Masked Shining-parrot Prosopeia personata


Justification of Red List Category
This species is suspected to have undergone a moderately rapid decline owing to forest loss and conversion. It has a small range, but this is not yet severely fragmented or restricted to few locations. The species is therefore classified as Near Threatened.

Population justification
Surveys by Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and BirdLife Fiji in 2002-2005 have generated much more data on this species and shown it to occur at higher population densities than previously estimated. WCS surveys estimated parrot numbers in a lowland forest site at Savura. Although there are various errors and biases in extrapolating these densities, dividing the total forest on Viti Levu into native forest, mahogany and pine plantations at various altitudes suggests that the total population could be in the region of 88,000 birds (with 95% confidence limits of 65,605-108,270).

Trend justification
A moderately rapid decline is suspected on the basis of the rate of habitat loss. The generation length is estimated to be five years (extrapolating from similarly sized Australian parrots). Conversion of native forest to mahogany has now largely ended and the rate of native forest loss is estimated to be c.0.5-0.8 % per year (Claasen 1991), equating to 9-12% over 15 years. In other words, forest loss likely approached 30% over the last 15 years, but has now stabilised at a lower rate.

Distribution and population

Prosopeia personata is endemic to Fiji, occurring only on the island of Viti Levu and perhaps formerly on the nearby island of Ovalau. It is not uncommon, and surveys in 2002-2005 indicate that the total population could be in the region of 88,000 birds (Jackson and Jit 2004).


It is found in forest and thick secondary growth at all altitudes (although most remaining forest is in the mountainous interior), frequently venturing into mangroves and fruiting trees in farmland and gardens (Clunie 1984, Pratt et al. 1987, Juniper and Parr 1998). However, breeding is probably restricted to mature forest only (Watling 2000). It feeds mostly on fruit, but also flowers, insects, seeds and berries, and nests in holes or a crack in a large forest tree, or a cavity in the top of a stump (Juniper and Parr 1998).


The main threat comes from deforestation (less than 50% of Viti Levu remains forested), the resulting forest fragmentation, and the felling of large trees that are used for nesting (Juniper and Parr 1998). Over the last few decades, native forest was rapidly converted to mahogany plantations, causing significant loss of habitat for the species. This conversion has now largely ended and the rate of native forest loss is estimated to be back to the underlying level of 0.5-0.8 % per year, equating to 9-12% over 15 years (Claasen 1991, G. Dutson in litt. 2005). There is some domestic traffic, but the red shining-parrots (P. spendens and P. tabuensis) are more important, with probably only one in ten shining-parrots in captivity being this species (D. Watling in litt. 2000).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It is protected under Fijian law, but existing legislation regarding the capture of wild parrots is inadequate and unenforceable (SPREP 2000). It occurs in several protected areas including Tomaniivi Nature Reserve, Koryanitu National Heritage Park, Colo-i-Suva Forest Park and the Garrick Memorial Park (D. Watling in litt. 2000).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Review existing legislation and set standards for the keeping of parrots in captivity to reduce demand (SPREP 2000). Promote the creation of community-based forest reserves. Determine its tolerance of logged forest and secondary growth. Monitor its numbers in protected sites, e.g. Koryanitu and Colo-i-Suva.


47 cm. Bright green parrot with long tail and striking orange-yellow breast and belly. Head is darker and merges into sooty-black towards the beak. Tail and flight feathers have heavy blue suffusion. Black bill and feet. Immature birds are similar to adults but have horn-coloured bills. Similar spp. Only large native parrot on Viti Levu, though there are a small number of naturalised Crimson Shining-parrot P. splendens from Kadavu and Red Shining-parrot P. tabuensis from Koro, Gau, Vanua Levu and Taveuni, but their red underparts and head are unmistakable. Voice Wide variety of raucous, penetrating squawks and screeches, uttered both in flight and when perched. Hints Can be found in any forested area on Viti Levu.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Derhé, M., Mahood, S., Stattersfield, A., Temple, H.

Dutson, G., Watling, D.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Prosopeia personata. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/03/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/03/2019.