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Blue-crowned Parakeet
Aratinga acuticaudata (Vieillot 1818)

Also known as: Sharp-tailed Conure

The extensive blue coloration on the heads of free-flying individuals of this species observed in southern California suggests that the nominate subspecies, native to dry woodlands from central Brazil to nother Argentina, is the one occurring in the region. The occurrence of this species in California was not mentioned by Hardy (1973); it was considered "sporadically" reported in Southern California by Johnston and Garrett (1994).

During this study flocks of up to 13 individuals were reported regularly from the west-central San Fernanco Valley especially in Northridge. Elsewhere, one small flock was in the Simi Valley, Ventura Co., a flock of up to 15 was in Redondo Beach and a flock of up to eight was in Monrovia in the San Gabriel Valley. The overall population in the greater Los Angeles area does not exceed 50 individuals.

In greater Los Angeles area probably only about 50 individuals, but apparently increasing (Garrett 1997). Population establishment recent; species not noted by Hardy (1973).

Populations of this species appear to be relatively stable and small. Most flocks are usually under 10 individuals. The flock in the San Gabriel Valley has had only a few new members presumably due to reproductive recruitment.(Mabb 2002)

Distribution in California: San Fernando Valley (especially Northridge), coastal Los Angeles County (vicinity of Redondo Beach), and San Diego. Sightings also for Simi Valley, Ventura County.

Habitat in California: Residential areas with exotic plantings.

Other Naturalized Locations: None noted.

Click an image below to view at a larger scale.

Blue-crowned Parakeet (Aratinga acuticaudata )
Photos this page © Bowles/Erickson |


Native Range and Habitat: South America; nominate subpecies, which appear to be the one established in California, occurs in Brazil, E. Bolivia, Paraguay, and N. Argentina (Forshaw 1989); Found in dry woodlands, shrublands, gallery (riparian) woodland (Forshaw 1989).

STATUS: Least Concern -- IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This species has a large range, with an estimated global extent of occurrence of 2,300,000 km 2 . The global population size has not been quantified, but it is believed to be large as the species is described as 'common' in at least parts of its range (Stotz et al . 1996). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e., declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. (BirdLife International 2004)

Citation: BirdLife International 2004. Aratinga acuticaudata . In: IUCN 2006. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. < >. Downloaded on 17 May 2007.

For more information, visit the Blue-crowned Parakeet - BirdLife Species Factsheet published by BirdLife International.



Description: Green overall; head blue; outer webs of flight feathers bluish-brown; greater under wing-coverts dusky yellowish-olive; tail upperside green; outer tail-feathers brownish-red; inner webs of tail underside brownish-red; eye ring whitish; upper mandible horn-colored, lower mandible black; iris orange; feet flesh-colored to pink. Immatures often without blue to head; in some birds forehead blue; lower mandible horn-colored.

Length: 15 inches

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