Archived 2011-2012 topics: Bronze-winged Parrot (Pionus chalcopterus): request for information

Initial deadline for comments: 31 January 2012 [note that this has been moved back by about two months].

BirdLife species factsheet for Bronze-winged Parrot

Bronze-winged Parrot Pionus chalcopterus occurs in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, where it mainly inhabits humid and wet upland and montane forest, as well as some drier habitats, from sea-level to c.2,800 m, but most frequently at 1,400-2,400 m (Juniper and Parr 1998). It also uses forest edge and often visits fruiting trees in agricultural landscapes (C. Sharpe in litt. 2011). The species is listed as being of Least Concern on the basis that it does not appear to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN criteria.

This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence less than 20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline was not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (at least a 30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (fewer than 10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be at least 10% over ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure).

This species is noted to be declining in Colombia and western Ecuador, owing to the clearance of subtropical forest, which has been severe and rapid on Andean slopes (Juniper and Parr 1998). Anecdotal evidence, based on the frequency of sightings, suggests that the species has declined in Piñas, southern Ecuador, over the past c.15-20 years (M. Sanchez per D. Díaz in litt. 2011). It is also said to have been extirpated from formerly occupied areas such as the Andean slopes of Cauca and Magdalena Valleys in Colombia, again owing to habitat loss (Juniper and Parr 1998). In Venezuela the species is scarce and local, being largely confined to the western slope of the Mérida Andes and Sierra de Perijá, with occasional records in Táchira (C. Sharpe in litt. 2011). These areas have experienced rapid deforestation over at least the past 24 years for cultivation and livestock farming. Surveys in north-western Peru in the late 1990s appeared to detect a marked decline in the population since 1993 (Rosales et al. 2007), although this species is known to be nomadic and its local numbers may fluctuate.

The species is relatively scarce in captivity (Juniper and Parr 1998), as it is not a main target of trappers and nest-poachers (C. Sharpe in litt. 2011, R. Clay in litt. 2011), although it is still present in illegal trade in Peru (F. Angulo in litt. 2011) and, perhaps more importantly, it is persecuted as an agricultural pest (C. Sharpe in litt. 2011, R. Clay in litt. 2011).

In light of this information, further details are requested, in particular data and observations on the population trend. If the available evidence indicates a decline approaching 30% (typically 20-29%) over the past 20 years (estimate of three generations; BirdLife International unpubl. data) then the species may be eligible for uplisting to Near Threatened. Any evidence that points towards a decline of at least 30% over 20 years may qualify the species for uplisting to Vulnerable.


Juniper, T. and Parr, M. (1998) Parrots: a guide to the parrots of the world. Robertsbridge, UK: Pica Press.

Rosales, M., Valdivia, R. and Sovero, M. (2007) Evaluación Poblacional de Psittácidos en el Noroeste del Perú (1997-1999). Lima, Peru: Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales.

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8 Responses to Archived 2011-2012 topics: Bronze-winged Parrot (Pionus chalcopterus): request for information

  1. In a study conducted between July 2000 and March 2001 (seven months), in a zone of the mature forest, in the Reserva Natural Los Yalcones (San Agustin, Huila, Colombia), I found an average of five individuals/month, in three transects of 1 km through a range of 2200-2590 m of altitude (Molina-Martínez 2002). This species was considerate like rare, but in zones in low altitudes, I think that there are more abundant populations. At the time, the species was subject to nestlings hunting for pets and also was hunted in corn crops.

    In areas below 2200 m, at the rivers watersheds of the both rivers Prado-Amoya and Coello, in the Departamento del Tolima, this species was more abundant. In six different zones, the observed average of individuals was 23, using rapid monitorings (Losada et al., 2003, Losada et al., 2006).

    I am in agreement with the idea that the species can be declining in Colombia, mainly due to causes like the hunting and the tree logging. However, because of the species have a wide distribution I do not consider that it does not have to be considered like near threatened.

    MOLINA – MARTÍNEZ, Y. G. 2002. Composición y estructura de la comunidad aviaria de la Reserva Natural los Yalcones y su posible relación con la vegetación arbórea y arbustiva (San Agustín – Huila). Trabajo de Grado. Universidad del Tolima. p 120.

    LOSADA S., MOLINA Y. G., A. M. GONZÁLEZ, A. M. CARVAJAL & M. FRANCO. 2003. Aves. En: Villa F. A., G. Reinoso, M. H. Bernal, S. Losada. Biodiversidad faunística de la Cuenca del Río Coello. Biodiversidad Regional fase 1. Tomo III. Pp 578 – 898. CORTOLIMA – Universidad del Tolima. Ibagué (Tolima), Colombia.

    LOSADA S., MURILLO J. M., & R. M. PARRA . 2003. Aves. En: Villa F. A., G. Reinoso, M. H. Bernal, S. Losada. H. E. Esquivel, J. E. Garcia & M. A. Verano. Biodiversidad faunística de la Cuenca del Río Prado. Biodiversidad Regional fase 2. CORTOLIMA – Universidad del Tolima. Ibagué (Tolima), Colombia.

  2. This distinctive parrot is known from lowland and foothill humid forest habitats in river magdalena valley and Montes de Maria (Sucre), Colombia. Due to deforestation, it now occupies a muchreduced range. Bronze-winged Parrot was common in our lower elevation site in Garzon (Huila), where several groups were observed feeding in the canopy. Although the nesting of Bronze-winged Parrot is undescribed, Ornithologist the RNOA (Red Nacional de Observadores de Aves) fieldworkers in nearby Huila have observed this species nesting Salaman in litt.).

    This parrot is known only from a handful of sites, thus a new locality is of great importance. Its high abundance at Cerro de la Paz in good quality lowland forest is interesting when considered alongside data by Salaman et al. (2002) who note a possible correlation between habitat quality (maturity and level of disturbance of forest) and abundance for this species

  3. Juan Freile says:

    Nonetheless, it might be numerous in some areas and is a well-known ‘agricultural pest’ that damages maize crops (mainly). Even though I have no quantitative data to assess its current status, I feel it is not particularly threatened (as many other species along its range might be, like Rose-faced Parrot).
    It should be noted, though, that it is ranked as Vulnerable in Ecuador (Granizo et al. 2002). I will post later reason for such rank in Ecuador.

  4. The above comments by Oswaldo Cortes are puzzling because they seem to be a copy and paste of certain sections of a paper that co-workers and myself published about Serrania de los Yariguies in the following expedition report, but lifted from the species account of Saffron-headed Parrot Pyrilia pyrilia (a different species):
    Donegan TM & Huertas B (Eds.). 2005. Threatened Species of Serranía de los Yariguíes: Final Report. Colombian EBA Project Report Series 5. 81 pp.

    What we said about the recent range extension to Yariguies mountains in Santander dept. for this species (Bronze-winged Parrot P. chalcopterus) was actually as follows:

    “The following species have all been recorded on the west slope of the East Andes in Boyacá (Hilty & Brown (1986) or were recently reported from Serranía de las Quinchas, a site subject to relatively intense study in recent years (e.g. Stiles et al. 1999, Stiles & Bohórquez 2000, Laverde et al. 2005a,b, Quevedo et al. 2006a). All represent northward range extensions of 100–150 km on the west slope of the East Andes and many are first departmental records for Santander or second or third localities for the East Andes. Such details are not listed in the texts below, but taxonomic and distributional notes are made for certain species, and some
    unpublished records from other sites in Santander and elsewhere are mentioned.
    …[there then follow a long series of different accounts for species having this 100-150 km northward range extension including …]
    BRONZE-WINGED PARROT Pionus chalcopterus Flocks sound-recorded and observed daily at Montaña Pedro Elías, Plan de Álvarez and Honduras Alto. Locally captured birds were photographed in captivity at El Diviso, between El Carmen de Chucurí and Honduras Alto, at Plan de Álvarez and San Juan Bosco. ”
    Locality and other relevant data to this account are set out in the relevant paper:
    Donegan TM, Avendaño JE, Briceño ER & Huertas BC. 2007. Bird range extensions with taxonomic and ecological notes from Serranía de los Yariguíes, Colombia’s new National Park. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club 127(3): 172-213.

    • I should add that I agree with the comments by Molina and Friele. This species’ range has doubtless been affected by deforestation. It also has a quite narrow preferred elevational range in primary habitat, at least in the East Andes of Colombia. However, it can tolerate habitat disturbance so I don’t tend to think of this species as a big a concern as some other “Low Risk” Andean parrot species that require more primary habitat (like Rufous-fronted Parakeet Bolborhynchus ferrugineifrons, Saffron-headed Parrot Pyrilia pyrilia [which was recently downgraded] or the mentioned Rose-faced Parrot).

  5. “… low risk or VU”

  6. It was reported at the route Monterredondo – El Calvario (Cundinamarca) and Serranía de los Churumbelos, in the east slope of the East Andes of Colombia (Salaman et al. 1999; Salaman et al. 2002).

    I watched this parrot in several times, specially during July, August and September of 2011. The report was made in the eastern Andes foothills
    Tame, Arauca, 700 to 900 m of altitude, in secound forest canopy, mountain crest and it was flying through secundary vegetation (O. Acevedo in litt).

    Salaman PGW, TM Donegan & AM Cuervo. 1999. Ornithological surveys in Serranía de los Churumbelos, southern Colombia. Cotinga 12: 29-39.

    Salaman PGW, FG Stiles, CI Bohórquez, M Álvarez-R, AM Umaña, TM Donegan & AM Cuervo. 2002. New and noteworthy bird records from the east slope of the Andes of Colombia. Caldasia 24 (1): 157-189.

  7. A. M. Cuervo says:

    Reported as Fairly Common in 9 localities of the northern Central Andes in the paper: “Avifauna of the northern Cordillera Central of the Andes, Colombia. Ornitología Neotropical (2008) 19: 495–515” between 1300-1750 m. Well known if shaded coffee fields with surrounding second growth.

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