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Brown-backed Parrotlet Touit melanonotus
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The fragmentation of this species's range by extensive deforestation has been and remains a significant threat. The overall population is likely to be very small and declining, with tiny subpopulations. For these reasons the species is classified as Endangered.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

Touit melanonota Stotz et al. (1996), Touit melanonota Collar et al. (1994), Touit melanonota BirdLife International (2000), Touit melanonota Collar and Andrew (1988)

15 cm. Well patterned parrot. Green on head, nape and underparts, bluish-grey flanks. Large, dark brown patch on back. Green rump. Red tail, tipped black with green central rectrices. Wings have extensive dusky brown on primary coverts, tips of primaries and secondaries. Similar spp. Golden-tailed Parrotlet T. surda has extensive yellow on tail and green back. Voice Harsh chatterings.

Distribution and population
Touit melanonotus is confined to south-east Brazil (Bahia, Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Paraná). It is sporadically, but widely, reported in Rio de Janeiro, while in São Paulo, there are records from six sites south to Ilha do Cardoso (Wege and Long 1995). Recent records from three sites in Bahia (J. Minns in litt. 1999, E. O. Willis and Y. Oniki in litt. 1999) are the first since the 19th century. It has generally been considered rare throughout its range, even by 19th century commentators, but with the proviso that parrotlets of this genus occur at very low densities, and their inconspicuous habits result in their often being overlooked. Records from several new sites since the mid-1980s, including the first for Espírito Santo (E. O. Willis and Y. Oniki in litt. 1999) and Paraná (Mazar Barnett et al. 2004), have stemmed from knowledge of the species's calls, after previously fruitless fieldwork in the areas involved.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 250-999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 375-1,499 individuals in total, rounded here to 350-1,500 individuals.

Trend justification
A moderate and ongoing population decline is suspected owing to rates of habitat destruction and degradation.

Records are principally from lower montane evergreen forest at 500-1,200 m (Wege and Long 1995), but up to 1,400 m in Itatiaia National Park (Juniper and Parr 1998), and near sea-level in Bahia and São Paulo (Wege and Long 1995, F. Olmos in litt. 1999). It may undertake seasonal migration or dispersal, in some areas possibly only over quite short altitudinal distances. The only known food items are the seeds of large leguminous forest trees and the fruit of Rapanea acuminata, Clusia sp. and mistletoes (E. O. Willis and Y. Oniki in litt. 1999). Breeding presumably occurs in September-October, but this remains unconfirmed (Collar 1997a), and juvenile was photographed in Serra dos Órgãos National Park in December 2008 (Junger and Pimentel 2009).

Agricultural conversion and deforestation for mining and plantations have historically threatened its habitats (Fearnside 1996). Current key threats are urbanisation, agricultural expansion, colonisation and associated road-building (Dinerstein et al. 1995). Although the lower montane slopes have suffered comparatively less destruction than adjacent lowlands (Stattersfield et al. 1998), it has not been found at these elevations in São Paulo.

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II and protected under Brazilian law. It occurs in numerous protected areas, with recent records from: Desengano and Pedra Branca State Parks, Itatiaia, Serra dos Órgãos and Tijuca National Parks (Rio de Janeiro); Ubatuba Experimental Station, Iguape Environmental Protection Area, Serra do Mar, Ilha do Cardoso and Intervales State Parks (São Paulo) (Wege and Long 1995, Aleixo and Galetti 1997). Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey suitable habitat in Bahia and Espírito Santo to clarify distribution and status. Determine seasonal abundance at different elevations. Consolidate protected areas where it occurs.

Aleixo, A.; Galetti, M. 1997. The conservation of the avifauna in a lowland Atlantic forest in south-east Brazil. Bird Conservation International 7: 235-261.

Collar, N. J. 1997. Psittacidae (Parrots). In: del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. (ed.), Handbook of the birds of the world, pp. 280-477. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Collar, N. J.; Gonzaga, L. P.; Krabbe, N.; Madroño Nieto, A.; Naranjo, L. G.; Parker, T. A.; Wege, D. C. 1992. Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Dinerstein, E.; Olson, D. M.; Graham, D. J.; Webster, A. L.; Primm, S. A.; Bookbinder, M. P.; Ledec, G. 1995. A conservation assesssment of the terrestrial ecoregions of Latin America and the Caribbean. World Bank, Washington, D.C.

Fearnside, P. 1996. Brazil. In: Harcourt, C.S.; Sayer, J.A. (ed.), The conservation atlas of tropical forests: the Americas, pp. 229-248. Simon & Schuster, New York and London.

Junger, R.; Pimentel, L. 2009. Touit melanonotus (Psittaciformes: Psittacidae): fotografia de um filhote e breve descriçâo de alguns detalhes morfológicos. Atualidades Ornitológicas: 12-13.

Juniper, T.; Parr, M. 1998. Parrots: a guide to the parrots of the world. Pica Press, Robertsbridge, UK.

Mazar Barnett, J., Minns, J. Kirwan, G. M., Remold, H. 2004. Informações adicionais sobre as aves dos estados do Paraná, Santa Catarina e Rio Grande do Sul. Ararajuba 12(1): 53-56.

Stattersfield, A. J.; Crosby, M. J.; Long, A. J.; Wege, D. C. 1998. Endemic bird areas of the world: priorities for bird conservation. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Wege, D. C.; Long, A. J. 1995. Key Areas for threatened birds in the Neotropics. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note, taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Recuento detallado de la especie tomado del libro Aves Amenazadas de las Americas, Libro Rojo de BirdLife International (BirdLife International 1992). Nota: la taxonomoía y la categoría de la Lista Roja de la UICN pudo haber cambiado desde esta publicación.

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Clay, R., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A.

De Luca, A., Develey, P., Minns, J., Olmos, F., Oniki, Y., Willis, E.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Touit melanonotus. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Brown-backed parrotlet (Touit melanonotus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Psittacidae (Parrots)
Species name author (Wied, 1820)
Population size 250-999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 6,700 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species