a rearranged translation of Vladimir
Dinets original pages to norwegian,
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Pages for Latin America
The Bolivian Altiplano is a cold, dry, inhospitable
but it is home to a wonderful variety of flora and fauna, and to some
of the world's most ancient and colorful cultures.
The entire plateau, from northwestern Argentina to central Peru,
Roadside market, Bolivian Atiplano.
is like an archaeological museum, with countless ruins, ancient roads,
irrigation systems, and burial sites.
Some date back to the Inca Empire, others are much older
Tiahuanaco is just an hour and a half from La Paz, and makes a
good starting point for a day trip to Lake Titicaca.
Bolivian Altiplano near La Paz in July..
Modern fields overlaying ancient irrigation systems
Like most of the Altiplano, it has some interesting wildlife -
watch for wild Guinea pigs and other rodents living under stone slabs.
Kestrel, Falco sparverius
kestrel, Falco sparverius, Tiahuanaco.
Opuntia subulata, Tiahuanaco.
The American Kestrel, Falco sparverius
sometimes colloquially known as the Sparrow Hawk, is a small
falcon, and the only kestrel found in
the Americas. It found in a wide variety of habitats.
At 1921 centimeters long. It exhibits sexual dimorphism
in size and
plumage, although both sexes have a rufous back with noticeable
barring. Juveniles are similar in plumage to adults.
The American Kestrel hunts by hovering in the air with rapid
or perching and scanning the ground for prey. Its diet typically
of grasshoppers, lizards, mice, and other small birds. It
nests in cavities
in trees, cliffs, buildings, and other structures. The female
lays three to
seven eggs, which both sexes help to incubate.
Its breeding range extends from central and western Alaska
northern Canada to Nova Scotia, and south throughout North
into central Mexico and the Caribbean. It is a local breeder
America and is widely distributed throughout South America.
birds breeding in Canada and the northern United States migrate
in the winter. It is an occasional vagrant to western Europe.
Flycatcher, Pyrocephalus rubinus
|Opuntia subulata is native to high elevations
in Ecuador and Peru and forms an tree-like, branching specimen
This is a cristate form, producing very wide undulant fans topped
with combs of long emerald green succulent leaves with white
areoles, and few (but fierce) white spines. The cells at the
tip of the branch where growth occurs begin to multiply at a
rate and the normal growing tip "goes crazy", creating
fantastic whorls and fans with pronounced sculpture effects.
The crested branches slowly form delightful, snaky ,ridged or
crowded hemispherical clusters. The plant often grows a fast
growing cylindrical stem to reveal its origins.
Guinea pig, Cavia nana, Tiahuanaco.
|The Vermilion Flycatcher, Pyrocephalus
rubinus, is a small passerine bird in the Tyrannidae,
or tyrant flycatcher family.
Most flycatchers are rather drab, but the Vermilion Flycatcher
is a striking exception. It is a favourite with birders, but
generally kept in aviculture, as the males tend to lose their
bright red colouration when in captivity.
Vermilion Flycatchers generally prefer somewhat open areas,
and are found in trees or shrubs in savannah, scrub, agricultural
areas, riparian woodlands, and desert as well, but usually near
water. Their range includes almost all of Mexico; it extends
into the southwestern United States, and south to scattered
portions of Central America, parts of northwestern and central
America, and on southwards to central Argentina. They are also
found in the Galapagos Islands.
The form inhabiting the Galapagos, Pyrocephalus rubinus nanus,
is sometimes split as Pyrocephalus nanus, Darwin's Flycatcher
or the Galapagos Flycatcher.
The species grows to about seven inches in length, and is strongly
dimorphic; males are bright red, with dark brown plumage.
Females have a peach-coloured belly with a dark grey upperside,
and are similar to Say's Phoebe.
The flycatchers feed mostly on insects such as flies, grasshoppers
and beetles. These are usually taken in mid-air, after a short
sally flight from a perch.
Pyrocephalus rubinus - Overview
BBC Natural History
They lay 2-3 whitish eggs in a nest made of twigs, stems and
roots, and lined with hair. The eggs are incubated for around
weeks by the female and the young are ready to leave the nest
after 15 days of hatching.
These two pictures comes from :
Lake Titicaca itself is one of the best birdwatching sites of the
|The Giant Hummingbird, Patagona gigas,
is the largest member of the hummingbird family, weighing 18-24
g and measuring
approximately 21.5 cm in length. This is approximately the length
same length as a European
Starling or a Northern Cardinal,
though the Giant Hummingbird is considerably lighter due to
its more slender build and fairly long bill. It is the only
the genus Patagona.
In Bolivia, the Giant Hummingbird is known in Quechua as "burro
q'enti". The Spanish word "burro" refers to its
unattractive plumage compared to other locally occurring hummingbirds
(e.g. Red-tailed Comet).
The Giant Hummingbird is found in rather arid open woodland
and scrub between 2,000 and 4,300 meters above sea level
in the Andes of South America, from far south-western Colombia
to central Chile and Argentina.
The range of Patagona gigas is rather large, and its global
extent of occurrence is estimated at 1,200,000 km2.
Its global population is believed to be not less than 10,000
Hummingbird, Patagona gigas
plus one of the world's best freshwater diving sites.
Look for giant deepwater frogs, Telmatobius culeus, up to 50 cm long.
Water Frog, Telmatobius culeus
|Titicaca Water Frog, Telmatobius culeus, is
a very large and critically endangered species of frog in the
family. It is entirely aquatic and only found in Lake Titicaca
and rivers that flow into this lake in South America. While
are greatly reduced, this frog has excessive amounts of skin,
used to help the frog breathe in the high altitude in which
In the early 1970s, an expedition led by Jacques Cousteau
reported frogs up to 50 centimetres in outstretched length,
individuals commonly weighing 1 kilogram, making these the
largest exclusively aquatic frogs in the world (the African
frog is larger, but sometimes it can be seen on land). The
snout-vent length is 7.513.8 centimetres.
Titicaca frog, Telmatobius culeus - Overview
BBC Natural History Unit
Once common, the Titicaca Water Frog has declined drastically
and is now facing extinction due to over-collecting for human
consumption, pollution, and predation of tadpoles by introduced
trout. It may also be threatened by the disease chytridiomycosis.
Several other species in the genus Telmatobius are facing
Siskin, Carduelis atrata
Cinclodes, Cinclodes fuscus
|The Black Siskin, Carduelis atrata, is a species
of finch in the Fringillidae family. It is found in Argentina,
Chile, and Peru. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical
high-altitude shrubland and subtropical or tropical high-
Siskin , Carduelis atrata, Tiahuanaco.
|The Buff-winged Cinclodes, Cinclodes fuscus,
is a species of bird in the Furnariidae family. It is
found in Bolivia, Brazil,
Paraguay, and Uruguay, to southern Chile and Argentina where
it is found down to sea level. During the austral winter the
southern populations migrate
northwards to northern Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay
and southern Brazil.
cinclodes, Cinclodes fuscus
Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical high-altitude
shrubland, temperate grassland, and subtropical or tropical
Cinclodes, Cinclodes fuscus, Tiahuanaco.
The only endemic bird here is Titicaca flightless grebe, Rollandia
Lake Titicaca, Bolivia.
Morning fog over Lake Titicaca.
but it's easy to see 30-40 other species in one day, including Andean
which turn pinkish during the breeding season, ducks, coots, rails,
and a lot of smaller birds.
If you are not interested in birds, the views alone are worth the
Flightless Grebe, Rollandia microptera
Andean coot, Fulica ardesiaca,
No source given,
there was virus on that page
Andean gull , Larus serranus,
Skimmer, Rynchops niger
|The Titicaca Flightless Grebe, Rollandia
microptera, or The Titicaca Grebe, is a grebe found
on the altiplano of
Peru and Bolivia. As its name implies, its main population occurs
on Lake Titicaca. Lake Uru Uru and Poopó, the Rio
Desaguadero, and small lakes that connect to Lake Titicaca in
wet years, serve as "spillovers" territory. In the
population was larger and several of these lakes such
as Lakes Umayo and Arapa apparently had and may still
permanent large colonies. Its local name is zampullín
This is a mid-sized grebe, varying from 28-45 cm in overall
length. It weighs up to 600 g. Its coloration is unmistakable.
The only grebe species it somewhat resembles is the unrelated
Red-necked Grebe which is not found in South America. The only
congener, the White-tufted Grebe, does not look very similar.
The color pattern of the Titicaca Grebe is altogether similar
to that of the Red-necked Grebe, but it has a darker belly,
and a white (not light grey) throat patch that runs down the
neck nearly to the breast. Due to the short wings, the rufous
flanks can usually be seen. The ornamental plumes on the head
are a vestigial version of those of the White-tufted Grebe,
but dark. Iris and the lower bill are yellow. Juveniles and
non-breeding adults are duller, lack the ornamental plumes,
and in the case of the former have rufous stripes on the sides
of the head and more white on the neck, so that the rufous breast
does not show in swimming birds.
Flightless Grebe, Rollandia microptera
It is entirely flightless, but will use wing-assisted running
over considerable distances. It is an excellent diver, reaching
a burst speed of 3.5 km/h (2 knots).
The Titicaca Flightless Grebe occurs in a habitat mosaic in
relatively shallow waters (up to about 10 m deep).
The reed belt is found in water of up to 4 m deep and constitutes
the breeding habitat. It is made up mainly of Totora,
Schoenoplectus californicus ssp. tatora. Other plants
are the underwater Myriophyllum elatinoides and
Hydrocharitaceae water weeds, and the floating duckweeds
and Azolla. Potamogeton constitute the dominant
underwater vegetation in the deeper parts, down to 14 m.
This species, like all grebes, feeds mainly on fish. Nearly
95% of prey mass is made up by the Orestias pupfish of the
Titicaca drainage. The introduced silversides Odontesthes
bonariensis (pejerrey) is not usually taken. As the grebe
eats prey smaller than some 15 cm, the adult pejerrey which
are of commercial interest are not part of its diet as they
are far too large.
It is likely that each pair which holds a territory attempts
to breed once per year. The period in which the parents care
the young is probably rather prolonged, and there is possibly
no fixed breeding season. Young birds become independent
probably at somewhat less than 1 year of age, and there are
usually 2 young per clutch, but there may be up to 4.
Altogether, although more birds are found to incubate around
December than at other times, about half the adult
population seems to be breeding or caring for young at any time.
It is classified by the IUCN as Endangered, with a population
of less than 750 adults (BirdLife International 2006).
|The Black Skimmer, Rynchops niger, is a tern-like
seabird, one of three very similar birds species in the skimmer
It breeds in North and South America. Northern populations winter
in the warmer waters of the Caribbean and the tropical
and subtropical Pacific coasts, but the South American races
make only shorter movements in response to annual floods
which extend their feeding areas in the river shallows.
The Black Skimmer breeds in loose groups on sandbanks and sandy
beaches in the Americas, the three to seven heavily
dark-blotched buff or bluish eggs being incubated by both the
male and female. The chicks leave the nest as soon as they
hatch and lie inconspicuously in the nest depression or "scrape"
where they are shaded from high temperatures by the parents.
They may dig their own depressions in the sand at times. Parents
feed the young almost exclusively during the day with
almost no feeding occurring at night, due to the entire population
of adults sometimes departing the colony to forage.
Although the mandibles are of equal length at hatching, they
rapidly become unequal during fledging.
Skimmer and Chick
Photo: Dan Pancamo
The Black Skimmer is the largest of the three skimmer species.
It measures 4050 cm long with a 107127 cm wingspan.
This species ranges from 212 to 445 g, with males averaging
about 350 g, as compared to the smaller females 255 g.
The basal half of the bill is red, the rest mainly black, and
the lower mandible is much-elongated. The eye has a dark brown
iris and catlike vertical pupil, unique for a bird. The legs
are red. The call is a barking kak-kak-kak.
Adults in breeding plumage have a black crown, nape and upper
body. The forehead and underparts are white.
The upper wings are black with white on the rear edge, and the
tail and rump are dark grey with white edges.
The underwing colour varies from white to dusky grey depending
Skimmer, Rynchops niger - Overblikk
BBC Natural History Unit
Skimmers have a light graceful flight, with steady beats of
their long wings. They feed usually in large flocks, flying
the water surface with the lower mandible skimming the water
(in order of importance) for small fish, insects, crustaceans
and molluscs caught by touch by day or especially at night.
They spend much time loafing gregariously on sandbars in the
rivers, coasts and lagoons they frequent.
caracara, Phalcoboenus megalopterus
|The Mountain Caracara, Phalcoboenus megalopterus, is a species
of bird of prey in the Falconidae
family. It is found in
puna and páramo in the Andes, ranging from southern Ecuador,
through Peru and Bolivia, to northern Argentina and Chile.
It is generally uncommon to fairly common. An opportunistic
feeder, preying on live lizards and rodents, but also feeding
city dumps or sharing carrion with Andean Condors.
White-throated Caracara, but unlike those species its chest
is uniform black. Juveniles are far less distinctive than the
faced pied adults, being overall brown with dull pinkish-grey
Occurs mostly in the puna zone at 3,500-5,000 m, but descends
regularly to the coast in Peru. Occurs mostly in open
puna grassland, around montane lakes, in heavily grazed areas,
and on recently plowed land. Frequently seen walking,
often a pair or an adult with one juvenile together, or occasionally
in flocks containing hundreds of birds, and may also
roost in large flocks on cliffs
Nests are large structures of dried guano, placed on rock ledges.
Clutch size is usually 2 (occasionally 3) eggs with a
creamy-white ground color and a heavy, almost complete suffusion
of reddish and dark-brown pigment.
In the southern part of the range, eggs are laid in October-November
Andes near Lake Titicaca, Bolivia.
Part 8. La Paz og mere Bolivia
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pictures, unless otherwise stated, Copyright © Vladimir