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A Grey-breasted Parakeet love story

Spreads for web Parrots 278 4

By Rosemary Low

The success of the Grey-breasted Parakeet (Pyrrhura griseipectus) programme of Aquasis has often been reported in these pages. But on March 24th I received an email from Fabio Nunes, the inspirational leader of this project, with a story such as you never heard before – a good news story that I am compelled to share!

First, a reminder of the climb from crisis to celebration. Found only in north-eastern Brazil, this small Pyrrhura closely resembles the White-eared Conure (P.leucots). Indeed, it was classified as a sub-species until 2006. In 2007 IUCN listed it as Critically Endangered.

Had the decision to recognise it as a full species been delayed, it would have been disastrous for this dainty, bright-eyed little bird. This decision was the catalyst for the Brazilian non-governmental organisation Aquasis to start its conservation project. Initially Aquasis focused on determining its range and threats in a group of mountains known as the Serra de Baturité in Ceara State, its only surviving range.

Fabio Nunes told me: “Based on our experience of flock sizes today and the last population count in the Baturité Mountains, I believe the number before 2010 could have been less than 100 individuals.”

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