Imagine hiking up a steep set of stone stairs, passing through pastures dotted with remnant forest and hedgerows. You’re leaving the village of San Lorenzo in northern Peru, heading for better forests at higher elevations.
A descending trill emerges from a patch of bamboo at the edge of the trail, and soon a bright rufous bird appears, foraging among the foliage and sometimes hanging like a chickadee to probe the base of leaves -- the Russet-mantled Softtail.
This Russet-mantled Softtail does well defending its territory from others of its species, but it can’t compete with the campesino farmers clearing the bird’s land for pasture or agriculture as they move upslope.
Fortunately, the Russet-mantled Softtails at San Lorenzo now have some help defending their territory. Thanks to efforts by Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN) and ABC, the San Lorenzo community and neighboring communities have agreed to protect 930 acres of timberline habitat on their communal lands this year. With our help, San Lorenzo and other communities in northern Peru have also planted hundreds of thousands of native trees, restoring habitat for resident and neotropical migrant birds.
For those who want to see the Russet-mantled Softtail and other interesting endemics such as the Pale-billed Antpitta, the new San Lorenzo Private Conservation Area is the place to go. The area can be easily visited as a day or half-day trip by birders staying at Huembo or Abra Patricia Reserves.
For more information about lodging at Huembo and Abra Patricia, please visit Conservation Birding.