Yellow-faced parrotlet

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Yellow-faced parrotlet
Forpus xanthops -AFA show bird-8a.jpg
Adult male at a bird show
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Family: Psittaculidae
Genus: Forpus
F. xanthops
Binomial name
Forpus xanthops
(Salvin, 1895)

The yellow-faced parrotlet (Forpus xanthops) is a species of parrot in the family Psittacidae.

It is endemic to dry woodland, riparian thickets and scrub in the Marañón Valley in northern Peru.

It is threatened by habitat loss and trapping for the wild bird trade. The latter caused a rapid decline in the 1980s, but following a ban, the numbers appear to have stabilised, although at a very low number, with less than 1000 individuals remaining in the wild. When it comes to nesting, yellow-faced parrotlet's actually do not build nests but chew and rearrange the shavings into shallow depressions. [1]


A pet parrotlet
Upper body

The yellow-faced parrotlet is about 14.5 cm (5.7 in) long and weighs about 35 grams (1.2 oz).[2] Their bodes are mostly dark or olive green with gray washes on the nape and mantle and yellow-green underparts, and foreheads, crown, cheeks, and throat are bright yellow. A gray-green stripe extends backwards from each eye. Eyes are dark brown and feet and lower mandibles are light peach. The upper mandible is light peach with a gray or darker brown base. Yellow-faced parrotlets are sexually dimorphic: males have bright blue lower backs, tail, secondary, and underwing coverts, and inner primary feathers. Females' blue feathers are lighter on their backs and rumps, with blue-tinged green coverts, secondaries, and primaries.[2][3] Juveniles of the species look similar to adults, but are duller and have fewer yellow feathers and an entirely peach beak.

Like all parrots, yellow-faced parrotlets exhibit zygodactyly, meaning two toes face forward and two toes face backward.

Distribution and Habitat[edit]

Yellow-faced parrotlets are found in northwestern Peru in the upper Rio Marañón valley, from eastern La Libertad north to southeastern Cajamarca and southern Amazonas.[2]

Yellow-faced parrotlets prefer arid, low-density woodlands in upper tropical and subtropical areas including scrub, riparian zones, open balsa woodland, cactus montane desert, and open country with scattered vegetation. They are found at altitudes of 800–1,000 metres (2,600–3,300 ft), and rarely up to 2,400 metres (7,900 ft) above sea level.[2]


The yellow-faced parrotlet is currently listed as a Vulnerable species by the IUCN Red List.[1] The number of mature individuals in the wild is estimated to be 250-999 birds as of October 2016. The population size is currently stable, but birds are often trapped for the wild parrot trade. The mortality rate of this practice is estimated to be 40-100%. The construction of dams on the Rio Marañón is also a threat to yellow-faced parrotlet populations, as human activity tends to be detrimental to their habitat.

Yellow-faced parrotlets are protected, and international trade is prohibited, by CITES (Appendix II)[4] and the Wild Bird Conservation Act.

Behavior and Ecology[edit]


Yellow-faced parrotlets are very social; they roost communally in flocks of up to 70 pairs.

Calls are quiet tweets and chirps.[2]


Yellow-faced parrotlets typically breed between March and April; females lay clutches of 3-6 small white eggs.[2]


Yellow-faced parrotlets mainly feed on cactus and tree fruits, seeds, flowers, and grass and wheat seeds.[2]


Because of their Vulnerable status, yellow-faced parrotlets are very rare in captivity. Illegal pet traders in its range capture wild birds every year, though this practice is not very lucrative and merits severe punishment. It is estimated that fewer than 50 captive yellow-faced parrotlets in the U.S., though this number is simply a guess. They are easy to breed in captivity, which aids many organizations, such as the International Parrotlet Society, in maintaining successful breeding programs in efforts to conserve this species.[5]


  1. ^ a b c BirdLife International (2012). "Forpus xanthops". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Yellow-faced Parrotlet (Forpus xanthops) | Parrot Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  3. ^ Forshaw, Joseph M. (2006). Parrots of the World; an Identification Guide. Illustrated by Frank Knight. Princeton University Press. plate 95. ISBN 0-691-09251-6.
  4. ^ Narvaez, A.T. Catalogo de Especies CITES Peruanas de Fauna Silvestre. Perú Ministerio del Ambiente. p. 48.
  5. ^ Molenda, S.L. "Yellow-Faced Parrotlets". Petcha. Retrieved 18 March 2019.

External links[edit]