Amazona leucocephala


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

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

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
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.

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.

Bahamas; Cayman Islands; Cuba
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).
Population Trend: Decreasing

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

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 2012. Amazona leucocephala. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 31 August 2015.
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