Sun Parakeet Aratinga solstitialis


Justification of Red List Category
This newly split species is listed as Endangered because it is thought to have a very small population, which is inferred to be in decline owing mainly to on-going trapping pressure.

Population justification
One known flock in southern Guyana is reported to number up to 200 individuals (Bergman 2009), with other recent records from Roraima (Laranjeiras et al. 2011). The population is thus estimated to number 1,000-2,499 mature individuals, based on recent records. This equates to 1,500-3,749 individuals in total, rounded here to 1,500-4,000 individuals.

Trend justification
The population is inferred to be in on-going decline as it is thought to be subject to continued trapping pressure.

Distribution and population

Aratinga solstitialis is known from north-eastern Roraima, Brazil, and adajacent Guyana. Suriname records from Sipaliwini Savanna (e.g. O'Shea 2004) refer to A. maculata (Collar et al. 2014). It is considered hypothetical in Venezuela on the basis of one sight record. Although it was fairly common until the 1970s in the Rupununi-Roraima savannas of western Guyana and Roraima, it has since suffered heavy trapping pressure and it is now very scarce or absent across large parts of its former range. In Brazil it was recorded from the Mau river, Contão Cotingo river and Maracá Ecological Station (M. Persio in litt. 2005) during the 1990s. Flocks of up to 12 birds have been recorded at the Terra Indígena Raposa Serra do Sol, and along the road from Santa Elena de Uairén (Venezuela) to Boa Vista, 50 km south of the border. Birds have been frequently found (in flocks with >15 individuals) at five localities inside São Marcos and Raposa/Serra do Sol indigenous lands (Laranjeiras et al. 2011). There are no recent records in all other localities in Brazil where the species was found in/before the 1990s, including at Maracá Ecological Station, despite surveys in 2010 and despite local indications of its presence there in around 2000 (Laranjeiras et al. 2011). Several historic localities no longer contain dry foothill forest that the species apparently requires. In Guyana, evidence of nesting has been found in the Karasabai area where 50-80 individuals were seen in 2003, and c.25 km from this site there are fairly recent records from Karanambu (c. 30 km from the Brazilian border at Bonfim), and on the west bank of Demerara in 2006 (T. Arndt in litt. 2007, Guyana Amazon Tropical Birds Society in litt. 2007). More recently, flocks of up to 50 are reliably seen at Karasabai, with larger flocks regularly encountered along nearby Ireng River (C. J Sharpe in litt. 2016), e.g. a flock of c. 140 reported along Ireng River N of Lethem in October 2014 (Shaun Cartright [local river boatman / guide] verbally to C. J Sharpe, 4 Nov 2014). Since the early 1990s records are limited to only nine localities, and there are thought to be fewer than 1,000 individuals in Brazil (T. Orsi and L. F. Silveira in litt. 2012). The total population probably now numbers no more than a couple of thousand individuals at the very most, but probably fewer, with at least 90% of these in Brazil, within a restricted, decreasing and fragmented range (Laranjeiras et al. 2011). One known flock in southern Guyana is reported to number up to 200 individuals (Bergman 2009), with other recent records from Roraima (Laranjeiras et al. 2011), suggesting that the total population numbers fewer than 2,500 mature individuals.


It is restricted to dry, semi-deciduous forests on the slopes of north and north-eastern Roraima, and although it uses forest edge it appears to require quite a large quantity of intact forest (L. Silveira in litt. 2007). Contrary to former opinion, birds only use savannah while flying from one hill area to another (T. Arndt in litt. 2007, L. Silveira in litt. 2007).


Due to high demand in the pet trade this once-common species has declined dramatically during the last twenty years (J. Gilardi in litt. 2007). It has been heavily exported from Guyana during this time, leading to its virtual extirpation from that country. Trappers from Guyana and French Guiana have since travelled over the border to Brazil to buy birds for export (T. Arndt in litt. 2007, L. Silveira in litt. 2007). An annual export quota of 600 birds was set by Guyana in the 1980s and it is thought that more than 2,200 were imported into the United States between 1981 and 1985 (J. Gilardi in litt. 2007). Trade is on-going, and due to the ease with which birds can be attracted to bait (e.g. corn) and the large distances they will travel, it is easy to trap all the individuals in an area (J. Gilardi in litt. 2007).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It is very common in captivity, but it is not known what percentage of this population are hybrids between A. solstitialis and A. maculata (Silveira et al. 2005, L. F. Silveira in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Consider listing the species on CITES Appendix I. Prevent cross-border trade immediately. Work with the indigenous inhabitants of the Terra Indígena Raposa Serra do Sol and the Amerindian Community in Karasabai Village to prevent trapping and protect suitable habitat. Survey extensively to locate other important additional sub-populations. Establish 'pure bred' captive-breeding lines.



Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Mahood, S., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A., Taylor, J.

Sharpe, C J, Gilardi, J., Arndt, T., Silveira, L., Pracontal, N., Orsi, T., Zimmer, K., Santos, M., Gilardi, J., Laranjeiras, T.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Aratinga solstitialis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 03/04/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 03/04/2020.