A conservationist has taken the first-ever photos of a living Santa Marta Sabrewing (Campylopterus phainopeplus) in the El Dorado Nature Reserve in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia, reports ProAves, a bird conservation group.
The hummingbird, classified by IUCN as Endangered and endemic to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, is at risk of extinction due to loss of its habitat: native subtropical forest on southern slope of the Sierra Nevada, a coastal mountain range that rises from sea level to nearly 20,000 feet. The species lives at a range of elevations, from 1,200 meters during the dry season to the snow line at 4,800 meters during the warm rainy season.
The first ever photo of a living Santa Marta Sabrewing (Campylopterus phainopeplus) was taken on 24 March by Laura Cardenas beside the new “Condor Observation Tower” ay 1,900 meters (6,200 feet) elevation in the El Dorado Nature Reserve in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. This photograph is the first confirmation of this spectacular hummingbird after over 60 years when the species was collected by ornithologists working in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta at the end of the second world war (in 1946). Caption courtesy of ProAves.
The forests of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta have suffered from cattle ranching, banana plantations, and coca (the plant used for cocaine production) cultivation, although there has been progress in reclaiming land for conservation in recent years on the northern slope. Nevertheless the drier sub-tropical forests are particularly under threat.
“This confirmation of the Santa Marta Sabrewing further emphasizes the national and global importance of the El Dorado Nature Reserve for endemic birds and wildlife,” said ProAves in a statement.