The golden conure info

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Re: The golden conure info

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The golden conure info

Post by ziggy on Thu Mar 13, 2008 2:31 am

The Queen of Bavaria’s Conure has been one of my personal interests for many years. Common names used for this species in aviculture are the Golden Conure, Queens, Goldens and as listed in the U.S. Endangered Species Act, the Golden Parakeet. Much discussion has been given in the past few years toward giving this species its own genus. Most aviculturists that know this bird, feel that in many ways they are different than other conures and all other parrots in general. They have recently been assigned the genus of Guaruba guarouba.
There is very little written information on these birds in the wild or in captivity. I will do my best to give you the information that I have found. I am by no means an authority on this subject and after much research I don't feel that anyone in the world is, which brings about the purpose of this article. I would like to raise awareness of the current issues surrounding this very rare species. Much of this information has been compiled from Parrots of The World by Joseph M. Forshaw, Parrots in Aviculture by Rosemary Low, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Office of Scientific Authority and Dave Followill of Followill Aviaries. Mike Reynolds of the World Parrot Trust has also been of great help in the compilation of this information.
Queens are about the size of an African Gray Parrot but not nearly as bulky and with a much longer tail. They are bright yellow with dark green primaries. The beak is horn colored and the eyes are a reddish brown. Their legs and feet are flesh colored. The young are marked with dark green streaks on their cheeks, ear coverts, breast, nape and the upper side of their tail feathers. As adults their head, beak and body shape, but not size, is very similar to that of a Hyacinth Macaw. In fact they look like a little miniature yellow Hyacinth Macaw weighing in at between 350 and 400 grams.
Their range is very small, contained to North-east Brazil, south of the Amazon River, in eastern Pará and adjacent northern Maranhão to the western side of Tapajos. I have recently been informed by the Office of Scientific Authority that there have been reports of these birds in areas that they have never been seen in before. I would assume, as with most other animals, as their habitat is being depleted, they are on the move trying to find other areas to establish themselves. I have found conflicting accounts of this situation. One states as mentioned above and the other suggests that the birds in question were seen captive and were in these areas mentioned as the result of trappers. I can not confirm either opinion but it is noted that Queens are considered to be somewhat of a nomadic species.
In the wild they eat fruits, berries, seeds and nuts normally picked from the tree tops. Queens, when seen, are usually in pairs and small groups in lowland rainforests.They are the most social birds that I have ever seen. My pair are in almost constant body contact of each other. If they are not preening each other they are side by side with no space between them. In my opinion these are the birds that should have been named love birds. They are cavity breeders as are most other parrots. I have heard of these birds breeding in captivity at as young as 2 years but I think it is more commonly at 5 years and up. One breeder has informed me that his pair did not produce offspring until they were in their 20s. The life expectancy of this species is considered to be 40 to 45 years. They are known to be quite prolific once they get started usually laying 2 to 3 clutches per year. At the age of 4 years, my pair laid two clutches in early 1998 after giving them a nest box in late 1997, both of which were infertile. The first clutch consisted of 5 eggs and the second 4 eggs. In 1999 they laid 2 more clutches of 4 infertile eggs. I have not yet observed them copulating so I believe that the infertility is due to a lack of experience.
Formerly considered by many aviculturists to be poor parents I am seeing more and more parent raised birds for sale, indicating that the opposite is probably true. Many parrot breeders tend to get nervous (and understandably so) with such rare birds and don't give the parents a chance. The eggs are more often incubated than not.
Man is reducing the size of their range rapidly with the construction of roads, (two major highways have been cut through their range in recent years), the Tucurui dam, which flooded 888 sq. miles of land, and human colonization. Queens are still being trapped for the illegal bird trade and are even still being hunted for food.
Golden Conures are rarely seen in the wild and are extremely rare in aviculture. They were noted as becoming increasingly rare as far back as 1946. In the United States these birds require 50CFR Captive Bred Endangered Species Permit. The permit is considered to be relatively difficult to acquire. In the permit process the USFW Service is looking for proof that the applicant is able to care for the birds properly, house them suitably, maintain their health, possess the ability to raise their young, keep accurate records, and have a good opportunity for propagation. The permitted breeder is also required to grant inspection of the area that the birds are kept in if requested.
The last known formal study, that I can find at the writing of this article, was done on these birds between 1981 and 1984.This study indicated that they were not in imminent danger of extinction because of the remote region that they reside in. Their numbers were estimated at about 5000 birds left in the wild. As a result of this study, as aviculturists, we may have taken on an unwarranted lax attitude about this species.
Since that study there has been considerable destruction of their habitat. The completion of 2 major highways has made their range dangerously accessible. More recent, brief and informal assessments indicate that this species is most likely in immediate danger. The local population living near their range needs to be educated about these birds. Surveillance of their habitat needs to be established. The preservation of this species will require protection against hunters, trappers and the continued deforestation of their range.
The only way to accomplish this is to implement a field study to ascertain the real requirements necessary for the survival of these birds. Mike Reynolds of the World Parrot Trust (no relation) and myself found that we had a mutual interest in this species when we met for the first time in Tenirifé during September of 1998. As a result of our mutual admiration for this bird The World Parrot Trust has recently initiated a fund to finance a new and much needed formal field study. The study will be done by Dr. Carlos Yamishita, Brazil’s leading parrot biologist. Information about the WPT-USA Golden Conure Fund can be found at www.breedersblend.com/goldenconurefund.html. This fund has been set up as a special fund within the WPT-USA fund to guarantee that 100% of the money collected will go directly toward the field study.The WPT-USA will match the first individual donation of $1000.00. Mike Reynolds and myself have started the fund with donations of our own. A formal proposal written by Dr. Yamishita will be available for viewing at the web site soon. As more information comes available the web site will be updated. Cyd Riley of Fire-Fly graphics has provided a painting of the Golden Conure and tee-shirts bearing the painting are now available. They can be viewed and ordered at the above mentioned web site. Grant Hacking, the world renowned African wildlife artist has offered to do an oil painting of the Queen of Bavaria’s Conure, which will be auctioned off, and the proceeds will go to the fund. I photo of the painting will be posted at the site as soon as it becomes available.
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