Trade of parrots - effects on populations


Report no: 2020:15

Published: 18.12.2020

Key message:

Deforestation is a growing threat to wild parrots because it leads to the habitat loss. Many of the species are also threatened by illegal trade.

In Norway, the Environment Agency is the administrative authority for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, CITES, while VKM is the scientific authority for CITES. The assessment will be used when processing applications for parrot imports to Norway.


Parrots are popular pets in all parts of the world. At the same time, about a third of parrot species are threatened with extinction. The International Union for Conservation of Nature, the IUCN, considers these species Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable. The population is probably declining for half of all parrot species.

In 2020, CITES has 55 parrot species listed on its Appendix I. The list includes animals and plants that need the strongest protection and corresponds to List A in the Norwegian CITES regulation.

Nine of the parrot species in Appendix I are currently bred in facilities approved by CITES. Norway only allows import of parrots from these breeders. Import requires permission both from the CITES authority in the exporting country and from the Norwegian Environment Agency.


VKM carried out a full assessment of the status of populations and trade for 26 of the 55 parrot species in CITES Appendix I. The assessment for each species is presented as a fact sheet with a brief summary including the species biology (name, taxonomy, distribution of life history, habitat, and role in the ecosystem), population and population trend, threats and conservation status, population management, assessment of legal and illegal trade, and an assessment of the overall data quality and references.

"We found that illegal trade remains a threat to the survival of several of the parrot species on CITES Appendix I," says Eli Knispel Rueness, scientific leader for the report.

"There was a wide variation in the data found for different species, both in terms of information about the general biology, population size and development of species, and in the documentation on illegal trade of these parrots," Rueness continues.

VKM recommends updating the assessment of the status of populations and trade of Appendix I parrot species by the end of 2025.


The way parrots are traded varies in different parts of the world. Therefore, the parrot species were divided into three groups by geographical distribution: Africa, Australasia and Central- and South America. The species registered for commercial turnover in the CITES trade database after 2010 were selected for full assessments. In addition, two species were selected on suspicion of ongoing illegal trade.

The assessment has been approved by VKM’s Panel for Alien Organisms and Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)

The project group

The VKM project group consisted of:

  • Eli Rueness, Panel on alien species and trade in endangered species (CITES), chair of the project group
  • Katrine Eldegard, Panel on alien species and trade in endangered species (CITES), chair of the project group
  • Hugo de Boer, Panel on alien species and trade in endangered species (CITES)
  • Maria Asmyhr, VKM secretariat and project manager


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