Psittaciformes, known by its more common name Parrots, consists of more than 350 birds. From macaws, amazons, lorikeets, lovebirds, cockatoos, and other bird species fall under this species. But some of these beloved parrots are at risk of extinction. So, what parrots are endangered?
The International Union for Conservation of Nature listed 32 species of parrots in their Global Endangered Red List. These 32 species make up 8% of the total number of parrots on their Endangered list. Some of these species include the Sun Parakeet, the Grey Parrot, the Kea, etc.
Birds make up 13% of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The majority of the parrot species on the IUCN red list are slowly declining. With 80% of the endangered parrot species on a decline, sharing information on saving the endangered parrot species is imperative.
What Parrots Are Endangered?
The IUCN Red List is a comprehensive database of the world’s endangered, threatened, and extinct species. Experts update the database regularly, making it one of the best places to get real-time information on animals and their updated numbers in the wild.
According to the IUCN, there are 32 species of parrots in the endangered category of the Red List. In total, there are 399 species on the Red List. The endangered species make up 8%, extinct species make up 4%, and the most diminutive concern species make up 54.6%.
The Red List does mention other categories, such as the Critically Endangered species. Still, you can find more on those species below. So be sure to keep reading.
What Type Of Parrot Is Endangered?
There are over 350 species of parrots worldwide. Some experts categorize them according to their scientific classification, while others categorize them according to their sizes.
According to the IUCN, here’s the list of the endangered parrot species around the world:
- Sun Parakeet
- Grey Parrot
- Maroon-fronted Parrot
- Night Parrot
- Red-and-blue Lory
- Yellow-headed Amazon
- Indigo-winged Parrot
- Purple-naped Lory
- New Zealand Kaka
- Lear’s Macaw
- Rimatara Lorikeet
- Golden-shouldered Parrot
- Thick-billed Parrot
- Santa Marta Parakeet
- El Oro Parakeet
- Black-billed Amazon
- Red-crowned Amazon
- Vinaceous-breasted Amazon
- Sumba Eclectus
- Perija Parakeet
- Green Racquet-tail
- Timneh Parrot
- Coxen’s Fig-parrot
- Azuero Parakeet
- Santarem Parakeet
- Blue-backed Parrot
- Scarlet-breasted Lorikeet
- Goias Parakeet
- Grey-breasted Parakeet
- Green-thighed Parrot
- Lilac-crowned Amazon
Out of these 32 species, here are the four species that are on a slow and steady increase:
- Indigo-winged Parrot
- Lear’s Macaw
- Coxen’s Fig Parrot (currently labeled as stable)
- Grey-breasted Parakeet
Most of the endangered parrot species’ habitats are in South America and Southeast Asia. Only two of the species’ habitat is in the United States of America.
Regardless, out of the 32 species, only four species have a higher probability of leaving the red list. For example, the Grey Parrot has a decrease in mature individuals. Furthermore, species like the Sun Parakeet sit at a total population of 1000-2500.
Why Are Some Parrot Species On The Decline?
The decline of some parrot species, whether in their native land or not, lies in human interference. The human causes may be different, but they are human nonetheless. Let’s look at why some parrot species are on the endangered list.
- Livestock Farming And Ranching
Livestock farming is one of the world’s leading causes of harmful emissions. According to the UN, livestock farming causes the destruction of biodiversity, which is what happened to parrot species like the Sun Parakeet.
Livestock farming requires a lot of lands for grazing and crops to grow. Furthermore, farmers will only grow crops suitable for the livestock and not for the native species living around them. So you will find farmers clearing large tracts of land to cater to the livestock.
Some parrot species live in a terrestrial habitat, while others flourish in rain forests. The environments may be different, but the results are the same when livestock farming is at the brunt of it all.
- Climate Change And Severe Weather
Another threat causing a decline for the endangered parrot species is climate change. The Night Parrot, native to Australia, is slowly decreasing in its population (50-240 mature individuals at the time of writing) due to climate change. The temperatures rise, and droughts are getting longer due to climate change.
- Hunting And Trapping Terrestrial Animals
Hunting is one of the main threats to the species on this list. The majority of these parrots are under constant threat from hunters that want their feathers or other parts for various reasons. In Indonesia, the Red-and-Blue Lory is constantly threatened by extinction because of trapping.
In the early 1970s and the mid-1980s, trapping in Indonesia became so rampant that it caused some parrot species to go extinct. Why was it rampant? As people cleared forest land, they realized that parrots were abundant and that there was a market for them.
So, the trapping and hunting began.
- Invasive Species
Next on the list is invasive species. In this case, we can look at the New Zealand Kaka. Invasive pests such as possums posed a threat to the New Zealand Kaka.
The possums and the Kaka eat the same food, thus causing a reduction in the food supply. No food equals smaller populations, and therefore, the Kaka suffered due to their invasive nature.
Please note that Australia protects possums as a native species. However, in New Zealand, possums have become one of the most invasive pests for the ecological system.
- Transportation And Service Corridors
Infrastructure is a significant aspect of human society. Infrastructure is a set of systems that support the sustainable functionality of structures and facilities. Roads, railways, subways, etc., are part of the infrastructure.
Infrastructure may be necessary to the normal functioning of society; however, it comes at a cost. The Green-thighed Parrot is one of the endangered species affected by transportation channels such as roads and railroads.
Native to Brazil, the Green-thighed Parrot suffered a loss of habitat, reduced habitat connectivity, and decreased habitat quality due to roads and railways.
Nonetheless, livestock farming and ranching are some of the main threats of endangered species. According to the IUCN database, Intentional use, livestock farming, and ranching threaten all endangered parrots species.
Which Conservation Measure Should We Employ?
Fortunately, there is a silver lining. Through some conservation measures set in place, we can increase the population numbers of these endangered parrot species and hopefully stabilize them in the future.
Here are some conservation measures that you can implement to help endangered parrot species worldwide.
- Land Or Water Protection
Scientists explain that the best way to protect endangered parrot species is to protect the land they live in, simply put, their habitat. By having land that contains food, water, and other essentials for the endangered species, they can truly thrive.
What is a protected area? According to the IUCN, a protected area is a clearly defined geographical space recognized, dedicated, and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.
The main goal of a protected area is to keep the endangered species away from human toxins such as oil and gas. The majority of the endangered parrot species would benefit significantly from this habitat protection.
- Land Or Water Management
As shared earlier, invasive species can threaten endangered parrot species. By controlling these endangered species, you essentially manage their habitat, whether land or water. Another way to manage is to provide habitat restoration.
For those endangered species that suffer from a decrease in habitat quality, habitat restoration would be a great solution to keep the numbers high.
The IUCN lists six management categories for protected areas. Here are those categories:
- Strict nature reserve/ Wilderness area
- National park
- Natural monument or feature
- Habitat/species management area
- Protected landscape or seascape
- Protected areas with sustainable use of natural resources
Each category manages areas and follows a unique set of objectives to protect the endangered species. Furthermore, the UN recognizes these management categories.
- Species Management
Species management involves three aspects:
- Species recovery
- Species re-introduction
- Ex-situ conservation
Ex-situ conservation, aka off-site conservation, involves protecting the endangered species outside their natural habitat. Species management allows experts to find cures that may harm the endangered species and improve their quality of life.
- Education and awareness
Educating the public is the fastest way for anyone to showcase the importance of conserving endangered species. Anyone can conduct awareness and communication (as long as they are using credible information) campaigns that will aid endangered species.
Furthermore, these campaigns pave the way for training which helps further the conservation plan. Thanks to the internet and social media, it’s faster and more efficient to help spread the awareness of endangered parrot species.
- Law And Policy
Legislation is a powerful tool when it comes to protecting endangered species. The legislation allows for compliance and enforcement. Not only that, but it sets standards and codes for protected areas and species management.
Laws and policies also regulate the bodies in charge of protecting endangered species. They ensure that the organizations carry out these tasks that do not jeopardize the conservation and restoration process.
Thanks to the increased awareness of the problems behind endangered parrot species, conservation efforts have become more common. Studies show a high success rate when experts protect and manage the species in captivity than in the wild.
The Critically Endangered Parrot Species
So far, that’s all there is when it comes to endangered species. However, the IUCN also lists another category on its Red List, the critically endangered species. What makes them so different?
The critically endangered list consists of species at high risk of extinction. The IUCN lists 18 parrot species that are on the critically endangered list. Here are those species:
- Lilacine Amazon
- Swift Parrot
- Red-throated Lorikeet
- Blue-fronted Lorikeet
- Ultramarine Lorikeet
- Imperial Amazon
- New Caledonian Lorikeet
- Glaucous Macaw
- Blue-throated Macaw
- Red-fronted Macaw
- Orange-bellied Parrot
- Sulu Racquet-tail
- Puerto Rican Amazon
- Sinu Parakeet
- Great Green Macaw
- Malherbe’s Parakeet
- Yellow-naped Amazon
Critically endangered parrot species make up 4.5% of the total number of parrot species listed on the IUCN Red List.
Which Parrots Are Extinct?
Extinct parrots make up 4.0% of the species on the IUCN Red List. They include 16 parrot species, and here are those extinct parrot species:
- Mascarene Parrot
- Guadeloupe Parakeet
- Oceanic Parrot
- Rodriguez Parakeet
- Raiatea Parakeet
- Cuban Macaw
- Rodriguez Parrot
- Carolina Parakeet
- Black-fronted Parakeet
- Mauritius Grey Parrot
- Martinique Amazon
- Seychelles Parakeet
- Guadeloupe Amazon
- Broad-billed Parrot
- Norfolk Island Kaka
- Paradise Parrot
How Many Parrots Are Left In The World?
Experts revealed that there are over 350 parrot species in the world. Some say they lie in the 400. Out of these 350 parrot species, 32 are endangered, and 18 are critically endangered.
If you do the math, we’re looking at maybe 300 or over 300 species of parrots left in the world. Some species have higher populations, while others are just now achieving a stable population due to conservation efforts.
However, this estimation is not verified. It would be in your best interest to consult credible scientists and experts in the field.
What Is The Extinction Status Of The Grey Parrot?
According to the IUCN, the Grey Parrot is in the endangered category of the IUCN Red List. The database shows that there is a continuous decline in their mature individuals. Furthermore, there isn’t any recent information on their population numbers, but that might result from the 2020 world pandemic.
So far, there is no action recovery plan to help the Grey Parrot’s conservation measures. However, there are protected areas and conservation sites to aid the Grey Parrot’s dwindling population.
The End Result?
In the end, conservation measures are the silver lining to tackle the threats behind endangered species. According to the IUCN, the highest risk threat is from human beings when they intentionally use the land that was previously a habitat for the parrots.
The best way to aid the endangered species would be to vote for candidates that care for the environment and spread awareness for the sake of the endangered parrot species.
- International Union for Conservation of Nature
- Rosemary Low, The Endangered Parrots of Indonesia, AFA Watchbird Magazine Archive American Federation of Aviculture, Vol. 24 No 3 (1997)
- Kaka, Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhaiource
- Page 1. Possums in New Zealand, TE ARA The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
- 10 Easy Things You Can Do To Save Endangered Species, Endangered Species Coalition
- Morrison, C.E., Johnson, R.N., Grueber, C.E. et al. Genetic impacts of conservation management actions in a critically endangered parrot species. Conserv Genet 21, 869–877 (2020).
- Parrots, National Geographic