El Oro Parakeet
Its native habitat range has experienced serious alteration to make way for cattle ranching which leads to slow reproductive rate and competition for food resources.
The El Oro parakeet, conure D’Orcès, cotorra de El Oro, or perico de El Oro (Pyrrhura orcesi) is a species of parrot in the family Psittacidae, endemic to Ecuador. It is a relatively newly identified species, having been discovered in 1980. Little is currently known about it. The body is mostly covered by a darkish green color with a red forehead (the females lack the red forehead). The edges of the wings, and the end of the tail, also have this same red color. On the outer edges of the wings, there is a bluish color. Feet are dark grey, the eyes are surrounded by a white circle and the bill is horn colored. It is approximately 22 cm long and weighs 73 g. The juveniles have duller colors and a reduced red forehead.
Their flocks can have from 4 to 12 members and the breeding seasons are between March and June. They eat mostly fruit and seeds in the canopy of the forests. The young are fed regurgitated food from the adults. Bird calls are short, high-pitched shrills and squeaks that continue throughout flight and while foraging for food. They are very social, like most parrots, and fly and eat in large groups. El Oro parakeets breed cooperatively, a breeding pair being accompanied by up to 6 helper individuals.
It is endangered because of extreme deforestation and forest fragmentation for cattle ranching, which causes habitat degradation. This degradation destroys the nesting sites and feeding areas the birds rely on to survive and reproduce at a healthy rate. The habitat is restricted to only the west Andes of Ecuador and because of this the sensitivity to its habitat destruction is heavy. Protection for some of this species’ habitat has been established in the Buenaventura Ecological Reserve. In the reserves, bird houses have been built in the trees to help promote reproduction and has had some success. Further projects have been proposed to assess the population size.