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Grey-headed Parakeet Psittacula finschii

This species has been uplisted from Least Concern on the basis of new information about its population trend. It is listed as Near Threatened because it is suspected to be undergoing a moderately rapid population decline owing to on-going habitat loss and trapping pressure.

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

Distribution and population
Psittacula finschii is distributed from eastern India, Bhutan and Bangladesh, through southern and central Myanmar, northern and central Thailand and Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and south-western China (central Szechuan and northern Yunnan) (Juniper and Parr 1998). The species is subject to fluctuations, with declines noted in some parts of its range (Juniper and Parr 1998). It is described as generally scarce to rare in Cambodia, and absent from large areas of superficially suitable habitat (S. Mahood in litt. 2013, H. Rainey in litt. 2013), but is locally common in Mondulkiri, in the east of the country (F. Goes in litt. 2013, T. Gray in litt. 2013). It may have been extirpated from south-western Cambodia (F. Goes in litt. 2013). Likewise, the species's range has contracted in northern Laos, where favoured habitats are characterised as scarce and fragmented (J. W. Duckworth in litt. 2013). It is very rare in Bangladesh, and was believed to have been extirpated; the only recent sighting is from the Chittagong Hill Tracts (S. U. Choudhury in litt. 2013). In contrast, the species is characterised as common in parts of Myanmar (C. Robson in litt. 2013) and relatively widespread in Thailand (P. Round in litt. 2013). Overall, the population is suspected to be in on-going decline.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is reported to be uncommon in China, with variable status elsewhere (del Hoyo et al. 1997).

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in moderately rapid decline owing to on-going habitat destruction and trapping pressure. Anecdotal observations of local trends in some parts of the species's range lend support to this suspicion, for example in Cambodia since at least the 1990s (F. Goes in litt. 2013, T. Gray in litt. 2013, R. J. Timmins in litt. 2013).

This species frequents oak, teak, cedar and pine forest, open wooded hillsides and cultivated areas with tall trees, at up to 3,800 m (Juniper and Parr 1998). In Cambodia, it may more regularly occur in deciduous hill forest, and in areas with evergreen and semi-evergreen vegetation (S. Mahood in litt. 2013, R. J. Timmins in litt. 2013), and is noted to be patchily distributed in both lowland deciduous forest and degraded hill forest on the Sen Monorom plateau (T. Gray in litt. 2013). It is noted to extensively use habitats in anthropogenically modified open landscapes (R. J. Timmins in litt. 2013). In Myanmar, it is described as common in deciduous forest and partly cultivated areas (C. Robson in litt. 2013). It feeds on leaf buds, seeds, fruit and flowers. In central Myanmar, it breeds in January-March (Juniper and Parr 1998).

The species is widely captured for the cage-bird trade and is locally kept as a pet, for example in Laos and China (J. W. Duckworth in litt. 2013, M. Zhang in litt. 2013). In China, poaching and illegal trade of this species continue: it is reported that in one village, every family has one individual of this species as a pet, and they carry an asking price of up to US$80 (M. Zhang in litt. 2013). Trapping pressure may also be contributing to the observed decline in Cambodia (F. Goes in litt. 2013). Lowland forests in Indochina are under intense pressure, particularly in Cambodia, owing to clearance for large-scale industrial agriculture. This particularly affects areas with evergreen or semi-evergreen forest, rather than deciduous forest, owing to better conditions for cultivation (S. Mahood in litt. 2013). This species's apparent reliance on patches of evergreen and semi-evergreen forest may make it more susceptible to the impacts of logging, particularly because it is likely to rely on large trees for nesting. In habitats where large trees are scarce, such as hill forest and landscapes with a mixture of deciduous forest, patches of evergreen and semi-evergreen forest are under particular pressure from logging, even for local use (S. Mahood in litt. 2013). Habitat loss in Cambodia is expected to have a devastating impact on this species during the next decade, although there may be a lag before the true effects are observed in the population (H. Rainey in litt. 2013). In Laos, the species's presence in hilly areas may have buffered it from the worst impacts of logging and habitat clearance (J. W. Duckworth in litt. 2013).

Conservation Actions Underway
The species is known to occur in some protected areas across its range, such as Mondulkiri Protected Forest, Cambodia (T. Gray in litt. 2013).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct regular range-wide surveys to monitor the species's population trend. Monitor rates of habitat loss and degradation within the species's range. List the species under CITES. Quantify the impacts of capture for trade. Conduct awareness-raising activities to reduce trapping pressure and trade. Increase the area of suitable habitat within protected areas.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1997. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 4: Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

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

Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J. & Taylor, J.

Choudhury, S., Duckworth, J.W., Gray, T., Mahood, S., Rainey, H., Round, P., Timmins, R. & Zhang, M.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Psittacula finschii. Downloaded from on 18/04/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 18/04/2014.

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.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Psittacidae (Parrots)
Species name author (Hume, 1874)
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1,640,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species