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Grey-breasted Parakeet Pyrrhura griseipectus
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Recent surveys indicate that this species has an extremely small population which continues to decline following dramatic historic declines. For these reasons it qualifies as Critically 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: #

Taxonomic note
Pyrrhura leucotis (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) has been split into P. leucotis, P. griseipectus and P. pfrimeri following SACC (2005).

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 15 locations (Anon. 2014) in Brazil. Currently it is found in just three areas in Ceará state: the Serra do Baturité, Quixadá (C. Albano in litt. 2006, Waugh et al. 2010) and most recently from a rocky mountainside in Ceará where five birds were recorded in March 2014 (Anon. 2014). In Serra do Baturité it seems to be very uncommon and appears to have been extirpated from several areas, but there are recent records of groups in the Baturité Mountains Environmental Protection Area; surveys in 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
The population at the Baturité Mountains Environmental Protection Area is estimated to be c. 250 birds, and the discovery in 2010 of a population of c. 50 birds in Quixadá raises the known global population to c. 300 birds (Waugh et al. 2010). This roughly equates to 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. The newly discovered population of five birds on a rocky mountainside in Ceará were found to be nesting in a fissure in the rock face; considerably different from the typical tree nest sites used by the other remaining populations (Anon. 2014).

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) and captive-breeding (Fernandes-Ferreira et al. 2012). The species occurs in the international cage bird trade. Lack of natural nest sites, and nest predators (bees, wasps and small mammals) are also thought to be limiting the species's reproductive success (Campos et al. 2014).

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. 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). A team from AQUASIS, funded by a Conservation Leadership Programme award in 2012, conducted searches for the species on an isolated mountain in Ceará and found a tiny population of five individuals in March 2014 (Anon. 2014). 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) and AQUASIS are now engaged in the process of developing a Wildlife Reserve in the Baturité Mountains (Campos et al. 2014). AQUASIS has strengthened links with governmental agencies in order to influence policy decisions (Campos et al. 2014). A Loro Parque-sponsored nest box scheme has been undertaken with nest boxes installed on sites with sympathetic landowners (Anon 2009). AQUASIS have also provided nest boxes and have been treating the boxes with insecticide to reduce bee and wasp infestations (Campos et al. 2014). These measures have proved effective, with 16 boxes occupied in 2012 resulting in 97 eggs and 71 chicks that hatched successfully. A large scale education and awareness campaign took place in the Serra de Baturité in 2008 (C. Albano in litt. 2007, 2008) and continues today, with many schools now involved in AQUASIS education programmes (Campos et al. 2014). 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). A visitor centre has recently been established (Campos et al. 2014). 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. Studies are ongoing into factors influencing the survival rate of nestlings, population genetics (in the future DNA techniques may be used as a deterrent against illegal collection of wild birds) and adults and juveniles have been colour-ringed (Campos et al. 2014).

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 additional 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 Giant Bamboo (Dendrocalamus giganteus) as artificial nest sites (Campos et al. 2014). 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.

Anon. 2014. New population of critically endangered parakeet found in north-east Brazil. World Birdwatch 36(3): 9.

Campos, A. A., Mobley, J. A. and Nunes, F. 2014. Das Schutzprojekt für den Salvadori-Weißohrsittich. Gefiederte Welt 138(8): 15-17.

Fernandes-Ferreira, H., Mendonça, S.V., Albano, C., Ferreira, F.S. and Alves, R.R.N. 2012. Hunting, use and conservation of birds in Northeast Brazil. Biodiversity and Conservation 21(1): 221-244.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

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. & Ashpole, J

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

IUCN Red List evaluators
Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Pyrrhura griseipectus. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016.

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 - 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 200 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 660 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species