Rusty-faced Parrot Hapalopsittaca amazonina


Justification of Red List category
Even though no range-wide population estimates exist, this species is described as rare. Its small subpopulations are experiencing declines caused by habitat loss, and therefore the species is listed as Near Threatened.

Population justification
The species is rare within its range (Collar and Boesman 2020). In Colombia, local densities of over 30 individuals/km2 were observed; however the species is absent from large areas of apparently suitable habitat (Renjifo et al. 2014). The population in Colombia is therefore suspected to number less than 10,000 mature individuals (Renjifo et al. 2014). The population in Venezuela is suspected to number less than 1,000 mature individuals (Sharpe 2008). Its status in Ecuador is uncertain. In the absence of a detailed, range-wide estimate, the population is here tentatively placed in the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals, but this value requires confirmation.
No information on the population structure exists; it is however suspected that no subpopulation numbers more than 1,000 mature individuals (Sharpe 2008; Renjifo et al. 2014).

Trend justification
The species is suspected to be declining slowly on the basis of continued habitat destruction and fragmentation (Sharpe 2008; Renjifo et al. 2014). Over the past three generations (13.5 years; Bird et al. 2020), 1.5% of tree cover has been lost within the range (Global Forest Watch 2021). As the species prefers wet cloud forests, it is likely that habitat degradation is exacerbating the rate of forest loss, so that the population decline is larger than the rate of tree cover loss alone. The population decline is therefore here placed in the band 1-9% over three generations.

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); however there are no recent records and the state of the population is unclear. Subspecies theresae is restricted to the Sierra de Mérida (Trujillo, 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 and Tolima, Colombia (R. Strewe in litt. 1999; B. López-Lanús in litt. 2000).


The species occupies wet, epiphyte-rich cloud-forest, adjacent subtropical forest and treeline scrub at 2,000-3,600 m, mainly above 2,500 m. Locally, it has been recorded in secondary forest (Renjifo et al. 2014). It feeds in the canopy on fruit, blossoms and seeds (Brockner 1998; Juniper and Parr 1998; Weller and Rengifo 2003).


The species is threatened by deforestation and degradation of its habitat (Collar and Boesman 2020). Historical localities in the northern East Andes of Colombia are now wholly deforested (Juniper and Parr 1998; P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). Only about 20% of its range in Colombia is covered by protected areas, which is below the recommended 40% (Velásquez-Tibatá and López-Arévalo 2006; Botero-Delgadillo and Páez 2011; E. Botero-Delgadillo in litt. 2021). Vast areas have been logged, cleared and used for agriculture, illegal drug plantations, infrastructure development and mining (Stiles et al. 1999; Renjifo et al. 2014). Frequent burning, intense grazing and, locally, potato cultivation continue to lower the timberline in many areas. In Venezuela, clearing of forests for livestock and agriculture reduces available habitat (Sharpe 2008; Pelayo and Soriano 2014; C. Sharpe in litt. 2021). Trade of this species is virtually non-existent (Collar and Boesman 2020), so any trapping may be extremely low.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. The species occurs in various protected areas throughout its range, including the National Parks Los Nevados, Nevado del Huila, Chingaza, Serranía de los Yariguíes, Sumapaz, Puracé and Cueva de los Guácheros in Colombia (Renjifo et al. 2014), and in the National Parks Guaramacal, Sierra Nevada, Páramos el Batallón y la Negra and El Tamá in Venezuela (Sharpe 2008). However, some protected areas are not secure, e.g. Valle de Jesús Communal Reserve (Colombia), El Tamá and Sierra Nevada (Venzuela; R. Strewe in litt. 1999; Sharpe 2008). Almost 17% of El Tamá National Park, Venezuela, is affected by livestock raising and coffee cultivation (Sharpe 2008), though much of this is probably below the range of this species (C. Rengifo in litt. 2012). In 2002, Fundación ProAves started a conservation programme in Colombia, which includes ecological studies, reforestation, environmental education and a successful artificial nest-box scheme (ProAves in litt. 2012, 2014; Renjifo et al. 2014). The species is considered nationally Vulnerable in Colombia (Renjifo et al. 2014) and Endangered in Venezuela (Sharpe 2008) and is amongst the top dozen priorities for bird conservation in Venezuela (Rodríguez et al. 2004).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Research its distribution and confirm the identification of the Hapalopsittaca species in Ecuador. Produce a detailed quantification of the population size. Investigate its ecology and threats. Prepare a management plan. Investigate the possibility of captive breeding, which at present does not seem viable for this species. Consider establishing additional protected areas, on the basis of the results of proposed new research into ecology and behaviour (Sharpe 2008). Increase the level of protection in protected areas (Snyder et al. 2000). Continue and expand reforestation programmes. Continue and expand environmental education programmes aimed at raising awareness for the species and its habitat.


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
Hermes, C.

Benstead, P., Botero-Delgadillo, E., Capper, D., Fundación ProAves, Harding, M., Isherwood, I., López-Lanús, B., Pelayo, R., Rengifo, C., Rosenberg, G.H., Salaman, P.G.W., Sharpe, C J, Strewe, R., Stuart, T. & Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Hapalopsittaca amazonina. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/rusty-faced-parrot-hapalopsittaca-amazonina on 23/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org on 23/09/2023.