Good rare Bolivian parrots news

This April 2014 video says about itself:

The Critically Endangered Blue-throated Macaw is found in only one place on earth: the Beni Savannas of Bolivia. This complex ecosystem of grasslands, marshes, forest islands and gallery forest is largely in the hands of cattle ranchers and every year untold habitat is lost to intentional burning for pastureland. Today, less than 400 Blue-throated Macaws remain.

Rainforest Trust, in conjunction with American Bird Conservancy and our local partner Asociación Armonía Bolivia, helped create the Barba Azul Nature Reserve, the first and only protected area for the Critically Endangered Blue-throated Macaw.

Artis zoo in Amsterdam in the Netherlands reports today that a record number of young threatened Bolivian parrots have fledged this nesting season.

This is the blue-throated macaw species.

It is endemic to Bolivia. Traditionally, it only nests in holes in urucuri palm trees.

Bolivian landlords had logged many urucuri palm trees for ranching. It was thought the species had become extinct in the 1980s.

Fortunately, some birds were discovered. There is a nestbox campaign to help them, which works.

This nesting season, the record number of 12 young blue-throated macaws have fledged.

Slowly, the population is increasing again.


Strange dinosaur footprints discovery in Bolivia

This 18 February 2019 video says about itself:

Paleontologists Just Found These Strange Vertical Footprints, And This Is What They Think Made Them

In the 1980s, the highlands of Bolivia, while a group of workers were working down, they saw some footsteps printed in vertical cliff near their working zone, they found it strange because it was vertical and the patterns were in clear sequence.

Bolivian frogs saved from extinction?

This 15 January 2019 video says about itself:

A team from Global Wildlife Conservation and the Museo D’orbigny Alcide in Bolivia embark on a search for [a mate for] Romeo, the last known Sehuencas Water Frog, in a bid to save the species from extinction.

By David Moye, 15 January 2019:

Romeo, The World’s Loneliest Frog, May Have Finally Found His Juliet

Bolivian biologists spent 10 years looking for a mate for a lovelorn frog they feared was the last of his kind.

A frog that had been believed to be the last of its kind may finally find love before he, uh, croaks.

Romeo, a Sehuencas water frog captured 10 years ago in Bolivia, has spent the past decade in isolation at Bolivia’s Cochabamba Natural History Museum, sometimes making unanswered mating calls. Staff biologists have been trying to find him a mate in hopes of boosting the species’ numbers, according to the BBC. 

It’s been a lonely decade for Romeo, and the matchmaking biologists attempted some unusual methods, including creating a profile last year, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

But unlike Shakespeare’s human Romeo, this lovelorn amphibian may get his happy ending.

Scientists who recently searched a remote Bolivian cloud forest managed to find five other Sehuencas water frogs, including a female that has been named ”Juliet”, according to Yahoo.

Expedition leader Teresa Camacho Badani of the Museo de Historia Natural Alcide d’Orbigny in Cochabamba City admitted this may be a case of opposites attracting.

“Romeo is really calm and relaxed and doesn’t move a whole lot,” Camacho Badini told the BBC. Juliet, she said, is “really energetic, she swims a lot and she eats a lot and sometimes she tries to escape.”

Romeo and Juliet haven’t actually gone out on the frog equivalent of a first date. Currently, Juliet and the other recently captured frogs are being quarantined so they acclimate to their new home, according to

In addition, the froggy yentas want to make sure none of them are affected by chytridiomycosis, an infectious disease that has claimed most of the wild population.

“We do not want Romeo to get sick on his first date! When the treatment is finished, we can finally give Romeo what we hope is a romantic encounter with his Juliet”, Camacho Badani said.

This rediscovered Bolivian frog species survived deadly chytrid fungus. The species was feared to be extinct, except for one lonely male. By Jeremy Rehm, 6:00am, January 17, 2019.

124 new species discovered in Bolivian national park?

This 2016 video is called Madidi National Park, Amazone, Bolivia.

From the Wildlife Conservation Society:

Two-and-a-half-year expedition ends in world’s most biodiverse protected area

Identidad Madidi finds 124 taxa that are candidates for new species to science

May 22, 2018

After a two-and-a-half-year expedition through the world’s most biodiverse protected area, the Identidad Madidi explorers have concluded their epic quest of completing a massive biological survey of Madidi National Park, uncovering more than 120 potentially new species of plants, butterflies and vertebrates in the process, according to WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society).

The long journey ended on November 26, 2017 at the glacial base of the Chaupi Orco Andean peak, 6,044 meters above sea level and more than 5,850 meters above the Amazonian lowlands. Along with the objective of using the altitudinal transect to confirm Madidi National Park’s status as the world’s most biologically diverse terrestrial protected area, Identidad Madidi accomplished another goal by forging a meaningful connection between the people of Bolivia and its natural heritage through an educational campaign, as well as traditional and social media.

“We have accomplished everything we hoped for and more on this journey of science and discovery”, said Dr. Robert Wallace, WCS’s Director of the Greater Madidi-Tambopata Landscape and leader of the Identidad Madidi expedition. “The massive amounts of images and data collected on the expedition will provide us with the baseline information needed to protect this natural wonder for future generations of Bolivians and the world.”

Over the past 30 months, the Bolivian scientific team for Identidad Madidi traveled to all of Madidi’s ecosystems, including: the mid-montane grasslands and gallery forest at Machariapo; the dry montane forests at Sipia; the mountainous puna at Laguna Celeste; the treeline elfin forests at Tigremachay; the Amazonian forest at Alto Madidi; the Andean foothill or piedmont forests at Rio Hondo; the humid montane or cloud forests at different elevations at Mamacona, Cargadero, Isañoj, Sarayoj and Chullo, and others.

Prior to the launch, WCS scientists spent considerable effort systematizing all existing vertebrate and butterfly records within the limits of the Madidi protected area. A similar effort was initiated by the National Herbarium, the Missouri Botanical Garden and WCS to compile a comprehensive list of confirmed plant species.

These baselines allow Identidad Madidi researchers to measure the impact of the fieldwork across the 15 study sites. In addition to species known to exist in the landscape, the team added 1,382 species and subspecies to the Madidi landscape lists, including 100 mammals, 41 birds, 27 reptiles, 25 amphibians, 138 fish, 611 butterflies (species and subspecies) and 440 plants. Over 200 of these new records were also new for Bolivia, and incredibly a whopping 124 of the new records are candidate new species for science, including 84 plants, 5 butterflies, 19 fish, 8 amphibians, 4 reptiles and 4 mammals, as well as 8 candidate new butterfly subspecies for science. The scientific team are now busy developing the scientific manuscripts to describe these candidate new species.

The Identidad Madidi effort has pushed Madidi ahead of its nearest competitors for the title of the world’s most biologically diverse protected area with 265 mammals, 1,028 birds, 105 reptiles, 109 amphibians, at least 314 fish, 5,515 plants and 1,544 butterfly species and subspecies confirmed so far within the park. Scientists assert that these numbers confirm Madidi as the protected area with the most recorded plant, butterfly, bird and mammal species in the world and, for the moment, the second most amphibian and reptile species.

In addition to exploring the Madidi landscape, the scientists are sharing their discoveries with Bolivians to raise awareness and build pride in Bolivia’s natural heritage. In coordination with the Ministry of Education, they visited almost half of schools in La Paz and El Alto, as well as most of the schools near the Madidi protected area, to educate students on biodiversity, protected areas and indigenous territories.

Identidad Madidi has generated more than 300 press publications in Bolivia and beyond, and has generated a faithful social media audience through an innovative campaign to share images and biodiversity science with 90,000 followers on social media, especially Facebook, where more than 400 posts have reached the entire Bolivian Facebook audience (more than 2 million people).

“The comments from both social media followers and schoolchildren suggest Bolivia is falling in love with Madidi”, said Lilian Painter, WCS´s Bolivia Country Program Director. “Instilling a love of biodiversity in the leaders of tomorrow is perhaps one of the most important legacies of Identidad Madidi.”

In recognition of these efforts over the last two years, Identidad Madidi has received three prizes from the Bolivian government, in 2015 a special recognition from the Bolivian Protected Area Service (SERNAP), in 2017 a Science and Technology Prize from the Ministry of Education, as well as the Galardon Chuquiago Marka from the Parliamentary Brigade of La Paz. Identidad Madidi will continue the communication efforts through 2018 and is currently seeking support to continue field efforts to reveal yet more of Madidi´s incredible secrets.

Bolivian endangered parrots helped by nestboxes

This video from Bolivia says about itself:

Nestboxes Save Macaws!

12 May 2017

In 2017 nine Critically Endangered Blue-throated Macaw chicks have successfully hatched from Armonia’s nest box program. The news is especially encouraging as this is the first time we recorded a chick whose both parents had also fledged from nest boxes. . This clearly shows Blue-throated Macaws are learning to identify nest boxes as a safe place to breed. (Footage: Aidan Maccormick, Editor: Márton Hardy, Soundtrack: Montuno – Latin music no copyright music).

From Birdlife:

21 Aug 2017

Critically Endangered macaws are learning to trust artifical nest boxes

This year, nine Blue-throated Macaw chicks have successfully hatched from nest boxes erected by Armonía (BirdLife in Bolivia) – including the first-ever second-generation nest box fledging.

Found only in the Llanos de Moxos – a tropical savanna in northern Bolivia – the striking Blue-throated Macaw Ara glaucogularis was nearly trapped to extinction as a result of demand for the cage bird trade, until 1984, when live export of the species from Bolivia was banned.

But while that threat has been reduced (if not entirely eliminated), the remaining Blue-throated Macaw population, estimated to be in the low hundreds, faces a significant hurdle in its attempts to rebound. The entirety of its known breeding range is situated on what is now private cattle ranches, and the resultant tree-felling and burning has left the Blue-throated Macaws – picky nesters by necessity – short on viable options.

Blue-throated Macaws prefer trees with spacious cavities to nest in, but 150 years of cattle-ranching has resulted in the clearing of most of the larger trees in the region. The beleaguered species has been recorded to suffer a high rate of nesting failures in recent years, with predation from species such as Southern Caracara Caracara plancus and Toco Toucan Ramphastos toco cited as one of the main factors.

However, since 2006, Asociacion Armonía (BirdLife in Bolivia), the Blue-throated Macaw Species Champion, have been working to boost the species’ nesting options. With support from the Loro Parque Fundación, Bird Endowement – Nido Adopito – El Beni-Factors ™ and the Mohammed bin Zayed Conservation Fund, Armonía has erected numerous next boxes across the southern part of the Blue-throated Macaw’s breeding range, to great effect. In the eleven years since the programme has been running, 71 chicks have successfully hatched – a significant number for a species with such a tiny (50-249) estimated adult population.

This year, nine Blue-throated Macaw chicks fledged from Armonia’s nest boxes – one of which represented a significant milestone in our attempts to save this Critically Endangered species – our first-ever second-generation nest box fledging. Both of its parents were themselves hatched in a nest box seven years ago, and the pair have now returned to raise their own offspring in the same boxes.

Macaws are intelligent birds and much of their behavior is learned from their parents. We are confident that once a macaw pair breeds in a nest box, their offspring will learn this behaviour. – Bennett Hennessy, Development Director, Armonía.

Armonía are now working to improve and expand upon this programme. In 2014, Armonía installed 67 nest boxes in a potentially successful site in the Barba Azul Nature Reserve, where currently Blue-throated Macaws forage and roost, but do not yet breed. It is hoped that in time, these intelligent birds will adjust to the presence of these artificial cavities and begin breeding within this protected area.

Also, Armonía are also constantly revising their nest box designs to better suit the needs of the species as new insights become available. The discovery of a new breeding site this past February has given Armonía furtherinformation on the Blue-throated Macaw’s preferred nesting conditions; as a result, future designs will be taller and more isolated to reflect their preferences.

Rare parrots discovery in Bolivia

This video from Bolivia says about itself:

21 March 2017

POV footage of Barba Azul Reserve Coordinator Tjalle Boorsma. During the 2017 February expedition, Armonía discovered crucial nesting areas of the Critically Endangered Blue-throated Macaw. The discovery is a major step towards ensuring the full protection of the macaw’s lifecycle.

From BirdLife:

23 Mar 2017

Discovery of a new breeding site for the Critically Endangered Blue-throated Macaw

The groundbreaking discovery is a major step towards understanding the life cycle of the macaw and most importantly, to ensure the species’ full protection.

By Asociación Armonía (BirdLife Bolivia)

In early February, an Armonía (BirdLife Bolivia) expedition discovered a new breeding area of the Blue-throated Macaw Ara glaucogularis (Critically Endangered). The groundbreaking discovery is a major step towards understanding the life cycle of the macaw and most importantly, to ensure the species’ full protection.

Since 2008, Armonía has been protecting key roosting and feeding grounds of the largest wild Blue-throated Macaw population at Barba Azul Nature Reserve. Recent sightings of a record-high of 118 macaws indicates a healthy increase of the macaw population at the reserve.

However, the majority of these birds only use Barba Azul from May to November.  At the beginning of the breeding season the macaws appear to disperse to unknown sites, returning to Barba Azul in small groups in March. The question remains: where do all these birds breed?

In January 2016, conservation programme manager Gustavo Sánchez Ávila discovered 15 roosting birds north from Barba Azul Nature Reserve during an expedition supported by Loro Parque Fundación. With this evidence in hand, Armonía with support from American Bird Conservancy and The Cincinnati Zoo kicked off the search for breeding grounds to the north.

The nesting period of the Blue-throated Macaw coincides with the region’s November to April rainy season.  During this time, the Beni savanna is mostly flooded. Inundations halt most vehicular traffic to these areas, therefore the Armonía expedition had no other choice but to venture into this wilderness on horseback.

The February expedition was led by Armonía’s Barba Azul Nature Reserve coordinator, Tjalle Boorsma.  Deep in the wilderness of the Beni Savannah, Tjalle and his crew discovered four unknown Blue-throated Macaw nests northwest from the boundaries of Barba Azul Nature Reserve.

A demanding 130 km (70 miles) horse ride led the team deep into the flooded grasslands.  Initially, the field team focused their searches on Motacú forest islands, as in Barba Azul the Blue-throated Macaw prefers this palm. The macaws forage on the abundant, year-round available fruits of the Motacú palm (Attalea phalerata).  A total of 31 Motacú dominated forest islands were surveyed with few results. However, 16 birds were again observed at the Motacú roosting island, previously discovered in 2016.

“We registered a significant number of Blue-and-Yellow Macaws Ara ararauna in the area, but to our surprise the Motacú dominated forest island showed no signs of Blue-throated Macaws”, Boorsma said.

“The breakthrough happened when we sighted a pair of Blue-throated Macaws flushing from an elongated patch of Royal palms Mauritia flexuosa. The discovery gave a new scope to the whole expedition”, recalled expedition leader Tjalle Boorsma.

Contrary to previous beliefs, instead of Motacú, the birds were found perching on dry Royal palm snags. These palm patches were difficult to access, as they were flooded due to recent rainfall. This natural barrier could very well be the reason that the macaws choose these palm snags for hosting their nesting cavities.

To confirm that the Blue-throated Macaws were indeed using these cavities for nesting, Tjalle concealed himself in a make-shift palm blind.  After six hours of patient waiting, he observed the cautious Blue-throated Macaw pair return to the nest.  This activity confirmed that the cavity was indeed being used as a nesting site.

A second nest was later discovered in another dead Royal palm trunk.  This was followed by the discovery of two more nests in Totaí palms Acrocomia aculeata.

“Finding the nests in Royal palm and Totaí delivered the missing piece to complete our investigations. Now we definitively know that the Blue-throated Macaw prefers Totaí and Royal palms to nest in, as dead palm snags provide excellent vantage point to observe their surroundings”, detailed Boorsma.

After verifying that the birds are not disturbed by the presence of our drone, we used the remotely piloted vehicle to film them.

In case of an accessible nest, Boorsma could verify that the cavities in the palms actually held a Blue-throated Macaw nest. Surprisingly, in the case of the two nests in Totaí palms, the birds chose locations 50 meters (164 feet) away from a populated farm and showed no signs of disturbance from its proximity to humans and livestock.

“Nests were dispersed along pretty much the same latitude, at a distance of 10-12 kilometers (7,4 miles), generally located to a comfortable daily flying distance from the boundaries of Barba Azul Nature Reserve“, added Boorsma.

“At this point it would be too early to speculate whether the birds found during this expedition are from the same colony which visits Barba Azul Nature Reserve in the dry season, or they constitute a separate population”, said Boorsma.

To answer this, and many other pending questions about the breeding habitats of the Blue-throated Macaw, Armonía and ABC will launch a second expedition into the Beni savannah later this March. Alongside our team in the field, a group of experts led by Lisa Davenport are in the process of designing macaw-proof GPS-units, so that tagged birds can be traced during their seasonal migrations.

Given this new information on the local breeding habitat of the Blue-throated Macaw, Armonia will adjust its nest box program at Barba Azul Nature Reserve to include much higher elevated nest boxes, with isolated palms imitating the nest of this region. We need financial support for this project. Please consider supporting our conservation effort with your donation.

Blue-throated macaws in Bolivia

This video from Bolivia says about itself:

Alternative feathers save macaws!

24 November 2016

Armonía’s educational program empowers the Moxeño native communities to protect the Critically Endangered Blue-throated Macaws by promoting the use of alternative feathers for the traditional Moxeño headdresses used in the machetero ritual dances. Since 2010, Armonía and Moxeño communities have saved over 6000 Macaw individuals of four macaw species and engaged thousands of local youth in the conservation of other Bolivian species while promoting their indigenous culture.

Armonía has been able to conduct alternative feather training workshops in the largest Moxeño towns, but the killing of macaws for headdresses continues in more rural areas.

Please consider supporting Armonía to organize additional training workshops in 2017 to save the lives of many more macaws.

At the following link you can make a tax deductibe donation to Armonía.

From BirdLife:

A new hope for the Blue-throated Macaw

By Irene Lorenzo, 13 Jan 2017

The discovery of a new roosting site for Blue-throated Macaw Ara glaucogularis coupled with an innovative and successful programme geared towards promoting the use of artificial feathers in ceremonial headdresses, gives renewed hope for the survival of this charismatic parrot.

The Blue-throated Macaw is one of South America’s rarest parrots, with a population estimated at around 250 individuals. In the last decade, Asociación Armonía (BirdLife Partner in Bolivia) has been tackling the main threats affecting it: habitat loss, the lack of breeding sites and ending illegal poaching. But their approach to ending the latter has been especially unique and very successful: to give locals an alternative to using real macaw feathers for their headdresses.

During their traditional celebrations, the inhabitants of the Moxeño plains in Bolivia’s Beni department perform with colourful headdresses as they move to the rhythm of bongos and flutes. The dancers, so-called macheteros, dedicate their movements and attire to the colours of nature. Unfortunately, those headdresses are made of macaw tail feathers from four different species, including the Blue-throated Macaw.

This is where Armonía’s Alternative Feather Programme comes in; it consists of an educational campaign promoting the use of artificial feathers made of organic materials among the macheteros through workshops held in local schools. …

Since the Moxeños consider themselves to be the guardians of nature and all of its creatures, they were quick to understand the importance of using substitutes.

“Each headdress is made of an average of 30 central tail feathers; that means that one headdress of artificial feathers saves at least 15 macaws,” explained Gustavo Sánchez Avila, Armonía’s Conservation Programme coordinator for the Blue-throated Macaw in Trinidad.

The programme, which started in 2010 with the support of Loro Parque Foundation, not only protects this critically endangered Macaw, but also empowers local craftsmen and women to preserve their natural heritage and their culture.

Furthermore, after seeing the mesmerising dances, many tourists buy the alternative headdresses as souvenirs, providing locals with much needed additional income.

Since 2010, the Moxeño people and Armonía have saved over 6000 individuals of four macaw species and engaged thousands of local people in the conservation of Bolivian nature. Most big Moxeño towns already host alternative feather training workshops, but rural areas still use real feathers.  If you wish to help, you can support Armonía so that they can organise additional training workshops this year and save even more macaws.

The new roosting site

While conserving the already established populations of the Blue-throated Macaw is essential to their survival, further research remains vital to make sure none of its habitat is left unprotected.

However, entering the Bolivian northern Department of Beni during the rainy season is a huge adventure. As seasonal rainfall merges with melt water from the Andes, the grasslands become extensively flooded, making it impossible for cars to travel around the area for three to five months every year.

The situation forces locals to revert to their old ways, using horses to get across a savannah that is speckled with pools of water, knee-deep mud and head-high grasses. As a result, conservation research becomes complicated and expensive.

But this was not going to stop our team of conservationists at Asociación Armonía, supported by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Loro Parque Foundation, when they set off last summer to search for more roosting grounds of the macaw in this remote region.

The truth is that the team had had many rough failed trips in the region to verify sites where owners swore they had seen the parrot, only to find they got the wrong bird. So, when they got a call from a local ranch owner who claimed to have seen the Blue-throated Macaw in his fields, the team reacted with some disbelief.

They had seen this happen a few times already: while many ranch owners proudly believe that they have seen the Blue-throated Macaw, to the untrained eye it is often confused with a more generalist species, the Blue-and-yellow Macaw Ara ararauna.

Surprisingly, when they arrived on site, it turned out that at least 15 Blue-throated Macaws had made a small forest island their home. This new roosting site was confirmed only forty kilometres north of the Barba Azul Nature Reserve: the largest concentration of macaws in the world live here, with yearly counts of over 100 individuals.

At one of Beni’s most important events of the year, the Chope Piesta, the macheteros are getting ready to start their traditional dance. Today, headdresses with alternative feathers outnumber natural ones nearly five to one. In the meantime, conservationists rejoice about the new discovery of a roosting site. Developments worth dancing about.