Perija Parakeet Pyrrhura caeruleiceps


Justification of Red List Category
This newly-split parakeet has a restricted range on the Venezuela-Colombia border, where habitat loss and fragmentation owing to clearance for cattle ranching and illegal drug cultivation has been extensive, and capture for trade may be a further significant threat. The remaining population is thought to be very small and fragmented into extremely small subpopulations, which are undergoing continuing declines, and the species has therefore been classified as Endangered.

Population justification
A preliminary population estimate is of 1,000-2,499 mature individuals, with all subpopulations numbering fewer than 250 mature individuals. Population in Venezuela estimated at fewer than 1000 mature birds (Sharpe 2015).

Trend justification
The species is inferred to be undergoing a rapid continuing decline owing to extensive habitat loss and fragmentation and capture for the pet trade.

Distribution and population

Pyrrhura caeruleiceps is found on the west slope at the northern end of the east Andes from south Cesar state north through Los Motilones into the Sierra de Perijá, on the border of Venezuela and Colombia. It is estimated to have lost approximately 70% of its original habitat within its Colombian distribution, and its area of occupancy within Colombia is predicted to be less than 3,700 km2 (Botero-Delgadillo et al. 2012a,b). An extremely poorly-known species in Venezuela, there are a few specimens and sight records from just four localities, all in Zulia state; very infrequently recorded in recent years, despite significant fieldwork (Sharpe 2015, C.J. Sharpe in litt. 2015).


Occurs between 400 and 2,200 m in elevation (Botero-Delgadillo and Páez 2011), and spending much of the time in groups of up to 10 in forest and forest/agriculture mosaic habitats (Botero-Delgadillo et al. 2013). It is suggested that dispersal in the species may be constrained by fragmentation, with observations that flocks fly over and inside forest and at less than ten meters above canopy-level indicating unwillingness to cross open habitat (Botero-Delgadillo et al. 2013). The species is not thought to be more restricted to primary forest than other Pyrrhura species given the frequency that it has been encountered in forest-agriculture mosaics (Botero-Delgadillo et al. 2013).


Habitat loss is the greatest threat to the species, with an estimated 70% of the species original habitat having been lost to cattle ranching and other clearance. The Venezuelan side of the Sierra de Perijá is being rapidly colonised, particularly by Colombian farmers (Sharpe 2015, C.J. Sharpe in litt. 2015). There are concerns that this may fragment the range due to the species being unwilling to cross open habitats (Delgadillo et al. 2013). Habitat destruction in the Perijá Mountains has also been driven by the illicit drug trade and associated enforcement operations, and conservation activities for this species are considered likely to be significantly constrained thoughout much of the range (Fjeldså et al. 2005). The species has also been recorded in the wild bird trade, and local people within the bird's range are said to value the species as a pet (Delgadillo et al. 2012).

Conservation actions

Conservation and research actions underway
The Sierra de Perijá National Park covers most of its range in Venezuela; however, there is no effective management (Sharpe 2015).

Conservation and research actions proposed
Confirm presence in the Catatumbo-Barí National Park. Protection of part of its Colombian distribution in the northern reaches of the eastern Cordillera and the Perijá Mountains is a priority (Botero-Delgadillo et al. 2012). Study habitat requirements, reproductive biology and population status in order to design management tools that combat the negative effects of extensive forest degradation (Botero-Delgadillo et al. 2012) eg. maintaining corridors to enable connectivity between subpopulations.


22 cm. One of the largely green medium-sized parakeets (often called conures) with long maroon-red tails, dark red belly patch and bright blue primaries. P. caeruleiceps has a blue forecrown becoming brown suffused blue further back, red carpal area and pale grey-brown ear coverts. Similar species. Most similar to P. eisenmanni and P. subandina, but typically these both have a green carpal area. P. eisenmanni lacks blue in the crown and has paler whitish ear coverts, while P. subandina had blue restricted to the forecrown and has duller ear coverts.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Khwaja, N., Martin, R, Taylor, J., Symes, A., Sharpe, C J

Sharpe, C J, Salaman, P.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Pyrrhura caeruleiceps. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/10/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/10/2021.