New E-Book To Support Golden Conure Conservation!

As regular readers know, I am passionate about birds and the Golden Conure is one of my all-time favourite species.  In 2012, I was lucky enough to see them in the wild in their natural habitat in Brazil.  Recently, I was invited by Pompom – the leader of the Golden Conures International Facebook group to contribute an article about my trip to this wonderful project.  She assembled a dedicated group of writers from all over the world – all of whom donated their chapters so that all the proceeds from this book could go to the World Parrot Trust’s Golden Conure Survival Fund.   Mine is Chapter 16:  Goldens at the End of the Rainbow.

The e-book is being sold by Pocketmags which goes by several other names depending on where in the world you are located. – UK & Europe – Australia – Canada & USA

You will need to create an account with Pocketmags before ordering.  Once you pay for the book via credit card or Paypal, the book will be stored in your account and you will need to access it via the account.  This protects the copyright of the book.

Link to order this e-book

GC book1Don’t be confused by the Avizandrum 12 issues per year thing.  The book is being published by the same folks in South Africa who publish this monthly avicultural magazine.  You will only get one e-book, it’s not a monthly thing.   The currency will probably default to your home country’s currency, I was charged in AUD.


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This was the confusing part as I was not familiar with this online publishing company.  In some ways, it is kind of like the Kindle for PC app.

The book will appear in your account.  When you click on the “READ” button, you can choose which online e-reader you want to use.  They have a Silverlight or a Flash reader but you must be online to use them.

If you are using an iPad or other tablet, there are several apps available.

Lastly, most people will want to be able to read the book offline.  This works similar to Kindle for PC.  You download their reader here.

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Once you install the program, you log into it with your Pocketmags details and it will prompt you to download the e-book.  This will take awhile as it’s a large file.  You will then be able to read the book offline at your convenience.

GC book4Enjoy the book and please tell your friends.  You can learn more about Golden Conures and support them in the wild at the same time!

How To Visit Amazonia National Park (Parque Nacional da Amazônia)

To recap previous posts that show you how to get here:  First you need to get to Brazil.  Most people will either originate or transit the USA and enter Brazil at Manaus if this park is their final destination.  From Manaus, fly to Santarem, then get a boat to Itaituba.  Visit IBAMA in Itaituba and get your permit.

The red dot is Urua, where you will be staying.

So now we are in Itaituba, ready to visit Amazonia National Park (Parque Nacional da Amazônia)!  If you are interested in seeing Golden Conures, you will need a good guide and I can heartily recommend Gilberto Nascimiento Silva who is one of the park rangers.  He and the other park rangers are based at Urua which is about a 2 hour drive from Itaituba.  The best option is to hire a car which is what I had planned to do but didn’t realize I wouldn’t be able to outside of business hours.  A car will give you more options to visit different trails within the park and also to drive to a village to buy more food if you wish.

Without a car, your options are bus or taxi.  There is a Jacareacanga-bound  bus at around 10 or 11 am but if you don’t want to wait, you can get a taxi for R$150.  We had to try a couple times to persuade taxi drivers to go out there and they weren’t quite sure how to get there.  Finally we found one and negotiated the price.  We already had park permits via email and had to stop at IBAMA so the staff could explain to the taxi how to get there. To get back, there is supposed to be a bus around 2pm, if we had waited we would have missed the speedboat to Santarem so hitched with a local couple and paid them the bus fare of R$25 each.  Gilberto spoke to the driver and arranged this for us.



Initially reluctant, the taxi driver seemed to enjoy the park and hung around for an hour after driving us there.

Sadly, you will see deforestation in action enroute as they are trying to enlarge the road.

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Accommodations at Urua are very simple.  If you are a backpacker you will be fine but if you are used to luxury lodges of the Pantanal, you may be in for a surprise.  As of Sept 2012, there was no cost to stay in the bunkhouse as long as you have a permit.  The only cost is paying the ranger, Gilberto to guide you for R$50 per visit.  This is a fixed price, no need to bargain.  You will need to bring all your food and drinks with you from Itaituba.  There is nothing for sale in the park or within walking distance.

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There are cooking facilities but no fridge.  If they have room, the rangers will put your water bottle in their fridge so you have cold water after hiking around.  It gets very hot and humid there, mosquitoes are everywhere so bring coils and repellent.  Malaria is present in the Amazon region though luckily we didn’t get it.  The generator operates for a couple hours around lunch time and again from 5-8pm so you can charge your batteries.  There are posters on the wall with some of the local wildlife and Gilberto has the excellent Avifauna Brasiliera guidebook.  He doesn’t speak English but he is happy to point out the photos in the book of the species you see so you can make note of them.

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There is a lookout over the Tapajos River and it’s an excellent place to sit and watch for birds.  We saw large flocks of White-eyed Conures, a few Festive Amazons, Santarem Conures, Short-tailed Parrots and a Painted Parakeet.  Also lots of toucans!  More about the birds on the next post in this series so stay tuned!

Ina (my husband), me and Gilberto

Ina (my husband), me and Gilberto






Golden Conure AKA Queen Of Bavaria Conure AKA Ararajuba (Guaruba guarouba)

This week, I would like to introduce you to my all-time favourite bird.   In their native land, Brazil; they are known as Ararajuba.  The Golden Parakeet or Golden Conure, (Guaruba guarouba), formerly classified as (Aratinga guarouba),is a species of Neotropical parrot. Sometimes known as the Queen of Bavaria Conure, it is the only species (monotypic) in the genus Guaruba.

Its plumage is mostly bright yellow, hence its common name, but it also possesses green remiges.  It lives in the drier, upland rainforests in Amazonian Brazil, and is threatened by deforestation and flooding, and also by the now-illegal trapping of wild individuals for the pet trade.  It is an endangered species listed on CITES appendix I.


Mature pair of Golden Conures at the Emilio Goeldi Zoo in Belem

Juvenile Golden Conure at the Emilio Goeldi Zoo in Belem

Juvenile Golden Conure at the Emilio Goeldi Zoo in Belem

Flock of wild Golden Conures in Amazonia National Park

Flock of wild Golden Conures in Amazonia National Park

Getting to see them in the wild is no easy feat!  Their range is in a very remote area of Brazil and there are no eco-lodges or established eco-tourism in the area.  The full story of my journey to see them can be seen in the April 2013 issue of Flock Talk by the World Parrot Trust.  Scroll down and click on the PDF.  The World Parrot Trust also has a species profile on this beautiful bird.  At the end of this series, I will upload the text from this article written by myself with more photos and hyperlinks to all the posts I am doing to show you how to do this trip for yourself.

This is the range of Golden Conures as shown on Golden Conure Survival Fund. (For those who are curious, I did get a glimpse of a Hawkheaded Parrot at Cristalino).

Range of Golden Conures

The range of Golden Conures extends far westward into the Amazon basin reaching all the way to the right bank of the Madeira Rio in Amazonas state; the bird reaches as far east as the Gurupi in Maranhâo state. It is found in much higher density (almost ten times) within the confines of the current study area. This coincides almost directly with the heaviest deforestation zones (Hartley 8).

The Golden Conures are distributed in pockets strewn across northeastern Brazil, south of the Amazon River, in eastern Pará and northern Maranhâo to the western edge of Tapajós (Low 183). Their range has been reduced by as much as 30% in the last 2 to 3 decades.

In the map below, the red dots represent the airports (L-R:  Manaus, Itaituba, Santarem, Belem) that are relevant to the journey.  The yellow highlighted areas represent areas in which I found documented sightings of Golden Conures during my research.  The highlighted area south of Itaituba is the Amazonia National Park where I ultimately got to see them.  The yellow area between Santarem and Itaituba marked “CR” is roughly the location of the Cupari River in which the birds have been sighted by Gil Serique, a famous Brazilian guide.  The yellow area marked “CX” is roughly the location of Caxiuanã National Forest.  Finally, the other yellow area near the Tucurui Dam has had sightings of Golden Conures, though they may have been driven out by the deforestation in the area.