Maroon-fronted Parrot
Rhynchopsitta terrisi

Cotorra Serrana Oriental

Between 40 and 45 cm.. length and 300 g. of weight.

The Maroon-fronted Parrot (Rhynchopsitta terrisi) It has a size slightly larger than the Thick-billed Parrot. Its bill is large, hooked and curved black. Of tail short in comparison to other members of the family, by high green and below Brown gray. Upright perching, legs short but strong and the fingers toes zigodactilos, i.e. two toes forward and two backwards. Is bright green, slightly more clear and yellowish on the cheekbones and ears. It has a patch Brown in the forecrown, red spots on the shoulders and in the the thighs.

The color of the irises in adults is yellow amber, While in juveniles is coffee. The eye ring is yellow. Below the wings they have red border. The rest of the inside of the wings darker Green is. The legs they are greyish.

Both sexes of similar shape and color.
Immature with eyes Brown and bill paler.

Often treated as the same species as the Thick-billed Parrot.

  • Sound of the Maroon-fronted Parrot.
[audio:HTTPS:// Serrana Oriental.mp3]


It lives in temperate with dry winter climates, a high altitudes ranging from the 1,900 to the 3,000 m, exceptionally a 1.300 meters and 3.700 m, in mountainous regions with pine forest (Pinus duranguensis, Pinus ayacahuite, and Pinus arizonica among others), forest of Pine-oak (Pinus spp.. and Quercus spp..), isolated forest fragments of pure FIR (Abies spp..), or mixed forests of oyamel, firs (Pseudotsuga spp..) and poplars (Populus tremuloides). Forests may be at the top of the mountains, open areas or be part of abrupt cliffs and crags land.

The Maroon-fronted Parrot is a Diurnal with activity social. To the nestsr meets in large flocks, at times of until 100 individuals and to build their nest, Unlike in the Thick-billed Parrot, don't use holes in trees but cavities and cracks in the rock of the cliffs. With pairs once a year with a single partner throughout the reproductive season. Form flocks to find their food. These groups tend to fly at low altitude moving long distances in search of trees with fruits and seeds that can be eaten. It is also possible to find lonely couples looking for food. They sleep in community, flocking on inaccessible crags. Individuals within the flock to communicate by means of strong vocals similar to harsh squawks and squeaks, While they are looking for food or to warn of threats. In general, the species of this family are known to be noisy, especially when they are in groups.

You know when these birds are approximated by the noises that make, the Group flies in a flock that forms an open "V". The reproductive colony You can move up to 30 km to find food, If it is scarce. With enough food available near the nests, just move in 3 a 5 daily km.


The breeding season It between July and November. To build the nest using cracks and voids in high limestone crags and they tend to use the same sites year after year to nest. The colony nests above the 1,300 and 1,700 m.

They put between 2 and 5 eggs (average is 2.7) between mid-June and late July. When is food scarce, drastically reduces the production of broilers. The female incubates eggs between 24 and 27 days which hatch between early September and late October. Since they are born until they fly chicks they remain in the nest for approximately two months, being fed and cared for by both parents. Of all the eggs laid and incubated in the colony only the 60% fledged young occur. The chicks are bred in sync with the maturation of pine seeds, It usually occurs in late summer and autumn.


They eat mainly seeds of conifer cones, especially of pines (Pinus durangensis, Pinus leiophylla, Pinus ayacahuite, Pinus arizonica, Pinus gregii, Pinus teocote, Pinus montezumae, Pinus cembroides and Pinus engelmannii) and bur-marigold (Pseudotsuga menziesi).

Its beak is specially adapted to extract seeds from the cones (pine nuts) of Pine. When are pine seeds scarce, include in your diet oak acorns (Quercus spp..) and Guatemalan FIR seeds (Abies spp..). Their diet also includes fruits of capulin (Prunus capuli) and flowers of Agave Nectar. In general the diet of both species, the Eastern Mountain Parrot and the Thick-billed Parrot es similar. The Maroon-fronted Parrot has the habit of eating dirt (geophagy) in clay banks.


The distribution of the Maroon-fronted Parrot is restricted in the northeast of Mexico. Confined in Sierra Madre Oriental, in the southeast of Coahuila de Zaragoza, about Saltillo, in the Centre-West of Nuevo León, including mountains to the South-West of Monterrey, and the mountains of the West of Tamaulipas.

Full range of approximately 300 km from North to South, with an average of 60 kilometers from West to East and breeding pairs, possibly, only in the North third.

Similar to the Thick-billed Parrot, ago seasonal movements (Although probably less extensive) in response to the availability of pine seeds, apparently being distributed to the South of their range only between October and April (old reports of the Thick-billed Parrot in Veracruz they may belong to this species).

Rare, very local and extinct in many areas. Now limited to restricted areas in the few pine forests that remain (probably around 7.000 km2 of forests within the 18.000 its range km², they are suitable).

The decrease in its population is mainly due to the loss of habitat by logging, the Agriculture, the burning and the grazing, Although their habits of nesting on cliffs, It avoids the need of old or dead trees. Selective logging can reduce the diversity of pine trees and therefore the availability of food.


In 1981 they were estimated between 2,000 and 3,000 individuals of this species.

• Red list category of the UICN current: In danger of extinction

• Population trend: Decreasing

In 1997 ranked in the The Taray sanctuary, in Coahuila de Zaragoza as the reproductive Center the species to be found there about 100 reproductive couples. A 16 Hence km, in a place known as Condos the second largest colony was located with 60 couples.

Census continued and in 1999, the population was calculated at a minimum of 2,500 individuals.

A recent census based on the large flocks threw an account of approximately 3,500 individuals of Eastern Mountain Parrot.

The main threat facing the Maroon-fronted Parrot is the destruction and modification of their habitat, mainly due to actions such as agriculture, livestock, logging (to produce wood and paper) and forest fires.

Its current Habitat is very limited, as well as the same area of its distribution endemic species that is.

The deforestation continues to decrease more and more forests mountain of the region, and unfortunately the recovery or regeneration of these forests is poor in comparison with other parts of the country pine forests, which is probably due to the layer of soil of the region is thin and Rocky and scarce rain.

In 2006, a forest fire devastated about 2,000 It has pine forest in the Sierra, destroying trees that provided food to the Parrot and causing a decrease in the number of chickens raised in the era of nidation. Additionally, When the average size of the trees that make up a forest and also the area they occupy is reduced seed production decreases and increases the number of faulty cones, Finally affecting to the Maroon-fronted Parrot that feeds on the seeds.

Exist protected natural areas on Sierra Madre Oriental that protect and preserve to the Maroon-fronted Parrot.

From 1939 was decreed the Cumbres de Monterrey National Park, in Nuevo León to protect more than 150 thousand hectares of forest, including half of the areas where the species nests. Shortly before it had decreed, in 1936, The The Potosí National Park, in San Luis Potosí.

In 1985 created the The El Cielo biosphere reserve, in Tamaulipas. And between the three Protected natural areas partially cover the rest of the known colonies and part of the winter range. Also they have formed private protected natural areas, as the The Taray sanctuary in Coahuila de Zaragoza, nail 350 has of forest, created in 1996 specifically to protect to the Maroon-fronted Parrot that contains the nidation largest colony known. This area is managed by the Museum of the birds of Mexico in Saltillo, Coahuila de Zaragoza and has been funded by the National Commission for the knowledge and use of biodiversity (CONABIO) and donations from other national and foreign organizations such as the Zoological Society of San Diego and the Fish and Wildlife Service of United Statess.

Various research projects they have been conducted from 1995 for the knowledge and conservation of the Maroon-fronted Parrot.

Recently in 2008, the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (UANL), carried out a project on the Cumbres de Monterrey National Park. For its part, the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) and Pronatura After studies in the same area, they have begun to establish landscape-level conservation strategies.

In the Official standard of species at risk (NAME-059-ECOL-2001), The Maroon-fronted Parrot (Rhynchopsitta terrisi) appears as danger of extinction.

The Convention on international trade in endangered species of Fauna and Flora Silvestres (CITES) protects it inside of the Appendix I.

The International Union for the conservation of nature (IUCN for its acronym in English) in his Red list of threatened species, granted the category of threatened to the Maroon-fronted Parrot from 1988. Category changed to vulnerable from 1994 up until the present day.

In the year 2000 the National Consultative Technical Subcommittee for the protection, Conservation and recovery of the Psitacidae, developed the Conservation project, Management and sustainable utilization of the Psitacidae in Mexico (PREP), in which we considered both mountain parrots as priorities for conservation.

The species of Thick-billed Parrot (R. pachyrhyncha) and Maroon-fronted Parrot (R. terrisi), they are considered from 2008 as priority species in the Species at risk conservation program (NATIONAL HERO) of the National Commission of natural Areas protected (CONANP). Due to their biological similarities and a common problem, both were included in a single PACE (Programmes of action for the conservation of species), After the Subcommittee on Psitacidae carried out the Workshop of species identification of priority Psitacidae to be included in a PACE, document that contains among other aspects of the biology of the species, the objectives, goals and strategies for the conservation of both Mountain parrots.

Conservation actions have also been made in the field of the environmental education.

At the end of 2008, in the framework of the Program for the conservation of species at risk (NATIONAL HERO), seven locations of the Cumbres de Monterrey National Park they conducted environmental education activities with the Maroon-fronted Parrot as a priority species.

Perhaps the most important conservation measure, the publication is the 14 in October of 2008, in the Official Journal of the Federation, the decree that reforms to the General wildlife law (Decree Art. 60 Bis 2) What It prohibits the capture of parrots and macaws of Mexico. The law prohibits the extractive use subsistence or commercial, export, import or re-export of these species native to the country. With this law is protected 22 bird species of the family Psittacidae in Mexico. The violation of the above provision, is in a federal crime that is punished with prison, through a penalty ranging from 1 a 9 years in prison and up to 12 years if the offence is committed within a protected natural area or is done for commercial purposes.

The priority regions for the species are located in the Sierra Madre Oriental: The Cumbres de Monterrey National Park, in Nuevo León, The The Potosí National Park, in San Luis Potosí, the The El Cielo biosphere reserve, in Tamaulipas and the The Taray sanctuary in Coahuila de Zaragoza.

Source: Site on the network of knowledge on birds of Mexico

Serrana Oriental magpie in captivity:

The mountainous region of Wood, Chihuahua, It has been inhabited since makes 1500 years by building ethnic groups of "cliff dwellings", those who originally were hunters and gatherers. The archaeological remains of Paquimé, a 350 km to the Northwest of the city of Chihuahua and half a kilometer from Large houses they indicate that the region had a dedicated trade to the production of feathers from macaws, shells, ceramic and copper among others, the being first settlers in capture and breed, both the Eastern Mountain Parrot as to the Thick-billed Parrot.

In the conquest increased interest in capturing individuals from the family of the parrots. Starting at the 16th century, they gained greater popularity among Mexicans, mainly as pets.

During the 20th century This intense trade, In addition to the illegal traffic, has resulted from 1970 and 1982, Mexico It was the largest exporter of live birds to the pet trade from the countries of the Neotropics, exporting on average 14,500 Mexican parrots, annually a United States.

During the period of 1981 a 1985 United States imported a minimum of 703 thousand parrots; and even in 1987 Mexico It was the largest source of smuggling of wild birds. In addition only between 1982 and 1983, 104,530 individuals the family were captured in Mexico for the internal domestic market.

Sale as pets is illegal.

Alternative names:

Maroon-fronted Parrot, Maroon fronted Parrot (English).
Conure à front brun, Perriche à front brun, Perruche à front brun (French).
Maronenstirnsittich, Maronenstirn-Sittich (German).
Papagaio-de-fronte-castanha (Portuguese).
Cotorra Serrana Oriental, Cotorra-serrana Oriental (Spanish).

Scientific classification:

Order: Psittaciformes
Family: Psittacidae
Genus: Rhynchopsitta
Scientific name: Rhynchopsitta terrisi
Citation: Moore, RT, 1947
Protonimo: Rhynchopsitta terrisi

Maroon-fronted Parrot images:


Maroon-fronted Parrot (Rhynchopsitta terrisi)


– Parrots of the World – Forshaw Joseph M
– Parrots A Guide to the Parrots of the World – Tony Juniper & Mike Parr
– CONABIO. 2011. Priority species sheets. Maroon-fronted Parrot (Rhynchopsitta terrisi). National Commission of protected natural Areas and National Commission for the knowledge and use of biodiversity, Mexico D.F.


(1) – An adult Maroon-fronted Parrot in a cage By TJ Lin (originally posted to Flickr as DSC01484) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
(2) – Maroon-fronted Parrot by © greglasley –
(3) – Maroon-fronted Parrot by © greglasley –
(4) – Maroon-fronted Parrot by Zócalo Saltillo
(5) – Maroon-fronted Parrot (Rhynchopsitta terrisi) – Loro Parque

Sounds: Jon King (Xeno-canto)

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