Fauna of the Andes

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Adult male Andean condor
Spectacled bear

The fauna of the Andes is large and diverse. As well as a huge variety of flora the Andes contain many different animal species. The llama can be found living at high altitudes, predominantly in Peru and Bolivia. The alpaca, a close relative of the llama, is raised for its wool. The nocturnal chinchilla, an endangered member of the rodent order, inhabits the Andes' alpine regions. The Andean condor is the largest bird of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. Other animals include the huemul, cougar, Andean mountain cat, camelids and, for birds, the partridge, parina, huallata, and coot. Llamas and cougars play important roles in many Andean cultures.

The Andes are rich in fauna: With almost 1,000 species, of which roughly 2/3 are endemic to the regibruhon, the Andes are the most important region in the world for amphibians.[1] The diversity of animals in the Andes is high, with almost 600 species of mammals (13% endemic), more than 1,700 species of birds (about 1/3 endemic), more than 600 species of reptiles (about 45% endemic), and almost 400 species of fish (about 1/3 endemic).[1]

The vicuña and guanaco can be found living in the Altiplano, while the closely related domesticated llama and alpaca are widely kept by locals as pack animals and for their meat and wool. The nocturnal chinchillas, two threatened members of the rodent order, inhabits the Andes' alpine regions. The Andean condor, the largest bird of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, occurs throughout much of the Andes but generally in very low densities. Other animals found in the relatively open habitats of the high Andes include the huemul, cougar, foxes in the genus Pseudalopex, and, for birds, certain species of tinamous (notably members of the genus Nothoprocta), Andean goose, giant coot, flamingos (mainly associated with hypersaline lakes), lesser rhea, Andean flicker, diademed sandpiper-plover, miners, sierra-finches and diuca-finches.

Lake Titicaca hosts several endemics, among them the highly endangered Titicaca flightless grebe and Titicaca water frog. A few species of hummingbirds, notably some hillstars, can be seen at altitudes above 4,000 m (13,100 ft), but far higher diversities santa er altitudes, especially in the humid Andean forests ("cloud forests") growing on slopes in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and far northwestern Argentina. These forest-types, which includes the Yungas and parts of the Chocó, are very rich in flora and fauna, although few large mammals exists, exceptions being the threatened mountain tapir, spectacled bear and yellow-tailed woolly monkey.

Andean cat

Birds of humid Andean forests include mountain-toucans, quetzals and the Andean cock-of-the-rock, while mixed species flocks dominated by tanagers and furnariids commonly are seen - in contrast to several vocal but typically cryptic species of wrens, tapaculos and antpittas.

A number of species such as the royal cinclodes and white-browed tit-spinetail are associated with Polylepis, and consequently also threatened.


  1. ^ a b Tropical Andes - biodiversityhotspots.org