Amazon Rainforest

Clay Licks In The Amazon Rainforest

The perfect destination for travelers to observe exotic parrots is the famous clay licks also known as collpa in the Amazon rainforest. This is where dozens of birds gather everyday to eat clay. This phenomenon has arisen some questions like: Why does it  happen? why do birds eat clay? Well, keep reading to find out more about Clay Licks.

The High pH Number

A clay lick or collpa is a nat­u­rally formed wall of clay on a river­bank caused by ero­sion from the river. Every morn­ing para­keets, par­rotlets, also macaws, and other birds flock to these clay licks to eat clay, cre­at­ing an incred­i­ble wildlife spec­ta­cle.

Acidic fungi affects the fruit found in the Amazon jungle, which of course affects the animals who eat it. So, there’s a hypothesis that  by eating the clay, which is rich in pH, birds are able to balance out this dangerous acidity and protect themselves from health problems such as, liver damage and a weakened immune system.

The Lack of Minerals

Clay has salt and magnesium,  which are essential for healthy operation of  vital muscles like: the cardiac muscles (heart)  and smooth muscles of the viscera as well as the nervous systems. The most accepted hypothesis about birds eating clay is that they lack certain vitamins and minerals in their diets such as salt and magnesium. So  by eating clay they can get these vitamins.
Although these hypotheses are very credible, there haven’t been confirmed. What we know for sure is that eating this clay offer microbiological benefits, such as protecting the animal’s stomachs against toxins, and parasites.

The best place in the Amazon to see these clay licks full of birds is: Yasuni National Park, which is probably the most important treasure on the north­east­ern part of Ecuador’s Ama­zon­ian Rain­for­est and it is home of many species of plants, birds and ani­mals than almost any­where else on earth.

Our hotel, Yacuma Ecolodge, is located on the bound­aries of this park. A short 30 min­utes’ walk from our lodge, will take you to the base of a cliff where early in the morn­ing you can  be able to observe dozens of par­rots and other jun­gle birds approach­ing the cliff. For par­rot enthu­si­asts, vis­it­ing a par­rot clay lick is to be one of the most mem­o­rable high­lights of your trip to the Ama­zon Rain­for­est. Our pro­grams include accom­mo­da­tions in our com­fort­able Yacuma Ecolodge bun­ga­lows pro­vided with pri­vate facil­i­ties (hot and cold water), deli­cious food pre­pared by our native chefs, puri­fied water, land and motor­ized canoe trans­port, rub­ber boots, an expert bilin­gual bird­watch­ing guide, a local indige­nous (Kichwa and Huao­rani) guides, all excur­sions and activ­i­ties out­lined in the programs. To reserve your room click here.