email a friend
printable version
Grey-breasted Parakeet Pyrrhura griseipectus
BirdLife Species Champion Become a BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme Supporter
BirdLife Species Guardian Associação de Pesquisa e Preservação de Ecossistemas Aquáticos - AQUASIS
For information about BirdLife Species Champions and Species Guardians visit the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme.

Recent surveys indicate that this species has an extremely small population which continues to decline following dramatic historic declines. It occupies a very small known range. For these reasons it qualifies as Criticially Endangered.

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: #

23 cm. Overall a green parakeet with blue in the wing, a red-brown rump, tail, belly and shoulder. The chest and breast are greyish with pale scallops. The face is plum-red while the pileum is all brown. Similar spp subtly different from P. leucotis and P. pfrimeri, having a brown pileum, a white auricular patch and a grey breast. Its coloration, especially the breast, resembles two widely disjunct taxa, P. caeruleiceps of Venezuela and P. eisenmanni from Panama. Nevertheless, P. griseipectus differs from caeruleiceps and eisenmanni in its all-brown pileum (fore- and hindcrown blue in caeruleiceps, forecrown dull red in eisenmanni), maroon cheeks (dull red in caeruleiceps and eisenmanni) and red shoulders.

Distribution and population
This species is known historically from four areas in north-eastern Brazil, but currently from just two of these: the Serra do Baturité and Quixadá in Ceará (C. Albano in litt. 2006, Waugh et al. 2010). In Serra do Baturité it seems to be very uncommon and to have been extirpated from several areas, but there are recent records of groups in the Baturité Mountains Environmental Protection Area; surveys on 2007 of half the remaining habitat at this site revealed c.80 individuals (C. Albano in litt. 2007, 2008) and the population here is now estimated to be c.250 birds (Waugh et al. 2010). The forests of the Baturité Mountains have been greatly reduced to make room for shade and sun coffee and only 13% of the forest remained in 1996. The discovery in 2010 of a population of c.50 birds in Quixadá (Waugh et al. 2010) raises the known global population to c.300 birds. The species was formerly known from two other areas: the eastern slope of the Serra de Ibiapaba in Ceará, and the tiny Serra Negra in Pernambuco where it was very common in 1974, with flocks of 4-6 individuals regularly seen in the early 1980s, but there are no recent records. There are also unconfirmed reports from 1991 in Murici Ecological Station in Alagoas which possibly refer to released individuals; recent fieldwork there failed to locate the species. Its known range is very small, and the species has declined dramatically in the past, a trend which may be ongoing.

Population justification
Despite recent surveys in its historic range the species is now known from two areas: one largely denuded of suitable habitat, in the Serra do Baturité, and a private area 70 km south of this. The total number of recent sightings (resulting from six years of non-systematic observations) comprise five encounters from four localities. Therefore, the species is thought to have an extremely small population of 50-249 individuals. This equates to 33-166 mature individuals, rounded here to 30-200 mature individuals.

Trend justification
This species is suspected to be declining rapidly owing to heavy trapping and ongoing habitat loss within its range.

It occurs in montane (above 500 m) humid forest enclaves in the otherwise semi-arid north-east Brazil. These wet 'sky islands' are known locally as 'brejos'. Humid forests grade into semi-deciduous forest and eventually dry, xeric caatingas in lower areas. The forests are restricted to upland granite or sandstone areas which receive up to four times the annual rainfall of lower altitudes. The humid forests atop the Baturité massif form a continuous canopy c.20 m tall, with some emergents. Birds feed on fruit and seeds in the canopy of humid and semi-deciduous forest.

Habitat destruction has played a role in the species's decline with original forest cover now reduced to just 13%. Coffee plantations (especially where sun coffee is grown instead of shade coffee) are impacting upon the species's habitat. The principal threat, however, is believed to come from ongoing trapping for illegal local and national trade (C. Albano in litt. 2006, Anon 2009). The species also occurs in the international cage bird trade.

Conservation Actions Underway
The species is listed as Critically Endangered on the Brazilian official Red List (C. Albano in litt. 2006). It occurs within the Baturité Mountains Environmental Protection Area, but this area is designated for sustainable use and has not traditionally been managed for conservation. Land management by a private landowner in the area has led to an increase in one small known population (C. Albano in litt. 2006). Since 2007, the Brazilian NGO AQUASIS has been conducting two research projects: one sponsored by the Brazilian "Fundação O Boticário de Proteção à Natureza", surveying the Baturité Mountains to monitor its status and research its biology; and another sponsored by the Loro Parque Fundacion, searching for additional populations (C. Albano in litt. 2007, 2008). Surveys in historical sites and areas of potential habitat in 2007-2008 failed to locate the species, although there were strong indications from locals that it still occurred in the degraded Serra do Estevão, Quixada municipality, Ceará state (C. Albano in litt. 2007, 2008, Anon 2007), where it was indeed rediscovered in 2010 (Waugh et al. 2010). It may also persist at Serra Negra Biological Reserve, Pernambuco state, although a combination of marijuana cultivations and hostile local culture makes survey work in the latter area difficult (C. Albano in litt. 2007, 2008). At least 11 private reserves (RPPN) are in the process of being created in the Serra de Baturité (C. Albano in litt. 2007, 2008). A Loro Parque-sponsored nest box scheme is taking place, and so far 19 have been installed on sites with sympathetic landownders, with a view to eventually install 60 (Anon 2009). A large scale education and awareness campaign took place in the Serra de Baturité in 2008 (C. Albano in litt. 2007, 2008), and a principal objective of AQUASIS is to promote it as a flagship species, work which is being supported by local NGO AGUA and ecotourism business Parque das Trilhas (Anon 2009). AQUASIS also aims to build capacity for bird-watching and in the process develop awareness and create alternative livelihoods (Anon 2009). It breeds well in captivity and populations are held both in Brazil and abroad. Provided these are well managed and coordinated they could be used for reintroductions. Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out further surveys in similar areas to the Baturité Mountains in north-eastern Brazil, such as the serras de Aratanha, Maranguape and Machado, for the presence of addtional extant populations. Continue monitoring the known population in the Serra do Baturité. Improve conservation management practised in the Guaramiranga Ecological Park. Provide incentives for landowners to increase the network of private reserves in the Baturité Mountains. Monitor and control trade at local, national and international levels. Investigate the feasibility of using artificial nests to increase reproductive success. Continue to conduct awareness campaigns to promote the Grey-breasted Parakeet as a symbol for the conservation of the moist forests and associated biodiversity in the Baturité Mountains. Investigate ex situ conservation measures.

Anon. 2007. Pyrrhura griseipectus: the eleventh hour for the Grey-breasted Parakeet. Cyanopsitta: 17-19.

Anon. 2009. The Grey-breasted Parakeet: flagship for a unique forest. Cyanopsitta: 18-20.

Olmos, F.; Silva, W. A. G.; Albano, C. 2005. Grey-breasted Conure Pyrrhura griseipectus, an overlooked endangered species. Cotinga 24: 77-83.

Waugh, D; Girao, W.; Albano, C.; Campos, A. 2010. A double boost for the Grey-breasted Parakeet. Cyanopsitta: 19-20.

Further web sources of information
Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) species/site profile. This species has been identified as an AZE trigger due to its IUCN Red List status and limited range.

Click here for more information about the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE)

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

Species Guardian Action Update

Text account compilers
Bird, J., Butchart, S., Calvert, R., Mahood, S., Sharpe, C J & Symes, A.

Albano, C., Campos, A., Girao, W., Olmos, F. & Pinto, T.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Pyrrhura griseipectus. Downloaded from on 10/10/2015. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 10/10/2015.

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 - Grey-breasted parakeet (Pyrrhura griseipectus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Critically Endangered
Family Psittacidae (Parrots)
Species name author Salvadori, 1900
Population size 30-200 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 660 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species