ProAves is a Colombian NGO dedicated to the conservation of birds and their habitats through research, outreach and direct conservation actions in collaboration with local communities.
Carrera 20 Nº 36-61
Bogotá D.C - COLOMBIA
Tel.: (57-1) 3403229 / 3403261 / 2455134
Fax: (57-1) 3403285
El Dorado Bird Reserve
Latest addition :Wednesday 18 May 2011
Named after the legendary city of gold, El Dorado is ProAves’s flagship reserve and the Holy Grail for birding in the Americas. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a unique massif totally separated from the Andes, yet rising precipitously from the Caribbean beaches to 19,000 feet, hosts the highest concentration of continental range-restricted bird species found anywhere in the world.
The 1,600 acre Reserve is the sole accessible subtropical to montane forest in the Sierra Nevada, being situated on its humid NW slope, just two hours drive from the popular tourist city of Santa Marta.
All but two of the Sierra Nevada endemics can be readily seen from a road that meanders up through the reserve’s excellent primary subtropical and montane forests. Strategically located at 1,900 meters beside the road are the beautiful Sierra Nevada EcoCentre and Jeniam EcoLodge, providing exceptional facilities for visitors and built entirely from non-native pines that are being cleared in the reserve for reforestation with native tree species.
A tree house at the highest part of the reserve provides spectacular contrasting views of the towering glacier-covered peaks of the Sierra Nevada and Caribbean beaches! Nearby, is the world’s core breeding population of the Santa Marta Parakeet which is assisted by nest boxes.
The reserve also holds one of the highest concentrations of endemic and threatened amphibian species, and almost all flora and most of the fauna above the EcoLodge are endemic. Yet, the Sierra Nevada remains remarkable little known, with at least two new bird species discovered in 2007, including a new species of Screech-Owl that roosts beside the EcoLodge!
A unique and mysterious guinea-pig-sized rodent, not seen since 1898 despite several organized searches, bizarrely showed up at the front door of ProAves’ El Dorado Nature Reserve Eco-lodge in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia.
Studies of the spectacular Bromeliads in the El Dorado Reserve in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta has rediscovered 3 species not reported since 1946, 2 since 1960, and 5 before 1983! Of those species, 2 are Critically Endangered, 6 are Endangered and two are Vulnerable to extinction. 7 Bromeliad species are only from within the El Dorado reserve.
The world-renowned raptor expert Dr Jean Marc Thiollay and his wife Francoise visited El Dorado Bird Reserve as EcoVolunteers to survey birds-of-prey. They recorded 22 species of raptors, including the threatened Semicollared hawk and Black-and-chestnut Eagle. Dr Thiollay recommended the area under protection be expanded.
Our El Dorado Nature Reserve is one of the most important sites for the protection of endangered birds and amphibians. Recent botanical studies indicate a tremendous diversity of endemic plant species including 16 plant species threatened with extinction.
Within the Natural Reserve El Dorado, management has installed the most effective tools to avoid birds’ collision against the windows of the existing infrastructures. As a result of the use of transparent covers, hundreds of birds have been protected against crashing invisible glass for them.
One vagrant Yellow-throated Warbler present in El Dorado Natural Bird Reserve for several months resulted in perhaps Colombia’s first “twitch” to see this Neotropical migrant first confirmed locality in Colombia at one the most spectacular birding places in the world.
There are many priority sites for conservation in the world, but there is a site international recognized by over 60 conservation organizations worldwide through the Alliance for Zero Extinction, which is the most important site in terms of extreme concentration of endemic and endangered bird and amphibian species.
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