An avian paradise

30 May 2013 | Fact sheet

Reserva Natural de las Aves Paujil - Colombia

Background
The Reserva Natural de las Aves Paujil (Curassow Nature Reserve) was created in November 2003 with the support of ABC (American Bird Conservancy) and GCF (Global Conservation Fund) , in order to preserve the Blue-billed Curassow (Crax alberti), which is endemic to Colombia and in critical danger of extinction, while also ensuring the preservation of the rainforest in the Middle Magdalena Valley, one of the area’s most vulnerable ecosystems.

The reserve consists of primary and secondary forests, and is occasionally broken up by pastures and plantations. It has an annual temperature of 27.8 ° Celsius. The rainfall is bimodal seasonal tetra. The first period of rainfall occurs between April and May and the second between September and November. October is the wettest month with 304 mm of rainfall with the most dry being January, with up to 64.5 mm of rainfall. The average relative humidity is 78%, ranging from 75% in February and August, to 81% in October and November.

View photos of the reserve

Size and Location
Reserva Natural de las Aves Paujil is located in the Sierra de las Quinchas (Quinchas Mountains) north of Bogota between the towns of Puerto Boyacá, Bolívar and Scimitar. It covers an area of 3,219 hectares and ranges between 150 and 1,200 metres above sea level.
 

Flora and Fauna
About 360 species of birds have been registered in the Reserve, 7 of which are endemic species, and 8 near endemic and threatened.The reserve also harbors 43 non-flying mammal species, of which 18 are threatened, 24 species of flying mammals, 32 species of amphibians, one of which is threatened, and 46 species of reptiles.

Bird highlights include: Yellow-headed Parrott (Gypopsitta pyrilia), Beautiful Woodpecker (Melanerpes pulcher), White-Mantled Barbet (Capito hypoleucus), Antioquia Bristle Tyrant (Phylloscartes lanyoni), Sooty Ant Tanager (Habia gutturalis), and Turquoise Dacnis (Dacnis hartlaubi).Other notable species include: Brown Spider Monkey (Ateles hybridus), Spectacled Bear (Tremarctos ornatus), and the Long-tailed Weasal (Pteronura longicauda).

Challenges
The Reserve’s conversation programme impacts 5,150 hectares in the surrounding area, 3,000 of which are owned by ProAves (Pro Birds), and 2,150 in which the foundation undertakes surveillance tours and provides guard posts to help conserve the habitats and their biodiversity.In the past the area has faced serious threats such as illegal crops-associated deforestation, and poaching of species such as the Curassow, the Tapir and small mammals. Currently, with the eradication of illegal crops, the area’s challenges include minor extractive activities, such as timber, which is mitigated through the expansion of the reserve to guarantee perpetual protection of its forest areas. In addition, environmental education activities are ongoing, and are aimed at increasing conservation awareness in surrounding communities and fostering sustainable projects, such as “Women for Conservation”, which aims to provide economic activities for those who in the past benefited from natural resources exploitation in the area.

The Middle Magdalena River Valley and the perimeters of the Quinchas Mountain range have faced large-scale deforestation for more than five decades due to livestock raising in the area. Additionally, the presence of illegal crops increased the pressure on wildlife populations, particularly large mammals and birds such as the Curassow. In response, ProAves created the reserve in 2003 with the purpose to conserve Blue-billed Curassow habitat and provide effective protection for the last remnants of forest with good conservation status within the area, setting out a conservation strategy for local humid forests and the biodiversity they encompass.