Amazona leucocephala 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Psittaciformes Psittacidae

Scientific Name: Amazona leucocephala
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Cuban Amazon, Cuban Parrot, Bahamas Parrot, Caribbean Amazon
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. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.
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: 2015
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Kirkconnell, A. & Mitchell, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Isherwood, I., Mahood, S., Sharpe, C J & Wege, D.
This species is classified as Near Threatened because, although it is not as rare as once feared, the overall population is still moderately small and continues to decline owing mainly to trapping and destruction of nest sites. it has a small range, but this is not yet severely fragmented or restricted to few locations.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Near Threatened (NT)
2004 Near Threatened (NT)
2000 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1994 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1988 Near Threatened (NT)

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 and Great Inagua), 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, Loma 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). Surveys in 1988 put the Cuban population at 5,000 individuals (Collar 1997a) but this was probably an underestimate and the total population there is now thought to be more than 10,000 individuals and perhaps stable. There were 1,900 on Grand Cayman in 1995, an increase (from 1,500 in 1992) possibly associated with legal protection from hunting (Collar 1997a). Numbers on Cayman Brac, Great Inagua and Abaco are apparently stable at c.300-430 birds (Collar 1997a, Juniper and Parr 1998, Snyder et al. 2000), c.400-500, and 1,100-1,200 (Snyder et al. 2000) respectively.

Countries occurrence:
Bahamas; Cayman Islands; Cuba
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 17600
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme 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): 800
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'uncommon to fairly common' (Stotz et al. 1996).

Trend Justification:  There are no new data on population trends, but the species is suspected to be declining slowly, owing mainly to the capture of nestlings for the local cage-bird trade.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: Unknown Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All 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 in the non-breeding season to feed on berries during the non-breeding season (Stahala and Stafford 2004).

Systems: Terrestrial
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. Housing development threatens the non-breeding habitat of the Abaco population.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
Artificial nests have been used in Cuba by over 1,300 birds (Waugh 2006). Those made of artificial materials have proved more durable (Waugh 2006).

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 broadleaf forests. On Cuba, make and erect more artificial nests. Monitor population trends throughout its range.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2015. Amazona leucocephala. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T22686201A84954537. . Downloaded on 01 December 2015.
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