As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday 24 January 2019

Record breeding year for endangered parakeet

Grey-breasted Parakeet, a threatened species endemic to northern Brazil, enjoyed a fantastic year in 2018, in part thanks to the prize-winning project for its protection and recovery, conducted by the Brazilian NGO Aquasis with the Loro Parque Fundación as principal supporter since 2007.
Prior to 2007, the wild Grey-breasted Parakeet population suffered a dramatic decline due to habitat destruction and trapping for trade. Now it is found in only three places in Ceará State, with the main population residing in the Baturité Mountains, south of the city of Fortaleza. This so-called 'sky island' is a remnant of humid Atlantic Rainforest, completely surrounded by unfavourable dry lowland caatinga scrub and agriculture.  Much smaller populations occur in the Quixadá Inselbergs, and another elevated area called Ibaretama. The combined area of these sites totals no more than 830km2.
The selective removal of certain trees and the destruction of nest sites by poachers have resulted in a shortage of suitable nesting cavities for parakeets. In response, Aquasis has made a determined effort to install nestboxes in forested areas on the land of sympathetic owners, being places which provide more deterrence against nest poachers. The nestboxes preferred by the parakeets are wooden with more than one entry and exit hole. The project discovered that Grey-breasted Parakeet is a co-operative breeder, with occupation of a single nest by a group of parakeets instead of just one breeding pair. 

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