Psittrichas fulgidus 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Psittaciformes Psittacidae

Scientific Name: Psittrichas fulgidus
Species Authority: (Lesson, 1830)
Common Name(s):
English Pesquet's Parrot
Spanish Loro Aguileño
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. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.
Identification information: 46 cm. Red-and-black parrot. Bright crimson belly, inner wings and uppertail-coverts, breast scaled with grey. Alternative name "Vulturine Parrot" derives from naked head and long, hooked bill. Similar spp. Palm Cockatoo Probosciger aterrimus uniformly blackish-grey with small pink face patch and very heavy bill. Female Eclectus Parrot Eclectus roratus has bright red head and blue body. Crows Corvus spp. are all-black with straighter bills. Voice Rather like a cockatoo but quieter and softer. Hints Usually seen flying over roads and other vantage points, generally as singles or pairs but flocks of up to 20 have been recorded.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2bcd+3bcd+4bcd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A. & Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Beehler, B., Bishop, K. & Supuma, M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Bird, J., Derhé, M., Dutson, G., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A., Stattersfield, A.
This species is classified as Vulnerable as it is suspected to be undergoing a rapid population decline over three generations (60 years) owing to hunting for feathers. Should the species be declining at a more moderate rate, due to a reduction in hunting, this species will warrant downlisting to a lower category of threat.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Vulnerable (VU)
2004 Vulnerable (VU)
2000 Vulnerable (VU)
1996 Vulnerable (VU)
1994 Vulnerable (VU)
1988 Near Threatened (NT)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Psittrichas fulgidus is patchily distributed across New Guinea (Papua, formerly Irian Jaya, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea). It has been historically and recently extirpated from large areas, especially in Papua New Guinea (Coates 1985, Beehler et al. 1986, K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994, Mack and Wright 1998). It is generally rare and seen in small numbers (birds are wide-ranging) (B. Beehler in litt. 2007), and has shown recent rapid declines in some areas such as Ok Tedi (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994, Gregory 1995a). The only population estimate is based on two pairs inhabiting 14 km2 at Crater Mountain. Extrapolation suggests a total population of 21,000 pairs (Mack and Wright 1998). However, this may have been an overestimate as the Crater Mountain birds sometimes foraged elsewhere, the species is atypically common at this site and is absent from many hunted areas (Mack and Wright 1998). Conversely, it may be an underestimate by not accounting for substantial populations at lower altitudes (B. Beehler in litt. 2000).

Countries occurrence:
Indonesia; Papua New Guinea
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 278000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 11-100
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Lower elevation limit (metres): 100
Upper elevation limit (metres): 1800
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Pryor et al. (2001).

Trend Justification:  This species is under severe hunting pressure for feathers, and to a lesser extent trade and meat. Hunting for feathers has increased with population growth and an increasing number of tourists. Together these factors are suspected to be driving a rapid and on-going population reduction.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
No. of subpopulations: 1 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is restricted to hill and lower montane forest (Mack and Wright 1998, B. Beehler in litt. 2000). At lower altitudes it appears to occur only in hills and at the base of mountains (Burrows 1995, Mack 1998, B. Beehler in litt. 2000). It is an extremely specialised frugivore, feeding only on a very few species of fig, and is probably seasonally nomadic. It nests in large, hollow trees and may have a lifespan of 20-40 years (Mack and Wright 1998).

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 9
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The major threat is hunting for feathers (Coates 1985, Beehler et al. 1986, Mack and Wright 1998), which are used for ornamentation, particularly in ceremonial head-dresses, in much of the Papua New Guinea Highlands and, in some areas, for skins, which are used as bride prices (Schmid 1993). Demand may increase as the population grows, however, the plumes of this species are not worn as commonly as those of other birds (M. Supuma in litt. 2012) and many feathers may be decades old as they are tend to be carefully stored when not being used (B. Beehler in litt. 2012). In addition, hunting levels have decreased since the introduction of a law preventing the killing of birds with non-traditional means (i.e. shotguns). Tourist shows and cultural events have increased in recent years, which may increase demand for plumes, and birds or feathers are occasionally sold to tourists (van den Bergh 2009) although it is illegal to take them out of the country. Despite demand being generally lower in Papua, birds are also hunted for the cage-bird trade and meat (Nash 1992, K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994). Nestlings are captured by felling trees or enlarging nest-cavities, and the scarcity of suitable nest-sites could become a limiting factor. Deforestation is a less major threat to the species since loggers usually leave fig trees (B. Beehler in litt. 2007).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. The Crater Mountain study have published conservation recommendations (Mack and Wright 1998).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to improve the accuracy of the population estimate. Research the species's basic ecology, especially any feeding specialism. Research the feather trade. Monitor numbers at surveyed sites such as Crater Mountain and Kikori. Monitor numbers traded domestically and internationally. Control transport of threatened species on domestic flights. Run an education programme to dissuade tourists from buying feathers and artefacts. Investigate suitability of a programme to substitute artificial or dyed feathers (Mack and Wright 1998).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Psittrichas fulgidus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22685025A38263740. . Downloaded on 28 November 2015.
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