Any passionate birdwatcher or avian researcher knows that a forest with a diverse array of habitats is a likely treasure trove of brilliant, rare and charismatic avifauna. The Los Amigos Biological Station and reserve managed by Amazon Conservation in southeast Peru is just such a place. Situated in two floodplains, with terra firme, bamboo and palm swamp habitats, Los Amigos is home to almost 600 bird species, almost a third of the total number of birds registered in Peru!
Los Amigos is not only a biodiversity hotspot, but is also a biological corridor connecting millions of acres of Protected Areas, including Manu National Park, the Reserve for Indigenous People in Isolation and the Tambopata National Reserve. Its conservation is critical to a thriving Amazon rainforest, and the diversity of bird species found there. As stewards of this vital bird habitat, we have a responsibility and opportunity to better understand bird wildlife, and enhance conservation efforts among birdwatchers, young scientists, and conservationists that visit us year after year. To this end, Amazon Conservation recently launched the Los Amigos Bird Observatory (LABO) program. LABO’s vision is to develop Los Amigos as a key site for birdwatching, ornithological research, and avian conservation in the southwestern Amazon, contributing to the protection of the over 360,000 acres of forest.
As part of this new program, we have begun research on tinamous, a group of forest-dwelling birds that are only found in the Neotropics. As home to 11 of the 47 total tinamou species, Los Amigos is an epicenter of diversity for this group. This research aims to assess habitat selection of the tinamou community, through camera traps and audiovisual surveys, among four main habitat types. This is one of the many avian research projects that will be conducted at Los Amigos through LABO’s Jonathan Franzen Fellowship Program. This program seeks to train the next generation of avian researchers by selecting passionate young scientists who see bird conservation as their career path. We are working with accomplished and well-known avian scientists and conservationists, including Dan Lebbin, PhD (Vice President of International Programs at American Bird Conservancy), Rich Hoyer (birding guide at WINGS), David Winkler, PhD. (Cornell University), and more, to provide technical expertise to the program and assist in selecting and supporting fellows. We are in the process of recruiting talented and passionate candidates to start their projects in 2018.
Plan a trip to Los Amigos to experience this birding hotspot for yourself!