Beasts, birds, and bugs of Colca Canyon, Peru

The Andean condors of Colca Canyon, Peru attract all the tourist paparazzi attention. Evade the camera flashes and flee down a trail, and there’s a captivating natural diversity in the sky, underfoot, and in the brush.

Bird perched on a cactus, Colca Canyon, Peru photo

Bird perched on a cactus in Colca Canyon, Peru

There’s an aviary’s worth of other birds, including mad parakeets that torture the ears with constant, piercing chirps; iridescent hummingbirds, the largest in the world; flocks of Murakami doves that burst from bushes with a windup noise; suicidal ducks that spend their lives on the river rapids; and a winged nuisance that sounds like a sci-fi raygun and flies like Starbuck.

Yellow songbird, Colca Canyon, Peru photo

Yellow songbird.

Torrent duck through binoculars, Colca Canyon, Peru photo

Torrent duck on the Rio Colca photographed through binoculars.

Yellow butterfly, Colca Canyon, Peru photo

Yellow butterfly, Colca Canyon, Peru.

Grasshoppers (or perhaps crickets) bound along the trail, keeping pace with us as we haul ass up the canyon. Furball bees draw halos around our noggins until we wave them off. Dung beetles roll along in a foul, insect-world version of Zorbing.

Maroon and black beetle, Colca Canyon, Peru photo

Maroon and black beetle.

Bug-eyed grasshopper or cricket, Colca Canyon, Peru photo

Bug-eyed grasshopper (or cricket).

Beasts of burden pound clear the hiking trails with their heavy steps, while clogging those same trails with their abundant mierda.

Oh yes, Colca Canyon’s the shit.

Pair of sheep in a field of flowers, Colca Canyon, Peru photo

Pair of sheep in a field of flowers, Colca Canyon.

Braying donkey, Colca Canyon, Peru photo

Tusken Raider or hounded donkey, you decide.

Beasts get eaten in Colca Canyon, Peru photo

Beasts get eaten in Colca Canyon, Peru.

What surprising creatures have you seen on your travels?