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Dear Parrots magazine,

CITES-listed parrots

The Green-cheeked Conure has become one of the most popular species in aviculture so it was good to see an article devoted to Pyrrhuras in the November issue. However, Pauline James seems to be unclear about CITES-listed species. She mentions two species, the Green-cheeked and the Red-bellied (Maroon-bellied) in relation to their CITES Appendix Iisting and correctly states that they are on Appendix II, but also states that both species are listed because they are endangered. This is incorrect. They are two of the most common and widespread members of the genus.

Species are not listed on Appendix II because they are endangered, but because it allows (in theory) close monitoring of trade to prevent them becoming endangered. In fact a number of CITES II-listed parrots were not properly monitored and are now endangered and on Appendix I.

Nearly all parrot species are on Appendix II. They are the only group of birds placed wholesale in this category because the scale of trade was so enormous. The exceptions are the 52 endangered parrot species on Appendix I and the four species on Appendix III. The latter are species that are common in the wild and numerous in captivity, that is, the Budgerigar, Cockatiel, Ringneck Parakeet and Peach-faced Lovebird.

Pauline James also states that Pyrrhuras are found in northern South America and Central America. However, both the Green-cheeked and the Maroon-bellied are found far south of the Amazon basin, as far south as Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

It is not true that they “all sport the white eye-ring present in all conures.” The Pacific Maroon-tailed Conure lacks the white eye ring (interesting, as the other sub-species possess it) and the several species that were formerly classified as subspecies of the Painted Conure and the White-eyed Conure, have dark grey skin surrounding the eye. And not all Aratinga conures have the white eye ring.

It is some years since taxonomists decided there were 18 species of Pyrrhuras. Now 27 species and 20 sub-species are recognised! About seventeen species are known in aviculture.

Rosemary Low - by e-mail




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