Pygmy Parrots

The Pygmy Parrots of the subfamily Micropsittinae all belong to the genus Micropsitta. They are native to the tropical forests of New Guinea and nearby islands.They are the smallest members of the parrot family.

Pygmy Parrots are the smallest parrots in the world; followed by the Asian Hanging Parrots, the Fig Parrots (from Australia and New Guinea) and, last – but not the least – the well-known and popular African lovebirds and Australian Budgerigars.

Pygmy parrots have never been successfully kept in captivity. All attempts to do so have resulted in the quick deaths of these little parrots. It is assumed that stress and dietary deficiencies are to blame.

Little is known about their precise dietary needs.

Pygmy Parrots

The six major sub-species are Yellow-capped, Buff-faced, Finsch’s, Geelvink and the Meek’s Pygmy Parrots. Oher sub-species are listed below.

Pygmy parrots are tiny birds: fast-moving, mostly green with bright highlights. At a little over 3″ (8 cm) in length, the Buff-faced Pygmy Parrot is considerably smaller than a silvereye or a kinglet. In fact, the Buff Faced Pygmy Parrot is the smallest Parrot in the world.

They are fast-moving, mostly green with bright highlights. They spend a good deal of time climbing through foliage, using their oversized feet, beaks, and stiffened tail feathers.

Their natural diet is said to consist of lichens, insects, fungi and mosses, but not much is known about their lifestyles.


Sub-species:

Beccari’s Pygmy Parrots:

Species: Scientific: Micropsitta pusio beccarii … English: Beccari’s Pygmy Parrot … Dutch: Beccaris Spechtpapegaai … German: Beccaris Spechtpapagei … French: Psittacule pygmée de Beccari

Distribution: Northern and Western New Guinea, Manam, Karkar and Rook Island

Biak Pygmy Parrots:

Species: Scientific: Micropsitta geelvinkiana misorienses … English: Biak Pygmy Parrot … Dutch: Biak Spechtpapegaai … German: Biak Spechtpapagei … French: Psittacule pygmée d’ile Biak

Distribution: Biak Island, the largest of the Schouten Islands, off the northern coast of West Papua (the Indonesian part of New Guinea) at the entrance to Cenderawasih (Geelvink) Bay (part of Maluku Islands)

Bougainville Pygmy Parrots:

Species: Scientific: Micropsitta finschii nanina … English: Bougainville Pygmy Parrot … Dutch: Bougainville Spechtpapegaai … German: Bougainville Spechtpapagei … French: Psittacule pygmée Nanina

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    Distribution: Bougainville, Choiseul, Ysabel and Bugotu in the Solomon Islands

    Bruijn’s Pygmy Parrots:

    Species: Scientific: Micropsitta bruijnii bruijnii … English: Red-breasted Pygmy Parrot, Bruijn’s Pygmy Parrot … Dutch: Bruijns Spechtpapegaai … German: Bruijns Spechtpapagei, Rotkopf Spechtpapagei … French: Psittacule pygmée à gorge rouge

    Distribution: Mountains of New Guinea, Vogelkop, Western New Guinea, Papua

    Buffed-faced or Buff-faced Pygmy Parrots:

    The Buff-faced Pygmy-parrot (Micropsitta pusio) is probably the smallest parrot of all – averaging about 8 to 10 cm (3 to 4 inches) in length and weighing around 11.5 g (0.41 oz).

    Males and females look alike, except the head markings are smaller in females and facial color is paler. The plumage is mostly green with a yellowish tone on the underparts. The cheeks, face, and crown are buff-colored. There is a dark blue patch on the top of the head back to the occiput. The eyes are dark brown and the bill is grey, and legs are greyish with blue or pinkish tints.

    Sub-Species / Races Including Nominate:

    • pusio – occur on the Bismarck Archipelago and southeastern New Guinea
    • harterti – occur on Fergusson Island in the D’Entrecasteaux Archipelago. They have blue-tinged throats and less distinct markings
    • stresemanni – occur on Misima and Tagula Islands in the Louisiade Archipelago. They are slightly larger and have more yellowish underparts
    • beccarii – occur in western New Guinea from Cenderawasih Bay to the Kumusi River. They have a darker plumage overall.

    The are found in the subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests in Indonesia and across the northern lowlands of the island of New Guinea from the west to the southeastern tip up to an altitude of around 800 m, as well as in the Bismarck Archipelago.

    They are usually seen in small groups of up to six birds and are highly active.

    Species: Scientific: Micropsitta pusio pusio … English: Buff-faced Pygmy Parrot, Sclater’s Pygmy Parrot … Dutch: Sclaters Spechtpapegaai, Blauwschedelspechtpapegaai … German: Sclaters Spechtpapagei … French: Psittacule pygmée à face bruntre

    Distribution Map: Maluku Islands

    Buru Pygmy Parrots:

    Species: Scientific: Micropsitta bruijnii pileata … English: Buru Pygmy Parrot … Dutch: Buru Roodkopspechtpapegaai … German: Buru Spechtpapagei … French: Psittacule pygmée Buru

    Distribution: Mountains of Buru and Seram in the Southern Moluccas, Indonesia

    Finsch’s Pygmy Parrots:

    Species: Scientific: Micropsitta finschii finschii … English: Finsch’s Pygmy Parrot … Dutch: Finsch’ Spechtpapegaai … German: Finschs Spechtpapagei … French: Psittacule pygmée de Finsch

    Sub-Species / Races Including Nominate: viridifrons, finschii, aolae, tristami, nanina

    Distribution: They are restricted to New Ireland and Bougainville in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. It has an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 20,000-50,000 km2, and is a fairly common species of lowland forests, occurring to about 1,000 m.

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      Although there are reports that it is poorly tolerant of logged and degraded forest (Buckingham et al. 1995, Schodde 1977) and local extirpations may have occurred (Blaber 1990), it is frequently recorded elsewhere in logged forest (B. Beehler in litt. 2000).

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        However, the lowlands throughout the region are subject to extensive logging. The global population size has not been quantified, but it is believed to be large as the species is described as ‘common’ in at least parts of its range (del Hoyo et al. 1997). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

        Geelvink Pygmy Parrots:

        Species: Scientific: Micropsitta geelvinkiana geelvinkiana … English: Geelvink Pygmy Parrot … Dutch: Geelvink Spechtpapegaai … German: Schlegels Spechtpapagei … French: Psittacule pygmée d’ile numfor

        Sub-Species / Races Including Nominate: geelvinkiana, misonensis

        Distribution: Numfor Island

        Guadalcanal Pygmy Parrots:

        Species: Scientific: Micropsitta finschii aolae … English: Guadalcanal Pygmy Parrot … Dutch: Guadalcanal Spechtpapegaai … German: Guadalcanal Spechtpapagei … French: Psittacule pygmée de Aola

        Distribution: Guadalcanal, Malaita and the Rusell Islands in the Solomon Islands

        Hartert’s Pygmy Parrots:

        Species: Scientific: Micropsitta bruijnii necopinata … English: Hartert’s Pygmy Parrot … Dutch: Harterts Roodkopspechtpapegaai … German: Harterts Spechtpapagei … French: Psittacule pygmée l’archipel Bismarck

        Distribution: New Britain, New Ireland in the Bismarck Archipelago

        Mayr’s Pygmy Parrots:

        Species: Scientific: Micropsitta pusio harterti … English: Mayr’s Pygmy Parrot … Dutch: Mayrs Spechtpapegaai … German: Mayrs Spechtpapagei … French: Psittacule pygmée de Hartert

        Distribution: Ferguson Island in the D’Entrecasteaux Archipelago

        Meek’s Pygmy Parrots:

        Species: Scientific: Micropsitta meeki meeki … English: Meek’s Pygmy Parrot … Dutch: Meeks Spechtpapegaai … German: Meeks Spechtpapagei … French: Psittacule pygmée de Meek

        Sub-Species / Races Including Nominate: meeki, proxima

        Distribution: Admiralty Island

        New Ireland Pygmy Parrots:

        Species: Scientific: Micropsitta finschii viridifrons … English: New Ireland Pygmy Parrot … Dutch: New Ireland Spechtpapegaai … German: Neu-Irland Spechtpapagei … French: Psittacule pygmée à front vert

        Distribution: Lihir Islands, New Hanover, New Ireland in the Bismarck Archipelago

        Red-breasted Pygmy Parrots

        Red-breasted Pygmy Parrots:

        The Red-breasted Pygmy-parrot (Micropsitta bruijnii) is found in the boreal forests, subtropical or tropical forest areas of Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Solomon Islands.

        Species: Scientific: Micropsitta bruijnii bruijnii … English: Red-breasted Pygmy Parrot, Bruijn’s Pygmy Parrot … Dutch: Bruijns Spechtpapegaai … German: Bruijns Spechtpapagei, Rotkopf Spechtpapagei … French: Psittacule pygmée à gorge rouge

        Sub-Species / Races Including Nominate: pileata, bruijnii, necopinata, rosea

        Distribution: Mountains of New Guinea, Vogelkop, Western New Guinea, Papua

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          Red-crowned Pygmy Parrots:

          Species: Scientific: Micropsitta bruijnii rosea aka Micropsitta bruijnii brevis … English: Red-crowned Pygmy Parrot … Dutch: Roodkopspechtpapegaai … German: Rotscheitel Spechtpapagei … French: Psittacule à crète rouge

          Distribution: Bougainville, Guadalcanal, Kulambangra in the Solomon Islands

          Saint Matthias Pygmy Parrots:

          Species: Scientific: Micropsitta meeki proxima … English: Saint Matthias Pygmy Parrot … Dutch: Sint Matthias Spechtpapegaai … German: Sankt Matthias Spechtpapagei … French: Psittacule pygmée d’ile St. Matthias

          Distribution: St. Matthias and Squally Islands

          Sclater’s Pygmy Parrots:

          Species: Scientific: Micropsitta pusio pusio … English: Buff-faced Pygmy Parrot, Sclater’s Pygmy Parrot … Dutch: Sclaters Spechtpapegaai, Blauwschedelspechtpapegaai … German: Sclaters Spechtpapagei … French: Psittacule pygmée à face bruntre

          Distribution: Bismarck Archipelago, South-eastern New Guinea

          Stresemann’s Pygmy Parrots:

          Species: Scientific: Micropsitta pusio stresemanni … English: Stresemann’s Pygmy Parrot… Dutch: Stresemanns Spechtpapegaai … German: Stresemanns Spechtpapagei … French: Psittacule pygmée de Stresemann

          Distribution: Misima and Tagula Island in the Louisiade Archipelago

          Tristams Pygmy Parrots:

          Species: Scientific: Micropsitta finschii tristami … English: Tristams Pygmy Parrot … Dutch: Tristams Spechtpapegaai … German: Tristams Spechtpapagei … French: Psittacule pygmée de Tristam

          Distribution: Vella Lavella, Gizo, Kulambangra, New Georgia, Rubiana, Rendova

          Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrots

          Yellow-breasted Pygmy Parrots:

          Species: Scientific: Micropsitta keiensis chloroxantha aka Micropsitta keiensis sociabilis … English: Yellow-breasted Pygmy Parrot … Dutch: Roodborstspechtpapegaai … German: Rotbrüstiger Spechtpapagei … French: Psittacule pygmée à buste nacarat

          Distribution: Western Papua Islands, Vogelkop and Onin Peninsulas, Western New Guinea

          Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrots:

          Species: Scientific: Micropsitta keiensis keiensis … English: Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrot … Dutch: Geelkapspechtpapegaai … German: Salvadoris Rotbrüstiger Spechtpapagei … French: Psittacule pygmée de Keiensis

          Sub-Species / Races Including Nominate: keiensis, chloroxantha, viridipectus

          Distribution: Kai and Aru Islands in the province of Maluku in eastern Indonesia (please refer to above map)

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