Golden-capped Parakeet Aratinga auricapillus


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km² combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The species was described as common in the 19th century, but has likely suffered over the past 200 years from the loss of habitat and collecting for the pet trade (Collar et al. 2020). Despite these threats, it is still locally common in Goiás, (where it occurs over most of its former distribution), Minas Gerais and Bahia. It is described as very common along the rio Grande basin (V. T. Lombardi in litt. 2011). A recent survey in Bahia found it in 18 out of 30 sites surveyed, including eight protected areas, being recorded in large groups and using secondary vegetation (Cordeiro 2002). The population size has not been quantified, but the species is observed frequently in forests and open habitats within the large range, and there is no evidence to suggest that the population numbers below 10,000 mature individuals (P. A. Silva, B. Phalan, R. Subirá and D. M. Lima in litt. 2022, see also eBird 2021, WikiAves 2021).

Trend justification
The species's population is suspected to be in decline owing to continued habitat loss and some trapping for the pet trade. Tree cover within the range is lost at a rate of 13% over three generations (14.7 years; Global Forest Watch 2021, using Hansen et al. [2013] data and methods disclosed therein). However, as the species is not strictly dependent on forests but is also found in secondary growth and open agricultural areas (Collar et al. 2020), forest loss alone is unlikely to drive rapid population declines. It has been hypothesised that the species may even benefit from the planting of non-native fruit trees, which it uses for both food and reproduction (Silva and Melo 2013, P. A. Silva in litt. 2022). The impact of trapping has not been quantified. Overall, given that the species remains common or very common in large parts of the range, the population decline is not thought to exceed 20% over three generations.

Distribution and population

Aratinga auricapillus occurs from the Recôncavo area in Bahia, south to Minas Gerais, Espirito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Goiás and Paraná, south-east Brazil. In São Paulo and Paraná, the species has only been recorded in the humid eastern forests. It has apparently vanished from Espirito Santo, and has been recently recorded from single sites in Rio de Janeiro and Paraná.


The species inhabits the borders of humid Atlantic coastal forest and inland transitional forests. While being more common in semi-deciduous forest, it also forages and breeds in forest edge, adjacent secondary growth, agricultural areas and even urban areas (V. T. Lombardi in litt. 2011, Collar et al. 2020, P. A. Silva and B. Phalan in litt. 2022). Like other Aratinga, it seems to adapt well to mosaics of forest fragments, pastures and agriculture, and in Goiás and Minas Gerais it also uses areas of cerrado (F. Olmos in litt. 2003). Pairs have been seen in November and dependent young in March (L. F. Silveira in litt. 1999), indicating breeding in the austral summer. It feeds on fruits (such as mango, papaya and orange) (L. F. Silveira in litt. 1999) and seeds (such as maize), and was formerly considered a serious pest.


There has been extensive and continuing clearance and fragmentation of suitable habitat for coffee, soybean and sugarcane plantations in São Paulo, and cattle-ranching in Goiás and Minas Gerais (Snyder et al. 2000). Tree cover within the range is lost at a rate of 13% over three generations (Global Forest Watch 2021, using Hansen et al. [2013] data and methods disclosed therein). However, the species is still widespread and has not declined over much of its northern range (Bahia, Minas Gerais, Goiás) and it is able to cope with habitat fragmentation, suggesting that its status is more secure than formerly thought. Trapping for trade has probably had a significant impact since it was relatively common in illegal Brazilian markets in the mid-1980s and imported in hundreds into West Germany in the early 1980s. However, the precise effect is obfuscated by high numbers of captive-bred birds, which presumably reduce pressure on remaining wild populations (L. F. Silveira in litt. 1999). Despite its tendency to occasionally nest near human habitation, it is apparently not the most favoured species for the pet trade (V. T. Lombardi in litt. 2011). There are no records of persecution in response to crop degradation.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It occurs in Monte Pascoal, Chapada da Diamantina, Serra da Canastra and Serra do Caparaó National Parks, Rio Doce State Park and Caratinga Reserve.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to locate any major new populations and define the limits of its current range. Accurately quantify the population size. Study its population dynamics and dispersal ability, and provide a detailed analysis of its habitat requirements at different sites. Quantify the impact of trapping and hunting on the population size. Monitor the population trend. Ensure the protection of key sites. Protect the species under Brazilian law. Raise awareness for the species with the aim of reducing trapping pressure.


30 cm. Green parakeet with orange-red belly and facial markings. Red frontlet, lores and area around eyes grading to bright orange in forecrown and bright yellow in mid-crown. Large, dull orange-red belly patch, mottled yellow. Reddish underwing-coverts. Bluish primaries with green patch. Dull bluish tail with green in base and red on central rectrices. Feathers of lower back and rump edged reddish. Blackish bill. Race aurifrons is deeper green with more extensive red on head, reduced patch on belly and no red on mantle. Voice Very strong kee-keet.


Text account compilers
Hermes, C.

Benstead, P., Capper, D., Lima, D.M., Lombardi, V.T., Mendes Lima, D., Olmos, F., Phalan, B., Sharpe, C.J., Silva, P., Silveira, L.F., Subirá, R., Symes, A., Taylor, J. & Yamashita, C.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Aratinga auricapillus. Downloaded from on 10/08/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 10/08/2022.