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Andrew Spencer recorded for the first time the effect of the twist in the wings of the recently described Rufous Twisting (Cnipodectes superrufus) during a slow wingbeat flight between perches .

Rufous Twistwing Joseph Tobias

©Joseph Tobias

According to Lane et al. 2007 “Mechanical noises have been noted in both species of Cnipodectes. Hilty and Brown (1986: 483) note that C. subbrunneus "can produce a very audible pr’r’r’r’r’r’ in flight with wings." This description is similar to mechanical sounds T.V.H. witnessed, performed by C. superrufus at Kirigueti. In response to playback, Valqui observed the bird approaching aggressively, making an accelerating and decelerating buzzing noise, while flying -4 m off the ground. Although it was not clear what the source of the sound was, it seems likely that it was mechanical and produced by the wings”

You can listen the sound here.

Nature Blog Network

The Government of Colombia announced last night that it was creating a new national park at the request of the local indigenous community. This is a major step forward in the complicated relationship between conservationists and indigenous groups.


Black Curassow

The Yaigojé Apaporis Park – was created to safeguard an area of more than 1,056,523 hectares (about 2,610,725 acres) of forest at the intersection of the Amazon Basin and the Guiana Shield, and will be managed by the indigenous groups who inhabit the Connecticut-sized area.

The area – which straddles the banks of the Caquetá River and its tributary, the Apaporis River – is home to the Tanimuka,  Letuama, Makuna, Yuhup, Barasano, Itana, Eduria and Tatuyo ethnic groups, and was previously classified as an indigenous reserve. However, this status – under existing Colombian legislation – did not provide the communities with the power to protect their land when a Canadian gold-mining company began prospecting in the area two years ago.

So the communities looked to a solution that would increase their rights to oversee the future of the land – the creation of a national park. They worked with Conservation International and the Gaia Amazonas Foundation to appeal to the country’s National Parks Unit to better protect the region’s resources.

Fabio Arjona, Executive Director of Conservation International in Colombia said: “The announcement is a hugely significant step forward for conservation, both globally and in Colombia. It has helped to break-down barriers that have existed between conservation and indigenous groups – who initially resisted efforts to increase protection in their forests because of concerns that it would reduce their ability to manage the lands as they wish to. But in creating this new park we have worked together to create an area that protects both the rights of indigenous people and this hugely important area of forest.”

The area’s lowland forests have great biodiversity and shelter unique and threatened species such as the Black Curassow (Crax alector), the brown wooly monkey (Lagothrix lagotricha) and the endemic Apaporis river caiman  (Caiman crocodilus apaporiensis).


Photo: ©XKD

Wattled Jacana (Jacana jacana)

Distribution: Resident breeder from western Panama and Trinidad south through most of South America east of the Andes; in marshes and shallow lakes.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Wattled Jacana barloventomagico

Wattled Jacana 

South American Painted-Snipe (Nycticryphes semicollaris)

Distribution: Southern Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay to Chile and Argentina. It inhabits lowland freshwater wetlands, including wet grasslands.

Conservation status: Least Concern


South American Snipe (Gallinago paraguaiae)

Distribution: Breeds in most of South America away from the Pacific coast and eastern Brazil, and also the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), Trinidad and possibly Tobago. The nominate lowland race G. p. paraguaiae is resident, but southern G. p. magellanicae migrates north in winter, abandoning Tierra del Fuego altogether, and the Andean G. p. andina moves to lower ground; in wet grassy savannah, peat bogs and boggy rivers.

Conservation status: Least Concern

South American Snipe Cláudio D Timm

South American Snipe ©Cláudio Dias Timm

Puna Snipe (Gallinago andina)

Distribution: Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina; in bogs, marshes, and edges of lakes at 3000-4000 m.

Conservation status: Least concern


Noble Snipe (Gallinago nobilis)

Distribution: Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela above or just below the treeline.

Conservation status: Least Concern


Noble Snipe ©Robert Scanlon

Giant Snipe (Gallinago undulata)

Distribution: nominate subspecies G. u. undulata occurs in two distinct areas, one in Colombia, and the other from Venezuela through Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana to extreme north-eastern Brazil. The southern subspecies G. u. gigantea is found in eastern Bolivia, eastern Paraguay and south-east Brazil, and probably also in Uruguay and north-eastern Argentina, in tall vegetation in swamps and flooded grasslands, and occasionally in dry savannah.

Conservation status: Least Concern

Gigant Snipe Lee Dingain

Gigant Snipe ©Lee Dingain

Fuegian Snipe (Gallinago stricklandii)

Distribution: Breeds in south-central Chile and Argentina south to Tierra del Fuego. It is mainly sedentary, but the Tierra del Fuego population winters in mainland Chile; found in grassy and forested boggy areas with low scrub or bushes; at altitudes ranging from 4200 m in the north of its distribution, down to nearly sea level in Tierra del Fuego.

Conservation status: Near threatened


Andean Snipe (Gallinago jamesoni)

Distribution: Andes in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. It appears to be entirely sedentary, with no evidence of migration; in marshy areas where grassland and forest intergrades, at altitudes ranging between 2100 – 3800 m

Conservation status: Least Concern

Imperial Snipe (Gallinago imperialis)

Distribution: Peru, Ecuador and Colombia; in elfin forest around the tree line between 2750-3500 m.

Conservation status: Near Threatened

Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe (Attagis gayi)

Distribution: Andes of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina between 4000-5000 m.

Conservation status: Least Concern


White-bellied Seedsnipe (Attagis malouinus)

Distribution: southern parts of Argentina and Chile and is a vagrant to the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas); in temperate grassland and swamps.

Conservation status: Least Concern


Gray-breasted Seedsnipe (Thinocorus orbignyianus)

Distribution: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru; in temperate grassland, subtropical or tropical high-altitude grassland and swamps.

Conservation status: Least Concern

Gray-breasted Seedsnipe pablo caceres c

Gray-breasted Seedsnipe ©Pablo Caceres Contreras

Least Seedsnipe (Thinocorus rumicivorus)

Distribution: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru and has been recorded in Ecuador, the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), Uruguay and possibly Brazil; in temperate grassland, subtropical or tropical high-altitude grassland, and pastureland.

Conservation status: Least Concern

Least Seedsnipe pablo caceres c

Least Seedsnipe ©Pablo Caceres Contreras

Snowy Sheathbill (Chionis albus)

Distribution: Breeds on the Antarctic Peninsula, and along the Scotia Arc on the South Shetland Islands, Elephant Island, the South Orkney Islands and South Georgia (Georgia del Sur) and the South Sandwich Islands (Islas Sandwich del Sur) and non-breeding migrant to the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), Tierra del Fuego (Chile and Argentina);

Conservation status: Least Concern

Snowy Sheathbill David M Jensen

Snowy Sheathbill ©David M. Jensen

All photos under Creative Commons License

The Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 2000, establishes a matching grants program to fund projects that promote the conservation of migratory birds in the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Blackburnian warbler Petroglyph

The grants program began supporting projects in 2002, when it received its first appropriation in the amount of $3 million. Funding for the program was $4.5 million in 2008. At least 75 percent of the total funding available for grants each fiscal year is to be used to support projects outside the USA.

Between 2002 and 2008, the program supported 260 projects, coordinated by partners in 48 U.S. states/territories and 36 countries. More than $25.5 million from NMBCA grants have leveraged about $116.5 million in matching funds and $6.1 million in nonmatching funds. Projects involving land conservation have affected about 1.9 million acres of bird habitat.

There is a proposal to increase funding for this program, please support this initiative by sending a message to your Representative and Senators here.

Photo: Blackburnian Warbler, Credit: Michael under Creative Commons License 2.0

It’s a little known fact that there is a group of shorebirds that live and migrate only between Central and South America. They are called Endemic Neotropical Shorebirds. The Neotropics contains 27 endemic shorebird species, and two endemic families, the Seed-snipes (Thinocoridae) and the monospecific family of the Magellanic Plover (Pluvianellidae). Unlike Neartic migratory shorebirds, the Neotropical shorebirds are little known, since many live in remote and inaccessible areas.

In this first part of this post I will talk about 13 of these 27 shorebirds and in the second part I will write about the rest.

Peruvian Thick-knee (Burhinus superciliaris)

Distribution: Ecuador, Peru, Chile; mainly in desert scrub and agricultural areas of coastal lowlands.

Conservation status: Least Concern

Peruvian Thick-knee kookr

Peruvian Thick-knee ©David Cook

Pied Lapwing (Hoploxypterus cayanus)

Distribution: East of the Andes in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Bolivia; on sandy beaches throughout Amazonian lowlands.

Conservation status: Least Concern

Pied Lapwing Arthur Chapman

Pied Lapwing ©Arthur Chapman

Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis)

Distribution: Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile and recently spreading into Central America; in lake and river banks or open grassland except in densely forested areas.

Conservation status: Least Concern

Southern Lapwing barloventomagico

 Southern Lapwing

Andean Lapwing (Vanellus resplendens)

Distribution: Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Chile and Argentina; mainly between 3000-4600m in open grassy marshes, edges of lakes and bogs, and dry fields.

Conservation status: Least Concern

Andean Lapwing pattymcgann

Andean Lapwing ©Patty McGann 

Puna Plover (Charadrius alticola)

Distribution: Andes from Central Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina, mainly between 3800-4500m, along shores of high elevation lakes, rare non-breeding visitor (May-August) to coast from Lima to the south.

Conservation status: Least Concern

Two-banded Plover (Charadrius falklandicus)

Distribution: Breeds in Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas). Part of the population migrates north in winter with some birds reaching Uruguay and southern Brazil; in lakes, saline marshes, rocky shores and sandy shores.

Conservation status: Least Concern

Two-banded Plover crookrw

 Two-banded Plover

Rufous-chested Dotterel (Charadrius modestus)

Distribution: Breeds in the southern parts of Argentina and Chile and on the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas). Some birds migrate north in winter, reaching as far as Uruguay, southern Brazil and occasionally Peru; temperate grassland, mudflats, estuaries and sandy shores.

Conservation status: Least Concern

Rufous-chested Dotterel man with noname

Rufous-chested Dotterel

Rufous-chested Dotterel pablo caceres c II

Rufous-chested Dotterel ©Pablo Caceres Contreras

Diademed Sandpiper-Plover (Phegornis mitchellii)

Distribution: Andes of Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina; in bogs and at edges of streams and small lakes at high elevations 4100-5000 m.

Conservation status: Near Threatened

Diademed Sandpiper Plover rgibbo3

Diademed Sandpiper-Plover ©Richard Gibbons

Tawny-throated Dotterel (Oreopholus ruficollis)

Distribution: Breeds in the Andes in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru. Non-breeding migrants reach Ecuador, Brazil and Uruguay and it is a vagrant to the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas); in subtropical or tropical dry scrubland, temperate grassland, subtropical or tropical high-altitude grassland, and pastureland.

Conservation status: Least Concern

Tawny-throated Dotterel VSmithUK

Tawny-throated Dotterel ©Vince Smith

Magellanic Plover (Pluvianellus socialis)

Distribution: Partially resident in the extreme south of Chile and south Argentina, with part of the population wintering north to the Valdes peninsula, south-central Argentina, and sometimes as far as Buenos Aires province; breeds inland and then moves to the coast during the winter, particularly to estuaries.

Conservation status: Near Threatened

Magellanic Plover crookrw

 Magellanic Plover

Magellanic Oystercatcher (Haematopus leucopodus)

Distribution: Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas); in freshwater lakes and sandy shores.

Conservation status: Least Concern

Magellanic Oystercatcher man_with_noname

Magellanic Oystercatcher 

Blackish Oystercatcher (Haematopus ater)

Distribution: Argentina, Chile, the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and Peru, and is a vagrant to Uruguay; usually in rocky shores.

Conservation status: Least Concern

Blackish  Oystercatcher pablo caceres c

Blackish Oystercatcher ©Pablo Caceres Contreras 

Andean Avocet (Recurvirostra andina)

Distribution: Above 3500m in northwestern Argentina, western Bolivia, northern Chile and southern Peru, is non-migratory. May move to slightly lower altitudes when not breeding; usually around shallow saline lakes.

Conservation status: Least Concern

Andean Avocet rgibbo3

Andean Avocet ©Richard Gibbons

All photos under Creative Commons License

From Antarctica…

350 org antartica

to Europe (England)…

to Latin America (Peru, my lovely country)…


to Australia…

350 australia

to Africa (Kenya)…

Maasai Mara Kenya

to South Asia (Maldives)…

350 org maldives

to East Asia (Bangkok)…

Thai Temple east asia

to North America (United States)…


… to somewhere near the North Pole (UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) and Erik Solheim, Norway’s Environment Minister)…

Secretary-General Visits Arctic Ice Rim to Highlight Climate Change

So what’s the big deal about 350?

It is the magic number we need to achieve as a global community.  350ppm is what scientists say is the safe upper limit of CO2 in our atmosphere – we are currently at 390ppm.  Tomorrow, October 24th, is the International Day of Climate Action; as birders, as conservationists, and as individuals living on this planet we can join people throughout the world to create a safe climate future.

Want more information?  Please visit www.350.org 

Also, to see more about the impact that climate change can have on birds, see earlier blog posts here.