Huembo Reserve – Peru


Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN) and American Bird Conservancy opened Huembo Reserve in 2007. Located close to Pomacochas, northern Peru, in an area between the dry Marañon forests of the Utcubamba Valley and the wetter montane forests. Nature photographers love the proximity of Huembo reserve to other popular birding destinations, such as Abra Patricia Reserve, which is about an hour’s drive west.

The importance of this small reserve, to nature photographers, is that it’s home to the Marvelous Spatuletail. This male hummingbird is a high-energy and colorful bird. The photography spectacle is this bird’s unique tail. Highlighted in the name, the special tail is split like two long wires and boasts lush bluish-purple feathers at the end. It is typically used in mating rituals to attract females selecting a companion. Nature photographers and birders alike get very excited when this colorful bird is spotted.

With the Marvelous Spatuletail being extremely rare, it is classified endangered by the Union for Conservation of Nature and Alliance for Zero Extinction. This species is only found in the Rio Utcubamba Valley in northern Peru. The major threat to this bird is deforestation, illegal wood-cutting, and hunting and invasive plants taking over the land. The Marvelous Spatuletail may be the most popular endangered species at Huembo Reserve, but the Little Woodstar, Speckle-chested Piculet, and Swainson’s Thrush also live within the reserve. Currently, the reserve has a trail system with exquisite views of the surrounding landscape. Other features include hummingbird feeding stations along the trails allowing for easy viewing and a small lodge for convenient accommodations.

Owen traveled to Huembo Reserve in March 2018.

Birds found here