Bird of the Week
By Wilson Diaz
With this post we started a new series of publications devoted to introduce to our friends (you) the most astonishing, beautiful, or rarest birds we see and photograph each week.
This week's special bird is the birder's well sought Jelski's Chat-Tyrant (Silvicultrix jelskii, syn. Ochthoeca jelskii), a small passerine of the new world that inhabits the border of montane forest, secondary woodland and adjacent shrubby areas between 1300 - 3400 meters in Ecuador and Perú. It appears to be rare to uncommon along its distribution range, with a few exceptions where it seems to be fairly common (mostly in Ecuador).
One of the most popular destinations for birders looking for this species in northern Perú is the road between the cities of Cajamarca and Celendín, but very few sightings have been recorded recently. This week, we explored a very few visited area of montane humid forest located about one hour drive northeast from the city of Cajamarca. The site is a mix of humid forest and pastures, with at least 30 Ha of well preserved forest, at an elevation between 3100 and 3500 meters on the western slope of the Marañon valley.
We used a playback song to call the bird, and to our amazement, the birds responded very quickly. We started at 3500 meters at two different places, and had a pair of birds responding to the playback at each place. Then we tried again at 3100 meters, and again, we had a quick response. It seems the species is fairly common in the area since we visited the place on two different occasions and had the same results (our first visit was in June 2017).
We are planning to return to the area this December to continue our evaluation, hopping the population of the species is big enough to establish a conservation project for the species. The owners of the area are open to conservation and have stopped felling the forest, but they need financial support to face the challenge of conservation.
At Green Tours we will continue working for the conservation of nature for the well being of birds and people. Please keep following the posts on our blog as we work on the development of a strategy for the conservation of this species in northern Peru.
Farnsworth, A. & Langham, G. (2017). Jelski's Chat-tyrant (Silvicultrix jelskii). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/57401 on 11 October 2017).