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.
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.
- Archived 2010-2011 topics: Golden-capped Parakeet (Aratinga auricapillus): request for information
- Archived 2010-2011 topics: Golden-crowned Manakin (Lepidothrix vilasboasi): uplist to Endangered?
- Archived 2010-2011 topics: Red-masked Parakeet (Aratinga erythrogenys): request for information
- Red-breasted Parakeet (Psittacula alexandri): request for information
- Archived 2010-2011 topics: Derbyan Parakeet (Psittacula derbiana): information on the threat from trade and resulting population trends requested.