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 Aratinga solstitialis

This taxon is Not Recognised as a species by BirdLife International.

Taxonomic source(s)
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W.; Parker, T. A.; Moskovits, D. K. 1996. Neotropical birds: ecology and conservation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Taxonomic note
Aratinga solstitialis and A. maculata (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) were previously lumped as A. solstitialis following Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993) and Stotz et al. (1996).

30cm. A predominantly golden-orange parakeet with orange-red face and belly. Yellow extends from head to vent and thighs across underparts and onto back rump and shoulders on upperparts. Wing coverts, primaries secondaries and tail a suffusion of yellow, green and blue tones.

Distribution and population
Aratinga solstitialis is restricted to central Guyana and Roraima state, Brazil, and may previously have occurred in Surinam (Silveira et al. 2005). It is considered hypothetical in Venezuela on the basis of one sight record. Though it was fairly common until the 1970s in the Rupununi-Roraima savannas of western Guyana and adjacent Brazil, it has since been extirpated there, presumably by trappers, and it is now very scarce or absent across its former range. In Brazil it was recorded from the Mau river, Contão Cotingo river and Maracá Ecological Station (M. Persio in litt. 2005) during the 1990s. Flocks of up to 12 birds have been recorded at the Terra Indígena Raposa Serra do Sol, and along the road from Santa Elena de Uairén (Venezuela) to Boa Vista, 50 km south of the border. Birds have been frequently found (in flocks with >15 individuals) at five localities inside São Marcos and Raposa/Serra do Sol indigenous lands (Laranjeiras et al. 2011). Records in the Sipalwini savannas relate to A. (s.) maculata (Mittermeier et al. 2010, T. Orsi in litt. 2012) which is likely to be split. There are no recent records in all other localities in Brazil where the species was found in/before the 1990s, including at Maracá Ecological Station, despite surveys in 2010 and despite local indications of its presence there around 2000 (Laranjeiras et al. 2011). Several historic localities no longer contain dry foothill forest that the species apparently requires. In Guyana evidence of nesting has been found in the Karasabai area where 50-80 individuals were seen in 2003, and c.25 km from this site there are fairly recent records from Karanambo (c. 30 km from the Brazilian border at Bonfim), and on the west bank of Demerara in 2006 (T. Arndt in litt. 2007, Guyana Amazon Tropical Birds Society in litt. 2007).  Since the early 1990s records are limited to only nine localities, and there are thought to be fewer than 1,000 individuals in Brazil (T. Orsi and L. F. Silveira in litt. 2012). The total population probably now numbers no more than a couple of thousand individuals at the very most, but probably fewer, with at least 90% of these in Brazil, within a restricted, decreasing and fragmented range (Laranjeiras et al. 2011).

It is restricted to dry, semi-deciduous forests on the slopes of north and north-east Roraima, and although it uses forest edge it appears to require quite a large quantity of intact forest (L. Silveira in litt. 2007). Contrary to former opinion, birds only use savannah while flying from one hill area to another (T. Arndt in litt. 2007, L. Silveira in litt. 2007).

Due to high demand in the pet trade this once common species has declined dramatically during the last twenty years (J. Gilardi in litt. 2007). It has been heavily exported from Guyana during this time, leading its virtual extirpation from that country. Trappers from Guyana and French Guiana have since travelled over the border to Brazil to buy birds for export (T. Arndt in litt. 2007, L. Silveira in litt. 2007). An annual export quota of 600 birds was set by Guyana in the 1980s and it is thought that more than 2,200 were imported into the United States between 1981 and 1985 (J. Gilardi in litt. 2007). Trade is ongoing, and due to the ease with which birds can be attracted to bait (e.g. corn) and the large distances they will travel it is easy to trap all the individuals in an area (J. Gilardi in litt. 2007).

Conservation Actions Underway
It is very common in captivity, but it is not known what percentage of this population are hybrids between A. (s.) solstitialis and A. (s.) maculata (Silveira et al. 2005, L. F. Silveira in litt. 2012). Conservation Actions Proposed
Consider listing the species on CITES Appendix I. Prevent cross-border trade immediately. Work with the indigenous inhabitants of the Terra Indígena Raposa Serra do Sol and the Amerindian Community in Karasabai Village to prevent trapping and protect suitable habitat. Survey extensively to locate other important additional sub-populations.  Establish 'pure bred' captive-breeding lines.

Collar, N. J.; Butchart, S. H. M. 2013. Conservation breeding and avian diversity: chances and challenges. International Zoo Yearbook.

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.; Lai, J. E. 2010. Avifauna of the Sipaliwini Savanna (Suriname) with insights into its biogeographic affinities . Bulletin of Peabody Museum of Natural History 51(1): 97-122.

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

Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Mahood, S., Sharpe, C J & Symes, A.

Arndt, T., Gilardi, J., Pracontal, N., Santos, M., Silveira, L., Zimmer, K., Gilardi, J., Laranjeiras, T. & Orsi, T.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Aratinga solstitialis. Downloaded from on 30/05/2015. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 30/05/2015.

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 - Sun parakeet (Aratinga solstitialis) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Not Recognised
Family Psittacidae (Parrots)
Species name author (Linnaeus, 1758)