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White-eyed Conure

 (Psittacara leucophthalmus)
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© Dario Sanches | Creative Commons

Project Status: Active | 2012 - current


Fundacion Ecologica Rescate Jambeli (FERJ)

Conures heavily trapped in domestic market

Although the White-eyed Conure (Aratinga leucophthalma) is listed as Least Concern it is threatened by heavy trade on the international market.

Progress and outcomes: In April 2012 the staff of Fundacion Ecologica Rescate Jambeli (FERJ) received word from the Ministry of Environment in Ecuador that 54 White-eyed Conure chicks had been confiscated from the baggage compartment of a public bus in southern Ecuador. Once secure, the chicks made a brief stopover at the Loja Municipal Zoo, then were transferred to Fundacion Jambeli's Wildlife Conservation Center where they were checked over by veterinarian Julio Baquerizo, who found them to be malnourished.

FERJ staff contacted WPT for advice information on detailed feeding, rearing and management procedures.  After a few weeks of treatment the average weight of the chicks was above 150g, up from a low of below 100. The chicks fledged well and will be released to the wild in the future.

Focus of future work: WPT is continuing to fund FERJ in Ecuador in their work to rescue, rehabilitate and release these and other wild parrots caught in the trade.

IUCN/CITES Status: Least Concern / Appendix II

Wild population: Unknown, decreasing

Where found: A.l. leucophthalma: Guianas, NE Venezuela, from SE Sucre, Monagas, and N Anzoategui to NE Bolivar, and E Colombia, south from Meta, south through Brazil, except upper Amazon River basin, dry northeast and southeast, to E Bolivia, Paraguay and N Argentina, south to Catamarca and N Sante Fe and Entre Rios and into N Uruguay.
A.l. callogenys: Upper Amazonia, near foothills of Andes, in SE Colombia, E Ecuador, and NE Peru to NW Brazil.
A.l. propinquus: SE Brazil in Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, to NE Argentina, in Misiones and Corrientes.
A.l. nicefori: One specimen collected at Guaicaramo, on Rio Guavio, Meta, Colombia. Possibly a hybrid.

History: The White-eyed Conure (Aratinga leucophthalma) is found in a range of habitat types, mainly lowland forest and woodland.  It feeds on fruits of palm, nuts, seeds, other fruits, berries, flowers and insects.  The White-eyed Conure is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN, however, it is under heavy pressure from trapping for the wild bird trade (Since 1981, 60,207 wild-caught individuals have been recorded in international trade (UNEP-WCMC CITES Trade Database, January 2005)


  • The species has been heavily traded, especially from Argentina 
  • May lose up to 28% of habitat over the next two decades

Ecology: These conures are very gregarious, commonly forming flocks of several hundred birds which range widely along riverways between feeding areas and roosts. Bird roost communally in trees, canefields and caves by night and travel with Blue-crowned Conures, Blue-headed Parrots, Chestnut-fronted Macaws and Crimson-bellied Conures in daytime.

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