Blue-backed parrot

Blue-backed parrot

Blue-backed parrot, Müller's (or mueller's) parrot

Tanygnathus sumatranus

The blue-backed parrot (Tanygnathus everetti ), also known as Müller's (or Mueller's) parrot is a large, endangered species of parrot endemic to the Philippines. It is found in tropical moist lowland forests. Flocks are small and often active at night. Its main threats are habitat loss and trapping for the pet trade.

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It is illegal to hunt, capture or possess blue-backed parrots under Philippine Law RA 9147.

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It is of medium size (32 cm), primarily green with yellowish edging to the wings, a blue rump, and blue wing bends. The head, mantle, wings and tail are darker green, the belly and collar are lighter green. It is sexually dimorphic, with the male having a red beak and the female a pale yellow or horn colored beak.



Biogeographical realms

Very little is known about the ecology of the species, albeit it is likely to occur in similar habitats to the Azure-rumped parrot. The species may therefore occur across tropical, lowland, and montane forests, as well as mangrove swamps and degraded forests being most common below 500 meters above sea level.

Habits and Lifestyle

Seasonal behavior
Bird's call

Diet and Nutrition


Population number

IUCN has assessed this bird as Endangered with population estimates being estimated at 250-999 mature individuals remaining. Others suggest that the population with the Oriental Bird may be even lower citing "the Blue-backed Parrot is represented by a population of potentially far fewer than 300 birds, and a reasonable precaution would place this below 250 and allow the species to be registered as Critically Endangered." This bird is already listed as critically endangered under the National List of Threatened Terrestrial Fauna of the Philippines.

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These population counts may be even lowered if the Sulu subspecies burdbdgii is elevated to the full species level.

Conservation actions proposed are surveys across the range of the species are urgently needed to assess the current population any ecological requirementt and the impact of trade. Lowland forests across parts of the species's former range, including Luzon and Catanduanes also require ongoing monitoring. Methods of conservation and site protection in Samar and Mindanao must also continue. Instate biodiversity reserves or protected areas across the watersheds and mineral reserves of Dinagat Islands, where large parrots have previously been observed.

A captive-breeding program requires urgent initiation. Captive birds of the two forms everetti and burbidgii must be sought out and acquired for management under government licence, bringing together a multidisciplinary team to oversee the work and develop an integrated ex-situ/in-situ conservation plan. Both subspecies must be kept separate in order to prevent potential Hybridization if or once these studies prove that they are a different species.

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1. Blue-backed parrot Wikipedia article -
2. Blue-backed parrot on The IUCN Red List site -
3. Xeno-canto bird call -

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