SCIENTIFIC NAME:Setophaga coronata POPULATION: 150 million TREND: Increasing HABITAT: Breeds in coniferous and mixed forests; winters in a variety of open and second-growth habitats.
The Yellow-rumped Warbler is one of the most widespread and well-known warblers in North America. Birders affectionately refer to this species as “butter-butt,” since its bright yellow rump is an eye-catching and diagnostic field mark throughout the year. Adults also have a yellow crown patch, most obvious in adult males. This bird’s species name, coronata, means crowned.
North America is home to two migratory Yellow-rumped Warbler groups that are sometimes considered separate species: the “Myrtle” Warbler of eastern and far-northwestern North America and the “Audubon’s” Warbler of the West. The two groups hybridize where their ranges meet in southwestern Canada, and were combined into a single species in 1973, named the Yellow-rumped Warbler.
The Blue-billed Curassow is one of the birds closest toextinctionin the Americas. It belongs to a group of large, ground-dwelling tropical birds that are closely related to turkeys. Some say the birds are just as tasty as domestic turkeys, and unfortunately, harvesting the birds and eggs for food is an ongoing problem.
Blue-billed Curassow populations have also declined dramatically due tohabitat loss. Huge areas of lowland forest in the bird’s former range have been razed for livestock and crops, illegal coca farms, oil extraction, and mining. Although the species has been seen infrequently at other sites in Colombia, theAlliance for Zero Extinctionhas recognized a small portion of the Magdalena Valley as most critical for the curassow’s survival. This appears to be home to one of the last viable populations for the species.
The gregarious Pinyon Jay, known by the folk name Blue Crow, is so closely tied to the life cycle of coniferous trees that it’s even named for its favorites, the pinyon pines.
This crestless jay of southwestern pine and juniper forests is the only representative of its genus, Gymnorhinus, which means “bare nostrils.” Unlike many of its close relatives such as the Blue Jay and Common Raven, the Pinyon Jay lacks feathers at the base of its bill to cover its nostrils.
The Canudos Biological Station, located in Brazil’s Bahia Department, is a pioneering initiative managed by Biodiversitas Foundation that protects one of the planet’s most endangered and admired birds, theLear’s Macaw(EN). Thanks to focused conservation efforts, the species’ numbers have increased from a few dozen in the late 1980s to approximately 1,700 today. The 3,274-acre reserve is striking: Its sandstone canyons are weathered into odd forms, cloaked in Caatinga habitat with giant cacti and unique flora, including the Licuri Palm, an important food for the macaw.
To see the Lear’s Macaw, go during the breeding season (March to May) and be prepared to rise before dawn. Guides at the reserve, employed from the local community, will lead you to see flocks of these large, noisy, dazzling blue birds as they flap past the dramatic red sandstone canyons where they roost and nest.
SCIENTIFIC NAME:Andigena hypoglauca POPULATION: Unknown IUCN STATUS: Near Threatened TREND: Decreasing HABITAT: Cloud forest in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.
The colorful Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan inhabits chilly, damp, mountainous terrain, unlike its larger lowland relatives theChannel-billedandKeel-billedToucans. In fact, its genus name Andigena means “coming from the Andes Mountains” — a nod to this toucan’s sloping habitat.
The Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan can be differentiated from the three other mountain-toucan species by its red-, yellow-, and black-banded bill and, in one subspecies, its piercing yellow eyes.