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The maroon-bellied parakeet (Pyrrhura frontalis) is a small parrot found from southeastern Brazil to north-eastern Argentina, including eastern Paraguay and Uruguay. It is also known as the reddish-bellied parakeet, and in aviculture it is usually referred to as the maroon-bellied conure, reddish-bellied conure or brown-eared conure.
It has been suggested that the reddish-bellied parakeet should include the blaze-winged parakeet (P. devillei) as a subspecies based on intermediate specimens from Paraguay. But such hybrids are not common in the wild and the two populations generally maintain their integrity; recent sources are undecided on whether to treat them as one species or two.
These birds range from 25 to 28 cm (10–11 in), and are primarily green, with a maroon patch on the belly, a "scaly" yellow-green-barred breast and sides of neck, a whitish ear-patch often tinged brown, and a maroon undertail. The specific name frontalis is a reference to its dark maroon frontlet - a feature which separates it from most similar species. The primaries are blue on the outer webs, green on the inner webs, and dark on the tips. The beak is black.
- Maroon-bellied parakeet proper, Pyrrhura frontalis frontalis – Brazil from south Bahia to Rio Grande do Sul, and west to Mato Grosso do Sul.
- Uppertail greenish-yellow grading into a broad reddish tip.
- Azara's conure, Pyrrhura frontalis chiripepe – Eastern Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, and far southern Brazil.
- Uppertail entirely greenish-yellow.
Another subspecies, kriegi, was described from Bahia in 1932, but today it is universally considered a junior synonym of the nominate subspecies. Distinguished by a narrow brownish-red tip to the tail, it constitutes just a morph or an intermediate genotype making up just 20% of the specimens even in the supposed range. The name Krieg's conure is occasionally used in aviculture for such birds, and some breed them exclusively; they are of course perfectly interfertile with individuals of the normal morph however.
The maroon-bellied parakeet is common in woodland, and forest edges. In the northern part of its range, it mainly lives in highlands up to 1,400 m (4,600 ft), but elsewhere it is primarily found in lowlands up to 1,000 m (3,300 ft). Tolerates disturbance well and even lives in urban parks (e.g., Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo) and feeds in gardens. Flock size is usually only 6-12 individuals, but up to 40. As other members of the genus Pyrrhura, it primarily feeds on fruits, flowers, and similar plant matter; they rarely participate in mixed-species feeding flock.
It is generally common and not considered threatened by the IUCN. Though there is little trade in these parrots, captive-bred birds are occasionally available as pets. Maroon-bellied parakeets can learn to talk, although not clearly. They are among the quietest conures, but their shrill voices still irritate some people.
- Juniper, Tony & Parr, Mike (1998): Parrots: A Guide to Parrots of the World. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 1-873403-40-2
- Lowell, Michele (1994): Your Pet Bird: A Buyer's Guide. ISBN 0-8050-2325-9
- Machado, C.G. (1999): A composição dos bandos mistos de aves na Mata Atlântica da Serra de Paranapiacaba, no sudeste brasileiro [Mixed flocks of birds in Atlantic Rain Forest in Serra de Paranapiacaba, southeastern Brazil]. Revista Brasileira de Biologia 59(1): 75-85 [Portuguese with English abstract]. doi:10.1590/S0034-71081999000100010 PDF fulltext
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- World Parrot Trust Parrot Encyclopedia - Species Profiles