Parakeets in the genus Pyrrhura occur in Amazonia and in almost all other major Neotropical forests. Their uneven distribution (with some widespread and several geographically restricted endemic taxa) and complex patterns of plum- age variation have long generated a confused taxonomy. Several taxonomically difficult polytypic species are usually recognized. Here, we present a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) phylogenetic analysis of Pyrrhura, with emphasis on the especially problematic picta-leucotis complex, to provide a more robust basis for interpreting the systematics and historical biogeography of the group. Our main findings are that (1) Pyrrhura can be divided into three main evolutionary lineages, one comprising P. cruentata, an Atlantic Forest endemic, the second comprising the picta-leucotis complex, and the third comprising the remaining species; (2) the traditionally recognized species P. picta and P. leucotis are not monophyletic; and (3) most of the species recognized by Joseph (2000, 2002) are diagnosable as independent evolutionary units, with the exception of the following species pairs: P. snethlageae and P. amazonum, P. leucotis and P. griseipectus, and P. roseifrons and P. peruviana. Other than P. cruentata, the two clades that constitute Pyrrhura appear to have radiated and evolved their present mtDNA diversity over short periods during the Plio-Pleistocene.
Sistemática Molecular y Patrones de Diversificación en Pyrrhura (Psittacidae), con Énfasis en el Complejo Picta-Leucotis