Red-masked Parakeet Psittacara erythrogenys


Justification of Red List Category
This species is suspected to have a small population, which has suffered some severe local declines primarily owing to trapping. The overall population decline is likely to be moderately rapid. It is consequently classified as Near Threatened.

Population justification
The population size has not been formally estimated. The species is described as 'common' in parts of its range, but has been undergoing severe local declines (Ridgely 1981; Williams and Tobias 1994; Best et al. 1995; Kalodimos 2020). The total population is unlikely to be smaller than 10,000 individuals, with the majority occurring in Ecuador (Best et al. 1995). This roughly equates to 6,700 mature individuals. To account for uncertainty, the population is here placed in the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals, but detailed study is required.
The population likely forms two subpopulation, with a divide in the centre of the range in Guayas, El Oro and Azuay, Ecuador (Best et al. 1995).

Trend justification
The species is inferred to be undergoing a moderately rapid decline owing to trapping for the pet trade, coupled with habitat loss and degradation (Juniper and Parr 1998). The rate of decline appears to have decreased in recent years (Freile et al. 2019).

Distribution and population

Psittacara erythrogenys occurs from Manabí, north-west Ecuador, south to Lambayeque and Cajamarca, north-west Peru, with the high Andes marking its easternmost limit, at least in Ecuador (Best et al. 1995; Juniper and Parr 1998; Clements and Shany 2001). There are very few records from the centre of its range, in Guayas, El Oro and Azuay, Ecuador, which may effectively divide the population into two distinct sub-populations (Best et al. 1995). The majority of the population occurs in Ecuador (Best et al. 1995).
Populations of escaped cagebirds have become established in city centres outside their native range, including in California and Florida (U.S.A.), Puerto Rico, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Spain (Ordóñez-Delgado et al. 2016; Fierro-Calderón and Fierro-Calderón 2020; Kalodimos 2020; eBird 2021)


The species occurs in a range of habitats from humid forest through deciduous forest, dry Acacia scrub to open, sparsely vegetated desert and intensely farmed areas to towns, but principally inhabits arid and semi-arid areas (Juniper and Parr 1998). It is found from sea-level to 2,500 m, but most frequently below 1,500 m (Best et al. 1995). It nests in tree cavities, but the extent to which it tolerates logged forest and can breed successfully in small woodlots or even isolated trees is unclear (Best et al. 1995). Observations indicate that it can persist in highly degraded forest (E. Horstman in litt. 2011).


The species suffers heavily from local trade in Peru and Ecuador, where it is a common and highly sought-after pet (Best and Clarke 1991; Williams and Tobias 1994; Best et al. 1995). Estimating the numbers taken from the wild is complicated, as its status is often clouded by the misdeclaring of traded birds and pre-trade mortality (Inskipp and Corrigan 1992; Best et al. 1995). The species is frequently confiscated by the Ecuadorian authorities (E. Horstman in litt. 2011; R. Orrantia and J. Baquerizo in litt. 2011).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. The population in south-western Ecuador is augmented by reintroductions: In 2019, 20 individuals confiscated from the pet trade were released in the Buenaventura Reserve (Anon. 2019; Fundación Jocotoco 2020).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to obtain a population estimate. Monitor the population trend. Quantify the impact of trapping on the population size. Study its ability to persist in altered and fragmented habitats. Monitor rates of habitat loss and fragmentation. Raise awareness for the species to reduce trapping pressure. Enforce trade restrictions. Continue reintroducing confiscated individuals to the wild. 


Text account compilers
Hermes, C.

Baquerizo, J., Benstead, P., Capper, D., Horstman, E., Orrantia, R., Sharpe, C.J., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Psittacara erythrogenys. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 02/07/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 02/07/2022.