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Title: Psittacidae  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: African grey parrot, Carolina parakeet, Saint Lucia amazon, Austral parakeet, National symbols of Saint Lucia
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Neotropical and Afrotropical parrots
Blue-and-gold macaws
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Superfamily: Psittacoidea
Family: Psittacidae
Illiger, 1811


The family Psittacidae one of three families of true parrots consists of two subfamilies, the Old World or Afrotropical parrots (Psittacinae) and the New World or Neotropical parrots (Arinae).[1] The family numbers approximately 10 species in the Old World, and 148 species in the New World,[2] and included several species that have gone extinct in recent centuries. Some of the most iconic birds in the world are represented here, such as the blue-and-gold macaw among the New World parrots and the African grey parrot among the Old World parrots. These parrots are found in tropical and subtropical zones and inhabit Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean islands, sub-Saharan Africa and the island of Madagascar, and the Arabian Peninsula. Two parrots, one extinct, formerly inhabited North America.[3]

This family likely had its origin early in the Paleogene period (66-23 mya) after the western half of Gondwana had separated into the continents of Africa and South America, before the divergence of African and New World lineages c. 30-35 mya. It is estimated that the New World parrots (Arinae) and by implication Old World parrots, last shared a common ancestor with the Australian parrots (Cacatuidae) c. 59 mya.[4] The data place most of the diversification of psittaciforms around 40 mya, after the separation of Australia from West Antarctica and South America.[5][6] Divergence of Psittacidae from the ancestral parrots resulted from a common radiation event from what was then West Antarctica into South America then Africa via late Cretaceous land bridges that survived through the Paleogene.[7]


The recently revised taxonomy of the family Psittacidae, based on molecular studies, recognizes the sister clade relationship of the Old World Psittacini and New World Arini tribes of subfamily Psittacinae,[8] which have been raised to subfamily ranking and renamed Psittacinae and Arinae. Subfamily Loriinae and the other tribes of subfamily Psittacinae are now placed in superfamily Psittacoidea of all true parrots which includes family Psittacidae.[9]


  1. ^ Leo Joseph, Alicia Toon, Erin E. Schirtzinger, Timothy F. Wright & Richard Schodde. (2012) A revised nomenclature and classification for family-group taxa of parrots (Psittaciformes). Zootaxa 3205: 26–40
  2. ^ "Zoonomen: Zoological Nomenclature Resource". 
  3. ^ Forshaw, J. (2000). Parrots of the World, 3rd Ed. Australia: Lansdowne. pp. 303, 385. 
  4. ^ Tavares, Erika; Yamashita, Miyaki (Jan 2004). "Phylogenetic Relationships Among Some Neotropical Parrot Genera Based on Mitochondrial Sequences". The Auk 121 (1): 230–242.  
  5. ^ Schweizer, M.; Seehausen O; Hertwig ST (2011). "Macroevolutionary patterns in the diversification of parrots: effects of climate change, geological events and key innovations". Journal of Biogeography (38): 2176–2194. 
  6. ^ Wright,, T. (Oct 2008). "A Multilocus Molecular Phylogeny of the Parrots (Psittaciformes): Support for a Gondwanan Origin during the Cretaceous". Molecular Biology and Evolution. 25 (10): 2141–2156.  
  7. ^ Remsen, Van. "Proposal (599) to South American Classification Committee: Revise classification of the Psittaciformes". Retrieved Oct 2013. 
  8. ^ Collar, N. (1997). Birds of the World, Vol.4. del Hoyo. p. 241. 
  9. ^ Joseph, (2012). "A revised nomenclature and classification for family-group taxa of parrots (Psittaciformes)". Zootaxa (3205): 26–40. 

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