Archived 2012-2013 topics: Blossom-headed Parakeet (Psittacula roseata), Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria) and Grey-headed parakeet (Psittacula finschii): request for information.

Blossom-headed Parakeet Psittacula roseata (BirdLife species factsheet) is found in Bhutan, north eastern India, Bangladesh, South East Asia and southern China. It is currently listed as Least Concern as it was not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN criteria. However, this species has suffered much habitat loss and is described as sporadically dispersed and generally uncommon to locally scarce in its range (Forshaw 2006). It is rare in southern China (Forshaw 2006) and scarce in Vietnam (Juniper and Parr 1998). Apparently abundant in Myanmar around 1990, it has now reduced in numbers (del Hoyo et al. 1997), and habitat loss, trade and general persecution as pests have caused the species to become uncommon or rare in Thailand (del Hoyo et al. 1997, Juniper and Parr 1998) and Burma (Juniper and Parr 1998). International trade records showed that 836 birds were exported between 1981-85, but this increased to 6,873 birds in 1986-1990, primarily from Vietnam and Thailand (del Hoyo et al. 1997). Thus, concerns were raised that local populations were being adversely affected (del Hoyo et al. 1997). The global population trend is currently suspected to be declining but the rate of decline has not been quantified. If there is sufficient information to suspect that the global population of this species has experienced a moderately rapid decline (approaching 30%) over the past three generations (23 years) owing to habitat destruction and exploitation, and similar declines are suspected over the next 23 years, it would warrant uplisting to Near Threatened under criterion A2cd+3cd+4cd of the IUCN Red List. Should evidence suggest that population declines are more rapid (30-49% over three generations), it could warrant uplisting to Vulnerable. Information is required on the population size, trends and severity of threats to this species. Alexandrine Parakeet Psittacula eupatria (BirdLife species factsheet) and Grey-headed parakeet Psittacula finschii (BirdLife species factsheet) occupy a similar range to this species and are also suspected to be in decline at an unknown rate owing to habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of exploitation. Information on the population size and trends of these species is also requested. References: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1997) Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 4: Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Lynx Edicions: Barcelona, Spain. Forshaw, J. M. (2006) Parrots of the World: An identification guide. Princeton University Press: Princeton and Oxford. Juniper, T. and Parr, M. (1998) Parrots: a guide to the parrots of the world. Robertsbridge, UK: Pica Press.

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24 Responses to Archived 2012-2013 topics: Blossom-headed Parakeet (Psittacula roseata), Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria) and Grey-headed parakeet (Psittacula finschii): request for information.

  1. Simon Mahood says:

    Grey-headed Parakeet is generally scarce and localised, absent from large areas of superficially suitable habitat. It also occupies a larger elevational range than the other species mentioned. In my limited experience it is most often found in hill forest and in evergreen/semi evergreen areas within a deciduous forest matrix. It undertakes poorly understood movements which confound estimates of population size and area requirements. Because it is perhaps reliant on patches of evergreen/semi-evergreen forest it is perhaps inherently more vulnerable to logging than other parakeet species mentioned, particularly because it is probably reliant on large trees for nesting. In habitats where large trees are scarce (e.g. hill forest and a deciduous forest matrix) these are under particular pressure from logging, even for local use. Lowland forest in Indochina are under intense pressure, particularly in Cambodia, owing to clearance for large-scale industrial agriculture. This particularly affects areas with evergreen or semi-evergreen forest (vs deciduous forest), owing to better growing conditions. Given these factors, this species possibly meets the criteria for Vulnerable or Near Threatened under criterion A.

  2. Tom Gray says:

    In Mondulkiri, eastern Cambodia Grey-headed Parakeet remains relatively abundant (at least seasonally) if patchily distributed in both lowland deciduous dipterocarp forest <200-m and degraded hill evergreen forest c.600m on the Sen Monorom plateau. In the two areas I'm most familiar with in the landscape (riverine DDF in Mondulkiri Protected Forest) and degraded evergreen forest around Sen Monorom (two very different habitat types) the species is the commonest parrot and groups of 20-30 are regular.

    The species is also present (based on captive observations in villages) around Xe Sap NPA in southern Laos (evergreen forest at about 600-m).

    Conversely Alexandrine Parakeet is the rarest parrot in the Mondulkiri landscape and appears very scarce and sparsely distributed within the lowland DDF. Blosom-headed is also local (perhaps more associated with denser evergreen forest types) and not a species I encounter particularly frequently.

  3. Blossom-headed Parakeet (Psittacula roseata) is a rare resident, scarcely occurs in the hills forests of NE and SE Bangladesh. c.20 individuals were recorded in the northern fringe of the Sundarbans, Bangladesh in October 2009, which is the only record from that area.

    Two small breeding populations of the Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria) were known to occur in north Bengal, however recent searches have failed to find them. Recent records in Bangladesh are all from Dhaka city, presumably escapes. Sightings of some juveniles indicate that these escapes are possibly also breeding in Dhaka city.

    Grey-headed parakeet (Psittacula finschii) is a very rare resident and was believed to be extirpated from Bangladesh. The only recent sighting is from Chittagong Hill Tracts.

  4. I agree with Simon Mahood’s characterisation of habitat use. By occurring in hill areas, Grey-headed has retained a much wider distribution in Lao PDR than any other parakeet, because habitat encroachment has been so severe on the lowlands there that there are few areas left that are large enough for nests of Blossom-headed and Alexandrine Parakeets to escape nest-robbery. And little active protection to prevent it happening. Thus, by comparison with historical information and inferences from habitat change, and accepting a 23-year window, in that country the declines of Alexandrine and Blossom-headed quite plausibly meet (nationally) EN thresholds (and certainly VU). Both are now extremely localised and present in only small number where they occur. By contrast, Grey-headed has retreated from most of the north (indeed there are no recent field sightings I know of, only captives in villages), where prime habitat is (and has been for much longer than 23 years) scarce and fragmented, but is still widespread and locally common in much of the South and Centre. Probably not as common as it should be; I feel it would comfortably meet NT, nationally, but VU might be pushing it. Lao PDR is a small part of each of these species’s range, an even 23 years ago probably held an even smaller proportion of the global population of each, so assessments from other countries should exert more influence on the decline-based criteria for these species. I did try to find out about their status in Vietnam in 1997, when finding large populations of Blossom-headed and Alexandrine in Dak Lak province, and they seemed already localised in the country outside the province. Presumably the key countries for all three species in SE Asia are likely to be Myanmar, Cambodia and perhaps Thailand.

  5. Hugo Rainey says:

    Agree that there is concern about the status of these species. Grey-headed Parakeet has a patchy distribution absent from apparently similar habitats between areas of the Northern Plains of Cambodia. Habitat loss is ongoing and will have a devastating effect on these and other species reliant on deciduous dipterocarp forest in the next decade, although the effects may be not be apparent for a few years.

  6. Lynda Donaldson says:

    David Bishop provided the following information on 17th June 2013:

    Blossom-headed Parakeet Psittacula roseata

    Despite 23 tours and expeditions annually to Bhutan from 1994 to 2013, covering the period late Feb to early June, but mainly late March to early May, I have never recorded this species in Bhutan. Interestingly Spierenburg (2005) does not list this species for Bhutan not even as a vagrant. Consequently I would be very interested to learn the source for Bhutan being included within its range.

    The following notes are based on observations I made during the course of tours led to Assam on behalf of Victor Emanel Nature Tours Inc., and two private tours:

    During a trip to Assam including Kaziranga and Nameri (31 March to 7 April, 2009) I noted “scarcer than the other parakeets and only one or two of these exquisite birds seen or heard daily in Kaziranga.”

    During a trip to Assam including Kaziranga and Nameri (7 – 14 April, 2008) I noted “Much scarcer than the other parakeets and only one of these exquisite birds seen this year at Kaziranga.”

    During a trip to Assam including Kaziranga and Nameri (7 – 14 April, 2007) I noted “Much scarcer than the other parakeets but we nevertheless enjoyed some great views of four of these exquisite birds.”

    During a trip to Assam including Kaziranga and Nameri (7 – 13 April, 2006) I recorded 4+ birds on one day within Kaziranga NP.

    During a trip to Assam including Kaziranga and Nameri (6 – 12 April, 2005) I recorded six on one day and unknown numbers the following day in Kaziranga NP and five within Nameri NP.

    During a trip to Dibru-Saikhowa National Park (8 April 2001) I recorded 4 birds and then daily (numbers unknown) in Kaziranga NP, Assam (10-14 April 2001).

    During a trip to Kaziranga NP, Assam (19 – 25 March 1999) I recorded six in the Tea Estate adjoining the NP and then unknown numbers on two subsequent days.During trips to Kaziranga NP, Assam (17-21 March 1995 and 15-19 March 1994 and 21-26 February 1989) Zero Blossom-headed Parakeets were recorded.

    During 17 Feb. 2004 in Myanmar I observed “A total of six seen within the mosaic of farmland, scrub with scattered trees and dry deciduous woodland between the Irawaddy Bridge and Kazunma.”

    17 March 2011, Vietnam: “Good views of a male with large numbers of Red-breasted Parakeet at dusk along the Cat Tien NP side of the Dong Nai River. This species is rarely recorded on tour in Vietnam.”

    9-10 March 2012: “Good views of at least six in lightly wooded grassland within Cat Tien NP and a further four with large numbers of Red-breasted Parakeets at dusk along the Cat Tien NP side of the Dong Nai River. This species is rarely recorded on tour in Vietnam but appears to be increasing.”

    21 Jan. 2013, Cambodia: “As many as ten of were seen around Tmatboey.”

    23 Feb. 2012, Cambodia: “Many of this gorgeous parakeet were seen around Tmatboey with as many as circa 40 on one day.”

    5 Feb. 2006, Cambodia: “Seen in much lower numbers than the above (Alexandrine Parakeet) around Tmatboey.”

    Jan. 1993, Thailand: Recorded in Khao Yai NP and at Wat Tien Thwy (spelling).

    If my scant observations are anything to go by then yes indeed this species would appear to be in trouble.

  7. Vijay Anand Ismavel says:

    I have photographed P.finschii and P.roseata in the wild in Karimganj District of Assam in northeast India. Both are rare species here.

  8. Lynda Donaldson says:

    David Bishop provided the following information on 24 June 2013:

    Alexandrine Parakeet Psittacula eupatria

    With reference to the distribution of P. eupatria in NE India my notes concord well with the map in the Birdlife factsheet and Rasmusen & Anderton (2012, albeit nowhere as detailed) but contra Salim Ali & Ripley(1983) and emphasize the disjunct distribution between the nominate subspecies and P. e. avensis. Given Birdlife’s recent splitting of a number of forms this geographical divide might be worthwhile looking at.

    I have not included my few records of this species for Thailand as I’m sure Phil Round and his Thai colleagues will have this well covered. I’m sure I have earlier notes for Burma but cannot find them at the moment. I have no records of this species for Laos and Vietnam. I have not included my records for India outside the north-east as I’m sure others have much more detailed observations from this part of this species’ range. Nevertheless, my general sense is that Alexandrine Parakeet is widespread throughout India but nowhere common and always less common than species such as Ring-necked and Red-breasted.

    With regards to the Andaman Islands the subspecies tytleri may be sufficiently distinctive to be treated as a full species???

    The following detail my observation of Alexandrine Parakeet from Bhutan, Assam, Burma and Cambodia.

    In view of my observations and those of others in SE Asia I tend towards the recommendation that P. eupatria should be treated as Near Threatened.

    Field notes of K. David Bishop

    Alexandrine Parakeet Psittacula eupatria

    Bhutan
    There are very few records of this species from the kingdom of Bhutan (see Spierenburg 2005) where its occurrence is very localised and possibly marginal at best. My sole records of this species in Bhutan are as follows:

    10 – 11 April 2001: One male perched and calling from the middle of Phuntsholing township; 2 above Phuntsholing.

    20 May 2007 – Approximately 6-10 feeding on the ripe fruit of an unidentified plantation tree, ca. 4 km west of Geylephu on fairly flat terrain at ca 150m asl.

    21 April 2012 – Several seen and heard near Geylephu.

    22 April 2013 – Two over the immigration gate at Geylephu.

    INDIA
    Assam:

    21 – 26 Feb. 1989 Kaziranga National Park (including Panbari Forest): Least common of the parakeets that occur in Kaziranga NP; 2-4 feeding at the edge of riverine woodlands.

    16 -19 March 1994 Kaziranga National Park (including Panbari Forest): Notably common.

    21 March 1994 Jaldapara National Park: Recorded.

    17 – 22 March 1995 Kaziranga National Park (including Panbari Forest): Notably common.

    14 – 20 March 1996 Kaziranga NP (including Panbari Forest): Recorded daily; notably common with ca. 50 near Sohola Bheel.

    23 – 29 March 1998 Kaziranga NP (including Panbari Forest): Widespread in small nos., seen most days.

    19 – 25 March 1999 Kaziranga NP (including Panbari Forest): Widespread in small nos., seen daily.

    11 – 13 March 2001 Kaziranga NP: Small numbers recorded on three days.

    10 – 11 April 2002 Bagdogra to Jaldapara NP: A total of ca. 100 in small groups, together with larger numbers of Red-breasted Parakeets, in flight out from lowland Sal Shorea robusta Forest across farmland and disappearing towards the south-west in the general direction of the Brahmaputra River, during the late afternoon, near the village of Pani Jhora, 163m elevation; c. 50 Jaldapara Nat. Pk.

    6 – 13 April 2005 Kaziranga NP: Wonderfully common with as many as 20+ being seen daily. 7 April 2005: 10 in the central range; 8 April 2005: 20 central range.

    7 – 11 April 2007 Kaziranga NP: (7 April) A total of ca 20 in the central range and Baguri Bheel. (8 April) A total of ca 30 at the edge of Panbari Forest and the central range and (9 & 10 April) smaller numbers recorded in and around Sohola Bheel and tea estate adjoining central range.

    13 April 2007 Nameri NP: Recorded.

    7 – 11 April 2008 Kaziranga NP: Notably common and conspicuous in Kaziranga.

    31 March – 4 April 2009 Kaziranga NP: Ca 50 recorded in the central range; smaller numbers in and around Panbari Forest and Sohola Bheel.

    BURMA
    17 Feb. 2004 Bagan area: Approximately 50 within the mosaic of farmland, scrub with scattered trees and dry deciduous woodland between the Irawaddy Bridge and Kazunma.

    CAMBODIA
    2 – 6 Feb. 2006: We saw a total of six birds in the forests around Angkor but we found them to be very common in the dry forests of Tmatboey, where they congregated in very large flocks.

    20 – 24 Feb. 2012: Notably common with as many as 60 around Angkor including many that provide superb views of this impressive parakeet. A further ten were observed at Tmatboey. NOTE: According to Fred Goes my Angkor observation is exceptional.

    18 – 22 Jan. 2013: Notably less common than in Feb. 2012 with possibly only 6-8 seen including two pairs nesting in trees around Angkor. Just one or two at Tmatboey.

    Additional notes:

    Assam, India
    During Feb. – Mar. 2001: I failed to find Alexandrine Parakeet anywhere east of Kaziranga National Park. The following is a detailed diary of the areas I explored in far eastern Assam and Arunachal Pradesh

    26th February. Early morning flight from Delhi to Dibrugarh, located on the south bank of the Brahmaputra River, far-eastern Assam. Drove and birded from Dibrugarh to Digboi, a fruiting tree abuzz with frugivorous birds. Lunch at the Digboi Guest House and an ‘interesting’ afternoon exploring the rather degraded forest among the decaying oil derricks, leaking pipelines and plumes of escaping steam. It was not hard to believe that this was the oldest operating oil-field in the world. ON Digboi Guest House (GPS 27° 22.26’ N, 95° 37.46’ E; 154m elevation)

    27th February. Early morning birding in low scrubby secondary growth and scattered tall forest trees surrounding the guest house. After breakfast a long but interesting drive via farmlands, marshy patches and woodlands to little known Powai Forest Reserve. Despite our mid-morning arrival we found some very interesting-looking forest, a cluster of flowering trees and a host of wonderful birds. Lunch at the guest house and the late afternoon birding the grounds of the guest house. ON Digboi Guest House.

    28th February. Early, pre-dawn drive to Sorai Pug Forest Reserve (GPS. 27° 21.09’ N, 95° 30.46’ E; 135m elevation) Birded along a fairly quiet, paved road (continues on to Dulia Jan) through magnificent tall lowland forest on flat terrain with small (tiny) swampy patches, 05.35 – 10.30. Returned to Digboi Guest House for a late breakfast and to pack up before departing for the drive to Namdapha Tiger Reserve. Travelling further and further north-eastwards, stopping briefly at Ledo at a memorial to the Burma Road of World War II, we encountered more and more forest, albeit being rapidly cleared by recent ‘immigrants’ from Bengal and Bangladesh. Crossing the border into Aranachal Pradesh it was hard not to stop constantly to investigate the seemingly extensive areas of tall lowland forest. Eventually we reached the local capital of Miao for a very late lunch before continuing on to our final destination of Deban within Namdapha National Park. Immediately upon departing Miao the road became dirt (GPS 24° 24.19’ N, 95° 55.35’ E; 157m elevation) and a good deal rougher as it wound along the side of steep slopes bordering the large Noa Dihing River. The beauty of the forest with its gigantic buttressed trees, the vistas across the river to snow-capped peaks in the distance again meant that we were constantly stopping. Finally entered Namdapha National Park just in time to see a group of ten Ibisbill in the gloom. An exciting drive along an increasingly challenging road in the dark only added to our excitement culminating in being halted at a huge washout. Fortunately our ground-agents were standing by with four-wheel-drive vehicles and we soon found ourselves comfortably ensconced in our accommodations at Deban. “I’m sure we all slept well although I could hardly wait until the morrow.” ON Deban Guest House, Namdapha.

    1st April. A truly fabulous day’s birding! Departing shortly after dawn we gradually worked our way up the jeep track that climbed from Deban along the steep forest clad slopes bordering the west bank of the Noa Dihing River to an elevation of c.700m. The pristine nature of the forest, imposing stature of hugh buttressed trees, constant accompaniment of ululating Hoolock Gibbons and magnificent vistas over the river and surrounding forests all contributed to an unforgettable morning’s birding. Returning to Deban for a late but very welcome lunch we spent the remainder of the afternoon birding the gravel flats at the confluence of the Deban and Noa Dihing rivers (GPS 27° 30.06’ N, 96° 23.29’ E; 329m elevation). ON Deban Guest House.

    2nd April. A good breakfast and our trek began with a short ferry across the Noa Dihing River before climbing a well-marked path into the forests beyond. Much to everyone’s amazement a superb broad trail led us through increasingly impressively tall forest and we found ourselves as beguiled by the girth and beauty of the forest trees as we were the birds and other wildlife. With the entire day to make the 6 km trek to Haldbari the walk proved to be surprisingly gentle and easy permitting plenty of time for birding including searching for several skulkers. ON Haldiabri Camp. (GPS 27° 31.27 N, 96° 23.58’ E; 496m elevation).

    3rd April. Wakening early to a cacophony of pre-dawn song and the thunderous sound of hornbills overhead couldn’t be a better start to the day. An early breakfast and we were off, again following a surprisingly gentle, easy, broad trail through gigantic forests. The 5 km hike to Hornbill Camp seemed to take very little time thus permitting us to explore at leisure the very productive section of forest immediately beyond camp. ON Hornbill Camp

    4th April. A relatively long but nevertheless easy walk, still along a beautifully built trail, through sublime forests took us to an extensive area of huge bamboo and a small creek (GPS 27° 32.36’ N, 96° 28.52’ E), c. 3km beyond Bulbulia Camp. A notably birdy spot we spent much of the day here before returning to camp at Hornbill. ON Hornbill Camp.

    5th April. Early breakfast, packed up and birded our way slowly back to Deban stopping for a packed lunch en route. After checking back into our rooms we birded out along the jeep track back towards the entrance to Namdapha National Park. Returned in the dark spotlighting for anything that came our way. ON Deban.

    6th April. Birded the entire morning along the jeep track down to the rangers post at Gibbon’s Land. Early afternoon exploring the Noa Dihing valley bottom. For those who elected to return on foot a long walk through pouring rain and nerve-tingling thunder and lightening. ON Deban.

    7th April. Reluctantly taking our leave of Deban we drove and birded our way back to Miao with a very productive stop in an area of rough pasture, marsh and scrubby rice-fields along the Noa Dihing near the entrance to the park. Lunch at the Miao Guest House and, thanks to a union strike, a very uncongested drive through to Tinsukia. ON Tinsukia.

    8th April. A superb day in very different habitat within Dibru-Saikhowa National Park. A rather noisy but expertly operated motorized boat took us downstream and thence into a wonderland of partially flooded forest, marshes and grassland. Birded all day in a variety of habitats en route to and well beyond Kolomi ranger post. ON Tinsukia.

    9th April. Another superb day’s birding. Again by motor boat, this time upstream to an area known as Raidang and extensive two metre high elephant grasslands. Late afternoon at Maguri Bheel. ON Tinsukia.

    10th April. Thanks to the public holiday of ‘Holi day’ our long drive from Tinsukia to Kaziranga National Park was remarkably easy. Despite that much of the country we passed through was converted to rice-paddies the journey was surprisingly birdy with good numbers of the endangered Greater Adjutant seen. Arrived in time for an introductory peek at the Central Range. ON Wild Grass Lodge, Kaziranga National Park.

  9. Philip Round says:

    Psittacula eupatria has almost entirely vanished from its entire Thai range and I have not encountered it at ANY forest site in the country over thirty years of looking. As long ago as 1988 I published it as being nationally threatened in Thailand. The only birds remaining are small populations around the grounds of a very few temples in floodplains, where there are towering Dipterocarpus alatus trees that offer semi-safe nesting and roosting habitat. All known sites are close to major centres of human population, implying, perhaps, that the only P. eupatria remaining are, in fact, established from escaped captives.

    In spite of this P. eupatria nestlings still appear in the (illegal) trade in Bangkok bird markets, possibly having entered from Cambodia

    P. roseata is scarce and only found in a few better quality lowland (mainly deciduous dipterocarp) sites and is also now nationally at risk, I would say.

    P. finschii is much more widespread as others have already remarked, due to its propensity to occur across a wider elevational range.

    To put the decline in parakeets into perspective, Deignan (1945) reported that he saw a single flock of our most widespread parakeet, Red-breasted Parakeet, P. alexandri, that numbered at least 10,000 birds in Fang District of Chiang Mai in 1936. It would be unusual for me to see more than 50 together, even in the best and least disturbed forest sites in the present era

  10. Virag Vyas says:

    Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria) was a abundant species in Dry-deciduous forests of Gujarat, especially eastern Gujarat and Gir Forests (India). However, the sightings of these species are have lowered due to extensive poaching by local tribes and the species surely is suffering population decline in Gujarat (India).

    Blossom-headed Parakeet is widely distributed in Gujarat and occurs in good numbers all around the state. The species also is observed utilizing wide variety of habitats and seems much adaptive to local changes in habitat as compared to Alexandrine Parakeet.

  11. Craig Robson says:

    Grey-headed Parakeet is still common in deciduous forest types on the way to Mount Victoria from Bagan. During my latest tour in March 2013, we commonly encountered good numbers of the species, and also saw early morning flights totalling some hundreds; passing through partly cultivated dryish areas. We did not see so many Blossom-headed this year, but I think there must still be healthy populations in Myanmar. In Myanmar, I would be more worried about Alexandrine, and perhaps even Rose-ringed, which I never seem to see there any more. Both Grey-headed and Blossom-headed are much more seriously threatened in Indochina than in Myanmar, where habitat is much more patchy and restricted and persecution levels far greater.

  12. Manoj Sharma says:

    I have noticed Alexandrine Parakeet in abundance on the outskirts of Dharamshala in Kangra valley, Himachal Pradesh, India during winters where it is known to be resident throughout the year.

  13. R. J. Timmins says:

    Of the Southeast Asian range of each species, Cambodia and Myanmar are the most relevant for listing. I can’t speak for Myanmar, but Cambodia at least until recently had very large populations of all, at least for Alexandrine and Blossom-headed probably several magnitudes greater than those in Laos, Thailand or Vietnam. Cambodia has seen such rapid and drastic changes in lowland landuse, that it is hard to imagine how these species could not be in significant decline. Actual evidence for decline is more anecdotal, but the indications appear to be there in comparison between 1990’s observations (e.g. my own) and those in recent years (e.g. those of Tom above). For instance I characterised Alexandrine as ‘common’ i.e. recorded on a daily basis in the lowlands of Mondulkiri, Blossom-headed probably commoner still in the lowlands where 10s-100s of Blossom-headed/Grey-headed were seen on a daily basis, and Grey-headed common both in the lowlands and on the Senmonoram Plateau [contrast this with Tom’s observations above]. Grey-headed may be faring a little better, as others have mentioned, because of it’s broader use of habitat and altitude, but even in Cambodia the bulk of the population was probably in the lowlands. The anecdotal evidence would suggest a trajectory meeting VU for all three, probably most certainly for Alexandrine and least certainly for Grey.

    As a point of clarification I would not associate any of the three species with ‘evergreen forest’, ‘semi-evergreen forest’ or other dense ‘non-deciduous’ forest types, and have not recorded any of the species from within the interior of large blocks of such habitat. The highest densities that I’ve found have all been in areas dominated by deciduous forest, principally Deciduous Dipterocarp and [contentiously named] Mixed Deciduous Forest. Outside of the lowlands Grey-headed also extensively uses anthropogenically derived ‘open-country’ habitats (often including pines and DDF like vegetation).

  14. Praveen J says:

    Whether the population is feral population or not, it is unclear – but Alexandrine Parakeets have established recently (last 25-30 years) in northern Wayanad, Kerala and is also present in adjacent regions in Karnataka. The bird occurs along the forests of SW Karnataka till SE corner – sporadically seen in Bangalore city every year. This population does not seem to have undergone any decline and is suspected to be expanding in certain sites. Random reports of its presence in pet trade pop up from different parts of S. India. The range also extends further north along the W. Ghats to Central India – the trend (declining / expanding) there, I am not sure.

    What happens to ‘naturalized’ populations of this species outside its range ? Will they also be categorized with an uplisted threat category ?

    • C. Abhinav says:

      Alexandrine Parakeet is very common in Kangra valley of Himachal Pradesh, India and there are several nests of this bird near my working place and home.

    • Andy Symes says:

      Dear Praveen,

      Thanks for your comments. Naturalised populations outside of the native range should not be counted as part of the Red List assessment for a species (ie. they should not be included in population, trend or range size estimates). However, it can be difficult to determine what should count as a native population in cases such as this.

      Best wishes
      Andy

  15. Mingxia Zhang says:

    The Grey-headed parrot is relatively common in one nature reserve in Xishuangbanna, southwest of China. I once sighted more than 10 individuals in one trip. But the poaching and illegal trade is also going on, within one village, every family has one Grey-headed parrot as pet, and some claim a price of $80 for one individual.

  16. Satya Prakash says:

    Blossom-headed Parakeet (Psittacula roseata), Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria)

    During our regular visit and survey to Hazaribag Wildlife Sanctuary, Hazaribag, Jharkhand, India between 2009-2013, we have observed Blossom-headed Parakeet (Psittacula roseata) only five to six times in maximum 5 in number and on few occasion in Palamu Tiger Reserve, Jharkhand, India.

    We regularly observe Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria) in Hazaribag district and also in other part of Jharkhand.

  17. Dr. I.R. Gadhvi says:

    Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria) is increasing or changing its range in Gujarat State India. As till 1980s it was restricted to south Gujarat Forest areas particularly Rajpipla forest division. But since 1998 this species is occurring in many parts of Saurashtra!!! I am observing this species in Bhavnagar City since 1998 and the population is increasing!! I have observed this species readily nesting in an artificial wooden nest box (approx. 1cuft size) placed at about 6m height on a tree in a private garden. The increase of population of this species in Bhavnagar may be an example of local abundance.

  18. Praveen J says:

    I think there is a factual error in this statement where the range of P. eupatria is compared with P. roseata

    “Alexandrine Parakeet Psittacula eupatria (BirdLife species factsheet) and Grey-headed parakeet Psittacula finschii (BirdLife species factsheet) occupy a similar range to this species and are also suspected to be in decline at an unknown rate owing to habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of exploitation.”

    Alexandrine Parakeet occupies a much larger range which covers most of the Indian subcontinent where P. roseata is absent (replaced by P. cyanocephala).

  19. Salman Khan says:

    Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria) is threatened in Pakistan because of illegal cage bird trade and destruction of nesting site, I consider this parakeet as nationally critically endangered in Pakistan but more research and survey are needed to confirm what’s the status of this bird in the country, as far the global status is considered definitely the bird must be evaluated based on trends from South and South east Asia. I presume it has declined in Thailand and other South east Asia and that’s why this bird must be listed as Vulnerable or Near-threatened under the IUCN criteria.

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  20. I’ve regularly observed nesting Alexandrine Parakeets in South Mumbai, India in my childhood. They were not as common as Rose-ringed parakeets, but were common nonetheless. In 2008, the situation was not noticeably different. I still heard and saw them regularly even in urban areas. I don’t know if the population was introduced originally, but they’ve been there for over 20 years. If the number of photos online is any indication, they’re still doing OK. I also heard several on the Andamans in 2012, where they were the scarcest parakeet (after P.alexandri and P. longicauda). My only sightings of P. roseata were in Kaziranga, where it is far less common than the abundant P.alexandri. I think many of the comments above from Gujarat, Jharkhand etc. refer to P.cyanocephala, which is still often called the Blossom-headed parakeet.

  21. Frederic Goes says:

    In Cambodia, Alexandrine Parakeet, though perhaps not the rarest, is certainly the most threatened parakeet, as it is the sought after for cagebird trade on top of widespread habitat loss affecting all lowland forest species. Blossom-headed is still widespread and common but its status needs attention, as expected conversion of dry deciduous forest for agro-industrial plantations is probably going to lead to 30% decline or more in the coming 20 years due to habitat loss. Grey-headed is the least well known and a bit enigmatic in terms of habitat requirements. The Sen Monorom area mentioned by Tom Gray is perhaps the only place where it is fairly common or regular.
    Below are the summary account and conservation discussion with proposed national category (excerpt from the checklist in press). Detailed listing of records is available on request for Alexandrine and Grey-headed Parakeet.

    Alexandrine Parakeet Psittacula eupatria
    An uncommon resident in dry deciduous forest and degraded semi-evergreen forest of lowlands. Mainly below 300m, but recorded once at 900m at Dak Dam (Mondolkiri). Also in riverine forests, including the upper Mekong channel woodlands. Much reduced and now only locally common in the north and northeast, though never in large flocks. Almost extirpated from the northwest (a small population surviving at Angkor and one site in Oddar Meanchey) and the southwest (five definite recent records). Historically present in the southeast, but now only known at one site in atypical habitat (floodplain scrubland), likely stemming from cagebirds // Conservation: Cambodia shelters the bulk of the Indochinese population of this regionally rare and declining species. Historically noted as not very common (Delacour 1929, Thomas & Poole 2003), so probably never abundant. It has substantially declined, being nearly extirpated from two forested regions, while the population in the north and northeast remain healthy and widespread across near-continuous habitat. The targeted harvesting of chicks on the nest and capture of adults for pet trade pose the main threats to the species. Expected degradation and loss of lowland forest are further expected to be detrimental to the species. Due to the historical decline and country-wide exploitation, the species qualifies as nationally Threatened.

    Blossom-headed Parakeet
    An uncommon to locally common resident in open forests, from lowlands up to 700m. Probably subject to local movements. Favours dry deciduous forest, but also occurs in semi-evergreen forest, the upper Mekong river channel and occasionally degraded woodlands. Most common and widespread in the northeast but not uncommon in the north and northwest. Scarcer and local in the southwest (Kirirom NP, adjacent Samling, foothills Phnom Aural WS and Phnom Samkos WS) due to largely unfavourable habitats. Recently established small feral population in Phnom Penh, probably from escaped captive birds. Usually in small to medium flocks, apart from 300 birds in Kratie in August 2008 (Walleyn 2008) and 200 birds in Phnom Aural WS in November 2004 (Daltry 2005), possibly a post-breeding congregation pattern / Conservation: Although assessed by some to be less common than Grey-headed Parakeet in Mondolkiri (Walston et al. 2001), it is more widely distributed in the whole north and northeastern provinces. There is currently little cause for concern for the species in Cambodia, though it warrants periodic assessment, as habitat loss could cause future declines.

    Grey-headed Parakeet
    A rare resident, occurring in semi-evergreen and dry deciduous forest from plains up to 700m. The least known of the parakeets, with optimal habitats, ecological requirements and movements poorly understood. Two historical records. Currently mostly found in Mondolkiri where it is locally common. Rare elsewhere, with confirmed recent records at a single site in the northwest and the north and two non-Mondolkiri sites in the northeast. Possibly extirpated from the southwest (a single historical record). / Conservation: Near-Threatened in Cambodia. In Laos, it favours hilly areas with low-stature semi-evergreen forests with rather open canopies mixed with open areas, and does not persist in unbroken semi-evergreen nor pure dry deciduous forest with riparian elements (W. Duckworth pers. comm.). In Cambodia, the bulk of the known population centres in the gentle hill forests of Mondolkiri province. In the rest of the country, it occurs at very low densities in isolated sites in the north and northwest, suggesting it does not have a large population. Additionally, the absence of recent records in the southwest despite numerous forest surveys since 1998 indicates a historical decline and range reduction. It is also possibly declining due to targeted capture of parakeets for the cage-bird trade. Due to these factors, the species is listed as nationally Near-Threatened.

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