Creature Compendium

Creature Compendium: Bufeo Colorado

Recently I was doing research for a story set near water, and stumbled across the pink river dolphin as part of that research. I didn’t use the dolphin in the story, but I’d like to share the find.

Bufeo Colorado
Boto / Amazonian Pink River Dolphin

Amazon by Afiriti

The bufeo colorado or boto, is a real creature of the Amazon river, but there are indigenous legends attached to it. The bufeo colorado is reputed to be a shape shifter, whose alternate form is that of a handsome man. The dolphin’s reputation differs by location. In some places it is considered bad luck to kill one, but in others that the dolphin will steal women and children from their villages.

The most famous story of the bufeo colorado recounts the tale of a woman, who is enchanted by a man she meets in the river. She falls in love with him, and asks permission to marry him, but every morning her lover disappears. Only when she becomes pregnant with a half-dolphin baby, does she discover that her lover is really the bufeo colorado.

Further Reading:

Related Creatures: Mermaid/merman, werewolf, shape shifter

Region of Origin: South America, Amazon river


      1. Yeah, I don’t know. At first I was going to say mostly it’s ordinary animals that we interact with only infrequently or only in special circumstances (like the dolphin you’ll only see when you’re in or near water). But then I remembered the Church Grim… and I was like “wait, we interact with dogs in innumerable everyday and non-magical circumstances… so why would a dog sometimes be magical?”

        Or, in other words… I don’t know…

  1. I think some of the reasons behind some creatures taking on magical capabilities is the unexpectedness. In this case, I think many people bond with dolphins and a pink dolphin (especially if it is unusual) would tend to develop legends to explain that unusualness.

    There is something similar that developed around albino bears in the “cascades” that was described in a national geographic not too long ago.

  2. Thank you Theresa for sharing. I love strange stories surrounding actual animals or areas in the world. Perhaps the stories originated because they are considered the smartest of all the dolphins and they don’t need to swim in packs. I’m not an expert but I don’t think that there are a lot of river dolphins, making the sight of them more memorable than other fish or animals in the area. Just a thought. =)

    Thank you again for sharing. Cool fact!

    Daniel L Carter

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