Local subspecies: Aratinga cactorum caixana.
For breeding, Cactus Parakeets dig cavities in termite nests on trees. The picture shows such a termite nest, situated in a jurema tree about 2.5 meters above the ground, in the lowland of Mãe-da-lua reserve. I took the foto when the bird was entering the cavity.
Adult parakeets seem to be afraid that they could get trapped in the nest by a predator. Like the woodpecker Celeus flavescens and the owl Megascops choliba, they leave their cavity and flee, when they feel that a danger approaches. This is safer for the bird, but it could also show a predator (e.g. primates, including humans) where exactly the eggs or the youngs are.To top of page
Distribution: This Parakeet is endemic of NE Brazil, see for example this map of registers of the wikiaves website.
Habitat: Caatinga of all types, semiopen spaces, fruit plantations and gardens, and so on. Cerrado. Also areas with elevated humidity, like Serra de Baturité in Ceará.
Alimentation: Fruits, seeds, other vegetable matter.
See Melo Barros and Marcondes-Machado 2000.
Conservation: The locals like to keep the Cactus Parakeet as a pet. The young birds are withdrawn from their nest before they can fly, and then sold, for example on the market in town. These birds can become very tame, and it is not uncommon to see a Cactus Parakeet living without any restraint in a house, as part of the family, so to say. But the tame "free" birds often die before they become old. A dog or cat may kill them, or someone may accidentally hurt them.
The illegal trade has greatly decimated the numbers of the parakeet in the wild, and threatens the survival of the species in many areas. Habitat destruction seems to be less of a problem. I do not know how much damage is done by the use of agrotoxics in fruit plantations.
Sounds: For sounds of the Cactus Parakeet, see
Songs and calls.