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 FAUNA AND FLORA

Fauna
The diversity of the climate and vegetation have produced a huge variety of habitats for hundreds of animal species, some of which are on the brink of extinction. Endangered species include bear species unique to South America (Tremarctos ornatus), the paramo deer (Odocoileus lasiotis), the American Puma (Puma concolor), and the jaguar (Panthera onca).

The Andes is home to thousands of birds, including the following species:

Monte Hen (Tinamus sp.)

Torrent Duck (Merganetta armata)

Andean Turkey (Penelope montagni)

Band-tailled Pigeon (Columba fasciata)

Rose-crowned Parakeet (Pyrrhura rhodocephala)

Blue-fronted Parrotlet (Touit dilectissima)

Rusty-faced Parrot (Hapalopsittaca amazonina)

Speckle-faced Parrot (Pionus tumultuosus)

Green Parakeet (Amazona mercenaria)

Crested Quetzal (Pharomachrus antisianus)

Golden-headed Quetzal (P. auriceps)

Masked Trogon (Trogon personatus)

Green Monitor (A. prasinus)

White-capped Dipper (Cinclus leucocephalus)

Bearded Helmetcrest (Oxipogon guerinii)

Black-chested Buzzard Eagle (Geranoaetus melanoleucus)

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Flora

Andean Cloudforest is the main vegetation type. Remaining green all year round, the cloudforest is found between 2000-3000 metres above sea level. Vegetation is dense and compact, comprising two or three different layers with numerous epiphytes and endemic species.

Some of the main tree species include:

Laplacea fructicosa

Weinmania jahni

Laurel (Ocotea sp.)

Oreoponax moritzii

Clusia sp.

Podocarpus oleifolius

Cyathea sp.

Polylepis sericea

 

From 3000m the vegetation begins to change into paramo thanks to the effect of the high altitude. The drier vegetation such as herbaceous plants and trees doesn't grow higher than 25m, although you'll find some solitary trees that are at least 30m high. In some cases the forest is fragmented thanks to agricultural expansion in the past.

Last updated 5th July 2006

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