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Maroon-fronted Parrot Rhynchopsitta terrisi

  • Order: Psittaciformes
  • Family: Psittacidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Janet M. Ruth, Thomas S. Schulenberg, and Chelsea Kendrick


Geographic Variation

Rhynchopsitta terrisi is monotypic.

Related Species

Described as Rhynchopsitta terrisi Moore 1947; type locality Sierra Potosí, Nuevo León, Mexico.

The genus Rhynchopsitta contains two taxa, pachyrhyncha (Thick-billed Parrot) and terrisi. Some authors have considered terrisi to be a superspecies of pachyrhyncha (e.g., Hardy and Dickerman 1955, Forshaw 1989). This classification is based in part on overall similarities between the two taxa, and in part on features suggestive of introgression between the two, such as the presence of a few red feathers in the otherwise maroon frontlet of some specimens of terrisi from Coahuila (Hardy and Dickerman 1955, Ely 1962). Hardy (1967) later advocated recognition of each as a separate species, which is the prevailing view by most recent authors. A recent full sequencing of the mitochondrial genome of terrisi and comparison with that of pachyrhyncha revealed very little genetic differentiation between the two, suggesting that both taxa should be treated as subspecies (Urantowski et al. 2014). Rea (1997), however, reported that terrisi and pachyrhyncha readily are distinguishable by osteological characters, and that remains of both taxa were found in the same late Pleistocene deposit (see Fossil History).

Although Rhynchopsitta is phenotypically similar to macaws (Anodorhynchus, Cyanopstitta, Orthopsitta, Primolius, Ara, and Diopsittaca) and related parakeets (Eupsittula, Conuropsis, Aratinga, Leptosittaca, Ognorhynchus, Guarouba, Thectocercus, and Psittacara), phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data, from both mitochondrial and nuclear genes, suggests that Rhynchopsitta is sister to Cyanoliseus patagonus (Burrowing Parakeet); that Enicognathus is sister to Cyanoliseus + Rhynchopsitta; and that these three genera, in turn, are sister to Pyrrhura (Schweizer et al. 2014).

Recommended Citation

Ruth, J. M., T. S. Schulenberg, and C. Kendrick (2015). Maroon-fronted Parrot (Rhynchopsitta terrisi), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.