BIRD OF THE WEEK: 4/10/2015
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Odontophorus strophium
POPULATION: 1,300 - 2,900 individuals
IUCN STATUS: Endangered
HABITAT: Humid mid-level forests on the west slope of the east Andes
The Gorgeted Wood-Quail, a ground-dwelling bird named for its distinctive throat bands, is found only in the rapidly-vanishing oak forests of the Colombian Andes. These forests are also home to other endemics, or birds found nowhere else, including the White-mantled Barbet, and to wintering migrants like the increasingly rare Cerulean Warbler.
The biggest threats to this species are habitat destruction and fragmentation due to logging and agriculture. The wood-quail has also declined because of hunting. But there is good news … read on!
Steps to Save the Wood-Quail
Nearly 500 acres of the wood-quail's forest habitat were protected when ABC and Colombian partner Fundación ProAves created the Cerulean Warbler Reserve in 2005. The reserve is adjacent to the nearly 200,000-acre Yariguíes National Park, which contains additional populations of the wood-quail and other endangered endemics such as the Yariguíes Slate-crowned Antpitta and Recurve-billed Bushbird.
Since then, 13 conservation easements have been established on over 300 acres of farmland along the corridor between the Cerulean Warbler and nearby Pauxi Pauxi reserves, a ten-year effort that resulted in establishment of the Cerulean Warbler Conservation Corridor.
This has been a great community effort on a grand scale. Using half a million seedlings of 26 native species grown in local nurseries, more than 220 private landowners planted shade trees on their coffee and cocoa farms and cattle ranches. They have now reforested nearly 3,000 acres of land in the corridor.
Searching for the Quail
Visitors and birders are welcome at the Cerulean Warbler Reserve, which has a comfortable visitor's lodge and excellent birding in two major zones: a lower area of shade coffee plantations, good for migrants, and an upper area of oak forest containing many endemic specialties, including the Gorgeted Wood-Quail.
The bird is reliably observed at feeding stations in the reserve.