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0% of this project has been implemented.

Start Date
September 1, 2021
End Date
November 30, 2022

Project Summary

To save this rare grackle from extinction, Fundación ProAves seeks to implement an innovative project that will commence with comprehensive research to gather necessary biological data about the species, including the abundance of population densities at key sites. This information will be analysed and presented to stakeholders and experts, who will collaborate to develop a conservation action plan for the species, which will be implemented by ProAves. In addition to establishing new protected areas and restoring habitat, ProAves will launch an educational campaign to raise awareness about the grackle among the community within the species’ range. Through this multi-faceted project, we seek to expand the grackle’s protected habitat and reverse its population trend from decreasing to increasing, so that its Red List status can be downgraded from Endangered.


Research: Intensive day-time surveys in suitable habitat using transects and opportunistic observation together with mist net studies. Birds that are captured will not be harmed, but they will be banded to enable population studies.

Practice: Research results will be shared with stakeholders and experts, who will collaborate to develop a conservation action plan for the species, which will be implemented by ProAves

Outreach: The Colombian Mountain Grackle will be showcased and will greatly benefit from our innovative approach of using a mobile classroom . Called the “Ranita Chiva,” this converted school bus will raise awareness about the grackle as it travels through surrounding communities in the species’ range, attracting frequent and high-profile local media attention across the department of Santander.

Key Documents

Project location - Colombia, South America

Field Reports

The Rana Chiva, the real-life conservation “magic school bus”

February 28, 2023

The Rana Chiva Bus, a community-based mobile environmental awareness project. This real-life “Magic School Bus” brings conservation education to school children and community members throughout Colombia. The project’s objective is to bring community-based environmental awareness to schools for students to learn about endangered species.

To date, the bus visited 34 schools in seven municipalities (three departments) educating more than 12,450 kids on the importance of conservation.

The Rana Chiva also offered the platform for Women for Conservation workshops to discuss environmental sustainability and nature protection. The workshops aim to empower local women’s role in conservation. To date, 1,481 women have been trained in the Women for Conservation program.

Click on each thumbnail to enlarge and read the captions

77 km covered in search of the Mountain Grackle

November 30, 2022

The field work component of this project was completed in November.  During the research period, the project team managed to visit four locations covering an active search area of 77.24 km.  With more than 110 hours of active search, they managed 91 listings on the eBird platform, with 778 records of 1534 individuals belonging to 205 species.

Additionally, 225 photographic records of birds were generated, and 107 photographs of the ecosystems visited across the 4 regions visited including Vereda La Pitala in the municipality of El Carmen de Chucurí, Vereda Chanchón in the municipality of San Vicente de Chucurí, Vereda Virolín; municipality of Charala, Vereda Honduras, municipality of El Peñón.

Although the Mountain Grackle is abundant in some areas, there are no precise estimates of the size and health of its populations in the department of Santander.

Click on each thumbnail to enlarge and read the captions

The outstanding natural beauty of Santander, Colombia

February 28, 2022

The diverse flora and scenery of Colombia is uniquely beautiful. Where our studies took place In Santander, there are mature Andean and dense Oak Forests located in the mountainous regions, up to 4000 metres above sea level, and connecting to the important Páramo eco-systems. In the lower regions there are pastures, paddocks, and crops through which numerous rivers and streams flow.

Please enjoy the breath-taking photographs of the landscape in this flickr photo album

Click the thumbnail to enlarge it and read the captions.

The Mountain Grackle and other Endangered and Vulnerable birds identified

February 17, 2022

In the past two months our ecologists in Colombia carried out more than 70 hours of sampling and recorded 173 different species of birds. In the El Taladro sector six Endemic and Endangered (EN) Colombian Mountain Grackle were sighted including at least one chick in a nest. Locals to the area have also observed up to 60 individuals. Other threatened species, including the Ruddy Pigeon (VU), Black-and-chestnut Eagle (EN), the almost endemic Short-tailed Emerald and Golden-fronted Redstart and the migratory Canada Warbler, Hepatic Tanager, Black-and-white Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, and Broad-winged Hawk were identified too.

For all the wonderful photographs of the species discovered visit this flickr photo album and for full details of the expedition read the field report here.

Field trip photos. Click the thumbnail to enlarge it and read the captions.

Noisy Colombian Mountain Grackle sighted

December 30, 2021

An expedition to Vereda Esparta resulted in 12 endangered Colombian Mountain Grackle sightings. Their foraging preference appeared to be in patches of Riparian Forest, close to water, where they were observed noisily consuming crickets, caterpillars, and other invertebrates. A particularly hungry juvenile was constantly demanding food, which was provided by all the adults in the community – not only the parents. Later at the village of Las Amarillas, auditory recognition of the Mountain Grackle was recorded. Based on the intensity of the vocalisation it was estimated that several flocks of 20 individuals were travelling, presumably, to their resting place.

For all photographs of the species discovered during these expeditions visit this flickr photo album and for full details read the field report here.

Field trip photos. Click the thumbnail to enlarge it and read the captions.

Listen to the Mountain grackle’s song

Extensive searches record many endangered species in Colombia

November 30, 2022

From September to November 2021, conservationists in Santander, Colombia traversed more than 100 km through forests above 2,000 meters in search of the Colombian Mountain Grackle. Along these routes, they recorded more than 192 different species of birds. Eight of the species recorded during the trips are considered endangered, including the Colombian Mountain Grackle. Conservationists found the Grackle in high abundance and easily detected due to its constant movement and recurrent vocalization. They even found a nest with 3 chicks that were about one week old. The chicks were being fed crickets, caterpillars and worms by the flock of six adult individuals.

Our observers noted:

As usual they constantly vocalized and appeared inquisitive and reckless in my presence.

Fieldtrip Photos. Click the thumbnail to enlarge it and read the captions