Overview

Distribution

Geographic Range

Blue-fronted Amazons (Amazona aestiva) are dispersed throughout Amazonia of South America. They frequently occur in major regions of northeastern Brazil, forests of Bolivia, Paraguay, and northern Argentina. Blue-fronted Amazons are no longer found in some areas of southern Argentina. Their populations have diminished recently due to deforestation, and frequent capture for the pet trade.

Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )

  • Aquino, R., I. Ferrari. 1990. Chromosome study of Amazona amazonica and A. aestiva (Aves: Psittaciformes): determination of chromosome number and identification of sex chromosomes by C-banding methods.. Genetica, 81: 1-3. Accessed January 21, 2010 at http://www.springerlink.com/content/t65217450h800v85/.
  • Fernandes Seixas, G., G. de Miranda Mourao. 2002. Nesting Success and Hatching Survival of Blue-Fronted Amazon (Amazona aestiva) in the Pantanal of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. Journal of Field Ornithology, Vol 73: 399-409. Accessed January 21, 2010 at http://www.jstor.org/stable/4131166.
  • Fernández-Juricic, E., M. Martella, E. Alvarez. 1998. Vocalizations of the Blue-Fronted Amazon (Amazona aestiva) in the Chancaní Reserve, Córdoba, Argentina.. The Wilson Bulletin, 110: 352-361. Accessed January 21, 2010 at http://www.jstor.org/stable/4163959.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Blue-fronted Amazons are sexually monomorphic to the human eye. The human eye is trichromatic and isn’t capable of viewing light in the near-ultraviolet (UV) range. The avian eye is tetrachromatic, able to view a much more diverse range of colors than humans. The use of spectrometry allows humans to view blue-fronted Amazons and various other avian group’s as sexually dimorphic due to their UV reflecting plumage.

Their entire body is mostly composed of vibrant green plumage. Bright blue feathers are located on their crown and yellow wraps around its face and on the tip of their scapulars. Their beaks are mostly black, and juveniles are considerably duller in color and have black irises. The distribution of yellow and blue varies for each bird, but red markings are mostly found on varying places on the wings. Individuals weigh between 275 and 500 g and range from 33 to 38 cm in length.

Range mass: 275 to 510 g.

Average mass: 400 to 430 g.

Range length: 33 to 38 cm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

  • Santos, S., B. Elward, J. Lumeij. 2006. Sexual Dichromatism in the Blue-Fronted Amazon Parrot (Amazona aestiva) Revealed by Multiple-Angle Spectrometry. Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery, Vol. 20: 8-14. Accessed January 21, 2010 at http://www.jstor.org/stable/40236514.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Blue-fronted Amazons nest in trees of varying dimensions. Their nests are located in all main flora environments of the Amazon, such as all types of savannas, riparian woodlands, grasslands, and floodplains. In the Patanal of Mato Grosso do Sul state, Brazil, a study for blue-fronted Amazons concluded that they preferred nesting sites located in disturbed and vastly open areas. They have been found to inhabit elevations of up to 887 m.

Range elevation: 0 to 887 m.

Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland ; forest ; rainforest ; scrub forest

Aquatic Biomes: coastal

Other Habitat Features: riparian

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

Blue-fronted parrots primarily eat native seeds, fruits, nuts, leaf sprouts, and flowers from the Amazon. They are widely known for being a crop pest, particularly to citrus crops. When they’re not breeding, they leave roosting sites in flocks during the morning to feed and return in the afternoon. During breeding season, mated pairs forage together. They use their feet to handle food, and use their beak and tongue for seed or grain extraction.

Plant Foods: leaves; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit; flowers

Primary Diet: herbivore (Granivore )

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Associations

Ecosystem Roles

Blue-fronted Amazons consume various indigenous fruits, seeds, nuts, leaf sprouts, and flowers. Their foraging behaviors aid in seed dispersal through defecation and food transportation.

Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds

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Predation

Poaching by humans plays a key role in the frequent absence and over-exploitation of blue-fronted Amazons in the wild. Since they mainly roost in tree canopies, their cryptic color reduces predator detection. There is scarce information on the predation of blue-fronted Amazons, but it is known that falcons, hawks and owls tend to prey upon numerous species of parrots from the Amazon.

Known Predators:

  • Hawks
  • Falcons (Falco)
  • Owls

Anti-predator Adaptations: cryptic

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

The ultraviolet (UV) light reflectance of blue-fronted Amazons' plumage may actually aid in their sexual communication, mate selection, and courting displays.

Nine different vocalizations have been identified for blue-fronted Amazons. Of the nine, six calls are used under various situations such as feeding, flying, contact, and distress. These calls are, “wak-wak”, “wa-wawawa”, transitions, “gugugu”, guturals, and “ka-kaka”. The last three identified calls are used for specific situations. “Waahh” is vocalized in times of aggression, or defense, “grr-uip” during in-flight contact, and songs vocalized for territorial and reproductive circumstances.

Their main call is “wak-wak” and is used all year. It is uttered in sequences, but with no consistent pattern. They use it during lone or group flights, takeoff or landing, distress brought on by intruders, and long or short communication calls with other parrots. The usual distress calls differ during their breeding season. Mating pairs will stay perched, while calling, and calmly fly away from trespassers.

The vocalization, “wa-wawawa” is used all year, but less than the "wak-wak", and the note length for this call is held longer. It is used for lone or group flights, roosting, contact, and landings.

“Gu-gugu” is mostly used nearing the end of the breeding season in March and during the non-breeding season in May. It has a varying length, with a low-pitched warble, where energy is most concentrated at the peak of warbling. This vocalization is mostly heard when a flock of four or more are in flight or seen roosting.

“Ka-kaka” is only used during non-breeding season. It is made up of a series of around 15 notes, where all maintain a diverse frequency range and diminutive length. It’s used during foraging, and when displaying consistent calls among large flocks in thick woodlands.

“Waahh” is vocalized during March and August, and is usually harsh with a ranging bandwidth. It’s used in times of defense and threat. Aggressive interactions may occur with ten or more parrots present among the trees. Typically, a parrot would swing its head towards another perched behind it, present its wings, and utter a single "waahh". If interaction increased, vocalization and length of call increased.

“Grr-uip” is used in post-breeding and non-breeding seasons. This call is more multifaceted, with up to three parts. It relates to their flight movements, which qualifies specific dexterity.

The gutural is a frequent year round call, which varies in length, concentration, and bandwidth. It’s vocalized during distress, contact, flight, takeoff, and among roosting flocks and is usually associated with other vocalizations.

Songs are commonly linked with a specific sequence and involve a pattern of varying notes in a long series.

Like many Amazons, blue-fronted Amazons likely exhibit forms of tactile communication as well. Many Amazon pairs use allopreening, beak touching, or beak holding to establish or reinforce the pair-bond. Like all birds, blue-fronted Amazons perceive their environment through visual, tactile, auditory and chemical stimuli.

Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic

Other Communication Modes: mimicry

Perception Channels: ultraviolet

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

Blue-fronted Amazons are expected to live up to 70 years in captivity.

Typical lifespan

Status: captivity:
70 (high) years.

  • Leite, K., G. Seixas, I. Berkunsky, R. Collevatti, R. Caparroz. 2008. Population genetic structure of the blue-fronted Amazon (Amazona aestiva, Psittacidae: Aves) based on nuclear microsatellite loci: implications for conservation. Genetics and Molecular Research, 7 (3): 819-829.
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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 49 years (captivity) Observations: One specimen lived for 49 years in captivity (Brouwer et al. 2000).
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Reproduction

Blue-fronted Amazons are monogamous, and live in pairs, while continuously interacting with the flock. During breeding season, the mated pairs stay close together while roosting and foraging. Little information could be found on reproductive displays and behavior.

Mating System: monogamous

The breeding period for blue-fronted Amazons is August through September. During this period they lay between 1 and 6 eggs, usually averaging 2 to 3 eggs per clutch during each breeding season. Eggs are incubated for 30 days, and hatching generally occurs between September and October. Chicks weigh between 12 and 22 g when first hatched. Nestlings are fully fledged in November through December, approximately 56 days after hatching. It usually takes about 9 weeks for the chicks to reach independence, and both sexes reach sexual maturity around 2 to 4 years of age.

Breeding interval: Blue-fronted Amazons breed once yearly.

Breeding season: Blue-fronted Amazons breed from August to December.

Range eggs per season: 1 to 6.

Average eggs per season: 2 to 3.

Average time to hatching: 30 days.

Range birth mass: 12 to 22 g.

Average birth mass: 18 g.

Average fledging age: 56 days.

Average time to independence: 9 weeks.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 2 to 4 years.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 2 to 4 years.

Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)

Blue-fronted Amazons are secondary carvers, where they do not create their own cavities, but occupy previously used nesting sites. They tend to nest in live trees of varying species depending on which habitat they occupy. Most of their nests are found in open areas that are near roosting sites and water sources. The female lays an average of 2 to 3 eggs, and incubates them for roughly a month. Since the chicks are altricial, they require constant care from the parents, and are fed via regurgitation.

Parental Investment: altricial ; male parental care ; female parental care ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female)

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Amazona aestiva

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 5 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

GCC---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------TACCACGCAGGT------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------AAAAAAGAACCGTTTGGCTACATAGGCATGGTATGGGCCATACTGTCAATTGGATTCCTAGGGTTTATCGTATGGGCCCACCACATATTCACAGTGGGAATAGACGTAGACACCCGAGCATACTTCACGTCTGCCACAATAATCATCGCCATTCCTACTGGAATCAAAGTCTTCAGCTGACTC---GCCACACTACACGGAGGG---ACCATCAAATGAGACCCCCCCATACTATGAGCTCTTGGGTTTATCTTCCTATTTACCATTGGAGGTCTCACAGGAATCGTCCTAGCAAACTCTTCACTAGACATTGCCCTACACGACACATACTATGTAGTAGCACATTTCCACTATGTC---CTATCAATAGGTGCCGTCTTTGCCATTCTAGCCGGACTCACCCACTGATTCCCCCTATTCACCGGATATACCCTAAACCAGTCTTGAGCCAAG
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Amazona aestiva

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 6
Specimens with Barcodes: 29
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
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Blue-fronted parrots are listed as "least concern" by the IUCN Red List because of their large habitat range and decent population size. However, their population size is decreasing which may warrant a "vulnerable" status in the future. For almost all species of Amazona parrots, degradation of habitat is of highest concern. Blue-fronted Amazons are secondary cavity-nesters, and rely on mature trees for nesting. Logging and landscaping of their habitat diminishes potential nesting sites. Blue-fronted Amazons are protected under CITES II to regulate the capture and trade of these birds.

CITES: appendix ii

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Population

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

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
The species has been heavily traded: since 1981 when it was listed on CITES Appendix II, 413,505 wild-caught individuals have been recorded in international trade (UNEP-WCMC CITES Trade Database, January 2005).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Conservation Actions Underway
The species is listed under CITES Appendix II.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

This species of Amazon, along with almost all Amazon parrots, are known as crop pests. Blue-fronted Amazons tend to attack citrus crops and various other cultivated fruits and seeds. Many farmers destroy the birds to save their crops.

Negative Impacts: crop pest

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Blue-fronted Amazons are captured and sold locally and internationally through the live pet-trade market. This type of Amazon parrot is the most vital species to the Isoseño-Guaraní tribe of Bolivia, who rely on capturing this Amazon for profit. These intelligent birds are also kept as pets, and some are even used to attract wild parrots within a slingshot range for capture.

Positive Impacts: pet trade

  • Deem, S., A. Noss, R. Cuéllar, W. Karesh. 2005. Monitoring an export moratorium of the blue-fronted Amazon parrot (Amazona aestiva) in Salta Province, Argentina.. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 36: 598-605. Accessed January 21, 2010 at http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.1638/04094.1?prevSearch=.
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Wikipedia

Blue-fronted amazon

The blue-fronted amazon (Amazona aestiva), also called the turquoise-fronted amazon and blue-fronted parrot, is a South American species of amazon parrot and one of the most common amazon parrots kept in captivity as a pet or companion parrot. Its common name is derived from the distinctive blue marking on its head just above its beak.

Description[edit]

The blue-fronted amazon is a mainly green parrot about 38 cm (15 in) long. They have blue feathers on the forehead above the beak and yellow on the face and crown. Distribution of blue and yellow varies greatly among individuals. Unlike most other Amazona parrots, its beak is mostly black. There is no overt sexual dimorphism to the human eye, but analysis of the feathers using spectrometry, a method which allows the plumage to be seen as it would be by a parrot's tetrachromatic vision, shows clear differences between the plumage of the sexes.[2] Juveniles of parrots are duller and have dark irises.[3]

Taxonomy[edit]

The blue-fronted amazon was one of the many species originally described by Linnaeus in his 18th-century work, Systema Naturae.[4] Its specific epithet is the feminine form of the Latin adjective aestivus, "of the summer".[5] Two subspecies are recognized:[6]

  • A. a. aestiva (nominate) is found in eastern Brazil.[7] The leading edge of the wing ("shoulder") is red.
  • A. a. xanthopteryx occurs from northern and eastern Bolivia through adjacent parts of Brazil, to Paraguay and northern Argentina. The "shoulder" is partly or wholly yellow.[7] Generally with more yellow to the head than nominate.[8]

The taxon xanthopteryx has been treated as a separate species,[9] but the two subspecies interbreed freely where they come into contact.

Additionally, there are significant individual variations in both facial pattern and amount of yellow/red to the "shoulder". In one extreme, individuals with essentially no yellow on the head and entirely green "shoulders" are known from north-western Argentina.[10]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The range of the blue-fronted amazon extends over eastern and northern Bolivia, eastern Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina. It is found in forests (though generally avoids extensive humid forests such as the Amazon), woodland, savanna and palm groves.[8]

A small feral breeding population is also present in the greener regions of Stuttgart in Germany.[11]

Breeding[edit]

The blue-fronted amazon nests in tree cavities. The oval eggs are white and measure around 38 x 30 mm. There are usually three to five in a clutch. The female incubates the eggs for about 27 days and the chicks leave the nest about 60 days after hatching.[3]

Status[edit]

Head and neck

The status of this species is evaluated as being of least concern by BirdLife International. However, while it remains common throughout a significant part of its range, there is evidence of a population decline, and this species has been heavily traded: Since 1981 when it was listed on CITES Appendix II, 413,505 wild-caught individuals have been recorded in international trade (UNEP-WCMC CITES Trade Database, January 2005). It is regarded as a crop pest in parts of its native range.

Paradoxically, illegal trade may have contributed to expansions of the range of this parrot: It is becoming common in Rio de Janeiro, which is not a part of its historical range, something attributed to escaped caged birds.[12]

Aviculture[edit]

The blue-fronted amazon is commonly seen as a pet, both in South America and other parts of the world.[7] Their talking ability varies greatly from individual to individual, but some speak nearly as well as the yellow-headed amazon group (yellow-naped, Panama, yellow-crowned, double yellow-headed. They seem to have a proclivity for singing. They require interaction but also can play with toys contently for several hours at a time. Pets require plenty of toys, perches, and climbing room. As with some other birds, under no circumstances are blue-fronted amazons to eat avocado. Some individuals, particularly males, can be aggressive in spring, the mating season.

An extremely rare red (or chocolate raspberry) mutation of the species appeared in captivity in 2004, bred by the psittaculturist, Howard Voren. The mutation results in yellow plumage being replaced by that of a red/pink hue and greens with a chocolate-brown, with the depth and intensity of color varying by location upon the body.[13]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Amazona aestiva". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Santos, Susana (2006). "Sexual Dichromatism in the Blue-fronted Amazon Parrot (Amazona aestiva) Revealed by Multiple-angle Spectrometry". Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery 20 (1): 8–14. doi:10.1647/1082-6742(2006)20[8:SDITBA]2.0.CO;2. 
  3. ^ a b Alderton, David (2003). The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Caged and Aviary Birds. London, England: Hermes House. p. 230. ISBN 1-84309-164-X. 
  4. ^ (Latin) Linnaeus, C (1758). Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Holmiae. (Laurentii Salvii). 
  5. ^ Simpson DP (1979). Cassell's Latin Dictionary (5 ed.). London: Cassell Ltd. p. 883. ISBN 0-304-52257-0. 
  6. ^ Forshaw, p. 557
  7. ^ a b c Forshaw, p. 558
  8. ^ a b Juniper, T., & M. Parr (1998). A Guide to the Parrots of the World. Pica Press, East Sussex. ISBN 1-873403-40-2
  9. ^ Remsen, J. V., Jr., C. D. Cadena, A. Jaramillo, M. Nores, J. F. Pacheco, M. B. Robbins, T. S. Schulenberg, F. G. Stiles, D. F. Stotz, and K. J. Zimmer. Version (2008). A classification of the bird species of South America. American Ornithologists' Union. Accessed 2008-10-09.
  10. ^ Areta, J. I. (2007). A green-shouldered variant of the Blue-fronted Amazon Amazona aestiva from the Sierra de Santa Bárbara, north-west Argentina. Cotinga 27: 71–73.
  11. ^ as seem in the following photo
  12. ^ José Felipe Monteiro Pereira (2008). Aves e Pássaros Comuns do Rio de Janeiro. Pp. 68. Technical Books, Rio de Janeiro. 2008. ISBN 978-85-61368-00-5.
  13. ^ Voren, Howard. "Red Color Mutation of the Blue-fronted Amazon". Retrieved 20 May 2011. 

Cited text[edit]

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