Grey-cheeked Parakeet Brotogeris pyrrhoptera


Justification of Red List Category
This species qualifies as Vulnerable because trapping and habitat loss are causing a rapid population decline. The decline has slowed down in recent years, but remains a serious cause for concern.

Population justification
The species is described as locally common in suitable habitat remnants (Juniper and Parr 1998). In 1995, the species was estimated to number 15,000 individuals, principally in Ecuador (Best et al. 1995). Since then the population has undergone a very rapid decline, but there are no up-to-date estimates of the population size.
The national population in Peru is currently estimated at 1,500 individuals (SERFOR 2018). Peru roughly contains 10% of the global range, and assuming that population densities are equivalent across the range the total population is inferred to number 15,000 individuals, which equates to 10,000 mature individuals. As such, the population value from 1995 may have been an underestimate.
It is tentatively assumed that the species forms at least two subpopulations, one in the extreme southwestern Ecuador and adjacent Peru, and one in Guayas and along the coast of west Ecuador. Based on observational records (eBird 2021) it is assumed that the largest subpopulation numbers >1,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The species has declined very rapidly in the past as a consequence of trapping for the cage-bird trade, together with habitat destruction, fragmentation and persecution. Even though the species can use a variety of habitats, its preferred forest and woodland habitats are being converted for agricultural purposes (Collar and Boesman 2020); over the past three generations (16.2 years; Bird et al. 2020), tree cover within the range has been lost at a rate of 4% (Global Forest Watch 2021).
A population decrease during the 20th century became marked in the early 1980s (Best et al. 1995; Juniper and Parr 1998), with 59,320 individuals reportedly imported by CITES countries in 1983-1988 and declines of 70% reported over ten years (Juniper and Parr 1998). Transect counts in Cerros de Amotape National Park and Tumbes National Reserve revealed a decline of 33.2% between 1992 and 2008 (Anon. 2009). Between 2007 and 2011, 216 individuals were counted on animal markets in Peru (Daut et al. 2015), and trapping is apparently continuing in many communities in Ecuador (Biddle et al. 2021). Population declines seem to have slowed down in recent years however. In Ecuador, the rate decline has been placed in the band 30-49% over three generations (Freile et al. 2019), while declines in the small population in Peru appear to have decreased considerably or stopped altogether (SERFOR 2018).
Preliminarily the overall decline is here placed in the band 30-49% over three generations, though this requires confirmation.

Distribution and population

Brotogeris pyrrhoptera occurs in west Ecuador and extreme north-west Peru, from northern Manabí, south to El Oro and Loja, Ecuador, and Tumbes and Piura in Peru. The largest populations are in coastal Manabí and Guayas, and on the Ecuador-Peru border (Juniper and Parr 1998), with largest populations in Peru in Cerros de Amotape National Park and Tumbes National Reserve (S. Crespo in litt. 2012).


The species is most numerous in woodland and deciduous forest dominated by Ceiba trichistandra, but it also occurs in humid evergreen forest, dry forest, arid Acacia-dominated scrub and semi-open agricultural areas (Best et al. 1995; M. R. Rosales in litt. 2012; Collar and Boesman et al. 2020). It is sporadically found in heavily degraded areas (Juniper and Parr 1998). The species usually occurs in pairs or small flocks, foraging for flowers, seeds, fruit and catkins (Best 1992; Pople et al. 1997; Collar and Boesman 2020). Small flocks have also been recorded taking bananas and maize (Best et al. 1995, Juniper and Parr 1998). Breeding has been noted between February and August, probably with a peak in the wet season (S. Crespo in litt. 2012; M. R. Rosales in litt. 2012; Collar and Boesman 2020).


The illegal cage-bird trade and habitat loss are the principal threats (Rosales and Obando 2011; S. Crespo in litt. 2012). In western Ecuador the species is among the most common pet parrots (Biddle et al. 2021). Surveys carried out in 2007-2008 and in 2007-2011 found the species being traded in several markets in Peru (Gastañaga et al. 2011; Daut et al. 2015).
Natural habitats are being destroyed through agricultural conversion, logging and grazing by goats and cattle, which prevents forest regeneration, seriously threatens deciduous forests and possibly depletes suitable nesting sites (Pople et al. 1997; Collar and Boesman 2020). Over the last three generations, 4% of tree cover within the range has been lost (Global Forest Watch 2021).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II and CMS Appendix I. International trade is banned in both Ecuador and Peru (Juniper and Parr 1998). It occurs in several protected areas, of which Cerro Blanco Protective Forest, Ecuador, and Tumbes National Reserve and Cerros de Amotape National Park, Peru, are particularly important breeding sites (Best 1992; Parker et al. 1995; Pople et al. 1997; Rosales and Obando 2011; S. Crespo in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys and other research to determine population size and distribution (Best 1992; M. R. Rosales in litt. 2012). Determine its habitat requirements and ecology, especially the timing of the breeding season. Monitor the population trend. Protect key sites within the range. Consider guarding nests and roosts. Consider establishing a captive breeding programme. Enforce strict trade bans. Carry out environmental education programmes in western Ecuador to change attitudes towards parrot ownership and trapping (Biddle et al. 2021). Support alternative livelihood initiatives for local people, in order to discourage poaching and trapping.


20 cm. Largely green parakeet with bluish crown, pale grey cheeks, bluish primary coverts, orange underwing-coverts. Large pale bill. Immature has green crown. Similar spp. Noticeably smaller than sympatric parrots, except tiny Pacific Parrotlet Forpus coelestis, which is much smaller and shorter tailed. Voice Flight call a trilling stleeet stleeet. When perched a grating stteeet stteeet.


Text account compilers
Hermes, C.

Benstead, P., Crespo, SIC, Horstman, E., Isherwood, I., Khwaja, N., Lloyd, H., Rosales, M., Sharpe, C.J. & Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Brotogeris pyrrhoptera. Downloaded from on 25/09/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/09/2022.