Red-masked Parakeet Psittacara erythrogenys


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a moderately small population which has suffered some severe local declines (primarily owing to trapping) but remains common in some other areas. The overall population decline is likely to be moderately rapid. It is consequently classified as Near Threatened.

Population justification
This species's population size has not been formally estimated, but, in the absence of sufficient data, it is preliminarily suspected to number more than 10,000 individuals, roughly equivalent to 6,700 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The species's population is suspected to be undergoing at least a moderately rapid decline owing to trapping for the pet trade coupled with habitat loss and fragmentation. Further research is required.

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 total population is unlikely to be smaller than 10,000, with the majority occurring in Ecuador (Best et al. 1995). Although considered 'common' in parts of its range (Best and Clarke 1991, Best 1992, Williams and Tobias 1994, Clements and Shany 2001), there have been severe local declines (Ridgely 1981a, Best et al. 1995), and there is recent anecdotal evidence that numbers are still falling (E. Horstman in litt. 2011, R. Orrantia and J. Baquerizo in litt. 2011).


It 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 areas (Juniper and Parr 1998), 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).


It 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). It is also internationally traded from Peru, but its status is clouded by the misdeclaring of traded birds (Inskipp and Corrigan 1992) and pre-trade mortality (Ramos and Iñigo 1985), which both demonstrate the complexities of estimating true numbers taken from the wild (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). Despite the threat of trapping, the main causes of recent declines may be habitat loss and fragmentation (R. Orrantia and J. Baquerizo in litt. 2011).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to obtain a population estimate. Research current threat from trade. Enforce trade restrictions. Census and monitor population. Monitor rates of habitat loss and fragmentation. Study its ability to persist in altered and fragmented habitats.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Baquerizo, J., Horstman, E. & Orrantia, R.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Psittacara erythrogenys. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/10/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/10/2021.