Archived 2014 discussion: Sun Parakeet (Aratinga solstitialis) is being split: list A. solstitialis as Endangered and A. maculata as Vulnerable?

The initial deadline for comments on this topic is 28 April 2014, and therefore later than for most other topics currently under discussion.

This is part of a consultation on the Red List implications of extensive changes to BirdLife’s taxonomy for non-passerines

Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International will soon publish the HBW-BirdLife Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World, building off the Handbook of the Birds of the World series, and BirdLife’s annually updated taxonomic checklist.

The new Checklist will be based on the application of criteria for recognising species limits described by Tobias et al. (2010). Full details of the specific scores and the basis of these for each new taxonomic revision will be provided in the Checklist.

Following publication, an open and transparent mechanism will be established to allow people to comment on the taxonomic revisions or suggest new ones, and provide new information of relevance in order to inform regular updates. We are also actively seeking input via a discussion topic here regarding some potential taxonomic revisions that currently lack sufficient information.

The new Checklist will form the taxonomic basis of BirdLife’s assessments of the status of the world’s birds for the IUCN Red List. The taxonomic changes that will appear in volume 1 of the checklist (for non-passerines) will begin to be incorporated into the 2014 Red List update, with the remainder, and those for passerines (which will appear in volume 2 of the checklist), to be incorporated into subsequent Red List updates.

Preliminary Red List assessments have been carried out for the newly split or lumped taxa. We are now requesting comments and feedback on these preliminary assessments.

Sun Parakeet Aratinga solstitialis is being split into A. solstitialis and A. maculata, following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).

Prior to this taxonomic change, A. solstitialis (BirdLife species factsheet) was listed as Endangered under criteria A2d+4d; C2a(i), on the basis that it was estimated to have a very small population, numbering 1,000-2,499 mature individuals,  and thought to be undergoing a very rapid population decline over the last 21 years (estimate of three generations), owing mainly to trapping pressure.

A. solstitialis (as defined following the taxonomic change) is known from north-eastern Roraima (Brazil), Guyana, and extreme western Suriname. Although it was fairly common until the 1970s in the Rupununi-Roraima savannas of western Guyana and Roraima, it has since suffered heavy trapping pressure and it is now very scarce or absent across large parts of its former range. One known flock in southern Guyana is reported to number up to 200 individuals (Bergman 2009), with other recent records from Roraima (Laranjeiras et al. 2011).

Based on available information, this species could qualify as Endangered under criterion C2, with the population numbering fewer than 2,500 mature individuals and inferred to be in on-going decline; however, more information is needed on the likely sub-population structure (i.e. the maximum number or proportion of all mature individuals in the largest sub-population).

A. maculata (previously named pintoi; see Nemésio and Rasmussen 2009) has a fragmented range in Pará and Amapá in Brazil, and extreme southern Suriname (e.g. Silveira et al. 2005, Mittermeier et al. 2010, Vieira da Costa et al. 2011). Following a three-day survey in 2003, Silveira et al. (2005) state that A. maculata was a fairly common at Monte Alegre, Pará, with no obvious indications of heavy trapping pressure. Likewise, Mittermeier et al. (2010) state that no reports were made of any hunting or trapping of the species by Amerindians in the Sipaliwini Savanna of southern Suriname, where the species has been characterised as uncommon to fairly common in areas with large tracts of forest and adjacent savanna (O’Shea 2005, Mittermeier et al. 2010).

This species is projected to lose c.35-42% of forest over in its range over 21 years from 2002, according to a model of forest loss in the Amazon basin (Soares-Filho et al. 2006). According to the pessimistic (business as usual) scenario of forest loss (following Bird et al. 2011), the species could be inferred to decline by 41.6% over three generations from 2002. This suggests that it qualifies as Vulnerable under criterion A4cd; however, it has been suggested that deforestation in Brazil may actually be benefitting this species and facilitating its spread to new areas (Vieira da Costa et al. 2011), thus it is unclear whether a rapid decline can be inferred on this basis.

More information is required on this species’s likely population size. It may qualify as Vulnerable or Endangered under criterion C2 if its population is estimated to number fewer than 10,000 mature individuals or fewer than 2,500 mature individuals, respectively; however, this is also dependent on the likely sub-population structure, i.e. the number of mature individuals in the largest sub-population, and the inferred population trend.

Please note that the definition of sub-populations used in relation to the IUCN Red List criteria is of “geographically or otherwise distinct groups in the population between which there is little demographic or genetic exchange (typically one successful migrant individual or gamete per year or less)” (IUCN 2001).

Comments are invited on these proposed categories and further information would be welcomed.


Bergman, C. (2009) The Golden Birds of the Lost World. PsittaScene, February 2009: 5–7.

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.

IUCN (2001) IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK: IUCN Species Survival Commission.

Laranjeiras, T. O., Torres, M. F., Quitiaqueza, J. J. R., Holderbaum, J. M. (2011) New records of Sun Parakeet (Aratinga solstitialis) in Roraima, Brazil, and its current area of occurrence. IX Congreso de Ornitología Neotropical: 516.

Mittermeier, J. C., Zyskowski, K., Stowe, E. S. and Lai, J. E. (2010) Avifauna of the Sipaliwini Savanna (Suriname) with Insights into Its Biogeographic Affinities. Bulletin of the Peabody Museum of Natural History 51(1): 97–122.

Nemésio, A. and Rasmussen, C. (2009) The rediscovery of Buffon’s “Guarouba” or “Perriche jaune”: two senior synonyms of Aratinga pintoi Silveira, Lima & Höfling, 2005 (Aves: Psittaciformes). Zootaxa 2013: 1–6.

O’Shea, B. J. (2005) Notes on the birds of the Sipaliwini Savanna and other localities in southern Suriname, with six new species for the country. Ornitología Neotropical 16(3): 361–370.

Silveira, L. F., Thadeo de Lima, F. C. and Höfling, E. (2005) A new species of Aratinga parakeet (Psittaciformes: Psittacidae) from Brazil, with taxonomic remarks on the Aratinga solstitialis complex. Auk 122(1): 292–305.

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. & Schlesinger, P. (2006) Modelling conservation in the Amazon basin. Nature 440: 520–523.

Tobias, J. A., Seddon, N., Spottiswoode, C. N., Pilgrim, J. D., Fishpool, L. D. C. and Collar, N. J. (2010) Quantitative criteria for species delimitation. Ibis 152: 724–746.

Vieira da Costa, T. V., Borges Andretti, C., Olmos, F. and Fernando Pacheco, J. (2011) New records of Sulphur-breasted Parakeet Aratinga maculata in Pará and Amapá states, Brazil. Cotinga 33: 136–137.

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3 Responses to Archived 2014 discussion: Sun Parakeet (Aratinga solstitialis) is being split: list A. solstitialis as Endangered and A. maculata as Vulnerable?

  1. maculata is now known to occur east as far as Amapa, west almost to Amazonas, and north in the undisturbed hinterland of northern Para, I saw one individual kept by a local in Monte Alegre but otherwise it is apparently rare in the trade. Which shape files were used to model the range contraction? These calculations will likely need to be revised given that the species has a much larger distribution than previously thought in a relatively undisturbed region of Amazonia.

    Aleixo, A., Poletto, F., & Lima, M. D. F. C. (2011). Notes on the Vertebrates of northern Pará, Brazil: a forgotten part of the Guianan Region, II. Avifauna. Bol. Mus. Para. Emilio Goeldi Cienc. Nat, 6(1), 11-65.

    COSTA, T. V. V.; ANDRETTI, C. B.; OLMOS, F.; PACHECO, J. F. 2011. New records of Sulphur-breasted Parakeet Aratinga maculata in Pará and Amapá states, Brazil. Cotinga, 33, 136-137.

  2. Andy Symes says:

    Preliminary proposals

    Based on available information, our preliminary proposals for the 2014 Red List would be to treat:

    A. solstitialis as Endangered under criterion C2a(ii)

    A. maculata as Least Concern.

    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline of 14 May, after which recommended categorisations will be put forward to IUCN.

    The final Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in mid-2014, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.

  3. Andy Symes says:

    Recommended categorisations to be put forward to IUCN

    Following further review, there have been no changes to our preliminary proposals for the 2014 Red List status of these species.

    The final categorisations will be published in mid-2014, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by BirdLife and IUCN.

Comments are closed.