New Bird Species Found in Colombia’s Cloud Forests: Discovery of the El Dorado Antipitta

The recent discovery of a new-to-science bird species, tentatively named the El Dorado antpitta, has sent ripples of excitement through the ornithological community in Colombia. Found near the El Dorado ProAves Reserve eco-lodge, this remarkable bird exhibits distinctive characteristics that set it apart from known species.  Conservation Allies President, Dr. Paul Salaman, and biologists from our Colombian partner Fundación ProAves made this exciting discovery together in early February.

“This truly is a remarkable species discovery, not only because this large terrestrial bird eluded thousands of birders and ornithologists for decades, but that it further accentuates the global importance of the El Dorado ProAves Reserve and nearby pockets of surviving natural forest that are the last sanctuaries for this species and so many other endemic and endangered species.”

Paul Salaman, President of Conservation Allies

It is extremely rare to find a new species of bird nowadays. Just three new species were described globally in 2023. Colombia is the world’s #1 country for birds with over 1,979 bird species recorded, and yet, new species can still be found there. 

This exciting discovery further highlights the global importance of the 3,200 acre El Dorado ProAves Reserve for biodiversity conservation. With support from Conservation Allies, ProAves protects over 20 endemic bird species and hundreds of other species of amphibians, orchids, and reptiles restricted to the subtropical and montane forests of the reserve and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range.

Alongside the atmosphere of celebration, there are valid concerns about the future of the El Dorado antpitta. The bird’s habitat is currently threatened by deforestation, made worse as climate change drives people to seek refuge from hotter areas of the country. The discovery of the El Dorado antpitta emphasizes the crucial role of protected areas like the El Dorado ProAves Reserve in preserving Comobia’s biodiversity, much of which is still unknown.