Daily Archives: June 13, 2014

Bolivian birds 101: URGENT need for a Field Guide!

Bolivia is considered a mega diverse country, as such we have important bird species in our territory, and we need a field guide:

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What will be achieved by this field guide?

Discover the main aims of the Birds of Bolivia Field Guide and how it will help local people

1. Raising environmental awareness

2014-06-12 11.20.07 amBolivia is one of the “poorest” nations in South America struggling with a weak economy, rapid population growth, and environmental destruction. This means the country is seeking ways to develop quickly.

Recent development centered around global precedents such as production of petroleum products, large scale farming and ranching, and destruction of natural resources such as timber. But there is another, more modern movement in Bolivia trying to follow a sustainable path.

Unfortunately, the reference base for this kind of cultural growth is very weak. Many Bolivians are neither aware that they live in one of the world’s biologically richest countries, nor that this may offer economic benefits in the way of sustainable ecotourism. This is why raising environmental awareness amongst our people is central to our mission.

2. Ecotourism supporting our economy

For many countries bird watching forms an important segment in local, regional, and national economies. In the United States alone, some US$82 billion are spent annually by 48 million birders on bird watching trips and equipment. Imagine what a tiny proportion of those funds could achieve in Bolivia.

The non-existence of a Bolivian bird guide keeps the country off the foreign bird watchers’ want list or discourages many from visiting Bolivia, simply because they would feel uncomfortable and insecure identifying birds without a proper guide covering the entire country.

Undoubtedly, the publication of a Bolivian bird guide will significantly increase the number of foreign birders that travel to Bolivia. In light of this, helping Bolivians improve their ecotourism ventures and the training of naturalist guides is an essential part of our vision.

3. Training of naturalist guides

Even the most talented Bolivian ornithology students know only a small portion of their nation’s bird species. Why?

Their continued learning is hampered by the lack of appropriate literature; the majority of field guides on birds are published solely in English and many Bolivian bird enthusiasts lack sufficient knowledge of the language.

This is assuming they can afford to buy a bird guide, which is unlikely. The average cost of most titles is equivalent to half the minimum monthly wage in Bolivia. Producing Spanish language natural history guides to Bolivia’s wildlife at an affordable cost is critical to increasing conservation knowledge and action.

Once we’ve achieved all this, we can begin creating a momentum for conservation action within Bolivia. This has the power to save numerous species and their habitats from becoming threatened with extinction.

What do we need for success?

The past eight years of our intermittent, ongoing work on the project have been completed with funds granted by:

Swiss Development Agency COSUDE
WWF Bolivia
Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (through funds provided by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)
Fundación Amigos de la Naturaleza (FAN Bolivia)
Swedish Ornithological Society
Alfonso Escajadillo O’Connor

Top 8 Bolivian bird facts

Discover more about the birds of Boliva and why the country should be a top bird watching destination

Species diversity

2014-06-12 11.31.05 amWith a total of 1430 species recorded to date, Bolivia is the fifth richest Neotropical country and the sixth richest country globally in terms of bird diversity

High endemism

Bolivia has 17 endemics, plus an additional 12 species that are nearly endemic and thus best observed in Bolivia

World leader

Bolivia is the most species-rich landlocked country in the world for birds

Species density

When excluding marine birds and considering land area encompassed within national boundaries, bird species density (number of species per 1000 km2) in Bolivia (1.29) is very similar to that of Peru (1.35) and Colombia (1.54), and over six times greater than that of Brazil (0.20) – and 33 times greater than that of North America (0.04)!

Spectacular macaws

Bolivia is home to no less than 12 species of macaws (two of them being endemic) – more than any other country on Earth

Wildlife-rich parks

Bolivia is home to the world’s richest protected area, Madidi National Park, which is less than half the size of Costa Rica, but harbors more bird species than the country does

Breathtaking landscapes

Bolivia is a country of breathtaking landscapes, ecoregional extremes, and ecoregional transitions, ranging from lush Amazonian rain forest in the north to arid Chaco thorn scrub in the south – from dripping wet cloud and elfin forest to inter-Andean cactus forest or bone-dry southern Puna grassland and extensive salt flats – from Cerrado and seasonally inundated grassland at almost sea level to glacier fields on high-Andean peaks

Preserved habitats

Most ecoregions and habitats are still fairly well preserved compared to other Neotropical countries, providing for unique bird watching experiences

Makes you wonder why you haven’t been bird watching in Bolivia before, doesn’t it?

Discover more

– Download your copy of the Birds of Bolivia Checklist

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– Despite the generous support of these organizations and individuals, we still need your help to reach the finish line. Help support this project today »


Need say no more, but to visit this wonderful site and give them the support they SO rightfully need!