Birds & Mammals
NEOTROPICAL Tropical Freshwater

Class Aves: Birds

Family Tinamidae: Tinamous
Anhimidae: Screamers
Family Anatidae: Ducks, Geese, Swans
Phoenicopteridae: Flamingo

Family Opisthocomidae: 'Hoatzin'

There is only one species in this family.

Yarina Lodge, Ecuador.

Opisthocomus hoazin'Hoatzin'. Large bird with wacky crest. Clambers about in waterside trees clumsily, often making grunting and croaking sounds. Unusually for a bird, it often eats leaves. Found in swampy habitats in South America. 

Family Aramidae: Limpkin

Limpkin (image by Damon Ramsey)Yarina Lodge, Ecuador.

Aramus guarauna, 'Limpkin'. At first glance, looks like a stork or egret. Apparently eats only 'apple snails'. Found around freshwater throughout South America, Central America and into Florida.

Rallidae: Rails, Gallinules, Coots

Family Jacanidae

jacana-wattled-pantanal(Pantanal, Brazil)

Jacana jacana, 'Wattled Jacana'.

Family Laridae: Gulls

Rynchops spp. 'Skimmers'

There are three species of skimmers; one in tropical Asia, one in tropical Africa, and this one in the tropical Americas. The have the most uneven bills of any bird in the world. They use the bizarre elongated lower mandible to slice through the surface of the water as they fly. Their main prey is reported to be fish. 

(Pousa Alegre, Brazil)

Rynchops niger, 'Skimmer'.

Family Eurypygidae: Sunbittern

There is only one species in this family.

(Pousa Alegre, Brazil)

Eurypyga helias, 'Sun bittern'. Found in wetland of central and south America.

Family Phalacrocoracidae: Cormorants


Nannopterum brasilianum, 'Neotropic Cormorant'. The main cormorant species found across the Americas.

Family Anhingidae: Anhingas

anhinga-anhinga-pantanal(Pantanal, Brazil)

Anhinga anhinga. Found around freshwater throughout the warmer parts of the Americas.  

anhinga-in-water-pantanal(Pantanal, Brazil)

When in the water, the Anhinga swims mostly below the surface of the water, with it's head and neck sticking up, inspiring one of it's other common names of 'Snakebird'.

Family Threskiornithidae: Ibises, Spoonbills

(Pousa Alegre, Brazil)

Mesembrinibis cayennensis, 'Green Ibis'. Found in central and south America.

(Hotel Pantanal Mato Grosso, the Pantanal, Brazil)

 Theristicus caerulescens, 'Plumbeous Ibis'.

Family Ardeidae: Herons

(Pantanal, Brazil)

Ardea cocoi, 'Cocoi Heron'.

Snowy Egret (image by Damon Ramsey)Snowy Egret (Pantanal, Brazil)

Egretta thula, 'Snowy Egret'. Similar to Little Egret of old world tropics. Found in habitats around southern North America and most of South America.

(Pantanal, Brazil)

Pilherodius pileatus,'Capped Heron'.

Family Accipitridae: Hawks, Kites, Eagles

(Pantanal, Brazil)

Buteogallus urubitinga, 'Great Black Hawk'. Large bird with huge yellow beak. Adults mostly uniformly charcoal, except for white patch underside of tail (not obvious in this image). Found in forest, woodlands and wetlands in Central and South America.

Family Alcedinidae: Kingfishers


There are over 100 species of kingfishers, They have a thick bill, strong neck and head, and have a short squat body with a short tail. They usually watch their prey from atop an exposed perch and have excellent eyesight. Most species are coloured on the variations of blue, green and white. They are found almost all over the world, and there are several species that make a living in the freshwater habitats of the Neotropics...

(Hotel Pantanal Mato Grosso, the Pantanal, Brazil)

Chloroceryle amazona, 'Amazon Kingfisher'. Medium sized kingfisher. Males have a rufous breast, females have a blotchy white breast. Widespread across tropical Americas, from central Mexico to northern Argentina. 

kingfisher-ringed-pantanal(Pantanal, Brazil)

Megaceryle torquata, 'Ringed Kingfisher'. Largest kingfisher in the Americas. Dull blue, large bill, male with all rufous belly. Very widespread, from Texas to Tierra del Fuego. 

Class Mammalia


Order Rodentia

Family Caviidae

hotelmatogrosso-tapir(Hotel Pantanal Mato Grosso, Brazil)

Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris, 'Capybara', 'Capivara' (in Brazil), Chig├╝ire (in Colombia). The world's largest rodents. Found wherever there is freshwater over much of tropical South America.

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