Ecuador

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INFORMATION

Ecuador boasts the highest biodiversity in the world, relative to the size of the country. In a study done by Conservation International, Ecuador (along with the United States, China, Australia, Brazil, and Mexico) ranked among the top 17 most highly biodiverse countries in the world. Birdwise, Ecuador holds the record with 9.2 species per square kilometer! The richness of Ecuador lies in its diversity (both natural and cultural), with four unique regions: the Amazon rain forest, the Andean Mountains, the coastal lowlands, and the Galapagos Islands.

Each of these four regions are subdivided into 24 provinces with 24 provinces lying within four unique regions: the Amazon rain forest, the Andean Mountains, the coastal lowlands, and the Galapagos Islands.”

LOCATION

Ecuador is one of the smallest countries in the Americas, covering about 283.560 square kilometers (about 169 square miles). Divided by the equator, it enjoys the notoriety of lying in both the northern and southern hemispheres!

LANGUAGE

Spanish is the primary language; however, most indigenous people also speak Quichua.

GOVERNMENT

Democratic. Current president is Economist Rafael Correa Delgado.

CLIMATE

The climate throughout the country ranges from tropical equatorial rain in the Amazon to perpetual snow in the highest mountain peaks. Cities in the highlands have temperatures that vary from 50ºF to 70ºF, while temperatures in the coastal cities range from 60ºF to 80ºF. The jungles are perpetually rainy, humid, and warm, with an average temperature of [???]. The Galapagos Islands are sunny and warm from December to May with an average temperature of 85ºF ; from June to November the average temperature drops to 60ºF.

WHY SUCH A DIVERSITY?

Three major factors contribute to Ecuador’s magnificent diversity. First, the Andes run right down the center of the country from north to south, bringing with it differing birdlife on each of its slopes. Secondly, the country’s equatorial location makes it one of the warmest locations on the planet, drawing migrants from both north and south, as well as allowing an hospitable climate for a high variety of species. Third, the confluence of two different oceanic currents (the warm, humid El Niño from the north and the cold, dry Humboldt from the south) encourages a variety of marine life.

Ecuador is home to 21 National Protected Areas, as well as other important protected areas and natural sites that are privately owned. With a bird list of over 1,630 species, no other country besides Ecuador has so many birds within such a small area!

ECUADOR RANKS AS #4 IN BIRD DIVERSITY

Hummingbirds have an overpowering attraction to observers due to their iridescence and acrobatics! In the Andes, these birds are commonly known as “quindes” [which means. hummingbird.]. More than 130 species of hummingbirds live in Ecuador, including the stunning Sword-billed Hummingbird and the Fiery Topaz.

Of the world’s Endemic Bird Areas (EBAs), Ecuador boasts two of the most diverse: the Choco and the Tumbesian region, both within a short distance of each other. The Choco is the EBA closest to Quito, and in a one week trip the visiting birder can reasonably see over 300 species. The major birding areas within the Choco include Tandayapa, Mindo Valley, Milpe Bird Sanctuary, Silanche Reserve, and the Canande region in far northwestern Ecuador.

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