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Location Guatemala, Alta Verapaz
Central coordinates 89o 59.24' West  15o 26.27' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 163,393 ha
Altitude 50 - 2,600m
Year of IBA assessment 2007





Summary Yalijux is an important site for range-restricted birds of the North Central American Highlands, including the globally threatened Highland Guan and Pink-headed Warbler. Agriculture (corn, coffee, cardamom) has reduced the forest cover to 18%.

Site description Yalijux is located in the Atlantic slope mountain range of Guatemala. Bordered by the rivers Cahabon and Polochic, this IBA includes forest fragments extending from cloud forest at 2600 m elevation to rainforest at 50 m.

Key Biodiversity Yalijux is an important site for birds restricted to the North Central American Highlands (16 species recorded) and biome-restricted species of the Madrean Highlands (39 species). The site supports populations of three globally threatened species, the resident Highland Guan (Penelopina nigra) and Pink-headed Warbler (Ergaticus versicolor), and Golden-cheeked Warbler (Dendroica chrysoparia) during migration. Ornithological research has been focused on the high-elevation areas of this IBA (Eisermann 1999, 2001, 2005, Renner 2003), Renner et. al 2006, Eisermann et al. 2006).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Highland Guan Penelopina nigra resident  1998  1,000-2,499 individuals  medium  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Ocellated Quail Cyrtonyx ocellatus resident  2001  < 50 individuals  poor  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
White-faced Quail-dove Zentrygon albifacies resident  1998  250-999 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Bearded Screech-owl Megascops barbarus resident  2000  < 50 individuals  poor  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Fulvous Owl Strix fulvescens resident  1999-2007  250-999 individuals  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Emerald-chinned Hummingbird Abeillia abeillei resident  1999  50-249 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
White-eared Hummingbird Basilinna leucotis resident  1999  10,000-19,999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Amethyst-throated Hummingbird Lampornis amethystinus resident  1999  50,000-99,999 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Green-throated Mountain-gem Lampornis viridipallens resident  1998  10,000-19,999 individuals  medium  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Garnet-throated Hummingbird Lamprolaima rhami resident  1999  20,000-49,999 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Sparkling-tailed Woodstar Tilmatura dupontii resident  1998  < 50 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Slender Sheartail Doricha enicura resident  2003  < 50 individuals  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Wine-throated Hummingbird Atthis ellioti resident  1999  250-999 individuals  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Mountain Trogon Trogon mexicanus resident  1999  2,500-9,999 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Blue-throated Motmot Aspatha gularis resident  1999  250-999 individuals  medium  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Greater Pewee Contopus pertinax resident  1999  250-999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Pine Flycatcher Empidonax affinis resident  2001  250-999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Buff-breasted Flycatcher Empidonax fulvifrons resident  1999  50-249 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut-sided Shrike-vireo Vireolanius melitophrys resident  2006-2007  < 50 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Black-throated Jay Cyanolyca pumilo resident  1999  2,500-9,999 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Bushy-crested Jay Cyanocorax melanocyaneus resident  1999  20,000-49,999 individuals  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Grey Silky-flycatcher Ptilogonys cinereus resident  1999  1,000-2,499 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Black-capped Swallow Notiochelidon pileata resident  1999  250-999 individuals  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Rufous-browed Wren Troglodytes rufociliatus resident  1999  10,000-19,999 individuals  medium  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Blue-and-white Mockingbird Melanotis hypoleucus resident  1999  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Brown-backed Solitaire Myadestes occidentalis resident  1999  20,000-49,999 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Slate-coloured Solitaire Myadestes unicolor resident  1998  2,500-9,999 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Black Thrush Turdus infuscatus resident  1999  10,000-19,999 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous-collared Robin Turdus rufitorques resident  1999  1,000-2,499 individuals  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Olive Warbler Peucedramus taeniatus resident  1999  50-249 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Black-capped Siskin Carduelis atriceps resident  1999  < 50 individuals  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Hooded Grosbeak Coccothraustes abeillei resident  1999  250-999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Crescent-chested Warbler Parula superciliosa resident  1999  250-999 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Red-faced Warbler Cardellina rubrifrons winter  1999  < 50 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Pink-headed Warbler Ergaticus versicolor resident  1999  50-249 individuals  poor  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Golden-browed Warbler Basileuterus belli resident  1999  20,000-49,999 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Cinnamon-bellied Flowerpiercer Diglossa baritula resident  1999  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Blue-crowned Chlorophonia Chlorophonia occipitalis resident  1999  1,000-2,499 individuals  medium  A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Chelemhá Private Nature Reserve 321 protected area contained by site 0  
Chicacnab Private Nature Reserve 48 protected area contained by site 0  
Chinajux y Sechinaux Private Nature Reserve 685 protected area contained by site 0  
Grutas de Lanquín National Park 11 protected area contained by site 0  
K'antí Shul Private Natural Reserve 1,366 protected area contained by site 0  
Semuc Champey Natural Monument 1,714 protected area contained by site 1,714  
Semuc Champey Natural Monument 1,714 protected area contained by site 964  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial Abandoned & fallow farmland, disturbed ground; Forestry & agro-industrial plantations; Improved pasture land; Other urban & industrial areas; Perennial crops, orchards & groves  48%
Forest Montane broadleaf evergreen; Pine; Pine-oak; Tropical lowland evergreen  19%
Shrubland Second-growth & disturbed scrub  31%
Wetlands (inland) Freshwater lakes & pools; Rivers  1%
Grassland Second-growth & grazed  1%

Land ownership The land is mainly privately and communal owned.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 77%
forestry minor
hunting major
nature conservation and research 3%
rangeland/pastureland minor
tourism/recreation minor
urban/industrial/transport 1%
Notes: 0.1%
water management minor

Protection status Currently only 1.9% of this IBA are legally protected (CONAP 2007), including four Private Nature Reserves, one National Park and a Natural Monument. Several private landowners receive forest easement and are committed to a 5-years forest conservation.

Acknowledgements PROEVAL RAXMU Bird Monitoring Program provided unpublished ornithological data. Input of unpublished data and suggestions for the delimitation of the IBA was provided during a workshop in Cobán, in August 2006, by representatives of Consejo Nacional de Areas Protegidas (CONAP) - Las Verapaces, Asociación de Proyectos Evaluados Raxmu (PROEVAL RAXMU), Peace Corps, Cooperativa Sanimtaca, Cooperativa Samac, and Comité Central Menotita. This first assessment of IBAs in Guatemala was conducted by Sociedad Guatemalteca de Ornitología and BirdLife International in the Americas.

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

Eisermann, K. 1999. Avifaunistisch-ökologische Untersuchungen in einer Nebelwaldregion Guatemalas als Grundlage für die Entwicklung eines Biomonitoringprogamms. Diplomarbeit, Fachhochschule Eberswalde, Alemania.

Eisermann, K. 2001. Reporte de avance: investigaciones de la avifauna de las regiones Ik'bolay, Guaxac y Sacranix, Alta Verapaz. Unpublished report to BIDAS/Proyecto Eco-Quetzal, Cobán.

Eisermann, K. 2005. Noteworthy bird observations in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club 125: 3-11.

Eisermann, K. & U. Schulz. 2005. Birds of a high-altitude cloud forest in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Revista de Biología Tropical 53: 577-594.

Eisermann, K., N. Herrera & O. Komar. 2006. Highland Guan (Penelopina nigra). Pp. 90-95. In D. M. Brooks (Ed.) Conserving Cracids: the most threatened family of birds in the Americas. Miscellaneous Publications of the Houston Museum of Natural Science 6.

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.

Renner, S. C. 2003. Structure and diversity of cloud forest bird communities in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, and implications for conservation. Doctoral thesis, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany.

Renner, S. C., M. Waltert & M. Mühlenberg. 2006. Comparison of bird communities in primary vs. young secondary tropical montane cloud forest in Guatemala. Biodiversity and Conservation 15: 1545-1575.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Yalijux. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/11/2014

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