Flora and fauna of Uruguay - Characteristics and species

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The Oriental Republic of Uruguay, simply called Uruguay for practicality, is a small country in South America that borders Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina and has its coasts submerged in the Atlantic Ocean. Despite its small size, the Uruguayan territory is home to diverse landscapes and environments that are the habitat of a vast variety of species of flora and fauna. Precisely on the biodiversity of Uruguay we will develop this post from Green Ecologist. Here you can find the most important species of the flora and fauna of Uruguay.

Characteristics of the flora and fauna of Uruguay

There are a total of 4 biomes that make up the territory of Uruguay, these are: forests, palm groves, meadows and wetlands. While, the flora and fauna of each biome is different due to the particularities of the ecosystem. However, Uruguay has a temperate and humid climate in its entirety and, in fact, is the only country in South America whose entire territory is in the temperate zone. Regarding the seasons, winters are cold and summers are warm, rainfall is homogeneous throughout the year. Therefore, the biodiversity of Uruguay is totally adapted to a temperate climate, with marked seasonality.

Flora of Uruguay

Next we will develop some species of flora of Uruguay that are more relevant.


The ceibo (Erythrina crista-galli) is the national flower of Uruguay, but also of Argentina. It stands out for its showy red flowers that stand out on its green leaves. It is a species that grows throughout the Uruguayan territory, preferably in flooded areas such as on the banks of rivers, lagoons and streams.

Butiá palm

This species, scientifically called as Butia odorata, is part of the palm groves of Uruguay along with other species such as the capitata palm (Butia capitata). In particular, the butia palm is resistant to cold and snow very well, which is why it is usually cultivated in other countries in an ornamental way. In addition, it presents fruits that are used to produce liqueurs and vinegars, among other products.


The azara bush (Azara uruguayensis) is a species that inhabits eastern Uruguay on mountains and hills. It has a maximum height of 3 meters, with yellow flowers that contrast in its evergreen or perennial foliage.


Around 400 species of grasses or poaceae can be found in the Uruguayan grasslands, a taxonomic family that belongs to the Poales order. Among the grasses of Uruguay we can mention: Sorghastrum pellitum, Bromus auleticus, Paspalum dilatatum, species of the genus Festuca, among many others. Here you can learn more about what grasses are.

Pine paraná

The pine paraná (Araucaria angustifolia), is a species found towards the northeast of Uruguay. Curiously, it is misnamed pine since it does not belong to the Pinus genus. This species was believed to be extinct in Uruguay, but fortunately specimens were found growing in the Department of Cerro Largo.

Other species of flora of Uruguay

  • Laurel (Ocotea acutifolia)
  • Cow's hoof (Bauhinia forficata)
  • Tarumán (Citharexylum montevidense)
  • Caranday (Trithrinax campestris)
  • Crown thorn (Xylosma tweediana)
  • Black locustProsopis nigra)
  • Shin (Parkisonia aculeata)
  • Ñandubay (Prosopis affinis)

Here below you can see the first species described in the same order.

Fauna of Uruguay

In this section we will develop those species of animals that are part of the fauna of Uruguay.


The uterus (Vanellus chilensis lampronotus) is he national bird of Uruguay and its distribution covers the entire Uruguayan territory. Although it is common to find it in any type of habitat, its presence is more frequent near rivers and lagoons.


The margay, maracayá or tiger cat (Leopardus wiedii) is the most abundant feline in Uruguay. It is characterized by its small size, large eyes and long tail, peculiarities that are an adaptation to arboreal life. It is also nocturnal and lonely.

Overo lizard

This species (Salvator merianae) has a wide distribution throughout South America, including the Uruguayan territory. The overo lizard takes refuge in caves that it digs itself. In turn, they are very good swimmers and climbers.


The Golden (Salminus brasiliensis) is one of the species of fish that inhabit the Uruguay River. It is a large fish with a carnivorous diet, feeding on fish, crustaceans and, occasionally, insects. In general, they migrate along rivers in search of prey to feed on.

Southern Right Whale

Southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) are endemic to the southern hemisphere and have a huge distribution in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. They reproduce in warm areas during winter, that is why they gather in some key areas, such as areas near the Uruguayan coasts.

Other species of fauna of Uruguay

  • Small crepe (Aramides cajaneus)
  • Morrocoyo turtle (Trachemys dorbigni)
  • Ox toadRhinella schneideri)
  • Silverside (Odontesthes bonariensis)
  • CapybaraHydrochoerus hydrochaeris)
  • Yacaré overo (Caiman latirostris)
  • Sea Wolf (Arctophoca australis)
  • Rhea (American rhea)
  • Coastal common dolphin (Delphinus capensis)
  • School (Ceratophrys ornata)
  • Hairy tattoo (Euphractus sexcinctus flavimanus)

In the image below you can see the first species of animals described in the same order.

Now that you have known all this about the flora and fauna of Uruguay, we recommend that you read this other article about the native animals of Uruguay and thus discover more about its fauna.

If you want to read more articles similar to Flora and fauna of Uruguay, we recommend that you enter our Biodiversity category.

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