The genus Pyrrhura includes a rich set of small to medium-sized species of parakeets, mostly confined to dense habitats in South America. Also, they inhabit dry as well as tall rainforests which occur from sea level up to 2000m. These birds exploit several tree species and use a variety of food items, from nectar to pure seeds. All have long, pointed tails, a mainly green plumage, and a relatively narrow, dark greyish to white eye-ring. Many have scaly or barred chest-patterns and a whitish, pale grey, buff or reddish ear-patch. They typically move around in small, noisy flocks, flying swiftly at or below canopy level. Once settled in a tree they tend to be silent (especially if aware of danger) and difficult to spot. They nest in a tree-crevice.
Listen to the sound of Santa Marta Parakeet
[audio:http://www.planetofbirds.com/MASTER/PSITTACIFORMES/Psittacidae/sounds/Santa Marta Parakeet.mp3]
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
recorded by Herman van Oosten
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Video Santa Marta Parakeet
copyright: Josep del Hoyo
Only 15% of the original vegetation in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta remains, albeit largely on the north slope where this species occurs. The main threat is the conversion of forest to marijuana and coca plantations, which was compounded by the government spraying herbicides on the sierra. It is not known whether this approach is still taken by the Colombian authorities. Threats that followed human immigration to the area from the 1950s onwards are agricultural expansion (e.g. livestock), logging, burning and afforestation with exotic trees (e.g. pines).