Archived 2012-2013 topics: Golden Parakeet (Guaruba guarouba): downlist to Vulnerable?

BirdLife species factsheet for Golden Parakeet Golden Parakeet Guaruba guarouba is restricted to Brazil, where most records come from between the Tocantins, lower Xingú and Tapajós rivers in the Amazon Basin of Pará. There are additional records from adjacent north Maranhão, where populations survive around Gurupi and the Rio Capim (C. Yamashita in litt. 2000); Rondônia, where the species was recorded once at Jamari in 1989, but has not been seen subsequently despite surveys (F. Olmos in litt. 1999); Mato Grosso, where it was seen once at Alta Floresta in 1991 (Low 1995c), and Amazonas, where the species was recorded in 2007 (Laranjeiras and Cohn-Haft 2009). It is currently listed as Endangered under criterion C2a(ii)  on the basis that it has a very small population, previously estimated at 600-1,700 mature individuals, which is semi-nomadic along rivers in the Amazon Basin, and has suffered from habitat loss and extensive trapping for trade. However, recent information is available that suggests the population may be greater than was previously estimated, and if this is confirmed the species may warrant downlisting. The species has been recorded in several additional locations (Laranjeiras & Cohn-Haft 2009) and a recent survey by Laranjeiras (2011) indicated that the Golden Parakeet was as common as other, non-threatened parrots. The population was estimated at 500 individuals in the study area (a strip of about 340 km along the Tapajos river) in western Pará, Brazil; representing the largest known population.  Also, the majority of its current Area of Occurrence (AOO) is not as fragmented as originally thought and is under protection (de Luca et al. 2009), and the species appears not to be nomadic in preserved landscapes.  If the current global population estimate is correct, 20-40% of the global population would be found within a strip of just 340 km along the ‘transamazonica’ highway. However, this encompasses no more than 5% of the total area of suitable habitat (Laranjeiras 2011), and thus, it is likely that the global population is larger than previous estimates suggest. A highly conservative extrapolation of 1 individual per 16km2 across 174,000 km2  of suitable habitat within the known Extent of Occurrence gives an estimate of c.10,875 inddividuals (Laranjeiras 2011). Also, trapping for trade is no longer thought to have a significant impact on wild Golden Parakeets.  Although it has been extensively trapped in the past, trade is now usually within the substantial captive population (L. F. Silveira in litt. 2012). The main threat is deforestation in part of its range (L. F. Silveira in litt. 2012), with a predicted loss of 23.3-30.9% of suitable habitat within its distribution over three generations (c.22 years in this species), based on a model of Amazonian deforestation (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). If evidence that the population is now >2,500 mature individuals is confirmed, this species would no longer qualify as Endangered under the C criterion. It would warrant downlisting to Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List if a) there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the population size of this species has reduced by ≥30% over three generations (22 years), thus qualifying under criteria A2cd+3cd+4cd, and/or b) the population is estimated to be <10,000 mature individuals, forming a single subpopulation and continuing to decline, thus qualifying under criterion C2a(ii). Further information is requested on the species’s global population size, the size of the largest subpopulation and population trends, and comments on its proposed downlisting are welcome. References: Bird, J. P., Buchanan, G. M., Lees, A. C., Clay, R. P., Develey, P. F., Yépez, I. and Butchart, S. H. M. (2011) Integrating spatially explicit habitat projections into extinction risk assessments: a reassessment of Amazonian avifauna incorporating projected deforestation. Diversity and Distributions: doi: 10.1111/j.1472-4642.2011.00843.x. De Luca, A. C., Develey, P. F., Bencke, G. A. and Goerck, J. M. (Orgs.). (2009). Areas importantes para a conservacao das aves no Brasil. Parte II – Amazonia, Cerrado e Pantanal. Sao Paulo: SAVE Brasil. Laranjeiras, T. O. (2011) Biology and population size of the Golden Parakeet (Guaruba guarouba) in western Pará, Brazil, with recommendations for conservation. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 19(3): 303-314. Laranjeiras, T. O. and Cohn-Haft, M. (2009) Where is the symbol of Brazilian ornithology? The geographic distribution of the Golden Parakeet (Guarouba guarouba – Psittacidae). Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 17(1): 1-19. Low, R. (1995) Die Zucht des Goldsittichs. Voliere 18: 321-352. Soares-Filho, B. S., Nepstad, D. C., Curran, L. M., Cerqueira, G. C. Garcia, R. A., Ramos, C. A., Voll, E., McDonald, A., Lefebvre, P. and Schlesinger, P. (2006) Modelling conservation in the Amazon basin. Nature 440: 520-523.

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2 Responses to Archived 2012-2013 topics: Golden Parakeet (Guaruba guarouba): downlist to Vulnerable?

  1. Tara T says:

    I am so happy to hear this! I was just at Amazonia NP near Itaituba in Sept. and saw a flock of around 27 Golden Parakeets. I wish they would build an eco-lodge there, that area has so much potential!

  2. Alexander C. Lees says:

    This seems appropriate, we found this species to be not uncommon around the municipality of Paragominas, PA and is not as forest-dependent as several other (non-threatened) parrot species in the region, capable of trap-lining multiple forest-patches and moving around the non-forest matrix. There is however still some illegal trade in this region but evidently not the same pressure as was experienced 20 y/a. Certainly the global population is likely above 2500 individuals.

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