Lake Junín is famous for the abundance and diversity of breeding, staging and wintering waterbirds. The lake supports the entire world population of three species or subspecies: Junín Grebe Podiceps taczanowskii, Junín Rail Laterallus tuerosi and the endemic subspecies of the White-tufted Grebe Rollandia rolland morrisoni. Surveys undertaken in the 1930s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s confirmed the lake's importance in the Andes, however there has been no recent assessment of its waterbird community. We undertook waterbird counts between 6 and 20 February 2014 from the lakeshore and by boat. Despite using differing survey methods, we nevertheless conclude that the relative abundance of waterbird species has changed dramatically compared to earlier counts. Most notably, the Junín Grebe has experienced a major decline since the 1930s when the species was considered extremely abundant and another native fish-eating species the White-tufted Grebe also appears to have declined. In contrast the Northern Silvery Grebe Podiceps juninensis, classified as 'Near Threatened', has apparently become more abundant. Numbers of Puna Teal Spatula puna and Common Gallinule Gallinula galeata seem to have crashed, presumably reflecting the general loss of submerged vegetation. In spite of a major decline in waterbirds overall, the Junín area holds numbers of migratory shorebirds, perhaps as a consequence of local hunting restrictions and awareness campaigns. Lake Junín is a candidate for listing on the Montreux Record under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland showing serious change in ecological character. Management planning should proceed to balance conflicting interests at the lake. Actions to re-establish a clear water column by reducing eutrophication (from settlements in the catchment) as well as sedimentation and heavy metals (from upstream mining) will contribute to improving ecological functions and to secure waterbirds including the endemics.
Dinesen, L., Chamorro, A., Fjeldså, J., & Aucca, C. (2019). Long-term declines in waterbirds abundance at Lake Junín, Andean Peru. Bird Conservation International, 29(1), 83-99. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0959270918000230