Green-rumped parrotlet

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Green-rumped parrotlet
Forpus passerinus-Venezuela-8a.jpg
Male (right) and female (left) in Venezuela
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Superfamily: Psittacoidea
Family: Psittacidae
Subfamily: Arinae
Genus: Forpus
Species: F. passerinus
Binomial name
Forpus passerinus
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Psittacus passerinus Linnaeus, 1758

The green-rumped parrotlet (Forpus passerinus) is a small Neotropical parrot. It is one of seven species in the genus Forpus and is found in Northeastern South America.


The green-rumped parrotlet is about 12 cm (4.8 in) long and weighs 23 g and is the smallest parrot found in the Americas. Green-rumped parrotlets exhibit sexual dimorphism. Both sexes are primarily bright green with short tails and a pinkish beak. Males have a brilliant blue wing patch; females lack blue but have some yellow on the head. The subspecies F. p. viridissimus of Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago is darker green than the nominate F. p. passerinus, and the males have more strongly blue-tinged wings. Green-rumped parrotlets make light, twittering calls. Contact calls are individually distinct and are used for individual mate recognition.[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

It is a resident breeding bird in tropical South America, from Caribbean regions of Colombia, Venezuela and Trinidad south and east to the Guianas and Brazil, on the downstream Amazon River. It has been introduced in Jamaica, Curaçao, Barbados and Tobago, and was not recorded on Trinidad prior to 1916.

Green-rumped parrotlets are fairly common in open, semi-arid habitat and are found residing in dry scrubland, deciduous woodland, gallery forest, farmland, forest edges, and deforested areas throughout their range. While they are non-migratory, they may wander locally to locate sources of food.[3]

Behavior and ecology[edit]

Green-rumped parrotlets are very gregarious and roost communally; large numbers can be seen at the roost sites at dawn and dusk. They form strong pair bonds and rarely switch mates, but typically only breed with the same individual for 1-2 seasons.


Green-rumped parrotlets breed during the rainy season (June- November). They typically make their nests in unlined tree cavities, holes found in arboreal termite nests, or in cavities in wooden fence posts. The female lays an average of seven white eggs over a period of 9–16 days. The female usually initiates incubation after the first egg is laid, leading to asynchronous hatching which begins 18–22 days after the start of incubation. Depending on the clutch size, hatching concludes 2–14 days after the first egg hatches. Fledging occurs 29–35 days after hatching, with the clutch fledging over a period of 14 days on average.[4]


They primarily eat seeds from grasses and forbs. They have also been observed to eat the seeds from some fruit trees, including Annona sp. and guava.[5]

Conservation status[edit]

The global population size is not known, but this species has been described as widespread and common.[6] The species has been classified as a species of least concern by the IUCN Red List.[1]


Green-rumped parrotlets are bred in captivity and kept as pets, although less commonly than Pacific parrotlets. Import of green-rumped parrotlets into the United States is limited under the Wild Bird Conservation Act.[7] International trade is limited by CITES,[8] so aviculture is dependent on existing captive populations.


Forpus passerinus passerinus Found in the Guianas. Also known as Nominate subspecies. The male is green with a brighter green at the forehead and cheeks, underside of the body and behind the neck. Lower back, rump and upper tail are bright emerald green. Underside of wings and edge of wing are blue. Females are the same as males, but lacking any blue. They may have more yellowish colorings on forehead. Green-rumped parrotlets have a sleek body (feathers held tight), their eyes are dark brown, and their legs are a pale pink.

Forpus passerinus viridissimus Found in North Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago. Also known as Venezuelan green parrotlet. Like F.p. passerinus, but the male has paler blue markings. The green plumage on both males and females varies significantly based on what region they are from.

Forpus passerinus deliciosus Found in the lower Amazonian Basin in Brazil. Also known as delicate parrotlet, Santarem passerine parrotlet. Like F. p. passerinus, but the male has an emerald green rump with bluish tinge and broad pale blue edging on the greater wing coverts. Female has more yellow throughout and a deeper yellow facial area.

Forpus passerinus cyanochlorus Found in Roraima-Brazil. Also known as Schlegel's parrotlet. Like F.P. Passerinus, but the female's tail feathers are more green on the underside. Also has more yellow throughout and a green forehead.

Forpus passerinus cyanophanes Found in the areas around Northern Colombia. Also known as Rio Hacha parrotlet. Like F.p. passerinus. Male's blue wing-markings are more violet, and show more blue when wing is closed than in the other subspecies.


  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2012). "Forpus passerinus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ Berg, Karl S; Delgado, Soraya; Okawa, Rae; Beissinger, Steven; Bradbury, Jack (2011). "Contact calls are used for individual mate recognition in free-ranging green-rumped parrotlets, Forpus passerinus". Animal Behaviour. 81 (1): 241–248. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2010.10.012.
  3. ^ Forshaw, Joseph (2006). Parrots of the World. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p. 123. ISBN 0-691-09251-6.
  4. ^ Beissinger, SR; Waltman JR (1991). "Extraordinary clutch size and hatching asynchrony of a Neotropical parrot" (PDF). Auk. 108 (4): 863–871. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  5. ^ Waltman, J.R. "Breeding behavior of the Green-rumped Parrotlet". Wilson Bulletin. 104 (1): 65–84.
  6. ^ Stotz, Douglas F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W.; Parker III, T. A.; Moskovits, D. (1996). Neotropical birds : ecology and conservation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226776309.
  7. ^ "Wild Bird Conservation Act". US Fish and Wildlife Service. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  8. ^ Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (2013). "Appendices I, II and III". Retrieved 13 June 2014.

Related books and articles[edit]

  • Birds of Venezuela by Hilty, ISBN 0-7136-6418-5
  • ffrench, Richard (1991). A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd ed.). Comstock Publishing. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2.

External links[edit]