Santa Marta Parakeet (Pyrrhura viridicata)

Santa Marta Parakeet

[order] PSITTACIFORMES | [family] Psittacidae | [latin] Pyrrhura viridicata | [authority] Todd, 1913 | [UK] Santa Marta Parakeet | [FR] Conure de Santa Marta | [DE] Santa-Marta-Sittich | [ES] Cotorra de Santa Marta | [NL] Santa Marta-parkiet | [copyright picture] Birdlife


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Pyrrhura viridicata SA n Colombia


The genus Pyrrhura includes a rich set of small to medium-sized species of parakeets, mostly confined to dense habitats in South America. Also, they inhabit dry as well as tall rainforests which occur from sea level up to 2000m. These birds exploit several tree species and use a variety of food items, from nectar to pure seeds. All have long, pointed tails, a mainly green plumage, and a relatively narrow, dark greyish to white eye-ring. Many have scaly or barred chest-patterns and a whitish, pale grey, buff or reddish ear-patch. They typically move around in small, noisy flocks, flying swiftly at or below canopy level. Once settled in a tree they tend to be silent (especially if aware of danger) and difficult to spot. They nest in a tree-crevice.

Physical charateristics

Both adults in general dark green; purple/brown ear coverts; orange/red abdomen; yellow bend of wing, carpal edge and lesser underwing coverts with orange/red markings; green tail. Eye ring bare and white. Eye brown.

Listen to the sound of Santa Marta Parakeet

[audio: Marta Parakeet.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

recorded by Herman van Oosten

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 25 cm size max.: 27 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 0  
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South America : North Colombia. Pyrrhura viridicata occurs in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia. Flocks of 5-30 birds are regularly observed (daily or every few days2,10,13) on the relatively well-watched San Lorenzo ridge, apart from which it is known only from birds collected at Taquina in 1914. The area of land on the north slope of the massif within its altitudinal range is less than 600 km2, within which as little as 200 km2 of primary forest may remain. Until recently it was judged to be fairly common, but it has surely become less abundant. The total population is estimated at 5,000-10,000 birds, which is perhaps too high if more pessimistic estimates of habitat loss are correct.


It inhabits montane humid forest and borders, and has been observed flying over adjacent clearings. It apparently undertakes some seasonal movements within an altitudinal range of 1,800-2,800 m.


It is a cavity nester that requires dead limbs, although not necessarily large trunks. No further data

Feeding habits

Its feeding ecology is not well known but it has been recorded taking fruits of epiphytic plants, and flowers and seeds of Cordiaceae and six other tree species

Video Santa Marta Parakeet


copyright: Josep del Hoyo


This species is currently known from a single area, but other parts of its very small range have not been surveyed recently. Both its range and population are probably declining as a result of habitat loss. It therefore qualifies as Endangered.
Only 15% of the original vegetation in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta remains, albeit largely on the north slope where this species occurs. The main threat is the conversion of forest to marijuana and coca plantations, which was compounded by the government spraying herbicides on the sierra. It is not known whether this approach is still taken by the Colombian authorities. Threats that followed human immigration to the area from the 1950s onwards are agricultural expansion (e.g. livestock), logging, burning and afforestation with exotic trees (e.g. pines).
Santa Marta Parakeet status Endangered


Resident. It may make seasonal altitudinal movements

Distribution map

Santa Marta Parakeet distribution range map

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