Hawk-Headed Parrot Fact File

Deroptyus accipitrinus

Credit: Tiffany, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons








Wild 40 years

Captive 40 years



Fruit, Leaves, Seeds

Conservation Status


Least Concern

The hawk-headed parrot is also known as the red-fan parrot due to the crest of feathers which they can raise above their head when excited or alarmed.

These birds are highly intelligent and will use this dexterous tongue to feed on fruits, seeds, leaves and nuts.

A pair will work together to raise their chicks in a tree hollow or an abandoned nest.

They are suffering declines in their population through habitat loss and capture to supply the pet trade.

Read on to learn more about these brilliant birds.


What does the hawk-headed parrot look like?

The hawk-headed parrot is named for the ruff of red, blue-edged feathers across the back of the neck. These can be raised above the head to make it look bigger. On the breast and belly they have red feathers edged with blue.

Across their back the feathers are colored green which extends on to the tails. The crown is white.

At the front of the head is a large, curved beak colored black which helps with cracking through the hard shells of nuts and seeds.

Their legs and feet are colored black. They eye is colored yellow with a white ring around it. In juveniles the eye is colored brown.

An average hawk-headed parrot will measure 31cm (12in) long with a weight of 225g (8oz). Males and females are similar in appearance and size.


What does the hawk-headed parrot eat?

The hawk-headed parrot is a herbivore. They feed on fruits, berries, nuts, leaves and seeds.

They have strong muscles in their tongue to help them manipulate their food.

Deroptyus accipitrinus

Credit: frank wouters, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


Where can you find the hawk-headed parrot?

South America is the native home of the hawk-headed parrot. Here they can be found in Brazil; Colombia; Ecuador; French Guiana; Guyana; Peru; Suriname and Venezuela.


What kind of environment does the hawk-headed parrot live in?

These animals make their home in forest and savanna.

Much of their feeding is undertaken high in the canopy.

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How does the hawk-headed parrot produce its young?

Breeding takes place during December and January.

Males will court the female by raising his crest of feathers and then whistling loudly.

Nesting takes place in a tree hollow. They may also use old woodpecker nests.

In to the nest the female will deposit between 2 and 3 white eggs. The female undertakes the incubation of the eggs with the male caring for her during this time. Incubation lasts 26 days.

At birth the young are featherless and only their pink skin is visible.

The chicks are cared for, for 10-12 weeks by both the male and the female.


What does the hawk-headed parrot do with its day?

Outside of the breeding season these birds are seen in small groups. On rare occasions these may grow to have as many as 20 members.

These birds are noisy and produce a wide range of vocalizations.

If alarmed they will raise the ruff of feathers around their neck.

They are highly intelligent birds.

Deroptyus accipitrinus

Credit: _paVan_ from Singapore, Singapore, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Predators and Threats

What is impacting the survival of the hawk-headed parrot?

While no formal estimate of the hawk-headed parrot population has been established they are currently considered common. Unfortunately their population is currently believed to be declining.

This decline is being driven by the loss of suitable habitat through deforestation.

Some are captured to supply the pet trade.

Quick facts

They may also be known as the red fan parrot.

Their name is taken from their hawk like appearance when they raise the crest of feathers.

Hawk-Headed Parrot (Deroptyus accipitrinus)

Credit: Michael Bentley, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


Burnie, D., 2011. Animal. 3rd ed. London: DK

Alderton, D. and Barrett, P., 2019. The complete illustrated encyclopedia of birds of the world. Lorenz Books.

BirdLife International. 2016. Deroptyus accipitrinusThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22686416A93110677. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22686416A93110677.en. Accessed on 25 December 2021.

Honolulu Zoo Society. 2021. Hawk Headed Parrot - Honolulu Zoo Society. [online] Available at: <https://www.honoluluzoo.org/animals/hawk-headed-parrot/> [Accessed 25 December 2021].

Smithsonian's National Zoo. 2021. Hawk-headed parrot. [online] Available at: <https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/hawk-headed-parrot> [Accessed 25 December 2021].

Jackson Zoo. 2021. Hawk-Headed Parrot - Jackson Zoo. [online] Available at: <https://jacksonzoo.org/education/birds/hawk-headed-parrot/> [Accessed 25 December 2021].

The Dallas World Aquarium | #DWAZOO. 2021. Hawk-headed parrot | The Dallas World Aquarium. [online] Available at: <https://dwazoo.com/animal/hawk-headed-parrot/> [Accessed 25 December 2021].

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