Goias Parakeet Pyrrhura pfrimeri


Justification of Red List category
This species's population size is declining rapidly due to ongoing forest loss, degradation and fragmentation. It is therefore listed as Endangered.

Population justification
It is locally common within its restricted range (Olmos et al. 1997).

Surveys in 1995 recorded individuals at a density of 198 per km2 in larger blocks of dry forest (considered likely to be an overestimate due to an uneven distribution of a food plant), 23 per km2 in isolated fragments of forest, and 60-75 per km2 across the whole of the Nova Roma area (thought to be a more accurate estimate; Olmos et al. 1997). Based on an estimated remaining area of forest in 1995 of c.2,700 km2 and a population density of 60-75 individuals per km2, the population size was estimated at 162,000 - 202,500 individuals, although it was noted that this may have been an overestimate because the area where surveys took place may have contained more remaining habitat than other parts of the species's range (Olmos et al. 1997).

Surveys across the species's range in 2007-2008 estimated the density to be 11.7 (9-15) individuals per km(Bianchi 2010). Based on an estimated area of remaining forest of 4,352 km2, the population size was estimated at 39,168–65,280 individuals (Bianchi 2010).

In 2020, the population was suspected to fall in the range of 20,000 - 25,000 individuals (T. Dornas in litt. 2020). According to remote sensing data on tree cover and tree cover loss, there may be approximately 2,000 km2 of tree cover with at least 50% canopy cover remaining within the species's range in 2021 (Global Forest Watch 2021). Based on the population density estimates from 2007-2008 (9-15 individuals per km2), the population size in 2021 is here estimated to fall within the range 18,000 - 30,000 individuals, roughly equating to 12,000 - 20,000 mature individuals, with a best estimate of 16,000.

The subpopulation structure is not known. The species generally stays within 300 m of forest with limestone outcrops (Bianchi 2010), although it has been recorded up to 1.5 km away (Dornas and Pinheiro 2018), so it is able to travel at least short distances between patches of forest.

Trend justification
Local people have observed a sharp decline in the species's abundance since the 1970s, when flocks numbering in the hundreds were frequently observed, in contrast to flocks up of up to 20-30 individuals nowadays (T. Dornas and E.R. Luiz, pers. comm., in Dornas and Pinheiro 2018). During field surveys in 2007-2008, the species was not found in some small forest fragments where the species had been recorded less than a decade before (Bianchi 2010). The species has not been recorded at the river Inferno in Tocantins since 2012, suggesting local extinction in this area (T. Dornas and F. Pesqueiro, pers. comm. in Dornas and Pinheiro 2018).

An analysis of remote sensing data found that the area of dry forest habitat within the Paranã River Basin decreased by 66.3% over 31 years from 1977-2008 (35.7% between 1977-1993/94 and 47.6% between 1993/94-2008, leaving a remaining forest area of 4,352 km2; Bianchi 2010). The latter rate of forest loss would equate to a reduction of 44% over three generations (13 years).

Habitat fragmentation increased significantly, with the number of patches of ? 2.5 km2 increasing from 3.9% of the forest extent in 1977 to 38.4% in 2008 (Bianchi 2010). 

More recently, remote sensing data indicates that approximately 10% of tree cover with at least 50% canopy cover was lost from within the species's mapped range over three generations from 2008 (Global Forest Watch 2021). Extrapolating forwards, up to 12% of tree cover may be lost from the species's range over the next three generations. The species's population size is also likely to be impacted by ongoing forest degradation through logging and increasing fragmentation of remaining habitat, so may be expected to decline faster than the rate of forest loss.

The population size has been estimated at 162,000 - 202,500 individuals in 1995 (Olmos et al. 1997), 39,168–65,280 individuals in 2008 (Bianchi 2010), and 18,000 - 30,000 individuals in 2021. 

Based on the estimates for 2008 and 2021, the population size is estimated to have undergone a reduction of between 23% and 72% over the past three generations (13 years), with a best estimate of 54%. The rate of decline is assumed to continue into the future as threats continue.

Distribution and population

Pyrrhura pfrimeri is restricted to the narrow dry forest belt in the Paranã river basin, in the foothills to the west of the Serra Geral, in northeast Goiás and southeast Tocantins (Silva 1995; Olmos et al. 1997; Joseph 2000), Brazil. It occupies a small range within which much of its forest habitat has been (and continues to be) logged (Olmos et al. 1997). Surveys have not found the species in many of the remaining forest fragments within its range, and in Tocantins there may only be five or six fragments that continue to hold viable populations (T. Dornas in litt. 2020).


It is restricted to deciduous or semi-deciduous dry forest growing on limestone outcrops or limestone derived soils. This caatinga type habitat is an isolated island within surrounding cerrado savannah, pasture and agricultural lands. Dry forest typically has a closed canopy and dense understorey with lianas and some cacti, particularly in disturbed areas. The species has been seen in degraded and fragmented forest patches (Olmos et al. 1997). It leaves forest to feed in rice fields, on planted fruits such as mangoes and guava, and on seeds in degraded areas such as abandoned pastures and road verges (Bianchi 2010, Dornas and Pinheiro 2018). It does not usually venture more than 300 m outside forest with limestone outcrops (Bianchi 2010), although a small flock has been recorded 1.5 km from the nearest forest with limestone outcrops (Dornas and Pinheiro 2018). It feeds on flowers, fruits and seeds, sometimes on the ground and typically in groups. It also consumes minerals obtained from the rocky walls of the limestone outcrops or from the banks of small rivers and streams (Dornas et al. 2016). It breeds between October and January (Bianchi 2008).


The principal threat to this species is deforestation driven by selective logging, fires and habitat conversion to pasture or soybean plantations (Olmos et al. 1997; Bianchi 2008). Dry forest in Goiás decreased in extent from 15.8 % of the state in 1990 to only 5.8 % in 1999, and less than 1 % of the remaining fragments were larger than 100 ha (Andahur 2001). As the area of remaining forest has decreased, the rate of conversion to pasture and plantations has lessened, but selective logging continues to degrade and remove remaining forest (T. Dornas in litt. 2020). Logging mainly targets durable woods that include most of the species's native foodplants, for use as fence poles and for improvements to farms (T. Dornas in litt. 2020). It is likely that logging reduces the availability of hollow trees for nesting (T. Dornas in litt. 2020). Cement companies are beginning to target areas of limestone outcrops (C. A. Bianchi in litt. 2006). Small areas of forest are flooded as the result of the construction of small hydroelectric power plants (Dornas and Pinheiro 2018). Future hydroelectric plant developments in tributaries such as the Inferno and São Domingos rivers could potentially flood thousands of hectares of remaining habitat (T. Dornas, pers. comm., in Dornas and Pinheiro 2018; T. Dornas in litt. 2020). Recently, small scale sugarcane and soybean plantations are replacing old pastures in some areas in the surroundings of Terra Ronca State Park, the only conservation unit with significant size within the species’s range (T. Dornas in litt. 2020).

The species is rarely recorded in trade or exotic bird collections but this poses a potential threat (Olmos et al. 1997). The species is sometimes shot when foraging in rice and corn fields (Dornas and Pinheiro 2018).

The species may be at risk from habitat alteration as a result of climate change (Borges et al. 2019).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
In Brazil, it is legally designated as Endangered at the national level (MMA 2014) and protected under Brazilian law. It occurs within Terra Ronca State Park and Mata Grande National Forest (C. A. Bianchi in litt. 2006, 2007) and there are plans to create two more state parks (Aurora in Tocantins and Serra da Prata in Goiás), but most of the species's range remains unprotected. It is included in the National Action Plan for the Conservation of the Birds of the Cerrado and Pantanal, which includes actions to create habitat corridors and further protected areas for the species (ICMBio 2014).

The flatlands of Terra Ronca State Park are now mostly deforested, leaving fragments of forest only on karst limestone outcrops (Willis in litt.). Brasilia Zoological Garden started a captive breeding program in 2001 with 10 individuals but none survived after six years (C. A. Bianchi in litt. 2006, 2007). Very few private aviculturists are known to keep the species in captivity (C. A. Bianchi in litt. 2006, 2007). A project focussing on this species took place from 2012-2014 (Dornas and Pinheiro 2018). Actions included research on the species's population size and ecology, an environmental education programme in local schools and with local landowners, and debates with local government officials (Dornas and Pinheiro 2018). A project is now underway to study the species's current distribution and status (T. Dornas in litt. 2020).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Determine the extent of remaining occupied habitat. Monitor the population size and the rate of habitat loss. Closely monitor the species in trade in case demand increases.

Protect remaining forest in the species's range. Restore forest habitat, particularly in corridors between remnant forest fragments. Ensure effective management of protected areas where the species occurs. Carry out effective enforcement against illegal logging and forest clearance.


23 cm. Overall a green parakeet with blue in the wing, a red-brown rump, tail and belly. The chest and breast has dark green scallops. The face is chestnut-red while the crown, nape and hind-neck are dull blue. Similar spp subtly different from P. leucotis and P. griseipectus, having generally more blue on the head and a reduced auricular patch.


Text account compilers
Wheatley, H.

Bianchi, C., Olmos, F., Willis, D., Butchart, S., Symes, A., Bird, J., Sharpe, C.J. & Dornas, T.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Pyrrhura pfrimeri. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/goias-parakeet-pyrrhura-pfrimeri on 29/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org on 29/09/2023.