Lord Derby's Parakeet Psittacula derbiana


Justification of Red List Category
This species is listed as Near Threatened based on evidence that it is disappearing and declining in some areas and subject to locally heavy off-take for the cagebird trade and is thus suspected to be experiencing a moderately rapid decline.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is reported to be fairly common (del Hoyo et al. 1997).

Trend justification
This species's population is suspected to be undergoing a moderately rapid decline owing primarily to continued trapping pressure for the cagebird trade, but also the felling of nest trees, as supported by evidence of local extinctions and declines in some parts of its range.

Distribution and population

Psittacula derbiana occurs from Arunachal Pradesh (with the breeding population extending along the upper Lohit Valley [Praveen J. et al. 2015]) and Assam, India, to southern China, including south-eastern Tibet, western Szechwan and western Yunnan (del Hoyo et al. 1997, Juniper and Parr 1998). Local extinctions and locally falling numbers (J. Eaton in litt. 2010, He Fen-Qi in litt. 2010, J. Hornskov in litt. 2010, Zeidler and Francis 2011) suggest that the species is in decline overall.


The species inhabits coniferous and mixed pine-oak forests, Rhododendron alpine thickets and cultivated valleys, ranging from 1,250 to 4,000 m (del Hoyo et al. 1997, Juniper and Parr 1998). It feeds on the seeds of Pinus tabulaeformis, poplar catkins, barley and orchard fruit. It is an agricultural pest, often destroying ripening crops, including maize (del Hoyo et al. 1997, Juniper and Parr 1998). It probably also feeds on invertebrates, leaf-buds and berries (Juniper and Parr 1998). It has been observed to breed in June in south-eastern Tibet (del Hoyo et al. 1997) and females lay a clutch of 2-4 eggs (Juniper and Parr 1998, Zeidler and Francis 2011). The species nests in tree-holes, favouring Populus ciliata (del Hoyo et al. 1997). It is apparently resident in south-eastern Tibet, but occurs in north-eastern India as a summer visitor (del Hoyo et al. 1997). Away from north-eastern India, it undertakes some altitudinal movements but may persist at up to 3,300 m in mid-winter (Juniper and Parr 1998).


The species was formerly threatened by logging campaigns that resulted in the loss of much breeding habitat; however, this threat ended in the 1990s (Zeidler and Francis 2011). Today, old-growth trees, some of which provide nest-holes, are still felled for house construction and firewood, even in protected forests (Zeidler and Francis 2011). Recent observations indicate that this species is subject to heavy trapping pressure and egg-collecting for the pet trade (J. Eaton in litt. 2010, Zeidler and Francis 2011, Praveen J. et al. 2015). Egg-collecting and the subsequent incubation, rearing of birds and onward selling is very organised and may take place through a network of people in some areas (Zeidler and Francis 2011). The species is openly sold and widely kept as a pet in its natural range (J. Eaton in litt. 2010, J. Hornskov in litt. 2010, Zeidler and Francis 2011).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It is listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 in India (Government of India 1993) and collecting for the pet trade is illegal in China (Zeidler and Francis 2011). In some areas, such as Shachong valley (Szechwan), monks provide protection for wildlife, including anti-trapping activities (Zeidler and Francis 2011).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor population trends and trapping pressure. Tackle the threat of trade through the enforcement of legislation and awareness-raising activities. Increase the number of sites that are robustly protected. Support monks that carry out wildlife protection activities (Zeidler and Francis 2011). Assess the effectiveness of a nest-box scheme (Zeidler and Francis 2011).


46-50 cm. Bill red above, tipped yellow, with black lower mandible. A narrow black frontal band stretching back to eye is set in light turquoise on the forehead and around the eyes, shading to purple on the rest of the head except for a broad black bar extending from the lower mandible below the ear-coverts. Its nape and upperparts are green with a yellowish wash on the median wing-coverts. The underparts are purple except for green thighs and vent. The tail is bluish centrally and green laterally and yellowish below. Females lack the turquoise on the head and have an all-black bill. Immatures are duller with green head.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Taylor, J., Symes, A., Westrip, J.

Hornskov, J., Praveen, J., Eaton, J., He, F.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Psittacula derbiana. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/04/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/04/2019.