Brown-breasted Parakeet Pyrrhura calliptera


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a small population, which is declining rapidly owing to habitat loss and persecution as a crop-pest. It therefore qualifies as Vulnerable.

Population justification
The population is thought to be smaller than 10,000 mature individuals (Renjifo et al. 2014). It is here estimated to number 5,000-10,000 individuals, roughly equating to 3,300-6,700 mature individuals.

Trend justification
A rapid and on-going population decline is assumed owing to continued habitat destruction and fragmentation, direct persecution as a crop pest and, in small numbers, for the local cage-bird trade (Renjifo et al. 2014, Collar and Boesman 2020). The rate of decline is placed in the band 30-49% over three generations.

Distribution and population

Pyrrhura calliptera occurs in the East Andes of Colombia, where it was formerly present on both slopes, but has not been recorded on the west slope since 1980 (Renjifo et al. 2014). On the east slope, there are recent records from Farallon de Medina and Moterredondo (Cundinamarca) as well as nearby localities in Cundinamarca and Meta departments (Cortés-Herrera et al. 2007, Botero-Delgadillo and Páez 2011, E. Botero-Delgadillo in litt. 2020), and Ramiriquy and Soata (Boyacá) (Cortés-Herrera et al. 2007). It could also occur in Norte de Santander and as far south as Páramo de Sumapaz, Meta (Botero-Delgadillo et al. 2012, E. Botero-Delgadillo in litt. 2020). Although locally numerous, populations have become fragmented and have declined rapidly, especially in Cundinamarca.


It occupies upper subtropical and temperate forest (1,850-3,000 m), elfin woodland and second growth (3,000-3,400 m), and adjacent areas of páramo, subpáramo and agricultural land. It may make seasonal altitudinal movements to track food sources, but these movements are likely over short distances (F. G. Stiles in litt. 1999, Botero-Delgadillo and Páez 2011). The diet consists mainly of fleshy and dry fruits, flowers, seeds and cultivated maize, but the largest flocks were observed in open areas where the parakeets fed on grass leaves and seeds (Cortés-Herrera et al. 2007, Botero-Delgadillo and Páez 2011, O. Cortés in litt. 2012). Breeding condition birds have been taken in August and October and breeding has been noted between November and January at Fusagasuga, Farallon de Medina and Soata (Cortés-Herrera et al. 2007), and from September to February in Chingaza National Park (Arenas-Mosquera 2011).


Past and continuing forest destruction and fragmentation through logging, conversion to agriculture, human settlement and development of the road network have been extensive (Salaman 2000), especially below 2,500 m on the west slope (Stattersfield et al. 1998). Up to 75% of its original habitat is estimated to have been lost (Botero-Delgadillo et al. 2012, Renjifo et al. 2014). The greatest current threats to forest in the Eastern Cordillera are cattle grazing and burning for agriculture (Cortés-Herrera et al. 2007). Logging is fairly widespread and may have caused local extirpations on the western slope, although some large areas of intact habitat persist on the eastern slope (Stiles 1992, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, Renjifo et al. 2014, E. Botero-Delgadillo in litt. 2020). Low levels of selective logging affect Guanentá-Alto Río Fonce Fauna and Flora Sanctuary. It is persecuted by local farmers as a crop-pest, a problem which may intensify as further forest is cleared for agriculture. Locally, it is kept as a pet, but it is unaffected by international trade. Nest site availability is considered the main population limiting factor (Anon. 2005).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. This species is considered Vulnerable at the national level in Colombia (Renjifo et al. 2014). It is common in Chingaza National Park and the adjacent Río Blanco-Olivares Forest Reserve and Carpanta Biological Reserve (Wege and Long 1995, F. G. Stiles in litt. 1999), and occurs in reserves at Soata, Farallones de Medina and Guayabetal (Cortés-Herrera et al. 2007). Large parts of the distribution are however not well represented in the national system of protected areas (Velasquez-Tibata and Lopez-Arevalo 2006). Ecological restoration activities are being implemented in Chingaza National Park (Renjifo et al. 2014). West-slope records in c.1980 were from forest now protected by Guanentá-Alto Río Fonce Fauna and Flora Sanctuary, Santander (Wege and Long 1995, Renjifo et al. 2014, J. I. Hernández Camacho unpublished data). Experimental nest boxes have been occupied in Chingaza National Park and Farallones de Medina (Anon. 2005, Arenas-Mosquera 2011, O. Cortés in litt. 2012); this has helped obtain critical information on the species's breeding biology (Arenas-Mosquera 2011, Botero-Delgadillo and Páez 2011), though the effectiveness as a conservation measure has not been assessed and remains unknown (E. Botero-Delgadillo in litt. 2020).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Study population densities in different forest-types and estimate current population (Salaman 2000). Investigate the social and mating system of the species (Botero-Delgadillo and Páez 2011). Carry out genetic studies to assess the genetic structure, dispersal patterns and population connectivity (E. Botero-Delgadillo in litt. 2020). Establish a long-term monitoring programme to assess population dynamics and trends (Botero-Delgadillo and Páez 2011). Search for the species in Sumapaz National Park (Botero-Delgadillo and Páez 2011). Confirm its occurrence in El Cocuy and Pisba national parks (Botero-Delgadillo and Páez 2011) and at Macizo de Tamá, Norte de Santander, and search in the adjacent El Tamá National Park, Venezuela. Strengthen the effective protection of Chingaza National Park and adjacent protected areas. Expand protected areas to include a larger proportion of the distribution (Botero-Delgadillo and Páez 2011). Formally protect Vereda Monterredondo. Monitor success of nest boxes in Chingaza National Park (Cortés-Herrera et al. 2007). Continue the breeding monitoring programme established by Fundación ProAves (Botero-Delgadillo and Páez 2011).


22-23 cm. Reddish-brown and green parakeet. Brown crown and nape brown with green fringes, green cheek marked dusky with reddish auricular patch, white eye-ring. Brown breast barred buff, reddish central belly, rest of underparts and upperparts green. Green wings with yellow (to orange) carpal and primary coverts, blue primaries. Reddish-brown tail. Voice Harsh screeyr screeyr. Hints Noisy flocks fly rapidly over forest and across clearings.


Text account compilers
Hermes, C.

Benstead, P., Botero-Delgadillo, E., Cortés, O., Hernández-Camacho, J., Isherwood, I., Salaman, P.G.W., Sharpe, C.J., Stiles, F.G., Stuart, T. & Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Pyrrhura calliptera. Downloaded from on 20/10/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 20/10/2021.