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Aymara parakeet (Psilopsiagon aymara)


Appearance and assignment

The Aymara parakeet, also known as Sierra parakeet and Grey-hooded parakeet, is a representative of the Neotropical parrots.
The first records about this species were done in the 19th century by Alcide Dessalines d'Orbigny, who was a famous French scientist.

Image This dainty-looking parakeet grows up to 20 cm. It has got a black-brown iris and its plumage is dominated by green and grey shades. There are only a few inconspicuous indications which may help to differentiate between males and females. The coloration of a hen might be a bit lower in contrast, whereas a cock has got a blueish shade on its white and gray breeding plumage, which you might spot by good lighting conditions only.


Both Aymara parakeet (Psilopsiagon aymara) and the more related Mountain parakeet (Psilopsiagon aurifrons) form their own genus called Psilopsiagon.
The most characteristic features of this small genus are a wide, sidewise thickened beak and a layered tail. The nosetrils, the ceroma and the eyelids are unfeathered.

In former times, the Aymara parakeet was well-known as "Bolborhynchus aymara" (D'Orbigny, 1839) and sometimes it was also known as:

Arara aymara (d'Orbigny, 1839) - Amoropsittaca aymara (d'Orbigny, 1839)
Micropsitta aymara (d'Orbigny, 1839) - Myiopsitta canicollis (Bonaparte, 1854)
Myiopsitta murinoides (Bonaparte, 1854) - Psitacus murinoides (Bonaparte, 1854)
Conurus agilis (Burmeister, 1858) - Conurus brunniceps (Burmeister, 1860)
Bolborhynchus bruneiceps (Burmeister, 1860) - Conurus aguava (Schlegel, 1864)

Today, the following common taxonomy (TSN 714052) has been established:

Class: Aves - birds
Order: Psittaciformes - parrot-like
Family: Psittacidae - Neotropic parrots
Sub-family: Pcittacinae
Genus: Psilopsiagon (Ridgway, 1912)
Species: Psilopsiagon aymara (Orbigny, 1839)


Habitat and behaviour


Habitat of Psilopsiagon aymara Aymara parakeets are endemic to the southern highlands of Bolivia and to the north-west territory of Argentina.

According to Wetmore (1920) and Ridgely (1980), these birds prefer dry areas and the nearness to thorn-bushes growing along Andean mountainsides, in altitudes from 1700 until 3600 m a.s.l. as per Forshaw (1973) und Ridgely (1980).
Orfilia (1938) even spotted some birds in an altitude of 4000 m a.s.l.
During colder winter months they were seen in lower altitudes of 1200 m a.s.l.







Image The peaceful and social-minded Aymara parakeets live in swarms and they communicate with each other by silent and chirping noises. Those are not really typical to other South American parakeets which are generally pretty noisy.
Aymara parakeets often dig earth holes due to they can sleep or nestle in these and on average 4-6 eggs will be laid by each hen.
These birds eat all kind of local seeds, berries and fruits, in doing so they always use their claws, as it is known from other parrots as well.

The Andean highlands, once populated by advanced Tiwanaku and Inca civilisations, are occupied by their descendants the Quechua and Aymara Indians, which might be responsible for the name of the Aymara parakeets. The exact reason for this naming is not really clear.
On the one hand the Aymara parakeets are peaceful birds, but on the other hand they are also known as a curious and brave species. Hence they were sometimes spotted close to residential buildings, which might explain their naming.

Long time before the Aymara parakeets were brought to Europe in 1959, they were very popular as caged birds in their native land, traded on market places.
Today the Aymara parakeet is in need of protection therefore its import, export and keeping is required by law under special agreement of CITES II.
Thanks to some European breeder, there is no need to import Aymara parakeets living in the wild anymore due to there are enough cultured birds which are more stress-resistant as their forebears.


Historical findings

[1889] Argentine Ornitology Vol. II l R. H. Porter >

[1926] Observations On The Birds Of Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, And Chile l Alexander Wetmore >

Image courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library.
www.biodiversitylibrary.org


Bibliography


- Papageien - Wolfgang de Grahl [ISBN 3-8001-7226-7]
- Papageien 2/2002 - Matthias Reinschmidt [ISSN 0934-327X]
- Südamerikanische Sittiche Band 5 - Thomas Arnd [ISBN 3-923269-09-9]
- www.itis.gov
- www.wikipedia.org


Comic


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