Cotingas report in Arena Blanca Reserve, San Martin – Peru

by Oct 3, 2020

This report confirms the presence of the Spangled Cotinga (Cotinga cayana) and the Chestnut-crested Cotinga (Ampelion rufaxilla) in Arena Blanca Reserve, in the buffer zone of the Alto Mayo Protected Forest, province of Rioja, in the San Martin region.

According to Birds of Peru (2010):

Spangled Cotinga is a rare but widely distributed species in the Amazon, under 800 masl or locally up to 1350 masl, mostly found on dry land away from seasonally flooded forests.

In the case of the Chestnut-crested Cotinga, it is rare along the Andean slope from 1700 to 2800 masl and is more linked to continuous humid mountain forest.

Both species were recorded on September 24, 2020, and is described below:

At 7:45 a.m. a pair of Spangled Cotinga was observed on the canopy of a Cachaco moena tree.
At 09:35 hours a male individual of the mentioned species was observed and photographed on a dry branch of a Caraña tree.
Then at 09:45 hours a male individual of the Chestnut-crested Cotinga was observed and photographed on some branches of a Caraña tree.

Spangled Cotinga (Cotinga cayana)

Spangled Cotinga (Cotinga cayana)

Chestnut-crested Cotinga (Ampelion rufaxilla)

Chestnut-crested Cotinga (Ampelion rufaxilla)

The records were made in the Arena Blanca Reserve, at 1150 masl, which is one of the main birding sites in the San Martin region, and on the Northern Peru Birding Route.

The report confirms the first records of these species in the Arena Blanca Reserve, and adds to the few records in Alto Mayo Protected Forest and its buffer zone. It also determines that the Chestnut-crested Cotinga can be observed at altitudes lower than those indicated in the Birds of Peru book.


Schulenberg, T. S., Stotz, D.F., Lane, D.F., O’Neill, J.P. & T. A. Parker III. (2010). Birds of Peru. Princeton University Press. Chicago. pp 1-656.


Cotingas en la Reserva Arena Blanca, Perú

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