12 March 2015
BIRDS OF THE RIO TAPICHE, LORETO, PERU
R. H. Wiley, J. Bishop, T. Struhsaker
(Revised 20 November 2004 and 12 March 2015)
The Rio Tapiche flows northward to enter the Rio Ucayali near the town of Requena. It thus lies east of the Ucaylai and south of the Amazon. Our survey focused on the middle reaches of the river, from the Rio Blanco southward beyond the town of San Pedro (north of Santa Elena), and nearby oxbow lakes, including Lago Grande near the town of Iberia.
Most of our time was spent in flooded forest and restingas (former channel levees slightly higher in elevation) but some terra firme forest was also surveyed along the black-water creek Yanayacu near San Pedro.
The areas east of the river included very large morichales, swamps dominated by Mauritia palms. These areas supported large populations of parrots and macaws. Signs of tapirs indicated a sparse population centered on the morichales.
Despite small-scale lumbering and scattered chacras near the river, large tracts of forest remained intact. However, those species most vulnerable to hunting (large cracids, spider and wooly monkeys) were nearly absent.
The middle Tapiche supports a high diversity of primates, including the red uakari (Cacajao calvus ucayalii). This area includes contact zones between species/subspecies of Saimiri and Saguinus. All medium and large primates are affected by hunting. Many congregate along rivers during the high-water season to feed on fruiting trees and thus become vulnerable to hunting.
The Rio Tapiche is an exceptional natural environment with high diversity of habitats, birds, and animals. To maintain or restore healthy populations of vulnerable primates and birds, hunting must be eliminated or carefully regulated.
This survey was supported by ACEER (Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research), International Expeditions, Roberto Rotondo and Jungle Xports, and the Department of Loreto, Peru. Participants volunteered their time. Suzi Leonard accompanied the survey and provided much essential information about the area.
BIRDS OF THE RIO TAPICHE -- FEBRUARY-MARCH 1997
REVISED LIST (20 November 2004, 12 March 2015)
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Ridgely, R. S., and G. Tudor. 1994. The birds of South America. Vol. II. The suboscine passerines. Univ. Texas Press, Austin.
Schulenberg, T. S., D. F. Stotz, D. F. Lane, J. P. O'Neill, and T. A. Parker III. 2010. Birds of Peru. Revised and updated edition. Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton.
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