The green-cheeked parakeet (Pyrrhura molinae) is a small parrot native to South America, where it can be found in parts of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay. A fairly widespread species, population estimates are lacking; however, because it is so common and there are few signs of population decline, the population is presumed to be stable. This may change in the future, as parts of South America continue to be heavily logged, threatening its habitat. This habitat destruction could particularly impact some subspecies whose ranges are thought to be very small. Little is known about this parrot and its behavior or habits in the wild. Its diet consists largely of fruits and seeds, and it will sometimes drink nectar from flowers; for this reason, some scientists have suggested that this and other small parrots are important for pollination and seed dispersal for some trees.

While few scientific studies have been conducted on green-cheeked parakeets in the wild, they are popular in the pet trade, where they often go by the name green-cheeked conures. As with many imported parrots, green-cheeked parakeets occasionally escape from captivity. In some parts of the United States, invasive parrots have established breeding populations and may displace native species. Green-cheeked parakeets can now be found in the wild in South Florida, but it is unknown whether the population can support itself or if the continued population is dependent on accidental releases.

  1. What important ecological role do green-cheeked parakeets play?

    • Answer

      They feed on fruits and nectar and may help pollinate and disperse seeds from trees.

  2. How do invasive parrots establish themselves in new locations?

    • Answer

      Invasive parrots sometimes escape from captivity and, in habitats similar to their native ranges with good nesting spaces and appropriate food sources, may establish breeding populations in new places, where they may displace native species.

  3. Why is the green-cheeked parakeet population considered stable if we do not know how large the population is?

    • Answer

      The green-cheeked parakeet occurs over a large range in South America and has shown few signs of a declining population. However, this may not continue as logging and habitat destruction continue in parts of its range.

breeding population
Noun

population in which individuals may mate with related individuals, allowing evolutionary change to take place or be preserved.

dispersal
Noun

spread of something to a new area.

displace
Verb

to remove or force to evacuate.

nectar
Noun

sweet plant material that attracts pollinators.

pollination
Noun

transfer of pollen from the male part of a plant to the female part of a plant.

seed
Noun

part of a plant from which a new plant grows.