Because Manaus is located in the Amazon Rainforest, the Manaus animals include some iconic Amazon species. However, it should be noted that because this is the largest city in the Amazon, there will be forest degradation close to the city itself. If this will be your only experience of the Amazon, it would be disappointing to judge the wildlife sightings in the Amazon according to short trips from Manaus. It should also be noted that the wildlife is more diverse in the western Amazon Rainforest such as from Iquitos in northern Peru. To truly enjoy Manaus Amazon wildlife, we advise organizing a tour that takes you far from the city. Take note that the longer you travel and the further away from the city you go, the better the wildlife sightings will be. The advantage of a cruise over a lodge is that you can visit several Amazon areas far apart and increase your chances of seeing animals.
There are many protected areas around Manaus on both the Rio Negro and Amazon River. The rainforest north of Manaus is preserved in the largest protected area in Amazonia covering an impressive six million hectares, which is composed of several smaller reserves. This is where you will find exceptional animals. Within the waters around Manaus, you can find aquatic animals that venture from the reserves like the world’s largest freshwater fish, the Arapaima. You can also find pink river dolphins, caiman including the endangered black caiman, grey river dolphins, many river turtles, river otters, and the endangered iconic giant river otters. Land animals and birds inside the enormous Central Amazon Conservation Complex include the magnificent harpy eagle and many colourful macaw parrots.
For examples of animals you can find on tours from Manaus, you can see our Amazon Rainforest Animals articles including Amazon Monkeys, Dolphins, Amazon Birds, Amazon Crocodiles, and Amazon Mammals. Many of the photos were taken in the Peruvian Amazon, but the animals will be similar with subtle differences. For example, the uakari monkey is a unique example of Amazon primates. The uakari has several different varieties that live in different Amazon areas. The Black Headed Uakari is absent from Peru and is only found in the central Amazon Rainforest e.g. west Brazilian & Colombian Amazon.
Mammals in the Central Amazon Conservation Complex north of Manaus include the Lowland Paca (Agouti paca), Owl Monkeys (Aotus nancymaae), White-bellied Spider Monkeys (Ateles belzebuth), Short-eared Dogs (Atelocynus microtis), Hershkovitz’s Titi Monkeys (Callicebus dubius), Black Agoutis (Dasyprocta fuliginosa), Mountain Lions (Felis concolor), Capybaras (Hydrochoeris hydrochaeris), Red Brocket Deer (Mazama americana), Brown Woolly Monkeys (Lagothrix lagothricha), Jaguars (Panthero onca), White-footed Sakis (Pithecia albicans), Giant Armadillos (Priodontes maximus), Giant Otters (Pteronura brasiliensis), Emperor Tamarins (Saguinus imperator), Moustached Tamarins (Saguinus mystax), Black Squirrel Monkeys (Saimiri vanzolinii), Ega Long-tongued Bats (Scleronycteris ega), Bush Dogs (Speothos venaticus), South American Tapir (Tapirus terrestris), and White-lipped Peccary (Tayassu pecari).
The birds found around the Manaus Amazon include Roseate Spoonbills (Ajaia ajaia), Festive Amazons (Amazona festiva), Horned Screamers (Anhima cornuta), Sharp-tailed Ibis (Cercibis oxycerca), Wattled Curassows (Crax globulosa), Wandering Whistling Ducks (Dendrocygna arcuata), Harpy Eagles (Harpia harpyja), Black-chinned Antbirds (Hypocnemoides melanopogon), and the Klages’s Antwrens (Myrmotherula klagesi).
Reptiles include Boa constrictors (Boa constrictor), Terciopelo (Bothrops asper), White Caiman (Caiman crocodilus), Green Anaconda (Eunectes murinus), Panther Chameleon (Furcifer pardalis), Brazilian Giant Tortoise (Geochelone denticulata), South American bushmaster (Lachesis muta), Black caiman (Melanosuchus niger), Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman (Paleosuchus palpebrosus), Smooth-fronted Caiman (Paleosuchus trigonatus), Six-tubercled Amazon River turtle (Podocnemis sextuberculata), Yellow-spotted River Turtle (Podocnemis unifilis), and Arrau turtles (Podocnemis expansa).
List from the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are many jungle hotels near Manaus, but the animals seen will not be as varied and abundant as the wildlife deeper in the forest. If you would like to see Amazon animals in the Brazilian Amazon and prefer a lodge-based tour, our preference is to fly to Tefe and stay at the Uakari Lodge. If this is not possible and you still want a lodge-based adventure, you could consider the Tariri Lodge just out of Manaus, but for a real adventure to see the main Manaus animals, consider a deeper expedition aboard a cruise like the Tucano.