Nest poaching in the Venezuelan insular subspecies of the Brown-throated Parakeet (Aratinga pertinax)

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The Brown-throated Parakeet has been long suspected to be in decline on the Venezuelan islands of Margarita and La Tortuga, due to poaching of nestlings for the illegal pet trade, and to resulting nest destruction. Therefore, we assessed the status of the two subspecies involved, Aratinga pertinax margaritensis and A. p. tortuguensis, and examined the threat presented by nest poaching. During field-work in 2004, we characterized roosting and nesting patterns on both islands, and estimated the population size of A p. margaritensis. On Margarita Island, we found a considerable population (at least 1984 individuals), but the 25 nests found were subject to very high rates of poaching (64%) and destruction (32%). Since the only two active roosts of this subspecies were close to or within Laguna de La Restinga National Park, which is also under anthropogenic pressure, our results suggest that this subspecies classifies presently as Endangered (B1a&b[v]). On La Tortuga Island, we found negligible numbers of A. p. tortuguensis on the eastern portion of the island. Moreover, all six nests found had signs of repeated, regular poaching. These results support other authors' proposed classification of this subspecies as Endangered, but technically still leave it in the category of Data Deficient. © The Neotropical Ornithological Society.

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Ornitologia Neotropical

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