Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlets

The Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlet (Touit huetii) is found in the subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests of southeast, southern and northeast Venezuela, northern Guyana, eastern Colombia, eastern Ecuador, eastern Peru; Brazil south of Amazonas between Belem and Tocatins River south to Serra do Cachimbo and Araguatins as well as Aripuana River.

They probably also occur in northeastern Bolivia. It is unknown whether the apparent gaps in this range are genuine. Seasonal migrations in localities are likely, depending on availability of food.

Their natural habitat includes the rain forest, partially deforested areas as well as adjoining tall secondary vegetation.

Within their own communities, they are very social birds that are usually seen in small groups and flocks of 12 to 50 birds. They are shy and are mostly seen flying.

When perched up in the trees they are well camouflaged by their green plumage, and they are usually silent. They prefer high treetops during the day and when roosting; however, they move down to forage in bushes and low trees.


These parrotlets are generally rare, but in few localities they are relatively common. Overall, there has been a noted decline in its population over the last decades due to deforestation and resulting loss of habitat.

However, this species has a large range and its population trend appears to be stable at this point in time.



Their flight is swift and usually synchronized within the flock.


Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlets average 15 cm or 6 inches in length (including tail).


The plumage is mostly green. The breast and abdomen are yellowish-green.

They have a bluish-black narrow band to forehead and lores (the region between the eye and bill on the side of a bird’s head). The upper cheeks are violet-blue. The crown and ear-coverts (feathers covering the ears) are olive-brownish.

The nape (back of the neck) has an olive-brownish tinge turning dark green on the sides and upper back. The thighs are dull blue. The bend of the wing, under wing-coverts and shoulders are red.

The lesser, median and outer secondary-coverts (please refer to wing anatomy) are violet-blue. The primary wing feathers are blackish. The flight feathers are black with green edging to the outer webs.

The under tail-coverts are yellow. The middle tail-feathers are green with broad black tips. The outer tail-feathers are crimson with broad black tips.

They have whitish narrow periophthalmic rings and dark brown irises. Their feet are grey and the bill is a yellowish horn color with grey tips.


Females look similar to males, but can be identified by their greenish-yellow outer tail-feathers with black tips.

Immatures / Juveniles:

Look like female, but lores (the region between the eye and bill on the side of a bird’s head) and forehead are green.

Call / Vocalization:

They usually quiet when perching in trees. In flight, they produce high-pitched witch-witch sounds as well as an occasional harsh juvii sound.

Diet / Feeding:

Their natural diet consists of various ripe and half-ripe fruits (including berries), seeds, and tiny nuts.

Captive Diet: They should have available a good quality dry food mix consisting of various seeds, including wheat, oats, canary seed, various millets, weed seeds and a little sunflower. Various fresh fruits (including apples) and vegetables (i.e. carrot) as well as rose-hips and greenfood (chickweed, dandelion etc.) should also be offered daily. During the breeding season in particular, insects and various soft foods should be available as well.

Breeding / Aviculture:

The exact breeding period is unknown. Breeding activities are assumed to start in April.

These parrotlets are rare and unknown in captivity. Any captive individual (that cannot be released) should be part of a well-managed conservation program to ensure this species’ continued existence.


Genus: Scientific: Touit … English: Spotted-tailed Parrotlets … Dutch: Bontstaartpapegaaien … German: Buntschwanzpapageien … French: Perroquet à dos couleurs

Species: Scientific: Touit huetii … English: Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlet … Dutch: Roodschouderpapegaai … German: Schwarzstirnpapagei … French: Perroquet aux époules écarlata

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