With over 900 bird species, the Colombian Andes are a hotspot for avian diversity. The Andes is the longest mountain range in the world, and divides into three chains that cross the country from south to north, generating a rugged topography with heights at 5,300 meters above sea level, large highland plateaus, deep canyons, and wide valleys. The western and central Andes are separated by the narrow Cauca Valley, and the central and eastern Andes by the wide Magdalena Valley. The climate and vegetation of the region vary considerably according to altitude, as do the birds. Traveling in the Andean region is easily done by road or by taking short flights between the main cities in the region.