This handguide for birdwatchers in Colombia has been inspired by renowned biologists who came to our country over the course of many years to study and appreciate birds.
Colombian biologist Fernando Ayerbe Quiñones first discovered the wonderful world of birdwatching as a child out walking with his uncle “Pacho” in his native Bolivar, a municipality in the department of Cauca in southern Colombia.
Due to its geography, Bolivar is home to very few bird species. “You can see all the birds in just two weeks, as the deforested area means there’s little wooded cover,” says Fernando, who had to travel further afield to watch cotingas, pripidos, toucans and other species.
During his travels, Fernando became familiar with Steven L. Hilty’s “A Guide to the Birds of Colombia” – for many years the only available resource for birdwatching in the country. The book, published in 1986, was considered a treasure trove of information, although it did contain significant gaps relating to behavior and habitat of species.
After deciding to study biology, Fernando immersed himself in the wonderful world of birdwatching in Colombia. While participating in different activities to identify bird species, Fernando discovered his innate talent for illustration, later reflected in his first two books on Colombian tanagers and hummingbirds.
With his expert knowledge, Fernando created A Field Guide to the Birds of Colombia, an ambitious handbook that involved trips to regions where little research had been conducted on bird species, such as the Guyanese Shield, south of the Vichada plains and Mitú in the Putumayo. Because of Fernando’s conservation work, you now have access to information about previously undiscovered places, such as Chibiriquete/Chiribiquete in the Amazon Basin.
Aware of the challenge of creating a birdwatching guide in Colombia, Fernando decided that the information that he used for the book would be based on his own, firsthand findings.
With his background in illustration, the biologist immersed himself in a project that took almost two years to complete. His guide to birdwatching in Colombia has made it much easier for readers to understand and observe birds, meaning birdwatchers can identify species far more quickly while out in the field.
In addition to its illustrations, A Field Guide to the Birds of Colombia includes the names of bird species in Spanish and English, species distribution maps, altitudinal ranges, species sizes, iconography associated with species and subspecies and information about endemic, erratic, introduced and hypothetical species and their migratory patterns. The book also contains information about the boreal and austral migratory patterns of Central American subspecies, both endemic and extinct. This is in addition to the two categorizations for Colombia – global categorization and categorization defined in the red book of Colombian birds. Finally, the guide has a helpful color navigation scheme that allows birdwatchers to easily locate bird species.
A Field Guide to the Birds of Colombia – an extraordinary handbook that we urge you to go out and buy. With your support, you’ll be helping people like Fernando Ayerbe Quiñones and organizations such as the Wildlife Conservation Society to continue their invaluable work with the birds of Colombia.