Archived 2010-2011 topics: Red-masked Parakeet (Aratinga erythrogenys): request for information

Link to BirdLife species factsheet for Red-masked Parakeet

Red-masked Parakeet Aratinga erythrogenys is listed as Near Threatened under criteria C1; C2a(i) on the basis that its population is suspected to number c.10,000 mature individuals and, following reports of severe local declines (Ridgely 1981, Best et al. 1995), severe negative trends are suspected to be ongoing in some areas. These declines are suspected due to unsustainable levels of trapping for the wild bird trade, both domestic and international (Best and Clarke 1991, Williams and Tobias 1994, Best et al. 1995).

Information recently relayed by J. Gilardi (in litt. 2010) suggests that the species’s status could have deteriorated in Ecuador and that trade in this species is still high in Ecuador and along the Ecuador-Peru border.

Up-to-date information is requested, including estimates of the total population size, the likely population trend and the severity of threats. The population trend should be estimated as the percentage change over 21 years (estimate of three generations). Other useful information for this species includes the maximum size of each sub-population or the percentage of the total population that forms one sub-population.

Best, B. J. and Clarke, C. T. (1991) The threatened birds of the Sozoranga region, south-west Ecuador. Cambridge, U.K.: International Council for Bird Preservation (Study Report 44).

Best, B. J., Krabbe, N., Clarke, C. T. and Best, A. L. (1995) Red-masked Parakeet Aratinga erythrogenys and Grey-cheeked Parakeet Brotogeris pyrrhoptrus: two threatened parrots from Tumbesian Ecuador and Peru?. Bird Conserv. Int. 5: 233-250.

Ridgely, R. S. (1981) The current distribution and status of mainland Neotropical parrots. Pp. 233- 384 in Pasquier, R.F., ed. Conservation of New World parrots. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press for the International Council for Bird Preservation (Techn. Publ.).

Williams, R. S. R. and Tobias, J. A. (1994) The conservation of southern Ecuador’s threatened avifauna. Cambridge, U.K.: BirdLife International (Study Report 60).

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4 Responses to Archived 2010-2011 topics: Red-masked Parakeet (Aratinga erythrogenys): request for information

  1. This species has a feral population in Lima city and it is expanding there. I have seen mixed individuals of Aratinga erythrogenis and Aratinga wagleri in urban parks of Lima since 1990.

  2. Unfortunately, there is still insufficient scientific data for this species and many others in the Coast of Ecuador. Historically in Guayaquil, there have been many reports of Aratinga erythrogenys naturally occurring in the remnants of tropical dry forest around the city, nowadays heavily fragmented. Yesterday I saw a flock of about 50 individuals flying around an urban neighborhood about 10 miles east from Bosque Protector Cerro Blanco, the flock separated in two, one group heading in Cerro Blanco’s direction while the other one headed east probably not too far, to Cerro Paraiso. Some birds came down to neighborhood trees. There is a general opinion that fewer individuals are observed as time passes. There is still strong evidence of illegal bird trade in the city, also in the Peruvian-Ecuadorian border, and a high number of confiscations of parrots involve Aratinga erythrogenys, however we feel that habitat fragmentation and deforestation is the main cause of decline.

  3. In the twenty years that I have worked at the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest near the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador, I have noticed a steady drop in numbers of this species outside of the protected area. While flocks within Cerro Blanco have remained steady, with groups of 4-8 individuals, outside, the paakeets have disappeared completely from some areas. We recieve more than 40 individuals on a average per year at our wildlife rescue center, that have been confiscated by the authorities, indicating a steady and probably increased pressure due to the internal pet trade.

  4. In the course of our field work with the avifauna in and around the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest, a 6,078 hectare reserve protecting critically endangered Ecuadorian Dry Forest, we have the following information on populations of Aratinga erythrogenys:

    * Between 2007-2008, in ten field visits, a total of 76 individuals of this species were seen in a highly degraded and unprotected remnant of dry tropical forest outside of Cerro Blanco in the area of Chongoncito.

    * During the same period, and as part of the study, “Scientific Analysis of the Rapid Assessments for the Sampling of Populations of Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus guayaquilensis), 18 individuals of Aratinga erythrogenys were observed during 10 field visits in the area of Iceras-Las Balsas within the Chongon-Colonche Protected Forest in the Santa Elena Penisula.

    * In 2010, a total of 11 individuals were observed in a limestone mining concession with remnants of dry tropical forest in the buffer zone of the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest.

    * During the Christmas Bird Count held in the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest and adjacent mangrove and freshwater lake sites held in December, 2010, a total of three individuals were seen by a total of 8 observers.

    * In 2010, flocks of between 5-25 individuals were sighted in forest remnants in fincas and haciendas between the Cerro Blanco and Chongon-Colonche Protected Forests.

    * In 2009, 14 individuals of this species were confiscated by the environmental unit of the Ecuadorian National Police and entered the Cerro Blanco Wildlife Rescue Center. In 2010, 10 Aratinga erythrogenys entered the Center.

    The information collected indicates an overall decline of the species in the Cordillera Chongon-Colonche, with pressure on wild populations especially acute because of the illegal pet trade coupled with rampant forest destruction.

    * In 2009, a total of 14 individuals of this species were confiscated

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