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What Are the Different Types of Endangered Parrots?

Endangered parrots, with their vibrant plumage and captivating behaviors, face threats from habitat loss to illegal trade. Species like the charming Kakapo and majestic Spix's Macaw are teetering on the brink of extinction. Each type has a unique story, a struggle for survival. Discover the diverse world of these imperiled birds—what can we do to ensure their future? Continue reading to find out.
Nicole Etolen
Nicole Etolen

There are about 330 different types of parrots in the world, and of those, approximately 95 are on the endangered parrots list, although exact statistics vary from country to country. Some, like several different types of macaws, are critically endangered, meaning that they are on the verge of becoming extinct. Others, such as the Cuban Parrot, are not yet endangered, but if their numbers continue to dwindle, they will become so quickly.

There are numerous causes behind the growing trend of endangered parrots, including poaching, loss of land, and sickness. Poaching is one of the top concerns, because although many countries have outlawed importing parrots captured in the wild, poachers still continue to remove the birds from their natural habitat and sell them illegally. Loss of land is another major concern, as cutting down rainforests and jungles or building cities that encroach on parrots territory is causing the birds to lose their homes.

Of the 330 types of parrots, about 95 of them are considered endangered species.
Of the 330 types of parrots, about 95 of them are considered endangered species.

Several different types of macaws — including the Blue-throated, the Glaucous, and the Lear’s Macaw — are critically endangered parrots and on the verge of extinction in the wild. Some bird experts suspect that the Glaucous may already be extinct. Other macaws are on threatened or endangered, but not yet critically so. The brightly colored macaws are among the most commonly poached birds, which accounts for their dwindling numbers. They are also the largest parrots and suffer the most from decreasing habitat space.

Poaching is a major threat to many types of parrots.
Poaching is a major threat to many types of parrots.

The African Gray is also one of the most endangered parrots, although their numbers haven’t reached critical levels yet. Along with the macaw, the African Gray is one of the most popular parrot pets. Their popularity stems from the fact that they are one of the smartest parrots and the best mimickers of human speech. Some African Grays have been known to learn over 900 words, as well as voice prompts on when to appropriately use those words.

Other types of endangered parrots include several types of rare parakeets, the Philippines Cockatoo, and numerous types of South American parrots. It is difficult to determine the true number of endangered parrots because resources do not permit tracking every single bird. Some species on the endangered list may already be gone, while others may be increasing their numbers due to conservation efforts.

Those who want to purchase a pet parrot should go through reputable breeders and buy a bird that was born in captivity. Wild-caught parrots rarely become the affectionate pets that people often hope for when they buy a parrot. Purchasing a wild-caught parrot is not just illegal in many countries; it also encourages further poaching, which puts a large strain on the parrot’s population in the wild.

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Discussion Comments


@Mor - I wish that conservation efforts in other parts of the world were as successful. There are several parrot types which are probably going to go extinct because efforts have not been extensive enough in preserving them.

The additional problem is that they are often caught by poachers, which isn't something that New Zealand birds usually have to worry about. But rare parrots from South America and Africa are often in high demand with collectors.


@KoiwiGal - The kakapo is still probably one of the most endangered parrots in the world, but there is much more hope for them than there used to be. The trouble was that on top of the fact that there were very few sanctuaries left for them, they had very particular breeding habits and scientists took a while to understand how they worked.

But they've bred dozens of them in captivity now and hopefully the species is going to survive, in part because Richard Henry cared so much before anyone else bothered.


One of the most tragic stories I know comes from someone attempting to save an endangered parrot species. There's one in New Zealand called the kakapo that is unique for several reasons. It's huge for one thing and it is flightless and nocturnal as well.

Back about 100 years ago, it was becoming obvious that they were starting to become very rare and this man called Richard Henry spent much of his life capturing them and shipping them to an island where he hoped they would be safe from rats and cats and other imported predators.

When he finally thought he had completely eradicated these pests from the island and had stocked it full of some of the last remaining birds, they discovered a population of stoats. So Mr Henry died thinking that his efforts had been entirely in vain and that the birds would soon become extinct, something that has very nearly happened now.

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    • Of the 330 types of parrots, about 95 of them are considered endangered species.
      By: Digitalpress
      Of the 330 types of parrots, about 95 of them are considered endangered species.
    • Poaching is a major threat to many types of parrots.
      By: susan flashman
      Poaching is a major threat to many types of parrots.