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Psittacara euops

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA AVES PSITTACIFORMES PSITTACIDAE

Scientific Name: Psittacara euops
Species Authority: (Wagler, 1832)
Common Name(s):
English Cuban Parakeet, Cuban Conure
Spanish Aratinga Cubana
Synonym(s):
Aratinga euops (Wagler, 1832)
Taxonomic Notes: Psittacara euops (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Aratinga.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v); C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-11-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Kirkconnell, A. & Mitchell, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Isherwood, I., Sharpe, C J & Wege, D.
Justification:
This species has declined rapidly, and now has a small and fragmented range and population (Collar et al. 1992). The rate of decline is unknown, but it is still trapped for the domestic market and habitat loss continues; the population probably now numbers fewer than 5,000 individuals, and the species therefore qualifies as Vulnerable.

History:
2012 Vulnerable

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Psittacara euops was formerly one of the most common endemic birds on Cuba, but is now rare throughout the island. It survives in a few of the more remote regions, remaining fairly common only in the Zapata peninsula, the Trinidad Mountains and the Sierra de Najasa (Juniper and Parr 1998, Raffaele et al. 1998, Snyder et al. 2000). Suggestions that the species occurred in the Sierra Maestra appear unfounded (A. Mitchell in litt. 1998). It has been extirpated from the western provinces (excluding Zapata) (Raffaele et al. 1998) and Isla de la Juventud, where it was once abundant. Recent studies of 14 populations have found that four are in serious decline (Snyder et al. 2000). Even the population within Ciénaga de Zapata National Park appears to have declined, with recent surveys finding no flocks larger than 18 birds (Mitchell and Wells 1997, A. Mitchell in litt. 1998). The total population is now thought not to exceed 5,000 individuals (A. Kirkconnell in litt. 2007).

Countries:
Native:
Cuba
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It has been recorded in semi-deciduous woodland, palm-savanna habitat, trees on cultivated land and the edges of woodland. It nests in tree-cavities or holes in arboreal termite nests, and is mostly restricted to dead royal Roystonea regia and sabal Sabal palviflora palms (Snyder et al. 2000). Breeding takes place in late April or early May, coinciding with maximum fruit availability, and runs through to August (A. Kirkconnell in litt. 1999). The species seems somewhat nomadic, ranging widely in search of food (Raffaele et al. 1998).

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Persecution as a crop-pest, habitat loss and in particular trapping for the cage-bird trade explain its current rarity (A. Kirkconnell in litt. 2007). Trapping for the international trade is now insignificant, with only 10 birds recorded in trade between 1991 and 1995. Another significant threat is loss of nesting-trees (Snyder et al. 2000) as a result of hurricane damage (such as caused in Zapata by Hurricane Lilli in 1996), and tree-felling for Cuban Parrot Amazona leucocephala chicks (A. Mitchell in litt. 1998).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It is legally protected. It occurs within seven environmental reserves, including the important Ciénaga de Zapata National Park (Snyder et al. 2000). A study of the species and an intensive public awareness campaign are intended to help establish an effective management programme (Wiley 1998). Ecotourism programmes have been initiated in some areas (Snyder et al. 2000). A nest box provisioning scheme has been initiated. Synthetic boxes are longer lasting than those made from sections of palm trunk (Waugh 2006), but the parakeets prefer those made of natural materials (Anon. 2010).  A reintroduction programme from mainland Cuba to the Isla de la Juventud was being developed in 2004 but the species is generally difficult to breed (Parrots 2000-2004; avianweb.com).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct further research to determine the species's ecological requirements and population (Wiley 1998, Snyder et al. 2000). Conserve additional habitat, especially nesting areas (Snyder et al. 2000). Tailor environmental awareness and nest-site protection to local situations (Snyder et al. 2000). Continue to plan for the re-establishment of the species on the Isla de la Juventud (Wiley 1998, Snyder et al. 2000) through development and extension of the captive breeding programme.


Citation: BirdLife International 2013. Psittacara euops. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 20 November 2014.
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