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Red-breasted Parakeet Psittacula alexandri
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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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 trapping pressure, persecution and habitat loss.

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.

Distribution and population
Psittacula alexandri occurs in South and South-East Asia, from northern and eastern India (including the Andaman Islands), Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, ranging through Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and southern China (Guangxi, Guangdong and Hainan), with populations in Indonesia, on Java, Bali Karimunjawa, Kangean, Simeulue, Nias and Banyak, and in Kalimantan (where probably introduced from Java) (Juniper and Parr 1998). The species has increased since the 1990s in Singapore, where it is introduced (D. L. Yong in litt. 2011). It has been described as the commonest Psittacid in some parts of its range, although substantial declines were noted in Thailand and Laos prior to the turn of the century and local extinctions have occurred (e.g. on Java and Bali) owing to capture for the live bird trade (Juniper and Parr 1998). The species is described as being on the verge of extirpation in Hainan province, China, after being recently rediscovered there (J. Fellowes in litt. 2010). In Nepal, the species is described as localised and uncommon, having undergone significant declines in its population and range since the 1980s, with few records outside protected areas since 1990 (C. Inskipp and H. S. Baral in litt. 2013). It is thought to have been previously widespread in northern Laos, but it is said to have disappeared almost entirely from this region (J. W. Duckworth in litt. 2011). In contrast, it remains common in northern Cambodia (H. Rainey in litt. 2011), and it is said to be easily seen in the foothills and adjoining plains of the Himalayas from Uttarakhand to Arunachal Pradesh, India (P. M. Laad in litt. 2011). The species is said to be fairly common in north-eastern and south-eastern Bangladesh (P. Thompson in litt. 2012). In Vietnam, it remains by far the commonest parakeet species, although it is suspected that a decline has taken place there (S. Mahood in litt. 2011, C. Robson in litt. 2013), and it is thought to remain abundant in Myanmar (C. Robson in litt. 2013).

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is reported to be generally common (del Hoyo et al. 1997).

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in moderately rapid decline overall, owing to unsustainable levels of exploitation and on-going habitat destruction. This suspicion is supported by widespread anecdotal evidence that indicates declines in many parts of its range.

This species uses a variety of forest and wooded habitats, including human-altered areas, usually below 2,000 m (Juniper and Parr 1998). Habitats utilised by the species include dry forest, moist deciduous secondary forest, mangroves, cultivated areas with trees and human settlements. Its diet includes wild and cultivated fruits, berries, flowers, nectar, nuts and seeds, leaves and cereals such as rice and maize, thus it frequently causes damage to crops. It nests in tree cavities and lays a clutch of 2-4 eggs. Breeding generally takes place from December to April, although almost year-round on Java (Juniper and Parr 1998).

Declines and local extinctions in recent decades have been attributed largely to capture for the live bird trade (Juniper and Parr 1998). Hunting and trapping are regarded as major threats to the species in Nepal, where it is also threatened by forest loss (C. Inskipp and H. S. Baral in litt. 2011). Its nasal voice makes the species a popular cage-bird in Nepal, and its vocal habits when breeding and tendency to form large flocks when not breeding make it susceptible to trappers. These factors drive illicit hunting and trapping in protected areas, and it is persecuted by farmers because of its crop-raiding habits (C. Inskipp and H. S. Baral in litt. 2013). Likewise in Bangladesh, the species is targeted for the cage-bird trade and is likely to be impacted by the removal of large trees (P. Thompson in litt. 2012). The species's almost total disappearance from northern Laos is thought to be driven mainly by habitat loss through conversion to agriculture (J. W. Duckworth in litt. 2011). The loss and fragmentation of forest are likely to accelerate in Cambodia in the near future, given that many large agro-industrial concessions have been granted recently (H. Rainey in litt. 2011).

Conservation Actions Underway
The species is listed under CITES Appendix II. It is known to occur in many protected areas, such as Chitwan National Park, Bardia National Park, Parsa Wildlife Reserve and Shukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve, Nepal (C. Inskipp and H. S. Baral in litt. 2013), and Cat Tien National Park, Vietnam (C. Robson in litt. 2013).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct regular range-wide surveys to monitor population trends. Monitor rates of habitat loss and degradation across the species's range. Quantify the level of trade and impacts of trapping. Conduct awareness-raising activities to discourage trapping. Increase the amount of suitable habitat within protected areas. Investigate potential alternative measures to mitigate the crop damage inflicted by the species.

Brazil, M. 2009. Birds of East Asia: eastern China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, eastern Russia. Christopher Helm, London.

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.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

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

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

Baral, H., Duckworth, J.W., Fellowes, J., Inskipp, C., Laad, P., Mahood, S., Rainey, H., Robson, C., Round, P., Thompson, P. & Yong, D.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Psittacula alexandri. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

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.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Psittacidae (Parrots)
Species name author (Linnaeus, 1758)
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 2,570,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species