A total of 56 Christmas Bird Counts were conducted in Central and South America during the 115th Season—four in Brazil, 28 in Colombia, eight in Costa Rica, six in Ecuador, one in El Salvador, one in Guatemala, three in Nicaragua, the traditional four in Panama, and the long-standing count on Trinidad.  Included in those totals are four new counts; three in Colombia (Antioquia Oriente, Sur de Bogotá, Bogotá, and Pamplona, Norte de Santander) and one in Nicaragua (Paso del Itsmo Biological Corridor, Rivas).  The vast majority of the over 2100 species tallied by all counts in the 115th CBC were from Latin America, and each new CBC circle here can provide many new additions to the cumulative Christmas Bird Count database.  Once again Yanayacu, Ecuador reached the highest species total for the season (at 529), highlighting the incredible diversity of life in the New World Tropics.  Many of the counts in the region have been conducted since CBCs were first accepted from outside the United States and Canada beginning in the 73rd CBC, and this season the La Selva, Costa Rica count celebrated their 30th anniversary—congratulations!

 

This season, Gloria Lentijo, Audubon’s representative in Colombia who coordinates all the CBCs there, has written an overall summary for that country.  Colombia now has the third most CBC circles included in the database, after the United States and Canada, and it’s no small job for Gloria and her team to cover such an impressive percentage of this incredibly diverse country!

During the 115th season in Colombia, 28 circles were covered by 29 parties containing 290 participants. Counters registered 618 species and 23,174 individuals.

The 10 most common species are showed in Table 1. There were 86 species for which only one individual was tallied.

Species

Number of  Individuals

Cattle Egret
Bubulcus ibis

1061

Blue-winged Teal
Anas discors

895

Eared Dove
Zenaida auriculata

856

Black Vulture
Coragyps atratus

736

Whispering Ibis
Phimosus infuscatus

708

American Coot
Fulica americana

682

Brown-bellied Swallow
Orochelidon murina

624

Rufous-collared Sparrow
Zonotrichia capensis

590

Great Thrush
Turdus fuscater

481

Shiny Cowbird

Molothrus bonariensis

423

 

Twenty-one threatened birds for Colombia were counted during the season: two species Critically Endangered (CR), eight species Endangered (EN), six species Vulnerable (VU) and five species Near Threatened (NT) (Table 2).

Species

Number of Individuals

Threatened Species Category

Yellow-billed Pintail

Anas georgica

3

EN

Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan

Andigena hypoglauca

1

VU

Black-billed Mountain-Toucan

Andigena nigrirostris

3

NT

Northern Screamer

Chauna chavaria

2

VU

Black Inca

Coeligena prunellei

3

EN

Olive-sided Flycatcher

Contopus cooperi

2

NT

Horned Lark

Eremophila alpestris

3

EN

Black-thighed Puffleg

Eriocnemis derbyi

12

NT

Spot-flanked Gallinule

Gallinula melanops

34

CR

Brown-banded Antpitta

Grallaria milleri

3

EN

Bicolored Antpitta

Grallaria rufocinerea

3

VU

Rusty-faced Parrot

Hapalopsittaca amazonina

4

VU

Red-bellied Grackle

Hypopyrrhus pyrohypogaster

23

EN

Golden-plumed Parakeet

Leptosittaca branickii

24

VU

Mountain Grackle

Macroagelaius subalaris

30

CR

Chestnut Wood-Quail

Odontophorus hyperythrus

3

NT

Ruddy Duck

Oxyura jamaicensis

109

EN

Brown-breasted Parakeet

Pyrrhura calliptera

4

VU

Bogota Rail

Rallus semiplumbeus

10

EN

Andean Condor

Vultur gryphus

1

EN

Yellow-headed Manakin

Xenopipo flavicapilla

1

NT

 

Forty-five migratory species from North America were tallied on counts in Colombia, of which Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors), Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra), Blackburnian Warbler (Setophaga fusca), and Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria) where most abundant.

Three new circles were added for Colombia this year: Antioquia Oriente, Pamplona (Norte de Santander) and Sur de Bogotá (Cundinamarca), bringing the total to 63 circles subscribed in Audubon’s database.

Colombia now has eight years of continuous data in Audubon’s database. During this season, the amount of circles counted increased to 28, compared to 19 during the 114th count. However, guaranteeing continuity on data collection on the subscribed circles is still one of the main challenges for the CBCs in Colombia, as well as strengthening the capacity of small ornithological groups to increase coverage. According to data registered in Audubon, out of 63 circles, only 14 have been counted more than six seasons and 35 have data only for three years or less.

On the other hand, during 2015 we had an important advancement in our process to organize existing data. With support of Universidad Javeriana and Sociedad Caldense de Ornitología, a student assistant was able to organize and debug Colombian database with the available data since 2001.  The next challenge will be to include old data in Audubon’s database.

 

Additionally, following here are a few sage comments by other compilers in the region.

From Liliana Chavarria Duriaux at Reserva El Jaguar, Nicaragua:  Strong winds, overcast weather and persistent rain did not damper the enthusiasm and determination of the birders participating in the CBC El Jaguar count. In spite of all odds, 184 species were seen and 9 were new to the count.

From Sally Gladstone at Sierritas de Managua, Nicaragua: Count 115 is the first of nine consecutive counts to expand from 2 count points to 8. Two of these new points were at higher elevations, hence a few new species were found, and broader habitat coverage was achieved with the expanded number of points. Comparisons between years in terms of total species number and also specific species found should take this development into consideration.

It should be noted that our count circle still does not include any bodies of water.

From Eric Von Horstman at Cerro Blanco-Chongon-Puerto Hondo Estuary, Ecuador:  Light rains before the count facilitated the overall count number with singing birds.  The destruction of an artificial fresh water lake influenced the number of shorebird species observed.  Although not included in the list, six Great Green Macaws in the process of adaptation will be shortly released back into the wild in the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest, hopefully bolstering the numbers of the wild population which we hope will be reflected in next year´s count.

From RhoAnn Wallace at Rio Upano, Morona-Santiago, Ecuador:  This year was a great success.  Local birders from Ecuador made a huge effort traveling to Macas to donate their eye skills...

With the help of the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Tourism here in Ecuador the ECRU count is slowing but surely becoming a fun event that young and old are looking forward to each year.  Can't wait for the next one!

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