Rose-throated Parrot (Amazona leucocephala )
Name in Spanish: Loro o Cotorra de Cuba
Bahama Parrot (Bahamas); Grand Cayman Parrot and Cayman Brac Parrot (Cayman Islands); Cuban Parrot, Loro o Cotorra de Cuba (Cuba)
The Rose-throated Parrot is a beautifully colored and conspicuous bird, native only to The Bahamas, Cuba, and the Cayman Islands. It is classifed as Near Threatened in the 2006 IUCN Red List Category.
- Widespread in Cuba, but has declined in unprotected areas and is stable or increasing in protected areas. Surveys indicated 1,100-1,320 parrots on "Isla de la Juventud" in 1995. This and other survey data suggests a population of about 10,000 parrots in Cuba and territorial islands.
- Surveys on Grand Cayman indicated a population of 3,402 parrots in 2006. Numbers on Cayman Brac were estimated at 400–500 birds.
- The parrot population was estimated at 3,550 birds on Abaco and 6,353 birds on Inagua in 2006.
- Christopher Columbus was so struck by the numbers of parrots when he made landfall in The Bahamas in 1492, that he wrote in his log: “flocks of parrots darken the sun.”
- In 1994, The Bahamas, established the Abaco National Park, a 20,500 acres (8,302 hectares) of Caribbean Pine Forest in southern Abaco, to protect the threatened Bahama Parrot.
- Bahama Parrot bones found on New Providence have been dated back to the Pleistocene Era, more than 50,000 years ago.
- The Rose-throated Parrot's short rounded bill is characteristic of all true parrots. The bill is a powerful multi-purpose tool used for eating, climbing, defending, preening (grooming), and playing.
- The parrot has 2 toes facing forward and 2 facing backward; a configuration known as zygodactylism.
Threats and Conservation
- Although it appears that numbers are increasing on Grand Cayman and in The Bahamas, overall, the species is affected by habitat destruction and degradation, hurricanes, and introduced predators among other threats.
- The capture of fledglings (to keep as pets) has caused a considerable decrease of local populations on Cuba. This is exacerbated by the destruction of nesting sites through the felling of palms to obtain young birds. Trapping of birds is forbidden in Cuba and other Caribbean islands, but clandestine collecting continues.
- On Abaco, the parrot's ground–nesting behavior makes them vulnerable to feral cats and other predators. The Bahamas National Trust is working with Friends of the Environment to develop a predator control programme for the Abaco National Park.
Where to Find More Information?
BirdLife International Factsheet: Amazona leucocephala
Gnam, R. 2001. J. Field Ornithologist 62: 139-146. Population Estimates for the Bahama Parrot on Abaco Island, The Bahamas.
James L. Peters, Auk, July 2003 , The Races of Amazona Leucocephala.
Raffaele,H, Wiley, J, Garrido, O, Keith, A , Raffaele, J. A Guide to Birds of the West Indies Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.
Rivera–Milán, F., et al. 2005. Estimation of density and population size and recommendations for monitoring trends of Bahama parrots on Great Abaco and Great Inagua. Wildlife Society Bulletin 33:823–834. Also see literature cited therein.
Rivera–Milán, F. and Cottam, M. 2006. Point transect surveys of Grand Cayman parrots. Department of the Environment, Grand Cayman, unpublished report.
Wege, D.and Anadon Irizzary, V. 2005. Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 18: 88-93. Towards a Globally Threatened Bird Programme for the Caribbean.
Wiley, J., et al. 2004. Status and conservation of the family Psittacidae in the West Indies. Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 17: 94-155. Also see unpublished and literature cited therein.
Rose-throated Parrot Bird of the Month contributed by Lynn Gape and Frank Rivera.
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