Amazona leucocephala 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Psittaciformes Psittacidae

Scientific Name: Amazona leucocephala (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Cuban Amazon, Bahamas Parrot, Caribbean Amazon, Cuban Parrot
Spanish Amazona Cubana, Amazona de Cuba
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Identification information: 28-33 cm.  A large green parrot with pale red chin, throat and lower face, white forehead and eye-ring and blue primaries.  Similar spp.  No other Amazona parrot occurs sympatrically.  Voice  Very noisy; a wide variety of squawks and screeches with variation between populations.  Hints  Best located by noisy calls, often seen flying over forest.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Kirkconnell, A., Mitchell, A., Cañizares, M. & Cant-Woodside, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Isherwood, I., Mahood, S., Sharpe, C.J., Wege, D., Wheatley, H., Martin, R
This species is classified as Near Threatened because it is suspected to have undergone a population reduction in Cuba, which has not ceased, owing mainly to trapping and destruction of nest sites.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Amazona leucocephala occurs on Cuba (including the Isle of Pines), the Bahamas (where it was formerly widespread but now restricted to Abaco, Great Inagua, and New Providence), and the Cayman Islands (to UK) (Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and formerly Little Cayman) (Bond 1979, King 1981, Sibley and Monroe 1990). In Cuba, it was widespread but has declined and is now restricted to Guanahacabibes peninsula, Zapata peninsula (where it is still common), Macizo de Guamuhaya, Lomas de Cunagua, Sierra de Najasa, and the forests of the western Sierra Maestra and Cuchillas del Toa (Juniper and Parr 1998, Galvez-Aguilera et al. 1999, A. Kirkconnell in litt. 1999).  Counts made in natural and human-influenced areas in the mountains of central Cuba in March 2009 estimated 90-100 parrots for an area of over 200km2, representing a density of around 0.5 individuals per km2 (Canizares 2012).  The Cuban population is thought to be continuing to decline as the result of poaching; the population of Guanahacabibes peninsula has shown a decline in recent years (M. Canizares Morera in litt. 2016).  There were 2,000 on Grand Cayman in 1995, an increase (from 1,500 in 1992) possibly associated with legal protection from hunting (Collar 1997a, Bradley 2000).  Numbers on Cayman Brac have remained stable, at c.300-430 birds in the late 90s (Collar 1997a, Juniper and Parr 1998, Snyder et al. 2000) and c.450 in 2013, with a density of around 12 per km2 (Marsden, 2013).  The Bahamas population was previously thought to number c.400-500 on Great Inagua and 1,100-1,200 on Abaco (Snyder et al. 2000), but recent data has shown that the Bahamas population is much higher, with 8,000 - 13,000 birds on Great Inagua and 3,000-5,000 on Abaco (Bahamas National Trust 2016).  A few pairs, probably reintroduced from Abaco, are present on New Providence (Bahamas National Trust 2016, S. Cant-Woodside in litt. 2016).  A small population on New Providence, likely reintroduced from Abaco around 2002, numbers around 12 individuals (S. Cant-Woodside in litt. 2016).

Countries occurrence:
Bahamas; Cayman Islands; Cuba
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:590000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):1100
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Population estimates for the Bahamas and Cayman Islands are as follows: 2,000 on Grand Cayman in 1995 (Bradley 2000), c.450 on Cayman Brac in 2013 (Marsden, 2013), 8,000-13,000 on Great Inagua, 3,000-5,000 on Abaco and around 10 individuals on New Providence (Bahamas National Trust 2016, S. Cant-Woodside in litt. 2016).  The population on Cuba is estimated to number 7,000-14,000 individuals based on recorded population density estimates and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied.  The total population is therefore estimated to number 20,460-34,460 individuals, which equates to 13,640-22,973 mature individuals, rounded here to 13,600-23,000 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  The species is considered to be declining owing mainly to trapping and destruction of nest sites.  The population in the Bahamas is considered to have remained stable or increased.  The Cayman Islands population has increased since the species was protected in 1989 (Bradley 20000).  The Cuban population is thought to have declined over recent years, mainly due to poaching (Canizares 2012, M. Canizares in litt. 2016).  Although there is no data on the extent of this decline, the species has been classified as Vulnerable in Cuba (Canizares 2012).  The overall population is therefore suspected to have declined by 10-20% across three generations.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:13600-23000Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It inhabits different habitats on different islands. In Cuba it inhabits dense woodland, in the Bahamas, native broadleaf and pine woodlands, and in the Cayman Islands (to UK), dry forest on the ridge-top plateau and nearby agricultural land (Bond 1979, King 1981, Sibley and Monroe 1990). The population on Abaco is particularly interesting because it nests in natural holes in limestone substrate on the ground (O'Brien et al. 2006). There, chicks and adults are completely insulated from the frequent fires required by their fire-dependent pine forest habitat (O'Brien et al. 2006). Birds move to native broadleaf forests to feed on berries during the non-breeding season (Stahala and Stafford 2004).

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):12.3
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It is trapped for the domestic, and formerly at least, international cage bird trade. Nest trees are often pushed over or nest cavities enlarged to extract chicks, rendering them useless for future breeding attempts. The poaching pressure is so high that most nests in Cuba are raided every year and nestling recruitment is seriously reduced (M. Canizares in litt. 2016). Housing development threatens the non-breeding habitat of the Abaco population. Hurricanes also pose a threat (Marsden 2013).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix 1.  Protected in the Bahamas under the Wild Birds (Protection) Act.  Legally protected in the Cayman Islands since 1989.   Artificial nests of a variety of designs are in use in several locations in Cuba and have been used by over 1,300 birds (Waugh 2006).   Those made of artificial materials have proved more durable (Waugh 2006).  Voluntary Counts in Central Cuba have been performed twice each year since 2009 and more than 1,500 local people are involved in the activity.  Important plant species for parrots feeding are used for reforestation and forest enrichment.
Conservation Actions Proposed  Discourage the taking of birds from the wild through public education campaigns.  Encourage better bird-keeping practices to increase longevity of captive birds and reduce demand on wild populations.  On Abaco, protect vital tracts of broad-leaf forests.  On Cuba, make and erect more artificial nests.  Monitor population trends throughout its range.

Amended [top]

Amended reason: Map revised.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2017. Amazona leucocephala (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22686201A110628050. . Downloaded on 19 April 2018.
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