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10 of the most beautiful birds from Ecuador

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For bird watchers, Ecuador is paradise. Withe more than 1,600 bird species in Ecuador, the country has more bird biodiversity per km2 than any other in the world.

Ecuador is one of the principal hot spots for bird watching in the world; it possesses the largest number of bird species in the world per square metre and enjoys a greater number of species than Europe and North America combined.

The well-known bird photographer, John Stuart, confirmed that “Ecuador is one of the best places on the planet to observe birds”. And following the success of the RSPB’s recent Big Garden Birdwatch, the Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador has shared its own list of amazing birds to be spotted in Ecuador – and here they are:

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1 Harpy Eagle

This is the most powerful of the birds of prey; the average dimensions of the female Harpy Eagle are 1m in length, 2m in width, weighing 9kg. The male has smaller dimensions: up to 1.96m in width and an approximate weight of 8kg. The Harpy Eagle is the second largest eagle in the world.

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2 Empress Brilliant

Its natural habitats are the sub-tropical and tropical rain forests of the low lands and the tropical or sub-tropical rain forests of mountainous regions. It can easily be spotted in the northwestern part of the province of Pichincha as well as in the footholds of the Andes.

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3 King Vulture

This bird can effortlessly glide for hours, rarely beating its wings. During flight, it holds its wings in a horizontal position, with wingtips slightly raised so from a distance it could appear that the King Vulture has no head.

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4 Hoatzin or Stinkbird

The unkindly-named Stinkbird feeds on the leaves and fruits of plants that grow in the swamps in which it lives. One of the many peculiar characteristics of this species is that it has a unique digestive tract amongst birds, using a bacterial fermentation that takes place in the front part of its stomach to decompose the plant material consumed, similar to cows and other ruminants.

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5 Nazca Booby

The Nazca Booby (Sula granti) is found in the eastern Pacific Ocean, primarily on the Galápagos Islands. Nazca Boobies are known for practicing obligate siblicide, where the mothers lay two eggs, several days apart. If both eggs hatch, the elder chick pushes its sibling out of the nest area, leaving it to die of thirst or cold.

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6 Collared Trogon

This is a trusting and silent bird that is generally observed in a perched position. The name of this bird refers to its habits and physical appearance, and is derived from the Greek word ‘trogon’ (he who eats fruits) and the Latin word ‘collaris’ (collar).

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7 Plate-billed Mountain Toucan

This species inhabits the rain forest in the Andes Mountain Range, usually at between 1,200 and 3,200 metres. It has an average length of 51cm and its characteristically coloured beak ranges from between 8.9 to 10.2cm in length.

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8 Woodnymph

Woodnymphs (Thalurania) are medium-sized hummingbirds with a slightly decurved, black bill. The males also have a noticeably forked tail and glittering throat and belly. They typically inhabit the humid lowland forest. The Green-crowned Woodnymph can be found from eastern Panama to southwestern Ecuador.

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9 Yellow-browed sparrow

The Yellow-browed Sparrow does well in coarse grassland and in hot lowland areas in the tropics. It is currently enjoying a major population boom as it benefits from forest clearing in the Amazon basin.

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10 Collared Inca male

The Coeligena torquata (or Collared Inca) is a hummingbird native to South America, specifically to Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. It usually measures just 15cm in length, three of which are accounted for by its beak.

About

Assif is a luxury travel and design aficionado currently working as a BBC content producer. He holds an MA in journalism from the University of Leeds. He is partial to tea and cake - Yorkshire Tea Gold Blend please. His favourite trips include island hopping in the Seychelles, a mountain escape in Kashmir and getting lost in Hong Kong.

Assif is the current editor of Adelto Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @journolista.

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April 30, 2014 | Ecudaor South America Travel | View comments

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