The neotropical parrots or
New World parrots comprise about 150
species in 32 genera found throughout South and Central America,
Mexico, and the Caribbean islands, and two species (one extinct)
formerly inhabited North America. They are also present on a few
Pacific islands such as the Galápagos. Among them are some of the
most familiar and iconic parrots, including the blue and gold macaw,
sun conure, and yellow-headed amazon.
The parrots of the
New World have been known to Europeans since
Columbus remarked upon them in his journal in 1492. Systematic
descriptions of the birds were first available in German naturalist
Historia Naturalis Brasiliae
Historia Naturalis Brasiliae published in 1648, and
English naturalist Mark Catesby's two-volume Natural History of
Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands published in
London in 1731
Several species and one genus have become extinct in recent centuries.
A second genus is extinct in the wild. Over a third of the extant
species are classified as threatened by the IUCN. A few of these are
in imminent danger of extinction with fewer than 500 individuals in
the wild or in captivity: glaucous macaw, Spix's macaw, blue-throated
macaw, Puerto Rican parrot, and indigo-winged parrot. The chief
reasons for decline in parrot populations are habitat loss through
deforestation by clear-cutting, burning, and flooding by construction
of dams, capture for the pet trade, and introduction of non-native
New World parrots are monophyletic, and have been geographically
isolated for at least 30–55 million years by molecular dating
methods. Though fairly few fossils of modern parrots are known, most
of these are from tribe Arini of macaws and parakeets; the oldest are
from 16 million years ago. They attest that modern genera were
mostly distinct by the Pleistocene, a few million years ago.
Neotropical parrots comprise at least two monophyletic clades, one of
primarily long-tailed species such as the macaws, conures, and allies,
and the other of primarily short-tailed parrots such as amazons and
A new species, the bald parrot or orange-headed parrot, was discovered
as recently as 2002.
Neotropical parrots belong to the subfamily Arinae which along with
the African or Old World parrots comprise the family Psittacidae, one
of three families of true parrots. The taxonomy of the neotropical
parrots is not yet fully resolved, but the following subdivision is
supported by solid studies.
Cyanoliseus – burrowing parrot
Enicognathus (two species)
Rhynchopsitta – thick-billed parrots (two species)
Pyrrhura (around two dozen species, one possibly recently extinct)
Anodorhynchus – blue macaws (two living species, one probably
Leptosittaca – golden-plumed parakeet
Ognorhynchus – yellow-eared parrot
Diopsittaca – red-shouldered macaw
Guaruba – golden parakeet
Carolina parakeet (extinct)
Spix's macaw (critically endangered)
Orthopsittaca – red-bellied macaw
Ara – true macaws (eight living species, and at least one recently
Primolius – some of the smaller macaws (three species, previously
Aratinga – small long-tailed parakeets (nearly 25 living species, at
least one recently extinct)
Nandayus – also called black-hooded parakeet or nanday parakeet
Pionopsitta – pileated parrot
Triclaria – blue-bellied parrot
Pyrilia (7 species; all previously included in Pionopsitta).
Pionus (8 species)
Graydidascalus – short-tailed parrot
Alipiopsitta – yellow-faced parrot (previously in Amazona,
Amazona – amazon parrots (about 30 living species – one subspecies
Schodde, et al. recognize a division of the remaining genera into
several distinct clades, indicating possible previously undefined
clade – proposed tribe Forpini
Forpus (seven species)
clade – proposed tribe Amoropsittacini
Nannopsittaca (two species)
Psilopsiagon (two species, formerly in Bolborhynchus)
Bolborhynchus (two species)
Touit (eight species)
clade including Arini
Pionites – caiques (four species)
Deroptyus – red-fan parrot
clade including Androglossini
Hapalopsittaca (four species)
Brotogeris (eight species)
Myiopsitta (one or two species)
List of parrots
List of macaws
List of amazon parrots
^ Forshaw,, J. (1989). Parrots of the world, third ed. Melbourne,
Australia: Landsdowne Editions,.
^ *Miyaki, C. Y.; Matioli, S. R.; Burke, T.; Wajntal, A. (1998).
Parrot evolution and paleogeographical events: Mitochondrial DNA
evidence" (PDF). Molecular Biology and Evolution. 15 (5): 544–551.
^ Joseph, Leo; Toon, Alicia; Schirtzinger, Erin E.; Wright, Timothy
F.; Schodde, Richard (2012). "A revised nomenclature and
classification for family-group taxa of parrots (Psittaciformes)".
Zootaxa. 3205: 26–40.
^ Manuel Schweizer; Ole Seehausen & Stefan T. Hertwig (2011).
"Macroevolutionary patterns in the diversification of parrots: effects
of climate change, geological events and key innovations". Journal of
Biogeography. 38: 2176–2194.
^ Leo Joseph; Alicia Toon; Erin E. Schirtzinger; Timothy F. Wright
(2011). "Molecular systematics of two enigmatic genera Psittacella and
Pezoporus illuminate the ecological radiation of Australo-Papuan
parrots (Aves: Psittaciformes)". Molecular Phylogenetics and
Evolution. 59 (3): 675–684. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2011.03.017.
^ Wright, T.F.; Schirtzinger, E. E.; Matsumoto, T.; Eberhard, J. R.;
Graves, G. R.; Sanchez, J. J.; Capelli, S.; Muller, H.; Scharpegge,
J.; Chambers, G. K.; Fleischer, R. C. (2008). "A Multilocus Molecular
Phylogeny of the Parrots (Psittaciformes): Support for a Gondwanan
Origin during the Cretaceous". Mol Biol Evol. 25 (10): 2141–2156.
doi:10.1093/molbev/msn160. PMC 2727385 .
^ Schweizer, M.; Seehausen, O.; Güntert, M.; Hertwig, S. T. (2009).
"The evolutionary diversification of parrots supports a taxon pulse
model with multiple trans-oceanic dispersal events and local
radiations". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 54 (3): 984–94.
doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2009.08.021. PMID 19699808.
^ de Kloet, RS; de Kloet SR (2005). "The evolution of the spindlin
gene in birds: Sequence analysis of an intron of the spindlin W and Z
gene reveals four major divisions of the Psittaciformes". Molecular
Phylogenetics and Evolution. 36 (3): 706–721.
doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.03.013. PMID 16099384.
^ Schodde, et.al, Richard (2013). "Correspondence: Higher
New World parrots (Psittaciformes; Arinae), with
diagnoses of tribes" (PDF). Zootaxa. 3691 (5): 591–596.
Ribas, C.; Gaban-Lima, R.; Miyaki, C.; Cracraft, J. (2005).
"Historical biogeography and diversification within the Neotropical
parrot genus Pionopsitta (Aves: Psittacidae)". Journal of
Biogeography. 32: 1409–1427.
Split Gypopsitta from Pionopsitta South American Classification
Amazon parrots (genus: Amazona)
Cuban amazon (or rose-throated amazon)
Yellow-billed amazon (or Jamaican amazon)
Puerto Rican amazon
Yucatan amazon (or yellow-lored amazon)
Red-lored amazon (supporting page: lilacine amazon)
Turquoise-fronted amazon (or blue-fronted amazon)
Yellow-crowned amazon (supporting page: Panama amazon)
Northern mealy amazon
Southern mealy amazon
Vinaceous-breasted amazon (or vinaceous amazon)
St. Lucia amazon
St. Vincent amazon
Neotropical parrots (tribe: Arini)
List of amazon parrots
Species (extinctions: † indicates a species confirmed to be extinct,
₴ indicates evidence only from sub-fossils)
Blue-and-yellow macaw (or blue-and-gold macaw)
Great green macaw
Great green macaw (or Buffon's macaw)
Red-and-green macaw (or green-winged macaw)
Chestnut-fronted macaw (or severe macaw)
Cuban macaw †
Saint Croix macaw
Saint Croix macaw † ₴
Lesser Antillean macaw
Lesser Antillean macaw † ₴
Blue-winged macaw (or Illiger's macaw)
Golden-collared macaw (or yellow-collared macaw)
Red-shouldered macaw (Hahn's macaw or noble macaw)
Hypothetical extinct macaws
Jamaican red macaw
Dominican green-and-yellow macaw
Neotropical parrots (tribe: Arini)
List of macaws
Central America portal