Fundación ProAves – por la conservación en el país de las aves

Ecovolunteer’s uncover the Raptors of El Dorado

23 February, 2011


Tuesday 6 July 2010.

The now retired Dr. Jean Marc Thiollay, was a researcher and then director of research at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) at the University of Paris, first at the Superior Normal School, then at the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle. His main interest is the tropical raptors and general ecology of Neotropical birds and their conservation. Since 1962, he has published nearly 200 articles in books or scientific journals. He has always been deeply involved with scientific conservation organizations, both in France and elsewhere.

His volunteer work focused on the monitoring of diurnal raptors in the region. For this he did intensive monitoring of buzzards, gualas, eagles, hawks and falcons for two weeks. The monitoring consisted in searching the entire altitudinal gradient of La Cuchilla de San Lorenzo, from the Santa Marta area to Cerro Kennedy, being more frequent the explorations and observations in the El Dorado Bird Reserve.

Jean Marc Thiollay and his wife Francoise.

In all Dr. Thiollay found 22 species of raptors between Santa Marta and the upper of La Cuchilla de San Lorenzo. The Sharp shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus), White-rumped hawk (Buteo leucorrhous) and Turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) being the most common. Among the species of conservation importance recorded were the Semicollared hawk (Accipiter collaris) and the Black-and-chestnut Eagle (Spizaetus isidori).

It also emerged that four species breed within the reserve. However, maintaining long-term viable populations of predators depends on the protection and conservation of large areas and the minimization of deforestation and habitat degradation. For this reason Dr Thiollay said: “At present, the management and forest rehabilitation (restoration, limitation of introduced pine, non-intervention in the areas of secondary growth in recovery, and the restriction of hunting) is the best thing that is being done in the Reserve El Dorado”.


Sharp shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) and Semicollared hawk (Accipiter collaris).

To date the monitoring results and observations made by ProAves in the region and with the support of groups of bird watchers who visit the Reserve El Dorado through Ecoturs, the review of historical information and results of this report, report a total of 35 species of raptors for the sector. Of these, four belong to species of conservation concern and six boreal migrants.

We invite you to participate as a volunteer in the Reserve El Dorado and get to know the biodiversity in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. More information Ecovolunteers or contact Gloria Castillo by email:

Admission and tours:

Contact headquarters EcoTurs Race 20 N º 36-61, Bogotá, Colombia, telephone (57) (1) 287-6592, o

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