you get a
taste of some of the best Andean National Parks,
visiting the highest groves in the world: the Polylepis
trees, the highest mountain in the world calculated from
the center of the Earth, the Chimborazo with Vecuñas and
Lamas, the highest active volcano in the world, the
Our National Parks Tours take you on a fantastic
journey along the best possible sample of Andean and coastal
parks. They have been designed to complement
Galapagos and/or Amazon cruises. They can start from different places, particularly Quito,
Guayaquil and Cuenca. While the full program lasts 9 days, it is possible to
make a limited selection of parks, like the 6 days' "Andes
and Coast" module.
A fabulous program for visiting the most
famous cultural highlights Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu and the
Sacred Valley. At the same time it serves as the Lima hub
for the Peru National Parks Tour. This module is an
extension to our National Parks Tour Ecuador and/or Galapagos National Park
and/or Amazon Cruises.
Our mammal list of Ecuador has 287 species, the most abundant group being bats, that you can see
everywhere, followed by the rodents. This is the
list of mammals of Ecuador.
21 species of monkeys are known from Ecuador
with 10 occurring in the Amazon
of Ecuador: The Pygmy marmoset, Cebuella pygmaea, is the
world's second tiniest monkey. The Black Mantle Tamarin, Saguinus nigricollis, the Spix's Night Monkey,
the Coppery Titi Monkey, Callicebus cupreus, Yellow-handed Titi
Monkey, Callicebus lucifer, the Collared Titi Monkey,
the Monk Saki, Pithecia monachus, the Common Squirrel Monkey, Saimiri
sciureus, the White-fronted Capuchin Monkey, Cebus albifrons,
Long-haired spider monkey Ateles belzebuth, the Red
Howler Monkey, Alouatta seniculus, andthe Brown Woolly Monkey,
Lagothrix lagotricha, many of which can be seen regularly.
Monkeys are rarely found above
Brown Woolly Monkey,
Lagothrix lagotricha. Below: Yellow-handed Titi Monkey, Ateles
Lowland Tapirs, Tapirus terrestris, are terrestrial
lowland jungle animals but they also are very happy in the water. Highly
for their meat, they are hunted heavily hunted anywhere outside the reserves. One rarely sees one in Cuyabeno
and Yasuni National Park, but they are there. Higher up along
the Andes occurs the Woolly Tapir, Tapirus Pinchaque, which however is
Capybaras, Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris, are the largest rodents on earth. They live
along the banks of rivers and can be frequently seen in Cuyabeno and Yasuni. Of course
there are many other species of rodents, and often one can see porcupines.
Other native hoofed animals
of Ecuador, include both species of
peccaries, Collared Peccary, Tayassu
tajacu, and the White-lipped Peccary, T. pecari., as well as several
species of deer such as White Tailed Deer, Odocoileus
virginianus, and the Brocket Deer, Manzama americana.
OF THE ANDES
the Andes has far less species than the Amazon, the species composition is very
different. Below you will see a few species that are typical for the Andes.
Since the 1970s, three camelid species have been
introduced: the wild Vicuña and the domestic Llama and Alpaca. As many as 6000+
vicuñas live at the paramos surrounding the Chimborazo and their range continues
The Andean Fox is a canine
species somewhere between a fox and a coyote.
predators live in the lowlands and quite a few of them actually like water or at least tolerate it. Some of the
predators include: Both the
Jaguar, Panthera onca, and the Ocelot,
Leopardus pardalis, like water rich forests; Jaguars are known to actually
like swimming. These, and several other species of cats are present in Cuyabeno
Particularly at night, you can see them sneaking across low hanging branches,
when you go looking for crocodiles. With a bit of luck, all of a sudden the eyes
of a big cat are caught in your flashlight. Both Jaguars,
Panthera onca, and
or Mountain Lions, Puma
concolor, - which also live in both parks - avoid people and are rarely
seen, even by the indigenous people. Both species are on the endangered
animals of Ecuador list.
The South American coati, or ring-tailed coati,
Nasua nasua, is a common predator in the Amazon region. Both the Giant
Otter, Pteronura brasiliensis, and the Neotropical Otter, Lutra
longicaudis, belong naturally in the eastern lowlands. They do occur
however in the major reserves of Ecuador's Amazon region.
Besides Mountain Lions, the largest
predators are the Spectacles Bear and the Andean Fox.
the a water-drenched Amazon Region, two species of dolphins live in the rivers:
Amazon Dolphin, Inia geoffrensis, can be
recognized by its hump-shaped dorsal fin and the more pronounced hump on its
head and longer snout. Particularly the males may be pink, but in the Amazon of
they are mostly gray. The Pink Amazon Dolphin can turn its head 90 degrees each
way. Dolphins can be seen almost daily at the Cuyabeno Great Lake, darting
around the canoe and sometimes swimming with the swimmers. When the water level
is high, dolphins even enter the flooded forest in pursuit of fishes that feed
on nuts and seeds from the flooded forest floor.
The Gray Amazon Dolphin or Tucuxi, Sotalia fluviatilis,
can be recognized by its shark-like triangular dorsal fin. Its belly is lighter
and varies from light grey to pinkish. It has a closely related relative in the
coastal waters of South America, but that species does not swim as deeply into
the Amazon region as the Tucuxi. More so than the Pink Amazon Dolphin, Tucuxis
tend to jump out of the water.
Amazonian Manatee, Trichechus
inunguis, is a species of manatee that lives in the freshwaters rivers
and lakes of the Amazon basin and supposedly never leaves for the sea.
It is found in Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, and Venezuela.
It is closely related to the West Indian Manatee, that also ventures up
the Amazon River, but never as deeply inland as the Amazonian Manatee.
They are regular visitors of Cuyabeno.
There are numerous species of bats in the jungle. Of
course, at night you can see them fly in great numbers in the sky. But in
daytime too, you can see quite a few of them. Some species hang from low braches
above the water, and when you pass by them, they may flya off their resting
places and you get to see them from quite nearby. These pictures have been taken
by biologists during a bat field study.
More than 1650 species of birds have been
recorded for Ecuador, making it the most bird diverse country in the
world by size:
Many reptiles also like a to snatch up insects, although
some of them also like other animalsof Ecuador for dinner,
such as amphibians, birds and even peccaries and deer, as is the case of
anacondas and Black Caiman:
Other groups of the animal kingdom also love taking it out on insects: the
Frogs and toads are extremely common in the Amazon Jungle
as well as along the Andes flanks.
In fact, most of the nightly concerts are sung by amphibians! Unless you know
how and where to look for them, you rarely see them though. Some of those noisy
critters are no more than one or two centimeters and they have perfect hiding
colors. As soon as they notice you, they keep quiet, but the moment you are
gone, they resume their song.
While fishing is no longer
allowed in the parks, other than by the Indians for personal use, there are a great number of fishes, including the infamous pirañas, as well as the gigantic Paiches and
Amazon Catfish. The coastal
ichteofauna is far less diverse and to some extent related to the
Galapagos marine animals, iguanas and other ichteofauna .
Of course the
jungle is home to a fabulous variety of the most wonderful insects, big and
small: colorful moths and butterflies, odd shaped beetles, dragonflies, etc.
etc. After more than two decades in the reserve, we learned that for insects,
every night is different. Some nights great numbers of very
different species are attracted by lights, while other nights insects abound, but most of them only
belonging to only a few species.
During nightly excursions in the
Amazon, the guides go looking for nocturnal insects on the ground. The Amazon
has some really weird looking critters that you only can see at night with
Some evenings, insects come in great variety, while other evenings, only a few
different species fly about. Particularly the moths that come after the lights
of the lodge, are of great beauty and if you are lucky, you may see a few of
these species of the "hummingbirds" of the insect world show off their
incredibly rapid wing beats.
appear in amazing shapes and colors and are always a thankful subject for
Of course their
adult life forms are also well-represented. Many diurnal butterflies like to
gather at specific places, supposedly to nourish themselves with minerals.
and other Arthropods
And then of course there are spiders, in many sizes and colors:
At a distance of
3000 km from the
coast of Ecuador, there are fresh water crabs in the Amazon. Are they there
from ancient days when the Amazon was under the Atlantic Ocean, or did they
adapt to fresh water and migrated upstream?
Whip spiders are
closest related to the spiders, but are still quite different. They have no silk
glands and are different from scorpions by lacking a poisonous tail. They are
totally harmless to people.
The Andean Condor
is the largest flying bird in the world and it is on the endangered native animals
of Ecuador list.