An observation, with photographic evidence, of the palkachupa (Phibalura boliviana) in the coffee plantations of Teoponte is an important finding in the distribution of the species. The palkachupa is classified as endangered and is endemic to the gallery forests, natural pampas and humid montane forests around Apolo, in northern La Paz. This new record in Teoponte supports the idea that the species makes seasonal movements towards the humid montane forests of the region. Ornithologists proposed this hypothesis as the species is periodically more difficult to observe near Apolo.
The Regional Association of Organic Coffee Producers of Larecaja (APCERL), with support from WCS, is dedicated to the production of shade-grown coffee in agroforestry systems, and in 2013 received the 'Bird Friendly' certification awarded by the 'Smithsonian Bird Migration Center’ for contributions to the conservation of wildlife habitat. The coffee plantations are located within an Important Biodiversity and Bird Area: IBA Bella Vista BO047, in the south of Madidi National Park, the protected area considered to harbor the greatest diversity of birds in the world (10%).
Javier Condori Cruz is the son of one of the coffee producers, and is now an APCERL coffee technician and bird photographer. For the last six years Javier has monitored bird species in the shade grown coffee plots, registering 230 species, belonging to 47 families and 177 genera, representing 16% of the bird species of Bolivia. The vast majority (93%) are characteristic of humid montane forests, 2% are boreal migratory birds and 5% are austral migratory birds. Some species are threatened or critically endangered, such as the palkachupa. Several other species are endemic to the tropical central Andes of the southern Amazon and Bolivia.
These humid montane forests are home to tanagers, woodpeckers, toucans, parrots, hawks, macaws, owls, guans, colorful and noisy orioles and trogons, and more than ten species of hummingbirds. The white-throated toucan (Ramphastos tucanus), the chestnut-eared aracari (Pteroglossus castanotis) and the woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus) stand out as the most representative species.
The production of 'Eco de las Aves' coffee supports efforts to conserve forests and wildlife diversity, while contributing to the economy of 47 coffee families in seven Teoponte communities. These activities are carried out within the framework of the project "Wildlife-friendly agroforestry and sustainable forest management in Bolivian indigenous territories", funded by the UK Government through the “Darwin Initiative”.
How lovely to be able to contribute to the conservation of our heritage by drinking good coffee produced by Bolivian communities committed to the environment and biodiversity!