Montane Grassland & Shrubland
Paramo & Puna

Welcome to the top of the Americas! The slopes, open grasslands, shrublands and edge of the forest along the Andes are home to fascinating plants and lots of endemic animals...

Order Myrtales

Family Onagraceae

(near Cusco, Peru)

Probably Fuchsia boliviana, 'Fuchsia'.

Order Dipsacales

Family Caprifoliaceae

Valeriana rigida.

Plants to identify...

Class Aves: Birds

Family Laridae: Gulls


Chroicocephalus serranus, 'Andean Gull'.

Family Threskiornithidae: Ibis and Spoonbills


Theristicus branickii, 'Andean Black-faced Ibis'.

Family Falconidae

tambo-condor-caracara(Tambor Condor, Ecuador)

Phalcoboenus carunculatus, 'Carunculated Caracara'. (Trying saying the name of this bird three time fast!) Found only in the mountain grasslands & shrublands of Ecuador and Colombia.

Family Trochilidae: Hummingbirds

tambo-condor-shining-sunbeam(Tambo Condor, Ecuador)

Aglaeactis cupripennis, 'Shining Sunbeam'. Found in montane rainforest and shrubland in the Andes.

tambo-condor-sword-billed-humingbirdthe sword-billed Hummingbird has a bill a metre long! No, just kidding. (Tambo Condor, Ecuador)

Ensifera ensifera, 'Sword-billed Hummingbird'.  As suggested by the name, the bill is very long; the only bird that has a bill longer than it's body. It looks absurd, and the bird can not preen with it's own bill like most birds, but must use it's feet. When it perches, it is usually with the bill pointing upwards. They mostly feed on the nectar from flowers in the genera Datura and Passiflora, especially 'Curuba' Passiflora mixta, which it is thought to have co-evolved with. The bird is found in montane forest and shrublands in the Andes. 

mambo-condor-giant-hummingbirdthe Giant Hummingbird is about the size of a duck! No, just kidding again, sorry. (Tambo Condor, Ecuador)

Patagona gigas, 'Giant Hummingbird'. Plain brown with rufous underbelly. As the names suggests, this is the largest of all hummingbirds; it is about the size of an European Starling, but is much lighter. It is found on the edge of the montane forest and in shrublands in the Andes.


Aglaiocercus kingii, 'Long-tailed Sylph'. Only the males have the longer tails, as this would be impractical for nesting females. Often seen at feeders. Found in mountain rainforest and edge in Andes.

Family Turdidae: Thrushes

cusco-chig-thrush(Chiquanco Thrush, Cusco, Peru)

Turdus chiguanco, 'Chiquanco Thrush'.

Family Fringillidae: Finches, Euphonias

cusco-hooded-siskin(Hooded Siskin. Cusco, Peru)

Spinus magellanicus, 'Hooded Siskin'.

Family Passerellidae: American Sparrows

cusco-rufous-collared-sparrow(Andean Sparrow', Cusco, Peru)

Zonotrichia capensis, 'Rufous-collared Sparrow', 'Andean Sparrow','Tico-tico' (Portuguese), Chingolo (Spanish).

Family Thraupidae: Tanagers

cusco-golden-beaked-saltator(Golden-beaked Saltator, Cusco, Peru)

Saltator aurantiirostris, 'Golden-beaked Saltator'.

Class Mammalia

Order Cetartiodactyla, includes 'Even-toed hoofed mammals' and Cetaceans

Artiodactyla: Even toed ungulates

Family Camelidae

(Machu Picchu, Peru)

Lama glama, Llama. This species was domesticated from of the wild Guanaco.

Order Rodentia

Family Chinchillidae

Viscacha look like rabbits, but are not related, and are in fact a type of rodent. 

(Machu Picchu ruins, Peru)

They have the ears of a bunny and the tail of a squirrel; that makes them cute twice!

(Machu Picchu, Peru)

Lagidium peruanum, 'Northern Viscacha'.

Places to enjoy the mountains of tropical America...

In Ecuador, there is Antisana Ecological Reserve and Tambo Condor (lodge).
In Peru there is 
Cusco and Machu Picchu.


The author Damon Ramsey looking for Andean Condors (2015)

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