656

Grey-breasted Parakeet

North America

656

Pyrrhura griseipectus

Endangered

Overhunting is the main reason for its rapid population decline as there are no strict regulations that stop the local and national captive-breeding activities.

This species has a very small remaining extent of occurrence and the extent and quality of its habitat are thought to be declining due to ongoing habitat destruction. For these reasons it qualifies as Endangered. This species is known historically from 15 locations in Brazil. Currently it is found in just three areas in Ceará state: the Serra do Baturité, Quixadá and Ibaretama. In Serra do Baturité it seems to be uncommon and appears to have been extirpated from several areas; the population here is now estimated to be 600-800 birds. The forests of the Baturité Mountains have been greatly reduced to make room for shade and sun coffee and only 13% of the forest remained in 1996. However, data from the last 10 years indicate that both the size of the groups observed and the area occupied by the species in the Baturité Mountains are slowly increasing, likely as a result of intensive conservation management and education campaigns.

It occurs in montane (above 500 m) humid forest enclaves in the otherwise semi-arid north-east Brazil. These wet ‘sky islands’ are known locally as ‘brejos’. Humid forests grade into semi-deciduous forest and eventually dry, xeric caatingas in lower areas. The forests are restricted to upland granite or sandstone areas which receive up to four times the annual rainfall of lower altitudes. The humid forests atop the Baturité massif form a continuous canopy c.20 m tall, with some emergents. Birds feed on fruit and seeds in the canopy of humid and semi-deciduous forest. The newly discovered population of five birds on a rocky mountainside in Ceará were found to be nesting in a fissure in the rock face; considerably different from the typical tree nest sites used by the other remaining populations.

The principal threat to this species is believed to come from ongoing trapping for illegal local and national trade and captive-breeding. The species occurs in the international cage bird trade. However, there has been a notable decrease in the illegal capture and trade of the species, possibly as a result of the ongoing education programme. Habitat destruction has played a role in the species’s decline with original forest cover now reduced to just 13%. Coffee plantations (especially where sun coffee is grown instead of shade coffee) are impacting upon the species’s habitat. Lack of natural nest sites, and nest predators (bees, wasps and small mammals) are also thought to be limiting the species’s reproductive success.