Members of the parrot genus Psittacula or Afro-Asian ring-necked parakeets as they are commonly known in aviculture originates found from Africa to South-East Asia. It is a widespread group, with a clear concentration of species in south Asia, but also with representatives in Africa and the islands of the Indian Ocean. This is the only genus of Parrot which has the majority of its species in continental Asia. Of all the extant species only Psittacula calthropae, Psittacula caniceps and Psittacula echo do not have a representative subspecies in any part of mainland continental Asia. The rose-ringed parakeet, Psittacula krameri, is one of the most widely distributed of all parrots.

Psittacula krameri (pair) -Assam -India-8.jpg
Rose-ringed parakeets in Assam, India
(Psittacula krameri manillensis)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Family: Psittaculidae
Tribe: Psittaculini
Genus: Psittacula
Cuvier, 1800

more than 15, see text

The other two Asian genera, Loriculus and Psittinus are represented by only two and one species respectively, which occur in the mainland part of Asia. The majority of the Loriculus species occur on islands. Moreover, since Loriculus is spread across both sides of the Wallace Line it can be considered more Australasian than Asian.

These parrots mostly have green plumage, with adults having coloured heads. The bill is stout, and the tail is long and graduated.

The genus Psittacula was introduced by the French naturalist Georges Cuvier in 1800.[1] The type species was subsequently designated as the red-breasted parakeet.[2] The name of the genus is a diminutive of the Latin word psittacus for a "parrot".[3]

Species and phylogenyEdit

Current taxonomyEdit

Phylogeny of the genus Psittacula based on existing molecular evidence.[4] Species with red lines are currently unplaced in the phylogeny, but do belong to this genus.

The genus includes 16 species, of which three are extinct.[5]

Alternative taxonomyEdit

Recent genetic evidence has found that the genus Psittacula is likely paraphyletic; for example, genetic analysis has supported merging short-tailed parrots of the genus Tanygnathus, Psittinus, and the extinct Mascarinus with Psittacula.[6] An alternative classification system to this was proposed by Braun et al. (2019) that splits the genus Psittacula into multiple monophyletic genera in order to preserve Tanygnathus, Psittinus, and Mascarinus as distinct genera. After the proposed split, the only remaining species in Psittacula sensu stricto are P. derbiana and P. alexandri.[7] The list of split or monophyletic genera and species is displayed below:

The study has not yet classified P. bensoni or P. caniceps. It has also found that the rose-ringed and Alexandrine parakeets are likely paraphyletic species themselves, and thus need to be split into multiple species.[7]

Hypothetical extinct speciesEdit

The Rothschild's or intermediate parakeet P. intermedia, found in northern India, was formerly considered a mystery, as only very few specimens were known. It has since been demonstrated to be a hybrid between the slaty-headed parakeet P. himalayana and the plum-headed parakeet P. cyanocephala.[8][9]

The taxonomy of the Réunion parakeet P. eques is also confusing. Extinct since 1770, little evidence even exists of the bird's existence. A study skin had been discovered at the Royal Museum of Scotland, explicitly referencing a book description of the Réunion birds. It is known from other descriptions, as well as illustrations of which it is unknown whether they were drawn from live or stuffed specimens. This may be the only material proof of these birds' existence. Taxonomists are unsure if the birds were a distinct species, or conspecific with the Mauritius parakeet, although genetic analysis supports it being a subspecies of the Mauritius parakeet.


  1. ^ Cuvier, Georges (1800). Leçons d'Anatomie Comparée (in French). Volume 1. Paris: Baudouin. Table near end.
  2. ^ Peters, James Lee, ed. (1937). Check-list of Birds of the World. Volume 3. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 241.
  3. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 321. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  4. ^ Groombridge, J.J.; Jones, C.G.; Nichols, R.A.; Carlton, M.; Bruford, M.W. (2004). "Molecular phylogeny and morphological change in the Psittacula parakeets". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 31 (1): 96–108. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2003.07.008. PMID 15019611.
  5. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2018). "Parrots, cockatoos". World Bird List Version 8.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  6. ^ Podsiadlowski, Lars; Gamauf, Anita; Töpfer, Till (2017-02-01). "Revising the phylogenetic position of the extinct Mascarene Parrot Mascarinus mascarin (Linnaeus 1771) (Aves: Psittaciformes: Psittacidae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 107: 499–502. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2016.12.022. ISSN 1055-7903. PMID 28017858.
  7. ^ a b Wink, Michael; Sauer-Gürth, Hedwig; Bahr, Norbert; Schnitker, Heinz; Reinschmidt, Matthias; Arndt, Thomas; Datzmann, Thomas; Braun, Michael P. (2019-03-04). "A molecular phylogeny of the genus Psittacula sensu lato (Aves: Psittaciformes: Psittacidae : Psittacula , Psittinus , Tanygnathus , † Mascarinus ) with taxonomic implications". Zootaxa. 4563 (3): 547–562. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.4563.3.8. ISSN 1175-5334. PMID 31716534.
  8. ^ Rasmussen, Pamela C.; Collar, Nigel J. (1999). "On the hybrid status of Rothschild's Parakeet Psittacula intermedia (Aves, Psittacidae)". Bulletin of the Natural History Museum, Zoology Series. 65 (1): 31–50.
  9. ^ Rasmussen, Pamela C.; Collar, Nigel J. (1999). "Little-known Oriental non-bird: Intermediate Parakeet, Psittacula intermedia" (PDF). Bulletin of the Oriental Bird Club. 29: 36–41.

External linksEdit