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Golden-plumed Parakeet Leptosittaca branickii
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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Very high levels of forest clearance, fragmentation and degradation have presumably resulted in this species undergoing rapid population declines, qualifying it as Vulnerable. Total numbers are difficult to assess, but the population may be small.

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: #

35 cm. Predominantly green parakeet. Mostly vivid green with orange frontal band over bill and yellow streak running below eye and extending into tufts behind eye. White ocular patch. Yellowish central belly with diffuse orange barring, dull reddish undertail. Similar spp. Only large, long-tailed parakeet in its range. Voice Macaw-like. In flight, noisy chree-ah, feeding flocks chatter continuously, also harsh scraart.

Distribution and population
Leptosittaca branickii is widely but locally distributed in Colombia (both slopes of the central Andes, the southern base of the east Andes and one record from Cerro Munchique, Cauca, in the west Andes), Ecuador (isolated massifs in the far north and south, but only in the south on the main Andean ridges) and Peru (Cordillera de Colán and the east Andean slope, with one record on the west slope of the Cordillera Central in La Libertad). It has declined considerably in Colombia and Ecuador, and may now be declining in Peru (where it has generally been considered to be stable) due to increasing habitat destruction (H. Lloyd in litt. 2007). The Nevado del Ruíz-Nevado del Tolima Massif, Colombia, harbours 1,000-3,000 birds (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). In forests of the Cordillera de Chilla, Ecuador, densities of c.2.3 birds/km2 and c.6.6 birds/km2 have been estimated (Jacobs and Walker 1999).

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 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 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
A rapid and on-going population decline is suspected on the basis of large-scale habitat destruction, degradation and fragmentation.

It inhabits temperate cloud and elfin forest at 2,400-3,400 m, occasionally down to 1,400 m (Juniper and Parr 1998), in areas characterised by trees in the Melastomataceae and Cunoniaceae (Montes and Verhelst 2011). Some populations are nomadic, possibly owing to a heavy dependence on Podocarpus cones. It nests in dead Ceroxylon wax palms, even where these trees are scarce (Sornoza Molina and López-Lanus 1999). The two most important plants for feeding are Brunellia goudoti and Podocarpus oleifolius (Montes and Verhelst 2011). Nesting probably corresponds to food availability, and may not be seasonal (Sornoza Molina and López-Lanus 1999).

Habitat loss and fragmentation has been considerable throughout its range, with 90-93% of montane forest lost in Colombia, but less in Peru (Salaman et al. 1999b, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). The cutting of wax palms for Palm Sunday services is a serious problem in parts of Ecuador, and palms also suffer poor recruitment because cattle browse young trees, and logging in adjacent areas increases their susceptibility to parasites and disease (Salaman et al. 1999b). Road construction is on-going throughout many areas of elfin and cloud forest in Peru and has caused severe habitat loss in areas such as Abra Malaga (H. Lloyd in litt. 2007). In Colombia, it is trapped as a maize pest and as a pet (Salaman et al. 1999b). Many protected areas are affected by the burning and grazing of páramo, settlement, clearance for agriculture, logging, narcotics and gold mining (Wege and Long 1995, Salaman et al. 1999b).

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It is known from many protected areas (Wege and Long 1995), including Los Nevados and Cueva de los Guácharos national parks in Colombia, and Podocarpus National Park in Ecuador (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, Clements and Shany 2001). Of all these reserves, Ucumarí Regional Natural Park, Puracé National Park (Colombia), Huashapamba Protection Forest (Ecuador) and Río Abiseo National Park (Peru) are apparently well-protected (Wege and Long 1995). In Ecuador, a campaign organised by Aves y Conservación and the Jocotoco Foundation and supported by the government aims to reduce unsustainable harvesting of wax palms. The Jocotoco Foundation have installed nest boxes in their reserves, which are being used (even in preference to natural cavities) by this and other species of parakeet (D. Waugh in litt. 2010).
Conservation Actions Proposed
Assess its status in Peru (Flanagan et al. 2000). Establish the degree of dependence on wax palms in different regions (Sornoza Molina and López-Lanus 1999). Develop a network of protected montane forests. Protect the Nevado del Ruiz-Nevado del Tolima Massif and the Cordillera de Chilla (Jacobs and Walker 1999, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, López-Lanus et al. in press).

Clements, J. F.; Shany, N. 2001. A field guide to the birds of Peru. 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.

Flanagan, J.; Kattan, G.; Salaman, P.; Toyne, P. 2000. Golden-plumed Parakeet Leptosittaca branickii. In: Snyder, N.; McGowan, P.; Gilardi, J.; Grajal, A. (ed.), Parrots: Status survey and conservation action plan 2000-2004, pp. 135-136. IUCN-The World Conservation Union, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Jacobs, M. D.; Walker, J. S. 1999. Density estimates of birds inhabiting fragments of cloud forest in southern Ecuador. Bird Conservation International 9: 73-79.

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

Lopez-Lanus, B., Laverde, O., Omena, R. and Olarte, L.G. 2009. Lack of evidence for the presence of macaws of the Anodorhynchus genus in the Colombian-Brazilian river basin of the Vaupes. Hornero 24(1): 37-41.

Montes, M. A.; Verhelst, J. C. 2011. Population size and habitat use of the Golden-plumed Parakeet (Leptosittaca branikiii) in El Mirador Nature Reserve, Genova, Quindío. Conservación Colombiana 14: 38-47.

Salaman, P. G. W.; Donegan, T. M.; Cuervo, A. M. 1999. Ornithological surveys in Serranía de los Churumbelos, southern Colombia. Cotinga 12: 29-39.

Sornoza Molina, F. S.; López-Lanús, B. 1999. First nesting records of the Golden-plumed Conure Leptosittaca branickii. Papageienkunde 3: 51-52.

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., Harding, M., Isherwood, I., Sharpe, C J, Stuart, S., Symes, A.

Lloyd, H., Salaman, P., Waugh, D.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Leptosittaca branickii. 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.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Golden-plumed parakeet (Leptosittaca branickii) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Psittacidae (Parrots)
Species name author Berlepsch & Stolzmann, 1894
Population size 1500-7000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 44,400 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species