The Hellmayr's Parakeet (Pyrrhura amazonum, formerly Pyrrhura p. amazonum), also known as the Santarém Parakeet or, in aviculture, the Hellmayr's Conure or Santarém Conure, is a species of parrot in the family Psittacidae. It includes the Madeira Parakeet (P. amazonum snethlageae), also known as the Madeira Conure, which sometimes is considered a separate species.
Distribution / Range
It is found in the eastern and central sections of the Amazon basin south of the Amazon River, only just extending onto the northern bank of this river. Its specific range includes Pará, north of Amazon between Monte Alegre and Obidos, in Brazil.
This conure averages 22 cm or 8.5 inches in length, including its long-tail 22 cm (8.5 ins). It has a wing length of 115 - 130 mm (4.5 to 5 ins).
This is a mainly green parakeet with a dark red belly, rump and tail-tip (tail all dark red from below), a whitish or dull buff patch on the auriculars (= feathers covering the ears) and bluish remiges (flight feathers - typically only visible in flight). The periophthalmic (eye ring) is blackish. The cheeks and ocular (eye) region are dark maroon. Immature birds have a duller plumage.
Similar Species: It looks similar to the Painted Conure, except the blue to the forehead is reduced to a blue band extending to the eye. The feathers covering the ears are dull brownish. The breast is dull green, each feather with broad greyish-brown to dull brown edging. The bend of the wing is green with scattered red feathers in some birds. There is less green to the upperside of the base of the tail.
- The nominate subspecies (P. a. amazonum) has a narrow blue forehead-band and pale grey scaling to the chest.
- The remaining subspecies, P. a. snethlageae and P. a. lucida, have little or no blue to the forecrown and their chests are, uniquely for the P. picta complex, overall pale with relatively narrow, dark pointed markings. Some P. a. snethlageae have a yellowish eye-ring (the basis for this variation remains unknown), but it is more commonly dark grey as in the remaining subspecies. All subspecies have dark greyish legs. P. a. lucida is slightly smaller and paler than P. a. snethlageae.
Habitat and behavior
It is restricted to Brazil and Bolivia. It occurs in tropical humid lowland forest and adjacent habitats. It is social and typically seen in pairs or groups. The nest is placed in a tree cavity. It is fairly common in most of its range and occurs in several protected areas, e.g. P. a. amazonum occurs in the Amazônia National Park, Pará, Brazil, while P. a. lucida occurs in the Cristalino State Park, Mato Grosso, Brazil.
Diet / Feeding
Their natural diet consists of seeds, flowers, fruits, berries and nuts. They are also considered local pests as they regularly raid maize fields and orchards, occasionally causing considerable damage.
Captive diet: They should be provided with a quality seed mix consisting of safflower, oats, some sunflower (also sprouted), hemp, buckwheat, millet, canary seed and rowan berries; millet spray. Their daily diet should also consist of plenty of fruit, vegetables and greenfood. A regular supply of branches with flowers and buds provides additional nutrition in addition to satisfying their need for chewing. A mineral and vitamin supplement, if their dietary needs cannot be met.
It has typically been considered a subspecies of the Painted Parakeet. While reviewing this group, Joseph (2002) discovered that an undescribed population existed in central Brazil (later also found in north-eastern Bolivia). It was described as Pyrrhura snethlageae (Joseph and Blake, 2002). No diagnostic difference was found between the taxa amazonum and microtera; it was therefore recommend that the latter should be considered a junior synonym of the former. As with most other taxa of the Pyrrhura picta complex, it was recommended that amazonum should be recognized as a monotypic species (= one single species), P. amazonum, instead of a subspecies of P. picta. Ribas et al. (2006) confirmed by maternal lineage test (mtDNA) that P. amazonum should be considered a species separate from P. picta (otherwise, P. picta would be paraphyletic = some, but not all, of the descendants from a common ancestor), but also showed that snethlageae was very close to, and arguably better considered a subspecies of, P. amazonum (as already had been expected due to a number of intermediate specimens suggesting that hybrids occur). Consequently, the American Ornithologists' Union voted to recognize P. amazonum as a species with snethlageae as a subspecies. Arndt (2008) recently described yet another taxon from this complex, lucida, as a subspecies of P. snethlageae, but under the here used taxonomy, it becomes a subspecies of P. amazonum. The taxonomic status in relations to Deville's Parakeet remains unclear.
These beautiful little parrots are very rare and in order to protect the species, any available individual should be placed into a well-managed breeding program with the goal of preserving these parrots for future generations.
Those birds that are not good prospects for breeding for whatever reason have the potential of becoming excellent pets, as they are active, playful, inquisitive and generally friendly.
Conures as Pets (Suitability, Personality, Pros and Cons, Care Requirements)
These conures are fairly easy to breed.
Taxonomy / Other Names
Genus: Scientific: Pyrrhura ... English: Red-tailed Conures ... Dutch: Roodstaartparkieten ... German: Rotschwanzsittiche ... French: Perruche à queue rouge
Species: Scientific: Pyrrhura amazonum ... English: Santarém Conure ... Dutch: Santarém Parkiet ... German: Santarémsittich ... French: Perruche peinte Hellmayr ... CITES II - Endangered
Distribution: Northern banks of the Amazon River, Northern Brazil
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