Grey-breasted Parakeet Pyrrhura griseipectus


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very small remaining extent of occurrence and the extent and quality of its habitat are thought to be declining due to ongoing habitat destruction. For these reasons it qualifies as Endangered.

Population justification
The population at the Baturité Mountains is estimated to be 600-800 individuals, the population in Quixadá is estimated at 50-60 individuals and 6 birds have been recorded at Ibaretama (F. Nunes in litt. 2016). The total population is therefore estimated as 656-866 individuals (rounded here to 660-870 individuals), which roughly equates to 437-577 mature individuals, placed here in the band 250-999 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Both the size of the groups observed and the area occupied by the species in the Baturité Mountains are estimated to be slowly increasing (F. Nunes in litt. 2016).

Distribution and population

This species is known historically from 15 locations (F. Nunes in litt. 2016) in Brazil. Currently it is found in just three areas in Ceará state: the Serra do Baturité, Quixadá (C. Albano in litt. 2006, Waugh et al. 2010) and Ibaretama.  In Serra do Baturité it seems to be uncommon and appears to have been extirpated from several areas; the population here is now estimated to be 600-800 birds (F. Nunes in litt. 2016).  The forests of the Baturité Mountains have been greatly reduced to make room for shade and sun coffee and only 13% of the forest remained in 1996. However, data from the last 10 years indicate that both the size of the groups observed and the area occupied by the species in the Baturité Mountains are slowly increasing, likely as a result of  intensive conservation management and education campaigns (F. Nunes in litt. 2016).  A population of c. 50 birds was discovered in Quixadá in 2010 (Waugh et al. 2010) and has recently been estimated to number 50-60 individuals (F. Nunes in litt. 2016). The mostly recently discovered site is Ibaretama, where five birds were recorded in March 2014 (Anon. 2014). No more than six individuals have subsequently been documented here (F. Nunes in litt. 2016).  The species was formerly known from two other areas: the eastern slope of the Serra de Ibiapaba in Ceará, and the tiny Serra Negra in Pernambuco where it was very common in 1974, with flocks of 4-6 individuals regularly seen in the early 1980s, but there are no recent records. There are also unconfirmed reports from 1991 in Murici Ecological Station in Alagoas which possibly refer to released individuals; recent fieldwork there failed to locate the species.


It occurs in montane (above 500 m) humid forest enclaves in the otherwise semi-arid north-east Brazil. These wet 'sky islands' are known locally as 'brejos'. Humid forests grade into semi-deciduous forest and eventually dry, xeric caatingas in lower areas. The forests are restricted to upland granite or sandstone areas which receive up to four times the annual rainfall of lower altitudes. The humid forests atop the Baturité massif form a continuous canopy c.20 m tall, with some emergents. Birds feed on fruit and seeds in the canopy of humid and semi-deciduous forest. The newly discovered population of five birds on a rocky mountainside in Ceará were found to be nesting in a fissure in the rock face; considerably different from the typical tree nest sites used by the other remaining populations (Anon. 2014).


The principal threat to this species is believed to come from ongoing trapping for illegal local and national trade (C. Albano in litt. 2006, Anon. 2009; Girão and Albano 2008) and captive-breeding (Fernandes-Ferreira et al. 2012). The species occurs in the international cage bird trade. However, there has been a notable decrease in the illegal capture and trade of the species, possibly as a result of the ongoing education programme (F. Nunes in litt. 2016).  Habitat destruction has played a role in the species's decline with original forest cover now reduced to just 13%. Coffee plantations (especially where sun coffee is grown instead of shade coffee) are impacting upon the species's habitat.  Lack of natural nest sites, and nest predators (bees, wasps and small mammals) are also thought to be limiting the species's reproductive success (Campos et al. 2014).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. In Brazil, it was formerly considered Critically Endangered (Silveira & Straube 2008), but now is now legally designated as Endangered at the national level (MMA 2014), and protected under Brazilian law. It occurs within the Baturité Mountains Environmental Protection Area, but this area is designated for sustainable use and has not traditionally been managed for conservation. Land management by a private landowner in the area has led to an increase in one small known population (C. Albano in litt. 2006).  At least 11 private reserves (RPPN) are in the process of being created in the Serra de Baturité (C. Albano in litt. 2007, 2008) and the Brazilian NGO Aquasis is engaged in the process of developing a Wildlife Reserve in the Baturité Mountains (Campos et al. 2014). Aquasis has strengthened links with governmental agencies in order to influence policy decisions (Campos et al. 2014). A Loro Parque-sponsored nest box scheme has been undertaken with nest boxes installed on sites with sympathetic landowners (Anon 2009). Aquasis have also provided nest boxes and have been treating the boxes with insecticide to reduce bee and wasp infestations (Campos et al. 2014).  These measures have proved effective, with 442 individuals successfully fledging from the nest box network since 2010 (F. Nunes in litt. 2016). A large scale education and awareness campaign took place in the Serra de Baturité in 2008 (C. Albano in litt. 2007, 2008) and continues today, with many schools now involved in Aquasis education programmes (Campos et al. 2014). A principal objective of Aquasis is to promote the species as a flagship species, work which is being supported by local NGO AGUA and ecotourism business Parque das Trilhas (Anon 2009). 
Aquasis also aims to build capacity for bird-watching and in the process develop awareness and create alternative livelihoods (Anon 2009). A visitor centre has recently been established (Campos et al. 2014). The species breeds well in captivity and populations are held both in Brazil and abroad. Provided these are well managed and coordinated they could be used for reintroductions. Since 2007, Aquasis has monitored the species's population and researched its biology. Studies are ongoing into factors influencing the survival rate of nestlings, population genetics (in the future DNA techniques may be used as a deterrent against illegal collection of wild birds) and adults and juveniles have been colour-ringed (Campos et al. 2014).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out further surveys in similar areas to the Baturité Mountains in north-eastern Brazil, such as the serras de Aratanha, Maranguape and Machado, for the presence of additional extant populations. Continue monitoring the known population in the Serra do Baturité. Improve conservation management practised in the Guaramiranga Ecological Park. Provide incentives for landowners to increase the network of private reserves in the Baturité Mountains. Monitor and control trade at local, national and international levels. Investigate the feasibility of using Giant Bamboo (Dendrocalamus giganteus) as artificial nest sites (Campos et al. 2014). Continue to conduct awareness campaigns to promote the Grey-breasted Parakeet as a symbol for the conservation of the moist forests and associated biodiversity in the Baturité Mountains. Investigate ex situ conservation measures.


23 cm. Overall a green parakeet with blue in the wing, a red-brown rump, tail, belly and shoulder. The chest and breast are greyish with pale scallops. The face is plum-red while the pileum is all brown. Similar spp subtly different from P. leucotis and P. pfrimeri, having a brown pileum, a white auricular patch and a grey breast. Its coloration, especially the breast, resembles two widely disjunct taxa, P. caeruleiceps of Venezuela and P. eisenmanni from Panama. Nevertheless, P. griseipectus differs from caeruleiceps and eisenmanni in its all-brown pileum (fore- and hindcrown blue in caeruleiceps, forecrown dull red in eisenmanni), maroon cheeks (dull red in caeruleiceps and eisenmanni) and red shoulders.


Text account compilers
Mahood, S., Butchart, S., Calvert, R., Sharpe, C.J., Symes, A., Bird, J., Ashpole, J, Wheatley, H.

Pinto, T., Campos, A., Olmos, F., Girao, W., Albano, C.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Pyrrhura griseipectus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 16/08/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 16/08/2022.