Flocks counting hundreds of Red-spectacled Amazons fascinate tourists in Santa Catarina, Brazil

May 3rd, 2016 | by LubosTomiska
Flocks counting hundreds of Red-spectacled Amazons fascinate tourists in Santa Catarina, Brazil
Conservation projects
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banner-ararauna1Tourists from all over the world come to Sierra Santa Catarina in south Brazil to see Red-spectacled Amazon flocks, which gather around a city of Urupema.

„Red-spectacled Amazons started visiting this place at the beginning of 80’s,“ said biologist Viviane Gaboardi. „Before that, they nested more to the south in Rio Grande do Sul. Then these birds disappeared and we did not know where. It was because of finding new food sources, obviously. Later we found out that they are in Santa Catarina,“ she added. The cause of movement was simple. In 1914, the area of Rio Grande do Sul was covered by forest in one fourth. Today, it is only 3%.

Deforestation leaded to loss of the important food source for the Red-spectacled Amazon – seeds of a tree Araucaria. This explains why birds moved to Santa Catarina because at this place Araucaria trees are common. Conservationists prepared special lookouts for tourists who can watch large flocks of this species easy. Now, there are many people from the whole world comming because of this attraction.

„People from the whole world are amazed what they see here,“ said Wiliam Pozenato who organizes traditional „Festival do Papagaio-charao“  (=Festival of the Red-spectacled Amazon). This event is visited also by many professional photographers.

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The number of birds is increasing

„The number of Red-spectacled Amazons is inreasing each year in this area. It seems that original population size recovers to the same size as in the past. We can read in old literature that those flocks counted thousands of parrots which were found especially around Urupema. I did not even hope that something like that could happen, eventually,“ said local birdwatcher Carlos Eduardo. One of the most beautiful moments is when birds are leaving the feeding tree at once and fly to sleeping site which is 40km away.

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According to ornithologist Fábio Olmos who came from Sao Paolo to see these birds, this is one of the biggest gathering places of the wild parrots in South America. „It is a great thing and it is good that tourists can see it,“ said Olmos.

Besides the Red-spectacled Amazon, Vinaceous Amazon also nests in this area. Festival of the Red-spectacled Amazon took place between April 21st-24th. Visitors of this event had to pay a fee 100 dollars. Collected money will be used for conservation of both amazons. The Red-spectacled Amazon is classified as „Vulnerable“ bird species and is threatened by deforestation and trade. Therefore, it was categorized to CITES Appendix I. There are about 20 000 individuals left in the wild.

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Title photo: (c) Marie. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

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