Archived 2014 discussion: Painted Parakeet (Pyrrhura picta) is being split: list P. subandina and P. caeruliceps as Critically Endangered, P. eisenmanni as Endangered, and other species as indicated by projected rates of forest loss in Amazonia?

The initial deadline for comments on this topic is 28 April 2014, and therefore later than for most other topics currently under discussion.

This is part of a consultation on the Red List implications of extensive changes to BirdLife’s taxonomy for non-passerines

Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International will soon publish the HBW-BirdLife Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World, building off the Handbook of the Birds of the World series, and BirdLife’s annually updated taxonomic checklist.

The new Checklist will be based on the application of criteria for recognising species limits described by Tobias et al. (2010). Full details of the specific scores and the basis of these for each new taxonomic revision will be provided in the Checklist.

Following publication, an open and transparent mechanism will be established to allow people to comment on the taxonomic revisions or suggest new ones, and provide new information of relevance in order to inform regular updates. We are also actively seeking input via a discussion topic here regarding some potential taxonomic revisions that currently lack sufficient information.

The new Checklist will form the taxonomic basis of BirdLife’s assessments of the status of the world’s birds for the IUCN Red List. The taxonomic changes that will appear in volume 1 of the checklist (for non-passerines) will begin to be incorporated into the 2014 Red List update, with the remainder, and those for passerines (which will appear in volume 2 of the checklist), to be incorporated into subsequent Red List updates.

Preliminary Red List assessments have been carried out for the newly split or lumped taxa. We are now requesting comments and feedback on these preliminary assessments.

Painted Parakeet Pyrrhura picta is being split into P. picta, P. snethlageae, P. parvifrons, P. amazonum, P. lucianii, P. roseifrons, P. peruviana, P. subandina, P. caeruleiceps and P. eisenmanni, following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).

Prior to the taxonomic change, P. picta (BirdLife species factsheet) was listed as being of Least Concern, on the basis that it was not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN Red List criteria.

Suggested Red List categories for P. picta (as defined following the taxonomic change), P. snethlageae, P. parvifrons, P. amazonum, P. lucianii, P. roseifrons and P. peruviana are given in a separate forum topic concerning the use of a model of forest loss in the Amazon basin to predict population declines (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). Comments are invited in that forum discussion regarding the data used in the analysis, the suggested categories under the A4 criterion and whether any of these species qualify for higher threat categories owing to their likely population sizes.

Suggested Red List assessments for other parts of the split:

P. subandina is endemic to north-western Colombia, where it is known from the lower Río Sinú valley in Cordoba, occurring up to 1,300 m (Juniper and Parr 1998, Forshaw 2006, 2010). It is said to inhabit humid forest, tall secondary growth, forest edge, and clearings with remnant forest fragments (Forshaw 2006); however, there is a paucity of recent records, with the last reliable record apparently in 1949 (Hume and Walters 2012).

Concern has been expressed that this taxon could be extinct, following the extensive alteration and destruction of rainforest habitats in and near the Río Sinú valley (Joseph and Stockwell 2002). Habitat destruction and potential hunting pressure are on-going threats, associated with armed conflict in the region (Hume and Walters 2012). The taxon’s known range was searched without success in 2004–2008 at more than 10 potential localities (P. Salaman in litt. 2011, Botero-Delgadillo et al. 2012a), and surveys elsewhere have also not found it (Stiles et al. 1999). Szabo et al. (2012) state that the taxon is likely to be extinct, but that further searches of its possible range are required to confirm this, and recommend that it be treated as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct).

The lack of recent records in the context of extensive searches implies that any extant population is probably extremely small, thus this species is likely to qualify as Critically Endangered under criterion C2, on the basis that it has a declining population of fewer than 250 mature individuals, and perhaps also criterion D, on the basis that the population could number fewer than 50 mature individuals. It may be appropriate to also tag the species as ‘Possibly Extinct’, given that recent survey effort has been considerable.

P. caeruleiceps is known from the Sierra de Perijá on the Colombian-Venezuelan border and the western slopes of the Cordillera Oriental in Magdalena south to Santander in northern Colombia, occurring mostly at 450-2,000 m (Forshaw 2006, 2010). This little-known species frequents cloud forest (Forshaw 2006) and its total population size has apparently not been estimated (World Parrot Trust 2014). However, in 2011 a 30-day survey guided by species distribution modelling resulted in the discovery of two populations in Los Motilones Mountains, on the north-eastern border of Colombia and Venezuela (Botero-Delgadillo et al. 2012b).

The surveys by Botero-Delgadillo et al. (2012a,b) produced 79 observations of the species, mostly of flocks numbering 3-10 birds, with estimates of 90-121 individuals and 31-65 individuals at each of two sites (Botero-Delgadillo et al. 2012b), suggesting that 121-186 individuals were seen in total. These surveys lend support to the suspicion of a continuous range from the northern part of the Eastern Cordillera to the Perijá Mountains (Botero-Delgadillo et al. 2012b). Habitat loss is on-going in the species’s range, with the main drivers being logging and clearance for cattle pasture, and trapping pressure also likely to be a problem (Botero-Delgadillo et al. 2012b).

Confirmation that this species numbers fewer than 250 mature individuals would likely warrant its listing as Critically Endangered under criterion C2, on the basis that its population is also inferred to be in on-going decline. Comments are also sought on the likely sub-population structure, i.e. the proportion of all mature individuals in a single sub-population or the maximum number of mature individuals in the largest sub-population. If the population is thought likely to number somewhere in the range of 250-2,500 mature individuals, it may warrant listing as Endangered under the same criterion.

P. eisenmanni is endemic to Panama, where it occurs in the south-west of the Azuero Peninsula, up to 1,660 m (Juniper and Parr 1998, Forshaw 2006, 2010). It has been characterised as locally common in humid forest in hilly areas, also occurring at forest margins and occasionally in adjacent partially cleared areas (Forshaw 2006), although it has also been described as uncommon and occurring in the middle and upper levels of forest (Angehr and Dean 2010). Concern has been expressed that this taxon’s conservation status is deteriorating (Juniper and Parr 1998), and it is said to be suffering from on-going deforestation (Forshaw 2006). Accordingly, it is regarded as threatened at the national level (Montañez and Angehr 2007).

The species is purportedly estimated to number fewer than 2,000 individuals (World Parrot Trust 2014), implying that it qualifies as Endangered under criterion C2, on the basis that there are thought to be fewer than 2,500 mature individuals in the population and that this is inferred to be in decline. Input is invited on the likely sub-population structure. In the absence of further evidence, all mature individuals of this presumably mobile and restricted range species may be assumed to form a single sub-population.

Comments are invited and further information would be welcomed.


Angehr, G. R. and Dean, R. (2010) The birds of Panama: a field guide. Ithaca, NY and London, UK: Cornell University Press.

Bird, J. P., Buchanan, G. M., Lees, A. C., Clay, R. P., Develey. P. F., Yépez, I. and Butchart, S. H. M. (2011) Integrating spatially explicit habitat projections into extinction risk assessments: a reassessment of Amazonian avifauna incorporating projected deforestation. Diversity and Distributions DOI: 10.1111/j.1472 4642.2011.00843.x.

Botero-Delgadillo, E., Páez, C. A. and Bayly, N. (2012a) Biogeography and conservation of Andean and Trans-Andean populations of Pyrrhura parakeets in Colombia: Modelling geographic distributions to identify independent conservation units. Bird Conservation International 22: 445–461.

Botero-Delgadillo, E., Páez, C. A. and Sanabria-Mejía, J. (2012b) Discovery of two new localities for Todd’s Parakeet Pyrrhura picta caeruleiceps using distribution models: enhancing knowledge of a little known Neotropical bird. Ardeola 59(2): 237–252.

Forshaw, J. M. (2006) Parrots of the world: an identification guide. Princeton, NJ and Oxford, UK: Princeton University Press.

Forshaw, J. M. (2010) Parrots of the World. London, UK: Christopher Helm (Helm Field Guides).

Hume, J. P. and Walters, M. (2012) Extinct Birds. London, UK: T & AD Poyser.

Joseph, L. and Stockwell, D. (2002) Climatic modeling of the distribution of some Pyrrhura parakeets of northwestern South America with notes on their systematics and special reference to Pyrrhura caeruleiceps Todd, 1947. Ornitología Neotropical 13: 1–8.

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

Montañez, D. and Angehr, G. R. (2007) Important Bird Areas of the Neotropics: Panama. Neotropical Birding 2: 12-19.

Soares-Filho, B. S., Nepstad, D. C., Curran, L. M., Cerqueira, G. C., Garcia, R. A., Ramos, C. A., Voll, E., McDonald, A., Lefebvre, P. and Schlesinger, P. (2006) Modelling conservation in the Amazon basin. Nature 440: 520–523.

Stiles, F. G., Roselli, L. and Bohórquez, C. I. (1999) New and Noteworthy Records of Birds from the Middle Magdalena Valley of Colombia. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club 119: 113–129.

Szabo, J. K., Khwaja, N., Garnett, S. T. and Butchart, S. H. M. (2012) Global Patterns and Drivers of Avian Extinctions at the Species and Subspecies Level. PLoS ONE 7(10): e47080. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0047080

Tobias, J. A., Seddon, N., Spottiswoode, C. N., Pilgrim, J. D., Fishpool, L. D. C. and Collar, N. J. (2010) Quantitative criteria for species delimitation. Ibis 152: 724–746.

World Parrot Trust (2014) Parrot Encyclopedia.

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2 Responses to Archived 2014 discussion: Painted Parakeet (Pyrrhura picta) is being split: list P. subandina and P. caeruliceps as Critically Endangered, P. eisenmanni as Endangered, and other species as indicated by projected rates of forest loss in Amazonia?

  1. Andy Symes says:

    Preliminary proposals

    Based on available information, our preliminary proposals for the 2014 Red List would be to treat:

    P. subandina as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) under criteria C2a(ii); D

    P. caeruleiceps as Endangered under criterion C2a(i)

    P. eisenmanni as Endangered under criterion C2a(ii)

    and other species resulting from the split as indicated by predicted rates of Amazonian forest loss (see separate topic).

    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline of 14 May, after which recommended categorisations will be put forward to IUCN.

    The final Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in mid-2014, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.

  2. Andy Symes says:

    Recommended categorisations to be put forward to IUCN

    Following further review, there have been no changes to our preliminary proposals for the 2014 Red List status of these species.

    The final categorisations will be published in mid-2014, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by BirdLife and IUCN.

Comments are closed.