Campo Troupial - Icterus jamacaii
List of Birds

Site contents:
in Itapajé, Ceará,
100 km from Fortaleza.

The avifauna is listed in
Birds of NE Brazil.
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Threatened species
Many species of NE Brazil are threatened by extinction. Our reserve helps to protect some of them:
Birds of NE Brazil
in Caatinga, Cerrado,
and other habitats
Gray-breasted Parakeet
Pyrrhura griseipectus
Periquito-cara-suja, tiriba-de-peito-cinza
Family: Psittacidae

Monotypic species. Formerly distributed in several humid forest enclaves in Ceará, Pernambuco and possibly Alagoas. At present, reliable registers only from Serra de Baturité and Quixada in Ceará, and Serra Negra Biological Reserve in Pernambuco.

References: Hellmayr_1929, p. 444, Olmos et al. 2005a

Synonyms: Pyrrhura griseipectusSALVADORI 1900;   

Maroon-faced Parakeet (Pyrrhura griseipectus)
20/01/2010; Guaramiranga, Ceará, Brazil. 300 mm f2.8 lens.

Figure 1. These are two of a small group of four "caras-sujas" (dirty-faces) that I saw in Guaramiranga. Thanks to Ciro Albano for helping me to find the birds! I had a few minutes to record their voices and make some photos, before they flew away again. It was already late afternoon, with diminished daylight, not ideal for photography, but better than nothing. Lively and beautiful birds!

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Gray-breasted Parakeet Pyrrhura griseipectus

Conservation: Less than 250 individuals of the Pyrrhura griseipectus parakeets are now left in the wild, according to BirdLife International. The site with the largest population is maybe Guaramiranga in Serra de Baturité.

Cause of extinction: The main dangers are trapping, and the removal of the youngs from the nest, for the cage-bird trade. Here is the answer I got from a shop-owner when I inquired about the parakeets: "Difficult to find here. None left, they were all caught. But I know some guys who could still find these birds. They could sell one to you." The man obviously misunderstood my intentions, and naturally assumed that I came for trapping or buying a "dirty-face" parakeet. Trapping and selling, this is indeed the first thought of many natives when it comes to parakeets, parrots, icterids, and so on.

On another occasion, the helpful caretaker of a smallholding in Guaramiranga gave me a demonstration how the dirty-faces are often caught, namely with glue.

The secretion from the stalk of the jaca fruit is used as glue
27/01/2010. Guaramiranga, Serra de Baturité, Ceará.
Figure 2. Part of a fruit, with stalk, of the jaca tree Artocarpus integrifolia (Braga 1976). The glue is made from the white secretion which can be see on the stalk. I believe the substance appears if one cuts the bark with a knife, or breakes the stalk.

From the stalk of jaca fruits, one can easily collect a secretion (fig. 2), which, after being chewed(!) for a minute or two, turns into a very strong glue. This glue is smeared onto thin sticks (fig. 3), which are then placed at locations where the parakeets come to forage, for example close to a banana plant with ripe bananas.
The stick, prepared with glue, is used as a trap for birds
27/01/2010. Guaramiranga, Serra de Baturité, Ceará.
Figure 3: Stick with glue, used to trap birds in Serra de Baturité.

Once the parakeets put their little feet on the stick with the glue, they cannot get loose any more. Then, someone comes to collect them, and that's it. I heard that this technique works well for all sorts of birds, and that sticks with glue can be bought at the weekend fair. Of course, all this happens before the eyes of police and other authorities.

Outlook: Can griseipectus be saved? It is very possible that trapping and collection of nestlings will continue until the total extinction of the "dirty-face" parakeet in the wild. On the other hand, many local people are actually aware that the "dirty-faces" are threatened by extinction, and especially landowners in Serra de Baturité often support preservation efforts. The Gray-breasted Parakeets would have a better chance for survival if they nested in areas where the owner protects them and their youngs.

Taxonomy: The taxonomic status of griseipectus has repeatedly changed, from subspecies of Pyrrhura leucotis to full species, and back. See SACC proposals 181, 306, 403. Currently, griseipectus is a full species according to SACC (Remsen et al. 2011), and CBRO.

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