Ouvea Parakeet Eunymphicus uvaeensis


Justification of Red List category
This species qualifies as Vulnerable because it is found on only one very small island and may be threatened by invasive species, particularly the Black Rat, which could drive the species to Critically Endangered or Extinct in a very short time.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 1,730 mature individuals in total (Legault et al. 2013), rounded here to 1,700 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Barré et al. (2010) reported the population to have increased by 29% (from 10 birds/km2 to 34 birds/km2) between 1993 and 2009, which equates to a population increase of 33% over three generations.

Distribution and population

Eunymphicus uvaeensis is restricted to Ouvea, New Caledonia (to France), where most birds occur in c.20 km2 of forest in the north, although c.60 km2 of habitat remains (Robinet et al. 1996). Earlier population estimates have been alarmingly low, but populations in the north and south of the island are regularly surveyed and data show a steady increase in both areas (L. Verfaille in litt. 2007). The population has steadily increased from an estimated c.600 birds in 1993 (Robinet et al. 1996) and 824 birds in 1999 (Primot 1999) until reaching a plateau with 2090 birds in 2009 (Barre et al. 2010), and 1730 in 2013 (Legault et al. 2013). Mean population density on Ouvea has been estimated at 34 birds/km2, with density being highest in the north, where it reaches 57 birds/km2 (Barré et al. 2010). The introductions to the adjacent island of Lifu in 1925 and 1963 failed (Robinet et al. 1995).


It feeds in forest and on crops in adjacent cultivated land. It is restricted to areas of old-growth forest with nesting holes, but highest numbers occur close to gardens with papaya. An average of 2.9 eggs are laid in one or two clutches per year, of which 1.7 chicks fledge, but only 0.75 fledglings survive to 30 days (Robinet et al. 1995, 1996; Robinet and Salas 1999).


While primary forest has previously declined in extent, a decline in the quality of forest on the island may not be affecting the species, as the population trend of this species is actually a relatively rapid increase and the highest numbers are found around gardens containing papaya (although only when adjacent to forest habitat). There has been an illicit pet trade (Primot 2000) which is thought to have increased through the second half of the 20th century (Robinet et al. 1995). Nesting holes are cut open to extract the nestlings, rendering them unsuitable for future breeding attempts and a lack of nesting sites is believed to be a limiting factor. The continuous presence of local guides is believed to be effectively preventing nest poaching (Barré et al. 2010), although it has been reported that some poaching effort appears to have resumed, including the illegal culling of birds in gardens (J. Theuerkauf in litt. 2017, 2020). The invasion of the island in 1996 by bees, which compete for tree holes, is a significant threat, with 10-16% of known nests being occupied by bees in 2000-2002 (N. Barré in litt. 2003). The native Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus, and perhaps other predators, are believed to take many juveniles (Robinet et al. 1996; N. Barré in litt. 1999; P. Primot in litt. 1999; Robinet and Salas 1999). Suitable habitat is patchy and fragmented mainly as a result of coconut plantations, which do not afford protection from predation by A. fasciatus and so act as barriers to dispersal. Two Black Rats, Rattus rattus, have recently been trapped near the harbour, although there is no evidence that the species has yet become established on the island (J. Theuerkauf in litt. 2016, 2017). Previously, experiments showed that egg-predation rates were four times higher on the island of Lifou, where R. rattus was present, compared to Ouvea, where they were absent (Robinet et al. 1998). The introduced Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus may pose a threat through competition (although it has different habitat and dietary requirements so competition is unlikely), or through transmission of Beak and Feather Disease virus (BFDV) (Jackson et al. 2014).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I and II. The Association for the Protection of the Ouvéa Parakeet (ASPO) was created in 1993 with mostly local members. The ASPO initiated a long-term study of the biology and ecology of the species as a basis for two recovery plans (1997-2002 and 2003-2008). Forest loss is being addressed through community awareness programmes and trials to mitigate habitat degradation and improve forest quality, particularly with regard to nest-sites. Ten guides are employed, who, amongst other duties, locate nests. Illegal trade is being successfully tackled by increased awareness and law enforcement. A captive-breeding programme has been discussed but not yet started, with the species occuring only in small numbers in captivity with very limited breeding success (Robinet 1996). A translocation programme to restock the south of Ouvea was initiated in 1998, and the number of birds in the south stood at 395 individuals in 2011 (J. Theuerkauf in litt. 2016). Black rats have been trapped on the island (J. Theuerkauf in litt. 2016). An updated Recovery Plan was produced in 2003, recommending amongst other things that the translocation program be cancelled, as the population is considered viable and was predicted to grow naturally; this Recovery Plan has been accepted by the local native authorities (N. Barré in litt. 2003; Anon. 2004). Ouvea has been classified as an IBA, but a management plan and a protection programme involving communities still needs to be established (Spaggiari et al. 2007). SCO obtained funds from the British Birdwatching Fair to build and test PCV artificial nests them after the failure of the wooden nest trails. ASPO staff destroyed or removed 187 bee colonies during 2002-2008 (L. Verfaille in litt. 2007; Barré et al. 2010). The continuous presence of local guides is believed to be effectively preventing nest poaching (Barré et al. 2010).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue population monitoring (Primot 2000). Research interactions with Trichoglossus haematodus. Investigate non-usage of artificial nest-sites. Review and strengthen predator control measures. Assess progress and update plans for translocations. Review and update all aspects of the Action Plan. Maintain momentum of community and island awareness and involvement (Robinet and Salas 1997). Establish an IBA project on Ouvea and fund a protection programme (N. Barré in litt. 2003). Initiate a captive breeding programme to support future reintroductions. Carry out surveillance screening for BFDV to guide future biosecurity and conservation efforts, and further understand the risk posed by BFDV (Jackson et al. 2014).


32 cm. Crested parakeet with green plumage offset by yellower underparts, bluish wings and tail, dark face mask. Crest comprises about six forward-curling black feathers. Similar spp. Introduced Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus feeds in flowering trees and has red breast. Voice Nasal hooting, shrieks and chuckles. Hints Pairs seen in forest or forest edge with help from guides from the Association pour la Sauvegarde de la Perruche d'Ouvea.


Text account compilers
Clark, J.

Barré, N., Derhé, M., Dutson, G., Ekstrom, J., Harding, M., Mahood, S., Primot, P., Robinet, O., Spaggiari, J., Theuerkauf, J., Verfaille, L. & Wheatley, H.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Eunymphicus uvaeensis. Downloaded from on 06/12/2023.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 06/12/2023.