Nechí lowlands

Country/Territory Colombia
Area 58,000 km2
Altitude 0 - 1500m
Priority critical
Habitat loss major
Knowledge incomplete

General characteristics

The Nechí lowlands embrace the moist forest region at the northern end of the Colombian Andes, and are centred on the Nechí, Cauca and Sinú rivers. The moist forest, and hence the EBA, lies in the region having 1,500-4,000 mm of rain per year, and runs in a band across the northern end of the West and Central Andes (just into the Cauca valley), including the Serranía de San Lucas, and down the western slope of the East Andes to c.5°N in the Magdalena valley (i.e. north-west Cundinamarca department). Isolated patches of moist forest extend the EBA northwards into the drier lowlands of Caribbean Colombia and Venezuela (EBA 035, characterized by less than 1,000 mm of rain per year); these are found along the western slope of the (southern) Sierra de Perijá, the northern and western slopes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, and the Serranía de San Jacinto (Haffer 1967, 1975).

Restricted-range species

The restricted-range birds of this EBA are primarily dependent on moist tropical forest and associated forest-edge and secondary-growth habitats in the lowlands and foothills up to c.1,500 m.

Most of the species (many of which occur in other moist/wet forest EBAs) are widespread within the core area of moist forest north of the West and Central Andes, and in the broad Magdalena valley. However, three of the threatened birds are poorly known, with even their distributions being incompletely documented (see 'Threats and conservation', below). Only four of the EBA's species occur also in the more isolated moist forest patches of the Caribbean lowlands: Crax alberti, Brachygalba salmoni and Aphanotriccus audax have all been found in the Serranía de San Jacinto (C. alberti also in the Santa Marta mountains, EBA 036), and Aphanotriccus audax is known from the foothills at the southern end of the Sierra de Perijá (Hilty and Brown 1986).

Chestnut-winged Chachalaca Ortalis garrula is endemic to this general region, being found in the drier portions of this EBA (and the adjacent Caribbean Colombia and Venezuela EBA), but occupies too wide an area to qualify as a restricted-range species.

Species IUCN Category
Blue-billed Curassow (Crax alberti) CR
Chestnut-bellied Hummingbird (Saucerottia castaneiventris) NT
Choco Trogon (Trogon comptus) LC
Dusky-backed Jacamar (Brachygalba salmoni) LC
White-mantled Barbet (Capito hypoleucus) VU
Beautiful Woodpecker (Melanerpes pulcher) LC
(Melanerpes chrysauchen) NR
Recurve-billed Bushbird (Clytoctantes alixii) EN
Chestnut-capped Piha (Lipaugus weberi) CR
Antioquia Bristle-tyrant (Pogonotriccus lanyoni) EN
Black-billed Flycatcher (Aphanotriccus audax) NT
Black Oropendola (Psarocolius guatimozinus) LC
Sooty Ant-tanager (Habia gutturalis) LC
Scarlet-and-white Tanager (Chrysothlypis salmoni) LC

Important Bird Areas (IBAs)
IBA Code Site Name Country
CO011 Santuario de Fauna y Flora Los Colorados Colombia
CO013 Zona deltáica-estuarina del Río Sinú Colombia
CO022 Paramillo Natural National Park Colombia
CO034 Serranía de San Lucas Colombia
CO035 Reserva Regional Bajo Cauca Nechí Colombia
CO036 La Forzosa-Santa Gertrudis Colombia
CO039 Embalse de San Lorenzo y Jaguas Colombia
CO040 Embalse de Punchiná y su zona de protección Colombia
CO041 Refugio Río Claro Colombia
CO043 La Victoria (Caldas) Colombia
CO076 Serranía de las Quinchas Colombia

Threat and conservation

This area has been subjected to extensive deforestation although some large areas of moist forest apparently still survive (Forero 1989). The middle and lower Magdalena and Cauca valleys have been heavily deforested since the nineteenth century (for agriculture), and clearance of the floodplain and foothills of the middle Magdalena valley has been almost total since the 1950s (Collar et al. 1992).

Five species (two of which are endemic to this EBA) are presently thought to be threatened, all of them primarily through extensive habitat destruction, with Crax alberti doubtless also hunted (it is now thought to be extinct throughout most of its range, hence its Critical status) and Amazilia castaneiventris (recorded once from c.150 m on the Serranía de San Lucas), Clytoctantes alixii and Phylloscartes lanyoni all very poorly known (Collar et al. 1992).

Seven Key Areas have been identified for the threatened birds in this EBA, including Serranías de San Jacinto and San Lucas, Paramillo National Park, Puerto Valdivia, Punchina Dam, Río Claro and La Victoria. However, the only protected areas within the EBA are Paramillo National Park (covering some characteristic habitat within Córdoba and Antioquia departments at the northern end of the West Andes) and the Punchina and La Victoria watershed reserves (IUCN 1992a, Wege and Long 1995), although it is not known how many of the restricted-range species benefit from their protection.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Endemic Bird Areas factsheet: Nechí lowlands. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/01/2023.