Species names in all available languages
|English (United States)||Cuban Parakeet|
|French||Conure de Cuba|
|Spanish (Spain)||Aratinga cubana|
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Cuban Parakeet, or Catey, is endemic to the Cuban archipelago. It is considered one of the smaller species of the genus Psittacara, and is green with scattered red feathers on the head, abdomen and sides. The scapular, marginal and under wing covert feathers are red. The ventral primary feathers, secondary and tail feathers are olive green. The young birds do not have red spots on the dorsal coverts.
Cuban Parakeet formerly was considered to be a common species with a wide distribution in the island of Cuba and the Isle of Youth (formerly Isle of Pines). Since the late 1800s it was extirpated from the Isle of Youth. Today there only are fragmented populations are scattered only along the main island of Cuba. These remaining populations continue to loose nesting habitat and also still persecuted by the illegal pet trade within the country. The westernmost known population occurs in the Zapata Swamp and the easternmost populations are in the Toa watershed region within Cuchillas del Toa Biosphere Reserve. Cuban Parakeet is very social, forming flocks for feeding and roosting; these flocks normally consist of 6 to 50 individuals.
Cuban Parakeet is an obligate secondary cavity nester and is semicolonial in flooded savannas with isolated Royal Palms (Roystonea regia) and low mountain forests with abundant palms or cliffs. It is very selective regarding the nesting sites, which usually are at the forest ecotone. Parakeets start to select nesting cavities as early as January in Royal Palms; these cavities usually are ones previously used and abandoned by woodpeckers. Egg laying may begin in early April, depending on location, and the usual clutch is two to five white elliptical eggs. The incubation period takes about 24 days, with the first chicks hatching in early May. Young remain in the nest for 48 to 56 days.
More than 50 species of plants have been documented in the diet of Cuban Parakeet, but localized studies indicate that at least during the reproductive period their diet is composed of only a few species.
Due to the loss and degradation of forest habitats with dense palms for nesting and the heavy trapping of live birds, mainly of juveniles, to supply the illegal local pet trade, Cuban Parakeet currently is listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Recently, however, Cuban scientists have suggested to elevate its conservation category to Threatened. It is a species protected by national and international laws, including being listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES). In Cuba the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (CITMA) considers this species in the category I as Endangered or Critically Endangered.