Grey Parrot Psittacus erithacus


Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- A2bcd+3bcd A2bcd+3bcd

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2016 Endangered A2bcd+3bcd
2013 Vulnerable A2abcd+3bcd+4abcd
2012 Vulnerable A2abcd+3bcd+4abcd
Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency Medium
Land mass type Average mass -
Extent of occurrence (EOO)

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 4,490,000 medium
Number of locations 11-100 -
Fragmentation -
Population and trend
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals medium estimated 2006
Population trend Decreasing medium inferred -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) 50-79 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) - - -
Number of subpopulations 2-100 - - -
Largest subpopulations 1-89 - - -
Generation length (yrs) 15.5 - - -

Population justification: Gatter (1997) estimated two breeding pairs/ km2 of P. timneh in logged forest north of Zwedru, Liberia. McGowan (2001) provided similar estimates of nest densities in Nigeria of 0.5-2.1/km2, believing the higher end to be more accurate. This would indicate 4.2 breeding birds/km2 plus non-breeding birds (the remaining 70-85% of the population, as estimated by Fotso (1998a), giving estimates of 4.9-6.0 birds/km2. These estimates are substantially higher than those of 0.3-0.5 birds/km2 in good habitat in Guinea (timneh) and 0.9-2.2 birds/km2 (in evergreen forests) or 0.15-0.45 birds/km2 (in semi-deciduous forests) in Ghana. Using these density estimates, the overall P. timneh population was estimated at 120,100-259,000 birds, and the West African population of P. erithacus at 40,000-100,000 birds, although central African populations of this species are much larger. Using a global land cover classification, a digitised map of the species's range from Benson et al. (1988), and estimates of density 0.15-0.45 birds/km2 in semi-deciduous forest (including deciduous forest) and 0.3-6.0 birds/km2 in evergreen forest (including swamp forest and mangrove), supplemented by post-1995 published national estimates where available, an initial coarse assessment of the global population of this species (subtracting estimates for the now-split P. timneh) is 0.56-12.7 million individuals.

Trend justification: Population declines have been noted in Burundi, Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Togo, Uganda and parts of Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In all of these declines, trapping for the wild bird trade has been implicated, with habitat loss also having significant impacts throughout West and East Africa. Data suggested that c.21 % of the wild population is being harvested annually, and in addition forest loss during 1990-2000 was estimated to be particularly high in Côte d'Ivoire (31%) and Nigeria (26%). The total number birds extracted from the wild during the period 1982 to 2014 may have been c.1.3 million (UNEP-WCMC 2016), with perhaps some 100,000 birds per year being captured in Cameroon during the late 1990s and early 2000s (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2012). The rate of decline is hard to quantify, but given the massive level of capture for trade and the high levels of forest loss in parts of the range the decline is likely to be in the range of 50-79% in three generations (47 years).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Angola N Extant Yes
Benin I Extant Yes
Burundi N Extant Yes
Cameroon N Extant Yes
Central African Republic N Extant Yes
Congo N Extant Yes
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the N Extant Yes
Côte d'Ivoire N Extant Yes
Equatorial Guinea N Extant Yes
Gabon N Extant Yes
Ghana N Extant Yes
Kenya N Extant Yes
Nigeria N Extant Yes
Rwanda N Extant Yes
São Tomé e Príncipe N Extant Yes
Tanzania N Extant Yes
Togo I Extant Yes
Uganda N Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Plantations suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Rural Gardens suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Urban Areas suitable resident
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Dry suitable resident
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Mangrove Vegetation Above High Tide Level suitable resident
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland major resident
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane suitable resident
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Swamp major resident
Savanna Dry suitable resident
Altitude 0 - 2200 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Small-holder farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Medium Impact: 7
Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality
Biological resource use Logging & wood harvesting - Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - Non-trivial Recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - International Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2017) Species factsheet: Psittacus erithacus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 18/10/2017. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2017) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 18/10/2017.