Indian Ocean Steephead Parrotfish, Chlorurus strongylocephalus Bleeker 1854

Other Names: Heavybeak Parrotfish, Indian Ocean Steephead Parrotfish, Purple-headed Parrotfish, Steephead Parrots

A male Steephead Parrotfish, Chlorurus strongylocephalus - Egypt, Red Sea. Source: Mattia Menchetti / iNaturalist. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A large parrotfish with a steep head profile giving the head a rounded shape, and a lunate tail with long caudal-fin lobes. Males are greenish to bluish-green with a pinkish-lilac streak on each body scale, and a large yellow patch on the cheek. Females are yellowish-green to greyish above, and brown to pinkish below, with dark green around the mouth and dark bluish-green margins on the tail.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Chlorurus strongylocephalus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 02 Dec 2023,

Indian Ocean Steephead Parrotfish, Chlorurus strongylocephalus Bleeker 1854

More Info


Recorded in the Australian EEZ from Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere the species is widespread with a patchy distribution in the Indian Ocean, from East Africa to Indonesia.
Inhabits outer reef flats and reef fronts in coastal lagoons and outer reefs.


Taken as bycatch in parts of its range.


The specific name strongylocephalus is from the Greek strongylos, (= round) and cephalus (= head) presumably in reference to the rounded head profile of this species.

Species Citation

Scarus strongylocephalus Bleeker, 1854, Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 7: 439. Type locality: Jakarta (as Batavia), Indonesia.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Indian Ocean Steephead Parrotfish, Chlorurus strongylocephalus Bleeker 1854


Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Allen, G.R. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 1-21.
Bellwood, D.R. 1994. A phylogenetic study of the parrotfishes family Scaridae (Pisces: Labroidei), with a revision of genera. Records of the Australian Museum, Supplement 20: 1-86.

Bellwood, D.R. 2001. Scaridae. pp. 3468-3492 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218.

Bleeker, P. 1854. Specierum piscium javanensium novarum vel minus cognitarum diagnoses adumbratae. Natuurwetenschappelijk Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 7: 415-448.

Choat, J.H., Carpenter, K.E., Clements, K.D., Rocha, L.A., Russell, B., Myers, R., Lazuardi, M.E., Muljadi, A., Pardede, S. & Rahardjo, P. 2012. Chlorurus strongylocephalus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T190742A17787219. Downloaded on 22 June 2020.

Choat, J.H. & Randall, J.E. 1986. A review of the parrotfishes (Family Scaridae) of the Great Barrier Reef of Australia with description of a new species. Records of the Australian Museum 38: 175-228.

Hobbs, J.-P.A., Ayling, A.M., Choat, J.H., Gilligan, J.J., McDonald, C.A., Neilson, J. & Newman, S.J. 2010. New records of marine fishes illustrate the biogeographic importance of Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Zootaxa 2422: 63–68.

Randall, J.E. & Bruce, R.W. 1983. The parrotfishes of the subfamily Scarinae of the western Indian Ocean with descriptions of three new species. Ichthyological Bulletin of the J.L.B. Smith Institute, Grahamstown 47: 1-39, Pls. 1-6.

Smith, L.L., Fessler, J.L., Alfaro, M.E., Streelman, J.T. & Westneat, M.W. 2008. Phylogenetic relationships and the evolution of regulatory gene sequences in the parrotfishes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 49: 136-152.

Westneat, M.W. & Alfaro, M.E. 2005. Phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary history of the reef fish family Labridae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 36: 370-390.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37386040


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:2-35 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:70 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map