I am honoured to be taking up the job of editing Neotropical Bird Club’s magazine for birders. Previous editors James Lowen, Nacho Areta and Guy Kirwan have worked with our contributors to create an extremely high quality publication that has earned its niche on the birder’s bookshelves. I can only hope that future issues will continue to thrill and inspire our readers to enjoy, study and conserve the rich bird life of the Neotropics.
In recent years there have been several important efforts to reassess the conservation status of the region’s bird species including a re-evaluation of the outlook for Amazonian species in the light of projected infrastructure, the production of several national Red Data Books and the publication of the 2012 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is therefore a good time for Andy Swash and Andy Symes to turn the spotlight on South America’s most endangered species in our main feature.
One of the objectives of our Club is to contribute to the conservation of the region’s birds, and our Conservation Awards Programme is the most obvious way that we achieve that. Over the past decade, tens of thousands of dollars have quietly helped local researchers carry out dozens of vital conservation projects. The funding for these important actions comes from NBC membership, as well as donations from companies and individuals. Council Members tell us how the Programme has helped us do our bit for the birds we enjoy.
We are grateful again to Alex Lees, who helps us keep our lists straight in our regular Splits, lumps and shuffles column.
Our Discoveries series continues, with Andrew Whittaker’s adrenaline-fuelled description of his discovery of the Cryptic Forest Falcon, which he teased out from the more widespread congeneric Lined Forest Falcon.
Dušan Brinkhuizen goes Birding at the cutting edge, training his optics on the elusive Rufous-crowned Antpitta in Ecuador.
Our two Photospots focus on cryptic rather than colourful species with camera-trap images of the rarely-seen Red billed Ground Cuckoo and studies of canopy roosting Lurocalis nighthawks.
We finish this issue with an inaugural set of Book reviews.
Future issues will continue to provide the range and quality of articles NBC members have become accustomed to expect. In addition, I hope that we can increase the number of articles we publish on bird identification and birding techniques in our Identification workshop and Better Neotropical birding columns respectively.
We are always looking for material for future issues, particularly on these topics.
Happy Neotropical birding!
Christopher J. Sharpe, Senior Editor