Critical bird habitat in Peru expanded to protect 23 threatened species
Land acquisitions to help protect one of world’s rarest birds
August 2013. Two new key properties have been acquired in northern Peru that will expand Abra Patricia Reserve to over 25,000 acres and help protect habitat for one of the world’s rarest birds, the Long-whiskered Owlet, along with 23 other globally threatened species.
The acquisitions were funded by American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and completed by Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN), ABC’s partner in Peru.
When combined with three other properties purchased by the two groups in January and February 2013, the newly acquired lands total 1,261 acres. The Abra Patricia area is recognized by the Alliance for Zero Extinction as a critical site for both the endangered Long-whiskered Owlet as well as the endangered Ochre-fronted Antpitta.
The Long-whiskered Owlet – discovered in 1976
The Long-whiskered Owlet, which was only discovered in 1976, is one of the tiniest owls in the world, measuring only five inches tall. The bird’s long, wispy facial feathers extend out past its head, creating the appearance of long whiskers.
The reserve at Abra Patricia consists of land privately owned by ECOAN as well as a 40-year conservation concession on forestry lands. When added to the recent acquisitions, the reserve now totals more than 25,000 acres managed by ECOAN for conservation.
These land acquisitions continue a string of recent successes ECOAN and ABC have celebrated in northern Peru. Their recent reforestation campaign resulted in completion of a new tree nursery at La Union, just north of Abra Patricia Reserve, and the planting of nearly 75,000 native trees and 25,000 coffee bushes in a variety of mixed forest, shade agriculture, silvipasture, and living fence systems on private lands near reserves. Those reserves were established to improve habitat on degraded lands for resident and migratory birds. Communities involved in the effort included San Lucas de Pomacochas and surrounding villages who are working to establish new protected areas for the communities’ forests and watershed.
Twenty-three globally threatened species
The Abra Patricia Reserve is located in cloud forests in the Department of Amazonas and is adjacent to the Alto Mayo Protected Forest. The area is home to more than 300 bird species including many endemic to Peru. Twenty-three of these species are considered globally threatened. In addition to the Long-whiskered Owlet and Ochre-fronted Antpitta, other rare, threatened birds include the Royal Sunangel, Johnson’s Tody-Tyrant, Ochre-breasted Tody-Tyrant, and Pale-billed Antpitta. Several songbirds that breed in North America, such as the Swainson’s Thrush, Blackburnian Warbler, and Cerulean Warbler, winter in the forests of Abra Patricia, as well. Abra Patricia is also home to the critically endangered yellow-tailed woolly monkey and a diversity of other wildlife and rare orchids.
One of the premier birding destinations in Peru
Located along the Northern Peru Birding Route, Abra Patricia is one of the premier birding destinations in Peru, itself one of the premier countries for birding in the world. The Owlet Lodge at Abra Patricia often serves as a base for birding tourists who typically spend several days at other regional birding spots, such as Waqanki, Huembo, and Gotas de Agua. Owlet Lodge is a four- to five-hour drive from the airport in Tarapoto, and the spectacular Marvelous Spatuletail hummingbird can be seen just an hour’s drive away at Huembo Reserve. To learn more about the ecotourism and birding opportunities in the Abra Patricia region, visit our Conservation Birding website.
Support for the land protection and acquisition, as well as the community programs and reforestation efforts, was generously provided by the IUCN NL / Small Grants for the Purchase of Nature (SPN) sponsored by the Netherlands Postcode Lottery, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service under the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, DJ & T Foundation, Gulf Coast Bird Observatory Tropical Forests Forever Fund, Jeniam Foundation, The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, New England BioLabs Foundation, Lorna & Mike Anderberg, Cathy & Warren Cooke, Patricia & David Davidson, Nancy and Dick Eales, Joyce Millen & David Harrison, Stephen Rumsey, the Robert Wilson Charitable Trust, and Connie & Jeff Woodman.
An unprecedented threat to Peru’s cloud forests. Cloud forest can’t migrate fast enough to keep up with warming: here.
National Audubon Society (BirdLife in the USA) and the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, are working together on a high-value sustainable birding tourism programme in the Americas: here.