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Important Bird Areas of the Neotropics: Guatemala.

  • Eisermann & Avendaño Bird Studies Guatemala


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Male Wine-throated Hummingbird Atthis
ellioti gather at courtship leks at high
elevations in northern Central America, here
in the Reserva Chelemhá. The species has
been recorded in six Guatemalan IBAs
All photographs by Knut Eisermann
Important Bird Areas of the
Neotropics: Guatemala
Knut Eisermann and Claudia Avendaño
In the fourth article in our series on the Important Bird Areas of the
As regular readers of this series will
know, BirdLife International and its
allied organisations apply consistent
and quantitative criteria worldwide in their
quest to identify Important Bird Areas (IBAs).
ese comprise: the occurrence of globally
threatened, restricted‑range and biome‑restricted
species, and significant bird congregations. Birds
falling into these categories are conservation
priorities, and many of them are also target
species for birders. So IBAs are often where
birding and conservation can come together.
is is true of Guatemala, an attractive birding
destination with more than 725 bird species6.
Guatemala is a primarily agricultural
country where c.12 million people live in an
area roughly the size of Bulgaria or the state
of Tennessee, USA. Guatemala contains three
distinct zoogeographic regions: the Atlantic
slope lowlands cover about half of the country,
with the highlands encompassing a third, and
the Pacific slope lowlands (including interior
valleys) accounting for the remainder (Fig. 1).
Restricted-range species in
the highlands
e natural vegetation of the Guatemalan
highlands is characterised by conifer and mixed
forest, and, on the most humid mountain
slopes, by cloud forest. Most of Guatemala’s
inhabitants live here, taking advantage of the
favourable climate and fertile soils. Consequently,
forests have been fragmented and one‑third
of the area is now used for agriculture.
e north Central American highlands of
which Guatemala forms part is isolated by the
isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico and the
Nicaraguan lowland, and harbours many endemic
plant and animal species. e Guatemalan
highlands are home to 22 restricted‑range species
(constituting 9% of the region’s 250 breeding
species)5,18. Horned Guan Oreophasis derbianus,
Bearded Screech Owl Megascops barbarus,
Pink‑headed Warbler Ergaticus versicolor,
Azure‑rumped Tanager Tangara cabanisi and
Black‑capped Siskin Carduelis atriceps occur
Above: Blue-and-white Mockingbird Melanotis hypoleucus is common
in secondary scrub and open pine-oak forests and has been recorded in
seven Guatemalan IBAs; this is an immature
Inset: Azure-rumped Tanager Tangara cabanisi at the Reserva Los Tarrales
considerable habitat loss of habitat in its small distribution range, this species has
been recorded in three Guatemalan IBAs
only in the mountains of Guatemala and the
state of Chiapas in southern Mexico12 and are by
no means common within this small range. For
example the population of Horned Guan is split
into several tiny fragments, inhabiting a handful
of isolated cloud forests above 2,000 m altitude.
Most restricted‑range species occur
only in forest: the few that can also persist
in open areas such as coffee plantations and
secondary growth include Bushy‑crested Jay
Cyanocorax melanocyaneus, Rufous‑collared
rush Turdus rufitorques and Blue‑and‑
white Mockingbird Melanotis hypoleucus.
While most restricted‑range birds appear to be
resident, hummingbirds such as Wine‑throated
Hummingbird Atthis ellioti and Slender Sheartail
Doricha enicura occur seasonally; their local
movements are not yet fully understood.
Highest species richness in the
Atlantic slope lowland
Sixty years ago, the lowlands on Guatemala’s
Atlantic slope were covered with vast rainforests.
A subsequent government programme promoted
colonisation of the area, leading to extensive
deforestations in the southern province of
Petén. Today cattle farms rule the landscape
and extensive forest is restricted to a single IBA:
Maya‑Lacandón (GT001), north of Lake Petén
Itzá. Taken together with adjacent forests in
Belize and in the Mexican states of Campeche
and Quintana Roo, this IBA is part of the largest
Neotropical rainforest north of the Amazon
basin. Maya‑Lacandón has sufficient forest to
hold species with large home ranges such as
Crested Eagle Morphnus guianensis and top
predators such as Jaguar Panthera onca.
e Atlantic slope lowlands have the
greatest avian species richness of any area in
Guatemala, holding more than 500 species.
Of these, 27 occur exclusively in the Atlantic
slope lowlands of Mesoamerica (including the
Yucatán peninsula). ese include Ocellated
Turkey Meleagris ocellata, Tawny‑winged
Woodcreeper Dendrocincla anabatina,
Chestnut‑colored Woodpecker Celeus castaneus,
White‑collared Manakin Manacus candei,
Nightingale Wren Microcerculus philomela,
Black‑throated Shrike‑Tanager Lanio aurantius
and Montezuma Oropendula Psarocolius
montezuma. Even so, the avifauna of the Atlantic
slope lowlands has lower levels of endemism
than that of the highlands, with many species
also occurring in southern Central America.
IBA criteria
at least 33% of the restricted-range species occurring in the country; A3=site supports at least 33% of the biome-restricted species
well-developed tourism infrastructure.
Pacic slope lowland: dry but
with important wetlands
During the colonial era (16–19th century),
forests on the Pacific coastal plain were clear‑cut
for cacao plantations and cattle farms. Today
these areas are dominated by extensive sugar
cane plantations that are avian deserts, bereft of
birdlife. e Pacific lowland is generally dry and
thorn scrub in the Motagua valley is the driest
region in Central America. Birds that occur only
in this kind of habitat include Lesser Ground
Cuckoo Morococcyx erythropygus, Russet‑
crowned Motmot Momotus mexicanus and
White‑lored Gnatcatcher Polioptila albiloris.
e whole isthmus of Mesoamerica is a
bottleneck for bird populations migrating
between North and South America. Stopover
sites are especially important for their
conservation. Large numbers of American
White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos, Great
Egret Ardea alba, Little Blue Heron Egretta
caerulea and Snowy Egret Egretta thula gather
in two internationally important wetlands on
Guatemala’s Pacific coast. Manchón‑Guamuchal
IBA (GT020) supports more than 1% of the
world population of American White Pelican.
Globally threatened species
Of Guatemala’s landbirds, eight species are
considered to be globally threatened1. ese
include Highland Guan Penelopina nigra, uplisted
from Near reatened to Vulnerable in 2007.
is cracid mainly inhabits cloud forest, which
is also the habitat of Horned Guan (Endangered)
and Pink‑headed Warbler (Vulnerable). Azure‑
rumped Tanager (Endangered) is endemic to
humid broadleaf forests of the Pacific slope
mountains of Guatemala and Chiapas (Mexico)
and is threatened by habitat loss. Two species
of the Atlantic slope lowlands are threatened,
namely Yellow‑headed Parrot Amazona oratrix
(Endangered) and Keel‑billed Motmot Electron
carinatum (Vulnerable). An additional 21 species
are classified as globally Near reatened1;
continued habitat destruction risks them being
uplisted to one of the higher categories of
threat. In addition to deforestation, some bird
populations suffer from direct persecution.
Horned and Highland Guans are targets for
illegal hunters9,11 and Yellow‑headed Parrot risks
national extinction as a result of nest poaching4.
Of the 226 non‑resident bird species
in Guatemala, four are globally threatened.
Golden‑cheeked Warbler Dendroica chrysoparia
(Endangered) breeds in Texas (United States) and
requires pine‑oak forests on its wintering grounds
in northern Central America16. Cerulean Warbler
Dendroica cerulea (Vulnerable) uses rainforests
on Guatemala’s Atlantic slope as stopover sites
between its wintering grounds in South America
and breeding terrain in the north‑eastern USA19.
Two threatened seabirds, Pink‑footed Shearwater
Puffinus creatopus (Vulnerable) and Parkinson’s
Petrel Procellaria parkinsoni (Vulnerable) forage
in pelagic waters off Guatemala’s Pacific coast.
Sadly, the global ‘Red List’ contains two
other birds known from Guatemala. Atitlan
Grebe Podilymbus gigas, formerly endemic
to Lake Atitlán, went extinct in the 1980s13.
Eskimo Curlew Numenius borealis (Critically
Endangered or Probably Extinct1) has been
recorded reliably only once in Guatemala, with
a specimen collected in the 19th century17.
Overview of Guatemala’s IBAs
e identification of IBAs in Guatemala was led
by the Ornithological Society of Guatemala, in
collaboration with more than 50 institutions and
communities. Using as a basis the most recent
compilation of bird distribution provided by the
PROEVAL RAXMU Bird Monitoring Programme5,
five workshops with local specialists were held in
2006 to compile unpublished data and to discuss
IBA delimitation. As a result, 21 IBAs have been
identified in Guatemala7,8 (Fig. 1). A further six
terrestrial sites lack sufficient field data to justify
classification, but are expected to hold important
species judging from their geographic location
and vegetation cover. Another potential IBA is
the pelagic waters off the Guatemalan Pacific
coast, which are used by foraging Parkinson’s
Petrels and Pink‑footed Shearwaters.
Sites meeting BirdLife’s IBA criteria cover a
total of 47% of Guatemala’s land area. Guatemalan
IBAs were delimited using habitat requirements
of the species of special concern. Because of the
hefty space requirements of certain species, for
example due to their altitudinal migrations, the
size of Guatemalan IBAs can be rather large,
ranging from 4.4–20,950 km2. We included
within the IBAs not only intact habitat (which
comprised 60% of the total area), but also land
where restoration efforts are needed (40%).
To protect bird habitat in nearly half the
country is challenging: Guatemala’s human
population is growing so rapidly that it is
predicted to double between 2010 and 20502.
Consequently, pressure on natural habitats will
increase. Guatemala already has one of the highest
Clockwise from top left:
Flock of Black-capped Swallow Notiochelidon pileata at
Blue-throated Motmot Aspatha gularis in the Reserva
Chelemhá, one of ten IBAs from which it is known. In
Rufous Sabrewing Campylopterus rufus at Finca El Pilar
Guatemala it has been recorded in three IBAs
Male Garnet-throated Hummingbird Lamprolaima rhami
at Mexican thistle Cirsium mexicanum
Reserva Chelemhá
The humid broadleaf forest of the Reserva Los Tarrales
on the south-eastern slope of Atitlán volcano supports
populations of four globally threatened species: Highland
Guan Penelopina nigra, Horned Guan Oreophasis
derbianus, Pink-headed Warbler Ergaticus versicolor and
Azure-rumped Tanager Tangara cabanisi
9 9
Top: Fulvous Owl Strix fulvescens is restricted to high-
elevation cloud forests. The species has been recorded
Bottom: Ocellated Turkey Meleagris ocellata is restricted
to the Yucatán peninsula; Tikal in the Maya-Lacandón
Inset: Bushy-crested Jay Cyanocorax melanocyaneus is
common in plantations and open pine-oak forests and
has been recorded in nine Guatemalan IBAs
10 
deforestation rates in Latin America, with 1.3% of
remaining forest destroyed per year10, equivalent
to a loss of 343 km2. Legally protected areas cover
32% of the country3, but several exist only on
paper and lack adequate management. A case
in point is the Reserva Biosfera Maya (Maya‑
Lacandón IBA), which is threatened by forest
fires, illegal timber extraction, unsustainable
use of non‑wood natural resources, conversion
of forest to agricultural land and extraction of
crude oil14. As if this were not enough, there
are plans to construct several roads within this
IBA. If all were built, an estimated 183,000 ha
of forest would be lost15, 10% of the IBA.
e National Forest Institute is paying
landowners for five years to protect primary
forests and to reforest; such incentives are
valuable but of only short‑term value. In the
longer term, it will be necessary to increase
environmental awareness through education (no
easy task given that 28% of people aged over 15
are illiterate2) and to create alternative income
from sustainable land use. On the first of these
two elements, we believe that environmental
education programmes need to be reinforced
in settlements and urban areas, for example in
the colonial city of Antigua Guatemala, which
is surrounded by several volcanoes and is part
of IBA GT016 Antigua Guatemala. On the
second element, low‑impact tourism—such as
from birdwatching—could provide a financially
sustainable means of habitat protection.
Birding in Guatemala’s IBAs
Since 1996, when a long‑lasting civil war
finally ended, there has been a boom in tourist
infrastructure in Guatemala. Visitors can now
stay in comfort at the country’s birding sites,
and transfer between them quickly. Birding is
good year‑round in Guatemala, although April
is probably the best month as it lies in both
the main breeding season (March–June) and
the migration period for northbound Nearctic
migrants. An overview of birding hotspots
in Guatemala is available online at www.
At present, 11 of Guatemala’s IBAs have
tourist destinations of international standard, with
access roads, birding trails, viewpoints, lodges,
restaurants and local birding guides (Fig. 1).
Initiatives such as Los Tarrales (IBA GT015
Atitlán; and Chelemhá (IBA
GT010 Yalijux; are, quite
simply, world‑class birding sites. New birding
destinations are under development, examples
being Finca El Pilar in IBA Antigua Guatemala
GT016 (for which see www.guatemalabirding.
com/pilar.htm) or Laguna Lodge Atitlán in
IBA GT015 (see
lagunalodge.htm). e Guatemalan Birdwatching
Roundtable—which comprises private enterprises,
communities and government agencies—actively
promotes birding in Guatemala. Since 2004, it has
run an annual international birdwatching meeting.
e IBA programme will hopefully stimulate
the development of further local tourism
initiatives, which in turn contribute to the
conservation of priority areas. Low‑impact
birding tourism (following the American Birding
Association’s principles of birding ethics, for
which see
htm) can provide particularly valuable economic
support for private reserves, which comprise 79
of the 94 protected areas designated in Guatemala
from 2001–20063. ese private reserves are
of key importance for bird conservation. For
example, a network of private reserves at Atitlán
volcano (IBA GT015) protects populations of
four globally threatened species (Horned and
Highland Guans, Pink‑headed Warbler and
Azure‑rumped Tanager), and several private
protected areas in Yalijux IBA (GT010) provide
habitat for 16 restricted‑range bird species.
Birding tourism has another potential benefit.
As Daniel Lebbin explained in Neotropical Birding
4: 13–18, citizen science programmes can be
tools to monitor bird populations in IBAs and
to involve more people in conservation. Birders
can make their sightings available to researchers
and conservationists by uploading them to eBird
Guatemala (
Alternatively, birders can take part in one
of Guatemala’s two Christmas Bird Counts,
coordinated through the Americas as a whole
by the National Audubon Society in the United
States. e Count in Parque Nacional Tikal
(part of IBA GT001) in 2006 was the first in
three decades in Guatemala. Another Count
now takes place on Atitlán volcano (part of
IBA GT015); both are organised by Cayaya
Birding. For illustrated reports of the Counts
see www.cayaya‑
e identification of IBAs in Guatemala was a combined
effort by many individuals and institutions. Special
thanks to all authors who have published on the birds
of Guatemala, to all contributors of unpublished
information and to all participants of critical discussions
during the IBA identification. Rob Clay and David Díaz
of BirdLife International guided the IBA identification
process in Central America. Funding was provided by US
Fish and Wildlife Service, Critical Ecosystem Partnership
Fund, BirdLife International, Conservation International,
PROEVAL RAXMU Bird Monitoring Programme,
Wildlife Conservation Society–Guatemala, IUCN
Mesoamerica, Partners in Flight Mesoamerica, Sociedad
Guatemalteca de Ornitología, Audubon Panama, Ramsar
Regional Center for Training and Research on Wetlands
in the Western Hemisphere, International Cooperation
Department of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and Consejo Nacional de Áreas Protegidas,
1. BirdLife International (2008) reatened
birds of the world 2008. CD‑ROM.
Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International.
2. Comisión Económica para América Latina (2007)
2006 Anuario estadístico de América Latina y el
Caribe/Statistical yearbook for Latin America and
the Caribbean. Santiago de Chile: United Nations.
3. Consejo Nacional de Áreas Protegidas (2007)
Lista de áreas protegidas inscritas en el SIGAP.
Database (accessed June 2007). Guatemala:
Consejo Nacional de Áreas Protegidas.
4. Eisermann, K. (2003) Status and conservation
of the Yellow‑headed Parrot Amazona oratrix
‘guatemalensis’ on the Atlantic coast of
Guatemala. Bird Conserv. Int. 13: 359–364.
5. Eisermann, K. & Avendaño, C. (2006) Diversidad
de aves en Guatemala, con una lista bibliográfica.
In: E. Cano (ed.) Biodiversidad de Guatemala, 1.
Guatemala: Universidad del Valle de Guatemala.
6. Eisermann, K. & Avendaño, C. (2007) Lista comentada
de las aves de Guatemala/Annotated checklist of
the birds of Guatemala. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions.
7. Eisermann, K. & Avendaño, C. (2007) Áreas propuestas
para la designación como IBA (Área Importante para
la Conservación de Aves) en Guatemala, con una
priorización para la conservación adentro de las IBAs
y una evaluación de las IBAs para aves migratorias
Neárticas–Neotropicales. www.avesdeguatemala.
org/iba.htm (accessed 10 October 2008).
8. Eisermann, K. & Avendaño, C. (in press) Guatemala.
In: BirdLife International Important Bird Areas
Americas. Quito: BirdLife International.
9. Eisermann, K., Herrera, N. & Komar, O. (2006)
Highland Guan (Penelopina nigra). In: Brooks,
D. M. (ed.) Conserving cracids: the most
threatened family of birds in the Americas.
Misc. Publ. Houston Mus. Nat. Sci. 6.
10. FAO (2006) Global forest resource assessment
2005. Rome: Food and Agriculture
Organisation of the United Nations.
11. González‑García, F., Rivas Romero, J. A. & Cóbar
Carranza, A. J. (2006) Horned Guan (Oreophasis
derbianus). In: D. M. Brooks (ed.), op.cit.
12. Howell, S. N. G. & Webb, S. (1995) A guide
to the birds of Mexico and northern Central
America. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
13. LaBastille, A. (1992) e giant grebes
of Atitlán: a chronicle of extinction.
Living Bird Quarterly 11: 10–15.
14. ParksWatch (2005) Park profile—Guatemala: Laguna
del Tigre National Park and Laguna del TigreRío
Escondido Protected Biotope. Guatemala: ParksWatch. (accessed 15 September 2008).
15. Ramos, V. H., Burgués, I., Colombo Fleck, L.,
Castellanos, B., Albacete, C., Paiz, G., Espinosa,
P. & Reid, J. (2007) Análisis económico y
ambiental de carreteras propuestas dentro
de la Reserva de la Biosfera Maya. Arcata,
CA: Conservation Strategy Fund.
16. Rappole, J. H., King, D. I. & Leimgruber, P.
(2000) Winter habitat and distribution of the
endangered Golden‑cheeked Warbler (Dendroica
chrysoparia). Animal Conserv. 3: 45–59.
17. Salvin, O. (1861) A list of species to be added to the
ornithology of Central America. Ibis 3: 351–357.
18. Stattersfield, A. J., Crosby, M. J., Long, A. J. &
Wege, D. C. (1998) Endemic bird areas of the
world: priorities for biodiversity conservation.
Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International.
19. Welton, M. J., Anderson, D. L., Colorado, G., Pérez,
E. S. & Beachy, T. (2007) Migration habitat and
stopover ecology of Cerulean Warblers and other
Nearctic-Neotropical migrant songbirds in northern
Central America: Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico
2007. Franklin, TN: Gulf Coast Bird Observatory.
Knut EisErmann and Claudia avEndaño
Sociedad Guatemalteca de Ornitología (Ornithological
Periférico, Guatemala Ciudad, Guatemala. E-mail: iba@
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... Aunque se han registrado 758 especies de aves en Guatemala (Eisermann & Avendaño, 2018) nunca se ha estudiado la riqueza de especies presentes en la Finca Universitaria San Julián. Se estima que la diversidad de aves en este sitio puede ser importante pues se encuentra cerca -a unos siete kilómetros en distancia euclidiana-de la Reserva Privada Los Tarrales, uno de los hotspots para la observación de aves en Guatemala (Eisermann, 2007) y donde se han realizado varios estudios para la conservación de especies de aves muy valoradas para el aviturismo (Eisermann et al., 2011a;Eisermann et al., 2011b;Jiménez & Omelas, 2016). ...
... Existe actualmente un acúmulo de experiencias exitosas del aprovechamiento sostenible a través del aviturismo a nivel global (Almendras et al., 2017;Glowinski, 2008;Morrison & Castley, 2014;Pérez-Sato et al., 2018). En Guatemala, se han identificado, hasta el momento, 21 áreas importantes para la observación de aves, cuatro de las cuales, se sitúan en la franja altitudinal donde se encuentra la FUSJ (Eisermann, 2007). ...
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Guatemala is a megadiverse country that hosts an importantbiodiversity.It is necessary to propose actions for the conservation and sustainable use of these natural resources. Birds, as a taxonomic group, offer an exceptional opportunity for sustainable developmentthrough avitourism.San Julián University Farm (FUSJ), heritage of UniversidaddeSan Carlos de Guatemala, is situated in a strip of great biodiversity. Aiming to determine the observed and expected richness of bird species inFUSJ, observations were done in a4.3 km transect locatedinthe west side of FUSJ. In addition, historic sighting records generated in the same transect were consulted. A documentary investigation was also carried out to determine the expected richness of bird species in the FUSJ. For this purpose, the Fagan & Komar bird guide (2016) and the Merlin Bird ID ® application for Android were consulted. We registered 103 species of birds out of 245 expected species. The generated information can be used to value the resource and to promote the conservation and sustainable use of the bird community and the ecosystem that supports it, through birdwatching and within the framework of the sustainable development goals. Keywords: Sustainable use; birdwatching, avitourism, biodiversity.
... comm.). Birdwatching is a rapidly developing pastime activity (La Rouche 2003), and Guatemala is being promoted as a destination for traveling bird-watchers (Bland 2007;Eisermann 2007a, b, 2011a, Cocker 2008. Watching birds can cause negative impact upon populations (Sekercioglu 2002). ...
Chapter This compilation of recent data on the distribution, ecology, and conservation status of owls (Strigiformes) in Guatemala is based on an extensive literature review and numerous unpublished observations. Twenty species of owls have been recorded in Guatemala, of which 18 are resident. Breeding has been reported for 17 species, and it is assumed for one species. Two species are considered rare or accidental nonbreeding visitors to Guatemala during the northern winter. Guatemala’s region with the highest species richness in owls is the highlands, where 17 species have been recorded. Twelve species have been recorded in the Pacific slope lowlands and 13 species in the Atlantic slope lowlands. We analyzed the data in the presence and relative abundance of owls from 105 sites from 1989 to 2016. According to the weighted mean value of the relative abundance index across three ornithogeographic regions, the most common owls in the country are (abundance ranking in descending order): Mexican wood owl (Strix squamulata), Ridgway’s pygmy owl (Glaucidium ridgwayi), Guatemalan screech owl (Megascops guatemalae), black-and-white owl (Strix nigrolineata), American barn owl (Tyto furcata), Central American pygmy owl (Glaucidium griseiceps), Guatemalan pygmy owl (Glaucidium cobanense), great horned owl (Bubo virginianus), fulvous owl (Strix fulvescens), unspotted saw-whet owl (Aegolius ridgwayi), whiskered screech owl (Megascops trichopsis), crested owl (Lophostrix cristata), and Pacific screech owl (Megascops cooperi). Guatemala has an adequate legal framework to protect owl species (32% of the country is legally protected), but the conservation is not efficient, causing threats to owl populations. Of 18 resident owl species, 12 are forest specialists. In a vulnerability assessment applying IUCN Red List criteria on a national level, one species has been evaluated as Critically Endangered (CR), one as Endangered (EN), nine as Vulnerable (VU), five as Near Threatened (NT), two as Least Concern (LC), and two as not applicable. Habitat alterations through agriculture, mining, and oil drilling are the main threats. Of the remaining forests, 14% (5500 km²) were lost from 2000 to 2010, and the pressure on natural habitat will further increase. In addition, owls in Guatemala are threatened by direct persecution because of popular superstitions. The network of 21 Important Bird Areas (IBA) in Guatemala includes populations of all owl species. Three species have been recorded in at least 10 IBAs, 12 species in 5–9 IBAs, 4 in 2–4 IBAs, and 1 species in only one IBA. We consider the increase of the education level among the Guatemalan society the main key to protect habitats within the IBAs. A higher level of education would help to slow down population growth, increase environmental awareness, and consequently diminish pressure on natural areas.
... Esto iguala a un 1.7% del total de 2118 aves recibidas, siendo la mayoría de éstas loros y pericos (Psittacidae). Eisermann 2007a,b, 2011a, Cocker 2008). La observación de aves puede causar impactos negativos a sus poblaciones (Sekercioglu 2002). ...
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Please note that an updated chapter was published in: Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2017) The owls of Guatemala. 447-515 in P. L. Enríquez (ed.) Neotropical owls: diversity and conservation. Springer, Cham, Switzerland. This is a compilation of recent data on the distribution, ecology, and conservation status of owls (Strigiformes) in Guatemala, based on an extensive literature review and numerous unpublished observations. According to modern taxonomy (König et al. 2008), a total of 20 species of owls has been recorded in Guatemala; one species of the genus Tyto, Psiloscops (1 species), Megascops (4), Bubo (1), Pulsatrix (1), Strix (3), Lophostrix (1), Glaucidium (3), Aegolius (1), Athene (1), and Asio (3). Of the 20 species, 17 are resident in Guatemala. Nesting has been reported for 15 species, and it is assumed for two species. Three species are rare or accidental non-breeding visitors to Guatemala during the northern winter. The highlands are Guatemala’s region with the highest species richness in owls, where 17 species have been recorded. In the Pacific and Atlantic slope lowlands 12 species have been recorded in each. Data on the presence and relative abundance of owls from 1989 to 2012 (and some from 2013) were analyzed from 102 sites. New site records were established for rarely reported species such as Bearded Screech-Owl (Megascops barbarus), Stygian Owl (Asio stygius), and Unspotted Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius ridgwayi). According to the mean of an abundance index value from 102 sites, the most abundant species in Guatemala are (in descendent order of abundance): Mexican Wood Owl (Strix squamulata), Ridgway’s Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium ridgwayi), Guatemalan Screech-Owl (Megascops guatemalae), Guatemalan Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium cobanense), Black-and-white Owl (Strix nigrolineata), and Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus). The most abundant species in the highlands were: Mexican Wood Owl, Guatemalan Pygmy-Owl, Fulvous Owl (Strix fulvescens), Great Horned Owl, Ridgway’s PygmyOwl, Unspotted Saw-whet Owl, and Whiskered Screech-Owl (Megascops trichopsis). In the Atlantic slope lowlands, the species with the highest abundance index were Mexican Wood Owl, Guatemalan Screech-Owl, Ridgway’s Pygmy-Owl, Black-and-white Owl, and Central American Pygmy-Owl. In the Pacific slope lowlands the most abundant species were Mexican Wood Owl, Ridgway’s Pygmy-Owl, and Pacific Screech-Owl (Megascops cooperi). Guatemala has an adequate legal framework to protect owl species (32% of the country is legally protected), but conservation is not efficient, causing serious threats to owl populations. Of 17 owl species regularly occurring in Guatemala, 11 are forest specialists and six are habitat generalists. In a vulnerability assessment applying IUCN Red List criteria on a national level, one species has been evaluated as Endangered (EN), 10 as Vulnerable (VU), four as Near Threatened (NT), two as Least Concern (LC), and three species were not evaluated for being vagrants. Habitat alteration through agriculture, mining, and oil drilling has been identified as main threat. Of the remaining forests, 14% (5 500 km2) were lost from 2000 to 2010, and the pressure on natural habitat will further increase. About 36 785 km2 (34% of Guatemala) are used or planned for exploration and exploitation by the mining and oil drilling industry. This area includes about 6 960 km2 or 20% of the country’s remaining forests. In addition, owls in Guatemala are threatened by direct persecution because of the common belief that these birds attract death and destruction. The network of 21 Important Bird Areas (IBA) in Guatemala includes populations of all owl species. Two species have been recorded in more than 10 IBAs, 12 species in 5-9 IBAs, five in 2-4 IBAs, and one species in only one IBA. We consider the increase of the education level among the Guatemalan society as a main goal in order to protect habitat within the IBAs, and thus owl populations. A higher level of education would help to slow down population growth, increase environmental awareness, and consequently diminish pressure on natural areas.
Technical Report
امروزه تالاب‌ها و نقاط پرتراکم زیستی برای امر تحقیقات و گردشگری از اهمیت بالایی برخوردار هستند. بسیاری از افراد متخصص در امر پرنده‌نگری و محققین علمی از اقصی نقاط دنیا همواره در حال سفر برای دنبال کردن اهداف خود هستند. یکی از موارد بسیار پراهمیت برای این قشر در دسترس‌پذیری مکان از منظر صعب‌العبوری است. به‌عنوان‌مثال یک عکاس حرفه‌ای برای شکار لحظات خاص روزها در داخل مرداب در حال پیگیری گونه‌های خاص گیاهی و جانوری است. از طرف دیگر با توجه به‌پیشرفت‌های عدیده بشری در زمینه اتوماسیون صنعتی، اینترنت اشیاء، سخت‌افزارهای قوی الکترونیکی و ... همواره ایده‌های جدید برای حل مشکلات ایجاد می‌شوند. امروزه یکی از مشکلات اصلی پرنده‌نگران، پرنده شناسان، محققین و سایر افراد علاقه‌مند عدم توانایی در هزینه کرد و زمان برای رسیدن به اهداف خود هستند. این طرح در نظر دارد تا با نصب دوربین‌های مخصوص باقابلیت کنترل از راه دور (بر بستر اینترنت) در نقاطی که حضور پرندگان از تراکم بالا و قابل قبولی برخوردار است، یکی از مشکلات حال حاضر جامعه پرنده‌نگران را حل نماید. با ایجاد بسترهای لازمه، این طرح می‌توان پس از ورود به یک وب‌سایت مشخص و طی مختصر مراحلی با استفاده از دوربین‌های مستقرشده در دل طبیعت، به‌صورت آنلاین دوربین‌های مذکور را حرکت داده و به‌دلخواه خود به تماشای پرندگان و حیات‌وحش پرداخت. لازم به ذکر است با توجه به اینکه تعداد دوربین‌ها محدود خواهد بود، افرادی که فرصت کنترل دوربین‌ها را نتوانسته‌اند در اختیار بگیرند نیز می‌توانند به‌صورت زنده به تماشای تصاویر همه‌ی دوربین‌ها و یا تصاویر آرشیوشده بنشینند. پروژه مذکور در تمامی تالاب‌ها، مناظر طبیعی، مرداب‌ها و یا سایر اکوسیستم‌های طبیعی مستعد کشور، قابل‌اجرا است، ولی با توجه به شرایط مکانی و ظرفیت‌های موجود در تالاب کانی برازان مهاباد، تیم مجری پروژه در نظر دارد در صورت موافقت و همکاری دستگاه‌های محترم اقدام به ایجاد و راه‌اندازی اولین سایت پرنده‌نگری آنلاین کشور به‌صورت نمونه اولیه، نماید. به دلیل نو بودن طرح بدون شک نیاز به آزمودن این بستر وجود دارد و برای اجرا در نقاط مختلف دیگر کشورمان تنها نیاز به تغییر توپولوژی جغرافیای طرح است و پلتفرم اینترنتی ثابت خواهد بود. با مختصر تحقیقات اولیه بر روی محیط جدید می‌توان همان سیستم را بر روی محیط جدید اجرا نمود. از اهداف طرح علاوه بر نمایش و معرفی جاذبه‌های طبیعی و بکر ایران‌زمین به‌تمامی مردمان جهان و جذب بیشتر گردشگران و توریست‌های داخلی و خارجی، می‌توان توسعه مناطق محروم و کاهش مهاجرت نیروی متخصص انسانی به شهرها را نام برد. امروزه در ایران ایجاد مراکز دانش‌بنیان از مهم‌ترین اهداف دولت بوده و این طرح با اشتغال هر چه بیشتر نیروی انسانی تحصیل‌کرده بومی در پی ایجاد مرکز تحقیقات در محل تالاب‌ها نیز است.
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In 2001 the abundance of Yellow-headed Parrot Amazonaoratrix at a roost site in Punta de Manabique, Guatemala was found to be 70 individuals. A comparison with a roost census in 1994 suggested a population decline. The largest threat to this form of Yellow-headed Parrot is nest-robbing for the pet trade. The rate of decline and the limited number of individuals living in the wild suggest the population is facing extinction. The core zone of reproduction is located in a palm savanna. Information on feather patterns of the head of this form of A.oratrix is provided.
The giant grebe Podilymbus gigas probably became extinct at its only known location of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala in the late 1980s. It was the subject of a succession of conservation initiatives all of which failed to halt the degradation of the lake's habitat. The demise of the grebe has now spurred the government into action to protect what remains of this habitat. -R.Land
This magnificent volume begins with the words "Extinction is final." In one of six forewords, Stephen Garnett comments that "Oceania is well used to extinction" with nearly half of all known bird extinctions since 1500 occurring in the region. Russ Mittermier informs us that the world stands at the opening of one of the great extinction events in planetary history. Not all is despair. James Clements tells us that there are "refreshing rays of light" and cites the reservation of 13 million hectares of rainforest as protected areas. He quotes Peru's Minister of Foreign Relations as saying that "one of the marks of civilization is the regard men bestow on wild things". What then is the state of the world's avifauna: no more authoritative account is available than Threatened Birds of the World.
The volume is broadly split into two main sections. The firsts consists of seven introductory chapters: biodiversity and priority setting; identifying endemic bird areas; global analyses; the prioritization of endemic brid areas; the conservation relevance of endemic bird areas; endemic bird areas as targets for conservation action; and regional introductions. The second, and larger part of the text looks at the endemic bird areas in detail. The section is split into six subsections, by region: North and Central America; Africa, Europe and the Middle East; continental Asia; SE Asian Islands, New Guinea and Australia; and the Pacific Islands. Within each regional subsection the endemic areas are detailed, providing information on : general characteristics; restricted-range species; threats and conservation; and location maps.
The most authoritative, detailed, and updated checklist of the 725 bird species recorded in Guatemala. Also includes information about status, habitats and endemic species, along with detailed distribution maps, information on species to watch for and species of special concern.
The golden-cheeked warbler (Dendroica chrysoparia) is an endangered Neotropical migrant that breeds in oak (Quercus)/juniper (Juniperus) habitat of the Edwards Plateau in central Texas. Recently work has been done on the factors affecting breeding populations of this species, but little is known about winter habitat use or distribution. We used extensive field surveys in Honduras and Guatemala to obtain locational information, which was used with topographical and remote sensing data, to identify and calculate the amount of suitable habitat available, and to map the species' distribution in the region. Most individuals were found in pine–oak from 1100–2400 m ( = 1651 (± 246) m) in elevation, a habitat type that occupied 29.8% of the total land area above 914 m in the region investigated. Based on this information and existing locational data from the literature, we present a map of the winter range for the golden-cheeked warbler. Threats to the species during this period of the life cycle include logging, burning and clearing for pasture and agriculture.