Everything About The Colorful, Unique and Amazing Rainforest Birds That You Simply Need to Know

What type of birds live in the rainforest?

How many birds are there in the rainforest?

And how have they evolved throughout history?

Here’s our must-read guide to the beautiful, exotic and tropical birds of the rainforest!


Rainforest Birds

The rainforest is as its name suggests a very rainy place to be. In fact, the average yearly rainfall is between 2.5 and 4.5 metres.

Many species of birds call these rainforests their home, as they have learned to adapt to the wet and humid surroundings. 

The Amazon Rainforest is the largest rainforest in the world and is inhabited by around 1300 different species of birds. 


Which Birds Live in the Rainforest?

Harpy Eagles

The rainforest is home to many birds, such as toucans, macaws, parrots, hummingbirds and Harpy Eagles. 

There are a host of colorful birds who live here and many of them have evolved to adapt to their surroundings. 

The toucan has a powerful bill so that it can cut and saw the fruits and nuts it eats, while the Harpy eagle has heightened eyesight so that it can seek out its prey.


Why do they Live There?

There are 4 layers to a rainforest, birds mainly inhabit the canopy layer which are the broad, crown shaped parts of the trees, which are found 60 to 90 feet off the ground. 

This canopy provide them with shelter from predators and the rainy climate.

It also puts them in a good position to find food, as most species of rainforest birds feed on leaves, fruit, nuts and insects. 

Many species of birds live here because it’s a thriving ecosystem with constant access to food and water.


Biodiversity of the Rainforest

Biodiversity is the variety of different living species and organisms. The more there are, the greater an ecosystem can thrive. 

Rainforests may only make up 6% of the world’s land area but this doesn’t stop them from being one of the most populated ecosystems.

In fact, around 50% of the world’s plant and animal species live in the rainforests. 

The reason the rainforest is home to so many plants and creatures is because there’s constant access to energy, water, food and carbon. 


Examples of Rainforest Bird

Scarlet Macaw, Toco Toucan, and Xenops

Some of the birds that call the rainforests their home are the Scarlet Macaw, which has the scientific name Ara Macao

These red, yellow and blue parrots communicate to each other with their powerful squawks which can be heard up to a couple of kilometers away. 

The Toco Toucan has the scientific name Rhamphastos Toco, and is the largest species of toucan. Its large beak is useful for gripping fruit, insects, eggs and small birds. 

The Xenops has the scientific name Xenops Minutus, this small bird has mostly brown plumage and nests in the cavities of rotten wood. 


Origin and Evolution

The rainforests were believed to have been formed over 33 million years ago.

At first these warm, moist areas occupied most of the land.

Hummingbird

The thriving vegetation and species in this environment evolved and flourished.

Birds that live here have learned to adapt to their surroundings. 

The Hummingbird has evolved so that it can survive on just nectar, although to do this it has to consume half of its body weight in food each day just to survive.

Other birds have developed their own distinctive sounds to communicate with each other through the canopy. 


Rainforest Origination and their Birds

The 5 largest rainforests in the world are the Amazon, the Congo, the Daintree, Papua New Guinea, and Sapo National Park. 

The Amazon Rainforest covers around 40% of South America, with half of it being found in Brazil and it’s home to a large array of colorful birds.

The Congo Rainforest is a tropical forest paradise that spans across 6 countries. It is home to around 1000 species of birds. 


Birds of the Amazon

Blue Fronted Amazon (left), Hyacinth Macaw (center), and Crimson Topaz (right)

The Blue Fronted Amazon is a primarily green bird which can be easily identified by its yellow face and the blue patch on its forehead. 

The Hyacinth Macaw has striking rich blue feathers, it has a wingspan of up to 100cm which makes it the largest flying species of parrot. 

With an iridescent purple and gold plumage, it’s easy to see why the Crimson Topaz is considered as one of the Amazon’s most beautiful birds.

It mainly feeds on nectar but is known to catch the occasional insect. They like to nest close to water. 


Some of the Most Commonly Found Rainforest Birds

With rainforests containing around 10% of animal species in the world, it’s no surprise that they’re home to some pretty impressive tropical birds.

Toucan

There are around 40 different species of toucans, they’re commonly found in the canopy layer of rainforests.

They’re largely recognized by their large, colorful beaks, these are great for squashing up fruit and also help them attract a mate. 

They live in holes in trees and usually live in pairs and sometimes in flocks. They’re sociable birds that communicate to each other with loud, raspy sounding calls. 

This colorful bird is very important to the rainforest, as they help to disperse seeds from the fruits and berries they eat.


Scarlet Macaw

These intelligent birds have strong personalities and are found in rainforests in Central and South America.  

They have strong beaks which come in handy for breaking open nut pods.

They also have amazing grip on their feet, which means they can grasp food and bring it up to their mouths. 

They thrive in both the canopy layer and the emergent layers in the rainforest.

These social birds love to communicate with each other and they can often be found in pairs or flocks.

Unfortunately, due to rainforest destruction and their popularity as pets, the Scarlet Macaw’s population in rainforests is on the decline. 


Bird-of-Paradise

Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise

These are a group of birds that are found in the tropical rainforests in SouthEast Asia.

There are 42 different species of birds of paradise, with each one varying widely in size and appearance. 

They eat fruit, berries, insects and frogs.

They’re mostly solitary birds, unless it’s breeding season. 

To find a mate the female will step into the male’s territories.

The males with the most colorful plumage prove most popular. 

Instinct tells the female that the most colorful males must be the strongest and most vigilant as they’re able to survive predator attacks when they stand out the most. 


Harpy Eagle

These large and powerful birds have razor sharp talons that measure between 3-4 inches…

They’re the same size as the claws of a grizzly bear!

This neotropical bird likes to live at low elevations in the rainforest, as it can find prey easily here and it can nest amongst the large trees. 

They prefer to hunt high up in the trees as they are strong flyers with great agility.

However, they’ve been known to hunt prey found on low levels such as armadillos. 

The main threats to these birds are deforestation and also shooting. 


Spectacled Owl

This medium-sized owl has a dark face, a very round head and no ear tufts. 

This nocturnal bird likes to hunt alone and preys on mice, small birds, insects and spiders. When their prey have been spotted they drop on them with a swift pounce. 

They’re found in dense forest areas in Mexico, Central America and South America.

The female is renowned for her “ker-WHEEER” screech, which has similarities in sound to a steam whistle. 


Oropendola

These small birds are part of the blackbird family and are found in the rainforest canopies.

They’re predominantly black and greenish in color but sometimes have red and brown colorings. 

Their impressive hanging nests can measure up to 6.6 feet long. They live in colonies, each colony sticks to one tree and this can have around 100 Oropendola nests on it. 

They’re sociable birds and often search the area in large groups on the lookout for fruit and insects. 

Males can grow up to 20 inches long and are double the size of the females. 


Amazon Kingfisher

This eye-catching bird is found in Mexico and Argentina and they live close to lakeshores and slow-flowing rivers. 

They have dark green and bronze plumage, with a ragged crest and a white collar, throat and belly.

They dive from perches into the water to catch fish and crustaceans. When they’ve caught their prey they return to the same perch to stun it and then swallow it whole. 

They have a loud and harsh call and they live in nests close to water. 


Crimson Topaz

This colorful bird is the second largest species of hummingbird.

It frequents the lowland rainforest and is usually found in the canopy or by the river.

This bird can fly in all directions, its body can remain motionless white its wings move rapidly. 

They nest on small forks in branches and vines that are 3 to 8 metres away from water. 


Spotted Catbirds

This species of bowerbird can be found in North Queensland, Australia. 

It has distinctive emerald green colours, faint black markings on its face and white streaks on its neck. It’s very hard to tell a male and female apart as they look identical. 

They feed on fruit, seeds, insects and other birds’ eggs. 


Population

The world’s rainforests are home to many different species of birds. Some choose to stay here all year, while others pass through during migration. 


Migration of Rainforest Birds

Many birds are “just passing through” the rainforests while others spend the cooler winter months there.

Rainforests are a great place for birds to migrate to, as they’re thriving with ecosystems and are a valuable food and water source. 

Unfortunately, deforestation and global warming are affecting these birds and causing disruptions to their routes and habitats. 

Some different species of migratory birds are the Cerulean Warbler and the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. 


Conservation

It’s believed that unless big changes are made that in 40 years the rainforests will have drastically changed, with many birds forced to leave the safety of the canopy layer.

Rainforest birds thrive in the environment because they have the high canopy layer to keep out of the way of predators, stay sheltered from the elements and be close to food and water. 

If deforestation continues as it is then many birds will eventually lose their homes and be forced into lower, dangerous ground levels of the rainforest where they will be open to new threats. 


FAQs – The Short Answers

Do you still have lots of questions about rainforest birds? Don’t worry, as I’m here to answer them. 

Below I explore the most frequently asked rainforest bird-related questions and give short to-the-point answers. 


Question 1 – What Type of Birds Live in the Rainforest?

If you travel to the rainforest then you’re likely to see parrots, hornbills, eagles, hawks, vultures, and toucans. 


Question 2- What Predators do Rainforest Birds have to Face?

The main threats to birds in the rainforest are snakes and larger birds such as hawks and eagles. 

Most birds stay covered by the canopy layer, which keeps them out of the way of the bigger mannels found on the ground levels. 


Question 3 – How Many Birds are There in the Rainforest?

There are around 1300 species of birds found in the Amazon Rainforest. 

Rainforests are full of wildlife, in fact, 50% of all animals and plants are found in the rainforests. Not bad for areas that consist of 6% of the world. 


An Overview of Rainforest Birds

Hornbill

The rainforests are beautiful places full of colorful birds who thrive in the canopy layer. 

Birds are an important part of the rainforest ecosystem, as they help to regenerate food sources with dropped seeds from the fruit.

Hopefully, actions will be taken to protect these fascinating birds from deforestation and global warming so they can continue to live happily in the rainforests for years to come.