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Green Racquet-tail Prioniturus luconensis

This species is assumed to be undergoing a continuing rapid decline owing to extensive lowland deforestation. As a result its now small population is becoming increasingly severely fragmented, qualifying it as Vulnerable.

Taxonomic source(s)
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

30 cm. Green parrot with racquet-like tail extensions. Bright yellow-green head and breast. Rest of plumage green, darkest on wings and tail. Whitish-grey bill. Female is more uniform green, lacking yellow tones of male. Similar spp. Montane Racquet-tail P. montanus has blue on head. Possible confusion with Tanygnathus parrots, but is smaller, longer-tailed (with racquets) and has pale, not red, bill. Voice Raucous squawks interspersed with screeches and musical phrases.

Distribution and population
Prioniturus luconensis is endemic to the Philippines, where it is known from Luzon and Marinduque. Formerly widespread and locally abundant, it has declined rapidly. Virtually all recent records have been confined to the Sierra Madre mountains on Luzon, where it is still locally common and probably relatively secure. However, at two sites with records since 1980, Quezon National Park and Angat Dam, it now appears to be extinct, having been common at the former in the 1980s. There are no recent records from Marinduque, where it may already be extinct.

Population justification
Recent records are almost exclusively derived from a sub-set of potential sites that are visited by birdwatchers so range-wide the population is difficult to estimate. However, the area of habitat still available suggests the population may lie within the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals. This equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
The lack of recent information regarding this species precludes making strong assertions about the current trend, but the threats of widespread logging and trapping for cage-bird trade suggest the species is declining rapidly.

It is a lowland species on Luzon, with records in the Sierra Madre from 300-700 m. On Marinduque it has been recorded above 1,000 m. Its increasing rarity suggests a dependence on lowland primary forest, although birds do range into scattered fruiting trees in open areas and into secondary and heavily degraded forest.

Trapping for the cage-bird trade is a significant problem. Local extinctions as a direct result of forest loss are very likely. In 1988, forest cover was just 3% on Marinduque and 24% on Luzon. Forest cover in the Sierra Madre mountains has declined by 83% since the 1930s. Most remaining areas are under logging concession and may suffer further from major road-building plans. A new road development near Subic Bay has increased the incidence of illegal logging and felling is rife at Maria Aurora Memorial Natural Park. Habitat modification may have accentuated interspecific competition, with the species having been replaced by Blue-crowned Racquet-tail P. discurus in Quezon National Park.

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. National legislation exists to protect it from trade and hunting, although this is frequently violated. It is currently known from two protected areas, Bataan Natural Park/Subic Bay Forest Reserve and the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park. It receives nominal protection in the Maria Aurora Memorial Natural Park. Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to identify further sites supporting key populations, with a view to formally establishing them as protected areas (e.g. Mts Cagua, Cetaceo and the Mariveles Mountains).  Research its ecology and year-round requirements, to improve understanding of its management needs.  Examine trends in Prioniturus species at all sites to monitor the spread of the apparently invasive P. discurus. Improve protection measures against logging at Subic Bay Forest Reserve. Clamp down on illegal logging within the species's range, and ensure that environmental impact assessments are carried out before any new logging concessions are granted.  Establish a captive breeding population to support future reintroduction and supplementation efforts.

BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Collar, N. J.; Butchart, S. H. M. 2013. Conservation breeding and avian diversity: chances and challenges. International Zoo Yearbook.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Derhé, M., Lowen, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Prioniturus luconensis. Downloaded from on 12/07/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 12/07/2014.

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 - Green racquet-tail (Prioniturus luconensis) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Psittacidae (Parrots)
Species name author Steere, 1890
Population size 2500-9999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 106,000 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species