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(WASHINGTON D.C.) - Recently, a group of American birdwatchers were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime sighting when they observed the rare Peruvian Long-whiskered Owlet, a species previously seen only by a handful of people.
This owlet is so rare that it wasn’t even discovered until 1976, and since then, the bird seems to generally prefer to be out of sight and out of mind, including a 26-year period without any confirmed sightings at all. But in a seven-week period between September 21 and November 8, 2010, six tour groups, including visitors from the USA, Canada, the UK, Holland, Costa Rica, and Sweden, have seen the owlet near the Owlet Ecolodge at the Abra Patricia Reserve in northern Peru. The species’ habitat has been protected there by American Bird Conservancy and its Peruvian partner ECOAN.
The scientific name for the Long-whiskered Owlet - Xenoglaux loweryi - means “strange owl” and refers to its small size, long bristles around the beak, and delicate feathers extending into “whiskers” outwards from the face.
“The fact that the Long-whiskered Owlet is nocturnal, only lives in this area, and exists in very small numbers means that the visitors had a very exciting, once-in-a-lifetime birding experience. We are now starting to understand more about its habits and hopefully in the future more people will be able to see this, one of the ultimate birds for any birder” said Sara Lara, International Programs Director for American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the leading bird conservation organization in the United States.
Abra Patricia was first established in 2005 by ECOAN with support from ABC. It now totals over 7,400 acres, with an adjacent 17,000 acre conservation concession and features the Owlet Ecolodge, along with many miles of excellent hiking trails, hummingbird feeders, and a canopy observation tower. Reserve rangers discovered a new Owlet territory roughly 1.5 miles from the lodge in July 2010. During July and August, ECOAN prepared new trails to access this area, which facilitated the recent owl sightings by the tourists.
Access to the trail is tightly controlled. Group size is restricted to six people maximum, and visitors must be accompanied by reserve rangers. If owlets do not respond to taped playback of an owl calling after two attempts, visitors are moved on to a different territory in order to minimize disturbance to these birds.
Despite such incredible recent success rates, local rangers caution that this owl remains a challenge to see, as do many other nocturnal birds. As more observations occur, reserve staff may be able to predict times when the owlet may be more likely to be seen. If you are interested in visiting the Owlet Ecolodge to see this bird, it is recommended to stay multiple nights to maximize your chances. Other nocturnal birds seen or heard from the lodge’s trails include the Cinnamon Screech-Owl, White-throated Screech-Owl, and Rufous-banded Owl, among others. For more information about visiting this reserve, please see http://www.
The Long-whiskered Owlet is ranked as Endangered under IUCN-World Conservation Union criteria due to its restricted range (approximately 73 square miles or 55,000 acres) and the high rate of deforestation that threatens its remaining habitat. The Owlet is mainly known from the mountains around Abra Patricia, triggering recognition by the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) of this area as one of 587 sites worldwide where conservation is critical to prevent species extinctions. AZE is comprised of 68 organizations from 18 countries who seek to prevent extinctions by identifying and safeguarding key sites worldwide where species are in imminent danger of disappearing. Because of its extremely high levels of endemism, Peru has the world’s third highest number of AZE sites (36) after Mexico (68) and Colombia (46).
The Abra Patricia Reserve is also part of the Latin American Bird Reserve Network created by ABC and its international partners. The network includes 44 reserves protecting 750,000 acres in 12 countries, many of which are featured on the website Conservation Birding - www.conservationbirding.org - which encourages tourists to visit these unique places to see the birds of a lifetime, such as the Long Whiskered Owlet, while supporting conservation.
American Bird Conservancy (www.abcbirds.org) conserves native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas by safeguarding the rarest species, conserving and restoring habitats, and reducing threats while building capacity of the bird conservation movement. ABC is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit membership organization that is consistently awarded a top, four-star rating by the independent group, Charity Navigator.
Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN, www.ecoanperu.org), protects threatened flora and fuana, implements conservation strategies in coordination with local communities and local institutions, believing that communities must ultimately be the perfect allies for conservation. ECOAN is recognized as a leading conservation organization nationally in Peru and internationally for their results achieved. ECOAN believes “the practice of conservation is our sacred flag and mission.”
Turistas Estadunidenses dan una corta mirada al misterioso Búho Peruano: Muy pocos han podido ver el “ Extraño Buho” del Bosque de Niebla – una de las Aves Más Difícil de Ver en el Mundo.
Este búho es tan raro que fue descubierto en 1976, y desde entonces, el ave parece preferir en fuera del alcance de la vista, además, incluye un período de 26 años sin ningún tipo de avistamientos confirmados. Pero en un período de siete semanas entre el 21 de septiembre y 8 de noviembre del 2010, seis grupos de turistas incluyendo visitantes de los EE.UU., Canadá, Reino Unido, Holanda, Costa Rica y Suecia, han visto a la lechucita cerca del Albergue Lechucita Bigotona, en la reserva privada de Abra Patricia en el norte del Perú. El haábitat de la especie viene siendo protegido por American Bird Conservancy y su socio en Peru ECOAN.
El nombre científico de la Lechucita Bigotona - Xenoglaux loweryi - significa "búho extraño" y se refiere a su pequeño tamaño, bigote largo alrededor del pico y plumas delicadas que se extienden como "bigotes" hacia el exterior de la cara.
American Bird Conservancy (www.abcbirds.org) conserva aves nativas y sus hábitats a lo largo de las Américas para salvaguardar las especies más raras, conservando y restaurando los hábitats, y reduciendo las amenazas, mientras se va creando capacidades dentro del movimiento de la conservación de las aves. ABC es una organización 501 (c) (3) organización sin fines de lucro, miembro con un alto reconocimiento que supera las cuatro estrellas por el grupo independiente: Charity
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