Los Llanos is a large flat region which become shallowly flooded during the wet season and then progressively drain and dry out during the dry season. As the areas of water gradually shrink the birds and animals become concentrated in and around the water holes providing unsurpassed opportunities to view large numbers and great diversity of birds, both resident and migratory. Although the landscape of Los Llanos is flat there is a variety of habitats ranging from the large expanses of grassland where cattle are grazed to gallery forest along the main watercourses and these different habitats support the wide range of species present. There are a great number of different waterbirds present at Los Llanos, but undoubtedly the signature bird of Los Llanos is the Scarlet Ibis.
The bizarre Giant Anteater with its huge brush-like tail, the many Spectacled Caiman and the Green Anaconda are all worthy of attention and interest. The Anaconda is a truly massive snake growing to more than 8.8 m in length, with a huge girth and weighing up to 227 kg.
The gallery forest along the waterways provides an opportunity to see a completely different range of birds and animals. Commonly observed is the strange, primitive Hoatzin, together with Amazon Kingfisher, Green Kingfisher, Pygmy Kingfisher and various members of the parrot family. In the rivers it is also possible to see the Pink River Dolphins, although they barely break the surface of the water to breathe which makes photography nearly impossible and the handsome Giant River Otter with its inquisitive nature.
A visit to Los Llanos should be combined with trips to other parts of the beautiful country of Venezuela. The cloud forests on the slopes of the Andes contain myriad Hummingbirds, Quetzals and Trogons, while the Paramo, above 4000 m altitude, is a fantastic landscape which, at the right season, is covered with flowers. The mountain rivers flowing down from the high Andes provide the ideal habitat for the elusive Torrent Duck with its unbelievable ability to navigate the turbulent waters. Venezuela also has a lek for the strange Cock-of-the-Rock where twice a day without fail 15-20 male birds display in an amazing and noisy performance.
The arduous trek to the lek is well worth the effort. As a high point to any trip a visit to see the Harpy Eagle at a nest site is a must. Venezuela is probably the most dependable location in South America to see this massive raptor which feeds on monkeys, sloths and armadillos. To complete the spectrum of habitats a stay in the Orinoco River Delta provides an opportunity to see true rainforest viewed with ease from a boat on the main rivers or tributaries.
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