Rare Hummingbird Seen at Bird Feeders

The Marvelous Spatuletail hummingbird, one of the world’s rarest, most spectacular, and most difficult to see birds is now regularly being seen at hummingbird feeders at an accessible location in northern Peru. The feeders have been set up at a conservation easement established for the species by Peruvian conservation group ECOAN, working in partnership with American Bird Conservancy (ABC). The two groups are protecting land in the area for this and other rare endemic birds, including a new reserve at nearby Abra Patricia. The spatuletail recently became famous following the release of amazing video footage shot by filmmaker Greg Homel showing the species’ remarkable courtship display (see: http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/video/spatuletail.html).


The hummingbirds are being seen regularly at feeders in the Huembo area near Pomacochas along Peru’s Northern Birding Route (recently featured in Living Bird magazine). The route also includes the new ECOAN/ABC ecolodge at Abra Patricia, home of the Long-whiskered Owlet, Johnson’s Tody Tyrant, and other rare endemics. The lodge recently hit the global media after photographs were released of the owlet after it was seen in the wild for the first time there by birders. The photos were later added to National Geographic’s top ten photos of 2007. See: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/12/photogalleries/topphotos-pictures/index.html.


“We knew that birdwatchers wouldn’t want to miss the spatuletail if they made the trek all the way to northern Peru. The feeders help to provide some level of guarantee that they won’t miss the region’s top bird. Of course nothing is 100% guaranteed in nature” said Mike Parr of American Bird Conservancy. “Until now, the only way most people could see the spatuletail was to hike into its habitat and wait in hopes of catching a glimpse. The birds are very skittish though, so often a glimpse is all that a lucky birder might get.”


ECOAN and ABC are promoting birdwatching tourism in the region to generate income to cover the costs of conserving key bird sites. For more information on birding the northern route see: www.perubirdingroutes.com. To make reservations to stay at the Abra Patricia lodge (c. 45 minutes drive to the spatuletail site and ideally situated for other rare species such as Royal Sunangel and Ochre-fronted Antpitta) e-mail David Guevara.