Royal Cinclodes, Kazuya Naoki

BIRD OF THE WEEK: 3/14/2014 SCIENTIFIC NAME: Cinclodes aricomae
POPULATION: Fewer than 250
IUCN STATUS: Critically Endangered
TREND: Decreasing
HABITAT: High-altitude Polylepis woodlands

Royal Cinclodes map, NatureServeThe stocky, dark-brown Royal Cinclodes is an extreme habitat specialist, found only in the moss-covered understory of Polylepis woodlands high in the Andes of southern Peru and northern Bolivia. This Polylepis habitat is severely threatened by local inhabitants, who harvest the trees for firewood while grazing animals and fires inhibit the natural regeneration of these slow-growing trees. On the other hand, some Andean communities are actively involved in replanting efforts in these forests.

In Bolivia, ABC has worked with partners Asociación Armonia and Insituto de Ecologia to plant 10,000 trees and install hundreds of improved wood-burning stoves in order to reduce two communities' dependence on Polylepis for fuel.

In Peru, ABC and partner ECOAN have worked with over 20 communities in the Vilcanota Mountains near Cuzco to restore and protect Polyelpis forests. An estimated 127 Royal Cinclodes live in these mountains, comprising the majority of the species' distribution.

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Royal Cinclodes, Gregorio Ferro Mezza, ECOAN

Royal Cinclodes by Gregorio Ferro Mezza, ECOAN

Vilcanota project successes include the creation of seven community-owned reserves totaling over 15,635 acres and over 400,000 Polylepis saplings planted to restore natural forests.

In 2012, the project began to receive funding from an endowment to benefit local communities and the Royal Cinclodes, along with other Polylepis specialists such as the White-browed Tit-Spinetail.

ABC is working with local partners and communities to protect Polylepis woodlands where the Royal Cinclodes lives in both Peru and Bolivia. We're also helping to create a binational conservation plan for this species.

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