Vulturine Parrot Pyrilia vulturina


Justification of Red List Category

Based on a model of future deforestation in the Amazon basin, and its dependence on primary forest and sensitivity to fragmentation, it is suspected that the population of this species will decline rapidly over the next three generations, and it has therefore been uplisted to Vulnerable.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'uncommon' (Stotz et al. 1996).

Trend justification
This species is suspected to lose 37.1-54.8% of suitable habitat within its distribution over three generations (21 years) based on a model of Amazonian deforestation (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). Although the species may have some susceptibility to hunting and/or trapping, it also appears to have some degree of tolerance of habitat degradation (A. Lees in litt. 2011). It is therefore suspected to decline by 30-49% over three generations.

Distribution and population

Pyrilia vulturina is endemic to north Brazil. Its range extends from the Rio Madeira east to Maranhão (del Hoyo et al. 1997). It is naturally rare, and may be restricted to the areas around major rivers within this region, which would mean its range size is overestimated (A. Lees in litt. 2011).


This species occupies both terra firme forest (with no flooding) and várzea (seasonally flooded forest). It is thought that its bare head may be an adaptation for feeding on large fruit, whose juice would mat feathers (del Hoyo et al. 1997).


The primary threat to this species is accelerating deforestation in the Amazon basin as land is cleared for cattle ranching and soy production, facilitated by expansion of the road network (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). Whilst it shows some tolerance of habitat degradation, it may also be susceptible to hunting (A. Lees in litt. 2011). Proposed changes to the Brazilian Forest Code reduce the percentage of land a private landowner is legally required to maintain as forest (including, critically, a reduction in the width of forest buffers alongside perennial steams) and include an amnesty for landowners who deforested before July 2008 (who would subsequently be absolved of the need to reforest illegally cleared land) (Bird et al. 2011).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It is listed as Vulnerable at the national level in Brazil (MMA 2014). No targeted actions are known.

Conservation Actions Proposed

Expand the protected area network to effectively protect IBAs. Effectively resource and manage existing and new protected areas, utilising emerging opportunities to finance protected area management with the joint aims of reducing carbon emissions and maximizing biodiversity conservation. Conservation on private lands, through expanding market pressures for sound land management and preventing forest clearance on lands unsuitable for agriculture, is also essential (Soares-Filho et al. 2006). Campaign against proposed changes to the Brazilian Forest Code that would lead to a decrease in the width of the areas of riverine forest protected as Permanent Preservation Areas (APPs), which function as vital corridors in fragmented landscapes.


23 cm. Small, green parrot. Its head is bare and covered in dark bristles. Has a complete yellow feathered collar, with black on the nape and sides of neck. The rest of the body is predominantly green, with an orange-yellow shoulder and an olive yellow breast, black primaries and a blue tip to the tail. Immature has a feathered green head, and lacks the yellow collar and black bordering.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Khwaja, N., Symes, A., Sharpe, C J

Lees, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Pyrilia vulturina. Downloaded from on 29/05/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 29/05/2020.