Burrowing Parrot Cyanoliseus patagonus


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <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 is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and therefore does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The species is still common in many parts of its range in Argentina with only small range contractions reported in Córdoba (R. M. Fraga in litt. 2003). The population size of the four subspecies was estimated as follows by Masello et al. (2011): C. p. patagonus 43,330 nests, C. p. conlara 1,700 individuals, C. p. andinus 2,000 nests, C. p. bloxhami 5,000-6,000 individuals. Based on these figures, the total global population may number c.95,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of exploitation.

Distribution and population

This taxon occurs as four subspecies: andinus is found in north-west Argentina, conlara is found in San Luis and Córdoba provinces, western-central Argentina, patagonus is found from central to south-east Argentina, ranging occasionally into Uruguay in winter, and bloxami occurs in central Chile.


The species inhabits arid lowland and montane grassy shrubland, open dry woodlannd savanna, open Chaco plains along watercourses, and thorny scrub or columnar cacti, often with a sandy substrate, at elevations up to 2000 m (del Hoyo et al. 1997). The species may only breed successfully in fairly large, dense colonies (J. Burton in litt. 2002). As a result of the strong habitat modification and changes in food availability in the last two decades, the species has become a partial migrant (J.F. Masello in litt. 2017).


The species has been heavily traded: since 1981 when it was listed on CITES Appendix II, 122,914 wild-caught individuals have been recorded in international trade (UNEP-WCMC CITES Trade Database 2005).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
The species is listed under CITES Appendix II.


Text account compilers
Fisher, S., Ekstrom, J., Harding, M., Stattersfield, A., Symes, A., Butchart, S.

Burton, J., Masello, J., Fraga, R.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Cyanoliseus patagonus. Downloaded from on 11/08/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 11/08/2020.