New Study to Help Save the World’s Most Spectacular Hummingbird Other Rare Birds to Benefit


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Research and Maps Identify Critical Areas for Protecting Bird Diversity in Peru

The Marvelous Spatuletail. Photo by Greg R. Homel, Natural Elements Productions

(Washington D.C. August 6, 2009) A new report on one of the world’s bird biodiversity hotspots in Peru finds that most of the species at greatest risk there currently have little or no protected habitat. Conservation groups now plan to use the report to guide land protection efforts in the region.


“American Bird Conservancy and ECOAN are committed to conserving threatened species and their habitats in Peru, including the Marvelous Spatuletail, an amazing hummingbird found only in Peru, and the rare Long-whiskered Owlet,” said study co-author Hugo Arnal, American Bird Conservancy’s Director of International Sustainable Conservation.


“This latest study will help guide future conservation work in the Marañon region to ensure the best results can be achieved with critical conservation dollars.”


The study was produced by a coalition of conservationists working with the Peruvian conservation group Asociación Ecosystemas Andinos (ECOAN) and American Bird Conservancy, as well as independent biologists.


“This work highlights the critical need to protect the Marañon–Alto Mayo Conservation Corridor,” said ECOAN’s Tino Aucca, one of the study authors. “Even though the region is considered a high conservation priority, barely 0.1% of it is actually protected.”


The Marañon–Alto Mayo Conservation Corridor constitutes a rugged and varied landscape covering over six million acres in Northern Peru, and includes high conservation priority areas such as the Sechura Dessert, Tumbes-Piura dry forests, Marañon dry forests, and Peruvian Yungas.


This new study identified 64 bird species of conservation importance in the Marañon, with a subset of 28 bird species of the highest conservation priority. Twenty-six of these are endemic to Peru, and four have been identified by the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) as restricted to single small areas, the protection of which is essential if the species are to survive.


Using information on the known locations and the most recent vegetation maps, the researchers projected the potential range for these highest priority species. Based on these ranges, from one to seven potential conservation areas for each species were identified. These individual areas were then overlain to select the ten highest priority areas which are being proposed for a wide array of conservation strategies, from strict protected area status to sustainable conservation programs, and community owned nature reserves.


“The study not only sheds light on the problem of lack of protection for the key bird species and their habitats in the Marañon, it also provides a way forward by scientifically identifying ten priority areas for conservation,” said Arnal.“This will provide the greatest conservation return for our investment in the area.”

The study “Marañon – Alto Mayo Bird Conservation Corridor: An Analysis of the distribution of high-priority conservation bird species and Identification of Areas for Conservation Management,”
and associated maps and satellite images can be downloaded here.






American Bird Conservancy
(ABC) conserves native wild birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. ABC acts to safeguard the rarest bird species, restore habitats, and reduce threats, while building capacity in the conservation movement. ABC is the voice for birds, ensuring that they are adequately protected; that sufficient funding is available for bird conservation; and that land is protected and properly managed to maintain viable habitat. ABC is a 501(c)(3) membership organization that is consistently awarded a top, four-star rating by the independent group, Charity Navigator.