Year of compilation: 2008

Site description
This IBA is located in the western part of the Atlantic slope mountain range of Guatemala. It includes the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes and surroundings, ranging from Laguna Yolnabaj near the border to Chiapas, Mexico, to Uspantan in the East. The site ranges in altitude from 400 to 3800 m.

Key biodiversity
Cuchumatanes is important for species of the North Central American Highlands (10 species recorded) and biome-restricted species of the Madrean Highlands (30 species). The site supports populations of three globally threatened species: Horned and Highland Guan (Oreophasis derbianus and Penelopina nigra) and Pink-headed Warbler (Ergaticus versicolor). Recent ornithological information is based on ecological rapid assessments (Sandoval 2000, García Barrientos & Gaitán Conzález 2003, Pérez 2006) and surveys focused on Horned Guan (Cóbar Carranza & Rivas Romero 2005, Cóbar Carranza 2006).

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Natural habitat is threatened by an advancing agricultural border and forest fires.

Protected areas
Only 2.4 % of the IBA are legally protected. The Sierra de los Cuchumatanes has been recognized as special protected area, a category without legal status of protection (CONAP 2007).

Habitat and land use
About 48% of the IBA are covered with conifer, broadleaf, and mixed forest. About 46% are used for agriculture, mainly corn fields, plantations of coffee and cardamom, and secondary growth scrub (MAGA 2006).

Consejo Nacional de Areas Protegidas (CONAP) - Solola supported a workshop to identify IBAs in June 2006, hosted by Universdad del Valle (UVG) Altiplano in Solola. Input of unpublished data and suggestions for the delimitation of the IBA was provided during this workshop by representatives of CONAP, UVG Altiplano, Fundación para el Ecodesarrollo y la Conservación (FUNDAECO) - Huehuetenango, Ministerio de Agricultura, Ganadería y Alimentación de Guatemala (MAGA) - Solola, Cuerpo de Paz, Municipality of Tecpan, Autoridad para el Manejo Sustentable de la Cuenca del Lago Atitlán y su Entorno (AMSCLAE), and Los Tarrales Nature Reserve. This first assessment of IBAs in Guatemala was conducted by Sociedad Guatemalteca de Ornitologia and BirdLife International in the Americas.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cuchumatanes. Downloaded from on 31/01/2023.