Family Parrots (Psittacidae)

Least Concern

Buff-faced Pygmy-parrot (Micropsitta pusio)


French: Micropsitte à tête fauve German: Braunstirn-Spechtpapagei Spanish: Microloro pusio

Nasiterna pusio

P. L. Sclater

, 1866,

Solomon Islands; error = Duke of York Island, Bismarck


Forms a species-group with M. keiensis and M. geelvinkiana. All races very similar and validity has been questioned, as distinguishing characters are not obvious and provenance of some material currently in doubt; species may be better considered monotypic. Proposed race salvadorii included in beccarii, and pusilla in nominate. Four subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. p. beccarii (Salvadori, 1876) – N New Guinea from W Geelvink Bay E to Huon Bay, and islands of Manam, Karkar, Bagabag, Tolokiwa, Sakar and Umboi.
  • M. p. pusio (P. L. Sclater, 1866) – E New Guinea and Bismarck Archipelago (New Britain, Lolobau, Watom, Duke of York).
  • M. p. harterti Mayr, 1940 – Fergusson I (in D’Entrecasteaux Is).
  • M. p. stresemanni E. J. O. Hartert, 1926 – Misima I and Tagula I (Louisiade Archipelago).
  • Descriptive notes

    8 cm; 10–15 g. Generally green, more yellowish on underparts; forehead and face buff-ochre, sometimes with yellowish superciliary stripe; central crown to nape deep... read more


    Calls include high-pitched short notes such as “tsit” or “tsee”. Also short phrases of 2–4... read more


    Lowland and floodplain gallery forest, tall secondary growth and trees in clearings, sometimes... read more

    Food and feeding

    Lichen, bark fungus, and probably termites; insect remains, tiny black seeds, yellow fruit flesh and flowers in stomachs.


    Sept–May. Nest in hole excavated in arboreal termitarium, in one case that of Microcerotermes biroi about 2 m above ground... read more


    Wandering groups noted in extreme E of range, but whether there is true nomadism or birds simply... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. CITES II. Very uncommon or local on Sepik R, but common in Owen Stanley Range foothills, SE Papua New Guinea, where density estimated at 20 birds/km... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2019). Buff-faced Pygmy-parrot (Micropsitta pusio). 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 13 December 2019).