Monday, May 19, 2014

Back to Buenaventura's Birds

The treasures of Buenaventura don't end with its umbrellabirds. Among its other notable personages is the endangered El Oro Parakeet, endemic to a small region in southwestern Ecuador. Its range is thought to be only 60 miles long from north to south, by only 6 miles wide. Population estimates range from 250 to fewer than 1000 mature individuals.

The Jocotoco Foundation's Buenaventura Reserve is the stronghold for this species, in a region of highly fragmented habitat. Year-round, 60 parrots live in the reserve, with their numbers doubling seasonally as others return to the reserve from nearby areas.

Statue of El Oro Parakeet in nearby Piñas...
(Photos by Narca)

...and the Real McCoy, a mated pair of El Oro Parakeets

Lack of nest sites is thought to be a major threat to the parrots' survival, and the Jocotoco Foundation has put up nest boxes as a remedy. The parrots are occupying at least 15 of those nest boxes, and young have been fledging from the boxes since 2007.

We walk the reserve's trails and roads for two days. The birding is superlative. One of my favorites is the Club-winged Manakin –– we hear many, see a few, and none cooperate for the camera.

Here's a very small sampling of the reserve's birds!

Among many tanagers are the gorgeous Blue-necked...

and the locally abundant Lemon-rumped Tanager.

Striking Chestnut-mandibled Toucans are widespread in tropical America.

A more range-restricted Pale-mandibled Araçari, cousin to the toucan

Northern (Crested) Caracaras range all the way north into the US.

A Plumbeous Kite on her nest

 Pacific Horneros live only in western Ecuador and northwestern Peru, 
where they are common and conspicuous.

This Broad-billed Motmot shows more green on the belly than the similar Rufous Motmot.

The next post will bring you photos of other Buenaventura critters!

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