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Good news from Brazil

New parrot species discovered in the Amazon

S?o Paulo, 2 March 2005 - A new species of parrot has been described from the Amazon river basin. Although scientists have known about the existence of the Sulfur-breasted Parakeet for around 100 years, its true identity has only just been revealed.

The confusion has arisen because people studying museum skins of Sulfur-breasted Parakeets mistook them for juveniles of the closely related Sun Parakeet, explains Lu?s F?bio Silveira, lead author of the paper describing the new species. This was partly because most of the museum specimens in Brazil were of Sulfur-breasted Parakeets, whilst specimens in America and Europe were mainly Sun Parakeets. People never had the opportunity to compare the two side by side. When we visited museum collections in Brazil and elsewhere, it became clear that the two parrots had very different plumages. In particular, Sulfur-breasted Parakeet differs from Sun Parakeet in its paler, greener crown, paler orange forehead and cheeks, a greener back mottled with flecks of green, and a sulfur-coloured, not orange breast.Sulfur-breasted Parakeet is fairly common in open areas with sandy soils around Monte Alegre in Brazil, and is frequently seen flying over the town itself. We`d like to keep it that way, says Silveira, However, as is usual with new species of parrots, we can expect breeders will soon begin to obtain birds through the illegal market. We trust that IBAMA (the Brazilian Institute for the Environment) and the authorities in Par? will carefully monitor any traffic of wild animals from this region.

Brazil is already one of the richest countries for birds in the world, with more than 1,600 species. Over the last 20 years, more new species have been discovered here than anywhere else. However, several of the newly described species are in danger of extinction, and Brazil has the dubious distinction of hosting more threatened species than anywhere else on Earth. BirdLife will need to assess carefully any threats to the Sulfur-breasted Parakeet.

The BirdLife International-Brazil Programme and its national partner, SAVE Brasil, is currently undertaking urgent conservation work for several of Brazil`s most threatened birds, particularly in the Atlantic Forest region, says Dr Pedro F Develey of the BirdLife International-Brazil Programme. The BirdLife Brazil Programme will give the necessary support to guarantee this new species`s protection, says Develey.

4th July 2014