It would be safe to assume that a majority of you have never heard of Huembo – but perhaps you’ve heard of the famous Spatuletail hummingbird? This creature is endemic to the Amazonas region in northern Peru. If you aren’t already familiar with the Spatuletail, let me introduce you…
The Marvellous Spatuletail Hummingbird
The Spatuletail belongs to the hummingbird family. It is very small (about 11 – 14 cm), but its particularity is its tail. The male hummingbird has two long quills with spatulas at its end. While it looks simply stunning, imagine how heavy it must be for this little fellow!
So what does he need these spatulas for? Well, during mating season, the little hummingbird uses his spatulas to impress the females, waving them up and down in front of his chosen one as if dancing.
In order to have a better idea of what this looks like, take a look at this National Geographic video. It’s just beautiful.
But the Spatuletail is just one of the many species of hummingbirds that you can see at Huembo. The Green Violetear or the Bronzy Inca also call the natural reserve home.
(Photo: Philippe Capel)
When you visit Huembo, you can choose to either stay the day and hike in the reserve’s property or, a quicker alternative, take the nature trail to the observatory at the Feeding Station. From here you will be able to see several species of hummingbirds within a few minutes.
Private Nature Reserve of Huembo
The Huembo Interpretation Center is within the conservation area (measuring 39 hectares) managed by ECOAN (Association of Andean Ecosystems) within a secondary forest. It lies on the border of two different ecosystems: the dry forests of the Utcumbamba Valley and the humid mountain forests. One of the missions of ECOAN is to reforest the area with native species of the region and the return of certain animal species.
The area around Huembo is excellent for bird watching, since the Amazonas region lists about 900 species of the more than 1,800 that exist in the whole country.
Huembo Nature Reserve in northern Peru (Photo: Philippe Capel)
Remember that there exist about 10,000 species in the world, and then realize that Peru collects in its territory almost 20% of the known species on planet Earth. Exceptional! In addition, there are 105 endemic species in the country, 40 of them located in the north, and our little friend the Spatuletail hummingbird is one. Its rarity makes it unfortunately an endangered species.
How to get to Huembo
Huembo lies just about 20 km east of Pedro Ruiz. There is no direct public transportation to get there. It’s best to take a taxi from Pedro Ruiz (or from Pomacochas) to get there and to have the taxi waiting for you while you visit.
Otherwise, you can easily stoop by on your way from Chachapoyas to Moyobamba or Tarapoto with your private car.
This is a very easy excursion. Nevertheless, and as usual, you should pack water, rain gear, sun block, a hat, mosquito repellent and good walking shoes.
This article was written by Martina Capel, co-founder of PHIMA Voyages, a tour operator based in the Chachapoyas, Amazonas region, in Northern Peru that specializes exactly in these regions – “off the beaten path”. Small group tours and catered packages are offered covering a wide variety: archaeology, nature, experiences and encounters.