Family Parrots (Psittacidae)

Least Concern

White-eyed Parakeet (Psittacara leucophthalmus)

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Taxonomy

French: Conure pavouane German: Pavuasittich Spanish: Aratinga ojiblanca
Other common names: White-eyed Conure
Taxonomy:

Psittacus leucophthalmus

Statius Müller

, 1776,

Guiana

.

Probably close to P. finschi, with which has been considered conspecific. Possibly closely related also to P. chloropterus (see both). Nominate race intergrades with callogenys throughout C Amazonia. Form nicefori sometimes synonymized with callogenys#R; has been thought possibly aberrant form of latter or perhaps hybrid between present species and P. wagleri#R. Proposed race propinquus probably represents S extreme of a cline of increasing size. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. l. nicefori (Meyer de Schauensee, 1946) – known only from type specimen, from Guaicaramo (Cundinamarca–Meta border), in C Colombia.
  • P. l. callogenys (Salvadori, 1891) – SE Colombia, E Ecuador, NW Peru and extreme NW Brazil into C Amazonia (S of Amazon).
  • P. l. leucophthalmus (Statius Müller, 1776) – E Venezuela and the Guianas through Brazil (except upper Amazon Basin and dry NE) to N & E Bolivia, Paraguay, N Argentina (S to Catamarca and Entre Ríos) and Uruguay.
  • Descriptive notes

    32–35 cm; 100–218 g. Green, paler below; some red flecking on head and neck; bare orbital ring greyish white; bend and edge of wing and outermost lesser underwing-coverts red; outermost greater underwing-coverts yellow; undersides of flight-feathers and tail olive. Immature mostly lacks red in wing. Race callogenys is larger and darker with thicker bill, and tends to be darker green in W; nicefori has red band across forehead.

    ssp callogenys  

    Drawing by Àngels Jutglar
    ssp callogenys  
    Descriptive notes:

    32–35 cm; 100–218 g. Green, paler below; some red flecking on head and neck; bare orbital ring greyish white; bend and edge of wing and outermost lesser underwing-coverts red; outermost greater underwing-coverts yellow; undersides of flight-feathers and tail olive. Immature mostly lacks red in wing. Race callogenys is larger and darker with thicker bill, and tends to be darker green in W; nicefori has red band across forehead.

    ssp leucophthalmus  

    Drawing by Àngels Jutglar
    ssp leucophthalmus  
    Descriptive notes:

    32–35 cm; 100–218 g. Green, paler below; some red flecking on head and neck; bare orbital ring greyish white; bend and edge of wing and outermost lesser underwing-coverts red; outermost greater underwing-coverts yellow; undersides of flight-feathers and tail olive. Immature mostly lacks red in wing. Race callogenys is larger and darker with thicker bill, and tends to be darker green in W; nicefori has red band across forehead.

    Voice

    Sharp squeaky notes and loud harsh calls “scree-ah”, noisy chattering, overall with a rather shrill sound quality. Has quite a varied repertoire. Vocal, especially in flight, flocks typically maintain a grating chattering interspersed with higher-pitched shrieks.

    Habitat

    Forest edge and adjacent savanna, scrub forest, secondary growth, deciduous or gallery woodland, Mauritia palm groves in llanos, seasonally flooded várzea forest along rivers, and openings in rain forest; also mangroves. Generally in lowlands, although up to 2500 m in Bolivia.

    Food and feeding

    Fruit, e.g. of Goupia glabra, Tetragastris altissima, Allanotoma lineata, Norantea guianensis, Fagara and palms, blossoms of Erythrina and Ficus frondosa, grass seeds and even insects.

    Breeding

    Feb in the Guianas; possibly Jul–Aug in Peru; Jan–Mar in SW Brazil; around Nov in Argentina. Nest in hole in tree, sometimes high up; also in palm. Eggs 3–4; in captivity, incubation lasts four weeks, and nestling period nine weeks. Chicks have initial down whitish, secondary down greyish.

    Movements

    Appears in thousands at one locality in French Guiana in Jun–Aug in response to palm fruiting.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Common over much of enormous range, perhaps most numerous in W Amazonia and least so at N edges of range, being very local in Surinam and relatively so in French Guiana; also scarce in Uruguay. Present in Manu National Park, Peru, where density reaches 3 pairs/km². Regarded in 1970s as uncommon in captivity, even in South America, but 31,169 exported from Argentina, 1985–1990, interpreted as a serious threat to the species in that country. Heavily traded in Venezuela but this not considered serious.

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N., Boesman, P. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). White-eyed Parakeet (Psittacara leucophthalmus). 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 https://www.hbw.com/node/54641 on 7 December 2019).