Pygmy Hanging-parrot Loriculus exilis


Justification of Red List category
This species has a large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be decreasing but does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is unknown, and hence cannot be assessed under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as uncommon to rare due to its high crypticity (del Hoyo et al. 1997).

Trend justification
There are no data on population trends, although the species is suspected to be declining because of habitat degradation and potential levels of trapping. It has howeverbeen detected at edge and logged habitats, suggesting some level of tolerance to habitat degradation (per T. Martin, J. Monkhouse, and D. O'Connell in litt. 2020). It also occurs in remote, montane forests (Berryman & Eaton 2020) that are relatively secure from deforestation and hunting. Therefore, it is unlikely rates of decline will exceed 20% in three generations (11.3 years).

Distribution and population

Loriculus exilis is restricted to Sulawesi, Indonesia, including several offshore islands such as Buton, Kabaena and Wawonii (Martin et al. 2012, O'Connell et al. 2017, O'Connell et al. [in press]). Few records have been observed in recent years, and as such is considered generally very uncommon and local (BirdLife International 2001). However, the species is highly inconspicuous, and therefore easily overlooked and rarely observed (T. Martin, J. Monkhouse, and D. O'Connell in litt. 2020). It is therefore likely that the species is not at immediate risk, and considered uncommon due to its crypticity and not genuine rarity. 


It inhabits primary lowland and hill forest and mangroves. Previously it was thought to only occur in lowland forest, below 1,000 m, however was recently recorded in montane forests up to 1,320 m in the Mekongga mountains (Berryman & Eaton 2020). On Buton and Kabaena, it has most frequently been observed in edge forest habitats (Martin et al. 2012, O'Connell et al. 2017), although whether this reflects true preference, or is an artefact of increased detectability here is uncertain. However, observations of the species on the islands of South-east Sulawesi indicate at least some tolerance of relatively disturbed, edge habitats (T. Martin, J. Monkhouse, and D. O'Connell in litt. 2020). 


Forest loss within its elevation range in recent decades may have caused a decline in its population. There was also, at least formerly, limited trapping for the bird trade (e.g. 2,131 birds reported in 1991 but no quotas set between 1994-1995; Collar et al. 2020). Therefore, whilst it is suspected to be decreasing, due to high detectability in offshore islands south of Sulawesi in recent years, and knowledge of its somewhat apparent tolerance to edge and degraded habitat, it is not considered to be at immediate risk. 

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. 

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to assess population size. Regularly monitor at certain sites throughout its range to determine population trends. Attempt to make sense of population and trend data by studying the species's movements. Protect significant areas of primary lowland forest across its range. Continue to monitor forest loss in its range using remote sensing data.


Text account compilers
Berryman, A., Fernando, E.

Benstead, P., Mahood, S., Martin, T., Monkhouse, J., O'Connell, D. & Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Loriculus exilis. Downloaded from on 29/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 29/09/2023.