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Location Guatemala, Chimaltenango,Escuintla,Quetzaltenango,Quiché,Sololá,Suchitepéquez,Totonicapán
Central coordinates 91o 14.51' West  14o 42.65' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 276,869 ha
Altitude 500 - 3,500m
Year of IBA assessment 2007





Summary Atitlan is an important site for range-restricted birds of the North Central American Highlands and the North Central American Pacific Slope. The site supports populations of four globally threatened species: Highland and Horned Guan, Pink-headed Warbler, and Azure-rumped Tanager. Coffee and corn plantations cover almost 40% of the IBA. Several of the local coffee plantation are strongly involved in forest conservation. About 50% of the IBA are legally protected.

Site description Atitlan is located in the Guatemalan volcanic belt and includes Lake Atitlan, volcanoes San Pedro, Toliman, and Atitlan, as well as Cerro Tecpan and the conifer forests around Totonicapan. This IBA ranges in elevation from 500 to 3500 m.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Horned Guan Oreophasis derbianus resident  2000  30-100 individuals  poor  A1, A2, A3  Endangered 
Highland Guan Penelopina nigra resident  2004  frequent individuals  poor  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
White-bellied Chachalaca Ortalis leucogastra resident  2004  common individuals  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Ocellated Quail Cyrtonyx ocellatus unknown  1930    Vulnerable 
White-faced Quail-dove Geotrygon albifacies resident  2004  frequent individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Orange-fronted Parakeet Aratinga canicularis resident  2004  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Whiskered Screech-owl Megascops trichopsis resident  1932  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Flammulated Owl Otus flammeolus winter  1907-2006  1 individuals  good    Least Concern 
Fulvous Owl Strix fulvescens resident  2004  present individuals  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Rufous Sabrewing Campylopterus rufus resident  2004-2007  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Emerald-chinned Hummingbird Abeillia abeillei resident  2004  poor  A3  Least Concern 
White-eared Hummingbird Hylocharis leucotis resident  2004  common individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Blue-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia cyanura resident  2004  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Amethyst-throated Hummingbird Lampornis amethystinus resident  2004  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Green-throated Mountain-gem Lampornis viridipallens resident  2004-2007  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Garnet-throated Hummingbird Lamprolaima rhami resident  2004  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Sparkling-tailed Hummingbird Tilmatura dupontii resident  2004  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Wine-throated Hummingbird Atthis ellioti resident  2004-2007  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Mountain Trogon Trogon mexicanus resident  2004  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Blue-throated Motmot Aspatha gularis resident  2004-2006  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Long-tailed Manakin Chiroxiphia linearis resident  2004  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Belted Flycatcher Xenotriccus callizonus resident  2000-2006  poor  A1, A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Greater Pewee Contopus pertinax resident  2004  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Pine Flycatcher Empidonax affinis resident  2004  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Buff-breasted Flycatcher Empidonax fulvifrons resident  2007  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut-sided Shrike-vireo Vireolanius melitophrys resident  2004  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Green Shrike-vireo Vireolanius pulchellus resident  2004  poor    Least Concern 
Black-throated Jay Cyanolyca pumilo resident  2004  uncommon individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Bushy-crested Jay Cyanocorax melanocyaneus resident  2004  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
White-throated Magpie-jay Calocitta formosa resident  2004  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Unicoloured Jay Aphelocoma unicolor resident  2004  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Grey Silky-flycatcher Ptilogonys cinereus resident  2004  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Black-capped Swallow Notiochelidon pileata resident  2004  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Rufous-naped Wren Campylorhynchus rufinucha resident  2003  poor    Least Concern 
Rufous-browed Wren Troglodytes rufociliatus resident  2004  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Blue-and-white Mockingbird Melanotis hypoleucus resident  2004  common individuals  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Brown-backed Solitaire Myadestes occidentalis 2004  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Slate-coloured Solitaire Myadestes unicolor resident  2004  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Black Thrush Turdus infuscatus resident  2004  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous-collared Robin Turdus rufitorques resident  2004  common individuals  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Olive Warbler Peucedramus taeniatus resident  2004  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Black-capped Siskin Carduelis atriceps resident  2004  uncommon individuals  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Hooded Grosbeak Coccothraustes abeillei resident  2004  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Crescent-chested Warbler Parula superciliosa resident  2004  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Red-faced Warbler Cardellina rubrifrons winter  2004  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Pink-headed Warbler Ergaticus versicolor resident  2004  frequent individuals  poor  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Painted Redstart Myioborus pictus resident  2004  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Golden-browed Warbler Basileuterus belli resident  2004  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Black-vented Oriole Icterus wagleri resident  2004  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Bar-winged Oriole Icterus maculialatus resident  2004  frequent individuals  poor  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Prevost's Ground-sparrow Melozone biarcuata resident  2004  poor    Least Concern 
White-eared Ground-sparrow Melozone leucotis resident  2004  poor  A2  Least Concern 
White-naped Brush-finch Atlapetes albinucha resident  2004  poor    Least Concern 
Azure-rumped Tanager Tangara cabanisi resident  2000  present individuals  poor  A1, A2, A3  Endangered 
Cinnamon-bellied Flowerpiercer Diglossa baritula resident  2004  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Blue-crowned Chlorophonia Chlorophonia occipitalis resident  2004  poor  A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Astillero Municipal de Tecpán Regional municipal park 1,706 protected area contained by site 0  
Chusita Private Nature Reserve 77 protected area contained by site 0  
Cuenca del Lago Atitlán Multiple Use Reserve 122,900 protected area contained by site 0  
E.C.A. Xejeyu Private Nature Reserve 626 protected area contained by site 0  
El Retiro Private Nature Reserve 301 protected area contained by site 0  
El Vesubio Private Nature Reserve 418 protected area contained by site 0  
Iximché Cultural Monument 50 protected area contained by site 10  
Las Maravillas Private Nature Reserve 30 protected area contained by site 0  
Los Altos de San Miguel Totonicapán Regional municipal park 11,377 protected area contained by site 0  
Los Andes Private Nature Reserve 610 protected area contained by site 0  
Los Castaños Private Nature Reserve 45 protected area contained by site 0  
Los Tarrales Private Nature Reserve 782 protected area contained by site 0  
Maravillas Private Natural Reserve 36 protected area contained by site 36  
Milán y Anexos Private Nature Reserve 846 protected area contained by site 0  
Molino Helvetia Private Nature Reserve 176 protected area contained by site 0  
Pachuj Private Natural Reserve 250 protected area contained by site 0  
Pampojilá Peña Flor Private Nature Reserve 206 protected area contained by site 0  
Volcán Atitlán Zona de Veda Definitiva 10,056 protected area contained by site 0  
Volcán Coxliquel Zona de Veda Definitiva 704 protected area contained by site 0  
Volcán San Pedro Zona de Veda Definitiva 3,828 protected area contained by site 0  
Volcán Tolimán Zona de Veda Definitiva 4,848 protected area contained by site 0  
Volcanes Santo Tomas y Zunil Zona de Amortiguamiento 5,987 protected area contained by site 5,987  
Xecanac Private Nature Reserve 16 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  43%
Forest Montane broadleaf evergreen; Pine-oak; Second-growth & disturbed  40%
Grassland Alpine & subalpine  3%
Rocky areas Scree & boulders  1%
Shrubland Second-growth & disturbed scrub  9%
Wetlands (inland) Freshwater lakes & pools; Geothermal springs; Rivers; Streams; Water-fringe vegetation  5%

Land ownership State, communal, and private.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 50%
forestry minor
nature conservation and research 51%
rangeland/pastureland 1%
urban/industrial/transport 1%
water management 4%
fisheries/aquaculture minor
not utilised minor
hunting major

Protection status About 50% of the IBA are legally protected (CONAP 2007). The surroundings of Lake Atitlan are included in a multiple use protected area. A management plan for this reserve has been released in 2007. A network of private nature reserves and several municipal parks are a stronghold for the conservation of high-elevation habitat >1600 m.

Acknowledgements Consejo Nacional de Areas Protegidas (CONAP) - Solola supported a workshop to identify IBAs in June 2006, hosted by Universidad del Valle (Altiplano) in Solola, and the Museum of Natural History Jorge Ibarra, hosted a workshop in Guatemala City in June 2006. Input of unpublished data and suggestions for the delimitation of the IBA were provided during these workshop by representatives of CONAP, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala - Altiplano, Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, 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), Centro de Acción Legal – Ambiental y Social de Guatemala (CALAS), 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 

Castellanos, W., Pardo, P. & E. Girón. 2002. Cacería y captura de fauna silvestre en el sur de la cuenca del Lago de Atitlán. Programa Parques en Peligro - Proyecto Volcanes de Atitlán. Asociación Patronato Vivamos Mejor, Consejo Nacional de Áreas Protegidas, TNC, USAID, Guatemala.

CEPAL. 2005. Efectos en Guatemala de las lluvias torrenciales y la tormenta tropical Stan, octubre de 2005. Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe Latina, Santiago de Chile.

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

Eisermann, K. 2006. Evaluation of waterbird populations and their conservation in Guatemala. Final report. Sociedad Guatemalteca de Ornitología, Guatemala. Online at: www.avesdeguatemala.org/avesacuaticas.htm

Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño. 2006. Diversidad de aves en Guatemala, con una lista bibliográfica. Pp 525-623 In E. Cano (Ed.) Biodiversidad de Guatemala, Vol. 1. Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Guatemala.

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.

Eisermann, K., A. Burge & G. López. 2007. Nesting records of Horned Guan (Oreophasis derbianus) on Atitlán volcano, Guatemala. Bulletin of the IUCN / BIRDLIFE / WPA Cracid Specialist Group 23: 13-24.

Girón, E. 2006. Plan de manejo integrado de fuego – MIF: Región sur-oeste de la cuenca del lago de Atitlán. Vivamos Mejor, Guatemala. (Unpiblished report).

González-Garcia, F., Rivas Romero, R. A. & Cóbar Carranza, A. J. 2006. Horned Guan (Oreophasis derbianus). Pp. 36-41. 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.

Hunter, L. A. 1988. Status of the endemic Atitlan Grebe of Guatemala: is it extinct? Condor 90: 906-912.

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.

Méndez, O. 2000. Conducta de anidación del Pavo de Cacho Oreophasis derbianus en el Volcán Tolimán, Guatemala. Pp. 67-68 In: Libro de Resumenes IV Congreso de la Sociedad Mesoamericana para la Biología y la Conservación, 4-8 de Septiembre 2000. Fundación Natura, Panamá, Panamá.

ParksWatch 2002. Perfil de Parque–Guatemala: Parque Regional Municipal los Altos de San Miguel Totonicapán. ParksWatch Guatemala. Online at: www.parkswatch.org

Ríos, L. 2003. Plan de conservación de sitio de la cadena volcánica de Atitlán. Programa Parques en Peligro - Proyecto Volcanes de Atitlán. Asociación de Reservas Naturales Privadas, Vivamos Mejor, CONAP, TNC, UVG.

Rivas Romero, J. A. 2006. Distribución actual y selección de sitios para el estudio y conservación del pavo de cacho (Oreophasis derbianus G. R. Gray 1844) en Guatemala (Fase III). The Nature Conservancy, Guatemala. (Unpublished report)

Villalobos, L. & P. López. 2002. Ocurrencia de incendios forestales en la cuenca de Atitlán, Guatemala. Programa Parques en Peligro - Proyecto Volcanes de Atitlán. Vivamos Mejor y CONAP, Sololá.

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