Andean Fauna, Potosi
The Andean fauna populating the surroundings of the Uyuni Salt Flat and the amazing lagoons is diverse and rich. During the most popular tours to the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve it is possible to observe these species in their natural habitat and be amazed by nature.
The Andean Goose or Huallata (Chloephaga melanoptera) inhabits the Sud Lipez province lagoon shores and the bofedales. This bird is 90 cm. long, covered mostly with white feathers, except its wings and tail where the feathers are black. This particular species lives in couples and breeds at 4000 to 5000 m.a.s.l.
It is possible to observe Andean geese during day two of the Uyuni Salt Flat and Lagoons Tour, near the shores of Ramaditas Lagoon, Chiarkhota (Shiarkota) Lagoon and Hedionda Lagoon.
The Guanaco or Huanaco (Lama guanicoe) is a camelid native of the andean region of South America. In Bolivia it inhabits the highlands mostly wildly.
Guanacos are one of the largest wild mammal species found in Bolivia. It lives in herds and breeds between november and february.
The guanaco is a fast runner, almost impossible to catch. The principal reason for its survival in the wild is the hability to avoid its predators with velocity.
The Alpaca or Allpaqa (Lama pacos) is a domestic camelid, native of the south american andean region, smaller than the llama.
The alpaca is between 81 and 99 cm high and weighs between 48 and 84 kgs. It is used as a load animal even though its meat, wool and leather are also used.
The Vicuna or Huari (Vicugna Vicugna) is the smallest camelid species native of the andean region of South America. The vicuna barely reach a meter high. A small head, long neck and big eyes are some of its main characteristics.
This camelid lives in the andean highlands in Bolivia at 4000 m.a.s.l.. It can be found wild in the highlands in herds. It is also possible to find domestic Vicunas.
Travelers can see wild Vicunas herds on the three day, two night tour Uyuni salt flat and lagoons.
The Vizcacha (Lagidium viscacia) are rodents, that together with the chinchillas belong to Chinchillidae family. Natives of South America, these high-jumping rabbits are one of the biggest rodent species. Vizcachas are characterized by very long ears and tail. They can reach a length of 70 to 80 cm long from ears to tail.
The Vizcacha is very sought after because of its meat, leather and tail. This last one is used as a good-luck charm. It is possible to observe some vizcachas in their habitat running free along the Uyuni Salt Flat and Lagoons itinerary.
The Andean Fox (Lycalopex culpaeus) is a 70 cm long canine native of the Andean region. In Bolivia it can be observed in the Eduardo Avaroa Natural Reserve. This predator lives in the high mountain regions and salty highland lagoons at 2300 to 4500 m.a.s.l.
This cunning fox feeds on small eggs or small rodents, some larger young birds and from time to time some larger mammals like sheep or small vicunas.
It is hunted by the indigenous people to practice ancient Andean rituals. It is said that the Andean fox presence brings bad luck.
It is possible to watch some Andean fox around Siloli and Dali deserts.
The andean flamingo or Chururu (Phoenicoparrus andinus) is a native of the andean region. It reaches a length of 110 cms and a weight of approximately 2.2 kg.
The feathers of the andean flamingo are light pink with some dark pink areas and black feathers in the back.
The Andean Flamingos are found in the lakes and lagoons of the Andes mountains. They are highly gregarious birds and form flocks containing thousands of individuals. The Andean Flamingos can be observed in the second day of the Uyuni and Lagoons tour.
Andean flamingos are listed as an endangered species due the explotation of their habitat.
The Chilean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis) are a large species of flamingoes. They stand between 1.1 and 1.3 meters high, and they weigh between 2.5 and 3.5 kgs.
They are pink in colour but immature birds are grey before they get their full adult feathers. They have long, grey legs with pink knees.
In Bolivia they are found at 4,500 m.a.s.l and they inhabit muddy, shallow lakes that can be either alkaline or brackish (Colorada Lagoon, Chiarkhota Lagoon, Ramaditas Lagoon, Honda Lagoon, Hedionda Lagoon). As the soil in the area where they live is mainly alkaline, it is barren of vegetation and desert-like.
The Chilean Flamingoes live in colonies that can range vastly in size from a few dozen birds to thousands of individuals.
The James Flamingo, Parina Chica or Puna Flamingo (Phoenicoparrus jamesi) is the smallest and palest species of the three flamingo species inhabitating the Bolivian andean highlands.
Its principal distinguishing characteristic is the redish color found in its legs, the neck and the torso, its yellow bill and red skin near the eyes.With some luck, travellers can observe all the species during the Uyuni Salt Flats and Lagoons tour.
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