Incredible Animals from Colombia.

One of the things that impresses me greatly about Colombia is its huge diversity in flora and fauna species. This country is one of the 17 mega-diverse countries in the world and it is either the second or third (depending on the source) most biodiverse country in the world! (In case you are wondering, Brazil is number one.) But… per square kilometer, Colombia is the most biodiverse. There are more bird, amphibian, butterfly, and frog species here than anywhere else in the world! (7)

About half of the territory of Colombia is covered in forests and natural habitats. Just the Colombian side of the Amazonian forest alone is home to 10 per cent of the world’s biodiversity and produces 15 per cent of the world’s oxygen!

Go HERE for two great graphics about this in the World Wild Fund website.

Here are some incredible facts related to this:

As of 2021, around 63,000 species are registered in Colombia, of which 14% are endemic. (1)

This country has the biggest number of diverse orchids, birds and butterflies.

It holds the second position in bidiversity of plants, amphibians and fresh water fish, and the third place in species of palm trees and reptiles.

It has the sixth position in biodiversity of mammals.

Here are some of the beautiful animals that make Colombia their home:

The Magdalena Giant Glass Frog.

La Rana de Cristal Gigante de Magdalena.

Also known as Ikakogi Tayrona, this translucent/transparent frog is endemic to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Magdalena Department, Colombia. Its natural habitats are sub-Andean forests and cloud forests where it occurs on vegetation near water. Most glass frog males are the ones that take care of the eggs laid until they hatch, but this Magdalena Glass frog is an exception. (1)

Most glass frogs live in Colombia and Ecuador but there are other species found in other countries in North America and South America: in Belize, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico. (3)

It is so transparent in its belly you can see its heart beating:

Cr. National Geographic

Another interesting fact is that these frogs can jump more than ten feet in one jump! Imagine that?!!! (2)

Cr. la

For mating to occur, males must first call to females. Calling males sit on leaves—either the top or underside depending upon the species—over streams or lake edges. When a female comes, she does not descend to the water with the male. Instead, they mate on the leaf with the male clasped to her back with his arms wrapped around her waist (a physical position called amplexus).

She deposits her eggs on the leaf, and, after she departs, the male often remains to protect the eggs from predators and to call additional females. Some males will attract other females and thus have several egg clutches in various developmental stages to guard. (4)

The Cotton-Top Tamarin

El Mono Tití Cabeciblanco

Also known as Saguinus oedipus, the cotton-top tamarin is native to a very small region of northwestern Colombia. Its limited distribution stretches from the Atrato River to the Magdalena River. These uniquely colored, clever primates are found in both humid and dry tropical forests. They are arboreal, so they can be seen leaping and scurrying through the canopy. (6)

They are about the size of a squirrel. These small primates can live for 13.5 years in the wild, on average.

Due to the small size of their digestive tract, cotton-top tamarins must only consume the highest quality food to stay healthy. Insects and fruits make up the bulk of their diets. Unlike marmosets, who have a long set of lower incisors to chew holes in tree trunks and eat the gum inside, tamarins lack the adaptations to pierce the bark. Therefore, they must rely on other animals or natural processes to open up holes in trees so they can reach the gum. (6)

A day in the life of a cotton-top tamarin consists of foraging for food, resting, grooming, and traveling. Every night, group members sleep in a different tree with a sufficient amount of covering (vines, branches, or leaves) to avoid predators. Talking about grooming…

Cr. US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Fortunately these monkey breed well in captivity and there are many success stories all over the world…

Connection to my home: I have seen these cute tamarins here in the Museum of Science in Boston, they are called Jane and Darwin! They are cared for in the Live Animal Center.

The Blue Anole from Gorgona

El Lagarto Azul de Gorgona

Cr. Matthew Gable

Also known as Anolis gorgonae, this is a small species of dactyloid lizard. It is only found in the island of Gorgona, on the Pacific Ocean. This is its location:

Both sexes of this anole are overall pure blue, which is very rare in lizards. The male’s dewlap is pure white. At least some individuals have a series of darker mottled spots on the head and neck.

The blue anole, is unique among all anoles because of their bright blue color, their size; smaller, and are slimmer than the other Dactyloa. The blue anole is mostly found within an inhabited area on the island, where they were seen to be in open branches of the trees. They also like to be on the trunks of trees. (5)

Cr. Vicente Quiroz

This is a Colombian video about it:

The Chiribiquete Emerald Hummingbird

El Colibrí Esmeralda de Chiribiquete

Male Emerald Humminbird. Cr. ebird

Also known as Chlorostilbon olivaresi in honor of Fr. Antonio Olivares, to recognize his contributions to Colombian ornithology and his persisting effort in building a bird collection for the Instituto de Ciencias Natural of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. This hummingbird is endemic to Colombia and was first described in 1996.

The Chiribiquete emerald lives in the Serranía de Chiribiquete, a range of flat-topped mountains straddling south central Colombia’s Guaviare and Caquetá departments. There it primarily inhabits the open scrub and savanna of the range’s middle and upper elevations.  They avoid the dense forest.

Habitat of the Emerald Hummingbird.

The Chiribiquete emerald is 8.5 to 9 cm (3.3 to 3.5 in) long. Males weigh about 3.8 g (0.13 oz) and females about 3.6 g (0.13 oz). Male is iridescent green with a bluish tail. Female has pale underparts, black mask, and white stripe behind the eye.

Female Emerald Hummingbird. Cr. ebird

The most important source of nectar for the Chiribiquete emerald is the low shrub Decagonocarpus cornutus. It takes nectar from the flowers of other shrubs and trees as well. It does not appear to defend feeding territories. It captures small insects by sallies through gaps in the vegetation and also gleans them from flowers and foliage.

Decagonocarpus cornutus. Cr iNaturalist Canada

And this is is a great video of just the bird:

And this video gives one a pretty good idea the trek it takes to find it:

The Humpback Whale

La Ballena Jorobada

Humpback Whale jumping by Michael Doherty, PBS Media.

Also known as Megaptera novaeangliae. Humpback whales arrive by the thousands during the months of May and June to mate, spreading along the 1,300 kilometers of the Pacific coast during their stay in Colombia, until the end of November.

The humpback whale is named for the distinctive hump on its back. They have a unique body shape, with long pectoral fins and a knobbly head. Inside their pectoral fins are the biggest arms on the planet. Their bodies are primarily black with some white on their pectoral find, bellies and the underside of their fluke, or tail. Their tail flukes are as unique as human fingerprints and can be used to identify individuals, thanks to their pigmentation pattern, shapes, sizes and prominent scars. (8)

Humpback whales weigh up to about 40 tons and can reach up to 60 feet in length. Their flukes can be up to 18 feet in width! Just to give you an idea of how big it is next to a human:

Cr. http://www.azoreswhalewatch com
Cr. Gereard Whelan,

Humpback whales are baleen whales, meaning they are equipped with fibrous “baleen” plates in their mouth. They use these plates to filter out and consume quantities of krill, plankton, and crustaceans. During the warmer months, humpbacks spend most of their time feeding and building up blubber to sustain them throughout the winter.

A Humpback Whale’s baleen plates. Cr. Whale and Dolphin Conservation, Facebook

Humpback whales are polygamous, with both males and females having multiple partners. Mating and breeding typically take place in the winter in tropical waters. A male will trail either a lone female or a cow-calf pair, he is known as an “escort”. The male closest to the female is known as the “principal escort”, and he fights off the other suitors known as “challengers”.

After an 11-month gestation period, the female gives birth to a single calf. At birth, calves measure 13 to 16 feet in length. The calves stay with their protective mother for the first year of their lives before weaning. According to NOAA fisheries, while calves are not believed to maintain long-term associations with their mothers, they are more likely to be found in the same feeding and breeding areas as their mothers. 

Humpback whale male calf and mother. Cr. Wild World

Though you can’t really notice, the calf in the last photo is injured. The largest threats to humpback whales include vessel strikes, entanglement in fishing gear, vessel-based harassment, and climate change.  One way in which the mothers try to protect their young is by taking them into Fjords.

HERE, you can watch a video of a whale nursery at a fjord in Utría National Park off the Pacific Ocean. See location and photos below:

Cr. aventurecolombia. com

The Andes Condor

El Condor de los Andes

Also known as Vultur gryphus, the Andes Condor is a South American bird in the New World vulture family Cathartidae and is the only member of the genus Vultur. Found in the Andes mountains and adjacent Pacific coasts of western South America, the Andean condor is the largest flying bird in the world by combined measurement of weight and wingspan. It has a maximum wingspan of 3.3 m (10 ft 10 in) and weight of 15 kg (33 lb). It is generally considered as the largest bird of prey in the world. (9)

Females have gorgeous red eyes. (The males eyes are yellow)

Cr. Worldbirdsanctuary. org

One incredible fact about this bird is that they spend about 1% of their flight time in flapping their wings and mostly at takeoff. A team of scientists even discovered that one bird they tracked flew around 500 miles (5 hours!) without a single flap of its wings!!! (10)

If you have time watch this brave woman who dreams and flies with the Andean Condors.

Andean condors are active during the day spending most of their time soaring and often travel more than 200 km (120 mi) a day in search of carrion. These birds are mainly scavengers but may also prey on small, live animals, which (given their lack of powerful, grasping feet or developed hunting technique) they usually kill by jabbing repeatedly with their bill. Andean condors also spend a considerable amount of time sunning themselves with spread wings. They sun to stay warm and to maintain their feathers healthy. Outside of the breeding season Andean condors spend time in groups and roost communally on cliffs and rocky outcrops. (9)

Andean condors are monogamous and form pairs that mate for life. During courtship displays, the skin of the male’s neck flushes, changing from dull red to bright yellow, and inflates. Andean condors prefer to place their nests at elevations of up to 5,000 m (16,000 ft), generally on inaccessible rock ledges.

The female deposits 1 or 2 bluish-white eggs during the months of February and March every second year. The egg hatches after 54 to 58 days of incubation by both parents. If the chick or egg is lost or removed, another egg is laid to take its place. The young hatch altricial and covered with a grayish down. They are able to fly after 6 months but continue to roost and hunt with their parents until age 2 when they are displaced by a new clutch.

A baby Andes Condor. Cr.

Go HERE for a great gallery of this incredible bird. Scroll down until you see this:

This was very touching too: An Condor that was rescued by the Buenos Aires Zoo and spent 16 months healing is set free… watch as it says goodbye… you can read its story HERE.

According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of the Andean condor is 10,000 individuals, which equates to 6,700 mature individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing. Pesticides is one of the reasons why their population is declining.

Amazon Pink River Dolphin

El Delfín Rosado del Amazonas

Cr. a-z-animals. com

Also known as Boto (name given to it by the natives) and its scientific name is Inia geoffrensis. Three subspecies are currently recognized: I. g. geoffrensis (Amazon river dolphin), I. g. boliviensis (Bolivian river dolphin) and I. g. humboldtiana (Orinoco river dolphin) while position of Araguaian river dolphin (I. araguaiaensis ) within the clade is still unclear. The three subspecies are distributed in the Amazon basin, the upper Madeira River in Bolivia, and the Orinoco basin, respectively. (11)

These dolphins can vary in their color. Young ones start out as gray and they get pinker as they age. However not all turn pink, some are bluish and gray. Some even white. It all depends in their environment and what they eat.

The Amazon river dolphin is the largest species of river dolphin, with adult males reaching 185 kilograms (408 lb) in weight, and 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) in length. Adults acquire a pink color, more prominent in males, giving it its nickname “pink river dolphin”. Sexual dimorphism is very evident, with males measuring 16% longer and weighing 55% more than females. (11)

Cr. Science Direct. com

Breeding is seasonal, and births occur between May and June. The period of birthing coincides with the flood season, and this may provide an advantage because the females and their offspring remain in flooded areas longer than males. As the water level begins to decrease, the density of food sources in flooded areas increases due to loss of space, providing enough energy for infants to meet the high demands required for growth. (11)

Gestation is estimated to be around eleven months and captive births take 4 to 5 hours. At birth, calves are 80 centimetres (31 in) long and in captivity have registered a growth of 0.21 metres (0.69 ft) per year. Lactation takes about a year. The interval between births is estimated between 15 and 36 months, and the young dolphins are thought to become independent within two to three years. (11)

Cr. Sylvain Cordier, Ecowatch. com

Due to living in highly murky waters with low visibility, these dolphins have small eyes and low vision. Because of this, they often swim upside down: according to some experts, this position promotes better vision, given that the chubby cheeks of the dolphin are an obstacle to seeing downward while the animal is upright. They have a ridge on their back instead of a dorsal fin and this is very helpful in swimming upside down!

They also have developed characteristics that set them apart from ocean dolphins which help them survive in murky waters. The vertebrae of the dolphin are unfused, making the neck of the animal amazingly flexible, which allows the dolphin to move its head in almost all directions. Like other toothed whales, they have a melon on their head that is in reality an organ that is used for bio sonar (echolocation). So their flexibility and echolocation allow this dolphin to “see”.

The Amazon River dolphin has a very long beak, which can contain up to 140 teeth.

They are very playful! Rolling, lob tailing and flipper waving are common behavior among these playful animals. Moreover, they frequently play with their logs as well as pull at underwater grass. Also, these dolphins can often be seen playing with turtles, fish and other aquatic life forms. (11)

Botos are popular characters in South American mythology. In legends, pink dolphins have amazing musical skills and are seductive. Some myths claim that the dolphins can shapeshift into human form and have magical abilities.


(1) Wikipedia

(2) Google


(4) Encyclopedia Britannica

(5)  Phillips, Burton, Womack, Pulver, & Nicholson. (2019). Biogeography, Systematics, and Ecomorphology of Pacific Island Anoles. Diversity, 11(9), 141.





(10) The Guardian



  1. Muy integrante el post sobre los animales de Columbia. Muy variados en todo sentido, especies, tamaños, colores y hábitat. Todos me gustan pero como mis favoritos son los pájaros porque vuelan y uno asocia el vuelo con libertad. Mi favorito es El Cóndor. Es majestuoso y su vuelo es suave y
    silencioso. Un deleite verlo planear.


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