Masked shining-parrot (Prosopeia personata)

Also known as: masked musk parakeet, masked musk-parrot, masked parakeet, masked shining parrot, yellow-breasted musk parrot, yellow-breasted shining-parrot
Spanish: Papagayo Enmascarado
GenusProsopeia (1)
SizeLength: 47 cm (2) (3) (4)
Weightc. 322 g (3)
Top facts

The masked shining-parrot is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List (1) and is listed on Appendix II of CITES (5).

The masked shining-parrot (Prosopeia personata) is a large, long-tailed parrot found only on one island, in Fiji (4). This colourful bird has vibrant green plumage over most of its body, with a stunning orange-yellow breast and belly. It has sooty-black colouration around its beak and eyes, and striking blue feathers at the tips of its wings (2) (3) (4). The masked shining-parrot’s tail is green with a blue wash (3), and is darker underneath (4).

The masked shining-parrot has a grey-black beak and feet (2) (3) (4), and distinctive orange-red eyes (3) (4). In contrast to the adults, young individuals have a horn-coloured beak (2) (3) (4), and have brown eyes and less black on the face (3) (4).

The calls of the masked shining-parrot include a variety of loud, grating squawks and screeches, which are produced while the bird is perched and also when it is in flight (2) (4) (6).

The masked shining-parrot is found only on the island of Viti Levu, the largest island of Fiji (2) (3) (4). Formerly, the masked shining-parrot may also have been found on the nearby island of Ovalau (2) (4).

This species can be found in mature forests and areas of thick secondary growth at a range of elevations. The masked shining-parrot frequently ventures into nearby mangroves, as well as into farmland and gardens (2) (3) (4), although it probably only breeds within mature forest (2).

The diet of the masked shining-parrot consists mostly of soft fruits such as guavas, figs and bananas, but it also consumes flowers, seeds, berries and insects (3) (4). This parrot is usually found high in trees, but will sometimes descend to lower levels to feed (4). The masked shining-parrot is quite agile in the trees, often moving about by using its beak to help grip onto branches (4) (6).

Although it is usually seen alone or in pairs, the masked shining-parrot will also gather in small flocks, particularly outside of the breeding season (3) (4) (6). This species is typically seen flying swiftly through the forest or above the tree canopy, with bursts of flapping punctuated by regular glides on spread wings (4) (6).

The masked shining-parrot makes its nest high up in the treetops of the forest, often in a crack or hole in a tree or stump (2) (4), which the birds may enlarge using their powerful beaks (4). Breeding takes place between July and September (3) (4), and females lay clutches of two or more eggs (3) (4).

The most serious threat to the masked shining-parrot is the decline of the forests it inhabits, with less than 50 percent of the forests of Viti Levu remaining. This deforestation has led to the fragmentation of remaining forested areas (2). The large trees felled during deforestation are required by the masked shining-parrot for nesting (2) (3) (4).

Other potential threats to this species include possible competition with the introduced crimson shining-parrot (Prosopeia splendens) (4). The masked shining-parrot may also be trafficked for the pet trade, although related species such as the crimson shining-parrot are thought to be more popular (2).

The masked shining-parrot is protected by Fijian law. However, the legislation in place for the capture of wild parrots is difficult to enforce. This parrot is also listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which means that international trade in the species should be carefully controlled (5).

The masked shining-parrot lives in several nature reserves and parks, where it may receive some protection from deforestation. It has been proposed that community-based forest reserves should be encouraged on Viti Levu, to prevent further deforestation, and that the masked shining-parrot’s population numbers in these protected sites should be monitored. However, neither of these measures has yet been put into action (2).

Find out more about the masked shining-parrot and its conservation:

More information on conservation in Fiji:

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

  1. IUCN Red List (June, 2013)
  2. BirdLife International - Masked shining-parrot (November, 2012)
  3. World Parrot Trust - Masked shining parrot (November, 2012)
  4. Juniper, T. and Parr, M. (1998) Parrots: A Guide to Parrots of the World. Pica Press, Sussex.
  5. CITES (June, 2013)
  6. Holyoak, D.T. (1979) Notes on the birds of Viti Levu and Taveuni, Fiji. Emu, 79: 7-18.