Many states and countries designate animals and/or birds as national symbols. The fauna chosen may be endemic to the area or may have particular significance for the country or state. Sometimes a whole list of national this, that and the other are chosen.

South America has twelve independent countries and a French region. There are some very special national symbols which may not be seen anywhere else. A popular choice is the Andean condor. This has been chosen by Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina and Peru so its range is vast.

The condor avoids infections from the carrion it eats by having a bare head and neck. There are no feathers to become soiled with blood or body parts. This means less infection from bacteria. Another way in which the condor avoids infection is be defecating down the legs. Doing this results in a build-up of uric acid which helps fill off any bacteria.

The national animal of Argentina is the cougar. Guyana and Brazil has chosen the jaguar. This is a keystone species. If it were to be eliminated from the area, the whole structure would change. The jaguar has a very varied diet, feeding on over 80 species, and helps keep populations of these animals under control.

In addition to the condor, Peru has the vicuna as its national animal. This is a relation of the alpaca. Its fine wool is very valuable. Chile has chosen an endangered deer species, the huemul, as its national animal. The introduced red deer has pushed the huemul into marginal areas.

The alpaca is Bolivia's national animal. They have been domesticated for so long that there are now no wild alpacas left. The pampas fox and the bare-throated bellbird are the national fauna symbols of Paraguay.

Many countries also have national birds. Brazil has chosen the rufous bellied thrush while for the people of Guyana, the hoatzin or 'stink bird' is regarded as special. The bird, with its punk hair-do, is said to outsmell a skunk!

The national bird of Peru is the Andean cock of the rock, a very handsome bird indeed with its large brilliant orange, disc-like crest. The rufous hornero or red oven bird is the national bird of Argentina and Uruguay and builds in oven-like nest. The troupial is Venezuela's national bird.

Some of my Infobarrel articles which relate to this post include: TheyVitaltoEcosystems Fox

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