Timneh Parrot Psittacus timneh


Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Melo, M.; O'Ryan, C. 2007. Genetic differentiation between Príncipe Island and mainland populations of the Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus), and implications for conservation. Molecular Ecology 16(8): 1673-1685.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- A2bcd+3bcd+4bcd A2bcd+3bcd+4bcd

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2021 Endangered A2bcd+3bcd+4bcd
2018 Endangered A2bcd+3bcd+4bcd
2016 Endangered A2bcd+3bcd
2013 Vulnerable A2abcd+3bcd+4abcd
2012 Vulnerable A2abcd+3bcd+4abcd
Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency Medium
Land mass type Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 403,000 medium
Number of locations -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 100000-499999 poor inferred 1992
Population trend Decreasing medium inferred -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) 50-79 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) 50-79 - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 14.3 - - -

Population justification:

Based on the estimated density of the species and P. erithacus in Ghana and Guinea, Dändliker (1992) calculated population estimates for Côte d'Ivoire (54,000-130,000 individuals), Liberia (50,000-100,000), Sierra Leone (11,000-18,000), Guinea (5,000-10,000) and Guinea-Bissau (100-1,000). These estimates have been used as the basis for setting export quotas in the past. This gave a total estimate of c.120,000-259,000 individuals in 1992.

However, this is likely to have been an overestimate and the population may now be lower if the species is declining rapidly (R. Martin in litt. 2016). Gatter (1997) estimated a significantly higher density of 2 breeding pairs per km2 in logged forest north of Zwedru, Liberia. More recent estimates place the Liberian population at around 18,000 individuals (Freeman et al. 2018).

A status assessment for the population in Guinea-Bissau indicates a national population of 250-1000 individuals, with very low population densities (or an absence) everywhere in that country, with the exception of small (<8 km2) islands remote from permanent human habitation (Lopes 2015; Lopes et al. 2018a). A survey in 2018 in the Gola Rainforest National Park in Sierra Leone recorded the species at an encounter rate of 0.1 groups/h in the National Park and 0.3 in the buffer zone, indicating densities of around 1-3 individuals per km2 and a population within the park itself of around 2.400 individuals (Valle et al. 2020).

However, the likely total population remains highly uncertain. The population is placed in the band 100,000-499,999 mature individuals in the absence of further data, although it is likely to be closer to the lower bound of this range, or maybe even number fewer individuals than this (R. Martin in litt. 2016).

Trend justification: Population declines have been noted across the range. In all of these declines, trapping for the wild bird trade has been implicated, with habitat loss also having significant impacts. Gatter (1997) estimated c.1,400 birds smuggled from Cote d’Ivoire annually between 1981-1984, over 99% being P. timneh. In 2009 Guinea exported 720 timneh, despite having a quota of zero (Anon. 2011).

Legal trade as monitored by CITES may represent only a proportion of the total numbers captured from the wild, while Allport (1991) estimated that c.77% of the Upper Guinea EBA forest cover had been lost at the time of that study, and regional forest loss has continued since that date at a high rate (H. Rainey in litt. 2010). There has been a dramatic decline (of 90-99%) in the closely related and ecologically similar P. erithacus in Ghana (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2014; Annorbah et al. 2016). It is likely that similar processes that led to the decline have operated and continue to operate in neighbouring countries (in the case of exploitation for the overseas pet trade possibly at even greater intensities over the last two decades) (R. Martin in litt. 2016). Additionally, there is no evidence of ‘substantial’ populations elsewhere in their range beyond Sapo National Park in Liberia (Freeman 2014) and Gola National Park in Sierra Leone (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2007; Klop et al. 2010). 

The rate of decline is hard to quantify, but given the massive level of capture for trade and the high levels of forest loss in parts of the range a decline of >50% in three generations (43 years) may be likely.

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Côte d'Ivoire N Extant Yes
Guinea N Extant Yes
Guinea-Bissau N Extant Yes
Liberia N Extant Yes
Sierra Leone N Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Côte d'Ivoire Gueoule and Glo Mountain Forest Reserves
Côte d'Ivoire Peko Mountain National Park
Côte d'Ivoire Lamto Ecological Research Station
Côte d'Ivoire Parc National de Taï et Réserve de faune du N'Zo
Côte d'Ivoire Mopri Forest Reserve
Côte d'Ivoire Yapo and Mambo Forest Reserves
Côte d'Ivoire Azagny National Park
Liberia Wologizi mountains
Liberia Wonegizi mountains
Liberia Lofa-Gola-Mano Complex
Liberia Nimba mountains
Liberia Zwedru
Liberia Cestos - Senkwen
Liberia Sapo
Liberia Grebo
Sierra Leone Loma Mountains Non-hunting Forest Reserve
Sierra Leone Kangari Hills Non-hunting Forest Reserve
Sierra Leone Western Area Peninsula Forest National Park
Sierra Leone Gola Forests
Guinea Diécké
Guinea Kabitaï
Guinea Massif du Ziama
Sierra Leone Yawri Bay

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Plantations suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Rural Gardens suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Urban Areas suitable resident
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Dry suitable resident
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Mangrove Vegetation Above High Tide Level suitable resident
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland major resident
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane suitable resident
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Swamp major resident
Savanna Dry suitable resident
Altitude 0 - 2200 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Small-holder farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Medium Impact: 7
Species mortality
Biological resource use Logging & wood harvesting - Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Medium Impact: 7
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Residential & commercial development Housing & urban areas Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Species disturbance, Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - Non-trivial Recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - International Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Psittacus timneh. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/12/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/12/2022.