email a friend
printable version
Golden Parakeet Guaruba guarouba
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This species has been downlisted from Endangered because its population is estimated to be larger than previously thought. It is listed as Vulnerable on the basis that it nevertheless is estimated to have a small population and it is suspected that it will undergo a rapid decline over the next three generations owing to habitat loss and limited trapping pressure.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

Aratinga guarouba Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993), Aratinga guarouba Stotz et al. (1996), Guarouba guarouba BirdLife International (2000), Guarouba guarouba SACC (2005)

34 cm. Striking, golden parrot. Adult golden-yellow with green flight feathers. White periocular and large horn-coloured bill. Immature dull brownish-olive, streaked green above. Voice High-pitched, vibrant greh or kray calls are softer than Aratinga parakeets.

Distribution and population
Guaruba guarouba is endemic 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 northern 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 described as 'not uncommon' around the municipality of Paragominas (A. C. Lees in litt. 2013). It was previously estimated to number fewer than 2,500 individuals; however, more recent information suggests the population is larger than this. Based on the results of surveys along the Tapajós river, a very conservative extrapolation of 1 individual per 16 km2 in 174,000 km2 of suitable habitat within the known Extent of Occurrence gives an estimate of c.10,875 individuals (Laranjeiras 2011), thus it is now placed in the band 10,000-19,999 individuals.

Population justification
The population was previously estimated to number 1,000-2,499 individuals, based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. However, recent information suggests the population may be larger than this. The species has been recorded at several additional locations (Laranjeiras and Cohn-Haft 2009), and a recent survey along the Tapajós river by Laranjeiras (2011) indicated that it was as common in the study area as other, non-threatened Psittacids. The population in this study area (a strip of c.340 km along the Tapajós river, western Pará), which encompasses no more than 5% of the total area of suitable habitat for the species, was estimated at 500 individuals, representing the largest known population. A highly conservative extrapolation of 1 individual per 16 km2 across 174,000 km2 of suitable habitat within the known Extent of Occurrence gives an estimate of c.10,875 individuals (Laranjeiras 2011). On the basis of this information, the population is placed in the band for 10,000-19,999 individuals, assumed to include c.6,600-13,400 mature individuals.

Trend justification
This species is suspected to lose 23.3-30.9% of suitable habitat within its distribution over three generations (22 years) based on a model of Amazonian deforestation (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). Given the susceptibility of the species to hunting and/or trapping, it is therefore suspected to decline by ≥30% over the next three generations. It should be noted, however, that this may be rather precautionary, as trapping of this species for trade (although extensive in the past) is no longer thought to have a significant impact on the wild population (L. F. Silveira in litt. 2012, A. C. Lees in litt. 2013). In addition, its level of forest-dependence is regarded as not as high as some non-threatened Psittacids in the region (A. C. Lees in litt. 2013).

It is apparently nomadic in lowland humid forest. In the dry season, it frequents the canopy of tall "terra firme" (not flooded) forest but, in the breeding season, appears to inhabit clearings with few scattered trees. Tree-cavities are used for nesting and roosting. It feeds on fruit, berries, seeds and nuts and, seasonally, on crops (especially maize, which ripens immediately before fledging). Breeding generally occurs between December and April, but has been noted in October. Breeding is apparently communal, with several females contributing two or three eggs to each nest and several adults caring for the young. Up to nine young have been recorded in a nest in the wild, and up to 14 in captivity.

Habitat destruction and fragmentation as a result of road construction, subsequent development and settlement, with accompanying illegal logging, are threats in the east of its range. Selective logging of primary hardwoods removes suitable roosting and nesting cavities (Yamashita 2003). However, the species is not as forest-dependent as several other non-threatened Psittacid species in the region, and it is capable of commuting between multiple forest-patches and moving around non-forest landscapes (A. C. Lees in litt. 2013). In addition, the majority of remaining suitable habitat is not as fragmented as originally thought and much of this is under protection (de Luca et al. 2009). Nevertheless, projected rates of deforestation within its range, based on forecasts of infrastructure development (Soares-Filho et al. 2006), suggest that the species will be impacted over the coming decades (Bird et al. 2011). It has been extensively trapped for trade, but, although some illegal trade persists, this is no longer a major concern as trade is now usually within the substantial captive population, and does not have a significant impact on the wild population (L. F. Silveira in litt. 2012, A. C. Lees in litt. 2013).

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I and II, managed under the Association of Zoos and Aquaria's Parrot Taxon Advisory Group and protected under Brazilian law (and has been proposed as the national bird of Brazil). A campaign tackling bird trade in Bolivia may help curtail international trade (A. B. Hennessey in litt. 2009). A population is relatively well-protected in Tapajós National Park, and a remnant population may survive in Gurupi Biological Reserve. Jamari National Forest is poorly protected and suffers constant pressure from squatters, loggers and poachers (F. Olmos in litt. 1999). Conservation of this species in reserves is problematic because of its apparent nomadism. Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to search for previously unknown populations, especially in the south and west of its range. Ensure the de facto protection of Gurupi Biological Reserve. Maintain the integrity of Tapajós National Park. Protect and manage land between existing protected areas to facilitate nomadic movements. Enforce legal restrictions on trade, especially in internal markets. Further develop the captive breeding programme.

Association of Zoos and Aquaria. Parrot Taxon Advisory Group. Available at:

Collar, N. J.; Gonzaga, L. P.; Krabbe, N.; Madroño Nieto, A.; Naranjo, L. G.; Parker, T. A.; Wege, D. C. 1992. Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

European Association of Zoos and Aquaria. EEPs and ESBs. Available at:

Laranjeiras, T. O.; 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.

Snyder, N.; McGowan, P.; Gilardi, J.; Grajal, A. 2000. Parrots: status survey and conservation action plan 2000-2004. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Yamashita, C. 2003. Field observations in Brazil on the biology and comments on the conservation of the Golden Conure (Guaruba guarouba). AFA Watchbird 30: 38-40.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note, taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Recuento detallado de la especie tomado del libro Aves Amenazadas de las Americas, Libro Rojo de BirdLife International (BirdLife International 1992). Nota: la taxonomoía y la categoría de la Lista Roja de la UICN pudo haber cambiado desde esta publicación.

View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Khwaja, N., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A., Taylor, J. & Williams, R.

Hennessey, A., Lees, A., Olmos, F., Ridgely, R., Silveira, L. & Yamashita, C.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Guaruba guarouba. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Golden parakeet (Guaruba guarouba) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Psittacidae (Parrots)
Species name author (Gmelin, 1788)
Population size 6600-13400 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 246,000 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species