Family Parrots (Psittacidae)

Least Concern

Burrowing Parrot (Cyanoliseus patagonus)


French: Conure de Patagonie German: Felsensittich Spanish: Loro barranquero
Other common names: Burrowing Parakeet, Patagonian Conure

Psittacus patagonus


, 1818,

Buenos Aires, Argentina


Population of C Chile, once known as byroni, renamed bloxami following realization that name byroni is referable to (and synonym of) Enicognathus leptorhynchus. Form andinus possesses a smudged grey-brown breast and belly, with little or no white scaly breastband, but some individuals show moderately clear-cut division between dusky breast and yellow flanks, and others show slight white scaling at breast sides, very like some nominate patagonus; thus andinus remains a moderately distinctive subspecies of C. patagonus, as supported by recent molecular analysis#R. Form bloxami also relatively distinctive, being large, heavier-billed, generally darker and with larger pale creamy patches on breast sides. Described form C. whitleyi, in the past treated as valid species, now thought to be probably aviary hybrid between present species and large Aratinga species or Primolius. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. p. andinus Dabbene & Lillo, 1913 – Andean Burrowing Parrot – NW Argentina (from Salta to San Juan).
  • C. p. conlara Nores & Yzurieta, 1983 – San Luis and Córdoba provinces, in WC Argentina.
  • C. p. patagonus (Vieillot, 1818) – Common Burrowing Parrot – C to SE Argentina (Mendoza and S Buenos Aires to NE Santa Cruz), ranging occasionally into Uruguay in winter.
  • C. p. bloxami Olson, 1995 – Chilean Burrowing Parrot – C Chile, now restricted to few localities mainly in O’Higgins and Maule, the rest N to Atacama#R#R; formerly widespread from Atacama to Valdivia.
  • Descriptive notes

    39–52 cm; male 253–340 g, female 227–304 g. Head to upper back and mid-belly dull olive, with bare white peri- and postocular patch, and a variable but... read more


    Flight call is an overslurred screeching “krrrEh!”, often repeated. Flocks are loud and noisy, with... read more


    Arid lowland and montane grassy shrubland, open dry woodland savanna, open Chaco plains along... read more

    Food and feeding

    Seeds taken from the ground, but also from standing vegetation such as the giant thistle Carduus mariana, these mostly in winter;... read more


    Season Sept–Feb. Nest in burrow in sandstone, limestone or earth cliff, often by river or sea, sometimes at considerable height, but... read more


    Austral migrant in S of range, extending N in winter as far as coastal Uruguay. Downslope movements... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Formerly very common but now only patchily so, and still declining in part owing to increasing persecution as crop pest (... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Boesman, P. (2019). Burrowing Parrot (Cyanoliseus patagonus). 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).