Yanacocha – A Haven for Rare Birdlife

The beauty and biodiversity of Ecuador is recognized and appreciated by nature-loving travelers from around the world, and eco-tourism is becoming an increasingly popular choice in this fascinating South American country. Located near the city of Quito, the Yanacocha Nature Reserve was established in 2001 by Fundación Jocotoco to protect a forested area on the slopes of Pichincha volcano which was in danger of being destroyed completely as it was stripped for agriculture and the production of. This Polylepsis woodland , is home to a variety of birdlife, including the extremely rare Black-breasted Puffleg (Eriocnemis nigrivestis), a hummingbird which is found nowhere else in the world.

With the support of the Mayor of Quito and EMAP, the agency responsible for the supply of drinkable water in the area, Fundación Jocotoco purchased the land with funds contributed by individuals and agencies within Ecuador, as well as fund contributed by supporters in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. In addition to being a haven for wildlife, Yanacocha is an essential source of water for the residents of Quito. In honor of this little bird which prompted conservation efforts of its habitat, the city of Quito has adopted the Black-breasted Puffleg as its official emblem. Visitors to the reserve will find a network of trails to explore, with the very real possibility of seeing the rare hummingbird at any of the feeders placed along the way, where it is likely to be joined by a number of other hummingbird species living in Yanacocha, including the fascinating Sword-Billed Hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera). Birding enthusiasts can also keep a lookout for the Curve-Billed Tinamou (Nothoprocta curvirostris); Imperial Snipe (Gallinago imperialis); Golden-breasted Puffleg (Eriocnemis mosquera); Ecuadorian Hillstar (Oreotrochilus Chimborazo); and Rainbow-bearded Thornbill () – all of which are either threatened or restricted range species. In addition to bird-watching opportunities, visitors can enjoy the spectacular scenery, and breathtaking views that access to the slopes of Pichincha volcano has made available.

Fundación Jocotoco is a conservation organization based in Ecuador which works tirelessly to protect the natural biodiversity of the country. It does this by raising funds, purchasing land and managing these areas as private ecological reserves. It works along with local communities to engender pride in their natural heritage and promote the principles of sustainable development and eco-tourism.