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©Marvelous Spatuletail - Anthony Lujan


Marvelous Spatuletail Project with American Bird Conservancy


        Since 2004, American Bird Conservancy and its partner Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN) have been working in the Amazonas region of northern Peru to protect threatened bird species through land protection and habitat restoration. The Abra Patricia-Alto Nieva Private Conservation Area and Conservation Concession protects nearly 25,000 acres of moist montane forest for species such as the Vulnerable Long-whiskered Owlet and Endangered Ochre-fronted Antpitta. The Huembo Reserve is a 95-acre easement established specifically to protect a small, but important, population of the Endangered Marvelous Spatuletail, arguably the world’s most spectacular hummingbird. We have restored over 2,000 acres through the planting of over 1.3 million trees to benefit resident species and overwintering neotropical migrants, restoring both native forests and creating agricultural landscapes that are friendly to birds and local livelihoods.


        We are constantly on the lookout for new opportunities to protect species that are poorly represented in protected areas, and such an opportunity exists now in the Comunidad Campesina de Cuispes where the community has expressed an interest in protecting 1,100 acres in the headwaters of the spectacular Yumbilla (2,938 feet, world’s fifth tallest) and Chinata (1,914 feet) waterfalls. This is an important tract of habitat for the Marvelous Spatuletail which is restricted to the eastern slopes of the Utcubamba River valley and numbers fewer than 1,000 individuals. If protected, this would constitute the largest area of protected habitat for the species. The mechanism for protection will be the creation of a Private Conservation Area (PCA), which will be owned and managed by the community. ECOAN will work with the community to host a series of workshops to socialize the concept of the protected area and the community’s responsibilities and assist the community in preparing the necessary documents to secure recognition of the site as a protected area by the Servicio Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas por el Estado (SERNANP), the federal agency in charge of the nation’s protected areas. Once it is designated as a PCA, it will become a part of the national system of protected areas. ECOAN will be in a position to initiate this process in Cuispes in the first half of 2023. It will require three years to obtain the decree from SERNANP.


International Hummingbird Society contributions will go towards establishing this new reserve for the Marvelous Spatuletail.

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Thank you for your donations!


©Marvelous Spatuletail - Anthony Lujan

The Marvelous Spatuletail Passage

written by Carole Turek


          The first time I ever heard about the Marvelous Spatuletail hummingbird was when I saw a BBC video narrated by David Attenborough featuring this bird. I must have watched this little clip a hundred times and I became almost obsessed with knowing everything I could about this hummingbird. How I rooted for the little male expending so much energy to impress the female and hoped the female would be as captivated by him as I was.

MS by Carole Turek.jpg

The Marvelous Spatuletail is an endangered hummingbird found within a rather small area in the Andean cloud forest in northern Peru. The male is green and white with a purple crown, blue gorget and a black stripe down its chest. But the tail of the mature male is unique and unmatched in any other hummingbird species. It has only four tail feathers which he can move at will: two long straight ones and two longer ones with large discs on the ends.

Photo credit: Carole Turek, Hummingbird Spot

I have now traveled four times to the Huembo Reserve to see the Marvelous Spatuletail and it has become a yearly tradition, missed only the year of the pandemic. The last thing Santos Montenegro (the manager of the reserve) said to me was "See you next year." This wonderful hummingbird is my totem, my spirit animal. I can't stay away. 

Carole Turek, Hummingbird Spot

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