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species identification

Excerpts from our book

Overview of Species
Parrotlets are one of the smallest known Parrots, with attitudes of their larger counterparts. Parrotlets are amazing, intelligent, adaptable, and energetic. It has been reported that they are most closely related to the Amazon Parrot, with an average life-span of more than 20 years. Sexual dimorphism is obvious in all varieties. With proper care and training, Parrotlets make wonderful companions. If you can live with a bright, but young child for 20 or more years, a Parrotlet is for you.

Species Identification
Classification Order Psittaciformes, Family Psittacidae
Breed Forpus

Pacific Parrotlet (Forpus coelestis)
Other Names: Celestial Parrotlet or Lesson’s Parrotlet
Length: 12-13 cm (4 ¾ - 5 ½ in.)
Color: The Pacific Parrotlet is mainly green.
Variations: F. c. lucida
Plumage/Body: The cock (male) has cobalt blue flight feathers and a narrow blue streak that runs from the eyes to the back of the neck. The hen (female) lacks the blue in the wings, and has a lighter blue (mostly blue/green) streak running from the eyes to the back of the neck. Both have blue rumps, but the blue rump on the female is not as defined as the male. Their eyes are dark brown, beak is grayish-white, and their legs are pale pink. Tail is very short.

Pacific Lucida Parrotlet (Forpus coelestis lucida)
This variation has most of the same characteristics and colors as the Pacific Parrotlet except as noted: although mainly green, Lucida males and females both have blue color on their wings and rump. The males’ blue coloring on the rump is dark cobalt blue and the blue markings around the eye are darker than the female, which is similar to a male Pacific (normal-colored). Also, both male and female have a gray wash over the green coloring on the wings. Note: This variation is not recognized in all reference materials.

Pacific Parrotlet Mutations
Colors: Blue, Yellow, Fallow, Lutino, Isabel, Albino, White, and Pastels. Characteristics: The same as Pacifics, although their colors vary as to the mutation. Pacific (Color) Mutations are not as common as the Pacific (normal-colored) Parrotlet. Current prices on these color mutations reflect the few breeding programs available.

Green-Rumped Parrotlet (Forpus passerinus)
Other Names: Common Parrotlet, Guiana Parrotlet.
Variations: F.p. viridissimus, F.p. cyanophanes, F.p. cyanochlorus, and F. p. deliciosus.
Characteristics: 12cm (4¾”)
Plumage/Body: The males is green with a brighter green at the cheeks, underside of the body and behind the neck. Lower back, rump and upper tail are bright emerald green. Underside of wings and edge of wing are blue. Females are the same as males, but lacking any blue. Some females may have yellowish colorings on forehead. Green-Rumped Parrotlets have a sleek body, their eyes are dark brown, and their legs are a pale pink.

Spectacled Parrotlet (Forpus conspicillatus)
Characteristics: 13cm (5 ½”)
Variations: F. c. caucae, F. c. metae
Plumage/Body: The male is emerald green with lighter green and some yellow-green underneath. Blue ring around eye, wing coverts and rump are cobalt to violet blue, with underside of flight feathers bluish green. The female is bright green, with emerald green around eyes, forehead and rump. She will have more yellow on the forehead and underneath than the male. Eyes are gray-brown, legs are light pink. (Photo courtesy of Denise in New Jersey)

Mexican Parrotlet (Forpus cyanopygius)
Other Names: Turquoise-rumped Parrotlet, Sonora Parrotlet (F. c. pallidus), Tres Marias or Grayson’s Parrotlet (F. c. insularis)
Variations: F. c. insularia, F. c. pallidus (under investigation)
Characteristics: 13cm (5 ½”) Plumage/Body Males green with turquoise-blue underwing coverts and rump, females are mainly green. Eyes are dark brown, legs are pink or gray. This is one of the largest (stockiest) Parrotlets being bred in the United States, and they are available only from a few select breeders. A breeding cooperative has been established. The Mexican Parrotlet is slow to breed and only produces a few eggs a year once they have begun - which could take years. They are also confused with the Blue-wing Parrotlet and some variations are still under investigation.

Blue-Winged (Forpus vividus - formerly xanthopterygius)
Characteristics: 12 cm (4 3/4”) Variations F. c. flavissimus, F. c. flavescens, F. x. olallae, F. c. crassirostris, F.c. spengeli
Plumage/Body: Male has blue on upper- and underwing coverts and rump. There is no blue in the eye area. Females difficult to distinguish from other species though there is information that their underside has more yellow. Blue-winged Parrotlets can weigh 35-40 grams.

Yellow-faced Parrotlet (Forpus xanthops)
Characteristics: 14.5cm (6.25”)
Plumage/Body: Light Green-Yellow with face, throat, and forehead bright yellow. Males have cobalt blue on rump and wings as in other species. They have brown eyes and flesh to pink colored legs. Yellow-faced Parrotlets are known by some American breeders to be a variety of the Pacific Parrotlet. Some European breeders believe them to be a species by themselves.

Dusky-Billed Parrotlet (Forpus sclateri)
Other Names: Sclater’s Parrotlet, Schomburgh’s Parrotlet.
Variation: F. c. eidos
Characteristics: 12 cm (4 3/4")
Plumage/Body: The male is emerald green, with greater flight feathers and greater wing coverts dark green. The female is green and has no blue coloring, but does have yellow on the forehead and crown. Eyes are dark brown, cere light to dark black, and legs are grey. This Parrotlet has not been imported into the United States. It is very small and stocky.

Touit & Nannopsittaca Species (Family Azazoninae)
There are also two other genus of Parrotlets. They are not available in the United States.

Genus: Touit
The Touit Parrotlets are small (15-17cm) and stocky. They have a short squared tail and an unproportional big narrow bill without the typical notch in the upper mandible.

Lilac-tailed or Seven-colored Parrotlet
Huet’s or Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlet
Black-backed or Brown-backed Parrotlet
Brown-shouldered or Spot-winged Parrotlet
Red-fronted or Red-winged Parrotlet (Includes subspecies)
Sapphire-rumped or Purple Guiana Parrotlet (Includes subspecies)
Golden-tailed Parrotlet (Includes subspecies)

Genus: Nannopsittaca
Tepui Parrotlet and Amazonian Parrotlet 


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Female pacific parrotlet

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Male blue mutation pacific

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Male green-rumped: F. passerinus deliciosus

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Female green-rumped: F. passerinus deliciosus

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Juvenile Male Spectacled Parrotlet: Forpus conspicillatus
Photo courtesy of Denise in NJ

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Female Yellow-Faced Parrotlet: Forpus xanthops
Photo courtesy of Darlene Fitc
het in FL

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Female Yellow-Faced Parrotlet: Cheeto
Photo courtesy of Darlene Fitchet in FL

Updated August 28, 2010 9:08 AM

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