[crb_slide image=”https://www.rainforesttrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/1-5.jpg” credits=”Photo by Beth Hoffman” title=”” text=””]
January 5, 2015
Ecuador’s Narupa Reserve has been the site of several important bird sightings that underline the reserve’s effectiveness in protecting wildlife.
Within the space of several weeks two Harpy Eagles and a large flock of threatened Military Macaws were spotted in the reserve.
The Harpy Eagles, an adult and juvenile, were observed by forest guard Mario Pilataxi deep inside the reserve at an elevation of approximately 4,000 feet.
| Harpy Eagle
© Brian Gratwicke/Flickr
| Narupa Reserve
© Beth Hoffman/Flickr
“It’s almost unheard of for the Harpy to be recorded at so high an elevation, and the fact that two individuals – including a young bird – seems to indicate that an eyrie [nest] of this spectacular eagle, the largest in the world, can’t be too far away,” said Dr. Robert S. Ridgely, President of Rainforest Trust.
Harpy Eagles inhabit the highest reaches of rainforest canopies, typically at elevations of 3,000 feet and lower. The Harpy Eagle is the largest and most powerful raptor found in the Americas, and among the largest living Eagle species in the world.
Destruction of tropical forests, however, has caused a decline in Harpy Eagle populations and the species is now almost extinct in Central America.
The Narupa Reserve, located in Ecuador’s Napo Province, protects 1,871 acres of rainforest in the foothills of the Eastern Andes. Narupa is the confirmed home to over over 300 bird species.
Several weeks before his encounter with the Harpy Eagles, Pilataxi made another important sighting when he observed a flock of 21 Military Macaws in the reserve.
The sighting, which was only the second of Military Macaws to take place in the protected area, suggests that the reserve may be home to a growing flock.
Numbering less than 10,000 globally, Military Macaws are now a threatened species. The population and distribution of these Macaws has decreased significantly over the last fifty years, primarily due to deforestation and the illegal pet trade. Military Macaws form large flocks and can live more than 50 years.
Ridgely believes that a nest may exist within the reserve and reports that Pilataxi has plans to search for it in the near future.
In addition to Military Macaws, four other globally threatened species have been recorded in the Narupa Reserve. This includes its flagship species, the Cerulean Warbler, a long-distance migrant that breeds in eastern North America and spends the winter in northwestern South America.
Several large mammals of note have also been detected in the reserve. Camera traps have confirmed the presences of Pumas, Ocelots, and Brazilian Tapirs.