Risaralda is in the western central region of Colombia and it is part of the Paisa Region. There are 3 departments that make up the region – Risaralda, Quindio, and Caldas. Its capital is Pereira. The region is known for its high-quality coffee, though the hills of the Central Andes are rich with both coffee and birds! It is a birding hotspot within Colombia’s coffee region.
Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet and has over 1,900 species of birds. Risaralda represents 42% of the country’s population and has nearly 800 species of birds. Its capital, Pereira, is one of the 100 most biodiverse sites in the world. The Andean Condor, Big Diver Duck, Parakeet Paramuno, which is endangered, are all found within the region. Endemic to Colombia, the rare and endangered Yellow-eared Parrot can only be seen in a handful of spots in all of Colombia and is mostly seen within Colombia’s coffee region. The species prefers to nest in Wax Palms, also endemic to the area.
Within Pereira, and influenced by the Consota River, the Botanical Gardens of the Technological University of Pereira UTP has a forest of significant importance for the flora and fauna of the area. It is a research center that focuses on conservation and environmental education and ecotourism. There are observation areas with bridges and docks that allow for easier access to the wetlands.
Risaralda also hosts The Risaralda Bird Festival, which is an initiative led by the Bonita Butterfly Farm and Destino Café Magazine. The festival’s purpose is to promote and raise awareness about issues with conservation, protection, and promotion of birdlife. It also aims to promote national and international tourism in the Risaralda department of Colombia.
Owen traveled to Colombia in 2016 with Christopher Cologne with Colombia Birdwatch and photographed over a dozen birds like the Andean Emerald, Purple-throated Woodstar, White-necked Jacobin, Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrant, and many others.
© Cristhian D. Valencia
Birds found here