Golden-tailed Parrotlet Touit surdus


Justification of Red List Category
This species is listed as Vulnerable because its population is small and declining rapidly owing to ongoing deforestation. It has been found to be more resilient to forest fragmentation than first thought, and it may be under-recorded rather than genuinely scarce, especially in the southern part of its range.

Population justification
The species is generally rare; its population is placed in the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals, equating to 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
A rapid and on-going population decline is suspected on the basis of continuing habitat destruction and fragmentation.

Distribution and population

Touit surdus occurs in north-east Brazil (Ceará, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Alagoas and Sergipe), and in the south-east from Bahia south to Rio de Janeiro (L. F. Silveira in litt. 2012). Recent surveys have found it to be one of the commonest parrot in the Atlantic Forest of Alagoas (which has been reduced to <2% of its former extent), being present in 5 out of 15 sites surveyed (L. F. Silveira et al. in litt.) and also in Murici Ecological Station (J. M. Barnett in litt. 2002). The species was found in 16 out of 31 surveyed areas in southern Bahia, including the private reserves Ecoparque de Una and Estação Veracruz (formerly CVRD Porto Seguro reserve), Una Biological Reserve, and Descobrimento, Pau Brasil and Monte Pascoal National Parks (Cordeiro 2002), and from 13 new localities in Pernambuco, Paraíba and Alagoas (Pereira et al. 2014). It was also recently found nesting in arboreal termitaria in forest fragments in Pernambuco (Telino et al. 2000).


It inhabits lowland evergreen forest and adjacent lower montane slopes, mostly below 500 m, but up to 700 m in Alagoas and 1,000 m in Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo (Juniper and Parr 1998, E. O. Willis and Y. Oniki in litt. 1999). Flocks have been observed moving between distant forest fragments (A. Whittaker in litt. 1999). Reported foods are fruit of Spondias lutea and Rapanea schwackeana. Breeding is unrecorded. At least in Rio de Janeiro, it may undertake seasonal movements. Recent observations suggest that this species is resilient to habitat alteration.


Extensive deforestation throughout its range is regarded as the principal cause of its rarity, and the north-east population is most threatened because sugarcane plantations have replaced virtually all lowland forest in Alagoas, leaving just 2% of original forest cover (Brown and Brown 1992) in severely fragmented blocks, averaging 1.5 km2 or less (Conservation International et al. 1995). Further south, the situation is little more encouraging: in Bahia, less than 10% of forest is intact, and in the rest of its range suitable habitat has been reduced to less than 20% of its original extent (Conservation International et al. 1995). Lowland forests were historically threatened by agricultural conversion and deforestation for mining and plantations (Fearnside 1996). Current key threats arise from urbanisation, agricultural expansion, colonisation and associated road-building (Dinerstein et al. 1995).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It is considered Vulnerable at the national level in Brazil (MMA 2014). and protected under Brazilian law. It has been recorded in numerous protected areas: Pedra Talhada Biological Reserve (Alagoas), Monte Pascoal and Serra das Lontras National Parks, Una Biological Reserve and Serra Bonita private reserve (Bahia), Córrego Grande, Sooretama and Augusto Ruschi Biological Reserves (Espírito Santo), Desengano State Park and Itatiaia National Park (Rio de Janeiro).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey historical localities and suitable habitat to clarify distribution. Research ecology and seasonal movements. Designate Murici in Alagoas as a biological reserve and ensure its de facto protection. Consolidate protected areas in which it occurs.


16 cm. Green forest parrotlet. Bright grass-green, brighter on undersides. Yellowish area in forefront, around face and cheeks. Scaled appearance on crown and neck. Brownish scapulars forming two bands on back. Dark primaries and primary coverts with green patch at base of primaries. Short, square tail, golden-yellow tipped black, with green central rectrices. Female similar with yellowish-green sides of tail. Similar spp. Brown-backed Parrotlet T. melanonota has a dark brown back and bright red sides of tail. Pileated Parrot Pionopsitta pileata is large and male has red on forehead. Voice High-pitched, strident rattles


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Clay, R., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A.

Willis, E., Mazar Barnett, J., Barnett, J., Whittaker, A., Oniki, Y., Silveira, L.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Touit surdus. Downloaded from on 04/12/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 04/12/2021.