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Puerto Rican parrot

The Puerto Rican parrot (Amazona vittata) was formerly widespread and abundant in the forests of the major islands of the Puerto Rico Archipelago [1]. The pre-Columbian population has been estimated at 100,000 to 1,000,000. It likely maintained a stable population until about 1650 when the human population began to grow significantly. It declined dramatically in the latter half of the 19th century due to deforestation. By the early 20th century it was extirpated from all off shore islands and restricted to five locations on the main island. By 1940 it occurred only in a single population in the Luquillo Mountains in eastern Puerto Rico. From 1954 to 1975 the wild population declined from 200 to 14 birds. Since then the wild population has slowly grown to 36 birds in 2005 [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] while the captive population has more quickly grown to 158. The progress of the wild population was set back when almost half the population was killed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

Captive flocks were established in 1973 at Luquillo Aviary and in 1993 at Vivaldi Memorial Aviary [1].

[1] USFWS. 1999. Revised Recovery Plan for the Puerto Rican Parrot, Technical/Agency Draft. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region, Atlanta, GA
[2] USFWS. 1990. Puerto Rican parrot (Amazona vittata). Endangered and Threatened Species of the Southeastern United States (The Red Book), USFWS Southeast Region, Atlanta, GA
[3] USFWS. 2003. Three is a charm. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service press release, May 14, 2002.
[4] USFWS. 2004. Flight freedom. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service press release, May 3, 2004.
[5] Puerto Rico Department of Environmental and Natural Resources. 2005. Puerto Rico's Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy 2005.

Banner photo © Phillip Colla