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An overview of raptor biology and conservation in Latin America

June 9, 2009

Prior to the last decade, biological studies of raptorial birds in Latin America were, with a few exceptions, nonexistent. For many species all that was known was the general range and habitat type. While the logistical and political challenges are still present, the last few years has seen the opening of a door to what will almost surely be a flood of scientific investigations. From over 40,000 ground miles traveled in 16 countries, field contact with over two thirds of the raptor species, and interviews with conservation officers in 10 nations, I will report on some raptor concentration areas, identify topics for future research, and generalize on raptor conservation issues. I will also briefly mention some recent biological studies and touch briefly on the challenges awaiting the biologist who tries his or her hand at reaping the rewards that are present in abundance for those who engage in raptor studies in Latin America.