Rare Birds Protected in New 40,000 Acre Peruvian Reserve

New reserve protects 500 bird species and thousands of other species in area facing deforestation

Contact: Daniel Lebbin, Vice President of Threatened Species, American Bird Conservancy | dlebbin@abcbirds.org

Yellow-scarfed Tanager is an endemic species, found only in this region, that will greatly benefit from the additional protected habitat of Monte Puyo Private Conservation Area in northern Peru. Photo by Andrew Whittaker

(Washington, D.C., October 22, 2018) – A 39,915-acre expanse of cloud forest and wetlands has been declared protected within the new Monte Puyo (Bosque de Nubes) Private Conservation Area in northern Peru. In response to rising deforestation rates, the Yambrasbamba community led this conservation initiative in partnership with Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN) and American Bird Conservancy (ABC), with support from the national and regional government. Monte Puyo is regarded as a high conservation priority due to its extraordinary biodiversity and proximity to a number of existing protected areas.

“More than 500 bird species occur in the new Monte Puyo Private Conservation Area, including the Endangered Ochre-fronted Antpitta and Speckle-chested Piculet. This forest is also home to iconic mammals like the Andean bear and Critically Endangered Yellow-tailed Woolly Monkey,” said Constantino Aucca, President of ECOAN.

In an effort to protect their territory from outside threats, the Yambrasbamba community will manage the new Private Conservation Area (PCA). This categorization within Peru's National Protected Area System is unique in that it allows communities to set aside part of their communal property for conservation, while allowing for sustainable development, such as tourism.

The Monte Puyo PCA is a mountainous landscape cloaked in wet cloud forests, featuring steep canyons cut by rivers. The haze-shrouded mountains in the background are within the PCA; the partly deforested ridge in the sunlight is outside of it. Photo by Dan Lebbin

“This new protected area helps our community protect our watersheds and biodiversity, helps us to attract tourists to see unique geological formations within our underground caves, and helps us defend our territory against invasion by colonists from outside,” said Wagner Calongos Collaton, President of the Yambrasbamba community.

“When ABC teams up with a local partner like ECOAN to protect critical bird habitat, they also protect thousands of other animals and plants, many of which are currently unknown to science. In addition, Monte Puyo is an important watershed that provides clean water for communities living around the protected area and for the Amazon basin as a whole,” said Dr. Adrian Forsyth, Executive Director of the Andes Amazon Fund, which provide financial support for the project.

ABC and ECOAN congratulate the Yambrasbamba community, Minister of the Environment Fabiola Muñoz, and the Peruvian Protected Area Service (SERNANP) for the creation of Monte Puyo. The Wyss Foundation provided critical financial support that made this achievement possible. ABC is grateful to Andes Amazon Fund, the International Foundation, and the National Geographic Society for their financial support of the creation of new protected areas in northern Peru.

In addition to conserving habitat for resident birds, the Monte Puyo PCA helps to protect birds that breed in North America but spend the winter there. “This region provides habitat for at least 23 species of North American migrant songbirds, including the Olive-sided Flycatcher, Cerulean Warbler, and Canada Warbler, which have experienced population declines in recent decades,” said Dr. Philip Tanimoto, International Project Officer at ABC. With support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act grant program, ABC and ECOAN have been working with the Yambrasbamba community to reforest degraded areas with native trees in a mixture of shade coffee, silvipasture, and mixed forestry systems.

"ECOAN and ABC will continue to work with the Yambrasbamba and other local communities to create protected areas and reforest degraded lands in northern Peru. Additional PCAs are in the process of being created, and in the future, we hope to report on additional protected areas nearby,” said Dr. Daniel Lebbin, Vice President of Threatened Species at ABC.

Readers interested in visiting the area or exploring the caves of Monte Puyo PCA may consider staying nearby at Owlet Lodge at the Abra Patricia Reserve or at the Huembo Reserve. Located along the Northern Peru Birding Route, Abra Patricia is one of the premier birding destinations in Peru, which itself is one of the premier countries in the world for birding. The Owlet Lodge at Abra Patricia often serves as a base for birding tourists who typically spend several days at other regional birding spots, such as WaqankiHuembo, and Gotas de Agua. Owlet Lodge is a four- to five-hour drive from the airport in Tarapoto, and the spectacular Marvelous Spatuletail hummingbird can be seen just an hour's drive away at the Huembo Reserve. A trip here can be combined with visits to the Kuelap Ruins near Chachapoyas and to Gocta Falls — one of the three tallest waterfalls in the world.

The birding experience at Abra Patricia just got a lot better this year: Both Rusty-tinged and Chestnut Antpittas now make daily appearances at Owlet Lodge, visiting feeding stations stocked with worms. To learn more about the ecotourism and birding opportunities in the Abra Patricia region, visit the Conservation Birding website.

In addition to the social, environmental, and economic benefits that the area will provide to local people, the new Monte Puyo PCA (#4) will also serve as a conservation tool on an even greater scale. The PCA better connects an existing network of protected areas by extending an adjacent 183,750-acre cluster of three national reserves, including the Cordillera de Colan National Sanctuary (#1), and nearly connecting these with an additional 576,798-acre cluster of five protected areas to the east that includes the Alto Mayo Protected Forest (#8), Rio Nieva Reserved Zone (#6), and Abra Patricia Reserve (#7). Altogether, this conservation network spans over 800,000 acres. This expanse of conserved land will help ensure the survival of the area's unique flora and fauna and will help mitigate climate change by preventing additional deforestation. Abra Patricia Reserve is a combination of conservation concession and PCA managed by ECOAN, and established with support from ABC. It was recently expanded. (Note: Monte Puyo PCA boundaries shown on this map are about 6 percent larger than the final, approved boundaries.)


American Bird Conservancy is 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 FacebookInstagram, and Twitter (@abcbirds).

Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN) is a leading Peruvian conservation organization specializing in working with local communities in Peru to conserve biodiversity by promoting the sustainable use of natural resources. ECOAN has helped establish or improve management within 15 protected areas in Peru.