Ecuador - Aves y Conservación

BirdLife Partner

Founded in 1986
36 members
Staff: 12
Pasaje Joaquín Tinajero E3-05 y Jorge Drom, Casilla 17-17-906, Quito, EC
Tel: (593 2) 2271800; Fax: 2249968


Mission of the organisation

To contribute to the conservation of birds, their habitats and the biodiversity in Ecuador, for the benefit of people and with their active participation.

Key Activities

Aves & Conservación (Corporación Ornitológica del Ecuador) activities are carried out within one or more of our Strategic Objectives according to our 2003-2008 Business Plan:

  • Through research, increase the knowledge on birds, their habitats and threats they face in Ecuador
  • Implement actions aimed at the conservation of birds and their habitats, and promote sustainable development
  • Promote public awareness of birds and their habitats through environmental education and sharing of information
  • Influence decision-making on environmental issues

Research and Conservation Projects

Threatened Birds Programme. Aves & Conservación is focusing research efforts on several endangered species on certain IBAs including: the Mindo and Western Flanks of the Pichincha Volcano IBA, Guayllabamba Valley IBA, Atacazo IBA, Cashca Totoras Protection Forest IBA, Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve IBA, San Cristobal IBA.

  • We have carried out a five year long research effort on the Black-breasted Puffleg (Eriocnemis nigrivestis) on five different locations: Yanacocha, Chiquilpe/Cruz Loma, Verdecocha, Alaspungo and Lloa. This project have counted with the support of the British Bird Watching Fair, UICN, American Bird Conservancy, National Audubon Society, EcoCiencia/Conservation International, Oleoducto de Crudos Pesados Ecuador and Idea Wild
  • Search for the Turquoise-throated Puffleg (Eriocnemis godini) thought out the Guayllabamba and Pululahua Valleys
  • Search for the Yellow-eared Parrot (Ognorhynchus icterotis)
  • Member of the Scientific Committee advising on the EIA for a windfarm project on the San Cristobal Island, Galapagos Archipelago, that may affect populations of the Galapagos Petrel (Pterodroma phaeopygia)

Important Bird Areas Programme

  • Aves & Conservación has already completed the first phase of this programme through which 107 IBAs (97 continental IBAs and 10 for Galapagos) have been identified
  • The Ministry of Environment of Ecuador has recognized IBAs as “public interest areas that are fundamental for the protection of bird species”
  • Aves & Conservación is in the process of publishing its National IBA Directory

Aquatic birds programme: A diagnostic study on the current state of national waterbird conservation is being produced. Country Report will be part of a larger regional plan (to include recommendations regarding species, sites, and conservation action priorities, as well as strategies to act on these priorities and address information gaps) and will also be used to develop range-wide strategies including international collaboration between nations.

Aquatic birds Census: On July 2004, for the first time in 10 years, Aves & Conservación undertook and re-initiated the aquatic bird census. From 2005 censuses will be carried out twice a year, in February and July. During the 2004 census, 13,759 aquatic birds were recorded from 22 sites (from 68 species and 14 families). A publication, “El Censo Neotropical de Aves Acuáticas 2004: Una herramienta para la conservación”, has been produced based on these results.

Migratory birds in IBAs: This project is aimed at contributing to the conservation of neotropical migratory birds and other important biodiversity in Ecuador through the development of an IBA network, and its conservation. The project will provide:

  • A set of excellent quality data that will be accessed on-line regarding the presence and abundance of neotropical migratory birds within the Ecuadorian IBA network, along with information regarding globally threatened, endemic and congregational bird species, as well as threats and protection status for each site
  • A set of priority species and project concepts for those species that incorporate urgent actions to be taken in priority IBAs for neotropical migratory birds and other biodiversity in Ecuador
  • A network of local people interested in the conservation of such places as well as about neotropical migratory birds
  • A set of distribution maps for critical neotropical migratory birds in the IBAs in Ecuador

Monitoring of the construction and operation of the Heavy Oil Pipeline in the Mindo and Western Flanks of the Pichincha Volcano IBA: This project is about to finalise over the next few months.

  • An article summarizing preliminary findings was published in Lyonia, Volume 6 (2), December 2004
  • So far, 393 species have been recorded, 25 of them are categorised as under threat (either globally or nationally). Two of these are Ecuadorian endemics and 12 are endemics shared with Colombia or Peru

Birds of Cordillera del Cóndor: With the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Aves & Conservación carried out eight expeditions to the Cordillera del Cóndor area, for a total of 236 field-working days, from 2000 to 2004. A technical report “Una Exploración de las Aves de la Cordillera del Cóndor que Permita Generar Pautas para su Conservación”, 2000 – 2004, prepared by Ana E. Agreda, M.Sc., Project Leader, was submitted to the the MacArthur Foundation on April 2004.

  • Data gathered from this project was used by Fundación Natura to design a conservation strategy for the Cordillera del Cóndor area and based on such input the Ministry of Environment of Ecuador created a new protected forest in the area
  • Additionally, the Cordillera del Cóndor area was also designated as one of the 107 Important Bird Areas of Ecuador
  • One scientific note was published during 2004 and several other articles are going to be published during 2005 reporting findings of this project in the Cóndor area
  • Two articles were also submitted to Ornitología Neotropical, the Neotropical Ornithological Society journal
  • An article regarding the Cóndor area birds was recently published in a book by Fundación Natura (Paz y Conservación en la Cordillera del Cóndor, Ecuador – Perú, 2005)
  • More than 900 blood samples were taken in the area; part of them are being analyzed by researchers from the Center for Tropical Research (CTR)
  • The project also generated a vast amount of audiovisual material (1,014 slides, 114 photographs, 40 cassettes, 3 mini-discs), which are part of Aves & Conservación public library

Public Outreach and Environmental Education

  • 1st Ecuadorian Meeting of Ornithology: The Corporación Ornitológica del Ecuador along with the Americas Regional Office of BirdLife International, Numashir Foundation and the San Francisco University (USFQ) and the support from Conservation International – Ecuador, Jatun Sacha Foundation and Neblina Forest, co-hosted this meeting. It was held on March 3rd – 5th 2005 at the USFQ. More than 120 people attended the meeting that focused on four main topics: birdwatching tourism, threatened species, Galápagos Archipelago, and environmental education
  • Metropolitan Park of Quito. Aves & Conservación has an agreement with the City Council for using two areas within this 557 ha city park (the largest one in South America). One of the areas is devoted to maintain a tree nursery which so far has produced 10,000 native plants which are used to carry out reforestation activities within the park (which is mostly planted with introduced Eucalyptus), with the support of volunteers from schools and universities. In another area, Aves & Conservación has created a “hummingbird garden” which is an area planted with trees and shrubs that attract such species. This second area is going to be developed as an educational tool to provide walks and talks to school children with the aim of raising environmental awareness through birdwatching
  • World Birdwatch. Every year, outreach activities are carried out in October, in coordination with BirdLife International. In 1998, the Municipality of Quito declared October as the "Birds’ Month", thanks to Aves & Conservación's lobbying efforts. Two years ago Aves & Conservación also produced with the Ecuadorian Post Office two post stamps each showing a different raptor (the Harpy Eagle and the Black-chested Eagle) and the text: “Festival Mundial de las Aves – CECIA”
  • Let's Save the Condor. Every year, in the beginning of July, outreach events related to the Andean Condor are held, including outings to see condors, exhibitions, and other activities. In 1991, the Ecuadorian National Congress declared July 7th as the "National Condor Day", thanks to the lobbying efforts of Aves & Conservación
  • Christmas Bird Counts. For over a century, the National Audubon Society has fostered this activity, which is carried out every year around Christmas in the Americas, particularly in North America. Aves & Conservación has organised this count during the last 9 years in a 15-mile diameter area around Mindo and the western flanks of the Pichincha Volcano IBA. According to the number of bird species recorded, a Latin American rank has been established by NAS and the Mindo Count has occupied the following places: 1996 – 6th place (240 species), 1997 – 5th place (302 species), 1998 – 4th place (308 species), 1999 – 5th place (313 species), 2000 – 1st place (348 species), 2001 – 3rd place (361 species), 2002 – 2nd place (389 species), 2003 – unknown place (407 species), 2004 – results yet to be published (403 species)
  • Birdwatching Trips. Roughly every month, we organise trips to different places to encourage environmental awareness and love for nature, helping interested people learn about birds
  • Library. Aves & Conservación has a fully-catalogued public library
  • Courses and Workshops. Courses are frequently organized by Aves & Conservación, alone or in cooperation with other institutions, to provide training mainly on bird identification or field techniques. Most recent courses have been: Bird Identification Course for Naturalist Guides in Mindo (along with Fundación Amigos de la Naturaleza de Mindo), Bird Monitoring Techniques for university students, Basic Bird Identification for university students and naturalist guides, etc
  • Support to Researchers. Aves & Conservación helps foreign researchers obtain the necessary government permits and supervises these projects to assure that they do not exceed these permits. We also help researchers select study sites and field assistants
  • Conservation Forums. Aves & Conservación participates in the Ecuadorian Committee of the IUCN, as well as being part of the CEDENMA (Ecuadorian Committee for Nature and Environment Protection)


  • National IBAs Directory, based on the Tropical Andes IBAs Regional Directory published by Aves & Conservación/BirdLife International/Conservation International and the Ministry of Environment
  • CECIA al Vuelo ("CECIA on the Wing"). A bi-monthly bulletin to inform members and collaborators of our activities

Recent Achievements

  • Rediscovered the critically endangered Pale-headed Brush-Finch
  • Spanish version of The Common Birds of Amazonian Ecuador
  • Research and conservation programme for the rediscovered Pale-headed Brush-finch, a Critically Endangered species, supported by American Bird Conservancy and the Jocotoco Foundation
  • Production of vegetation maps (with the support of American Bird Conservancy), for the Mindo and Western Flanks of the Pichincha Volcano IBA
  • Identification of education and training needs for the Mindo and Western Flanks of the Pichincha Volcano IBA (with the support of the US Fish and Wildlife Service)
  • Final study on the Design of the System of Protected Regional Areas and their Strategies on Management in four provinces presented to, and approved by, the Ministry of Environment

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