EL PAUJIL RESERVE
|# Excl Vagrants:||470|
|# Near Endemics:||15|
|Habitat: Humid lowland forest|
ABOUT THE BIRDING
El Paujil Reserve is located in the middle of the Magdalena Valley of Colombia. The 1200-hectare reserve was created to protect the critically endangered Blue-billed Curassow, a bird of lowland humid forest. Very little of this forest remains in the Magdalena Valley. The curassow is a quite difficult bird to find, and it may take several days to come across one. The local rangers sometimes have an idea where the birds are located and occasionally know where there is a nest. The population is increasing every year but the bird remains hard to see. The Riverside Trail supposedly offers the best chance to see the curassow, and the higher one climbs the better the chances are.
Relatively few trails are present in the reserve, and much of the best birding is along the loop road. Other very good birds in the reserve include the endemic White-mantled Barbet, Beautiful Woodpecker, and Sooty Ant-Tanager are all regularly seen. Another endemic, Northern Screamer, is sometimes seen en route to the reserve. Other commonly seen birds of the forest are Black-chested Jay, Bare-crowned Antbird, White-bearded Manakin, Yellow-browed Shrike-Vireo, Black-bellied Wren, Plain-colored Tanager, and Orange-crowned Oriole. Less common are Marbled Wood-Quail, Ruby-Topaz Hummingbird, Barred Puffbird, Black Antshrike, Black-billed Flycatcher, Western Striped Manakin, Slate-throated Gnatcatcher, and Scarlet-browed Tanager. In addition to birds, the forest is home for Variegated Spider-Monkeys, one of the rarest primates in the world.
Marshy areas provide habitat for Gray-necked Wood-Rail, White-throated Crake, Russet-crowned Crakes, Beautiful Woodpecker, and various other species. Adjacent riverine forest is a good place to find Colombian Chachalaca and Crested Owl. Hummingbird feeders around the lodge attract Pale-bellied Hermit, Stripe-throated Hermit, Violet-bellied Hummingbird, and Shining-green Hummingbird.
LOCATION OF SITE
El Paujil Reserve is reached by a 2-hour drive from Puerto Boyaco to Puerto Pinzon followed by a 30-min boat ride when water levels are sufficient or 20-min drive with 4x4 vehicle. It takes about 5 hours to reach the reserve from Victoria.