Neotropical parrot

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Neotropical parrots
Blue-and-yellow macaw
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Family: Psittacidae
Subfamily: Arinae


The neotropical parrots or New World parrots comprise about 150 species in 32 genera found throughout South and Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean islands, and two species (one extinct) formerly inhabited North America. They are also present on a few Pacific islands such as the Galápagos.[1] Among them are some of the most familiar and iconic parrots, including the blue and gold macaw, sun conure, and yellow-headed amazon.

The parrots of the New World have been known to Europeans since Columbus remarked upon them in his journal in 1492. Systematic descriptions of the birds were first available in German naturalist Georg Marcgraf's Historia Naturalis Brasiliae published in 1648, and English naturalist Mark Catesby's two-volume Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands published in London in 1731 and 1743.

Several species and one genus have become extinct in recent centuries. A second genus is extinct in the wild. Over a third of the extant species are classified as threatened by the IUCN. A few of these are in imminent danger of extinction with fewer than 500 individuals in the wild or in captivity: glaucous macaw, Spix's macaw, blue-throated macaw, Puerto Rican parrot, and indigo-winged parrot. The chief reasons for decline in parrot populations are habitat loss through deforestation by clear-cutting, burning, and flooding by construction of dams, capture for the pet trade, and introduction of non-native predators.

The New World parrots are monophyletic, and have been geographically isolated for at least 30–55 million years by molecular dating methods. Though fairly few fossils of modern parrots are known, most of these are from tribe Arini of macaws and parakeets; the oldest are from 16 million years ago. They attest that modern genera were mostly distinct by the Pleistocene, a few million years ago.

Neotropical parrots comprise at least two monophyletic clades, one of primarily long-tailed species such as the macaws, conures, and allies, and the other of primarily short-tailed parrots such as amazons and allies.[2]

A new species, the bald parrot or orange-headed parrot, was discovered as recently as 2002.


Neotropical parrots belong to the subfamily Arinae[3] which along with the African or Old World parrots comprise the family Psittacidae, one of three families of true parrots. The taxonomy of the neotropical parrots is not yet fully resolved, but the following subdivision is supported by solid studies.[4][5][6][7][8][9]

Schodde, et al.[10] recognize a division of the remaining genera into several distinct clades, indicating possible previously undefined tribes:

See also


  1. ^ Forshaw, J. (1989). Parrots of the world, third ed. Melbourne, Australia: Landsdowne Editions.
  2. ^ *Miyaki, C. Y.; Matioli, S. R.; Burke, T.; Wajntal, A. (1998). "Parrot evolution and paleogeographical events: Mitochondrial DNA evidence" (PDF). Molecular Biology and Evolution. 15 (5): 544–551. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev.a025954.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Joseph, Leo; Toon, Alicia; Schirtzinger, Erin E.; Wright, Timothy F.; Schodde, Richard (2012). "A revised nomenclature and classification for family-group taxa of parrots (Psittaciformes)". Zootaxa. 3205: 26–40. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3205.1.2.
  5. ^ Manuel Schweizer; Ole Seehausen & Stefan T. Hertwig (2011). "Macroevolutionary patterns in the diversification of parrots: effects of climate change, geological events and key innovations". Journal of Biogeography. 38 (11): 2176–2194. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2011.02555.x.
  6. ^ Leo Joseph; Alicia Toon; Erin E. Schirtzinger; Timothy F. Wright (2011). "Molecular systematics of two enigmatic genera Psittacella and Pezoporus illuminate the ecological radiation of Australo-Papuan parrots (Aves: Psittaciformes)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 59 (3): 675–684. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2011.03.017. PMID 21453777.
  7. ^ Wright, T.F.; Schirtzinger, E. E.; Matsumoto, T.; Eberhard, J. R.; Graves, G. R.; Sanchez, J. J.; Capelli, S.; Muller, H.; Scharpegge, J.; Chambers, G. K.; Fleischer, R. C. (2008). "A Multilocus Molecular Phylogeny of the Parrots (Psittaciformes): Support for a Gondwanan Origin during the Cretaceous". Mol Biol Evol. 25 (10): 2141–2156. doi:10.1093/molbev/msn160. PMC 2727385. PMID 18653733.
  8. ^ Schweizer, M.; Seehausen, O.; Güntert, M.; Hertwig, S. T. (2009). "The evolutionary diversification of parrots supports a taxon pulse model with multiple trans-oceanic dispersal events and local radiations". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 54 (3): 984–94. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2009.08.021. PMID 19699808.
  9. ^ de Kloet, RS; de Kloet SR (2005). "The evolution of the spindlin gene in birds: Sequence analysis of an intron of the spindlin W and Z gene reveals four major divisions of the Psittaciformes". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 36 (3): 706–721. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.03.013. PMID 16099384.
  10. ^ Schodde R, Remsen JV Jr, Schirtzinder EE, Joseph L, Wright TF (2013). "Correspondence: Higher classification of New World parrots (Psittaciformes; Arinae), with diagnoses of tribes" (PDF). Zootaxa. 3691 (5): 591–596. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3691.5.5.
  • Ribas, C.; Gaban-Lima, R.; Miyaki, C.; Cracraft, J. (2005). "Historical biogeography and diversification within the Neotropical parrot genus Pionopsitta (Aves: Psittacidae)". Journal of Biogeography. 32 (8): 1409–1427. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2005.01289.x.
  • Split Gypopsitta from Pionopsitta South American Classification Committee.
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