Until I can post something bird-related, and just so this won't be left aside by the friends who follow this poor blog, I'll post interesting stuff I found or got from friends about issues that I'm sure most birders would appreciate.

This guy got comments both good and bad about his video, personally I believe it is an interesting aproach to a subject that should be taken in consideration by more people, and instead of all the arguments and fights around it, just DO something, a little something that could help even if it's small like a grain of sand.

After that video, he posted more replying to some of the subjects that came up after the one I posted here. I really recomend watching them, they can be found on YouTube, he uploads videos with nick name wonderingmind42.

So, if you have some time to spare, watch them and let me know what you think (you probably watched them months ago, but as I just decided to post them it would be great to have your ideas and opinions, alike or different, sharing information and discusion with respect are key points on finding probable solutions or paliatives for such and important matter!)


Just a little something to keep the blog alive! hahaha, sooorry! I'm taking final exams until December 10th, so, I've been with my nose in the books and that's not going to change until I finish... Anyway, here's something so you won't forget me!


Found this video while looking for info for my thesis, although it's made by the brazilian side of the Amazon Rainforest, it applies perfectly to the Peruvian side too. I think it is worth viewing, so we won't forget.


I keep doing this... sorry for not posting lately! (blushing) Exams, thesis, papers, projects, presentations, etc, etc, etc... just a couple of months to finish my studies here and go home, at last!
Anyway, I'll be back in a few weeks, I'm working on a translation of some postings in a blog Born Again Bird Watcher sent me weeks ago about the study and conservation of the Cardenal de Copete Rojo de Argentina (Paroaria coronata). I really hope it will be the first post after this break!
Thank you for your patience and for your constant support!
Will be back soon!


Update on Candamo

For the ones who understand Spanish and are interested on the subject, I found the project of that law here (it's a .doc file)


Oil spills kill

Today is October 15th... Blog Action Day!

Today, bloggers all over the world will unite to bring to light a single issue on everyone’s mind: the environment.

Every blogger registered on the Blog Action Day will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic, what this organization proposes is to get everyone talking towards a better future.

So, that's it, that's all I have to say today, I'll start checking out what other bloggers are posting today! Great to learn!


It's unbelievable!

Tambopata - Perú

It's been over a month since I first heard of this. It all began as a rumour of a project of law in Peru to reduce the size of the National Park Bahuaja Sonene, and it's heart Candamo, to let oil companies search for the black gold.

After some more reading I found out that it wasn't only a rumour, if they pass this law, the park will be reduced in 209,000 hectares! The Agriculture Ministry let former INRENA excecutive Luis Alfaro go because he wouldn't accept the proposal.

Madre de Dios
is the peruvian region where Tambopata and Bahuaja Sonene are located, and as I found out, there are
615 listed birds in that area alone!
Ecotourists arrive to Madre de Dios every year to view the incredible spectacles of hundreds of parrots and macaws at clay licks. This is also one of the last strongholds of the world's largest otter (the Giant otter), jaguars, and other large wildlife.

I really recommend reading more about the subject on oil companies and conservation, like the info on Oil Crisis, and more specifically on these parks at sites like
Amazon Watch or Park's Watch 2002 report to have an idea of what is this all about.

I tried to learn more about it and to find info on the other side of the coin, but it wasn't easy. I only found a few articles on the news mentioning president Alan Garcia's plans to overcome poverty on BBC News.

Please take your time to get informed and leave your mark in the world, personally I don't believe money (for just a few pockets) instead of life is a fair trade. I am not an expert, but I do care.

There are two sites that are currently collecting signatures to stop this project to become a law: Salvemos Candamo (with a section for foreign voters with more information on the laws, links to news, maps, etc) and on Care2 Petition Site.


What do potatoes have in common with birds?

Actually, in this post, absolutely NOTHING.

It's just that I came across a peruvian project that is currently a finalist in the World Challenge 2007.

Details on the project read:

"The farmers of Peru's high Andes are among the poorest in the country, with average incomes of under US $1 per day. Yet these farmers are sitting on something of a goldmine, for the region is home to some 3000 varieties of potato. These native strains bear little resemblance to the familiar staple of Western diets – many are brightly coloured (inside and out) and strangely shaped, as well as vitamin-packed and organically grown. T'ikapapa was set up to bridge the gap between the Andean farmers and the potato market, allowing them to see the benefit of their premium goods. The project's ‘participatory market chain approach' is now being applied to potato chips and other value-added products."

I truly believe this is worth voting for, to do it just visit World Challenge 2007


Maybe it is because I miss home...

Less than a couple of months ago, Promperu, the Government Office that should promote all the wonders of my homeland, changed the old microsite dedicated to birding they used to have on their website for a brand new one, that can be accessed from Peru Birding Routes and has details on birding routes (printed screen here shows the map of the country divided in North, Center and South), they also have a multimedia section with pictures, audios and videos and a section they call utilities, with their publications, bird listings, links, forum, postcards, etc.

Last September 2007, Peru organized its very first International Birdwatching Fair (International Nature Bird Fair), trying to promote its wonders, in an effort to place the country among the favorite destinations, specially for extreme birders, as many services to make the regions "visitor's friendly" are not yet adecuate.

Anyway, it's great to know that finally someone saw the potential of the region, let's just hope that it grows without damaging the enviroment and involving the native communities in the development of projects and education for conservation.


Back after a while...

First of all, I must apologize for neglecting this blog, I've been quite busy studying and also got robbed! Yes, I lost my camera :-( on my way to the university a few weeks ago.

Anyway, as I can't post pictures I've taken or recordings I've made now (like if I was posting much! hahaha) and I really don't want to use someone else's pictures to ask the world for information on guys I haven't seen, I'll try to post more about things I found online, like cool (for me to learn) info, interesting websites or blogs, all related to this, and of course asking for help of the cool birders I've met so far! (and new ones, of course!)

I hope you don't mind, it will still be some sort of notebook for me, easier to continue learning until I get close to an open area, garden, park, mountain, river, etc with eyes wide open and a big smile (...and a new camera, which sadly won't be fast - she says with a broken heart - due to being a foreign student with no money to spend besides the uni, but I'll make it!)...

Maybe it will be when I'm back home next January, back to Peru (miss home soooo much!!!), a perfect place to actually begin (and continue!!!) with this in the way I want to.


The condor

The Nasca Lines (Nazca)

These are a series of geoglyphs located in the Nasca Desert, 53 miles or more than 80 kilometers between the towns of Nasca and Palpa (Peru) , created by the Nasca culture between 200 BC and 700 AD.
There are hundreds of individual figures, from simple lines to stylized hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys and lizards.

The monkey

The Nasca lines cannot be recognized as coherent figures except from the air, as it is presumed the Nasca people could never have seen their work from the air, there has been much speculation on the builders' abilities and motivations.

The area encompassing the lines is nearly 500 square kilometers (200 square miles), and the largest figures can be nearly 270 meters (900 feet) long. The lines persist due to the extremely dry, windless, and constant climate of the Nasca region.

The spider

Here are some details on where the main figures are located:
Click on map to enlarge

And finally, some of the pictures of the birds represented there, condor, alcatraz, humming bird, parrot... Another proof of birds being important for ancient peruvians, I wish they were these days, hopefully they will be remembered soon and respected like they were in the past...

The hummingbird

The pelican

The parrot

The alcatraz


Birds in Pre-Hispanic Peru

Ceremonial earplug, Mochica culture

Peru is a country with a lot of ancient history, and prior to the Spanish colonies many cultures florished all over the region.

All over the country there were ancient cultures (for example the Mochica, Chimu, Nazca or Paracas) that used their creativity and talents to represent everyday scenes, flora and fauna of their surroundings in textiles, ceramics, stones, jewelry, etc. and used the natural elements around them to create clothing, houses, weapons, etc.

Later on, the incas took over what was left of these old cultures and absorbed not only the geopraphical area, but in a way, also their customs and habits.

I found some pictures of items that I want to share with you. Some of them are representations of birds made by Peruvian cultures in everyday objects, cloths and jewelry and some are items that used feathers of birds, like Nasca or Chimu, who even though were not close to the jungle, used feathers of birds from that region to make hats for their leaders, as the feathers were precious and unique items.

I hope you enjoy these birds from the past, the titles in green are the names of the cultures they belong to.


Feather cape.


Mortuary covers for mummies, Paracas Necropolis style, with representations of the Andean Condor and other birds.


Earplugs, antropomorphic character with bird beak. Made of gold and turquoise.

Duck vessel.

Huaco-retrato, ceramic portrait representing the head of a character with a bird resting on it.


Ceremonial hat.


Duck wooden vessel.

What if we compare the maps showing the ancient Peruvian cultures with today's Peruvian birding hotspots???

Map of ancient cultures. Check out Chimu, Mochica (Moche), Nazca and Paracas... all on the coast line (left on this map), away from the Amazon jungle (top right on this map)

Birding interest map nowdays...

See any similarities? I could find a few actual birding points where the ancient cultures florished... Maybe it's just a coincidence, but what if it is not? ;)

PIQUERO - Peruvian Booby

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Pelicaniformes
Family: Sulidae
Genus: Sula
Species: S. variegata

This is another endemic bird
from the west coast of South America.
Luckyly, this is the second most abundant seabird species that inhabits the Peruvian Coast and the second most important guano-producing seabird.

Peruvian Boobies breed throughout the year. Main breeding season is from September to March and most pairs attempt to breed for a second time during the year depending on food availability. The clutch size varies from one to four eggs, but clutches of two or three eggs are usually found. Eggs are pale blue and are incubated during 4 to 5 weeks, both adults share the nest attendance. The rearing period lasts about 3 months. Breeding success depends on food availability and is related to colony location, colony size and timing of breeding.

The ones I found in Paracas were having new family, found some young ones with a brownish head and body instead of the characteristic white.


Just for fun!

Thank you John!!!

Hope some more of the cool birders I've met so far keep helping me out!
Born Again Bird Watcher: A New Way to Blog


Zarcillos in Ballestas

After sad news on Paracas, I decided to keep posting about what I found there months ago, hopefully these guys are still around...

This bird is called "zarcillo" (zarcillo means earing, locals say that they named it like that because of the line on the side of the head, which simulates an earing), the scientific name is Larosterna Inca. I haven't found much information on this one, so, it would be great if someone could help me complete this information (come on Shaun! give me a hand! hahaha)
They are brownish or grey when they are young and have red beaks and feet, along with a yellow carnosity under the beak. They live along the coasts of Peru and northern Chile.
It's a beautiful bird to watch, specially in the caves of the Ballestas Islands.


Such sad news.
August 15, 2007. Earthquake. Pisco, Paracas, Chincha, Ica, Lima. Not only human lives and cities lost, also natural beauties and fauna from the region.
"La Catedral" (shown here), "El Fraile" and the birdwatching point in Paracas were destroyed, first the shake, then the ocean.
I've been there a few times in the past, too bad there's not much left for the future generations and visitors to see. I haven't heard about Ballestas Islands yet. Let's hope for the best, and in nature's wisdom.


Humboldt Penguin

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Sphenisciformes
Family: Spheniscidae
Genus: Spheniscus
Species: S. humboldti

Humboldt Penguins are medium-sized penguins, they grow up to 65-70 cm (26-28 in) long and weight around 4.7 kg (10.4 lbs). Their black head have a white border running from behind the eye, around the black ear-coverts and chin and join on the throat. They have blackish-grey upperparts and whitish underparts, with black breast-band extending down the flanks to the thigh. They have a fleshy-pink base to the bill. Juveniles have dark heads and no breast-band.

This penguin nests on islands and rocky coasts, burrowing holes in guano and sometimes using scrapes or caves.

The current status of this penguin is vulnerable, due to a declining population caused in part by over-fishing. Historically it was the victim of guano over-exploitation. Penguins are also declining in numbers due to habitat destruction. The current population is estimated at between 3,300 and 12,000. (References from Wikipedia)

I took these pictures in Paracas, around the Ballestas Islands, before they got into the Pacific ocean and start swimming with the sea lions.
These penguins were on their way to the ocean, walking slowly on the rocky ground until they finally made it!


The Peruvian Pelican

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Pelecanidae
Genus: Pelecanus
Species: P. thagus

Found these guys - also at Paracas - first sitting on a boat and later on at Ballestas Islands.

The second and third pics are interesting: first the pelicans have some intruders (Humboldt penguins among them, can you find them?) and then they are the ones that crash the party of the cormorants!!!

They live on the west coast of South America, from Lobos de Tierra Island in Peru to Pupuya Islet in Chile.
These birds are dark in colour with a white stripe from the top of the bill, up to the crown and down the sides of the neck and have long tufted feathers on the top of their heads.
Their main breeding season occurs from September to March, during which they usually produce two or three eggs. These are incubated for approximately 4 to 5 weeks, with the rearing period lasting about 3 months.
This bird feeds on several fish species, showing a strong preference for Peruvian Anchovies. It feeds by plunge-diving, like the Brown Pelican.

I found out that it is not clear if it is a Brown Pelican or another species; this is what I found on http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Brown_Pelican.html:

"The Peruvian race of the Brown Pelican, found along the Pacific Coast of South America from southern Ecuador to Chile, is sometimes considered a separate species. It is larger than the other races, has fine white streaking on the feathers of the underparts, and has a blue pouch in the breeding season ".

So, can anyone clarify this for me??? THANKS!!!


Paracas Natural Reserve (Ica-Peru)
A little shaky, but you can see them diving! Filmed this on January 2007 (sorry for the bad quality, it was a plain digital camera)

Guanay Cormorant or Guanay Shag

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Phalacrocoracidae
Genus: Phalacrocorax
Species: P. bougainvillii

It is a resident bird living on the Pacific Ocean coast in Peru and north of Chile. It is about 78cm from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail.

Its bill is greyish with some red at the base. The face is red with a green eyering. It has roseate feet. Head, neck and back are black as are the outer parts of the thighs. The throat patch, breast and belly are white. In breeding plumage it has a few white feathers on the sides of head and neck.

Breeding occurs year round with a peak in November/December. The nest made of guano is build on flat surfaces on offshore islands or remote headlands. There are up to 3 nests per square meter in high density colonies. The Guanay Cormorant lays two or three eggs of approximately 63x40mm in size.

It feeds mainly on the Peruvian anchoveta, Engraulis ringens and the Peruvian silverside Odontesthes regia which thrive in the cold Humboldt Current. The Guanay Cormorant is the main producer of guano.
Habitat loss/degradation and over-fishing have resulted in a steady decline of the population of about 30% from an estimated figure of 3 Million birds in 1984. This species is listed as NT (near threatened) by IUCN. (References: Wikipedia, BirdLife International)


Yesss!!! This is one of the first things I learnt!

In January 2007 I visited the Paracas Natural Reserve (Ica-Peru)
I didn't know I would get interested in birdwatching a few months later, but even then I took a few pictures to keep the memory. Today, I was sorting out my pics and found them!

Following the advice I received so far (thank you 'bo' the Fat Birder!) I looked for one of the birds online, it wasn't easy to find (remember I am a beginner!) but when I got it I was sooo excited!!! I found this guy by the Pacific Ocean in Paracas beach fishing for lunch!

Some of what I found on Wikipedia (making reference to BirdLife International (2004). Egretta thula. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern. Stiles and Skutch, A guide to the birds of Costa Rica ISBN 0-8014-9600-4. National Geographic, Field Guide to the Birds of North America ISBN 0-7922-6877-6):

The Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) is a small white heron. It is the American counterpart to the very similar Old World Little Egret, which has established a foothold in the Bahamas.
Adults are typically 61 cm long and weigh 375 g. They have a slim black bill and long black legs with yellow feet. The area of the upper bill, in front of the eyes, is yellow but turns red during the breeding season, when the adults also gain recurved plumes on the back, making for a "shaggy" effect. The juvenile looks similar to the adult, but the base of the bill is paler, and a green or yellow line runs down the back of the legs.
Their breeding habitat is large inland and coastal wetlands from the lower Great Lakes and southwestern United States to South America. They nest in colonies, often with other waders, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs. Their flat, shallow nests are made of sticks and lined with fine twigs and rushes. Three to four greenish-blue, oval eggs are incubated by both adults. The young leave the nest in 20 to 25 days and hop about on branches near the nest before finally departing.
In warmer locations, some Snowy Egret are permanent residents; northern populations migrate to Central America and the West Indies. They may wander north after the breeding season, very rarely venturing to western Europe—the first bird sighted in Britain wintered in Scotland from 2001–2002.

The birds eat fish, crustaceans, and insects. They stalk prey in shallow water, often running or shuffling their feet, flushing prey into view, as well "dip-fishing" by flying with their feet just over the water. Snowy Egrets may also stand still and wait to ambush prey, or hunt for insects stirred up by domestic animals in open fields.

At one time, the beautiful plumes of the Snowy Egret were in great demand by market hunters as decorations for women's hats. This reduced the population of the species to dangerously low levels.
Now it is protected by law, under the
Migratory Bird Treaty Act, this bird's population has rebounded.

National bird of Peru!!!

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Cotingidae

Genus: Rupicola
Species: R. Peruviana

This is the national bird of Peru, called the Cock-of-the-rock, and it is a South American cotingid
It can be found in tropical and subtropical rain forests close to rocky areas, where they build their nests. Just like other cotingids it has complex court behaviour, performing impressive lek
The males are magnificent, not only because of their bright-orange or reddish colours, but because of the very prominent fan shaped crests they have, they are polygamous. They are wary animals and feed, basically, on fruits and nuts.
There are two different species of Cock-of-the-rocks, the
Andean Cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruviana, shown in this picture) and the Guianan Cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola rupicola), both species found only in the northern part of South America.
The Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Rupicola peruviana is a medium-sized, approx. 32cm (12½ in) long, passerine
with a large disk-like crest and scarlet or brilliant orange plumage. It has black tail and wings. The female is significantly darker and browner than the male and has a shorter crest.

Some facts retrieved from "
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cock-of-the-rock". BirdLife International (2004). Rupicola peruvianus. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 29 October 2006.


I started my research today, and found this on YouTube - I start with my homeland: PERU! (I miss home!!!)