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Endangered Creatures Website

Some Brazilians have suggested that the golden parakeet should be adopted as their national bird because its coloring -yellow and green- is the same as the national flag. 

How parakeets live

This distinctive bird forages in the treetops for fruits, berries, seeds, and nuts; it also feeds on some cultivated crops and favors corn (maize). Toucans are predators of eggs and nestlings in clearings, and monkeys and snakes are predators in the forest.

The golden parakeet is gregarious, roosting with up to nine birds in a single tree-hole, and moving in flocks of up to thirty between roosting and feeding areas. Breeding usually lasts from December to April, but some seasonal variation has been observed, possibly due to changes in weather conditions. Apparently, breeding and rearing of young is communal. Several females lay their eggs in a single clutch located in the cavity of an isolated tree 50 to 100 feet tall, usually in the highest part of the trunk or a high, thick branch. In captivity, clutch size of a single pair was two to three. However, a group of three males and three females all cared for fourteen chicks. In captive birds, incubation lasts around 30 days. 

Where they live

The range of the golden parakeet in northern Brazil extends from northwestern Maranhao west through Para along the Trans-Amazonian Highway as far as the Tapajos (Amazonia) National Park. Recent evidence of a population in Rondonia in western Brazil suggests that previous estimates of range must be expanded and that further populations may yet be discovered. No estimates of population size currently exist.

The habitat of the golden parakeet is tropical rain forest, primarily in the canopy of dryland forest in hilly upland areas. It has also been seen in riverine grasslands, and in seasonally or permanently flooded forest. It uses tall forest during the dry, non-breeding season, but seeks out cleared areas with isolated trees near forests in breeding season. 

Ornithologists have long considered the golden parakeet rare, but some suggest that early European explorers were unable to penetrate deeply enough into the species' habitat to accurately assess its numbers. Where good forest remains, the bird may still be seen regularly, but overall numbers have declined very seriously. 

What is happening to their habitat

Habitat destruction is the primary threat to the golden parakeet. Wholesale clearing of tropical forest as a result of road construction and settlement has fragmented the bird's distribution in Maranhao. Major development projects such as railroad construction, lumbering, cattle ranching, and gold mining have also contributed to the decline of habitat.

Another significant threat to the golden parakeet is the fact that it is among the most highly prized birds in the world, selling to collectors for upwards of $15,000. Despite legal protection, it is still smuggled within Brazil and on an international scale. Ironically, legal protection of the species may have worked against the parakeet by identifying it to dealers being of special value, a situation that could be overcome by a conservation awareness campaign. In addition to live capture, the species is hunted for food or sport and killed as a pest to corn crops.

The only nature reserve currently in the species' western range is the Tapajos (Amazonia) National Park in Para. The Gurupi Biological Reserve, created in 1988, needs to be demarcated and wardened to protect this and several other important species. Areas between Tapajos and Gurupi must be protected and managed so that populations can survive and interbreed. Studies are also necessary to better determine the golden parakeet's distribution, population, and habitat, as are measures to control the bird's exploitation by illegal traders.

Source: Endangered Creatures Website


forages: searches for food (se provee de alimento)
seeds: small hard fruits (semillas)
favors: prefers (prefiere, privilegia)
nestlings: young birds (pichones)
gregarious: forming a group with others of the same kind (gregario,
busca la compañía de su misma especie)
roosting: settling down (conviviendo)
communal: in groups (grupal, en grupos)
clutch: birds hatched at the same time (nidada)
chicks: young birds (polluelos, pichones)
in the canopy of: under the shelter of, protected by (al reparo de, protegidos por)
hilly: with hills or small mountains (montaños
riverine: near a river (ribereñ

seeks out: looks for, searches (busca)
were unable to: couldn't (no pudieron)

: exactly (con exactitud)
overall numbers: total figures (
los valores totales)
threat: danger, menace (peligro, amenaza)

: wood cutting (la explotación forestal)
smuggled: illegally transported (contrabandeado)
overcome: defeated (superada)
hunted: pursued, chased (perseguid
corn crops: maize yield (
las cosechas de maíz)
wardened: officially controlled (vigilada)