Sunday Species Snapshot: Puerto Rican Parrot

Puerto-Rican-Parrot

The only native parrot species still living in the U.S., these birds nearly went extinct in the second half of the twentieth century, John R. Paltt reports in this article for Scientific American. By 1975, only 13 parrots remained. Intense conservation efforts over the past few decades have helped to turn that around, but the species still has a long way to go. Follow the link below for a video accompanying the report.

Species name: The Puerto Rican Amazon (Amazona vittata), a.k.a, the Puerto Rican parrot. In Spanish, the bird is known as the iguaca.

Where found: Once present through most of Puerto Rico and its nearby islands, the parrot can now be found in only a small portion of Puerto Rico’s main island.

IUCN Red List status: Critically endangered. About 400 of the birds live in captivity and, as of last year, more than 100 have been released into the wild, where they are carefully tracked and monitored.

Major threat: The species was nearly wiped out by agricultural development and roads, as well as collection for the pet trade. Luckily today’s birds are relatively safe since most of these birds live in captivity. The wild parrots still face the threat of an invasive bird called the pearly-eyed thrasher (Margarops fuscatus), as well as invasive rats and mongooses.

Notable conservation programs: The Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Program, a joint effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources and the U.S. Geological Survey. In addition the Puerto Rican Parrot Genome Project aims to sequence the birds’ genome, something that could aid in its conservation since all of the current birds are descended from such a small population.

Multimedia: Click on the link below for the original report and to watch a video of a Puerto Rican parrot having a grand old time taking a shower:

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/extinction-countdown/2014/04/06/puerto-rican-parrot/

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s