Fundacion Fauna de la Amazonia
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WILDLIFE OF THE AMAZON

 

(More species profiles under construction)

 

The list below doesn't follow any specific classification or selection. It is a sample of some of the fascinating wildlife found in Ecuador with additional facts on these. These are some of the species of animals and plants that Fundación Fauna de la Amazonía has worked with and learned about until the present day.

 

The following information has been put together using multiple sources. If you think it is necessary to correct or extend the information provided please send us an email. Your help is greatly appreciated!

 

  

Common Squirrel Monkey                       

Saimiri sciureus

 

Diet
Spends a large part of its day foraging for insects and other animal prey, a very important part of its diet. It also feeds on ripe fruit, like figs and legumes, and occasionally on nectar and flowers.

 

Distribution, Habitat & Range
South America; Amazon Basin and the Guianas. Usually keeps in the middle and lower levels of the forest, sometimes even using the ground. Can also climb to reach the fruits in the highest treetops. Their home range is around 400 hectares.

 

Social Structure & Behaviour
Squirrel monkeys often form mixed groups with capuchin monkeys for larger group protection, and in addition they benefit by collecting the insects that the larger capuchins disturb while travelling noisily through the forest. They live in large groups of 20 to more than 100.

 

Conservation Status
Widespread and still common. Even though they are not considered an Endangered species on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species or on the Red List of Ecuador, populations are threatened and declining due to pet trade and loss of habitat.

 

Saddle-back Tamarin

Saguinus fuscicollis

 

Diet
These monkeys are primarily frugivorous and insectivorous, but supplement their diet with tree sap, nectar, small vertebrates, and soil from arboreal termite mounds. Depending on availability, nectar or tree sap may become the dietary staples when fruits are scarce. They search for prey in the leaf litter, and dip into tree holes, crevices, and bromeliads.

 

Distribution, Habitat & Range
Central and western Amazonia. Usually keeps in the middle and lower levels of the forest, often in dense forest with abundant vines. Home-range size varies between 10–200 hectares. Most or all group members at the same place perform scent marking throughout the home range, often simultaneously.

 

Social Structure & Behaviour
Saddle-back tamarin groups comprise 3–10 individuals. Saddle-back tamarins can form mixed-species troops with other types of tamarins and have also been observed in association with marmoset species.

 

Conservation Status
Widespread and still common, however due to pet trade and loss of habitat, the numbers are decreasing.

 

Dusky Titi Monkey (Coppery Titi Monkey)

Callicebus discolor

 

Diet
Feeds primarily on leaves and unripe fruit. Are especially fond of bamboo shoots. There is little animal prey in their diet. They begin feeding in the early morning.

 

Distribution, Habitat & Range
South America; east of the Andes in a strip along their base from Colombia to Bolivia and Paraguay, and the southern part of the Brazilian Amazon. Most often found in areas of denser vegetation, especially in water edges and in swamp edges, where it uses mid and lower levels. Often found in bamboo thickets. They live in family groups, usually from 2-7 individuals, in a small territory.

 

Social Structure & Behaviour
This species are highly territorial, pairs of Dusky Titi’s have been known to engage in vocal duels with other pairs at dawn.

 

Conservation Status
Widespread and common; not usually hunted for meat, however due to pet trade and loss of habitat, the numbers are reducing, and the populations of these monkeys are threatened.

 

Brown Capuchin

Cebus apella

 

Diet
Feeds on ripe fruits, palms nuts, insects, nectar, small mammals, lizards, bird &eggs and nestlings. This species will also tear open buds and stems of palms and eat the young fruit. They can eat larger foods than other species of capuchin because of their stronger jaws.

 

Distribution, Habitat & Range
There is insufficient data on the different species and subspecies of capuchin monkeys. As this is still controversial, the geographic range is correspondingly uncertain. To date brown capuchin monkeys have been classified inhabitants of South America from east of the Andes: Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela. Found in many types of forest. Brown Capuchins usually have a wider range and broader habitat than those of any other capuchin species, sometimes larger than 150 hectares.

 

Social Structure & Behaviour
These monkeys live in groups of 5 to 20 with a social hierarchy. Groups often associate with troops of squirrel monkeys for mutual protection from predators. All species of capuchins are highly social and spend a lot of time grooming; and all have semi-prehensile tails.

 

Conservation Status
Widespread and often common in most part of its distribution in the Amazon, excluding Ecuador where it is known to be rare to spot. Hunted for meat in most parts of its range. One of the least endangered neotropical monkeys, due to habitat flexibility and reproductive potential. However it is considered Nearly Endangered in the Red List of Endangered Species of Ecuador.

 

Subspecies
To date scientists have been able to recognise 6 subspecies of Cebus apella. The great lack of knowledge and data (especially photography) on these subspecies groups often makes it very hard to classify the different variations of capuchins. Unfortunately we have not been able to identify which subspecies groups were kept at our centre (such as the one in the photo).

 

White-fronted Capuchin

Cebus albifrons

 

Diet
Feeds on insects, fruits, leaves, seeds, bird eggs, lizards and occasionally small mammals. It forages for hidden insects by manipulating leaves and branches.

 

Distribution, Habitat & Range
South America: isolated areas in North Colombia and Venezuela and Coastal Ecuador, the middle and upper Amazon basin from Colombia to Brazil. This species lives mostly in subtropical and evergreen forests. The home range of a group is about 150 hectares; home ranges of neighbouring groups can overlap largely.

 

Social Structure & Behaviour
Lives in groups of 5 to 30 members with a social hierarchy. Travels and forages noisily, often with low whines and whistles.

 

Conservation Status
Widespread in the Amazon Basin, even though widely hunted for meat and for the pet trade. It is the most commonly seen captive primate. The Coastal populations (of subspecies C.a.aequatorialis) are highly threatened by deforestation and hunting, and are listed as Nearly Endangered in the Red List of Endangered Species of Ecuador.

 

Subspecies
Up to date scientists have been able to recognise 11 subspecies of Cebus albifrons.

 

Common Woolly Monkey

Lagothrix lagotricha

 

Diet
Feeds mainly on ripe fruits, seeds, palms nuts, leaves and some insects. They also eat assorted seeds, bark, flowers and even some types of fungi.

 

Distribution, Habitat & Range
South America; Amazon Basin, Orinoco River, upper reaches of the Amazon, and the eastern slopes of the Andes. Lives in Equatorial forests using the upper-middle levels.

 

Social Structure & Behaviour
Woolly monkeys live in groups from 6 to 60 members. They communicate with each other by using body language, facial expressions and verbal sounds. They use barks as an alarm call and clicks as a greeting call. Woolly monkeys have long prehensile tails which make them among the most agile of primates and are even able to access terminal branches.

 

Conservation Status
The most intensively hunted monkey. Its meat is considered better than that of any other large monkey species. Extinct or naturally absent from many areas. This population is unable to maintain its populations due to hunting pressures, habitat destruction and low reproductive rate. It is also increasingly part of the illegal pet trade due to its apparent gentle nature. Listed as Vulnerable in the Red List of Endangered Species of Ecuador.

 

Kinkajou

Potos flavus

 

Diet
Feeds primarily on fruit, especially figs. They also eat insects and small mammals, and in the dry season will drink flower nectar. They also eat honey, using their long skinny tongues to slurp the honey from a hive, and also to remove insects like termites from their nests. They roam and eat at night, and generally return each morning to sleep in previously used tree holes.

 

Distribution, Habitat & Range
Central and South America; it is found from South Mexico to Mato Grosso Brazil. This species lives in rainforests, gardens and plantations.

 

Social Structure & Behaviour
Is nocturnal and arboreal. Lives solitary, in pairs or several may congregate in fruit trees. Is agile and can travel quickly, running and jumping noisily from tree to tree. During the day the kinkajou dens in tree hollows. Though many of its features and traits sound like those of a primate, the kinkajou is actually related to the raccoon. The kinkajou also has a prehensile tail that it uses much like another arm, and often hangs from this incredible tail to reach food.

 

Conservation Status
Widespread and often common. As this is a highly arboreal species, even though we have no evidence that it is becoming threatened, it must be presumed that its numbers decrease with extensive human disturbance. Threats include extensive human disturbance, deforestation, pet trade and hunting for its meat and pelt. Although kinkajous have the appearance of being cute, gentle and friendly animals, once they become adults they are very dangerous and one of the most aggressive animals we've worked with.

 

South American Coati

Nasua nasua

 

Diet
Omnivorous, feeds on fruit, invertebrates and other small mammals. Coatis can be seen feeding on fruit high in the canopy of a tree, or searching the forest floor for animal prey by poking their long noses into crevices, turning over rocks, or ripping apart dead logs with their claws.

 

Distribution, Habitat & Range
South America; east of the Andes in all countries from Colombia and Venezuela to Argentina and Uruguay. Found in forested habitats ranging from tropical rainforest to dry shrub.

 

Social Structure & Behaviour
Diurnal, terrestrial and arboreal; solitary and in groups of up to 30. They are often seen as a group of vertical tail tips waving among the shrubbery. When one coati spots danger and gives the alarm, all run partway up trees to look. After a few moments they drop to the ground and disperse rapidly through the undergrowth. At night coatis sleep in tree tops.

 

Conservation Status
Widespread but generally uncommon outside rainforests. Major threats for the species are habitat loss due to deforestation and hunting for their meat as well as for the live animal trade.

 

Tayra

Eira barbara

 

Diet
Omnivorous, including fruits, carrion, insects, and honey and small vertebrates (such as marsupials, rodents and iguanids).

 

Distribution, Habitat & Range
Central and South America; South Mexico south to North Argentina. They inhabit many different types of rainforests and forests, gardens and plantations and cloud forest.

 

Social Structure & Behaviour
Diurnal except near human habitations, when also crepuscular; terrestrial and arboreal; solitary or in pairs that travel together. They are generally seen as they travel quickly through the forest on the ground, often along the tops of fallen logs. They den in hollow trees or holes in the ground.

 

Conservation Status
Widespread and one of the most common carnivores. However habitat loss due to deforestation and hunting mainly for the live animal trade are threats for the species.

 

Collared Peccary

Pecari tajacu

 

Diet
Omnivorous; feeds on soft and hard fruits and palm nuts. From certain plants they will eat the leaves, roots, shoots, tuber or seeds. They will also eat invertebrates (such as larvae, insects and snails) and other small vertebrates. They also supplement their diet with salt from salt-licks.

 

Distribution, Habitat & Range
North, Central and South America; South-West United States to Argentina. Found in habitats from dry shrubby deserts to deep rainforests. The range of a group is usually small: from 1.5 to 8 square kms.

 

Social Structure & Behaviour
They can form groups of up to 50 individuals, although usual herd size is of 6 to 12. It is also possible to spot solitary males. They frequently mark trails and territory by scraping the ground with their hooves, defecating and rubbing their back gland, from which they release a strong odour. Regularly use mud wallows. Peccaries can live for up to 10 years in the wild, up to 25 years in captivity.

 

Conservation Status
Widespread and locally common, but hunted intensively for meat, sport and hides. Is rare or absent in populated areas where hunting is intensive, but overall the species is not considered threatened as it is more resistant to environmental changes than other large mammals and primates.

 

Margay

Leopardus wiedii

 

Diet
Carnivorous; although margays are highly arboreal, most prey recorded are terrestrial. Feeds mainly on small mammals (mainly rodents, monkeys and sloths), reptiles and birds, but also tree frogs, insects and rarely fruit in its diet. Average prey size at <200 g, but does include larger sized prey (>1 kg).

 

Distribution, Habitat & Range
Found in Central and South America; Mexico south to Uruguay and Argentina up to elevations of 1500 metres. Inhabits evergreen and deciduous forests. The limited information on home range size varies from 1 to 20 km². The margay occurs at low population densities throughout most of its range, and its numbers/densities are negatively impacted by the larger ocelot, its potential intra-guild predator/competitor.

 

Social Structure & Behaviour
Arboreal, terrestrial, solitary and territorial. Communicates its presence to other members through marking behaviour, such as spraying urine, scratching leaves and trees and leaving scats in prominent places. Margays are the only mammals that have ankle joints that can rotate 180 degrees allowing it to hang with one leg, like a monkey, and climb down a tree headfirst. This characteristic allows it to hang above pools whilst fishing.

 

Conservation Status
The margay has been one of the most heavily exploited Latin American cat in recent times. Margays began to appear in international trade at a time of concern over the level of exploitation of the ocelot, and species of spotted cats in trade were rarely verified. Illegal hunting for domestic markets or for the underground skin trade has been reported to be a continuing problem in some areas (Nowell and Jackson 1996). Current threats to this species include habitat loss (human induced conversion of native forest habitats to agriculture and pasture), fragmentation, roads, illegal trade (pets and pelts), and retaliatory killing (animals are often shot due to depredation on poultry). Considered Near Threatened on both The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and The Red List of Ecuador.

 

Scarlet Macaw

Ara macao

 

Diet
Eats fruits and seeds, it can open very large seeds with its powerful beak. It also feeds on nectar and vegetable matter. Groups of these regularly visit riverbanks to eat clay. The clay appears to detoxify the poisons in their diet of seeds from rainforest trees and vines.

 

Distribution, Habitat & Range
Found from South Mexico through to Central America and the Amazon Basin. It is native to humid evergreen forests in the American tropics. The habitat of Scarlet Macaws is considered to be the greatest latitudinal range for any bird in the genus Ara as the estimated maximum territorial range covers 6,700,000 km². Nevertheless, the Scarlet Macaw’s habitat is fragmented, and colonies of the bird are mostly confined to tiny populations scattered throughout Central and South America.

 

Social Structure & Behaviour
They can form large groups of up to 40 individuals. Within the groups, and as with other large macaws there is a strong pair bond and this is most evident as flocks pass overhead, paired birds fly close together, their wings almost touching. Groups will travel large distances to scattered feeding grounds and return before sunset to their roosting sites. The Scarlet Macaw lays two or three white eggs in a tree cavity. The female incubates the eggs for about 28 days, and the chicks fledge from the nest about 90 days after hatching and leave their parents about a year later.

 

Conservation Status
Although they are considered widespread and common, as they still occur in large numbers in some parts of their territory, habitat loss and fragmentation, and the ongoing live animal trade and &commercialisation of their constituent parts (such as feathers) are threats for the species.

 

Blue and Yellow Macaw

Ara ararauna

 

Diet
Feeds on fruits, nuts and other vegetable matter. Also seen eating insects and snails. As other species of macaws, they regularly visit riverbanks to eat clay -scientists have recently discovered that this may help to neutralize chemicals in their fruity diet and ease their stomachs.

 

Distribution, Habitat & Range
South America; east of the Andes in all countries from Colombia and Venezuela to Argentina and Uruguay. This species inhabits forest and tall palms growing in swamps or along watercourses. In the dry season it generally does not leave the dense rainforest, however during the rainy season it can move over large distances.

 

Social Structure & Behaviour
Macaws typically mate for life, even when living in large flocks. They not only breed with, but also share food with their mates and enjoy mutual grooming. They have regular roosting sites and in the early morning flocks head to feeding grounds which may be some distance away. Return flights commence just before the sunset. Their loud calls, squawks and screams echo through the forest canopy. In the breeding season, mothers incubate the eggs while fathers bring food back to the nest. Nests are always placed 30m or more above the ground. Young are nest bound for 3-4months.

 

Conservation Status
Still common in more remote forests, but numbers have been reduced or disappeared completely from accessible regions of their range. This macaw is highly prized as a pet and is part of the illegal pet trade. There are 17 species of macaws, and several are endangered. Hyacinth, red fronted and blue throated macaws are seriously endangered. The glaucus macaw and spix’s macaw may already be extinct in the wild.

 

Green Parrots

Amazona sp.

Blue Headed Parrot

Pionus menstruus

Spix's Guan

Penelope jacquacu

Yellow-footed Tortoise

Chelonoidis denticulata

Yellow-spotted River Turtle

Podocnemis unifilis

Black Agouti

Dasyprocta fuliginosa

Spotted Paca

Cuniculus paca