Red-faced Parrots aka Caïque De Salvin, or Lorito Ecuatoriano

The Red-faced Parrots (Hapalopsittaca pyrrhops aka Hapalopsittaca amazonina pyrrhops) is also known as Salvin’s Rusy-faced Parrot, Caïque De Salvin, or Lorito Ecuatoriano.

The Red-faced Parrot (Hapalopsittaca pyrrhops) forms superspecies with the Rusty-faced Parrots (Hapalopsittaca amazonina amazonina) and Fuertes’s Parrots (Hapalopsittaca fuertesi), and all three have commonly been considered conspecific (of, or belonging to, the same species). The Red-faced Parrot is monotypic (a genus consisting of only one species).

Distribution / Range

The Red-faced Parrots are endemic to the Andes from southwest Ecuador south to Cajamarca (Morona-Santiago, Azuay and Loja), northwest Peru ( Piura and north Cajamarca) – please refer to below distribution map.

They favor primary and cloud forests, forests at tree level and podocarpus woods in temperate zone between 1,900 m (6,300 ft) and 3,500 m (11,700 ft). They are mostly observed in pairs or small groups of 3 to 25 birds.

They are difficult to detect in the foliage as their plumage presents a perfect camouflage and they are generally slow-moving when climbing around in trees. Their flight is swift with heavy wing beats.

This parrot is rare and occurs in localized and isolated groups. The numbers have declined seriously in recent years and this species is endangered due to loss of habitat.


Red-faced parrots are bulky birds that average 22 – 23 cm (~9 inches) in length (including tail).


Their plumage is mainly green, except for some color highlights. The forecrown, lores (the regions between the eyes and bill on the side of a bird’s head) , cheeks, supercilium (line above eye) and shoulders are deep red. The ear-coverts are yellow-streaked. They have secondary coverts and dark bluish primaries (= longest wing feathers). The tail is dark blue.

The bill is horn-colored with a blue/grey base of upper beak. The eyes are green/yellow.

Immature / juvenile birds look like adults, but have a duller plumage. The red highlights on the face and bend of the wing to lesser wing-coverts are duller.

Similar Species:

  • They look like Rusty-faced Parrots (amazonina), but the forehead, chin and adjacent upper cheek area are darker red. Also, they are allopatric (geographically separated) with other Haplopsittaca
  • Several sympatric (inhabiting the same geographic region) Pionus Parrots are slightly larger, with proportionally shorter tails.

Calls / Vocalization:

Their calls are generally described as generally loud harsh and screechy “ch-ek che-ek” or “eek eek eek“: The first note sounds rasping, while the second part is higher-pitched. When perched, their call sounds like thrut.

The calls of young birds sound chattering and laugh-like.

Red-faced Parrot Distribution Map

Breeding / Nesting:

In their natural range, Red-faced Parrots breed from October to April. They typically nest in tree cavities or woodpecker nest sites. Usually, the nest is lined with wood dust. In one case, two eggs were found in one nest and both hatched. The incubation period is estimated to be between 26 to 28 days.

The hen incubates alone while the male guards the nest and feeds the female. Once the young have hatched, both parents feed them initially every two hours, once they are older, they are fed about 4 times a day. The young fledge when they are about 50 days old.

These parrots are unknown in aviculture.

Diet / Feeding

The bulk of their natural diet consists of various seeds, fruits (including berries), flowers and shoots of various plants. They usually take water from tanks of bromeliads in trees.

Taxonomy / Other Names

Species: Scientific: Hapalopsittaca pyrrhops aka Hapalopsittaca amazonina pyrrhops … English: Salvin’s Rusty-faced Parrot … Dutch: Vuuroog Andes Papegaai … German: Salvins Zwergamazone … French: Perruche amazonina Equador … CITES II – Endangered Species

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