- Summary Info
- Establishment & Habitat
Buenaventura Reserve Summary Info
Buenaventura Reserve Establishment & Habitat
Established in 1999 to help protect the El Oro Parakeet (Pyrrhura orcesi) from agricultural deforestation, which had considerably depleted the area’s forest cover, the reserve was formed in the nick of time.
This reserve now protects one of the largest areas of foothill cloud forest on the west slope of the Andes in southwestern Ecuador. In this reserve you will find elements of the Tumbesian Forest of southern Ecuador and northern Peru and the Chocó forest of northwestern Ecuador. The surrounding forest had been considerably depleted and is one of the most depleted zones anywhere in the world. It is estimated that only 5-10% of original forest cover remains.
Buenaventura Reserve Wildlife
Drawing wildlife enthusiasts from all over the world, more than 330 different birds have been recorded within the reserve, 12 are globally threatened and 34 are endemic to the region. Although the area is wet tropical forest, the reserve doesn’t experience much rain. Climatic and geographic factors help retain the moisture.
The lower portion of the reserve is much drier than the higher reaches and this is where a population of globally endangered Gray-cheeked Parakeets and Pacific Royal Flycatchers live.
It the higher areas of the reserve that protects the El Oro Parakeets. The reserve provides protection for 2/3 of the world’s known population. Additionally, this section also provides habitat for El Oro Tapaculo, which seems rarer than the parakeet.
Non-avian animals are also present in the reserve including Mantled Howler Monkeys, Hoffman’s Two-toed Sloth, Western Tamandua (an anteater), Oncilla, and Pumas. Research from the Museo de Ciencias Naturales in Quito recorded 41 species of frog with a third being endemic. Poison dart frogs are abundant here at certain times. The reserve has so far revealed one new species of frog and one new species of lizard. You will also see large, slow-flying Morpho butterflies in the sunshine.
The flora of the reserve is also notable with abundant epiphytes and orchids. Several Heliconias are found along the 10km ‘Ruta Escenica” that stretches across the reserve. Unfortunately, most of the giant trees were removed before the area was protected but a few dot the reserve as an example of what the area was once like.
Large parts of the reserve were once cattle pasture, but recovery has been remarkable. Reforestation programs by the foundation are largely to thank for this and a high percentage is now closed-canopy woodland home to woodland animals.
Visiting the Reserve
Located just a few minutes from the Umbrellabird Lodge is a lek of one of the world’s more bizzare birds, the Umbellabird. In the reserve, you may also witness the Gray-backed Hawks, another near-endemic species.
At the lodge you will see some of the 31 different humming birds flying back and forth to the feeders. Rufous-headed Chachalacas and Chocó Toucans are also seen near the lodge.
Umbrellabird Lodge Piñas, EcuadorThe Umbrellabird Lodge is a very accessible forest lodge located in the lower reaches of the Buenaventura Reserve. The open restaurant provides a fantastic place to view hummingbirds, chachalacas and tanagers flying back and forth to the feeders.