VU
Cuban Parakeet Psittacara euops



Justification

Justification of Red List Category
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.

Population justification
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.

Trend justification
There are no new data on population trends; however, the species is suspected to be declining at a moderate rate, primarily as a result of habitat degradation.

Distribution and population

Psittacara euops was formerly one of the most common endemic birds on Cuba, but is now rare throughout the island. It survives in more remote regions, including the Zapata peninsula, the Trinidad Mountains, the south savannas from Sancti Spíritus to Ciego de Avila, the Sierra de Najasa, Delta del Cauto Wildlife Refuge and the mountains of northeastern Cuba (Juniper and Parr 1998, Raffaele et al. 1998, Snyder et al. 2000, Cañizares 2012). 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 most populations are in serious decline (Snyder et al. 2000, Berovides & Cañizares, 2004). 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).

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, sabal Sabal palviflora and Copernicia palms (Snyder et al. 2000, Canizares in litt. 2016). A significant population is breeding in limestone cliffs in Central Cuba mountains (Canizares in litt. 2016). 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), but returning to the same nesting location each breeding season (Canizares in litt. 2016).

Threats

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). Another significant threat is loss of nesting-trees (Snyder et al. 2000) as a result of poaching activity and hurricane damage (such as caused in Zapata by Hurricane Lilli in 1996) (A. Mitchell in litt. 1998; Canizares in litt. 2016). Pressure for the illegal export of this species, mainly to the USA, has increased considerably in recent years (Canizare in litt. 2016),

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It is legally protected. Most populations occur within protected areas, including Ciénaga de Zapata National Park, Pico San Juan Ecological Reserve, Delta del Cauto Wildlife Refuge and Alejandro de Humboldt National Park (Snyder et al. 2000; Canizares in litt. 2016). The feeding ecology and reproduction of the species have been studied in Central Cuba. Ecotourism programmes have been initiated in some areas (Snyder et al. 2000). A campaign of environmental education and community participation has been developed in Central Cuba with voluntary counts conducted since 2009 in Comunidad La 23 (Canizares in litt. 2016). A nest box provisioning scheme has been successfully developed in Lomas de Banao ecological reserve, Pico Juan ecological reserve and Hanabanilla. In these locations, most nesting attempts occur in artificial nest boxes. A range of designs and materials have been used for artificial nest boxes and the most effective are the jute - cement and clay boxes (Canizare in litt. 2016).

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).

Identification

26 cm. Plain green parakeet with red bend of the wing. Scattered red feathers on head and breast, bare white orbital ring, red carpal and underwing-coverts, yellowish-green underside of flight feathers and tail. Similar spp. The only parakeet on Cuba. Voice Loud crick-crick-crick in flight, soft calls when perched.

Acknowledgements

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Isherwood, I., Sharpe, C J, Wege, D. & Wheatley, H.

Contributors
Kirkconnell, A., Mitchell, A. & Cañizares, M.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Psittacara euops. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/10/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/10/2020.