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

First published photos of the Recurve-billed Bushbird

24 February, 2011


Thursday 10 May 2007.

This male Recurve-billed Bushbird (Clytoctantes alixii) was photographed by ProAves staff, Adriana Tovar and Luis Eduardo Uruena. The publication of these photos represents the first time this globally Endangered species have been captured on camera.


Recurve-billed Bushbird.


Another image of the Recurve-billed Bushbird.

The Bushbird was observed in the 250 acre Hormiguero de Torcoroma Bird Reserve, by Ocaña, North of Santander – an area discovered by Thomas Donegan and Blanca Huertas after a ProAves EBA expedition. The population of the Bushbird was discovered by ornithologist Oscar Laverde during subsequent studies in the region in 2005-6. This Bushbird inhabits a relic dry premontane cloud forest and is a very unique area predominantly covered with bamboo forest. In December 2006, ProAves acquired this forest and established the reserve thanks to support from Robert Giles.

This Bushbird is found across the north of both Colombia and Venezuela and has a small distribution range. The species is known for its reclusive behavior and has therefore been difficult to observe. However, it has been seen in mixed flocks including the brush-finches Buarremon torquatus and Buarremon bruneinucha following ant trails and occasionally opening bamboo stems with its beak in the manner of an axe, to extract caterpillars, spiders and other insects.

The Bushbird only responds sporadically to “playback” of its vocalization, hence the difficulties encountered when trying to observe this species. In spite of these difficulties, it has been observed on several occasions in groups of three individuals made up of two males and one female. There is however a lack of knowledge regarding nesting and other ecological aspects. In order to support the conservation of this species, ProAves has initiated environmental education campaigns for the protection of the habitat, with children and young people in the local community of Ocaña. Due to the accelerated fragmentation of the habitat and lack of bordering forests in this region of Colombia, it is of great importance to know more about the biological aspects of the Bushbird and consequently to promote its conservation.

ProAves wishes to acknowledge and thank the people and organizations that have supported these conservation efforts. They have allowed us to immediately address the situation of a species facing extinction. Special thanks to Robert Giles, who has supported the protection of this unique habitat.