A beautiful bird found only in Mexico, the Altamira yellowthroat (Geothlypis flavovelata) is most noticeable for its distinctive yellow plumage (2).
The upperparts and wings of the Altamira yellowthroat are yellow-olive green, while the crown and underparts are bright yellow. The male Altamira yellowthroat has a prominent black ‘mask’ covering the face, while the female lacks a mask, instead having a yellow face with olive ear coverts. Both the male and female have a black bill and pink legs (2)
The Altamira yellowthroat is similar in appearance to the common yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas). However, the common yellowthroat is larger, and its black face mask has a grey border (2)(3).
There is little information available on the biology of the Altamira yellowthroat. However, it is likely to be similar to the closely related common yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) (3), which builds its nests in thick reeds or other vegetation, close to water (5). A female Altamira yellowthroat in breeding condition has been found in May (4).
Virtually nothing has been recorded of the Altamira yellowthroat’s feeding habits (4), but, like the common yellowthroat, it probably feeds on insects (5).
The loss of habitat is the greatest threat to the Altamira yellowthroat’s existence. Many freshwater lakes and marshes in north-east Mexico have been drained to create land suitable for cattle and for industrial development (2).
There are no known conservation measures currently in place for the Altamira yellowthroat.
Proposed conservation measures include implementing a study of the remaining areas of freshwater marshland within the Altamira yellowthroat’s range. Subsequently, areas which are known to contain the Altamira yellowthroat should be protected. Discouraging the draining of marshes on private land, to prevent further habitat loss, is another measure which will help this threatened species (2).
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