El Silencio Reserve Expansion Benefits Critically Endangered Species and a Beloved U.S.-Nesting Songbird

The Blue-billed Curassow is Critically Endangered and survives in several disjunct populations in Colombia. One such stronghold is at El Silencio Reserve. Shown here is a female. Photo by David Fisher, Neotropical Bird Club.

Thanks to a powerful alliance formed by World Land Trust, Saving Nature, American Bird Conservancy, and Rainforest Trust, and local land owners (La Zebra and Tierra y Río), the Colombian conservation organization Fundación Biodiversa Colombia was able to secure 3,839 acres, almost doubling the size of its El Silencio Natural Reserve to 6,844 acres.

This latest land acquisition connects the area's two main forest patches through wildlife corridors, protecting the largest contiguous forest in the Magdalena Valley in northern Colombia. This habitat is of great importance to the Critically Endangered Brown Spider Monkey and Blue-billed Curassow, as well as three other threatened and endemic monkey species, Lowland Tapirs, cats including Puma, Ocelot, and Jaguar, nearly 300 bird species, endangered hardwood trees, and other wildlife. In addition, the reserve's wetlands and riparian forests are important for the Magdalena River Turtle, American Manatee, American Crocodile, and fish species of great economic value to local communities. These same riparian forests at El Silencio are key wintering areas for Prothonotary Warblers, which nest in the eastern United States.

In research published in The Condor: Ornithological Applications in 2019, Christopher Tonra at Ohio State University and colleagues analyzed geolocator tag data from Prothonotary Warblers and found that most birds recovered wintered in the area of Colombia's Magdalena River Valley.

In 2020, a Blue-billed Curassow was videotaped along a path bordering a forest restoration plot within El Silencio Reserve, raising hope that these birds now frequent recently restored habitat on former pasture lands.

“This is very exciting, not only because this proves the success of the restoration objective, but also because it is really close to the research station, which will allow us to study and observe the species more easily,” says Fernando Arbalaez, Executive Director of Fundación Biodiversa Colombia.

ABC would like to acknowledge Shearwater Foundation, Ted Reissing, and the estate of Phyllis Brissenden for their contributions to this reserve expansion through ABC.


Media Contact: Jordan Rutter, Director of Public Relations, 202-888-7472 | jerutter@abcbirds.org | @JERutter
Expert Contact: Daniel Lebbin, Vice President of Threatened Species, 607-351-5467 | 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).

Since 1988, Rainforest Trust has been safeguarding imperiled tropical habitats and saving endangered species by establishing protected areas in partnership with local organizations and communities. With our partners, we have protected more than 25.6 million acres of vital habitat across Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Rainforest Trust is a nonprofit organization that relies upon the generous support of the public to successfully implement our important conservation action. We are proud of earning a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. Learn more about our work by visiting www.RainforestTrust.org, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook

World Land Trust (WLT) protects the world's most biologically significant and threatened habitats acre by acre. Through a network of partner organisations around the world, WLT funds the creation of reserves and provides permanent protection for habitats and wildlife. Partnerships are developed with established and highly respected local organisations who engage support and commitment among the local community. It also works to raise awareness, in the UK and elsewhere, of the need for conservation, to improve understanding and generate support through information and fundraising. https://www.worldlandtrust.org/who-we-are-2/