Iconic Birds Thrive in Regenerating Costa Rican Forest
In Costa Rica, increasingly rare Great Tinamous and Great Curassows show more resiliency than expected. These large birds are among the first species to disappear when human settlement encroaches in large, forested areas, and many believed that they only lived in old-growth, primary forest.
Female Great Curassows. Photo by Ondrej Prosicky/Shutterstock
From May to August 2017, a team of eight biologists gathered video footage from 60 camera traps they had installed both in primary and regenerating forests within a protected area on Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula, along the country's southwest coast. After analyzing footage they collected, the biologists found that forest age is less important to the birds' survival than the presence or absence of hunting.
The researchers reported in the journal The Condor in October 2018: “Our work suggests that secondary forests can offer valuable complementary habitat to assist in the recovery of these declining species, at least when hunting is controlled and intact forests are nearby.”
Great Tinamou. Photo by feathercollector/Shutterstock
Although they occur from southeastern Mexico to northern South America, both the curassow and the tinamou are heavily hunted and now scarce outside large protected areas and roadless wilderness. Five of the study's eight authors are biologists working for Osa Conservation, ABC's partner in the area. ABC has helped Osa Conservation protect both primary and secondary forests on the Osa Peninsula.
“This exciting news about Great Tinamous and Great Curassows could hardly come at a better time for those hoping to see these birds in the wild. Osa Conservation opened an ecolodge earlier this year, which offers excellent birdwatching tours of the Osa Peninsula,” said Dan Lebbin, ABC's Vice President of Threatened Species. To learn more about the lodge, visit ABC's conservation birding website.