Blue--throated Conures in U.S. Aviculture


The Blue-throated Conure (Pyrrhura cruentata) has always been rare in captivity outside of its native country of Brazil. As a matter of fact, this species is endangered in the wild and is listed on the United States Endangered Species Act (USESA). It is protected under Brazilian law and any export from Brazil is prohibited.

Currently this species is listed on Appendix l to the Convention on the lnternational Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and any international traffic of specimens is strictly controlled.

A decade ago this species was being bred by only a handful ofaviculturists in the world. Blue-throated Conures have proven to be quite prolific, once established, demon-

strated by the many current reports of breeding successes both inside and outside of Brazil. Many of the birds produced today in captivity are several generations removed from the wild-caught stock of yesterday.

ln private aviculture in the United States, imports of this species were few and far between, taking place back before the species was listed as endangered. Privately owned foundation stock here in the U.S. may be as old as thirty or forty years. A few younger birds have reached the U. S. and are now kept and bred in the zoo system. As of this moment, no exchanges or cooperation between the zoos and private breeders have taken place. This has been due to a relatively low reproductive rate of privately held speci-

mens as only two very old hens were alive to form the basis for genetics in the private sector as of 1995. In the year 1998, one of the original hens died, leaving only one female and five "hopefully" unrelated males in the private sector.

From this last remaining group of privately held birds, successful captive breeding was not reported until 2003, when the only hen held in captivity produced seven eggs, four of which were hatchable despite deformities and weaknesses in the shells. These four offspring were sexed and have been confirmed to be two males and two females. The young females will be paired with older, unrelated males to form the only known legally held Pvrrhura cruentata in the United States private breeding sector. (Researched through the USFWS's Captive-bred wildlife registration system for Endangered Species)

Negotiations are under way with Brazil to allow private breeders in the U.S. to obtain up to ten new bloodlines from registered breeders in Brazilian aviculture. This program, if approved by both Brazil and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, will funnel some funding back to conservation groups in Brazil to aid in the preservation of the species in the wild. Of course, for this program to work, the species must breed, and sales between breeders must take place, establishing the Blue-throated Conure in U.S. aviculture, and aiding in its own conservation in the wild.