The olingo, Bassaricyon spp, is sometimes mistaken for the kinkajou, but lacks the prehensile tail of that better-known species. In fact, olingos and kinkajous are competitors in their forest habitat. Both eat fruit and small vertebrates, but olingos will more readily hunt for small prey species. Olingos are nocturnal carnivores in the racoon family, but are currently undergoing a taxonomic revision, sometimes being held as a single species, sometimes divided into 4 or even 5 separate species. All live in the rainforests of Central and South America, from Nicaragua to Peru.
Tag Archives: south america
Iguazu Falls, one of top natural wonders of the world, straddles the border between Argentina and Brazil in the southern half of South America. Both countries have allotted land on their side of the falls to a national park, and both sides are visited by tourists eager to explore this area and its wildlife. Home to endangered species such as jaguar, jaguarundi, ocelots, tapir, and harpy eagles, this area also features a wide diversity of butterflies along with toucans and coati. Visit the sites below to find out more about this amazing natural wonder!
The Salar de Uyuni in southern Bolivia is the world’s largest salt flat at almost 5000 square miles. In all that area, its height above sea level only varies by three feet — so nearly perfectly level that NASA uses it as a benchmark to align some of their equipment in space! This whole area is unique with many geologic features — check out the links below to find out more and see awesome pics!
The tufted capuchin, Sapajus apella, is a social little monkey living in the dry canyons of the Amazon river basin, in South America. This little primate is somewhat famous for its use of stones to break open hard nuts. It also eats a variety of fruits and small animals such as insects and even rats! You can watch a family of tufted capuchins survive and thrive throughout one whole year in the BBC Earth movie, Wild Brazil. Highly recommended viewing!
Most red-eyed vireos (Vireo olivaceus) breed in North America and overwinter in the Amazon basin of South America. During the breeding season, a single male may sing constantly, up to 10,000 times each day! Because of this and their canopy-feeding lifestyle, these little birds are often heard rather than seen, and their song is part of most forest soundtracks. If you can zoom in on an adult, you may be able to see its bright red eyes, but most commonly you will have to settle for its song and its olive green body with grey, black, and white head pattern for identification.
Jabiru are storks that live in Central and South America, especially in the wetlands of Brazil and Paraguay. They are the tallest flying bird in their range, with adult males sometimes reaching 5 feet in height — about as big as the flightless rhea! Jabiru means “swollen neck” and both males and females have their namesake. Males tend to be about 25% larger than females, however.
The silk floss tree, Ceiba speciosa, is related to baobob and kapok trees and features the family’s swollen trunk. Not only does it have huge showy flowers up to 6 inches across, but its bark is covered in spikelets that hold water. As if it weren’t unique enough already, when young the trunk of this tree is green with chlorophyll, performing some of the photosynthesis for the plant. With age, the trunk turns grey.
Watch the nearly silent video tour of a silk floss tree, and click the links below the video to learn more — including how it got its name!
Silk Floss Tree
What I like best about this tiny bird is its name: Have you ever heard of a gnatwren?! It is not a wren, yet it has the cocked tail and general appearance of one. It IS a type of gnatcatcher, but it doesn’t quite LOOK like one. This unique species is the only one in its genus, yet it has over a dozen subspecies. It lives in Central and South America, with an isolated population along the east coast of Brazil. Read more about this little feathered friend using the links below the pic.