El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America and it has the highest population density of any country in the Americas. Consequently, it has suffered from a great deal of environmental damage in the last century. The forest is reduced to about 3% of its original cover and there is a great deal of pollution. However, in recent years there have been the first signs of hope for the environment of the country. The little forest that remains in mostly protected by responsible groups such as SalvaNATURA, ISTU and the Ministry of the Environment, and there is a growing awareness of the need to protect what remains.

There are a number of species that are only found in the tropical dry forest belt that ranges along the Pacific coast from Southern Mexico to North West Costa Rica. El Salvador lies in the middle of this range, so all of these species are found in the country. The main species are: White-bellied Chachalaca, Spot-bellied (or Crested) Bobwhite, Pacific Parakeet, Yellow-naped Parrot, Pacific Screech-Owl, Salvin’s Emerald and Long-tailed Manakin. The Pacific Parakeet is a particularly common bird and can be seen in big flocks in the evenings as they fly over San Salvador to their roosting sites, though this is not a particularly easy species to see elsewhere. A number of birders have recently started monitoring the roost sites of Pacific Parakeets throughout the city. In addition there are a number of birds that are endemic to the highlands ranging from Chiapas to Northern Nicaragua, many of which are also found in the northern part of El Salvador, bordering Honduras. One very restricted range species that is found in the country is Rufous Sabrewing. It is found on some of the volcanoes, including San Salvador Volcano, though many of these locations are not very safe to visit. (text courtesy Mayan Birding)

Long-tailed Manakin

Long-tailed Manakin © Jean-Michel Thibault

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