Pyrrhura orcesi


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Pyrrhura orcesi
Species Authority: Ridgely & Robbins, 1988
Common Name(s):
English El Oro Parakeet, El Oro Conure
Spanish Cotorra de El Oro, Perico de El Oro

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered C2a(ii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Berg, K., Díaz, D., Garzón, C., Schaefer, H.M. & Simpson, N.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Harding, M., Isherwood, I., Sharpe, C J, Stuart, T., Symes, A., Khwaja, N.
This species is known from few areas in a very small range. Remaining habitat is fragmented, and both range and population are probably declining rapidly. As a result, it qualifies as Endangered.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Pyrrhura orcesi occurs on the west slope of the Andes in south-west Ecuador (in Cañar, Azuay, El Oro and Loja), where it was discovered in 1980. It is apparently confined to an area only 100 km from north to south, and a maximum of 5-10 km wide (Juniper and Parr 1998), containing highly fragmented habitat, and with a population estimated at fewer than 1,000 individuals (Garzón 2007). Numbers at the type-locality (Buenaventura) were stable from 2002-2007 (Juniper and Parr 1998), estimated at 171 birds in 2005-2006 (Garzón 2007, H. M. Schaefer in litt. 2012).

Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The largest single population out of 5-6 known localities is at Buenaventura, where 171 individuals were estimated in 2005-2006, but its cooperative breeding system means that the number of breeding birds may be significantly fewer (H. M. Schaefer in litt. 2012).  It is best placed in the band 250-999 mature individuals, which equates to 375-1,499 individuals in total, rounded here to 350-1,500 individuals.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It inhabits very humid, tropical forest from 800-1,200 m (occasionally as low as 300 m). It has been reported to tolerate some habitat fragmentation (Schaefer and Schmidt 2003). It generally occurs in groups of 4-15, although a flock of 60 has been observed. It feeds on various fruit (including figs Ficus spp.), fruits and Cecropia flowers (Snyder et al. 2000). It appears to favour Dacryodes peruviana (Burseraceae) for nesting (Garzón 2007) and breeds communally (T. Schaefer in litt. 2007) but a pair exhibited pre-nesting behaviour in the cavity of a small Meliaceae tree in 1997 (Snyder et al. 2000), and nests have been reported in natural cavities 1.8-24 m above the ground in a variety of tree species (Schaefer and Schmidt 2003). The main breeding season appears to be  between November and March (Garzón 2007). Seasonal movements to lower altitudinal forests have been reported at Buenaventura (T. Schaefer in litt. 2007).

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Below 900 m, the rate of deforestation in west Ecuador was 57% per decade in 1958-1988, although in the higher parts of its range, with steeper terrain and a harsher climate, deforestation is slower and a greater proportion of forest remains (Dodson and Gentry 1991). In particular, rapid rates of logging around Piñas and Manta Real occurred during the late 1980s and 1990s (N. Simpson in litt. 2000). Typically, these areas were then burnt for cattle-farming. Mining is an additional threat (H. M. Schaefer in litt. 2012). The species is particularly threatened because it does not occur above c.1,300 m. Lack of suitable nesting trees may be a limiting factor and nesting at suboptimal sites may increase predation by species such as Crimson-rumped Toucanet (Anon. 2006, Garzón 2007, Waugh 2007). Its favoured nesting tree Dacryodes peruviana is highly sought after and frequently targeted for human use (Garzón 2007). Subpopulations may be isolated due to forest fragmentation, and the communal breeding system of the species might further increase its vulnerability to habitat loss (H. M. Schaefer in litt. 2007). Inbreeding is known to occur, although its effects are unclear (H. M. Schaefer in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. Portions of forest at Buenaventura have been recently purchased with the aim of ensuring their long-term conservation (López Lanús and Lowen 1999); the reserve currently covers 2,000 ha (H. M. Schaefer in litt. 2012). The reserve protects 60 individuals year-round and c.120 birds seasonally (Schaefer and Schmidt 2003). A nest box scheme has recently been implemented in Buenaventura Reserve (Waugh 2007). Since 2007, 12-15 of 54 nest boxes have been occupied, producing 19 fledglings, with 50 hatchlings produced in 2011 (Anon. 2010, H. M. Schaefer in litt. 2012). An education programme was recently started involving excursions to the reserve and talks in local schools (Schaefer and Schmidt 2003, Waugh 2007). The species may occur in the extensive Cordillera de Molleturo Protection Forest, but logging and mining occurs within and around this reserve (N. Simpson in litt. 2000, H. M. Schaefer in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to determine its distribution and population status (Wege and Long 1995). Investigate the Cordillera de Molleturo Protection Forest's suitability for wildlife conservation. Assess threats to the species (Snyder et al. 2000). Extend the nest box scheme (H. M. Schaefer in litt. 2012).

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Pyrrhura orcesi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 28 August 2015.
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