Jamaican Parakeet Eupsittula nana


Justification of Red List category
This parakeet is endemic to Jamaica, where it remains widespread but probably has a moderately small population (approaching as few as 10,000 mature individuals), all in a single subpopulation, which is inferred to be in continuing decline owing to a variety of threats including habitat loss and degradation, persecution and capture for trade. It has therefore been classified as Near Threatened.

Population justification
A preliminary population estimate is that the population could approach as few as 10,000 mature individuals, placed here in the band 10,000-19,999 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The population is apparently stable in northern Cockpit County, but likely declining elsewhere owing to ongoing habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of exploitation and persecution (C. Levy and S. Koenig in litt. 2014).

Distribution and population

Eupsittula nana is endemic to the island of Jamaica, where it is commonest in mid-elevation wet limestone forest and does not occur in the wet John Crow range in the east.


It is widespread in wooded hills, mountain slopes, scrub, cultivation and gardens in humid or semi-arid areas from sea-level to mid-elevation forest (Haynes-Sutton et al. 2009). The species feeds on the buds and fruit of many trees and on crop species, and has been regarded as a pest (del Hoyo et al. 1997, Haynes-Sutton et al. 2009). It breeds in March (Juniper and Parr 1998). The species is commonest at middle elevations (below 1,000 m) and absent from the very wet John Crow Mountains and also from montane forest, although occasionally it occurs in wooded cultivation in the Blue Mountains (Lack 1976, C. Levy and S. Koenig in litt. 2014). The species has been reported to nest only in arboreal termite nests, which must be supported by medium-to-large trees (C. Levy and S. Koenig in litt. 2014).


Despite legal protection, small-scale poaching for the local pet trade and hunting of parakeets for both food and as crop pests continues. Enforcement is weak and many members of the public remain uninformed that killing a bird with a catapult (slingshot) is defined as "hunting" (i.e., "hunting" is typically viewed as killing gamebirds with a shotgun), and, consequently, illegal. Environmental education campaigns focus on the two larger, more charismatic endemic Amazona parrots (C. Levy and S. Koenig in litt. 2014).
Habitat loss and fragmentation are perhaps the greatest on-going threats, particularly the conversion of coastal habitats for hotel, residential and commercial development, although deforestation rates are not high (estimated at ~2.75% across three generations [Tracewski et al. 2016]). Foraging behaviour is poorly-known, and use of the landscape in search of seasonally-available food resources is not understood (C. Levy and S. Koenig in litt. 2014).
As a frugivore, the species is susceptible to starvation following extreme weather events, such as hurricanes. Compounding the short-term loss of food from the forest canopy, hungry parakeets have been observed feeding on fruits blown to the ground during a hurricane; this behaviour may render them more vulnerable to predation by invasive alien predators, such as mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus) and cats (Felis catus), or to persecution by humans. Additionally, temporary loss of natural food resources may make them more prone to attack any crops which escaped the ravages of strong winds and rain; this also will lead to persecution by farmers.
The number of suitable termite nests may be a limiting factor of parakeet reproductive performance (C. Levy and S. Koenig in litt. 2014), while the importation and escape into the wild of alien psittacines is a further potential threat. Invasive alien psittacines pose threats via the introduction of harmful pathogens (e.g. Psittacine Circovirus / Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease) and parasites, competition for food resources, and, depending upon the species, may compete for nesting substrates (C. Levy and S. Koenig in litt. 2014). At least one alien species of parakeet (Psittacula krameri) has become established in Jamaica, occurring in Kingston/St. Andrew, where it is expanding in number (C. Levy and S. Koenig in litt. 2014).

Conservation actions

Conservation and research actions underway
CITES Appendix II. Protected by national law.

Conservation and research actions proposed
Carry out basic studies of natural history, demographics, movements, etc. Identify and protect critical habitats. Recognise the species as a priority in conservation planning efforts and in Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) (C. Levy and S. Koenig in litt. 2014). Include the species in environmental education campaigns.


c 24 cm. Mainly green conure, with dark brown lower breast and lower underparts and extensive royal blue in the flight feathers, which have broad black fringes. Similar spp. A. astec (formerly included within this species) is smaller, has pale brown underparts and with blue restricted to a narrow band in the flight feathers.


Text account compilers
Martin, R., Everest, J.

Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Koenig, S., Levy, C., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Eupsittula nana. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/jamaican-parakeet-eupsittula-nana on 24/02/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org on 24/02/2024.