The Golden Conure (Formerly: Aratinga guarouba Now: Guaruba guarouba.)


T he 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, Queen's, 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 who know this bird feel that in many ways it is different from other conures and all other parrots in general. It has recently been assigned the genus of Guaruba and the specific name of 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 think 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 inforrnation has been compiled from Parrots of Tbe 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.

The range of this species is very small, restricted to North-east Brazil, south of the Amazon River, in eastern Para and adjacent northern Maranhao


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 source states as mentioned above and the other suggests that the birds in question were seen in captivity and were in the areas mentioned as the result of trappers. I can not confirm either opinion but Queen's are considered to be somewhat of a nomadic species.

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. Queen's 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 avi-


culture. 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, possesses the ability to raise their young, keep accurate records, and provide 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, which indicated that they were not in imminent danger of extinction at that time 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.