Parrotlets Types, Classification and Names

Look no farther than the small parrotlet for a bird with a huge parrot personality without the enormous parrot. These lovely birds have all of the charm of giant parrots but cannot eat at a table. When hand-fed, parrotlets are cute, clever, lively, and loving. They can learn to communicate, need minimal room, are resilient, sexually dimorphic, simple to breed and care for, and do not scream. Parrotlets, which were relatively unknown 10 years ago, are quickly becoming one of the most popular parrots in aviculture. They are also the smallest species on the planet, and are often mistaken with lovebirds or grey cheeks. However, as real parrots, they are most closely related to the giant Amazons. They may be found in the wild in Mexico, South and Central America.

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 Parrotlets In Aviculture

Species Identification of Parrotlets

  • Pacific Parrotlets

The most well-known and popular parrotlet species is the Pacific or Celestial parrotlet. They measure around five inches long and weigh 30 grammes. Males have a cobalt-blue feather stripe running from the eye and cobalt-blue on the rump and wings. Many females have an eye streak, although it is emerald green rather than cobalt. Their backs and wings are dark green, with yellow-green feathers around the face. Both sexes’ legs and beaks are pink when they hatch and progressively become horn-colored as they mature. Females in one subspecies have a teal rump, while males have grey wings and backs. Furthermore, various Pacific colour variants have been created, including blue, dark factor blue, American yellow, European yellow, fallow, and lutino.

Pacific parrotlets are the most bold and aggressive species. They are also quite territorial, particularly the hens. You cannot keep more than one pair in the same cage. If given the opportunity, they will attack other creatures, even much bigger parrots. Hand-fed newborns make excellent pets if put in a family soon after weaning and handled on a regular basis. Because they are exceptionally bright, they can frequently be trained to perform tricks and to converse. Pacific females are more dominating than males and may get irritable if spoilt or mistreated. When Pacific couples are not raising children, it is not uncommon for them to argue. Most couples are great parents and may be used to raise other parrotlet species.

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
  • Green Rump Parrotlets

Green Rump parrotlets, another popular species, are also the smallest, weighing roughly 22 grammes and measuring less than five inches in length. Their bodies are slender and sleek, and their beaks are tiny in comparison to their heads. The beaks and legs are horny. Females are mostly apple-green with a patch of yellow feathers between their eyes and above their nostrils. The main wing feathers of males are vivid cobalt blue, while the secondary wing feathers are turquoise. They are the only parrotlet species with green rumps rather than blue rumps. Green Rumps are kind, cautious, and timid (particularly when compared to Pacifics), and they seldom bite. They are also a reasonably simple species to reproduce, with little conflict between couples.

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
  • Mexican Parrotlets

Mexican parrotlets are one of the bigger species, measuring five and a half inches long and weighing over 40 grammes. Both sexes have grey beaks and legs, however females do not develop grey beaks until they are ready to reproduce. Males have turquoise rumps and main and secondary wing coverts. Mexicans are an exception to the rule of being active and fun. The breeding pairings seem to be sluggish. They are also picky eaters, often neglecting fruits and vegetables. Most Mexicans will only breed in groups of more than three couples. Unlike other species, they only have one clutch every year, and occasionally just one clutch every other year. Unfortunately, they are also considerably more sensitive to stress than other parrotlets.

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
  • Spectacled Parrotlets

Spectacled parrotlets are on the little side, weighing roughly 25 grammes and measuring less than five inches in length. Males are a deep, rich evergreen with a vivid blue eye ring, cobalt rump, primary and secondary coverts, secondary and under wing coverts, and primaries and rump that are bright violet blue. Females are not as dark green as males and have an eye ring, but it is emerald rather than blue. The beaks and legs of both males and females are horn-colored. The only parrotlets with a genuine eye ring are spectacles. They are also highly prolific and relatively simple to produce, therefore their numbers have skyrocketed.

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
  • Sclater’s Parrotlets

The Sclater’s measures around five inches long. They have never been introduced into the United States, and they are only sometimes raised in Europe. The lower back and rump of males are a bright violet blue, deeper than in any other species. The main and secondary coverts, as well as the secondary and under wing coverts, are all blue violet. The top mandible is grey, whereas the lower mandible is horn colored. The legs have a greyish brown color.

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
  • Blue Winged Parrotlet
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
  • Yellow Face Parrotlets

The Yellow Face parrotlet is the rarest and biggest species, weighing 50 grammes and measuring about six inches in length. Males exhibit deep violet blue primary and secondary colours, as do male Pacifics, as well as a blue eye stripe. Females have blue rumps that are lighter than males. Both males and females have brilliant yellow faces, as the name indicates. Their legs and beaks are likewise horn-colored, with a black stripe running down the front of the upper beak. There are just seven confirmed pairs of Yellow Face in the United States, despite the fact that they are easily bred in Europe.

More Parrotlets Types

Species (English Name)Species (Latin Name)
Black-eared ParrotletTouit melanonotus
Blue-fronted ParrotletTouit dilectissima
Blue-rumped ParrotletForpus cyanopygius
Blue-winged ParrotletForpus passerinus
Brown-backed ParrotletTouit melanonotus
Common ParrotletForpus passerinus
Green-rumped ParrotletForpus passerinus
Mexican ParrotletForpus cyanopygius
Red-winged ParrotletTouit dilectissima
Spectacled ParrotletForpus conspicillatus

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