Rufous-fronted Parakeet Bolborhynchus ferrugineifrons


Justification of Red List Category
This species is listed to Vulnerable because it has a small population which is continuing to decline because of ongoing habitat degradation, with a high proportion of birds concentrated in one or two strongholds.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,000-4,000 individuals, roughly equating to 1,300-2,700 mature individuals.

Trend justification
A slow and on-going population decline is suspected on the basis of habitat destruction and degradation, particularly in the páramo.

Distribution and population

Bolborhynchus ferrugineifrons is known only from the Central Andes in Colombia. Most records are from the Volcán Ruiz-Tolima massif in Tolima, Risaralda, Quindío and Caldas, but there are two specimens and a few observations from Volcán Puracé in Cauca, and it is probably present at low densities along the intervening ridge. The population has recently been estimated at 2,000-4,000 individuals (Renjifo et al. 2002), significantly higher than previous estimates. In September 1993, the species was found to be common (over 100 birds seen in eight hours) at El Bosque, below Laguna de Otún, in its stronghold, Los Nevados National Park (Salaman and Gandy 1993).


It inhabits temperate sub-páramo and páramo at 3,000-4,000 m, sometimes as low as 2,800 m. It also uses modified shrublands and agricultural areas in the temperate zone, and seems tolerant of heavily modified habitats (C. Downing in litt. 2003). It is a gregarious species, tending to occur in noisy flocks of 10-100 individuals, and roosting communally on cliffs (Juniper and Parr 1998). It forages terrestrially, mostly taking grass-seeds (especially Anthoxantum odoratum [Verhelst et al. 2002]), the fruits of Acaenia elongata (Verhelst et al. 2002) and flowers, and has adapted to some forms of habitat modification, possibly even preferring to feed in fallow fields and areas altered by grazing (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, Snyder et al. 2000, Verhelst et al. 2002). Although it reportedly nests in cliffs (Hilty and Brown 1986, Collar 1997), the only documented nest was constructed of moss and located 18m up in a Myrcianthes sp. tree (Anon. 2007).


Conversion of forest for agricultural purposes has been widespread below 3,300 m in the Central Andes. At higher elevations, the forest is exploited for firewood and grazing, but large areas remain. Given its adaptation to the agricultural environment, the level of threat posed by deforestation is unknown (Snyder et al. 2000). Conversely, widespread destruction of páramo vegetation, even in Los Nevados, seems to have seriously affected numbers. This is caused by frequent burning (promoting fresh shooting), intense grazing and, to a lesser extent, conversion to potato cultivation. The Colombian authorities have been unable to purchase pre-existing landholdings within national parks, often rendering the parks ineffective. It is occasionally kept as a pet.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. Known populations are within the ineffectively protected Los Nevados and Puracé National Parks (Snyder et al. 2000).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey and monitor the species's population movements, densities and distribution. Clarify its natural history and threats to identify appropriate conservation actions (Snyder et al. 2000). Enhance the protection of Los Nevados through fire control, a major reduction in livestock-grazing and agriculture and, where necessary, compensation to farmers.


18-19 cm. Chunky parakeet. Mostly dark green, with rufous area around bill and bluish tinge to primaries. Similar spp. Barred Parakeet B. lineola generally occurs at lower elevations and is smaller, with pale bill, and black shoulder patch, wing-bars and barring on flanks. Voice Flight call a rapid wader-like mid-range chattering


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Isherwood, I., Sharpe, C J, Stuart, T., Symes, A.

Downing, C., Salaman, P.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Bolborhynchus ferrugineifrons. Downloaded from on 27/10/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/10/2020.