Plate-billed mountain toucan in Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve, Ecuador
© Tui De Roy/Minden Picture
A plate-billed mountain toucan. National Bird Day
In honor of National Bird Day, observed every year on January 5, we're at the Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve in the Pichincha Province of Ecuador, a 2,000-acre conservation area that was established in 1981. Bellavista is located at high altitude, in the northwestern Andes mountains, and is home to a huge variety of bird species, including the plate-billed mountain toucan you see here.
These colorful birds live in the elevated cloud forests of Ecuador and southern Colombia, and are particularly vocal toucans, with males and females known to duet at volumes that can be heard more than a half-mile away. Plate-billed mountain toucans are considered near-threatened due to loss of habitat caused by deforestation and poachers who trade in exotic birds. But conservation organizations, including Bellavista, are offering a glimmer of hope—and refuge—to this and many other rare and understudied species of birds, plants, and other wildlife.