Crimson Shining-parrot Prosopeia splendens


Justification of Red List Category
This species is listed as Vulnerable because it has a single small population which is declining owing to trade, habitat loss and habitat degradation.

Population justification
Although recent fieldwork on Kadavu has not specifically targeted this species, it appears to occur at similar population densities to Masked Shining-Parrot (86 Kadavu Shining-Parrots were recorded in 38 standardised observer-hours on the two BirdLife surveys, similar to the mean of 1.9 Masked Shining-Parrots /hour recorded at 18 sites across Viti Levu). Masked Shining-Parrot was estimated to occur at around 29 birds / km2 in lowland native forest (Jackson and Jit 2004). The area of dense and medium-dense forest on Kadavu is around 225 km(National Forest Inventory 1991-1993), so a reasonable population estimate for Crimson Shining-Parrot would be 6,000 birds or 4,000 mature individuals. 

Trend justification
Conservation projects have reduced the numbers trapped for trading off Kadavu, and this species is probably declining at the rate of loss of forest on Kadavu, which is estimated to be 0.5-0.8 % per year across Fiji (Claasen 1991), but probably higher on Kadavu which has suffered extensive fires.

Distribution and population

Prosopeia splendens is endemic to Fiji where it occurs naturally on the islands of Kadavu and Ono, and is recently reported to be widespread and common on the former (G. Dutson pers. obs. 2000, J. S. Kretzschmar in litt. 2000). The birds on Ono island are believed to be the same sub-population as on the nearby main island of Kadavu. Reports of breeding on other islands need to be confirmed and are likely to originate from long-lived escaped cage-birds (D. Watling verbally 2000)


It is found in forest, agricultural lands and around human habitation both in the lowlands and hills (Juniper and Parr 1998). It is assumed to be a hole-nester like P. tabuensis (Juniper and Parr 1998). The species is not restricted to the forest during breeding (D. Watling verbally 2000), as nests have been found in trees in the centre of the villages (M. Tabudravu in litt. 2012). Pairs and small flocks forage widely for fruit and seeds, both in the forest canopy and in agricultural gardens (G. Dutson pers. obs. 2000).


Although forest on Kadavu was heavily logged in the late 1960s and early 1970s and habitat loss and degradation for agricultural purposes continues, some 75% of the island remains forested and the species uses degraded habitats extensively (Watling 2000, V. Masibalavu in litt. 2007). Forest fires are an additional threat (G. Dutson in litt. 2005), which remains high, although conservation actions targeting forest fires have improved in recent years (M. Tabudravu in litt. 2012). Most river estuaries and bays still hold large areas of mangroves which are intensively used by P. splendens for feeding (and perhaps breeding), although pressure on mangrove forest is not significant at present (J. S. Kretzschmar in litt. 2000, D. Watling in litt. 2007). It is captured in small numbers, with birds being taken as gifts by islanders returning to the capital, Suva (Watling 2000), and there is at least some illegal trade overseas (J. S. Kretzschmar in litt. 2000).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It is protected under Fijian law, which has recently been revised, the old Birds & Game Act has in part been surpassed by the Endangered Species Protection Act which does provide it with protection (SPREP 2000, D. Watling in litt. 2007). Conservation projects have reduced trade in this species (Jackson and Jit 2004). Four communities have set up a community declared protected area covering 1,535 hectares of forest and local volunteers monitor bird populations and assess habitat status under their own initiative (V. Masibalavu in litt. 2007). Conservation actions targeting fire prevention (particularly awareness-raising following the change in decree relating to fire offences) have improved in recent the years (V. Masibalavu in litt. 2012, M. Tabudravu in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Set standards for the keeping of parrots in captivity to reduce demand (SPREP 2000). Monitor numbers trapped and transported to Suva. Determine population densities in various habitats. Research breeding requirements and success. Promote the creation of community-based forest reserves. Use the species as a figurehead to promote ecotourism in Kadavu.


45 cm. Scarlet-and-green parrot with long tail. Scarlet-crimson head, neck and underparts. Narrow blue collar extends across lower neck. Bright green wings, back and rump. Green flight feathers and tail, strongly suffused with blue. Similar spp. Much larger and longer-tailed than the only other parrot on Kadavu, Collared Lory Phigys solitarius. Very similar to the allopatric Red Shining-parrot Prosopeia tabuensis but head and underparts bright crimson and has broad blue hind collar. Voice Noisy, giving a variety of raucous squawks, dry rattles and screeches. Hints Look anywhere in or near the forest on Kadavu and Ono.


Text account compilers
Derhé, M., Dutson, G., Mahood, S., Stattersfield, A., Temple, H.

Tabudravu, M., Watling, D., Masibalavu, V., Kretzschmar, J., Dutson, G., O'Brien, M.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Prosopeia splendens. Downloaded from on 31/01/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 31/01/2023.