Psittacidae – African & New World Parrots

Vinaceous-breasted Amazon Amazona vinacea ©James Lowen Website

The family Psittacidae is one of three families of true parrots, and consists of two subfamilies, the Old World or Afrotropical parrots of Psittacinae and the New World or Neotropical parrots of Arinae. Some of the most iconic birds in the world are represented here, such as the Blue-and-gold Macaw among the New World parrots and the African Grey Parrot among the Old World parrots. They are found in tropical and subtropical zones and inhabit Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean islands, sub-Saharan Africa and the island of Madagascar, and the Arabian Peninsula.

This family probably had its origin early in the Paleogene period after the western half of Gondwana had separated into the continents of Africa and South America, before the divergence of African and New World lineages c. 30 to 35 million years ago. It is estimated that the New World parrots (Arinae), and by implication Old World parrots, last shared a common ancestor with the Australian parrots (Cacatuidae) c. 59 million years ago. The data place most of the diversification of psittaciforms around 40 million years ago, after the separation of Australia from West Antarctica and South America. Divergence of Psittacidae from the ancestral parrots resulted from a common radiation event from what was then West Antarctica into South America then Africa via late Cretaceous land bridges that survived through the Paleogene.

Species List

According to the IOC there are 177 species in this family, which are:

Grey Parrot Psittacus erithacus
Timneh Parrot Psittacus timneh

Red-fronted Parrot Poicephalus gulielmi
Yellow-fronted Parrot Poicephalus flavifrons
Brown-necked Parrot Poicephalus fuscicollis
Cape Parrot Poicephalus robustus
Meyer’s Parrot Poicephalus meyeri
Rüppell’s Parrot Poicephalus rueppellii
Brown-headed Parrot Poicephalus cryptoxanthus
Niam-niam Parrot Poicephalus crassus
Senegal Parrot Poicephalus senegalus
Red-bellied Parrot Poicephalus rufiventris

Lilac-tailed Parrotlet Touit batavicus
Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlet Touit huetii
Red-fronted Parrotlet Touit costaricensis
Blue-fronted Parrotlet Touit dilectissimus
Sapphire-rumped Parrotlet Touit purpuratus
Brown-backed Parrotlet Touit melanonotus
Golden-tailed Parrotlet Touit surdus
Spot-winged Parrotlet Touit stictopterus

Grey-hooded Parakeet Psilopsiagon aymara
Mountain Parakeet Psilopsiagon aurifrons

Barred Parakeet Bolborhynchus lineola
Rufous-fronted Parakeet Bolborhynchus ferrugineifrons
Andean Parakeet Bolborhynchus orbygnesius

Tepui Parrotlet Nannopsittaca panychlora
Manu Parrotlet Nannopsittaca dachilleae

Monk Parakeet Myiopsitta monachus
Cliff Parakeet Myiopsitta luchsi

Tui Parakeet Brotogeris sanctithomae
Plain Parakeet Brotogeris tirica
White-winged Parakeet Brotogeris versicolurus
Yellow-chevroned Parakeet Brotogeris chiriri
Grey-cheeked Parakeet Brotogeris pyrrhoptera
Orange-chinned Parakeet Brotogeris jugularis
Cobalt-winged Parakeet Brotogeris cyanoptera
Golden-winged Parakeet Brotogeris chrysoptera

Pileated Parrot Pionopsitta pileata

Blue-bellied Parrot Triclaria malachitacea

Brown-hooded Parrot Pyrilia haematotis
Saffron-headed Parrot Pyrilia pyrilia
Rose-faced Parrot Pyrilia pulchra
Orange-cheeked Parrot Pyrilia barrabandi
Caica Parrot Pyrilia caica
Bald Parrot Pyrilia aurantiocephala
Vulturine Parrot Pyrilia vulturina

Rusty-faced Parrot Hapalopsittaca amazonina
Fuertes’s Parrot Hapalopsittaca fuertesi
Red-faced Parrot Hapalopsittaca pyrrhops
Black-winged Parrot Hapalopsittaca melanotis

Dusky Parrot Pionus fuscus
Red-billed Parrot Pionus sordidus
Scaly-headed Parrot Pionus maximiliani
Plum-crowned Parrot Pionus tumultuosus
White-capped Parrot Pionus seniloides
Blue-headed Parrot Pionus menstruus
White-crowned Parrot Pionus senilis
Bronze-winged Parrot Pionus chalcopterus

Short-tailed Parrot Graydidascalus brachyurus

Yellow-faced Parrot Alipiopsitta xanthops

Festive Amazon Amazona festiva
Vinaceous-breasted Amazon Amazona vinacea
Tucuman Amazon Amazona tucumana
Red-spectacled Amazon Amazona pretrei
Black-billed Amazon Amazona agilis
White-fronted Amazon Amazona albifrons
Yellow-billed Amazon Amazona collaria
Cuban Amazon Amazona leucocephala
Hispaniolan Amazon Amazona ventralis
Puerto Rican Amazon Amazona vittata
Lilac-crowned Amazon Amazona finschi
Red-lored Amazon Amazona autumnalis
Diademed Amazon Amazona diadema
Red-crowned Amazon Amazona viridigenalis
Yucatan Amazon Amazona xantholora
Blue-cheeked Amazon Amazona dufresniana
Red-browed Amazon Amazona rhodocorytha
Red-necked Amazon Amazona arausiaca
St. Lucia Amazon Amazona versicolor
Yellow-headed Amazon Amazona oratrix
Tres Marias Amazon Amazona tresmariae
Yellow-naped Amazon Amazona auropalliata
Yellow-crowned Amazon Amazona ochrocephala
Yellow-shouldered Amazon Amazona barbadensis
Turquoise-fronted Amazon Amazona aestiva
Scaly-naped Amazon Amazona mercenarius
Northern Mealy Amazon Amazona guatemalae
Southern Mealy Amazon Amazona farinosa
Kawall’s Amazon Amazona kawalli
Imperial Amazon Amazona imperialis
Red-tailed Amazon Amazona brasiliensis
Orange-winged Amazon Amazona amazonica
St. Vincent Amazon Amazona guildingii

Dusky-billed Parrotlet Forpus modestus
Mexican Parrotlet Forpus cyanopygius
Green-rumped Parrotlet Forpus passerinus
Turquoise-winged Parrotlet Forpus spengeli
Blue-winged Parrotlet Forpus xanthopterygius
Large-billed Parrotlet Forpus crassirostris
Spectacled Parrotlet Forpus conspicillatus
Pacific Parrotlet Forpus coelestis
Yellow-faced Parrotlet Forpus xanthops

Black-headed Parrot Pionites melanocephalus
White-bellied Parrot Pionites leucogaster

Red-fan Parrot Deroptyus accipitrinus

Ochre-marked Parakeet Pyrrhura cruentata
Blaze-winged Parakeet Pyrrhura devillei
Maroon-bellied Parakeet Pyrrhura frontalis
Pearly Parakeet Pyrrhura lepida
Crimson-bellied Parakeet Pyrrhura perlata
Green-cheeked Parakeet Pyrrhura molinae
Pfrimer’s Parakeet Pyrrhura pfrimeri
Grey-breasted Parakeet Pyrrhura griseipectus
White-eared Parakeet Pyrrhura leucotis
Painted Parakeet Pyrrhura picta
Venezuelan Parakeet Pyrrhura emma
Santarem Parakeet Pyrrhura amazonum
Bonaparte’s Parakeet Pyrrhura lucianii
Rose-fronted Parakeet Pyrrhura roseifrons
Santa Marta Parakeet Pyrrhura viridicata
Fiery-shouldered Parakeet Pyrrhura egregia
Maroon-tailed Parakeet Pyrrhura melanura
El Oro Parakeet Pyrrhura orcesi
White-breasted Parakeet Pyrrhura albipectus
Black-capped Parakeet Pyrrhura rupicola
Flame-winged Parakeet Pyrrhura calliptera
Blood-eared Parakeet Pyrrhura hoematotis
Rose-crowned Parakeet Pyrrhura rhodocephala
Sulphur-winged Parakeet Pyrrhura hoffmanni

Austral Parakeet Enicognathus ferrugineus
Slender-billed Parakeet Enicognathus leptorhynchus

Burrowing Parrot Cyanoliseus patagonus

Hyacinth Macaw Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus
Lear’s Macaw Anodorhynchus leari
Thick-billed Parrot Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha
Maroon-fronted Parrot Rhynchopsitta terrisi

Olive-throated Parakeet Eupsittula nana
Orange-fronted Parakeet Eupsittula canicularis
Peach-fronted Parakeet Eupsittula aurea
Brown-throated Parakeet Eupsittula pertinax
Caatinga Parakeet Eupsittula cactorum

Dusky-headed Parakeet Aratinga weddellii
Nanday Parakeet Aratinga nenday
Sun Parakeet Aratinga solstitialis
Sulphur-breasted Parakeet Aratinga maculata
Jandaya Parakeet Aratinga jandaya
Golden-capped Parakeet Aratinga auricapillus

Spix’s Macaw Cyanopsitta spixii

Red-bellied Macaw Orthopsittaca manilatus

Blue-headed Macaw Primolius couloni
Golden-collared Macaw Primolius auricollis
Blue-winged Macaw Primolius maracana

Blue-and-yellow Macaw Ara ararauna
Blue-throated Macaw Ara glaucogularis
Military Macaw Ara militaris
Great Green Macaw Ara ambiguus
Scarlet Macaw Ara macao
Red-and-green Macaw Ara chloropterus
Red-fronted Macaw Ara rubrogenys
Chestnut-fronted Macaw Ara severus

Golden-plumed Parakeet Leptosittaca branickii

Yellow-eared Parrot Ognorhynchus icterotis

Golden Parakeet Guaruba guarouba

Red-shouldered Macaw Diopsittaca nobilis

Blue-crowned Parakeet Thectocercus acuticaudatus

Green Parakeet Psittacara holochlorus
Socorro Parakeet Psittacara brevipes
Red-throated Parakeet Psittacara rubritorquis
Pacific Parakeet Psittacara strenuus
Scarlet-fronted Parakeet Psittacara wagleri
Mitred Parakeet Psittacara mitratus
Red-masked Parakeet Psittacara erythrogenys
Finsch’s Parakeet Psittacara finschi
White-eyed Parakeet Psittacara leucophthalmus
Cuban Parakeet Psittacara euops
Hispaniolan Parakeet Psittacara chloropterus

Species Links
  • Orange-winged Amazon Amazona amazonica

    Orange-winged Amazons Amazona amazonica are one of the smaller Amazons from South America's Amazon basin. They are a gregarious parrot, moving from tree to tree in large flocks in search of ripe fruits and nuts…
  • St Lucia Parrot (Jacquot) Amazona versicolor

    As its name suggests, the St. Lucia Parrot, or Jacquot, is found only on the island of St. Lucia in the West Indies where it lives in the central mountain rainforest. In the darkness of the forest, their feathers appear dull and the parrots blend into their leafy world. But when the sunlight shines on their feathers, they display a brilliant pallet of red, green and blue…
  • St. Vincent Parrot Amazona guildingii

    Several large parrots are endemic to the Lesser Antilles chain, but arguably none is so strikingly plumaged as the St. Vincent Amazon.
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 177

Useful Reading
  • African Parrots

    | By Rick Jordan & Jean Pattison | Hancock House Publishers | 2000 | Paperback | 160 pages, 8 plates with colour photos | ISBN: 9780888394446 Buy this book from
  • Amazon Parrots

    | By Rosemary Low | Rosemary Low | 2005 | Hardback | 324 pages, 170 colour photos, distribution maps | ISBN: 9780953133741 Buy this book from
  • Naturalized Parrots of the World - Distribution, Ecology, and Impacts of the World's Most Colorful Colonizers

    | Edited by Stephen Pruett-Jones | Princeton University Press | 2021 | Hardback | 304 Pages | 50 colour photos, colour illustrations and colour maps | £34.99p | ISBN: 9780691204413 Buy this book from
  • Parrots - A Guide to the Parrots of the World

    | By Tony Juniper & Mike Parr Illustrated by Kim Franklin, Robin Restall, Dan Powell, David Johnston & Carl D`Silva | Christopher Helm | 2003 | Hardback | 584 pages, 88 colour plates, maps | ISBN: 9780713669336 Buy this book from
  • Parrots and Parrot Claylicks of Peru and South America

    | By Alan TK Lee | Lambert Academic Publishing | 2013 | Paperback | 188 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations, tables | ISBN: 9783659351402 Buy this book from
  • Parrots of the World

    | By Steve Brookes | New Holland Publishers | 2018 | Paperback | 176 pages, 120 colour photos | ISBN: 9781921517716 Buy this book from
  • Parrots of the World - An Identification Guide

    | By Joseph Forshaw & Frank Knight | Princeton UP | 2006 | Hardback | 400 pages, 121 colour plates, 6 line illustrations | ISBN: 9780691092515 Buy this book from
  • Spix's Macaw: The Race to Save the World's Rarest Bird

    | By Tony Juniper | Fourth Estate | 2003 | Hardcover | 306 pages, Colour photos | ISBN: 9781841156514 Buy this book from
  • Foundation for the Preservation of the Hyacinth Macaw

    We are a nonprofit corporation dedicated to preserving the natural world, especially birds and most especially members of the parrot family. We have selected the Hyacinth Macaw as our Foster child for numerous reasons
  • Loro Parque Foundation

    The Parrot Connection - Putting Man in Harmony with Nature. A lushly illustrated site available in English, Spannish and German.
  • Wilson Parrot Foundation

    Facebook Page
    Welcome to the Wilson Parrot Foundation website. WPF is a nonprofit foundation, located in Damascus, Maryland, dedicated to educational and charitable activities
  • World Parrot Trust

    There is an on-going and dramatic decline of wild parrots worldwide. The parrot family has more globally threatened species than any other family of birds. The Red List contains 94 species of parrots that are currently considered vulnerable, endangered, or critically threatened with extinction, and many more sub-species are equally at risk of disappearing forever
Other Links
  • Blue Macaws - Anodorhynchus group of parrots

    This is the unique website for the Anodorhynchus group of parrots with comprehensive information on and images of the Hyacinthine Macaw ( A.hyacinthinus); the Lear`s Macaw (A.leari) and Glaucous Macaw (A.glaucus) as well as the Spix`s Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii)

Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

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