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Chatham Parakeet Cyanoramphus forbesi
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This species may still have an extremely small pure-bred adult population and it is therefore precautionarily considered Endangered. Its possible extirpation through hybridisation has been averted owing to three decades of conservation efforts, but present population trends are poorly known. It is restricted to one location (given the proximity of the tiny islands it inhabits, and its mobility), and therefore any decline would warrant uplisting it to Critically Endangered. Conversely, confirmation of apparent increases in recent years may result in downlisting in the near future.

Taxonomic source(s)
Boon, W. M.; Kearvell, J. C.; Daugherty, C. H.; Chambers, G. K. 2000. Molecular systematics of New Zealand Cyanoramphus Parakeets: conservation of Orange-fronted and Forbes' Parakeets. Bird Conservation International 10: 211-239.
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.

Taxonomic note
Cyanoramphus auriceps (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) has been split into C. auriceps, C. forbesi and C. malherbi following Boon et al. (2000).

23 cm. Bright green long-tailed parrot with crimson frontal band and bright, golden-yellow forecrown. Red patch on sides of rump. Female slightly smaller with proportionally smaller bill. Similar spp. Chatham Island Red-crowned Parakeet C. novaezelandiae chathamensis has crimson forecrown (Taylor 1998).

Distribution and population
Cyanoramphus forbesi is restricted to Little Mangere and Mangere Islands in the Chatham Island group, New Zealand. By 1930, it was extinct on Mangere Island, but by 1973 it had recolonised and numbered 40 birds and a small number of hybrids with C. n. chathamensis (of which there were 12 on the island) (Higgins 1999). In 1996, two estimates indicated that the population on Mangere Island numbered 50-120 pure-bred birds. The Little Mangere Island population is poorly known due to few visits taking place (H. Aikman in litt. 1999). In 1999, the total population was estimated to be about 120 birds (Aikman et al. 2001), but surveys in 2003 estimated 900 individuals on Mangere Island (Aikman and Miskelly 2004, D. Houston and C. Miskelly in litt. 2008). A recent study estimated that over 50% of the parakeet population on Mangere Island consisted of hybrid individuals (Chan et al. 2006), but this is expected to decrease owing to positive assortative mating (T. Greene in litt. 2012); the number of non-forbesi phenotypes is approaching the 10% management threshold (D. Houston in litt. 2012) (i.e. the number above which culling may be resumed as a management tool). Birds have been recorded visiting the south of Chatham Island, Pitt Island and Rangatira Island (Taylor 1998, D. Houston and C. Miskelly in litt. 2008, T. Greene in litt. 2012).

Population justification
The population of forbesi-like phenotypes has increased dramatically on Mangere Island with best estimates placing the population at 800-1,000 individuals. A survey in 2011 assessed the phenotypes of concern to be at 10%, the trigger level for management action (D. Houston in litt. 2012). In terms of mature individuals, it is precautionarily retained in the band 50-249 pending further study.

Trend justification
The population has shown minor fluctuations in recent years, as the species recolonised Mangere Island by the 1970s and has benefited from habitat restoration, while it has also suffered from hybridisation. Overall, the population is estimated to have been stable over the last ten years, and is probably increasing (T. Greene in litt. 2012).

It appears to prefer dense, unbroken forest and scrub, whereas Red-crowned Parakeets Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae are more common in open habitats. It feeds on invertebrates, flowers, seeds, leaves, fruit, shoots and bark (Nixon 1994, Higgins 1999). It nests in natural crevices or hollows in dead or living trees (Higgins 1999), as well as abandoned petrel burrows and other holes in ground or under trees (T. Greene in litt. 2012).

It disappeared from Mangere Island owing to a combination of deforestation for pastoralism, decades of burning, the effects of introduced grazing mammals and predation by feral cats (Higgins 1999). The greatest present threat is hybridisation with C. n. chathamensis which, despite culling, continues to establish itself on Mangere Island (J. Kearvell in litt. 1999). The previously high rate of hybridisation is believed to be the result of the then low population sizes of the two species (D. Houston and C. Miskelly in litt. 2008). Levels of hybridisation have remained below 10% of the total Mangere Island parakeet population for the past decade, and so no management intervention has been necessary.

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I and II. Mangere Island has been substantially re-vegetated (Aikman et al. 2001, D. Houston and C. Miskelly in litt. 2008). An ecological and genetic research programme has investigated population dynamics, hybridisation and mate selection (H. Aikman in litt. 1999, Chan et al. 2006). During 1976-1999, hybrid birds and C. n. chathamensis individuals were culled from the population (Nixon 1994). In 1998, 40 hybrids and six C. n. chathamensis were killed, leaving c.10 hybrids and C. n. chathamensis after the operation (H. Aikman in litt. 1999). Surveys of the relative proportion of hybrids to Forbes-type phenotypes are carried out biennially (D. Houston in litt. 2012). Translocation into a predator-proof fenced area on Chatham Island is planned for 2017 (D. Houston in litt. 2012).
Conservation Actions Proposed
Complete ecological, biological and genetic research, including the analysis and dissemination of results. Monitor trends in the extent and quality of forest habitats on Mangere Island. Restore forest habitats on Mangere Island to increase numbers and reduce hybridisation. Work towards the establishment of one or more further populations on Chatham Island (H. Aikman in litt. 1999).

Aikman, H.; Davis, A.; Miskelly, C.; O'Connor, S.; Taylor, G. 2001. Chatham Islands threatened birds: recovery and management plans. Department of Conservation, Wellington, New Zealand.

Aikman, H.; Miskelly, C. 2004. Birds of the Chatham Islands. Department of Conservation., Wellington.

Boon, W. M.; Kearvell, J. C.; Daugherty, C. H.; Chambers, G. K. 2000. Molecular systematics of New Zealand Cyanoramphus Parakeets: conservation of Orange-fronted and Forbes' Parakeets. Bird Conservation International 10: 211-239.

Chan, C.H., Ballantyne, K.N., Aikman, H., Fastier, D., Daugherty, C.J. and Chambers, G.K. 2006. Genetic analysis of interspecific hybridisation in the world's only Forbes' parakeet (Cyanoramphus forbesi) natural population. Conservation Genetics 7(4): 493-506.

Greene, T.C. 1989. Forbes’ parakeet on Chatham Island. Notornis 36: 326-327.

Higgins, P. J. 1999. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic birds: parrots to dollarbirds. Oxford University Press, Oxford, U.K.

Nixon, A. J. 1994. Feeding ecology of hybridising parakeets on Mangere Island, Chatham Islands. Notornis 41(supplement): 5-18.

Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1993. A supplement to 'Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world'. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Taylor, R. H. 1998. A reappraisal of the Orange-fronted Parakeet (Cyanoramphus sp.)---species or colour morph? Notornis 45: 49-63.

Triggs, S. J.; Daugherty, C. H. 1996. Conservation and genetics of New Zealand parakeets. Bird Conservation International 6: 89-101.

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

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Khwaja, N., McClellan, R., Taylor, J.

Aikman, H., Greene, T., Houston, D., Kearvell, J., Miskelly, C.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Cyanoramphus forbesi. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016.

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

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Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Psittacidae (Parrots)
Species name author Rothschild, 1893
Population size 50-249 mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 2 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species