A new bird species has been identified in Northern Peru: the White-necked Jacobin (Florisuga mellivora), a member of the hummingbird family measuring 12 cm (4 in) in length, on average. Adult males have a blue head and breast, a dark-blue hood, iridescent green upper parts, and a white abdomen and tail. And, as the name suggests, they have a white crescent on the neck.
The Jacobin ranges widely from Mexico to Peru, Bolivia and southern Brazil. They can often be seen visiting the flowers of tall trees and epiphytes for nectar; and hawking for insects.
This brings the number of bird species in Peru to 1,830, reconfirming her status as a paradise for birders. Many of these species can be spotted on the Great Northern Peru Birding Route.
The sighting was made in Cerros de Amotape National Park by a delegation of four ornithologists and a park ranger who were part of a SERNANP (Peru's Park Service) expedition.
The park is to be found straddling the border of Piura and Tumbes. These departments are best known for their beautiful Pacific beaches, popular with holiday-makers; but head inland, and the scenery becomes more mountainous, as the coastal desert gives way to the Andes Mountains.
Cerros de Amotape covers an area of 91,300 hectares, ranging in altitude from 120 m (394 ft) to 1,538 m (5,046 ft), centred on the River Tumbes and the Amotape Mountains, from which the name is derived. It sits in a climatic transitional zone, between the Peruvian coastal desert and the Ecuadorian sub-humid tropics, and has several distinct eco-regions, including:
- Pacific tropical forest: this shares many similar traits to the Amazon, with a good deal of species crossover; but also has unique climatic and soil conditions reflecting the influence of the nearby Pacific Ocean and the decreased rainfall.
- Equatorial dry forest
- Dry premontane tropical forest: in higher and cooler areas of the Amotape Range, where vegetation is tall forest or savannah.
As a result the park boasts 404 plant species, and a number of endemic species. Chief amongst these is the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) and the Neotropical Otter (Lutra longicaudis).
Cerros de Amotape receives very few overseas visitors, but if you have a hankering to see the White-necked Jacobin, or any other of the park's flora and fauna, just ask us how.