Classification Of Parrotlets

The categorization of animals in general is a fascinating topic, with knowledge and classification systems changing often throughout the years. I won’t bore you by going back to Darwin, but I intend to cover the history of parrotlet classification.

Parrotlets were incorrectly classified in various categories in the early twentieth century. They were relocated multiple times in an effort to better identify the new birds that were being found virtually daily at the time. Our parrotlet pals were labeled as parakeets, lovebirds, and everything in between. It wasn’t until the overall categorization of broad-tailed parrots was established that their real name was revealed: our tiny pals are Forpus.

The modern categorization of parrotlets is divided into the following classification groups:

Class – Aves

Order – Psittaciformes

Family – Psittacidae

Sub-family – Psittacinae

Genus *

Species *

Sub-species *

Parrotlets are recognized in a variety of ways, the most precise being by their genus, species, and subspecies classifications. Parrotlets are often known to by their common name, such as Pacific or Green Rump, and other times by their native region, such as Trinidad. Others, like the Ridgway parrotlet, are named for the person who found them. You’re probably wondering how we managed to keep these birds straight with so many different ways to refer to the same species. It has not been simple, and many mistakes in the identification of parrotlets have been made and rectified. These factors exacerbated the situation.

Parrotlets are classified into three genera: Forpus, Nannopsittaca, and Touit. This article will solely cover the genus Forpus.

Common NameBlue Winged Parrotlet
Other Names 
Current ClassificationForpus xanthopterygius (Spix 1824)
Previous Classifications 
Sub-SpeciesForpus xanthopterygius xanthopterygius (Spix 1824)
Sub-SpeciesForpus x. flavescens (Salvadori)
     Other NamesSalvadori’s Blue Wing Parrotlet
Sub-SpeciesForpus x. olallae (Gyldenstolpe 1941)
     Other NamesOlalla’s Blue Wing Parrotlet
Sub-SpeciesForpus x. crassirostris (Taczanowski 1883)
     Other NamesLarge-Billed Parrotlet, Thick-Billed Blue Wing Parrotlet
     Previous ClassificationsForpus crassirostris
Sub-SpeciesForpus x. flavissimus (Herllmayr 1929)
     Other NamesBlue Rump Parrotlet, Ceara Blue Wing Parrotlet
Sub-SpeciesForpus x. spengeli (Hartlaub)
     Other NamesSpengel’s Parrotlet
     Previous ClassificationsForpus spengeli
Common NameGreen Rump Parrotlet
Other NamesGuiana Parrotlet, Green-and-Blue Rump Parrotlet, Passerine Parrot, Passerine Parrotlet, Blue Wing Parakeet
Current ClassificationForpus passerinus (Linné 1758)
Previous ClassificationsForpus modesta, Psittacula gregaria, Psittacus passerinus
Sub-SpeciesForpus p. passerinus (Linné 1758)
Sub-SpeciesForpus p. cyanochlorus (Schlegel 1864)
    Other NamesSchlegel’s Parrotlet
Sub-SpeciesForpus p. cyanophanes (Todd 1915)
     Other NamesRio Hacha Parrotlet
Sub-SpeciesForpus p. deliciosus (Ridgway 1888)
     Other NamesDelicate Parrotlet, Brazilian Parrotlet, Santarem Passerine Parrotlet
Sub-SpeciesForpus p. viridissimus (Lafresnaye 1848)
     Other NamesTrinidad Parrotlet, Venezuelan Parrotlet, Venezuelan Green Parrotlet
Common NameMexican Parrotlet
Other NamesTurquoise Rump Parrotlet, Blue Rump Parrotlet
Current ClassificationForpus cyanopygius (Souancé 1856)
Previous Classifications 
Sub-SpeciesForpus cyanopygius cyanopygius (Souancé 1856)
Sub-SpeciesForpus c. insularis (Ridgway 1888)
     Other NamesGrayson’s Parrotlet, Tres Marias Parrotlet
Sub-SpeciesForpus c. pallidus (Brewster 1889)
     Other NamesSonoran Parrotlet, Sonora Parrotlet
Common NamePacific Parrotlet
Other NamesCelestial Parrotlet, Lesson’s Parrotlet
Current ClassificationForpus coelestis (Lesson 1847)
Previous Classifications 
Sub-SpeciesForpus coelestis coelestis (Lesson 1847)
Sub-SpeciesForpus c. lucida (Ridgway)
     Other NamesRidgway’s Parrotlet
Common NameSclater’s Parrotlet
Other NamesDusky-billed Parrotlet, Black-billed Parrotlet
Current ClassificationForpus sclateri (G. R. Gray 1859)
Previous Classifications 
Sub-SpeciesForpus sclateri sclateri (G. R. Gray 1859)
Sub-SpeciesForpus s. eidos (Peters 1937)
     Other NamesSchomburk’s Parrotlet


Common NameSpectacle Parrotlet
Other Names
Current ClassificationForpus conspicillatus (Laresnaye 1848)
Previous Classifications
Sub-SpeciesForpus conspicillatus conspicillatus (Laresnaye 1848)
Sub-SpeciesForpus c. caucae (Chapman 1915)
     Other NamesCauca Spectacle Parrotlet
Sub-SpeciesForpus c. metae (Borrero and Camacho 1961)
     Other NamesMeta Spectacle Parrotlet

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