The Grey-breasted Conure or Parakeet (Pyrrhura griseipectus) – also commonly referred to as Brazilian Grey-breasted Conure – was formerly considered a subspecies of the White-eared Conure (Pyrrhura leucotis).
It is now suggested to be a separate species, based on range and subtle differences in color of crown, ear-coverts (feathers covering the ears) and chest. However, this has not been confirmed by a maternal lineage test (mtDNA).
Distribution / Range
This conure is endemic to Ceará in northeast Brazil, where it is restricted to a few mountains with relatively humid forest and woodland in a region otherwise dominated by arid Caatinga (= “white forest” or “white vegetation”).
This parrot is classified as Critically Endangered by BirdLife International as it has an extremely small population and occupies a very limited range. The population is estimated to be less than 250 adult birds.
The Grey-breasted Conure averages 22 cm (8.5 ins) in length.
It looks similar to the White-eared Conure (Pyrrhura leucotis), except the Grey-breasted lacks the blue markings to the forehead; the lores and cheeks are dark reddish-brown and the ear-coverts (feathers covering the ears) are whitish and generally more extensive.
Its breast is variably colored, from brownish-grey to dull grey, each feather with a broad whitish-brown edging. The blue band to the nape (back of the neck) is more pronounced and the tail upperside is green to the center. The Grey-breasted Conure has bare, whitish periophthalmic (eye) rings and dark brown irises.
Young birds have a duller plumage.
As these conures are so close to extinction, it is critical that any specimen that cannot be released back into the wild for whatever reason, be placed into a well-managed species conservation program.
Taxonomy / Other Names
Genus: English: Red-tailed Conures … Dutch: Roodstaartparkieten … German: Rotschwanzsittiche … French: Perruche à queue rouge
Species: Pyrrhura griseipectus formerly Pyrrhura leucotis griseipectus … English: Brazilian Grey-breasted Conure … Dutch: Braziliaanse Witoorparkiet … German: Salvadoris Weißohrsittich … French: Perruche oreillon blanc Salvadori