Latin America

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The Amazon rainforests are home to many unique creatures — so many that scientists regularly discover new species. Already this year, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced that 365 previously undocumented species have been recorded in the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park, which encompasses a portion of the Southwest Amazon.

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Researchers are constantly discovering previously unknown species, and sometimes these species have been extinct for millions of years. A team of scientists from the Florida Museum of Natural History and the University of Florida recently uncovered and identified two of the oldest species of ancient camels in Panama, Aguascalietia panamaensis and Aguascalietia minuta.

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Many different species of birds are monogamous — they may change partners over the course of their lives, but they're typically faithful. However, according to a new study by researchers from the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center and Columbia University, some birds are prone to infidelity and even "divorce." In fact, the scientist observed a connection between instances of birds being unfaithful to one another and severe weather fluctuations.

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On your next Patagonia tour keep an eye out for the rufous-tailed hawk. The birds, which were first discovered by Charles Darwin on his famous voyage aboard the Beagle, have a variety of coloration in their bodies, but they all have rust-colored tails, often with black horizontal stripes. Official estimates place the entire population of this unique bird at less than 1,000.

February 23, 2012

Marshland Birds of the Amazon

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Travelers on Amazon River cruises will see thousands of beautiful colors that make up this neotropic ecozone. While those splendid sights are what many come to experience in South America, the shades of black and white may be just as interesting.

While cruising on smaller excursion boats upriver toward the confluence of the Ucayali and Maronon Rivers, travelers are likely to see black-capped donacobis and white-headed marsh-tyrant.

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Most people tour Patagonia for the stunning hikes and nature travel experiences around the Andes. However, exploring the cultures of the people who have inhabited these rugged peaks for centuries adds a particular sense of beauty and connection to this vast wilderness.

At the extreme southern reaches of South American, people have been building civilizations for centuries. However, it was not until the 16th century that they first made contact with Europeans.

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It's no secret that deforestation has been detrimental to the world's rainforests. Advocacy groups and volunteers have been working to put a stop to the industrializing of tropical regions like the Amazon for decades. While these groups have been successful, damage has already been done to the delicate ecological balance.

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All of the Monteverde Reserve is a gorgeous paradise, but one species there may be especially eye-catching to birders on International Expeditions’ Costa Rica tours.

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The Amazon River is home to many different species of animals, including the elusive jaguar, the largest member of the cat family living in the Americas. The species predominantly sticks to the rainforests of Latin America, especially around the Amazon River basin, but they were once found all across South and Central America.

Jaguars are easy to recognize, as they are covered in rose-shaped black spots. However, some may appear to look more like panthers or other big cats if their fur is dark enough to disguise their spots.

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The ancient ruins of Machu Picchu are considered to be one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Built during the mid-1400s between the reigns of Pachacutec and Tupac, the sprawling city ruins cover more than 125 square miles of the eastern slopes of the Andes mountains — more than 8,200 feet above sea level.

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