The Brown-backed Parrotlet, Touit melanonota, also known as the Black-backed Parrotlet, the Black-eared Parrotlet, and Wied's Parrotlet, is a small (15 cm) parrot found in SE Brazil from Bahia to southern Sao Paulo. It is mainly green with a dark brown mantle and back, brown ear coverts, and red outer tail with back tips.
It frequents humid forest from 500 - 1000m (occasionally down to sea level), and is usually found in small flocks of 3-20 birds.
Ecology Records are principally from lower montane evergreen forest at 500-1,200 m 9, but up to 1,400 m in Itatiaia National Park5, and near sea-level in Bahia and São Paulo7,9. It may undertake seasonal migration or dispersal, in some areas possibly only over quite short altitudinal distances. The only known food items are the seeds of large leguminous forest trees and the fruit of Rapanea acuminata, Clusia sp. and mistletoes10. Breeding presumably occurs in September-October, but this remains unconfirmed2.
Range & population Touit melanonota is confined to south-east Brazil (Bahia, Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo). It is sporadically, but widely, reported in Rio de Janeiro, while in São Paulo, there are records from six sites south to Ilha do Cardoso9. Recent records from three sites in Bahia6,10 are the first since the 19th century. It has generally been considered rare throughout its range, even by 19th century commentators, but with the proviso that parrotlets of this genus occur at very low densities, and their inconspicuous habits result in their often being overlooked. Records from several new sites since the mid-1980s, including the first for Espírito Santo10, have stemmed from knowledge of the species's calls, after previously fruitless fieldwork in the areas involved.