BirdLife: The Magazine Apr-Jun 2018 - Page 60

BCI From the field The latest scientific breakthroughs from BirdLife’s quarterly peer-reviewed journal O N THE C O V ER Stopovers and bottlenecks in Central and South America Study reveals important sites for migrating birds, but more research is urgently needed very year, billions of landbirds of nearly 300 species migrate from their breeding grounds in North America to winter in South America. Many of these species are declining, yet little is known about which places are most important for these birds during migration. Researchers in the USA, Canada and Colombia have carried out a review of studies of migrating birds in Central and South America. They found that large numbers of migrating birds make multi-day ‘stopovers’ to refuel in just a few important areas, including the Orinoco grasslands of Venezuela and Colombia, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia, and the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Other areas are important because of the numbers of birds passing through – due to the geography of Central America, millions of migrating birds are forced to pass through narrow ‘bottlenecks’ in southeast Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and the Darién. Further research into important sites and habitats is urgently needed to help conserve migratory birds in Central and South America. n E 60 Raptors bottleneck over Panama City Photo Alvaro Moises birdlife • apr-jun 2018