Saving threatened habitats worldwide

White-breasted Parakeet

White-breasted Parakeet
Pyrrhura albipectus
Class: 
Aves
Order: 
Psittaciformes
Family: 
Psittacidae
IUCN Red List status: 
Vulnerable

Description

Protected by the following WLT funded projects

  • San Francisco Private Reserve, Ecuador (managed by NCI; part of the Reserva Biologica San Francisco)
  • Río Nea, Ecuador (managed by NCI; lies between Podocarpus National Park and El-Condor Biosphere Reserve)
  • Bombuscaro, Ecuador (managed by NCI; part of the Bombuscaro Reserve and Podocarpus National Park)
  • Los Rubies, Ecuador (managed by NCI; part of the Podocarpus National Park)

The White-breasted Parakeet measures 24 cm, weighs about 83 grams (1) and is a brightly coloured, boldly marked parakeet. Also known as the White-necked Conure, the White-breasted Conure or the White-necked Parakeet (2), it has a green and yellow body with red markings on the wings and tail. It also has a dusky-grey cap on its head, bright orange ear-coverlets, and the full white collar from which it derives its name. (3)

The birds live in flocks of four to 20 or sometimes even 50 individuals. The world population is estimated to be 2,500 – 10,000 individuals. (1)

Behaviour

The White-breasted Parakeet lives in upper tropical forests, usually between 900 metres and 2,000 metres above sea-level. They forage in the canopy of fruiting trees that are found in primary forest and clearings. White-breasted Parakeets live on fruit, seeds and flowers of different vines (1).

They also occur in severely degraded habitats like Podocarpus National Park (3), which contains several reserves managed by Nature and Culture International (NCI), a conservation organisation working throughout South America and a project partner of the World Land Trust (WLT).

WLT funded NCI in creating the reserves situated in Podocarpus National Park and has also funded a ranger through the Keepers of the Wild appeal on one of the NCI reserves to help protect it.

Habitat

The White-breasted Parakeet is native to the upper tropical forests east of the Andes in Southern Ecuador and was long thought to be endemic to the eastern Andes in Ecuador. Recently it was also discovered in adjacent areas in Northern Peru. (3)

Threats and Conservation

The population of White-breasted Parakeets is decreasing (2), not just because it is trapped in small numbers for the domestic cage-bird trade, but mainly due to continued habitat destruction (3). Habitat destruction threatens the upper tropical forests east of the Andes where these forests are being cleared at an alarming rate.  Due to extensive logging the destruction is now encroaching on the 1,000-1,200m altitudes, the preferred habitat of the White-breasted Parakeet.

Illegal gold mining and human settlement also pose problems to the White-breasted Parakeet, even within Podocarpus National Park which plays a major role in the conservation of the species. Although Podocarpus National park is designated as an area with important ecosystems and high biodiversity, most of the area within the park is granted mining allowances (4) or suffers from unsustainable agricultural activities and deforestation. Only the Municipal reserves within are really protected nature reserves, like the NCI reserves funded by WLT that are managed to protect and conserve nature.

Learn more

Listen to recorded songs

Articles

Pictures

References

(1) http://www.parrots.org/index.php/encyclopedia/profile/white_necked_conure [White-necked Conure, World Parrot Trust]
(2) http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/106001601/0 [Pyrrhura albipectus, IUCN Red List]
(3) http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet.php?id=1601 [White-necked Parakeet, Birdlife]
(4) http://www.parksinperil.org/wherewework/southamerica/ecuador/protectedarea/podocarpus.html [Podocarpus National Park, Parks in Peril, The Nature Conservancy]

Other sources of information

http://www.planetofbirds.com/psittaciformes-psittacidae-white-breasted-parakeet-pyrrhura-albipectus [White-breasted Parakeet, Planet of Birds]
http://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/portal/species/overview?p_p_spp=183541 [White-breasted Parakeet, Neotropical Birds]

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