Closed canopy forests extending within 28 degrees north or south of the equator with diverse biodiversity and picturesque beauty; the tropical rainforest is a very wet place that receives more than 200cm of rainfall per year. 

Tropical rainforest constitutes only six percent of the earth’s surface: however, over fifty percent of the world’s wildlife reside in this magnificent place. The tropical rainforests are one of the wealthiest places in terms of biodiversity. The place is an abode for thousands of species.

In this article, Let’s look at fifteen species of tropical rainforests.

Table of Contents

1. King Colobus

King Colombus
King Colombus | Image Credit – Flickr
NameKing Colobus
Found inSenegal to the Ivory Coast
DimensionHead-and-body length is around 670 mm, and the tail ranges from 630 and 900 mm
FoodLeaf, fruit, and flower 
IUCN statusVulnerable 
Problems for existenceLoss of natural habitat and Hunting 

Found in Lowland and mountain rainforests ranging from Senegal, through Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia to the Ivory Coast, the King Colobus, a species of old world monkey, is the westernmost species of the group on the continent of Asia. 

Colloquially, The species is known as Western black-and-white colobus. The creature preys mostly on leaves, fruits, and flowers. Albeit the species is an arboreal animal, they eat on the ground.

They form a group consisting of 3 to 4 females to 1 to 3 males, including their young ones. The groups maintain distance from one another through territorial calling. A male grows up to 670mm with a tail of between 630mm to 900mm, whereas the females are slightly smaller. Males have an average weight of 9.90 kg, and females weigh 8.30kg.

With black bodies, they have long limbs and fingers. The fringes of silvery hair around the faces and long white epaulets on the shoulder differentiate the species, unlike other members of the Colobus genus because of the white markings.

When the group collides, males tend to show hostile behavior. They live approximately 30 years in the wild, and while in captivity, they live 23.5 years on average. 

Over the past years, the numbers of king colobus have declined. The decline has boiled down to human intervention in the wild. Mostly hunted for the furs, the species’ decline is related to losing its natural habitat. Because of the reduction of species in the wild, the International Union for Conservation of Nature listed the species among the threatened species. 

2. Crowned Eagle

Crowned Eagle
Crowned Eagle | Image Credit – Flickr
NameCrowned Eagle 
Found inSouthern Africa
DimensionWeighs up to 4.7 kg, and its long tail reaches an overall length up to 90 cm
IUCN statusNear-threatened species
Problems for existenceDestruction of native tropical African forests

A large bird of prey, Crowned eagle, is found in sub-Saharan Africa. Its habitats include riparian woodlands and mixed forests, and it feeds on mammals. Africa’s most powerful predator, eagles, kill by crushing the skull with their enormous paws and strong legs. 

As the bird shows conspicuous behavior, the species has been well-studied for a long time. Due to the destruction of native tropical African forests, they are declining faster than what was perceived a few years back.

IUCN enlisted it as a Near-threatened species. As the fifth extant eagle globally, it measures 80 to 99 cm. These eagles are the ninth heaviest living eagle species, exhibiting non-migratory and sedentary behavior. The species inhabits a fixed territory throughout the year with noisy and magnified vocals during its adult life. 

3. Kinkajou

Kinkajou | Image Credit – Flickr
Found inTropical Forests 
DimensionBody length, including the tail, is around 82cm to 133cmWeight ranges from 1.4 to 4.6 kg
FoodFruit and small mammals
IUCN statusLeast Concerned
Problems for existenceHunting by humans 

The kinkajou is a tropical rainforest mammal. Commonly known as a honey bear, It is an arboreal species. Native to central and South America, the species is a frugivorous mammal. Currently, it stays on the minor concern species list: however, they might start to decline as they are hunted down amorously for their skin.

With a round head, large eyes, short limbs, and a long prehensile tail, its height ranges from 82 to 133cm. On average, It weighs from 1.4kg to 4.6kg. They reflect green or bright yellow against the light. 

They change their coat’s color as the season changes. Shades such as tawny olive, wood brown, and yellow tawny are reported for the upper part of the coat, while the underparts and the lower side of the tail have been observed to be buffy tawny or brownish-yellow.

Often they are kept as exotic pets. They have a playful, docile caliber and have a slight odor. They live about 23 years in captivity and have a maximum of 41 years.

4. Poison Dart Frog

Poison Dart Frog
Poison Dart Frog | Image Credit – Flickr
NamePoison Dart Frog
Found inCentral and southern America
DimensionLength ranges from 20 to 40 millimeters
FoodAnts, mites, and termites
IUCN statusVaries with species
Problems for existenceHabitat loss and pollution

Native to South America and the tropical Center, the poison dart frog is also known as the poison arrow frog. It is a diurnal species and often has brightly colored bodies. They are aposematic species, and the bright coloration is correlated with the toxicity of the species. 

The species is threatened because of human involvement in the wild. Humans infringing on their habits is a significant problem for the species. Most species of poison arrow frogs are small. Their size ranges below 6cm. Adult frogs lay their eggs in moist places, including the plant and plant leaves. 

After the egg hatches, the adult carries the tadpoles, one at a time, to suitable water, either a pool or the water gathered in the throat of bromeliads or other plants. Many species of Poison dart frogs have suffered from habitat loss, chytrid diseases, and collection for the pet trade. Many zoos have tried to counteract the conditions by treating captive frogs with an antifungal agent to cure athletes’ feet in humans. 

5. Malayan sun bear

Malayan sun bear
Malayan sun bear | Image Credit – Flickr
NameMalayan Sun Bear
Found inNortheastern India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam
DimensionReaches 70 centimeters at the shoulder and weighs 25–65 kilograms
FoodAnts, bees, beetles, honey, termites, seeds, fruits, and occasionally deers
IUCN statusVulnerable to extinction
Problems for existenceDeforestation and illegal hunting 

The most miniature bear, standing nearly 70 centimeters at the shoulder and weighing 25-65 kilograms, is a species of the Ursidae family in the tropical forests of southeast Asia. The bear is stockily built with large paws, strongly curved claws, small rounded ears, and a short snout.

The species is generally jet-black but differs from gray to red. The name of bear is derived from orange to cream-colored chest patches. It exhibits a unique morphology which makes the species adaptive to climb. 

The species is an excellent climber making it the most arboreal of all bears. Mainly active during the day, however, some groups may be nocturnal to tackle human encroachment. 

Because the food resources are available throughout the year, they don’t hibernate. The range of the bears extends from northeastern India to the north. It extends south to southeast through Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, in mainland Asia to Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia to the south.

The IUCN has listed the species on the vulnerable list because of declining numbers due to heavy deforestation, illegal hunting, and wildlife trade. 

6. Brown-throated sloth

Brown-throated sloth
Brown-throated sloth | Image Credit – Flickr
NameBrown-throated sloth 
Found inForests of central and south America 
DimensionReach up to 42 to 80 cm in total body length and weigh from 2.25 to 6.3 kg
FoodTough, rubbery rainforest leaves
IUCN statusLeast Concern 
Problems for existenceHabitat Loss

Native to the Neotropical realm of Central and South America, the Brown-throated sloth is a species of the three-toed sloth. With a round head, blunt nose, and inconspicuous ears, the brown-throated sloth has no incisor or canine teeth, and the cheek teeth are peg-like and straightforward.

It has grayish-brown to beige-color fur over the body, the sides of the face, and the forehead. The look generally is paler in color, with stripes of very dark hair running beneath the eyes.

They have very stiff and coarse fur. It sleeps 15 to 18 hours every day and stays active for only a brief period. Although they are adept at swimming and walking, they prefer to remain in the tree’s branches for most of their life. Brown-throated sloths have a polygynous mating system. The life expectancy of the beer is approximately 30-40 years old.

7. Crested Guan 

Crested Guan
Crested Guan | Image Credit – Flickr
NameCrested Guan
Found inLowlands from southern Mexico and the Yucatán Peninsula to western Ecuador and southern Venezuela 
DimensionWeighs around 1,750 gWing chord is 33 to 42.8 cm Tail measures 34 to 41.5 cm
IUCN statusNear Threatened 
Problems for existenceDeforestation and Hunting

A member of a group of birds of the family Cracidae, the crested guan is found in the Neotropics, in lowlands forests ranging from southern Mexico and the Yucatan peninsula to western Ecuador and south Venezuela.

The species has a dark brown plumage with white spotting, bare skin around the eyes, bright red wattles, a bushy crest along the broad tail, and pink legs. It is a social animal; they are often seen in pairs or small family groups. The source of food for the species is trees, fruits, and nests of twigs on branches. 

The exact cause of deforestation and hunting are trickling down the numbers of the species. The IUCN has rated its conservation status as near threatened. The species is an arboreal forest species. They build substantial twig nests in a tree or stump lined with leaves. 

8. Scarlet Macaw

Scarlet Macaw
Scarlet Macaw | Image Credit – Flickr
NameScarlet Macaw
Found inSouth-eastern Mexico to Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Brazil in lowlands of 500m
Dimension81 centimeters long and weighs about 1 kilogram
FoodFruits, nuts, seeds, flowers, and Nectar
IUCN statusLeast Concern
Problems for existenceHabitat Destruction

The scarlet macaw is a large, yellow, blue, and red Central and South American parrot. Native to humid evergreen forests of the Neotropics, Its range extends from south-eastern Mexico to Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela, and brazil.

In some places, it suffered local extinction due to habitat destruction and capture for the parrot trade. However, in other areas, the number remains relatively similar. The species are viral in aviculture because of their striking plumage. 

They fly over the forest canopy individually, in pairs, or the flock. The species communicate primarily through raucous honks and are even competent in mimicking human speech. They feed on fruits, seeds, flowers, and Nectar. They also prefer insects and larvae, while Snails and bugs are excellent protein sources during the breeding seasons.

9. Okapi

Okapi, Henry Doorly Zoo
Okapi, Henry Doorly Zoo | Image Credit – Flickr
Found inCentral Africa
DimensionMedium-sized giraffe standing 1.5 m tall at the shoulderWeighs between 200 to 350 kg Average body length of 2.5 m
FoodTree leaves, buds, grasses, ferns, fruits, and fungi
IUCN statusEndangered
Problems for existenceLogging, Habitat Destruction, Illegal mining, and Extensive Hunting 

Native to the northeast Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa, the species is an artiodactyl mammal. It is commonly referred to as forest giraffe, Zebra giraffe, or Congolese giraffe.

The stripe markings in the body are reminiscent of Zebras, but the species is related to giraffes. Okapis inhabit canopy forests at altitudes of 500-1500ft. 

Standing 1.5m tall at the shoulder, It has a typical body length of 2.5m. It has an extended neck with extensive and flexible ears. Its skin is chocolate to reddish-brown, contrary to the legs’ white horizontal stripes and rings. Diurnal in Nature, the species may stay awake for some hours at night. Okapis are herbivores and rely on tree leaves, buds, grasses, ferns, fruits, and fungi. 

The IUCN classifies the species as endangered. Major threats such as logging, illegal mining, and hunting for meats have led the species to decline in the last few years.

10. Capybara

Capybara | Image Credit – Flickr
Found inSouth America 
DimensionAdult capybaras grow up to 106 to 134 cm Weigh 35 to 66 kg
FoodGrasses, aquatic plants, fruits, and tree bark 
IUCN statusLeast Concern 
Problems for existenceHabitat Destruction 

Endemic to South America, the capybara is a giant cavy rodent. Its close relatives are guinea pigs, agouti, the chinchilla, and the nutria. The typical habitat for the species is savannas and dense forests, and it lives near bodies of water.

As Gregarious animals, they live in groups of over a hundred individuals. Although the species are viciously hunted for meat, they are not declining. The IUCN listed it as species of most minor concern.

They are semi-aquatic mammals. As herbivorous animals, their diet consists of grasses and aquatic plants, fruit, and tree barks. Males are leaders in the herd as they establish social bonds, dominance, or general group consensus. 

11. Tapir 

Tapir | Image Credit – Flickr
Found inSouth America, Central America, and Southeast Asia
DimensionAbout 2 m tall and weighs between 150 and 300 kg
FoodLeaves, grasses, fruits, and berries
IUCN statusEndangered
Problems for existenceHunting and Deforestation 

Native to jungle and forest regions of South and Central America, the tapir is a large, herbivorous mammal with a short, prehensile nose trunk. 

Ranging in sizes, most tapirs are about 2m long, stand about 1m at the shoulder, and weigh between 150 and 300kg. The coats are short, ranging from reddish-brown to gray to nearly black.

They have a highly flexible proboscis that moves in all directions. The quality of the beak makes them grab foliage that would otherwise be out of reach. They possess a quirk to detect scents by raising their snouts. 

They are shy animals; however, they morph into menace if they have to defend themselves. Using their teeth as defensive tools, they protect themselves.

12. Western Lowland gorilla 

Western Lowland gorilla
Western Lowland gorilla | Image Credit – Flickr
NameWestern Lowland Gorilla 
Found inPrimary and secondary forest and lowland swampland in central Africa
DimensionUp to 1.8 m tall and weigh up to 270 kg
FoodRoots, shoots, fruit, wild celery, tree bark, and pulp
IUCN statusCritically Endangered
Problems for existenceHunting and logging

The gorilla is native to montane, primary and secondary forest, and lowland swamplands in Cameroon, Angola, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon. 

It is the smallest subspecies of gorillas but has exceptional strength and size. The species exhibits sexual dimorphism. They are intelligent creatures and display their intelligence through their capability to convert natural materials into implements that enable them to gather food more conveniently. 

The species are endangered species because of habitat loss caused due to logging. Humans hunt the gorillas to provide meat for the bushmeat trade. If such activities continue, the species may fall on the precipice of extinction. 

13. Boa Constrictor

Boa Constrictor
Boa Constrictor | Image Credit – Flickr
NameBoa Constrictor 
Found inTropical South American Areas, as well as some islands in the Caribbean
DimensionLengths from 3 to 13 ft
FoodMedium-sized mammals and birds
IUCN statusLeast Concern 
Problems for existenceHabitat Loss

Colloquially known as a common boa or red-tailed boa, a giant, non-venomous, heavy-bodied snake kept and bred in captivity. It is native to South America and some islands in the Caribbean. 

The species’ color patterns are variable yet distinctive. The boa constrictor is a giant snake but is relatively average compared to other snake species. The snakes can reach up to 13ft in length.

Sexually dimorphic in Nature, the females are more prominent in length and girth than males. The color of the boa constrictor dramatically varies depending on the locality. The coloring of the snakes works as a camouflage technique in the jungles.

14. Grey Parrot 

Grey Parrot 
Grey Parrot | Image Credit – Flickr
NameGrey Parrot
Found inEquatorial Africa
DimensionWeight 400 g, with an approximate length of 33 cm and a 46–52 cm wingspan
FoodA variety of seeds, nuts, fruits, berries, and vegetation in the wild
IUCN statusEndangered
Problems for existenceHabitat Loss

An old-world parrot, The gray parrot, was once identified as a subspecies of the gray parrot but has since been elevated to a whole species other names such as Congo grey parrot, Congo African grey parrot, or African grey parrot are substitute names.

The grey parrot is native to Africa, including Angola, Cameroon, the Congo, Kenya, Uganda, etc. It has a wingspan of 46-52 cm and weighs 400g. 

Because of parrot breeders, some parrots are partly or entirely red. As per the research published in 2015, the species has been extirpated from Ghana, with numbers declining 90 to 99 percent since 1992. The IUCN has listed the species on the threatened list. If not protected well, the species might go extinct. 

15. Keel-Billed Toucan 

Keel-Billed Toucan 
Keel-Billed Toucan | Image Credit – Flickr
NameKeel-Billed Toucan
Found inTropical jungles from southern Mexico to Colombia
DimensionLength ranges from around 42 to 55 cmWeighs about 380–500 g
FoodFeeds on fruits, seeds, insects, invertebrates, lizards, snakes, and small birds and their eggs
IUCN statusNon-threatened
Problems for existenceHunting 

The keel-billed toucan is a Latin American member of the toucan family. The national bird of Belize is commonly known as the rainbow-billed toucan or sulfur-breasted toucan. The species ranges from the tropical jungles of southern Mexico to Colombia. It feasts on fruits, seeds, insects, invertebrates, lizards, snakes, and small birds and their eggs. 

They are very social animals and are rarely seen alone. Their flight is slow and undulating, consisting of rapid wing beats. Sometimes the bird is kept captive, and it requires a high fruit-fruit diet during the period. The species are susceptible to hemochromatosis. 

Wrapping up 

The article presents fifteen of the species inhabiting the tropical rainforests. The area of tropical rainforest is depleting at an accelerating rate, as per the satellite data. It is directly affecting biodiversity and the ecosystem.

The mentioned animals are bearing the consequences as their number is declining. So many species suffer from extinction because of human activities, and it is in our hands to protect and preserve them.

(Last Updated on May 3, 2022 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Saurav Khadka, with his A levels in computer science from Saipal Academy, owns a keen desire to know more about the environment. He wants to preach his knowledge to others by learning through his hobbies; reading, writing, traveling, and watching movies. He believes sharing his insight regarding a sustainable environment will undoubtedly generate positive perceptions in the people.