Humboldt Penguin

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Sphenisciformes
Family: Spheniscidae
Genus: Spheniscus
Species: S. humboldti

Humboldt Penguins are medium-sized penguins, they grow up to 65-70 cm (26-28 in) long and weight around 4.7 kg (10.4 lbs). Their black head have a white border running from behind the eye, around the black ear-coverts and chin and join on the throat. They have blackish-grey upperparts and whitish underparts, with black breast-band extending down the flanks to the thigh. They have a fleshy-pink base to the bill. Juveniles have dark heads and no breast-band.

This penguin nests on islands and rocky coasts, burrowing holes in guano and sometimes using scrapes or caves.

The current status of this penguin is vulnerable, due to a declining population caused in part by over-fishing. Historically it was the victim of guano over-exploitation. Penguins are also declining in numbers due to habitat destruction. The current population is estimated at between 3,300 and 12,000. (References from Wikipedia)

I took these pictures in Paracas, around the Ballestas Islands, before they got into the Pacific ocean and start swimming with the sea lions.
These penguins were on their way to the ocean, walking slowly on the rocky ground until they finally made it!


The Peruvian Pelican

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Pelecanidae
Genus: Pelecanus
Species: P. thagus

Found these guys - also at Paracas - first sitting on a boat and later on at Ballestas Islands.

The second and third pics are interesting: first the pelicans have some intruders (Humboldt penguins among them, can you find them?) and then they are the ones that crash the party of the cormorants!!!

They live on the west coast of South America, from Lobos de Tierra Island in Peru to Pupuya Islet in Chile.
These birds are dark in colour with a white stripe from the top of the bill, up to the crown and down the sides of the neck and have long tufted feathers on the top of their heads.
Their main breeding season occurs from September to March, during which they usually produce two or three eggs. These are incubated for approximately 4 to 5 weeks, with the rearing period lasting about 3 months.
This bird feeds on several fish species, showing a strong preference for Peruvian Anchovies. It feeds by plunge-diving, like the Brown Pelican.

I found out that it is not clear if it is a Brown Pelican or another species; this is what I found on http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Brown_Pelican.html:

"The Peruvian race of the Brown Pelican, found along the Pacific Coast of South America from southern Ecuador to Chile, is sometimes considered a separate species. It is larger than the other races, has fine white streaking on the feathers of the underparts, and has a blue pouch in the breeding season ".

So, can anyone clarify this for me??? THANKS!!!


Paracas Natural Reserve (Ica-Peru)
A little shaky, but you can see them diving! Filmed this on January 2007 (sorry for the bad quality, it was a plain digital camera)

Guanay Cormorant or Guanay Shag

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Phalacrocoracidae
Genus: Phalacrocorax
Species: P. bougainvillii

It is a resident bird living on the Pacific Ocean coast in Peru and north of Chile. It is about 78cm from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail.

Its bill is greyish with some red at the base. The face is red with a green eyering. It has roseate feet. Head, neck and back are black as are the outer parts of the thighs. The throat patch, breast and belly are white. In breeding plumage it has a few white feathers on the sides of head and neck.

Breeding occurs year round with a peak in November/December. The nest made of guano is build on flat surfaces on offshore islands or remote headlands. There are up to 3 nests per square meter in high density colonies. The Guanay Cormorant lays two or three eggs of approximately 63x40mm in size.

It feeds mainly on the Peruvian anchoveta, Engraulis ringens and the Peruvian silverside Odontesthes regia which thrive in the cold Humboldt Current. The Guanay Cormorant is the main producer of guano.
Habitat loss/degradation and over-fishing have resulted in a steady decline of the population of about 30% from an estimated figure of 3 Million birds in 1984. This species is listed as NT (near threatened) by IUCN. (References: Wikipedia, BirdLife International)


Yesss!!! This is one of the first things I learnt!

In January 2007 I visited the Paracas Natural Reserve (Ica-Peru)
I didn't know I would get interested in birdwatching a few months later, but even then I took a few pictures to keep the memory. Today, I was sorting out my pics and found them!

Following the advice I received so far (thank you 'bo' the Fat Birder!) I looked for one of the birds online, it wasn't easy to find (remember I am a beginner!) but when I got it I was sooo excited!!! I found this guy by the Pacific Ocean in Paracas beach fishing for lunch!

Some of what I found on Wikipedia (making reference to BirdLife International (2004). Egretta thula. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern. Stiles and Skutch, A guide to the birds of Costa Rica ISBN 0-8014-9600-4. National Geographic, Field Guide to the Birds of North America ISBN 0-7922-6877-6):

The Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) is a small white heron. It is the American counterpart to the very similar Old World Little Egret, which has established a foothold in the Bahamas.
Adults are typically 61 cm long and weigh 375 g. They have a slim black bill and long black legs with yellow feet. The area of the upper bill, in front of the eyes, is yellow but turns red during the breeding season, when the adults also gain recurved plumes on the back, making for a "shaggy" effect. The juvenile looks similar to the adult, but the base of the bill is paler, and a green or yellow line runs down the back of the legs.
Their breeding habitat is large inland and coastal wetlands from the lower Great Lakes and southwestern United States to South America. They nest in colonies, often with other waders, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs. Their flat, shallow nests are made of sticks and lined with fine twigs and rushes. Three to four greenish-blue, oval eggs are incubated by both adults. The young leave the nest in 20 to 25 days and hop about on branches near the nest before finally departing.
In warmer locations, some Snowy Egret are permanent residents; northern populations migrate to Central America and the West Indies. They may wander north after the breeding season, very rarely venturing to western Europe—the first bird sighted in Britain wintered in Scotland from 2001–2002.

The birds eat fish, crustaceans, and insects. They stalk prey in shallow water, often running or shuffling their feet, flushing prey into view, as well "dip-fishing" by flying with their feet just over the water. Snowy Egrets may also stand still and wait to ambush prey, or hunt for insects stirred up by domestic animals in open fields.

At one time, the beautiful plumes of the Snowy Egret were in great demand by market hunters as decorations for women's hats. This reduced the population of the species to dangerously low levels.
Now it is protected by law, under the
Migratory Bird Treaty Act, this bird's population has rebounded.

National bird of Peru!!!

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Cotingidae

Genus: Rupicola
Species: R. Peruviana

This is the national bird of Peru, called the Cock-of-the-rock, and it is a South American cotingid
It can be found in tropical and subtropical rain forests close to rocky areas, where they build their nests. Just like other cotingids it has complex court behaviour, performing impressive lek
The males are magnificent, not only because of their bright-orange or reddish colours, but because of the very prominent fan shaped crests they have, they are polygamous. They are wary animals and feed, basically, on fruits and nuts.
There are two different species of Cock-of-the-rocks, the
Andean Cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruviana, shown in this picture) and the Guianan Cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola rupicola), both species found only in the northern part of South America.
The Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Rupicola peruviana is a medium-sized, approx. 32cm (12½ in) long, passerine
with a large disk-like crest and scarlet or brilliant orange plumage. It has black tail and wings. The female is significantly darker and browner than the male and has a shorter crest.

Some facts retrieved from "
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cock-of-the-rock". BirdLife International (2004). Rupicola peruvianus. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 29 October 2006.


I started my research today, and found this on YouTube - I start with my homeland: PERU! (I miss home!!!)