MILESTONE: Recently Named Rare Hummingbird Gets Reserve

A male Blue-throated Hillstar perches on its favorite flowering plant – the Chuquiragua. Photo by Roger Ahlman

A male Blue-throated Hillstar perches on its favorite flowering plant – the Chuquiragua. Photo by Roger Ahlman

On August 18, American Bird Conservancy (ABC) partner Fundación Jocotoco purchased the first portion (110 acres) of the newly established Cerro de Arcos Reserve in Ecuador, with support from ABC and Rainforest Trust. This land protects alpine meadows, locally known as páramo, critical to the survival of the recently named Blue-throated Hillstar.

The Blue-throated Hillstar was discovered in 2017, and described as a new hummingbird species in 2018. Currently known from just one mountain, it likely warrants Critically Endangered status, but has yet to be formally evaluated for conservation status.

“With a small population likely between 250 and 750 individuals, and its habitat threatened by burning for pastureland and conversion to exotic pine forests, the time to protect this bird is now,” says Martin Schaefer, Jocotoco's Executive Director.

ABC has been working to promote the hummingbird's conservation since its discovery. “We work with Fundación Jocotoco and other partners across the Americas to protect habitat for Critically Endangered and Endangered species limited by habitat and lacking adequate representation in nature reserves,” says Daniel Lebbin, ABC Vice President of Threatened Species. “For under-protected birds like the Blue-throated Hillstar, this land protection is a crucial first step.”

The current project is a joint effort by Fundación Jocotoco, Rainforest Trust, and ABC, and aims to protect at least 616 acres by the middle of 2021, with an ultimate goal of 1,235 total acres.

“We are in the midst of the sixth great extinction and species like the Blue-throated Hillstar are at the forefront of this loss. This fast-acting partnership shows that we can make a difference through protected area creation and help ensure that species are here for generations to come” said James Lewis, Director of Conservation Programs at Rainforest Trust.

ABC gratefully acknowledges the following supporters for making this ongoing project possible: David and Patricia Davidson, the estate of Mary Janvrin, Mark Greenfield, and Marge Duncan.

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Media Contact: Jordan Rutter, Director of Public Relations, 202-888-7472 | jerutter@abcbirds.org | @JERutter
Expert Contact: Dr. Daniel Lebbin, Vice President of Threatened Species, 540-234-7181 | dlebbin@abcbirds.org

American Bird Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation. Find us on abcbirds.org, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@ABCbirds).

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