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Location Guatemala, Huehuetenango,Quiché
Central coordinates 91o 18.90' West  15o 42.77' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 303,813 ha
Altitude 400 - 3,800m
Year of IBA assessment 2007





Summary Cuchumatenes is an important site for range-restricted birds of the North Central American Highlands and for biome-restricted species of the Madrean Highlands. The site supports populations of three globally threatened species: Highland and Horned Guan and Pink-headed Warbler. Plantations of coffee, cardamom, and corn, and secondary growth scrub cover about 46% of the IBA. Only 2.4% of the IBA are legally protected.

Site description This IBA is located in the western part of the Atlantic slope mountain range of Guatemala. It includes the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes and surroundings, ranging from Laguna Yolnabaj near the border to Chiapas, Mexico, to Uspantan in the East. The site ranges in altitude from 400 to 3800 m.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Horned Guan Oreophasis derbianus resident  2005  < 50 individuals  poor  A1, A2, A3  Endangered 
Highland Guan Penelopina nigra resident  2000  250-999 individuals  poor  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
White-eared Hummingbird Basilinna leucotis resident  2000  10,000-19,999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Amethyst-throated Hummingbird Lampornis amethystinus resident  2000  50,000-99,999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Green-throated Mountain-gem Lampornis viridipallens resident  2000  20,000-49,999 individuals  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Garnet-throated Hummingbird Lamprolaima rhami resident  2000  20,000-49,999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Mountain Trogon Trogon mexicanus resident  2000  10,000-19,999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Belted Flycatcher Xenotriccus callizonus resident  2003  < 50 individuals  poor  A1, A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Greater Pewee Contopus pertinax resident  2000  1,000-2,499 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Pine Flycatcher Empidonax affinis resident  2000  1,000-2,499 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Buff-breasted Flycatcher Empidonax fulvifrons resident  2000  250-999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Black-throated Jay Cyanolyca pumilo resident  2000  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Unicoloured Jay Aphelocoma unicolor resident  2000  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Grey Silky-flycatcher Ptilogonys cinereus resident  2000  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Black-capped Swallow Notiochelidon pileata resident  2000  1,000-2,499 individuals  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Rufous-browed Wren Troglodytes rufociliatus resident  2000  20,000-49,999 individuals  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Brown-backed Solitaire Myadestes occidentalis resident  2000  50,000-99,999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Slate-coloured Solitaire Myadestes unicolor resident  2000  50,000-99,999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Black Thrush Turdus infuscatus resident  2000  50,000-99,999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous-collared Robin Turdus rufitorques resident  2000  50,000-99,999 individuals  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Black-capped Siskin Carduelis atriceps resident  2000  250-999 individuals  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Hooded Grosbeak Coccothraustes abeillei resident  2000  1,000-2,499 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Crescent-chested Warbler Parula superciliosa resident  2000  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Pink-headed Warbler Ergaticus versicolor resident  2000  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Painted Redstart Myioborus pictus resident  2000  10,000-19,999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Golden-browed Warbler Basileuterus belli resident  2000  50,000-99,999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Black-vented Oriole Icterus wagleri resident  2000  50-249 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Cinnamon-bellied Flowerpiercer Diglossa baritula resident  2000  10,000-19,999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Blue-crowned Chlorophonia Chlorophonia occipitalis resident  2000  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Laguna Yolnabaj Other Area 0 protected area contained by site 0  
Sierra de los Cuchumatanes Other Area 0 protected area contained by site 0  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial Abandoned & fallow farmland, disturbed ground; Arable land; Forestry & agro-industrial plantations; Improved pasture land; Other urban & industrial areas; Perennial crops, orchards & groves; Urban parks & gardens  14%
Forest Montane broadleaf evergreen; Pine-oak; Tropical coniferous  48%
Grassland Second-growth & grazed  5%
Rocky areas Scree & boulders  1%
Shrubland Second-growth & disturbed scrub  32%
Wetlands (inland) Freshwater lakes & pools; Streams  1%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 46%
forestry minor
hunting major
nature conservation and research 2%
rangeland/pastureland 5%
urban/industrial/transport 1%
Notes: 0.1%
water management minor

Protection status Only 2.4 % of the IBA are legally protected. The Sierra de los Cuchumatanes has been recognized as special protected area, a category without legal status of protection (CONAP 2007).

Acknowledgements Consejo Nacional de Areas Protegidas (CONAP) - Solola supported a workshop to identify IBAs in June 2006, hosted by Universdad del Valle (UVG) Altiplano in Solola. Input of unpublished data and suggestions for the delimitation of the IBA was provided during this workshop by representatives of CONAP, UVG Altiplano, Fundación para el Ecodesarrollo y la Conservación (FUNDAECO) - Huehuetenango, Ministerio de Agricultura, Ganadería y Alimentación de Guatemala (MAGA) - Solola, Cuerpo de Paz, Municipality of Tecpan, Autoridad para el Manejo Sustentable de la Cuenca del Lago Atitlán y su Entorno (AMSCLAE), and Los Tarrales Nature Reserve. This first assessment of IBAs in Guatemala was conducted by Sociedad Guatemalteca de Ornitologia and BirdLife International in the Americas.

References 

Cóbar Carranza, A. J. 2006. Distribución actual y selección de sitios para el estudio y conservación del pavo de cacho (Oreophasis derbianus Gray 1844) en los departamentos de San Marcos y Huehuetenango, Guatemala. Tesis de Licenciatura, Univ. San Carlos, Guatemala.

Cóbar Carranza, A. J. & J. A. Rivas Romero. 2005. Distribución actual y selección de sitios para el estudio y conservación del pavo de cacho (Oreophasis derbianus G. R. Gray, 1844) en los departamentos de San Marcos y Huehuetenango, Guatemala. Pp. 8-13 In J. Rivas, E. Secaira & J. Cornejo (eds.) Memorias II Simposium Internacional Oreophasis derbianus, 7-9 Abril 2005, Reserva Los Tarrales, Patulul, Suchitepéquez, Guatemala. The Nature Conservancy, Guatemala.

CONAP. 2007. Lista de áreas protegidas inscritas en el SIGAP. Consejo Nacional de Áreas Protegidas (CONAP), Guatemala. (Database accessed in June 2007)

García Barrientos, A. & L. B. Gaitán González. 2003. Evaluación rápida de la avifauna en tres sitios identificados por PROCUCH como prioritarios para conservación de: Todos Santos Cuchumatán, Pepajau-Magdalena y Cerro Cruz Maltín, Sierra de Los Cuchumatanes, Huehuetenango, Guatemala. Fundación Interamericana de Investigación Tropical (FIIT), Guatemala. (Unpublished report)

MAGA. 2006. Mapa de cobertura vegetal y uso de la tierra a escala 1:50,000 de la República de Guatemala, Año 2003 (Incluye 5 cultivos perennes actualizados al año 2005). Memoria técnica y descripción de resultados. Ministerio de Agricultura Ganadería y Alimentación –MAGA– / Unidad de Planificación Geográfica y Gestión de Riesgo –UPGGR–, Guatemala Ciudad, Guatemala.

Pérez, E. S. 2006. Propuesta de areas importantes para la conservación de aves en Huehuetenango. Fundación para el Ecodesarrollo y la Conservación FUNDAECO, Guatemala. (Unpublished report)

Sandoval, K. J. (ed.) 2000. Biodiversidad de Huehuetenango. Centro de Datos para la Conservación, Centro de Estudios Conservacionistas, Univ. San Carlos, Guatemala.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cuchumatanes. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/10/2014

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