WatchList Species Account for Red-crowned Parrot
(Amazona viridigenalis)

Qualifies for the list as a Red List Species

 

Red-crowned Parrot
Photo: BowlesErickson,
amazornia.us

This parrot, popular in aviculture, is well-established as feral populations in several urban areas of Mexico and in southern California, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Florida, and southern Texas; some authorities argue that the latter represents a true range extension brought about by habitat modification and severe frosts in northeastern Mexico.

 

Ironically, in its native range in a small area of northeastern Mexico, the Red-crowned Parrot is listed by BirdLife International as endangered due to habitat loss and taking of birds for the pet trade; thousands of birds were exported both legally and illegally from Mexico to the U.S. in the 70s and 80s, and the numbers there are still declining because of trapping by poachers. In areas cleared of understory the nest trees are more accessible to poachers, who destroy nest sites by cutting through the trunk to extract chicks from the cavity. Poachers also sometimes cut down nest trees to get at the nestlings, killing them in the process and destroying valuable remaining nesting habitat.

 

In northeastern Mexico, where less than 17% of of the original vegetation remains within its distribution, the bird inhabits subdeciduous tropical forest and Tamaulipan scrub dominated by thorny woody legumes. In urban settings, the birds prefer areas with large trees.

 

Though declining within its native range, feral populations are increasing. There are measures that might be taken in northeastern Mexico to increase the bird’s numbers, in addition to controlling poaching. These include encouraging tree regeneration by not clearing understory completely from cattle pastures, maintaining remaining forest patches, and excluding snakes, which might allow increased recruitment of 10%.