The TRUE PARROTS are about 350 species of colorful flighted (with a
few notable exceptions ) hook-billed, mostly herbivorous birds forming
the superfamily PSITTACOIDEA, one of the three superfamilies in the
Psittaciformes (parrots). True parrots are
widespread, with species in
Mexico , Central and
South America ,
sub-Saharan Africa ,
Southeast Asia ,
Australia , and
eastwards across the
Pacific Ocean as far as
Polynesia . The true
parrots include many of the familiar parrots including macaws ,
conures , lorikeets , eclectus , Amazon parrots , African gray parrot
, and budgerigar .
* 1 Overview
* 1.1 Distribution and habitat
* 2 Conservation status
* 3 Taxonomy
* 4 Species lists
* 5 Further reading
* 6 References
* 7 Notes
* 8 External links
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True parrots have a beak with a characteristic curved shape, the jaw
with a mobility slightly higher than where it connects with the skull,
and a generally upright position. They also have a large cranial
capacity and are one of the most intelligent bird groups. They are
good fliers and skillful climbers on branches of trees.
Some species can imitate the human voice and other sounds, although
they do not have vocal cords — instead possessing a vocal organ at
the base of the trachea known as the syrinx .
Like most parrots the
Psittacidae are primarily seed eaters. Some
variation is seen in the diet of individual species, with fruits,
nuts, leaves, and even insects and other animal prey being taken on
occasion by some species. The lorikeets are predominantly nectar
feeders; many other parrots drink nectar, as well. Most Psittacidae
are cavity-nesting birds which form monogamous pair bonds.
DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT
The true parrots are distributed throughout the tropical and
subtropical regions of the world, mostly in the
Southern Hemisphere ,
covering many different habitats , from the humid tropical forests to
Southeast Asia , sub-Saharan Africa ,
South America , and two species, one extinct (the Carolina
parakeet ), formerly in the United States. However, the larger
populations are native to
South America , and Central
Many species are classified as threatened by the International Union
for the Conservation of Nature (see
IUCN Red List
IUCN Red List of birds), as well
as national and nongovernmental organizations. Trade in birds and
other wild animals is governed by the Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Nearly
all parrots are listed on CITES appendices, trade limited or
prohibited. Trapping wild parrots for the pet trade , hunting ,
habitat loss , and competition from invasive species have diminished
wild populations, with parrots being subjected to more exploitation
than any other group of birds. Of the animals removed from the wild
to be sold, very few survive during capture and transport, and those
that do often die from poor conditions of captivity, poor diet, and
stress. Measures taken to conserve the habitats of some high-profile
charismatic species have also protected many of the less charismatic
species living in the same ecosystems .
About 18 species of parrots have gone extinct since 1500 (see List of
Psittaciformes ), nearly all in superfamily
Parrot § Taxonomy
Phylogeny and relationships of
The parrot family
Psittacidae (along with the family Cacatuidae
comprising the order Psittaciformes) was traditionally considered to
contain two subfamilies , the
Psittacinae (typical parrots and allies)
Loriinae (lories and lorikeets ). However, the tree of the
parrot family now has been reorganized under the superfamily
Psittacidae has been split into three families,
tribes Strigopini and Nestorini split out and placed under superfamily
Strigopoidea and a new monotypic superfamily
containing family Cacatuidae.
The following classification is based on the most recent proposal,
which in turn is based on all the relevant recent findings.
Psittacidae , New World and African parrots
Psittacinae : Two African genera,
* Tribe Arini : 17 genera, and one extinct genus
Androglossini : seven genera
* clade (proposed tribe Amoropsittacini) four genera
* clade (proposed tribe Forpini) one genus
* (other tribes) five genera
Psittrichasiidae , Indian Ocean island parrots
Psittrichasinae : one species, Pesquet\'s parrot
Coracopsinae : one genus with several species
Psittaculidae , Asian and Australasian parrots, and lovebirds
Pezoporini : ground parrots and allies
* Tribe Platycercini : broad-tailed parrots
Psittacellinae : one genus (Psittacella ) with several
* Tribe Loriini : lories and lorikeets
* Tribe Melopsittacini : one species, the budgerigar
* Tribe Cyclopsittini : fig parrots
Agapornithinae : three genera
Polytelini : three genera
Psittaculini : Asian psittacines
* Tribe Micropsittini : pygmy parrots
* Species list sortable alphabetically by common or scientific name
* Species list in taxonomic order
* Bruce Thomas Boehner -
Parrot Culture. Our 2,500-year-Long
Fascination with the World's Most Talkative
* ^ Snyder, N; McGowan, P; Gilardi, J; McGowan, P; Gilardi, J;
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:
* ^ del Hoyo (1997). Handbook of Birds of the World, Vol.4. Lynx
Editions. p. 281.
* ^ Nicole E. White; Matthew J. Phillips; M. Thomas P. Gilbert;
Alonzo Alfaro-Núñez; Eske Willerslev; Peter R. Mawson; Peter B.S.
Spencer; Michael Bunce (2011). "The evolutionary history of cockatoos
(Aves: Psittaciformes: Cacatuidae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and
Evolution. 59 (3): 615–622. PMID 21419232 . doi
* ^ 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. doi :10.1111/j.1365-2699.2011.02555.x .
* ^ Leo Joseph; Alicia Toon; Erin E. Schirtzinger; Timothy F.
Wright (2011). "Molecular systematics of two enigmatic genera
Pezoporus illuminate the ecological radiation of
Australo-Papuan parrots (Aves: Psittaciformes)". Molecular
Phylogenetics and Evolution. 59 (3): 675–684. PMID 21453777 . doi
* ^ 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.
PMC 2727385 . PMID 18653733 . doi :10.1093/molbev/msn160 .
* ^ Schweizer, M.; Seehausen O; Güntert M; Hertwig ST (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. PMID 19699808
. doi :10.1016/j.ympev.2009.08.021 .
* ^ 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. PMID
16099384 . doi :10.1016/j.ympev.2005.03.013 .
* ^ 4 species are ground dwelling: three in genus
Pezoporus and the
Antipodes parakeet .
* ^ The other superfamilies are the
Cacatuoidea (cockatoos ) and
Strigopoidea which are also parrots , but not classified
as true parrots.