Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Psittaciformes Psittacidae

Scientific Name: Amazona viridigenalis
Species Authority: (Cassin, 1853)
Common Name(s):
English Red-crowned Amazon, Red-crowned Parrot, Green-cheeked Amazon
Spanish Amapola, Amazona Tamaulipeca, Loro Cabeza Roja, Loro Famaulipeco
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: 33 cm. Green parrot with striking red forehead. Blue postocular stripe extends down sides of neck. Red speculum. Dark blue primaries. Yellow tips to outer-tail feathers. Female and immature have less red on crown. Similar spp. Red-lored Parrot A. autumnalis has yellow on face, slower flight and trilling wee-ee-eee-eet voice. Yellow-headed Parrot A. oratrix has yellow head. Immature separated from adult Lilac-crowned Parrot A. finschi by mainly green crown and fewer black-tipped feathers on underparts. Voice Shrill screaming followed by three lower and ascending notes clee-u crack crack crack. Also other screaming and chattering calls.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2bcd+3bcd+4bcd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-11-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Brush, T., Enkerlin-Hoeflich, E. & Navarro, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Capper, D., Isherwood, I., Sharpe, C J, Stattersfield, A., Taylor, J.
The combination of high levels of exploitation for the cagebird trade, long-term habitat loss and reduced density estimates indicates that this species is declining very rapidly. It consequently qualifies as Endangered.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2012 Endangered (EN)
2008 Endangered (EN)
2004 Endangered (EN)
2000 Endangered (EN)
1996 Endangered (EN)
1994 Endangered (EN)
1988 Threatened (T)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Amazona viridigenalis is locally and seasonally fairly common to common on the Atlantic slope of north-east Mexico (Howell and Webb 1995a), mostly in Tamaulipas and San Luis Potosí, with small colonies in extreme north-east Querétaro (A. G. Navarro in litt. 1998). It formerly occurred in Nuevo León and Veracruz, but there have been no records of wild birds since 1945 and 1960 respectively. In 1992-1994, densities in one area were estimated at 5.7 birds/km2, indicating a wild population of 3,000-6,500 birds (E. C. Enkerlin-Hoeflich in litt. 1994, Enkerlin-Hoeflich 1995). This compares with 25.2 birds/km2 reported in the 1970s (Castro 1976). The population recently established in urban areas of the Lower Rio Grande Valley (Texas), USA, is considered by some to consist of wild birds (T. Brush in litt. 2003). Introduced or feral populations are also established (and mostly increasing) in Florida and California (USA), Puerto Rico (to USA), O'ahu (Hawaii) and several parts of Mexico (Enkerlin-Hoeflich and Hogan 1997).

Countries occurrence:
Puerto Rico; United States
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:7800
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:11-100
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):1000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:In 1992-1994, estimated densities in one area in Mexico indicated a wild population of 3,000-6,500 birds (E. C. Enkerlin-Hoeflich in litt. 1994). This estimate roughly equates to 2,000-4,300 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  Historic densities recorded for the species were 25.2 birds/km2 in the 1970s (Castro 1976), falling to 5.7 birds/km2 in one area in 1992-1994 (E. C. Enkerlin-Hoeflich in litt. 1994, Enkerlin-Hoeflich 1995), indicating a decline of up to 77.4% over c.20 years. The decline is suspected to be continuing at a rate exceeding 50% over ten years, owing to the ongoing threats of trapping and forest clearance.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:2000-4300Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:2-100Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It inhabits lush areas in arid lowlands and foothills, especially gallery forest, deciduous woodland and dry, open pine-oak woodland on ridges up to 1,000 m. Smaller numbers occur in agricultural landscapes with a few large trees. Nests are usually in tree-cavities, with breeding from March-May. Clutches of 2-5 eggs are incubated for 25-31 days (Enkerlin-Hoeflich and Hogan 1997). It is nomadic in winter, with large flocks moving south (and apparently north) and to higher elevations. It feeds largely on the fruits of dominant tree species (Enkerlin-Hoeflich and Hogan 1997).

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):12.3
Movement patterns:Nomadic

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): In 1970-1982, 16,490 birds (mostly nestlings) were legally imported into the USA. Illegal exports from Mexico and a pre-export mortality of >50% equates to 5,000 birds per year (Enkerlin-Hoeflich and Hogan 1997). Trappers damage nests when extracting chicks (sometimes felling entire trees), reducing nest-site availability and leading to permanent site abandonment (Snyder et al. 2000). Many gallery forests have been cleared or degraded, with over 80% of Tamaulipas lowlands cleared for agriculture (especially sorghum) and pasture. Habitat is now patchily distributed on cattle-ranches, where trapping pressure is greatest (Enkerlin-Hoeflich and Hogan 1997).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I (1992) and part of the European Endangered [Species] Programme of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). It occurs in El Cielo and Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserves (A. G. Navarro in litt. 1998, T. Brush in litt. 2003), but there are only small colonies in Sierra Gorda and its status in El Cielo is unknown (Wege and Long 1995, A. G. Navarro in litt. 1998). Ranchers are increasingly aware of the benefits of maintaining large trees, but this is not reflected in practice.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to obtain an estimate for the total population size. Monitor populations to determine the extent of declines. Identify the most important nesting aggregations for protection (Enkerlin-Hoeflich and Hogan 1997). Integrate ranchers into efforts to curtail trapping and regenerate habitat (Enkerlin-Hoeflich and Hogan 1997).

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.2. Artificial/Terrestrial - Pastureland
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:No
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.1. Captive breeding/artificial propagation

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:Yes
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Invasive species control or prevention:No
In-Place Species Management
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:Yes
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:No
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity: Slow, Significant Declines  
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.3. Agro-industry grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity: Slow, Significant Declines  
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity: Very Rapid Declines  
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.7. Reduced reproductive success

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Castro, A. G. 1976. Estudio de las poblaciones de cotorras frente roja (Amazona viridigenalis) y el loro cabeza amarilla (A. ochrocephala) en la costa de Tamaulipas, México.

Collar, N. J.; Butchart, S. H. M. 2013. Conservation breeding and avian diversity: chances and challenges. International Zoo Yearbook.

Collar, N. J.; Gonzaga, L. P.; Krabbe, N.; Madroño Nieto, A.; Naranjo, L. G.; Parker, T. A.; Wege, D. C. 1992. Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Enkerlin-Hoeflich, E. C. 1995. Comparative ecology and reproductive biology of three species of Amazona parrots in northeastern Mexico. dissertation. Ph.D., Texas A&M University, USA.

Enkerlin-Hoeflich, E. C.; Hogan, K. M. 1997. Red-crowned Parrot (Amazona viridigenalis). In: Poole, A.; Gill, F. (ed.), The birds of North America, No. 292, pp. 1-20. The Academy of Natural Sciences, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Philadelphia and Washington, DC.

European Association of Zoos and Aquaria. EEPs and ESBs. Available at:

Howell, S. N. G.; Webb, S. 1995. A guide to the birds of Mexico and northern Central America. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

IUCN. 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2013.2). Available at: (Accessed: 13 November 2013).

Snyder, N.; McGowan, P.; Gilardi, J.; Grajal, A. 2000. Parrots: status survey and conservation action plan 2000-2004. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Wege, D. C.; Long, A. J. 1995. Key Areas for threatened birds in the Neotropics. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2013. Amazona viridigenalis. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T22686259A48048745. . Downloaded on 06 October 2015.
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