Buff-faced Pygmy-Parrot

Buff-faced Pygmy-Parrot

Micropsitta pusio Scientific name definitions

  • LC Least Concern
  • Names (16)
  • Subspecies (4)


8 cm; 10–15 g. Generally green 

© Lars PeterssonMilne Bay, Papua New Guinea 23 Jul 2014Macaulay Library ML 205959601eBird S65190283

, more yellowish on underparts; forehead 

© Michael GaltryWest New Britain, Papua New Guinea 14 Sep 2013Macaulay Library ML 204671731eBird S65002283

and face buff-ochre, sometimes with yellowish superciliary stripe; central crown to nape deep blue; back 

© Markus LiljeCentral, Papua New Guinea 01 Jul 2014Macaulay Library ML 206145631eBird S65204377

and wings green, with black spotting on median wing-coverts; undertail-coverts yellow; tail blue centrally, black laterally with small yellow spots at tips. Female has paler face and crown. Immature has green crown. Race harterti greener below, throat washed blue; stresemanni like harterti but yellower below; beccarii 

© Mehd HalaouatePapua, Papua, Indonesia 08 Sep 2007Macaulay Library ML 205952741eBird S65186986

darker, with duller brown face 

© Phillip EdwardsPapua, Papua, Indonesia 01 Sep 2014Macaulay Library ML 204880151eBird S65010885


Systematics History

Editor’s Note: This article requires further editing work to merge existing content into the appropriate Subspecies sections. Please bear with us while this update takes place.Forms a species-group with M. keiensis and M. geelvinkiana. All races very similar and validity has been questioned, as distinguishing characters are not obvious and provenance of some material currently in doubt; species may be better considered monotypic. Proposed race salvadorii included in beccarii, and pusilla in nominate. Four subspecies tentatively recognized.



Micropsitta pusio beccarii Scientific name definitions

M. p. beccarii


N New Guinea from W Geelvink Bay E to Huon Bay, and islands of Manam, Karkar, Bagabag, Tolokiwa, Sakar and Umboi.


Micropsitta pusio pusio Scientific name definitions

M. p. pusio


E New Guinea and Bismarck Archipelago (New Britain, Lolobau, Watom, Duke of York).


Micropsitta pusio harterti Scientific name definitions

M. p. harterti


Fergusson I (in D’Entrecasteaux Is).


Micropsitta pusio stresemanni Scientific name definitions


Misima I and Tagula I (Louisiade Archipelago).


Editor’s Note: Additional distribution information for this taxon can be found in the ‘Subspecies’ article above. In the future we will develop a range-wide distribution article.


Lowland and floodplain gallery forest, tall secondary growth and trees in clearings, sometimes dense savanna and coconut stands, up to 800 m, although only common up to 400 m.


Wandering groups noted in extreme E of range, but whether there is true nomadism or birds simply range over large home ranges over several weeks is not known.

Diet and Foraging

Lichen, bark fungus, and probably termites; insect remains, tiny black seeds, yellow fruit flesh and flowers in stomachs.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

Calls include high-pitched short notes such as “tsit” or “tsee”. Also short phrases of 2–4 different notes, e.g. “tsee-tsi-tsit”.


Sept (1)–May. Nest 

© Mehd HalaouatePapua, Papua, Indonesia 23 Jun 2008Macaulay Library ML 205933921eBird S65187084

in hole excavated in arboreal termitarium, in one case that of Microcerotermes biroi about 2 m above ground on the trunk of a small tree in secondary forest. Eggs 2–3, size 16·2 mm × 14·3 mm (n = 1) (1).

Conservation Status

Conservation status on BirdlifeLC Least ConcernNot globally threatened. CITES II. Very uncommon or local on Sepik R, but common in Owen Stanley Range foothills, SE Papua New Guinea, where density estimated at 20 birds/km². Common, Bismarcks and Bagabag. Abundance may be underestimated owing to unobtrusive habits, e.g. infrequently seen near Port Moresby yet calls suggest it to be most abundant parrot in area.

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