Hellmayrs Parakeet discovered in 2002

Hellmayrs Parakeet Pyrrhura amazonum NOT RECOGNIZED

Hellmayrs Parakeet

Hellmayrs Parakeet

It has typically been considered a subspecies of the Painted Parakeet. While reviewing this group, Joseph (2002) discovered that an undescribed population existed in central Brazil (later also found in north-eastern Bolivia). It was described as Pyrrhura snethlageae. No diagnostic difference were found between the taxa amazonum and microtera; it was therefore recommend that the latter should be considered a junior synonym of the former. As with most other taxa of the Pyrrhura picta complex, it was recommended that amazonum should be recognized as a monotypic species, P. amazonum, instead of a subspecies of P. picta. While few have expressed doubts the validity of snethlageae as a distinct taxon, most authorities recognized neither it nor amazonum as anything but subspecies of P. picta. Ribas confirmed by mtDNA that P. amazonum should be considered a species separate from P. picta (otherwise, P. picta would be paraphyletic), but also showed that snethlageae was very close to, and therefore better considered a subspecies of, P. amazonum. As other members of the Pyrrhura picta complex, it is a long-tailed mainly green parakeet with a dark red belly, rump and tail-tip (tail all dark red from below), a whitish or dull buff patch on the auriculars and bluish remiges. The cheeks and ocular region are dark maroon. The nominate subspecies (P. a. amazonum) has a narrow blue forehead-band and pale grey scaling to the chest. The second subspecies, P. a. snethlageae has little or no blue to the forecrown and its chest is, uniquely for the P. picta complex, overall very pale, almost whitish, with relatively narrow, dark pointed markings. Some individuals of this subspecies have a yellowish eye-ring (the basis for this variation remains unknown), but it is more typically dark grey as in the nominate subspecies. Both subspecies have dark greyish legs. It is restricted to Brazil and Bolivia. It occurs in tropical humid lowland forest and adjacent habitats. It is social and typically seen in pairs or groups. It feeds on fruits, seeds and flowers. The nest is placed in a tree cavity. It is fairly common in most of its range and occurs in several protected areas, e.g. P. a. amazonum occurs in the Amazônia National Park, Pará, Brazil, while P. a. snethlageae occurs in the Cristalino State Park, Mato Grosso, Brazil. (wikipedia).

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