Monkey and infant in Peruvian rainforest

Picture gallery: The astonishing wildlife of Peru's Amazon rainforest

Nov 24, 2023
Reading time: 5 minutes

A picture speaks a thousand words! This is especially helpful when it comes to the rare animals of the Amazon that most of us have never encountered or imagined! Here's a tantalising glimpse of some of the creatures living in Peru's southern rainforest.

In 2023 we launched our Amazon rainforest adventure trips!

These exciting itineraries offer the chance to explore Tambopata Nature Reserve in Peru's southern Amazon jungle. Tambopata is a true biodiversity hotspot and an important place for research and conservation.

So let's look at some of the animals both big and small that you can hope to spot when visiting Tambopata ...

Animals that are endangered or vulnerable

According to environmentalists, at least 13 endangered species can be found in Tambopata, as well as certain vulnerable species. These include ...

Spider monkey mother and infant seated in a tree in Peruvian Amazon rainforest

Black spider monkeys – they have super long limbs, hence the name

Giant otters in river in Peruvian rainforest

Giant river otters – the longest member of the weasel family

Harpy Eagle standing on a tree branch in Tambopata Reserve, Peruvian Amazon rainforest

Harpy eagles – they have the fourth longest wingspan of any eagle

Ocelot portrait, Peru rainforest

Ocelots – ancient Peruvians used to worship these beautiful felines

Pink Amazon river dolphin

Pink river dolphins – also called botos, bufeos or Amazon river dolphins

Jaguar facing camera while seated on ground in Tambopata Reserve, Peruvian Amazon rainforest

Jaguars – the name derives from an indigenous word meaning 'he who kills with one leap'

Yellow-spotted Amazon river turtle Podocnemis unifilis Tambopata rainforest

Yellow-headed river turtles – around one male is born to every 30 females!

Mammals that hang out in trees

Over a dozen primate species have been recorded in Tambopata National Reserve, as well as some other exciting arboreal animals. Take a look at these beauties ...

Duski Titi Monkey photographed in Tambopata, Peruvian Amazon rainforest

Titi monkeys – these primates form strong bonds and mate for life; here you have a mother and infant

White capuchin monkey - a shock-headed capuchin on a branch

Capuchins – a troop moves through the canopy in a neat, single line; this is a white-fronted capuchin

Red howler monkey in a tree in Peruvian Amazon rainforest

Red howlers – they're the loudest species of monkey

Squirrel-monkey on a branch in Tambopata REserve, Peruvian Amazon rainforest

Squirrel monkeys – they don't have prehensile tails

Saddle-backed tamarin (monkey) seated in a tree with bright yellow berries around it on Tambopata Amazon rainforest in Peru (1)

Tamarins – they're unusual-looking, squirrel-sized monkeys; this one is a saddled-backed tamarin

two-toed sloth, or Choloepus hoffmanni, clinging to a branch, asleep, in the Amazon rainforest

Sloths – this is a two-toed one, but Tambopata also has three-toed sloths

Anteater walking up a fallen tree trunk in Tambopata, Peruvian Amazon rainforest

Giant anteaters – they're one of only a few mammals to have no teeth

Mammals that walk the land

Some of the mammals you can find in the forests, grasslands and marshes of Tambopata are ...

Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), a large canine of South America

Maned wolves – neither fox nor wolf, they're the only species in the genus Chrysocyon

Juvenile White-lipped Peccary (Tayassu pecari), Tambopata rain forest, Peru

White-lipped peccaries – they're a kind of small forest hog; this one is a juvenile

A marsh deer standing in marsh grasses with trees behind

Marsh deer – they're the continent's largest deer species

South American tapir seen from the side behind vegetation in Peruvian Amazon rainforest

Amazonian tapirs – they're incredibly good swimmers and use their snouts like snorkels

Mother and baby capybaras walking along riverbank in Tambopata Reserve in Peruvian Amazon rainforest

Capybaras – the world's largest rodents, they can usually be found on riverbanks

Animals that are active at night

We highly recommend going on a night walk in Tambopata to try to spot some of the reserve's more elusive species, such as ...

Puma as captured by night cam in Tambopata Reserve, Peruvian Amazon rainforest (1)

Pumas – they're highly elusive; this one was snapped by a night cam

Guided night-time nature walks are great for trying to spot nocturnal animals as well as appreciating the loud chorus created by the wildlife that embraces the dark.

Woolly opossum on a branch as seen at night

Opossums – they're marsupials endemic to the Americas; this one is a woolly opossum

Red brocket Deer as seen behind vegetation with sunlight on its back

Red brocket deer – little is known about these creatures; they're both nocturnal and diurnal

Tiny animals

Tambopata is a mecca for lepidopterists (those who love butterflies).

As reported by The New York Times:

Nearly one-third the size of Costa Rica, Tambopata has more species of birds (595) and butterflies (more than 1,200) than any place of similar size on earth.

Two particularly beautiful specimens of butterfly you can find in Tambopata are ...

Two beautiful butterflies (Heliconius erato) in Peruvian rainforest

Heliconias eratos – also known as postman butterflies

blue morpho menelaus butterfly

Blue morpho butterflies – several varieties live in Tambopata; this one is a blue morpho menelaus

There's a butterfly farm in Tambopata Reserve that you can visit – it's home to hundreds of Amazonian butterflies and a real first in the country!

There are also countless other small animal species to look for in Tambopata, from little rodents to colourful insects. But here's one particular one that you definitely want to know ...

Agouti (Dasyprocta Punctata) rodent licking paw in Tambopata Reserve, Amazon rainforest, Peru

Central American agoutis – they look like an oversized guinea pig crossed with a squirrel

Around 75% of visitors to Tambopata spot an agouti during their stay, as these little creatures of no more than 3 kg aren't shy!

Animals that have wings (aka birds)

For many, birds are the stars of the show at Tambopata. So you might say that we saved the best till last!

Macaws in flight in Peruvian rainforest 2

Visitors to Tambopata are essentially guaranteed to see countless macaws

And while birds in general are a big pull, it's the clay licks that bring in visitors from all around the world. In fact, Tambopata's clay licks are one of Peru's top wildlife attractions!

Clay licks, you ask? These are simply clay cliffs that the birds love to visit and lick, it's presumed for their sodium content.

Tambopata Research Centre Colpa macaws Amazon rainforest

You sit in a largely hidden spot while observing the birds at a clay lick

The reserve has two large clay licks: the Colorado and Chuncho. Around 20 species of birds – a mix of different parakeets, macaws and other parrots – visit the clay licks every day, creating a raucous spectacle like none other!

Parakeets and macaws at clay lick in Tambopata, Peru's Amazon rainforest

Various kinds of parrots congregate together to lick the clay

Passion fruit flower by Carlos Gonzales

Macaws are the ones adding so much colour to the scene

And now here's a preview of some of the other showstopper birds you can hope to find in Tambopata Nature Reserve ...

a razor-billed curassow by river's edge in Tambopata, Amazon rainforest, Peru

Curassows – this one is a razor-billed curassow

White Necked Jacobin bird sitting on a broken branch in Peruvian rainforest

White-necked jacobins – they're also called collared sunbirds

Hoatzin bird (fowl:turkey) photographed on a branch twig in Peruvian Amazon rainforest

Hoatzins – the chicks have claws on two of their wing digits!

Roseate spoonbill, wet, standing on one leg on a tree stump

Roseate spoonbills – like flamingoes, they turn pink from what they eat

Heron (striated heron) hunting over the Sandoval lake. Tambopata, Peru

Striated herons – they're also called mangrove herons or little green herons

white throated toucan on branch with blue sky behind in Peru's Amazon rainforest, Tambopata

Toucans – this one is a white-throated toucan

round tailed manakin bird Peruvain Amazon rainforest

Manakins – this is a round-tailed one; manakins can live up to 25 years!

So there you have it – we've given you just a glimpse of the abundant and incredibly diverse wildlife awaiting you in Peru's bewitching Tambopata Nature Reserve. Let us know if you'd like to visit with Follow Alice and we can make it happen!