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Mitred Parakeet
Aratinga Mitrata (Tschudi 1844)

Also known as: Mitred Conure

This large conure is native from east-central Peru to eastern Bolivia and northwestern Argentina. It belongs to a complex of primarily green species with red markings on the head. Its occurence in California was not published upon until Garrett (1989) and Johnston and Garrett (1994), although C. T. Collins (pers. comm.) reports that this species was present in Long Beach, Los Angeles County, by 1980. The extensive red markings on the heads of most individuals in the region suggest that the nominate subspecies is involved.

In a revision of the Aratinga mitrata complex, with the description of one new species and two new subspecies, local birds are most likely of the newly described subspecies Aratinga mitrata tucumana. (Arndt 2005)

During studies flocks of Mitred Parakeets were found in Malibu (especially Zuma Canyon and Pt. Dume), West Los Angeles, Culver City, Venice, central Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, San Pedro, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Highland Park, Temple City, Arcadia, and El Monte. Maximum flock sizes were 100 in the San Gabriel Valley, 60 in Palos Verdes Estates, 55 in Malibu (lower Zuma Canyon), 48 in Lakewood, and 47 in Exposition Park south of downtown Los Angeles. Seasonal status and foraging behavior in the Long Beach area were discussed by Collins and Kares (1997). The total population in the greater Los Angeles region was estimated at 680. (Garrett 1997)

This species appears to have undergone a population surge. The population in Orange County is estimated at 100, the populaltion in south coast (Long Beach) has increased by 50 parakeets, and they have also increased in the Los Angeles basin. San Diego reports a modest population. Garrett (1997) reported their total number to be 683 and Mabb (1997a) reported the number in the San Gabriel Valley to be less than 100. Now, the population in the San Gabriel Valley has grown to 400 and the total population has increased to over 1000. (Mabb 2002)

Distribution in California: Naturalized in coastal areas from Malibu to Long Beach and coastal northwestern Orange County, and also in the Los Angeles basin and San Gabriel Valley; small numbers (naturalized) from San Francisco to south San Francisco Bay region, and sightings also in San Diego and Sacramento areas (Garrett 1997).

Habitat in California: Urban Parks, suburban residential areas (Garrett 1997).

Other Naturalized Locations: None noted.

Click an image below to view at a larger scale.

Mitred Parakeet (Aratinga mitrata)
Photos this page © Bowles/Erickson |

Native Range and Habitat: Central and southern Peru (east of Andes) to eastern Bolivia, northwestern Argentina; California birds appear to be from the nominate subspecies.

Inhabits woodlands, small forest patches, arid montaine slopes and valleys (Forshaw 1989); steep hills and rock faces, legume-dominated deciduous and cloud forest (Fjeldsa and Krabbe 1990).

STATUS: Least Concern -- IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This species has a large range, with an estimated global extent of occurrence of 250,000 km. The global population size has not been quantified, but it is believed to be large as the species is described as 'common' in at least parts of its range (Stotz et al . 1996). Global population trends have not been quantified, but populations appear to be stable (del Hoyo et al . 1997) so the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e., declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. (BirdLife International 2004).

Citation: BirdLife International 2004. Aratinga mitrata . In: IUCN 2006. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. < >. Downloaded on 18 January 2007.

For more information, visit the Mitred Parakeet - BirdLife Species Factsheet published by BirdLife International.

Description: Green body; paler on breast and abdomen; forehead, forecrown and eye area dark red; red feathers scattered on the sides of the head, throat, nape, breast and abdomen; greater under wing-coverts as well as underside of flight and tail feathers goldish or olive-yellow; eye ring whitish; iris brownish-yellow; feet flesh-tone; beak horn-colored. Immatures as adult, but with only a red forehead. Some immatures may have barely visible signs of red.

Average Length: 15 inches

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