Justification of Red List Category
This species has been listed as Near Threatened on the basis of information about its population trend. Although it remains common in some areas and the status is clouded by feral/escaped populations, it is suspected to be undergoing a moderately rapid population decline owing to on-going habitat loss, persecution and trapping pressure.
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is reported to be of variable abundance across its range.
The species's population is suspected to be in moderately rapid decline overall, owing to on-going habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of exploitation. Anecdotal observations of local declines lend support to this suspicion, for example in Gujarat, India (V. Vyas in litt. 2013), and Cambodia since at least the 1990s (F. Goes in litt. 2013, T. Gray in litt. 2013, R. J. Timmins in litt. 2013).
Psittacula eupatria is widespread in South and South-East Asia, ranging from Pakistan, through most of India (including the Andaman Islands and Narcondam Island), Sri Lanka, much of Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh (including Cocos Island), into southern and central Myanmar, central Thailand, southern and western Laos, much of Cambodia and southern Vietnam (Juniper and Parr 1998). It is noted to show seasonal movements in some parts of its range and nomadism in others. It is described as generally common, but much scarcer in the east of its range, sporadic in southern India and rare in Sri Lanka. Declines are evident in some regions (Juniper and Parr 1998). The species is described as scarce or uncommon in Cambodia (F. Goes in litt. 2013, T. Gray in litt. 2013), having been much reduced, and is now only locally common in the north and north-east, although never in large flocks (F. Goes in litt. 2013). It has been almost extirpated from north-western and south-western Cambodia, and the only site known for the species in the south-east, where it was historically present, may be occupied by a population that originated from cage-birds. The populations in the north and north-east of Cambodia are said to remain healthy and widespread across near-continuous habitat (F. Goes in litt. 2013). It is highly localised in Laos, having formerly been present more widely, probably across the country's lowland plain (Thewlis et al. 1998, Duckworth et al. 1999). It has almost entirely disappeared from Thailand, with the only remaining individuals in small populations, with all known sites being close to major human settlements, perhaps implying that they originate from escaped cage-birds (P. Round in litt. 2013). The species is common in Jharkhand, India (S. Prakash in litt. 2013) and appears to be increasing in Gujarat (I. R. Gadhvi in litt. 2013). Recent records in Bangladesh are all from Dhaka city and presumably relate to escapes, which are probably breeding there (S. U. Choudhury in litt. 2013). Two small breeding populations were known to occur in north Bengal; however, recent searches have failed to find them (S. U. Choudhury in litt. 2013). Overall, the population is suspected to be in on-going decline.
This species inhabits a variety of moist and dry forests and woodlands, as well as cultivated areas, mangroves and plantations, mainly below 900 m, but reaching c.1,600 m locally (Juniper and Parr 1998). In Cambodia, the species inhabits dry deciduous forest and degraded semi-evergreen forest, but also riverine forest, in the lowlands mostly below 300 m (F. Goes in litt. 2013). It feeds on a range of wild and cultivated seeds, flowers, flower buds, nectar, grain, fruit and vegetables (Juniper and Parr 1998). It is considered a serious pest in some areas, with c.70% of its diet in farmed areas of Pakistan attributed to crops. It nests in tree cavities, palms, and very rarely buildings, and generally breeds from November to April, depending on the location (Juniper and Parr 1998).
This species is widely captured and traded as a cage-bird. In Cambodia, targeted nest-robbing and capture of adults pose the main threats, as it is one of the most sought-after species as a cage-bird (F. Goes in litt. 2013) and is used in 'merit releases' (Gilbert et al. 2012). Despite the near-disappearance of the species from Thailand, nestlings still appear in illegal trade in Bangkok bird markets, although they possibly originate from Cambodia (P. Round in litt. 2013). Illegal trade, as well as the destruction of nest-sites, threatens the species in Pakistan (S. Khan in litt. 2013). Likewise, it is reported that the species is threatened by extensive poaching by local tribes in Gujarat (V. Vyas in litt. 2013). Habitat loss and degradation are also serious threats. In Cambodia, land-use changes in the lowlands have been rapid (R. Timmins in litt. 2013) and expected rates of degradation and loss of lowland forest are further expected to impact the species (F. Goes in litt. 2013). Rates of habitat conversion in Laos are described as severe (J. W. Duckworth in litt. 2013).
Conservation Actions Underway
It is listed under CITES Appendix II. Some of its habitat receives protection.
Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out regular surveys to monitor the species's population trend. Conduct surveys and assess its status in Pakistan (S. Khan in litt. 2013). Monitor rates of habitat loss and degradation across the species's range. Quantify the impacts of capture for trade. Enforce trade restrictions. Conduct awareness-raising activities to discourage capture and trade. Increase the amount of suitable habitat that receives protection. Ensure legal protection in countries where it doesn't have it (J. W. Duckworth in litt. 2016).
Text account compilers
Westrip, J., Ekstrom, J., Stattersfield, A., Butchart, S., Symes, A., Taylor, J.
Khan, S., Goes, F., Round, P., Gadhvi, I., Jayadevan, P., Prakash, S., Choudhury, S., Duckworth, J.W., Gray, T., Timmins, R.J., Krishnan, A., Vyas, V.
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Psittacula eupatria. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 11/12/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 11/12/2019.