Birds and other biodiversity

The Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia) is a small, zebra-striped bird that is unique among our warblers. It is the only representative of its genus, and also the only one whose typical mode of foraging is clinging to and climbing up…

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Revised on March 23, 2014

As has been found in previous studies, birds on Jamaican coffee farms reduce insect pests, providing an important ecosystem service worth 12% of the total crop value.

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Revised on February 8, 2013

Know Your Coffee Birds page

by on February 9, 2010

There is now a page listing all the published profiles in the Know Your Coffee Bird series, as well as anticipated upcoming accounts.

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Revised on November 2, 2010

The Rufous-capped Warbler (Basileuterus rufifrons) is found through much of Central America, north through Mexico. This species is occasionally found in the southwestern U.S., when it creates a sensation among birders. This warbler is a common resident of shade coffee…

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Revised on August 26, 2013

The Wood Thrush, a relative of the familiar American Robin, is often considered a symbol of the population declines of birds that nest in North America and winter in the tropics. This species has been declining since the mid-1960s, and…

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Revised on September 9, 2013

One of the most enduring memories of my visit to Finca Hartmann is that of passing a spot that was frequently visited by a vivid male Violet Sabrewing (Campylopterus hemileucurus), a large tropical hummingbird found from southern Mexico to western…

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Revised on August 26, 2013

Baltimore Orioles rely on flowering trees, especially the species commonly used to provide shade to coffee, during their winter months in Latin America.

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Revised on August 26, 2013

Bakermans, M. H., A. C. Vitz, A. D. Rodewald, and C. G. Rengifo. 2009. Migratory songbird use of shade coffee in the Venezuelan Andes with implications for the conservation of the cerulean warbler. Biological Conservation 142:2476-2483. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2009.05.018 Most studies of…

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Revised on March 23, 2014

A coffee farm that is part of the ProAves Cerulean Warbler Reserve in Santander, Colombia was recently certified by Rainforest Alliance (under the cooperative Asociación de Cafés Sostenibles de Santander). The 15 ha farm was acquired in 2006 by ProAves,…

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Revised on February 15, 2011

My experiences on shade and bird diversity at Nicaragua’s Finca Esperanza Verde.

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Revised on March 23, 2014

The Emerald Toucanet (Aulacorhynchus prasinus) is the most widely distributed member of the toucan family. It can be found from Mexico through Central America south to Bolivia. As might be expected for a species with such as broad geographic range,…

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Revised on March 23, 2014

The North American Wood Warblers are known for their colorful beauty. The male Black-throated Blue Warbler (Dendrioca caerulescens, left) is one of the most beautiful.

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Revised on March 23, 2014

Know your coffee birds: Jacu

by on September 6, 2008

Jacus (guans) are birds that eat ripe coffee cherries.One might imagine this habit would draw the ire of coffee farmers. But at least one enterprising producer is using the philosophy, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Or in this case, “If life gives you bird crap with coffee beans it it, make coffee.”

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Revised on March 23, 2014

Vishnudas, C. K. 2008. Crematogaster ants in shaded coffee plantations: a critical food source for Rufous Woodpecker Micropternus brachyurus and other forest birds. Indian Birds 4:9-11. Rufous Woodpeckers are ant specialists. The Rufous Woodpecker is one of the twelve woodpecker…

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Revised on January 20, 2011

Tennessee Warblers are one of the classic winter residents of shade coffee farms in Central America and northern South America, which led tropical ornithologist Alexander Skutch to conclude that they really should be named “Coffee Warbler.”

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Revised on August 26, 2013