Rusty-faced Parrot Hapalopsittaca amazonina


Justification of Red List Category
This species is listed as Vulnerable because its small population consists of very small, scattered subpopulations that are likely to be undergoing continuing declines, owing to widespread habitat loss.

Population justification
Renjifo et al. (2002) estimated that in Colombia the population may number 2,500-10,000 individuals, based on a hypothetical density c.1 individual/km2, and 25% occupancy of the estimated 13,890 km2 of suitable habitat. This may be an over-estimate and the population could stand at around the few thousand mark in Columbia (P. Salaman in litt. 2005). Much smaller populations also exist in Venezuela. Its status in Ecuador is uncertain. It is best placed in the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals overall, equating to 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
A slow and on-going population decline is suspected on the basis of continued habitat destruction and fragmentation.

Distribution and population

Hapalopsittaca amazonina has three subspecies in the Andes of Venezuela and Colombia. A sight record from Ecuador in 1992 was presumed by range to be this species (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001). Subspecies theresae is restricted to the Sierra de Mérida (Trujillo [Sharpe et al. 2001], Mérida and Táchira), Venezuela. Nominate amazonina occurs on both slopes of the East Andes in south-west Táchira, Venezuela; and Cundinamarca, Boyacá and historically Norte de Santander and Santander, Colombia. Subspecies velezi is known from both slopes of the Central Andes in Caldas, Risaralda (R. Strewe in litt. 1999) and Tolima (B. López-Lanús in litt. 2000), Colombia. There are recent sightings of Hapalopsittaca species from the head of the Madgalena valley, Huila, Colombia, and northern Ecuador (Robbins et al. 1994a, G. H. Rosenberg in litt. 2000), probably all amazonina (Juniper and Parr 1998). A recent Colombian population estimate of 2,500-10,000 individuals based on a hypothetical density c.1 individual/km2 and 25% occupancy of the estimated 13,890 km2 of suitable habitat (Renjifo et al. 2002) may be over-generous, but it is likely that the Colombian population numbers several thousand birds (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 2005). There are c. 250 birds of the nominate subspecies in the Soata bird reserve, Boyacá (O. Cortes and A. Hernandez-Jaramillo in litt. 2007). The Venezuelan population unknown, although it is encountered regularly in several different parts of the Mérida Andes (C. J. Sharpe in litt. 2003, Weller and Rengifo 2003, Rengifo et al. 2005, Rengifo et al. 2005).


It occupies wet, epiphyte-rich cloud-forest, adjacent subtropical forest and treeline scrub at 2,000-3,000 m, mainly above 2,500 m. It feeds mainly in the canopy on fruit, blossoms and seeds (Brockner 1998, Juniper and Parr 1998, Weller and Rengifo 2003). Migration between seasonal feeding grounds possibly occurs (Brockner 1998).


Historical localities in the northern East Andes are now wholly deforested (Juniper and Parr 1998, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). Vast areas have been logged, cleared and used for agriculture, illegal drug plantations, infrastructure development and mining (Stiles et al. 1999). Frequent burning, intense grazing and, locally, potato cultivation continue to lower the timberline in many areas. In Venezuela, clearing of forests for livestock reduces available habitat (Rojas-Suárez et al. 2008). As in Colombia, the main threat is the conversion of primary forest to livestock or crops like potato, a typical agriculture practice in the high Andes (C. Rengifo in litt. 2012). If dependent on fluctuating food-resources, it may be particularly sensitive to habitat alteration (Brockner 1998). It is considered nationally Vulnerable in Colombia (Renjifo et al. 2002) and Endangered in Venezuela (Sharpe 2008) and is amongst the top dozen priorities for bird conservation in Venezuela (Rodríguez et al. 2004).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It occurs in several protected areas, notably Guaramacal (Trujillo) (Sharpe et al. 2001), Sierra Nevada (Mérida), Batallón y La Negra (Mérida) and El Tamá (Táchira) and National Parks in Venezuela (Rojas-Suárez et al. 2008). In Colombia it is protected in Sumapáz and Chingaza National Parks and adjacent protected areas in Cundinamarca and Ucumarí Regional Park, Risaralda, and Soata Bird Reserve, Boyacá (Stiles et al. 1999). The localities in Huila are protected. However, some of these protected areas are not secure, e.g. Valle de Jesús Communal Reserve (Cundinamarca), El Tamá and Sierra Nevada (Rodríguez and Rojas-Suárez 1995, R. Strewe in litt. 1999, Rojas-Suárez et al. 2008). Almost 17% of El Tamá National Park, Venezuela, is affected by livestock raising and coffee cultivation (Rojas-Suárez et al. 2008), though much of this is probably below the range of this species (C. Rengifo in litt. 2012). Artificial nest-boxes are being successfully used in Proaves's Dusky Starfrontlet Bird Reserve, where 79 individuals have been counted (ProAves data 2014).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Confirm the identification of the Hapalopsittaca species in Huila and Ecuador. Determine its status in Guanentá-Alto Río Fonce Flora and Fauna Sanctuary and Cocuy National Park (O. Cortes and A. Hernandez-Jaramillo in litt. 2007). Research its distribution, ecology, current conservation status and threats (Rodríguez and Rojas-Suárez 1995, Rojas-Suárez et al. 2008). Investigate the possibility of captive breeding, which at present does not seem viable for this species (Rojas-Suárez et al. 2008). Consider establishing additional protected areas, on the basis of the results of proposed new research into ecology and behaviour (Rojas-Suárez et al. 2008). Prepare management plans and increase protection in protected areas (Snyder et al. 2000).


23 cm. Chunky, mainly green parrot. Dull orange crown. Yellow lores. Orange-red cheeks with yellow streaking. Buff-olive breast. Otherwise green with red shoulder, blue secondary coverts and dark bluish primaries. Red tail with violet tip. Immature less streaked and duller on face. Similar spp. From Fuertes's Parrot H. fuertesi by more extensive red on head, yellow streaking on sides of head and contrasting golden-olive hindneck. Several sympatric Pionus are slightly larger with proportionately shorter tails and different flight action. Voice Flight call a loud, high pitch metallic screech. When perched a softer metallic rreek.


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

Strewe, R., Rengifo, C., Salaman, P., Sharpe, C J, Rosenberg, G., López-Lanús, B.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Hapalopsittaca amazonina. Downloaded from on 21/09/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 21/09/2020.