Family Parrots (Psittacidae)

Least Concern

Blue-backed Parrot (Tanygnathus sumatranus)


French: Perruche de Müller German: Everettpapagei Spanish: Loro de Müller
Other common names: Azure-rumped Parrot

Psittacus Sumatranus


, 1822,



Proposed race mulleri is synonym of nominate, and indeed species formerly listed as T. mulleri; birds of Banggai have been awarded race incognitus, based on supposedly different iris colour, but data are from unreliable specimen labels. Form described as T. heterurus (Rufous-tailed/Salvadori’s Parrot) based on an aberrant specimen of present species#R. Race sangirensis sometimes included within nominate. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. s. duponti Parkes, 1971 – Luzon (N Philippines).
  • T. s. freeri McGregor, 1910 – Polillo (off E Luzon).
  • T. s. everetti Tweeddale, 1877 – Panay, Negros, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao (CE & SE Philippines).
  • T. s. burbidgii Sharpe, 1879 – Sulu Is (Sibutu, Bongao, Sanga-Sanga, Tawitawi, Basbas, Loran, Jolo), in SW Philippines.
  • T. s. sangirensis A. B. Meyer & Wiglesworth, 1894 – Talaud Is (Karakelong, Salebabu, Kaburuang) and Sangihe Is.
  • T. s. sumatranus (Raffles, 1822) – Sulawesi and adjacent small islands (Manterawu, Manadotua, Talisei, Bangka, Lembeh), Togian Is, Banggai Is (Peleng, Banggai), Sula Is (Taliabu, Seho, Mangole, Sanana), Tobea, Muna and Butung.
  • Descriptive notes

    32 cm; 173–334 g. Large bill red; head bright green, becoming more yellowish on mantle and underparts, and darker on wings and tail; lower back and rump rich blue;... read more


    Quite vocal, and calls regularly at night. Most calls involve repeated loud nasal squawks or... read more


    Lowland and lower montane forest, edges of forest and woodlots in cleared land, peat and freshwater... read more

    Food and feeding

    Often found in Leptospermum and Ficus trees, so their fruits presumably taken. Attacks and can cause serious damage to... read more


    Apr on Samar (CE Philippines); otherwise known from Oct–Nov. One nest recorded in hollow of tree 30 m above ground, with two young;... read more


    No information.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. CITES II. Common on Sulawesi, and in 1971 very common on the larger islands of the Sulu Archipelago. In 1978 it was found in smaller numbers than... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Boesman, P. (2019). Blue-backed Parrot (Tanygnathus sumatranus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 11 December 2019).