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New nestbox design brings hope of breeding success for the Santa Marta Parakeet

Thirty nestboxes, with a new design, were installed in the El Dorado Bird Reserve. In just three days, the first individuals were recorded exploring the nestboxes, giving optimism for  a significant advance in the recovery of the species.

Fundación ProAves has developed over five years, within the framework of the Threatened Parrots of Colombia project, different conservation tools to ensure the viability of populations of parrots in threatened ecosystems and protected by the ProAves Nature Reserve network.

A tool that has contributed significantly to the recovery of wild populations of threatened parrots is the installation and monitoring of artificial nestboxes. This strategy has allowed the documenting of missing information on the reproductive biology of endangered species, as well as providing evidence for the formulation of conservation strategies directed at the protection of habitats and species.

From the beginning of this project in the El Dorado Bird Reserve, located in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the recovery of the population of the Santa Marta Parakeet,  Pyrrhura viridicata, has been an important objective.  This species is endemic to Colombia and critically endangered (CR). Unfortunately, Scarlet-fronted Parakeets (Aratinga wagleri) have also been observed using these nestboxes. This is a parrot species that shares the natural habitat of the Santa Marta Parakeet.

Scarlet-fronted Parakeets have a territorial behavior which, associated with their  larger body size, has stopped the nesting of the Santa Marta Parakee, because they are regularly displaced from the zones established for artificial nestboxes. Although different alternatives have been tried, in order to only allow Santa Marta Parakeets to use the boxes, until recently only Scarlet-fronted Parakeets achieved breeding success.

Recently, after several years trying to provide artificial cavities for the optimal reproduction of Santa Marta Parakeets, the ProAves team at the El Dorado Bird Reserve, started the installation and monitoring of 30 new nestboxes, different to those regularly used. They achieved, in just three days, the first records of this species exploring the new boxes,  achieving a significant advance in the use of this tool for the recovery of this species

The important thing about this type of projects, and the recovery of endangered species, is that it allows direct linking of people and institutions interested in the conservation of threatened species of Colombia through direct grants for the construction and monitoring of nests. These provide greater options of reproduction for the parrots despite the high deforestation that their forests have suffered and that have led to the decrease of suitable nesting areas.

Adopt a nestbox

To prevent the extinction of a species of parrot in Colombia, you can support us through the online donation program Adopt a Nestbox, which is sponsoring the exploration, construction, monitoring and assessment of natural nests and artificial nestboxes during a year for some of the most endangered parrot species in the country. To make a donation, simply click here to complete the adoption form.

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