Parrots, with their bright colors, charisma and intelligence, are an iconic bird group. They are also at risk, globally. Nearly one-third of parrot species are threatened with extinction. In a new study published in the journal Global Change Biology, scientists from Australian National University and the National University of Córdoba in Argentina analyzed parrots’ global conservation status, examined the effectiveness of existing protected areas to safeguard parrot biodiversity, and identified parrot conservation hotspots. The largest flying parrots in the world, the hyacinth macaws (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) of South America are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN.  Image by Bernard Dupont via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0). Researchers used range maps, IUCN status, population trends, habitat needs and a measure of forest dependency for all known parrot species to detect four parrot conservation hotspots: the northeastern Andes, southeastern Australia, the eastern Amazon Basin, and the island of New Guinea. The northeastern Andes and southeastern Australia are highlighted as the two most important hotspots for parrot conservation. “The current situation of these areas is not reassuring,” the paper says. “They had high deforestation rates during the last decades and have a worrying future under problematic conservation policies.” The scientists also used global maps of timber extraction to predict where parrots are at high risk from habitat loss. The northwestern Amazon and western New Guinea, they predict, will “suffer very high rates of timber extraction by 2050.” The swift parrot (Lathamus discolor) from Australia has been uplisted from endangered to critically endangered on the…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer