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The Hood Lava Lizard

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Microlophus delanonis lava lizard

The Hood Lava Lizard or Española Lava Lizard (Microlophus delanonis) is one of the nine different endemic species of Lava Lizard from the Galapagos. This lizard is special because his ancestor was the first to colonize the archipelago, between 3.7 to 1.4 million years ago. Is easy to find them taking a sunbathing at noon or doing push-ups above rocks. This red coloration is typical in females. In contrast, the males have a brownish coloration and a black dewlap.

The Red-fronted Lemur

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lemur-madagascar

 

The Red-fronted lemur is medium-sized lemur with a long tail, the red-fronted lemur (Eulemur rufifrons) differs in appearance between the sexes. Although the male and female don’t differ in size, the male red-fronted lemur exhibits a gray to grey-brown coat with a bushy reddish-brown crown on the head, while the female has a reddish-brown coat and a dark crown. Both sexes have paler underparts, white patches above the eyes, and a black muzzle, often with a dark line extending up onto the crown.

The ears of the red-fronted lemur are not prominent, and its eyes are usually orange-red. All infant red-fronted lemurs show male colouration for the first three to four months of life.

Until recently, the red-fronted lemur was considered to be a secondary name for the red-fronted brown lemur (Eulemur rufus), which was itself previously considered to be a subspecies of the brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus). However, evidence now strongly suggests that the red-fronted lemur is a distinct species.

Galapagos Marine Iguana

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Galapagos Marine Iguana

In Galapagos, you will see Marine Iguana, which .is one of the few species of Lizards that will forage around the sea, and that is classified as a marine reptile. They are capable of diving down up to 30 feet into the water to find food and have a natural ability to swim and to move around with speed.

The body of this species of Lizard ranges from black to a light shade of gray. They may be thought of as different Lizard species when someone sees the different colors of them but they are all the same. The darker colors help them to be able to get more sunlight and that helps with their body temperature.

The body is covered with short spikes on the head and all down the back. This serves to deter various predators and even other types of Lizards. This gives them a mean look though which is ironic as they are very timid and shy for the most part. They have webbing between their toes that allow them to move around with ease in the water.

The males are longer than the females with a size of about 5 ½ feet. The females are about 2 feet shorter. In the water, they are fast and graceful but movement on land is clumsy and takes lots of energy for the Galapagos Marine Iguana. You will notice that they have dorsal fins and a long tail.

These features of the body allow them to move in the water with little energy being expended. They use their sharp claws to help them when the current is heavy and when they need to get onto land.

Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill

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ethiopian-bird

Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill also nicknamed “flying banana” because of its beak Physical

Eastern yellow-billed hornbills have black wings with white spotted wing-coverts. They have a black tail and large yellow beak with slight casque. They have black, bare skin around the eye and males have a pink skinned throat. They grow up to 16-18” in length and weigh up 6 to 10 ounces. Its diet is mainly based on seeds, small insects, spiders, scorpions, termites and ants

Habitat & Range: North-eastern Africa, they live in dry thorn fields, broad-leafed woodlands, forests, savannahs, and shrublands

Life Span: various sources estimate from 20-40 years in the wild, 50 in captivity.

Perils in the wild: Crowned eagles, leopards, chimpanzees, humans, habitat destruction

Physical Adaptations:

– Strong beak to crack seeds, and find insects

– Hornbills have huge, two-tiered beaks that cause the birds to appear top-heavy. The bill is long forming dexterous forceps. The cutting edges are serrated for breaking up food.

– The hornbill is one of the few birds that have eyelashes to shield them from sun, dust, and debris. Their eyelashes are modified feathers.

– Stocky body has air sacs under the skin over the back and shoulder area which may cushion the female from injury in her cramped nest

– The tail is utilized as a rudder in flight. It also serves as a prop, bracing the male while he clings to the nest-hole entrance.

– Strong feet provide a secure grip, particularly for the male as he perches to feed his mate through the slit in the nest hole.

– Only bird group (hornbills) in which the first two neck vertebrae are fused to support the skull

White-eared jacamar

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White-eared jacamar

White-eared jacamar from Amazon Peru

 

The White-eared Jacamar is the geographically more widespread of the two species that comprise the genus Galbalcyrhynchus, which is restricted to western Amazonia. The other species, the Purus Jacamar (Galbalcyrhynchus purusianus), substitutes the White-eared Jacamar to the south of its range. As its name suggests, the White-eared Jacamar’s most striking plumage feature is the conspicuous white ear coverts-patch, and this instantly distinguishes the present species from its only congeneric. Both species are otherwise chunky-bodied, broad-winged, and short-tailed jacamars, with overall reddish-chestnut plumage. The White-eared Jacamar ranges from southern Colombia south to northeast Peru, and east through western Brazil, at least as far as the confluence of the Rio Solimões with the Rio Purus. It inhabits lowland primary forest, both terra firme and seasonally flooded areas, and is usually easily seen due to its liking for clearings and other semi-open areas, often beside rivers and streams.

Ranitomeya Imitator Varadero

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frog-amazon-peru

Varadero morph

This is another lowland form of imitator, first discovered in 2004 by Craig Greenhalgh on a lowland trek across part of Peru. This species is strange in that it occurs in close proximity to the yellow-striped lowland imitator with no major barriers separating the two morphs. And as is apparent, the two morphs look nothing alike. This infers that the frog has undergone strong local adaptation, either due to mimicry, sexual selection, or a combination of the two. In 2005, we were able to find this frog in very high densities in old secondary/young primary forest breeding in some sort of Heliconia, as well as in tree-holes. This morph was heavily smuggled from 2006 to present, although it is now legally available through imports from Understory Enterprises. This morph appears to be a mimic of the “orange-and-blue” fantastica morph.

Sparkling Violetear Hummingbird

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Sparkling-violetear-hummingbird-machu-picchu-cuzco-peru

 

The sparkling violetear hummingbird (Colibri coruscans) is widespread in highlands of northern and western South America, including a large part of the Andes (from Argentina and northwards), the Venezuelan Coastal Range and the Tepuis. It occurs in a wide range of semi-open habitats, even in gardens and parks within major cities such as Quito, and is often the commonest species of hummingbird in its range. The sparkling violetear is most abundant near coniferous or evergreen eucalyptus forests. It is highly vocal and territorial.

The sparkling violetear is the largest violetear at 13 to 15 cm (5–6 in) long. Male birds weigh 7.7 to 8.5 grams (0.27 to 0.3 oz) while females weigh from ounces 6.7 to 7.5 grams (0.24 to 0.26 oz). This hummingbird resembles the green violetear, but that species generally prefers more humid habitats, is obviously smaller and lacks the distinct purple-blue chest-spot and chin of the sparkling violetear. According to it has the smallest mean blood-air barrier thickness (0.183 µm) and the highest mass-specific respiratory surface area in birds (87 cm²/g).

Sparkling violetears are solitary and aggressive. Birds declare their territory by singing. The birds sing much of the day, and (in different parts of their range) sub-groups develop their own calls. Breeding seasons vary by region. Birds in Venezuela mate from July through October. Birds find mates at leks, areas where groups of males try to attract a female to mate. After mating, the male was once believed to leave all nesting responsibilities to the female. However, according to reports, male sparkling violet-ears were seen twice caring for their young. The mother lays two eggs in a tiny, cup-shaped nest made of twigs and other plant material. Eggs hatch in 17 to 18 days. The young fledge in three weeks.

Blue-and-Yellow Macaw

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blue and yellow macaw

Blue-and-yellow macaw photographed in Ecuador

The Blue and Yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna) or Blue-and-gold Macaw is a member of the macaw group of parrots. This bird breed in the wet tropical rainforests of South America from Panama south to Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay. Though classified as ‘Least Concern’ by the IUCN, the Blue and Yellow Macaw is considered an endangered species in Trinidad. The Blue and Yellow Macaw is often famous to be one of the most trainable and intelligent birds of these parrots and considered the most beautiful of all parrot species.

The Blue and Yellow Macaw has blue wings and tail, black chin, golden under parts and a green forehead. Their beaks are black and really strong for crushing nuts. The naked face is white, turning pink in excited birds and lined with small black feathers. There is little variation in plumage across the range. Some birds have a more orangey or ‘butterscotch’ underside color, particularly on the breast.

The Blue and Yellow Macaw measures around 34 – 36 inches in length from the tip of its head to the tip of its tail making them one of the biggest parrots in the world. It has a wingspan of 41 to 45 inches and weighs between 900 and 1300 grams.

Tiger-leg Monkey Tree Frog (Phyllomedusa Tomopterna)

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Tiger-leg monkey frog amazon peru wildlife

The tiger-leg monkey frog (Phyllomedusa tomopterna) is an attractive and interesting species native to the Amazon Rainforest.

These amphibians nocturnal and sleep all day long, but at night they wake up and spend their time searching for food, and vocalizing if male.

In many ways, their behavior and care is similar to the more familiar Red-eyed tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas).

Males grow to between 1.5 and 2.0 inches, while large females may reach nearly 2.4 inches in length.