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Maroon-faced Parakeet Pyrrhura leucotis

This species has a small and declining subpopulation in Brazil and a larger subpopulation in Venezuela. Habitat loss and degradation are driving moderately raid declines, particularly in Brazil. For these reasons it is considered Near Threatened. The proposed taxonomic reallocation of the Venezuelan subpopulation to form part of P. picta would likely warrant reclassification of the remaining P. leucotis in Brazil to a higher threat category.

Taxonomic source(s)
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at:

Taxonomic note
Pyrrhura leucotis (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) has been split into P. leucotis, P. griseipectus and P. pfrimeri following SACC (2005). SACC (2008) moved P. l. emma (Venezuelan taxon) to P. picta; this treatment is under review by the BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group.

23 cm. Overall a small green parakeet (conure) with blue in the wing, a red-brown rump, tail, belly and shoulder. The chest and breast are yellow and grey with pale scallops. The face is plum-red while the pileum is grey-brown with some blue on the forecrown brown. Similar spp Subtly different from P. griseipectus and P. pfrimeri, in coloration of the pileum and having a creamy-buff auricular patch.

Distribution and population
Pyrrhura leucotis has a disjunct distribution with widely separate subpopulations in Atlantic Forest of Brazil and in Venezuela . The two subpopulations appear to have different status making an accurate assessment of the species's global level of threat problematic. In Brazil it is restricted to lowland and foothill (up to 500 m) forest from Bahia south of the Jequitinhonha river, south to Espirito Santo, parts of eastern Bahia and Rio de Janeiro. The southernmost population now occurs in Serra do Tinguá (22°36'S, 43°27'W) (Olmos et al. 1998, Joseph 2000). In southern Bahia it has been recently found in only 4 of 30 surveyed areas, and seems associated with the now very reduced "matas de tabuleiro". In contrast, in Venezuela it is rather common in forested areas of the coastal cordillera (incl. NE Venezuela) (P. Boesman in litt. 2006). The species has declined significantly within its Brazilian range but faces fewer threats in Venezuela. The proposed taxonomic reallocation of the Venezuelan subpopulation P. l. emma to belong with P. picta would likely warrant reclassification of the remaining P. leucotis in Brazil to a higher threat category.

Population justification
Preliminary population estimate (no data).

Trend justification
The species is suspected to be declining due to deforestation and capture for trade, but the rate of decline has not been quantified.

It occurs in Atlantic Forest in Brazil and foothill forest of the coastal Cordillera in Venezuela. Pyrrhura parakeets typically spend most time foraging (typically in groups) in the canopy and are reliant on their forest habitat.

Forest clearance has been extensive in its Brazilian range, affecting most of the "matas de tabuleiro" in Bahia and Espirito Santo. P. l. leucotis is fairly frequently confiscated in captivity, suggesting that this taxon is frequently harvested for trade (J. Gilardi in litt. 2010).

Conservation Actions Underway
In Brazil it is nominally protected in parts of Bahia (Estação Veracruz private reserve, and Descobrimento, Pau Brasil and Monte Pascoal national parks) (Cordeiro 2002). Monte Pascoal faces an uncertain future as it has been invaded by Pataxó Indians who have extensively cleared their neighbouring area. Elsewhere the species is known from the Linhares-Sooretama reserves (Espirito Santo), Rio Doce State Park (Minas Gerais) and Tinguá Biological Reserve (Rio de Janeiro). In Venezuela it survives in several national parks (P. Boesman in litt. 2006).Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue monitoring this species in the field and in trade. Strengthen the protected area network within the Atlantic Forest of Brazil to conserve key sites.

Cordeiro, P. H. C. 2002. A fragmentaçao da Mata Atlôntica no sul da Bahia e suas implicaçoes na conservaçao dos psitacídeos. In: Galetti, M.; Pizo, M.A. (ed.), Ecologia e conservaçao de psitacídeos no Brasil, pp. 215-227. Belo Horizonte, Melopsittacus Publicaçoes Científicas.

Joseph, L. 1988. A review of the conservation status of Australian parrots in 1987. Biological Conservation 46: 261-280.

Olmos, F.; Martuscelli, P.; Silva e Silva, R. 1997. Distribution and dry season ecology of Pfrimer's Conure Pyrrhura pfrimeri, with a reappraisal of Brazilian Pyrrhura "leucotis". Ornitologia Neotropical 8(2): 121-132.

Text account compilers
Bird, J., Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Boesman, P.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Pyrrhura leucotis. Downloaded from on 14/07/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 14/07/2014.

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.

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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 - Maroon-faced parakeet (Pyrrhura leucotis) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Psittacidae (Parrots)
Species name author (Kuhl, 1820)
Population size 10000-19999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 310,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species