Grey-headed Parakeet Himalayapsitta finschii


Justification of Red List Category
This species has been uplisted from Least Concern on the basis of new information about its population trend. It is listed as Near Threatened because it is suspected to be undergoing a moderately rapid population decline owing to on-going habitat loss and trapping pressure.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is reported to be uncommon in China, with variable status elsewhere (del Hoyo et al. 1997).

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in moderately rapid decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and trapping pressure. Anecdotal observations of local trends in some parts of the species's range lend support to this suspicion, for example in Cambodia since at least the 1990s (F. Goes in litt. 2013, T. Gray in litt. 2013, R. J. Timmins in litt. 2013).

Distribution and population

Psittacula finschii is distributed from eastern India, Bhutan and Bangladesh, through Myanmar, northern and central Thailand and Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and south-western China (central Szechuan and northern Yunnan) (Juniper and Parr 1998). The species is rather patchily distributed across this range, with considerable variation in abundance (Juniper and Parr 1998). The largest population is likely to be in Myanmar, and in parts of the west of the country it has been noted to be the commonest Psittacula (C. Robson in litt. 2013, Collar 2017).  Elsewhere the species is generally uncommon to decidedly rare, being restricted to largely intact forest habitats in southeast Asia and rare in India (Collar 2017). While it is widespread in Thailand (P. Round in litt. 2013), mostly in the north, it is uncommon away from protected area complexes (eBird 2017, Collar 2017). It is described as scarce to rare in Cambodia and is absent from large areas of superficially suitable habitat (S. Mahood in litt. 2013, H. Rainey in litt. 2013), but is locally common in Mondulkiri, in the east of the country (Goes 2013, T. Gray in litt. 2013). It may have been extirpated from south-western Cambodia (Goes 2013). Likewise, its range has contracted in northern Laos, where favoured habitats are fragmented and scarce and trapping pressures are extremely high (Timmins and Duckworth 2013); it remains more widespread in South and Central Laos but even there is widely locally extirpated (J. W. Duckworth in litt. 2016). It is very rare in Bangladesh, and was believed to have been extirpated; the only recent sighting is from the Chittagong Hill Tracts (S. U. Choudhury in litt. 2013). There have been very few contemporary reports from Vietnam (C. Robson in litt. 2016). Overall, the population is suspected to be suffering an ongoing decline.


This species frequents oak, teak, cedar and pine forest, open wooded hillsides and cultivated areas with tall trees, at up to 3,800 m (Juniper and Parr 1998). In Cambodia, it may more regularly occur in deciduous hill forest, and in areas with evergreen and semi-evergreen vegetation (S. Mahood in litt. 2013, R. J. Timmins in litt. 2013), and is noted to be patchily distributed in both lowland deciduous forest and degraded hill forest on the Sen Monorom plateau (T. Gray in litt. 2013). It is noted to use habitats in human-modified open landscapes in some areas (R. J. Timmins in litt. 2013), but in much of southeast Asia it is now restricted to locations close to large areas of remaining intact forest, and this is likely a determinant of successful recruitment throughout the range. In Myanmar, it is described as common in deciduous forest and partly cultivated areas (C. Robson in litt. 2013). It feeds on leaf buds, seeds, fruit and flowers. In central Myanmar, it breeds in January-March (Juniper and Parr 1998).


The species is widely captured for the cage-bird trade and is locally kept as a pet, for example in Laos and China (J. W. Duckworth in litt. 2013, M. Zhang in litt. 2013). In China, poaching and illegal trade of this species continue: it is reported that in one village, every family has one individual of this species as a pet, and they carry an asking price of up to US$80 (M. Zhang in litt. 2013). Trapping pressure may also be contributing to the observed decline in Cambodia (F. Goes in litt. 2013). Lowland forests in Indochina are under intense pressure, particularly in Cambodia, owing to clearance for large-scale industrial agriculture. This particularly affects areas with evergreen or semi-evergreen forest, rather than deciduous forest, owing to better conditions for cultivation (S. Mahood in litt. 2013). This species's apparent reliance on patches of evergreen and semi-evergreen forest may make it more susceptible to the impacts of logging, particularly because it is likely to rely on large trees for nesting. In habitats where large trees are scarce, such as hill forest and landscapes with a mixture of deciduous forest, patches of evergreen and semi-evergreen forest are under particular pressure from logging, even for local use (S. Mahood in litt. 2013). Habitat loss in Cambodia is expected to have a devastating impact on this species during the next decade, although there may be a lag before the true effects are observed in the population (H. Rainey in litt. 2013). In Laos, the species's presence in hilly areas may have buffered it from the worst impacts of logging and habitat clearance (J. W. Duckworth in litt. 2013).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
The species occurs in multiple protected areas across its range, including Kaziranga Tiger Reserve (India); Nat Ma Tung National Park (Myanmar); Doi Inthanon and Mae Ping National Parks (Thailand); and Kulen Promtep National Park and Mondulkiri Protected Forest (Cambodia).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct regular range-wide surveys to monitor the species's population trend. Monitor rates of habitat loss and degradation within the species's range. List the species under CITES. Quantify the impacts of capture for trade. Conduct awareness-raising activities to reduce trapping pressure and trade. Increase the area of suitable habitat within protected areas.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Martin, R, Wheatley, H., Taylor, J.

Round, P., Rainey, H., Timmins, R.J., Robson, C., Mahood, S., Gray, T., Duckworth, J.W., Choudhury, S., Zhang, M.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Himalayapsitta finschii. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/06/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/06/2022.