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Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Recognisable in flight by its rapid and shallow wing beats, the green-cheeked Amazon gathers in large flocks which fly in formation, feeding together and calling 'kee-craw craw craw' in chorus, particularly in the morning and evening (8). They pick at seeds, berries, flowers and nectar, wastefully pecking at them and dropping the rest. Between March and May, green-cheeked Amazons court and mate in monogamous pairs, nesting together in loose colonies in large, old trees (5). Between two and five eggs are laid each year, hatching after about 26 days. The young will leave the nest after around 68 days (2). During the non-breeding season, the green-cheeked Amazon is nomadic and moves to higher elevations (5) in flocks of up to 100 (9).
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Description

The green-cheeked Amazon is a striking bird with a large head and a big, yellow bill (6). The feathers are mainly green, with black edges, but the forehead is bright red (2). A half-moon shaped blue-violet band runs from the cheeks around the back of the head (7). The primaries have blue tips and the tail is tipped with yellow (2). The legs are grey-green (2) and the feet have two toes facing forwards and two toes facing backwards (6).
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Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: RESIDENT: lowlands of northeastern Mexico. Introduced and established in Los Angeles area, California; Dade County, Florida; Puerto Rico (Rio Piedras, Vega Baja, Rincon, and Salinas); and Oahu, Hawaii. Rare fall and winter visitor to southern Texas (though records possibly are based on escaped cage birds).

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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).

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Range

Lowlands of ne Mexico (Nuevo León to n Veracruz).

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Range

The natural range of this bird is small areas of Mexico, but it has been introduced to Puerto Rico and the sates of Florida and California, USA, where it has become naturalised (1).
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Physical Description

Size

Length: 32 cm

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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Native range: forested regions, especially lowland deciduous forest and pine-oak woodland, foraging also in cultivated lands. Also suburban areas where introduced. BREEDING: Nests in tree cavities.

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Habitat and Ecology

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).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
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The green-cheeked Amazon inhabits arid tropical lowlands, dry open pine-oak ridges and tropical deciduous forests in its natural range. It has settled in suburban areas with mature trees and parks in the new areas of its range (8).
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Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Population Biology

Global Abundance

2500 - 10,000 individuals

Comments: Total population 3,000 to 6,500 (Juniper and Parr 1998).

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Amazona viridigenalis

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


No available public DNA sequences.

Download FASTA File
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Amazona viridigenalis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 6
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N2 - Imperiled

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G2 - Imperiled

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
EN
Endangered

Red List Criteria
A2bcd+3bcd+4bcd

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S.

Contributor/s
Brush, T., Enkerlin-Hoeflich, E. & Navarro, A.

Justification
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.


History
  • 2012
    Endangered
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Status

The green-cheeked Amazon is classified as Endangered (EN A2bcd + 3bcd) on the IUCN Red List 2004 (1) and is listed on Appendix I of CITES (4). It is also listed as Endangered on Mexico's Threatened Species List 'Nom 059' (5).
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Population

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.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Comments: Popular cage bird; at least formerly traded in large numbers (Juniper and Parr 1998). Other threats: habitat destruction, shooting to prevent crop damage (Juniper and Parr 1998).

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Major Threats
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).

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With a street value of between $900 and $1200 (3), the green-cheeked Amazon is massively exploited for the pet trade. As a beautiful bird, which talks occasionally, the green-cheeked Amazon is a popular pet and consequently thousands of chicks are taken from nests each year. Adding to this problem, poachers often fell or damage nesting trees, preventing their use in subsequent breeding seasons. With little else affecting their decline, the green-cheeked Amazon is an endangered species as a result of supplying humans with exotic pets (5).
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Management

Conservation Actions

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).

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Conservation

Whilst protected under international law (Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) and Mexican law (Nom 059), as well as occurring in two of Mexico's Biosphere Reserves, poaching is still a massive problem. It is thought that awareness of the danger posed to this species is growing among rangers, but measures to halt its decline it have not yet been taken (5). Proposed actions to prevent the extinction of this parrot in the wild include: monitoring populations to determine the extent of declines, identifying the highest nesting aggregations for immediate protection, and educating ranchers to halt poaching and regenerate the habitat (10).
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Risks

Stewardship Overview: See Beissinger and Snyder (1991).

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Wikipedia

Red-crowned Amazon

The Red-crowned Amazon, (Amazona viridigenalis) also known as Red-crowned Parrot, Green-cheeked Amazon, or Mexican Red-headed Parrot, is an endangered Amazon parrot native to northeastern Mexico. The current native wild population of between 1,000 and 2,000 is decreasing. The main threats to its survival are the illegal export of trapped birds from Mexico to the United States and the destruction of habitat.

Description[edit]

Head and neck

Their appearance is generally green with the most notable features being a bright red forehead and crown, dark blue streak behind the eyes, and light green cheeks.

Range[edit]

Their natural range is across the lowlands of northeastern Mexico. Feral birds have bred in urban communities of southern California, southern Florida, and the island of Oahu in Hawaii. Birds in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas may be either feral, descendants of natural vagrants from Mexico, or both.

Behavior[edit]

They gather in large flocks being noisiest in the morning and evening. The characteristic screeching heard of these birds usually occurs when they travel in a large flock to a new feeding area. Their diet consists of seeds, fruits, flowers and nectar. Red-crowned Amazons nest in tree cavities, like most other parrots.

Aviculture[edit]

These parrots are often kept as pets and can be very affectionate and playful when given the attention they need from their owners. Although some are excellent talkers and copy voices, they are best at mimicking sounds.

References[edit]

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Appears to constitute a superspecies with A. finschi, A. cucumana, and A. pretrei (AOU 1998).

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