Bullet-head parrotfishChlorurus sordidus

  • Fringing Reef
  • Parrot-Fish
  • Fauna
  • Lagoon coral patches
  • Labridae


Chlorurus sordidus of the order of Perciformes and family of Labridae is also known as the Daisy parrotfish, Bullet-head parrotfish, Burnt parrotfish, Green parrotfish, Green-finned parrotfish and Shabby parrotfish. This species has a rounded snout. This species is born female, in its   initial phase and some individuals change to male as they mature, in the terminal phase[1]. The initial phase is of a wide range of colours. Juveniles can be entirely dark brown to light grey. A bright area may or may not be present on the caudal peduncle. Larger fish may possess irregular rows of small light spots at the posterior end of the body. The terminal phase is variable as well; a large tan area on the side or on the caudal peduncle may or may not be present. The snout varies from lavender to pink tones, lined by blue-green[2]. It has a total of 9 dorsal spines, 10 dorsal soft rays, 3 anal spines and 9 anal soft rays[3]. They can reach a maximum length of 40cm.


[1] ‘(2) (PDF) Growth and Longevity of the Protogynous Parrotfish, Hipposcarus Harid, Scarus Ferrugineus and Chlorurus Sordidus (Teleostei, Scaridae), off the Eastern Coast of the Red Sea’.

[2] ‘Greenfin Parrotfish, Chlorurus Sordidus (Forsskål, 1775) - Australian Museum’.

[3] ‘Chlorurus Sordidus Summary Page’.

Habitat and ecology

This species is present across the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Oman, Persian Gulf, Pakistan and India. In East Africa its range extends from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, eastwards to Madagascar, Western Thailand, Southwest Sumatra, Java, Cocos and Christmas Island. It is found on all investigated reef environments, from reef flats, to lagoons and seaward reefs, drops offs, as well as near the sea floor. The recorded depth range is 1 to 50m.  Their diet consists of algae, corals, snails and zooplankton. Large group are formed during feeding and spawning. Spawning occurs during the full moon[1]. They form distinct pairs during breeding.


Conservation and management

According to the IUCN Red list, this species is categorised as being of ‘Least Concern’ as it is common and widespread. No conservation measures are in place for this species. However, it is present in many MPAs[2].


[1] Meyer, Dale, and Clark, ‘Unusual Surface Schooling Behavior by Bullethead Parrotfish (Chlorurus Sordidus)’.

[2] Choat et al., ‘Chlorurus Sordidus’.

Did you know?

It is the most abundant parrotfish in the Indian Ocean.

They excrete sand after consuming corals.