Monotypic species. Formerly distributed in several humid forest enclaves in Ceará, Pernambuco and possibly Alagoas. At present, reliable registers only from Serra de Baturité and Quixada in Ceará, and Serra Negra Biological Reserve in Pernambuco.
Synonyms: Pyrrhura griseipectus SALVADORI 1900;
Figure 1. These are two of a small group of four "caras-sujas" (dirty-faces) that I saw in Guaramiranga. Thanks to Ciro Albano for helping me to find the birds! I had a few minutes to record their voices and make some photos, before they flew away again. It was already late afternoon, with diminished daylight, not ideal for photography, but better than nothing. Lively and beautiful birds!To top of page
Conservation: Less than 250 individuals of the Pyrrhura griseipectus parakeets are now left in the wild, according to BirdLife International. The site with the largest population is maybe Guaramiranga in Serra de Baturité.
Cause of extinction: The main dangers are trapping, and the removal of the youngs from the nest, for the cage-bird trade. Here is the answer I got from a shop-owner when I inquired about the parakeets: "Difficult to find here. None left, they were all caught. But I know some guys who could still find these birds. They could sell one to you." The man obviously misunderstood my intentions, and naturally assumed that I came for trapping or buying a "dirty-face" parakeet. Trapping and selling, this is indeed the first thought of many natives when it comes to parakeets, parrots, icterids, and so on.
On another occasion, the helpful caretaker of a smallholding in Guaramiranga gave me a demonstration how the dirty-faces are often caught, namely with glue.
Outlook: Can griseipectus be saved? It is very possible that trapping and collection of nestlings will continue until the total extinction of the "dirty-face" parakeet in the wild. On the other hand, many local people are actually aware that the "dirty-faces" are threatened by extinction, and especially landowners in Serra de Baturité often support preservation efforts. The Gray-breasted Parakeets would have a better chance for survival if they nested in areas where the owner protects them and their youngs.
Taxonomy: The taxonomic status of griseipectus has repeatedly changed, from subspecies of Pyrrhura leucotis to full species, and back. See SACC proposals 181, 306, 403. Currently, griseipectus is a full species according to SACC (Remsen et al. 2011), and CBRO.To top of page