From Wildlife Extra:
New population of a rare and endangered Long-Whiskered owlet found in Peru
Critically endangered Yellow-tailed woolly monkeys also found
February 2010. The Long whiskered owlet, one of the rarest birds in the world, has been filmed and photographed in January 2010 in the Neotropical Primate Conservation (NPC) main research area, La Esperanza, in Peru.
The owlet was observed by Shachar Alterman, an Israeli birdwatcher who joined the UK charity organization’s project for a month to carry out bird inventories in the region.
The species was also seen by Noga Shanee, co-founder of the organization, and Edin Fonseca, a local guide whose help made it possible to find such a rare species.
First discovered in 1976
The Long-whiskered owlet (Xenoglaux loweryi) was first discovered in 1976, when it was caught in a mist nest
sic; mist net
by an ornithological team. Since then, the wlet has been seen very few times. It is endemic to a very small altitudinal range in the humid mountain forests of Amazonas and San Martin. The species is listed as Endangered on IUCN Red List.
First sighting since 2007
Despite all efforts, by researchers and birders alike, no Long-Whiskered Owlet has been seen since 2007. Alterman and Sahnee state that “As far as we know, this is only the fourth time this rare bird has ever been seen in the wild – and the first time it has been captured on video”.
“At first I thought it was a frog, since it sounded coarser than the playback I have. But it is a very distinctive call”, Said Alterman after the sighting. “Suddenly it felt as though the whole forest is full of ‘Lechusitas’ (The common local nickname for the bird in Peru).
“After a brief moment of silence, they were calling from all different corners of the forest”, He added. “The bird itself was perched five metres above our head.”
“It’s been one of the happiest moments in my life. We birders are so easy to please, just give us a new bird and we’re satisfied, but this one tops it all. This is the first time that I feel that finding a new bird can help its natural habitat and a whole community. At least that’s what I pray will happen”, says Alterman.
Shanee added that “On the same night the owlet was found, the NPC group heard no less than five birds which responded to the recorded calls played by the team. No previous record of such dense population exists so far”. Two other species of rare and endemic birds; Rusty-Tinged Antpitta and Johnson’s Tody-Tyrant were identified on the same 3 week trip.
During the survey, Shanee also spotted 12 yellow tailed woolly monkeys – Adults males and females, and some young ones.
Critically endangered monkey – Threatened by deforestation
According to Shanee, the owlet is threatened by the same hazards which affect the yellow-tailed woolly monkey (Oreonax flavicauda). This critically endangered monkey is endemic to a small area of the Tropical Andes in Peru; itself an endangered ecosystem. The main threat facing the area and its inhabitants is massive deforestation which is directly connected to the growing human population and poverty. There are less then a 1,000 of these monkeys dispersed between several remote and unconnected populations.
“We are hoping that this new discovery of the Long-Whiskered Owlet‘s population and the interest it will generate with birdwatchers and conservationist groups will help to further conservation efforts for this special forest”.
Neotropical Primate Conservation (NPC) was founded by Sam and Noga Shanee and Lizzie Cooke in 2007. It began as a non-profit organization and was awarded UK charity status in August 2009. NPC was set to promote the conservation of Neotropical forest habitat and all wildlife through various means. These include: land protection; research; improvement of degraded habitat for wildlife; creation of public awareness; environmental education; and facilitation of the commercialization of sustainable, ecological products on behalf of local people.
A group of twitchers in Peru have caught a rare glimpse of a bizarre-looking bird not seen for 26 years. The bird-watchers spotted a long-whiskered owlet, a species first discovered in 1976 that has remained largely out of sight since: here.
July 2010. The first full photograph of an endangered Ochre-fronted Antpitta in the wild was recently taken by American Bird Conservancy Conservation (ABC) Biologist Daniel Lebbin at Peru’s Abra Patricia Bird Reserve. Lebbin photographed a male a short distance from the Owlet ecolodge, within the reserve located in northern Peru at an elevation of about 7,000 feet: here.
One of the world’s rarest birds, Long-whiskered owlet, seen several times in Peru: here.
Long-whiskered Owlet: New location and access site: here.
Birdwatching in Peru: here.
Peru: Prized Bird and Wildlife Area in Amazon Headwaters Purchased With Help of American Bird Conservancy: here.
March 2012: A new conservation area established in central Peru will help protect the area’s shrinking cloud forest, as well as a rich biodiversity of wildlife that includes numerous endemic bird species and the endangered Andean cat: here.
December 2010. For the first time in Peru, conservationists have purchased privately owned lands within a national protected area and then donated them to the national government. Twenty-nine privately owned properties totalling 1,196 acres within Peru’s Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve were donated on December 1 to SERNANP, the government agency that administers national protected areas. The donated lands are home to the Iquitos Gnatcatcher, a Critically Endangered bird first described in 2005: here.
August 2011: A new nature reserve in central Peru has been established through the efforts of American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN). The new San Marcos Private Conservation Area (PCA) covers more than 2,400 acres, protecting important high-altitude cloud forests: here.
A hidden colony of endangered yellow-tailed woolly monkeys was recently discovered in Peru: here.
Under siege: oil and gas concessions cover 41 percent of the Peruvian Amazon: here.
An authoritative online life history for the Endangered Yellow-shouldered Blackbird Agelaius xanthomus has been published on Neotropical Birds Online: here.