“Black-browed albatrosses nest by the thousands in the remote Falkland Islands. With few crowds or restrictions, this archipelago comprising 778 islands and islets 300 miles (483 kilometers) off the east coast of Patagonia provide an intimate wildlife experience that offers an alternative to that of the more famous Galápagos.”
(White Woodpecker, by Sean Crane) — The White Woodpecker, Melanerpes candidus, is a species of woodpecker (Family Picidae) found in South America. This woodpecker is a native of the grasslands of Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina.
The Wattled Curassow is about 82–89 cm (32–35 in) long, and weighs around 2,500 g (88 oz). It is a large curassow lacking the white tail-tips found in many of these birds; the feathers along the crest of its head are curled forwards. Males have black plumage all over except for the white crissum (area between legs and tail). It has conspicuous crimson bill ornaments—a round red knob with bony core adorns the maxilla base, while the cere extends apically at least halfway under this knob and below the mandible base forms a small fleshy wattle.
It has been found from the western and southwestern Amazon Basin of Brazil west to the Andes foothills of southeastern Colombia, eastern Ecuador and Peru, and northern Bolivia. Its area of occurrence is essentially delimited by the Caquetá-Japurá, Solimões, Amazon and Madeira Rivers, and the 300 meter contour line towards the Andes. But its precise distribution is very little-known; most populations were observed by people travelling along the rivers in its range.
The stocky, dark-brown Royal Cinclodes is an extreme habitat specialist, found only in the moss-covered understory of Polylepis woodlands high in the Andes of southern Peru and northern Bolivia. This Polylepis habitat is severely threatened by local inhabitants, who harvest the trees for firewood, while their grazing animals and fires inhibit the natural regeneration of these slow-growing trees.
In Bolivia, ABC has worked with partners Asociación Armonia and Insituto de Ecologia to plant 10,000 trees and install hundreds of improved wood-burning stoves in order to reduce two communities’ dependence on Polylepis for fuel. In Peru, ABC and partner ECOAN have worked with over 20 communities in the Vilcanota Mountains near Cuzco to restore and protect Polyelpis forests. An estimated 127 Royal Cinclodes live in these mountains, comprising the majority of the species’ distribution.
Vilcanota project successes include the creation of seven community-owned reserves totaling over 15,635 acres over 400,000 Polylepis saplings planted to restore natural forests. Beginning in 2012, the project will receive funding from an endowment fund created in 2010 benefiting local communities and the Royal Cinclodes, along with other Polylepis specialists such as the White-browed Tit-Spinetail.
ABC is working with local partners and communities to protect Polylepis woodlands where the Royal Cinclodes lives in both Peru and Bolivia and is helping to create a binational conservation plan for this species.