200 Years. 200 Stories. Story 21: “Preserving a Bird's House ”

« Hadrosaurus foulkii

Chasing Fish »

photo of the jocotoco
Jocotoco, one of the threatened bird species protected in the Tapichalaca Reserve in the Ecuadorean Andes

Preserving a Bird's House

Where on Earth can you find the jocotoco antpitta (Grallaria ridgelyi)? In Ecuador, thanks to conservation efforts supported by Academy scientists! Research by former Academy ornithologist Robert Ridgely on the birds of Ecuador led to the November 1997 discovery of this fascinating new bird species. The following January, Ridgely went on an expedition to gather more information with Academy Ornithology Collection Manager David Agro, Visual Resources for Ornithology Director Doug Wechsler, and Ecuadorian colleagues.

Ridgely was working with artist Paul Greenfield on a field guide to the birds of Ecuador to increase popular understanding of the country's birds and to promote conservation. The expedition's sponsor, Nigel Simpson, provided the funds to buy much of the habitat in the area where this newly described bird was discovered. As a result, the Jocotoco Foundation was created to establish the 10,000 acre Tapichalaca Reserve aimed at protecting the jocotoco antpitta and its ecosystem.

VIREO scientist Doug Wechsler returned to the area later to take more photographs of the jocotoco antpitta and other birds. See these amazing photos through the VIREO image bank at ansp.org.

Plan your visit, check out our new exhibits, and find out about upcoming activities.
Discover the past and explore the future of the natural sciences in our online exhibits.
Make a difference, browse our programs, and get involved with the natural world.