Yellow-eared Parrot (Ognorhynchus icterotis)

[order] PSITTACIFORMES | [family] Psittacidae | [latin] Ognorhynchus icterotis | [authority] Massena and Souance, 1854 | [UK] Yellow-eared Parrot | [FR] Conure a joue d’or | [DE] Gelbohr-Sittich | [ES] Aratinga Orejigualda | [NL] Geeloorparkiet | [copyright picture] Birdlife


Monotypic species


The Yellow-eared Parrot is a highly distinctive bird in its own genus ognorhynchus. This Parrot (Ognorhynchus icterotis), is an endangered parrot of tropical America. It is found in the western Andes in Colombia and (perhaps only formerly) Ecuador and is closely associated to the wax palm Ceroxylon sp. which is itself endangered.

Physical charateristics

Macaw-like, yellow-and-green parrot. Green with large yellow ear-patches and frontal band, green throat and predominantly yellow underparts. Dark, heavy bill. Red-fronted Parakeet Aratinga wagleri is smaller and lacks yellow on the head. Golden-plumed Parakeet Leptosittaca branickii has much less yellow on sides of head and a smaller, paler bill.

Listen to the sound of Yellow-eared Parrot

[audio: Parrot.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

recorded by Nick Athanas

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 34 cm size max.: 36 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


South America : Colombia, North Ecuador. Ognorhynchus icterotis formerly occurred in all three Andean ranges of Colombia, from Norte de Santander and Antioquia to Narino and in north-west Ecuador, south to Cotopaxi.


It inhabits humid montane forest, elfin forest and partially cleared terrain at 1,200-3,400 m, favouring areas dominated by wax palms Ceroxylon quindiuense, in which it roosts, nests and feeds


It nests in the hollow trunks of the palms, usually 25?30 meters over the floor level. Clutch size is 4 eggs.

Feeding habits

It feeds on and nests in wax palms (Ceroxylon spp.), and the large-scale clearance of these trees has precipitated a major decline.

Video Yellow-eared Parrot


copyright: ProAves


This species has been downlisted as intensive conservation action had stabilised its current range and resulted in an increase in the number of mature individuals. The species is currently retained as Endangered as the known population of mature individuals is extremely small. However, should the number of mature individuals continue to increase the species may be downlisted again in the future.
Its range appears to be heavily restricted by the spread of exotic forest, and occurs only in native forest. It has suffered considerable habitat loss and fragmentation (90-93% of montane forest in Colombia) throughout its range; however several sizeable areas of habitat remain within its historic range, suggesting additional causes of decline. Wax palm mortality is accelerating and they suffer poor recruitment because cattle browse young trees, and logging in adjacent areas increases their susceptibility to disease. Wax palms are incredibly long-lived and slow-growing (mature individuals are over 500 years old), and are being unsustainably exploited for use in Palm Sunday celebrations within the species’s range. In Ecuador, hunting for food was prolific and trapping has had some impact in Colombia, although the species is notoriously hard to keep in captivity.
Yellow-eared Parrot status Endangered


Although currently resident at one site, other flocks wander seasonally in search of food.

Distribution map

Yellow-eared Parrot distribution range map

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