Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Sun parakeet

Aratinga solstitialis

Photo by Jeff Whitlock (The Online Zoo)

Common name:

Order Psittaciformes
Family Psittacidae

This South American species is restricted to Guyana and adjacent parts of Brazil in Roraima state. It may have previously occurred in Surinam.

The sun parakeet is 30 cm long and weighs 110-130 g.

These birds are restricted to dry, semi-deciduous forests on low mountain slopes. Although it uses forest edge it appears to require quite a large quantity of intact forest and they only use savannas while flying from one hill area to another. They are present up to an altitude of 1.200 m.

Sun parakeets feed on fruits, flowers, berries, buds, soft leaves and nuts. They may also consume insects.

These birds start breeding in February, nesting in holes in palm trees. There the female lays 4-5 eggs which are incubated by both parents for about 23 days. The chicks fledge 8 weeks after hatching.

IUCN status - EN (Endangered)
This species has a restricted breeding range and the population has suffered a rapid decline over the last 3 decades, currently being estimated at just 1.000-2.500 wild individuals. The main threat affecting this species is their illegal capture for the pet trade. This threat is more serious in Guyana, but the trappers often cross the border with Brazil to buy birds for export.

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