Monday 9 August 2010.
For 91 years, the Indigo-winged parrot (Hapalopsittaca Fuertesi) was thought extinct, and then in 2002, the ProAves team rediscovered a colony of 60 individuals of these birds in an area of cloud forest in the central Andes of our country.
ProAves with the support of Fundación Loro Parque, Robert Giles, ABC, WLT-US and IUCN-Netherlands can still herald a critical success for this unique and fragile habitat and its threatened biodiversity.
In May of this year, after months of negotiations, we helped acquire and protect the 368-acre (149 hectare) fragment of cloud forest that contains a vital population of the remarkable Fuertes’ Parrot.
The main population of this parrot (approximately 30-40 pairs) was protected by ProAves within the 16,000-acre Parrot Corridor established in 2009. But the grave threat posed by mining activities spurred our support to protect this additional group of 5-10 breeding pairs.
Since its rediscovery, and thanks to strenuous conservation efforts, the total population of Fuertes’ Parrots has grown from 60 individuals to an estimated 150-200 birds. An extremely specialized species, the Fuertes’s Parrot feeds on mistletoe and other fruits. It cannot survive in captivity.
The new “Giles-Fuertesi Bird Reserve” is located two hours from the provincial capital of Tolima, Ibaque, and includes over 50 acres of pastureland that will be reforested by native trees while adjacent pasturelands will be fenced so that cattle cannot enter the forests and eat tree seedlings. Artificial nest-boxes will be installed to providing nesting sites for the Fuertes’s Parrot as many mature trees with natural cavities have been selectively logged for timber and firewood.
The property includes a traditional cabin for a reserve guard to be stationed to protect the reserve and allow researchers and visitors to be stationed. The reserve will be immediately registered for the national network of protected areas to ensure mining is prohibited. Other rare and endemic species found here include the endangered Mountain Wooly Tapir and the Spectacled Bear.
The Giles-Fuertesi Bird Reserve is located between 3,200 and 3,700 meters, with 149 has of highland and cloud forest with an average temperature of 11 degrees Celsius. Besides the Indigo-winged Parrot in the area you can observe other species of parrot like the Golden-plumed Parakeet (Leptosittaca Branicki) and the Rufous-fronted Parakeet (Bolborhynchus ferrugineifrons).
Artificial nests and cloud forest at the Giles-Fuertesi Bird Reserve.
The Giles-Fuertesi Bird Reserve has become a protected area in perpetuity for the conservation of the Indigo-winged parrot and the forests of the Central Cordillera and it will become the research center of the species, with the aim of expanding the knowledge of the natural history of this population, developing studies on habitat use, behavior and reproduction. In addition, the artificial nests program is being implemented. 20 artificial nests were placed in January 2010, in order to increase and stabilize the populations of parrots which are highly affected by the lack of natural nests in the area.
With the support of: