The Grey-breasted Parakeet Refuge is found in the tropical hill forest of the Baturite region, an hour drive south of the city of Fortaleza, in the Ceará State of Brazil. This moist forested mountain outcropping is surrounded by dry lowland Caatinga habitat and is an odd mix of the Atlantic Forest found mainly on Brazil’s east coast and the Amazonian Rainforest, with the closest fragment 450 miles to the west. As a consequence of this isolation the area has developed a particular flora and fauna, including 205 bird species. This includes the Critically Endangered Grey-breasted Parakeet and local (possibly distinct species) Spot-winged Wood-Quail, and Gould’s Toucanet.
Other species include Ochraceous Piculet, Great Antshrike, Yellow-chevroned Parakeet, Rufous-breasted Hermit, Planalto Tyrannulet, Southern Beardless Tyrannulet, Wing-banded Horneo and many more.
The region underwent heavy agricultural production in the last century, but in the last few decades the local culture has been changing with Fortaleza city residents visiting and buying summer homes in the cool forested mountains. Brazilian conservation group Aquasis has been working in this region for several years, educating farmers and community members on the importance of the forest, and growing a successful nest box program for the Grey-breasted Parakeet, which has fledged 841 chicks to date!
This conservation presence resulted in the Ceará state government establishing the Refuge in August 2018, a 97-acre protected area in the heart of the Baturité Mountains. One can visit the refuge and several sites along the Baturite Mountain to search for some of the rare birds in the area.