El Silencio Reserve Growth Advantages Critically Endangered Species and a Beloved US – Nesting Songbird

Thanks to a powerful alliance formed by World Land Trust, Saving Nature, American Bird Conservancy, and Rainforest Trust, and local land owners (La Zebra and Tierra y Río), the Colombian conservation organization Fundación Biodiversa Colombia was able to secure 3,839 acres, almost doubling the size of its El Silencio Natural Reserve to 6,844 acres.

This latest land acquisition connects the area’s two main forest patches through wildlife corridors, protecting the largest contiguous forest in the Magdalena Valley in northern Colombia. This habitat is of great importance to the Critically Endangered Brown Spider Monkey and Blue-billed Curassow, as well as three other threatened and endemic monkey species, Lowland Tapirs, cats including Puma, Ocelot, and Jaguar, nearly 300 bird species, endangered hardwood trees, and other wildlife. In addition, the reserve’s wetlands and riparian forests are important for the Magdalena River Turtle, American Manatee, American Crocodile, and fish species of great economic value to local communities. These same riparian forests at El Silencio are key wintering areas for Prothonotary Warblers, which nest in the eastern United States.

In research published in The Condor: Ornithological Applications in 2019, Christopher Tonra at Ohio State University and colleagues analyzed geolocator tag data from Prothonotary Warblers and found that most birds recovered wintered in the area of Colombia’s Magdalena River Valley.

Blue-billed Currasow, copyright Brian R Field, from the surfbirds galleries

In 2020, a Blue-billed Curassow was videotaped along a path bordering a forest restoration plot within El Silencio Reserve, raising hope that these birds now frequent recently restored habitat on former pasture lands.

“This is very exciting, not only because this proves the success of the restoration objective, but also because it is really close to the research station, which will allow us to study and observe the species more easily,” says Fernando Arbalaez, Executive Director of Fundación Biodiversa Colombia.

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