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Eye on conservation: An acreage increase for the spectacular Marvelous Spatuletail hummingbird

The endangered Marvelous Spatuletail is one of the world’s most spectacular hummingbirds. Bronzy-brown with white underparts, green sides, a blue gorget, and a black line on the breast and belly, the male is best known for his outer tail feathers. Three to four times the length of his body and bare, they end in violet-blue disks, or spatules, that he displays to females during courtship.

Watch a Marvelous Spatuletail’s courtship display.

Read BirdLife’s profile of Marvelous Spatuletail.

Recent conservation actions by several Peruvian communities will benefit not only the spatuletail, which has a very limited range and is threatened by habitat destruction, but also other rare birds, such as Russet-mantled Softtail, an endemic ovenbird; Pale-billed Antpitta; and Little Woodstar, another hummingbird.

The communities of Miraflores, Chido, and San Lorenzo in northern Peru have agreed to safeguard 930 acres of cloud forest in two new nature reserves: the San Lorenzo and the Arroyo Negro reserves. The action will result in the protection of the Rio Chido headwaters, which are critically important not only to these communities but also to the larger community of San Lucas de Pomacochas downstream.


In return for the protection of its water supply, Pomacochas has agreed to extend the popular 96-acre Marvelous Spatuletail Ecological Easement, also known as the Huembo Reserve, by 89 acres, nearly doubling its size. The actions were facilitated by Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN), a Peruvian organization that has worked closely with American Bird Conservancy to advance bird conservation in the country.

The communities submitted applications to the Peruvian government to recognize the new private reserves at a federal level while launching protection efforts and erecting signage to announce the forests’ new status. In addition, these and other communities surrounding the Huembo and nearby Abra Patricia reserves planted almost 100,000 trees and coffee bushes during 2013. ABC and ECOAN also completed a new nursery with the capacity to produce 15,000 saplings in the community of La Union near Abra Patricia.

You can obtain information about visiting the new reserves by writing to [email protected].

american-bird-conservancy-logo--140x84This story was provided by American Bird Conservancy, a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization whose mission is to conserve native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. You can find information about visiting the Huembo or Abra Patricia reserves at


This article appeared in the October 2013 issue of BirdWatching magazine.

Originally Published

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