5 Colombian Birds in Danger of Extinction

In Colombia, the enormous ornithological biodiversity is threatened by human action. Here are the 5 most characteristic examples of this country.
5 Colombian Birds in Danger of Extinction
Sara González Juárez

Written and verified by the psychologist Sara González Juárez.

Last update: 17 December, 2022

We’re talking about the second most biodiverse country in the world: Colombia. Despite the fact that a frightening total of 1203 animal species are threatened, today we’re going to talk about Colombian birds in danger of extinction, because when it comes to talking about threatened species, birds don’t usually get the headlines.

Currently, Colombia is home to almost 2000 species of birds and 122 of them are in danger of extinction. At the end of the day, these animals face climate change, hunting, and many other problems. Let’s get to know some of them better.

Colombian birds in danger of extinction

The birds you’ll find here are endemic to Colombia, that is, they only inhabit this region of the world. Consequently, if they were to disappear, they would disappear from the entire planet and there would be no possibility of recovering them. It’s very important to give them visibility in order to raise awareness about their conservation, so let’s get on with it!

1. Glittering starfrontlet (Coeligena orina)

This species of hummingbird was thought to be extinct until about 50 years ago, when it was rediscovered and immediately protected. Populations, although monitored and protected, are fragmented and declining year by year.

It is now considered endangered (EN), as deforestation is its main threat. In addition, mining in the Páramo de Frontino area is also a problem for this small bird.

A Colombian bird.
Coeligena urine.

2. Apolinar’s wren (Cistothorus apolinari)

This bird populates the wetlands of Cundinamarca and Boyacá and, despite not having striking colors, it’s one of the most emblematic birds in this country. It’s in danger of extinction (EN) due to the progressive disappearance of Colombian wetlands.

Although populations aren’t severely fragmented, the number of breeding individuals is declining, so the next generations are at risk. Their wetlands, in addition to being reduced due to deforestation, also suffer from chemical contamination from wastewater from nearby industries, that is when the animals themselves aren’t directly poisoned with pesticides.

3. Santa Marta Sabrewing (Campylopterus phainopeplus)

Although this hummingbird is Critically Endangered (CR), Colombian researchers believe that it may already be completely extinct or on the verge of extinction. It occupies high altitudes (1200-4800 meters – 0.75 to 3 miles) and is distributed quite widely, but has only been documented once with photographs since 1946. Of all the Colombian birds in danger of extinction, this is by far the most endangered.

Like the rest of the birds on this list, its disappearance is believed to be due to habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation. In the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta only 15% of the original vegetation remains.

Pesticides are also largely to blame, as well as climate change, which has lengthened the dry season.

4. Great green macaw (Ara ambiguus)

This species is unmistakable to the naked eye, both for its bright colors and for its low flight and loud calls. It inhabits the Darén lowlands and the nearby forests of Urabá, where it is considered Critically Endangered (CR). These territories are suffering from savage deforestation that day by day reduces the available space and resources of this psittacine.

The palm oil industry and illegal capture for collecting are the main threats to the great green macaw. Its home is bought, deforested, and occupied with activities for the enrichment of a few humans.

5. Yellow-eared parrot (Ognorhynchus icterotis)

We end the list with good news, this parrot is the clearest recovery success that has been achieved in this country to date. Of all the Colombian birds in danger of extinction, we find the most successful case of all, which has gone from critically endangered to vulnerable status (VU).

Even so, the only population that exists in Cubarral is at serious risk, as sightings have gone from 70 birds to 3 in a matter of 11 years. Many professionals wanted to keep the species in the cataloging of endangered (EN), but has agreed to the vulnerable status and to continue the fight for its conservation.

Let’s keep fighting for the birds

Birds in the eclipse.

There are still many Colombian birds in danger of extinction that we haven’t been able to include in this list, but we want to encourage you to keep informed about the ones we’ve mentioned. The truth is that there are many people who are dedicated to conserving nature, but they often have to face a titanic enemy in the form of industries, companies, and governments.

For many years now, great achievements no longer respond to individual names; it is the strength of all of us that moves society forward.

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