Golden Parakeet Guaruba guarouba


Justification of Red List Category
This species has been downlisted from Endangered because its population is estimated to be larger than previously thought. It is listed as Vulnerable on the basis that it nevertheless is estimated to have a small population and it is suspected that it will undergo a rapid decline over the next three generations owing to habitat loss and limited trapping pressure.

Population justification
The population was previously estimated to number 1,000-2,499 individuals, based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. However, recent information suggests the population may be larger than this. The species has been recorded at several additional locations (Laranjeiras and Cohn-Haft 2009), and a recent survey along the Tapajós river by Laranjeiras (2011) indicated that it was as common in the study area as other, non-threatened Psittacids. The population in this study area (a strip of c.340 km along the Tapajós river, western Pará), which encompasses no more than 5% of the total area of suitable habitat for the species, was estimated at 500 individuals, representing the largest known population. A highly conservative extrapolation of 1 individual per 16 km2 across 174,000 km2 of suitable habitat within the known Extent of Occurrence gives an estimate of c.10,875 individuals (Laranjeiras 2011). On the basis of this information, the population is placed in the band for 10,000-19,999 individuals, assumed to include c.6,600-13,400 mature individuals.

Trend justification
This species is suspected to lose 23.3-30.9% of suitable habitat within its distribution over three generations (22 years) based on a model of Amazonian deforestation (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). Given the susceptibility of the species to hunting and/or trapping, it is therefore suspected to decline by ≥30% over the next three generations. It should be noted, however, that this may be rather precautionary, as trapping of this species for trade (although extensive in the past) is no longer thought to have a significant impact on the wild population (L. F. Silveira in litt. 2012, A. C. Lees in litt. 2013). In addition, its level of forest-dependence is regarded as not as high as some non-threatened Psittacids in the region (A. C. Lees in litt. 2013).

Distribution and population

Guaruba guarouba is endemic to Brazil, where most records come from between the Tocantins, lower Xingú and Tapajós rivers in the Amazon Basin of Pará. There are additional records from adjacent northern Maranhão, where populations survive around Gurupi and the Rio Capim (C. Yamashita in litt. 2000); Rondônia, where the species was recorded once at Jamari in 1989, but has not been seen subsequently despite surveys (F. Olmos in litt. 1999); Mato Grosso, where it was seen once at Alta Floresta in 1991 (Low 1995c), and Amazonas, where the species was recorded in 2007 (Laranjeiras and Cohn-Haft 2009). It is described as 'not uncommon' around the municipality of Paragominas (A. C. Lees in litt. 2013). It was previously estimated to number fewer than 2,500 individuals; however, more recent information suggests the population is larger than this. The largest known population, with c. 500 individuals, occurs along the Tapajós river in Pará (Laranjeiras 2012).


It is apparently nomadic in lowland humid forest. In the dry season, it frequents the canopy of tall terra firme (not flooded) forest but, in the breeding season, appears to inhabit clearings with few scattered trees. Tree-cavities are used for nesting and roosting. It feeds on fruit, berries, seeds and nuts and, seasonally, on crops (especially maize, which ripens immediately before fledging). Breeding generally occurs between December and April, but has been noted in October. Breeding is apparently communal, with several females contributing two or three eggs to each nest and several adults caring for the young. Up to nine young have been recorded in a nest in the wild, and up to 14 in captivity.


Habitat destruction and fragmentation as a result of road construction, subsequent development and settlement, with accompanying illegal logging, are threats in the east of its range. Selective logging of primary hardwoods removes suitable roosting and nesting cavities (Yamashita 2003). However, the species is not as forest-dependent as several other non-threatened Psittacid species in the region, and it is capable of commuting between multiple forest-patches and moving around non-forest landscapes (A. C. Lees in litt. 2013). In addition, the majority of remaining suitable habitat is not as fragmented as originally thought and much of this is under protection (de Luca et al. 2009). Nevertheless, projected rates of deforestation within its range, based on forecasts of infrastructure development (Soares-Filho et al. 2006), suggest that the species will be impacted over the coming decades (Bird et al. 2011). It has been extensively trapped for trade, but, although some illegal trade persists, this is no longer a major concern as trade is now usually within the substantial captive population, and does not have a significant impact on the wild population (L. F. Silveira in litt. 2012, A. C. Lees in litt. 2013).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I and II, managed under the Association of Zoos and Aquaria's Parrot Taxon Advisory Group. It is considered Vulnerable at the national level in Brazil (Silveira and Straube 2008, MMA 2014), and protected under Brazilian law (and has been proposed as the national bird of Brazil). A campaign tackling bird trade in Bolivia may help curtail international trade (A. B. Hennessey in litt. 2009). A population is relatively well-protected in Tapajós National Park, and a remnant population may survive in Gurupi Biological Reserve. Jamari National Forest is poorly protected and suffers constant pressure from squatters, loggers and poachers (F. Olmos in litt. 1999). Conservation of this species in reserves is problematic because of its apparent nomadism.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to search for previously unknown populations, especially in the south and west of its range. Ensure the de facto protection of Gurupi Biological Reserve. Maintain the integrity of Tapajós National Park. Protect and manage land between existing protected areas to facilitate nomadic movements. Enforce legal restrictions on trade, especially in internal markets. Further develop the captive breeding programme.


34 cm. Striking, golden parrot. Adult golden-yellow with green flight feathers. White periocular and large horn-coloured bill. Immature dull brownish-olive, streaked green above. Voice High-pitched, vibrant greh or kray calls are softer than Aratinga parakeets.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Khwaja, N., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A., Taylor, J. & Williams, R.

Hennessey, A., Lees, A., Olmos, F., Ridgely, R., Silveira, L. & Yamashita, C.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Guaruba guarouba. Downloaded from on 06/03/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 06/03/2021.